TODAY'S TOP STORY: While Young Thug's arrest and incarceration earlier this year has resulted in a new legal battle with a live music company, it has also pushed back a court hearing in relation to an existing legal battle with another live entertainment firm. Which is to say, a dispute between the rapper and live giant AEG now won't get to court until October 2023... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES AEG dispute with Young Thug delayed a year as the rapper remains in jail
LEGAL Taylor Swift's Lover book accused of ripping off elements of earlier poetry collection
LABELS & PUBLISHERS STIM launches music service for YouTube Creators
LIVE BUSINESS Festicket files 'notice of commencement of moratorium' with Companies House
ARTIST NEWS Human voice of 'AI' rapper FN Meka says he was cut out of the project
RELEASES New Sleep Party People announce new album with first single Tide
ONE LINERS Snoop Dogg, Arctic Monkeys, Paul Heaton & Jacqui Abbott, more
AND FINALLY... Michael Jackson's nephew says Harry Styles cannot be the 'new king of pop'
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AEG dispute with Young Thug delayed a year as the rapper remains in jail
While Young Thug's arrest and incarceration earlier this year has resulted in a new legal battle with a live music company, it has also pushed back a court hearing in relation to an existing legal battle with another live entertainment firm. Which is to say, a dispute between the rapper and live giant AEG now won't get to court until October 2023.

The existing dispute between Young Thug - real name Jeffery Williams - and AEG relates to a 2017 agreement. In late 2020, AEG complained that Williams had been involved in concerts promoted by other companies, despite it paying a $5 million advance in 2017 in order to gain exclusive rights in relation to the rapper's shows.

Not only that, but Williams had put up some of his intellectual property rights as collateral in that deal which meant that - now he was allegedly in breach of contract - AEG might have a claim to the rapper's trademark, his Young Stoner Life brand, and even a cut of his music publishing income.

Initially reps for Williams were busy trying to negotiate a settlement with AEG. However, with no deal being done, the dispute was heading to court this coming October. But then Williams was arrested in the US state of Georgia in May and denied bail.

In the criminal case, Williams is accused of co-founding a gang that went on to commit murders, shootings and carjackings. He was arrested and charged alongside fellow rapper Gunna and 26 others with links to the alleged gang.

The criminal action against Williams is proving quite controversial, because the prosecution is in part relying on his music videos as evidence against him, a practice that is being increasingly criticised across the US. Indeed, new laws are about to go into force in California making it harder for prosecutors there to use a defendant's creative output against them in court.

With Williams unable to secure bail, he couldn't play a show that was due to take place in Atlanta in June. The promoter of that show, A-1 Concert, recently sued to reclaim a $150,000 advance that had been paid to the rapper, which had not been returned, despite promises that it would be.

Meanwhile, with the ongoing AEG dispute, the live giant's lawyers requested that the scheduled upcoming court hearing be postponed by a full year. And, according to, that request has now been granted, meaning AEG's attempts to reclaim its advance and damages from Williams won't be heard in court until 24 Oct 2023.


Taylor Swift's Lover book accused of ripping off elements of earlier poetry collection
Taylor Swift has been sued yet again over allegations that she has ripped off another creator's work. Though this time it's not a song-theft lawsuit. Instead, writer Teresa La Dart claims that a book that accompanied a deluxe version of Swift's 2019 'Lover' album contains various creative elements in common with a book of poetry she published in 2010, also called 'Lover'.

But what elements in particular? Well, says La Dart's lawsuit, the two books both follow "substantially the same format of a recollection of past years memorialised in a combination of written and pictorial components within a book".

They also have "a substantially similar cover format, with the author photographed in a downward pose, and colour scheme (pastel pinks and blues) with the same title ... with substantially the same introduction page formats with a similarly styled 'Lover' title, as well as an earlier photograph of the author in a nature setting and turned to the right and an accompanying forward with substantially similar greetings and wishes for the reader".

Is that it? Hell no. The two publications have "a substantially similar inner book design with interspersed photographs and writings throughout the body thereof ... a substantially similar back cover format, with the author photographed in an upward pose (juxtaposed with the front cover pose), and, again, a substantially similar colour scheme (pastel pinks and blues)".

"Stylistically", the lawsuit concludes, "the Swift 'Lover' book includes creative elements that are not typical of or present within other published books and - as compared with the La Dart work - leaves an overall impression that the Swift 'Lover' book is, again, substantially similar in terms of the above-noted design elements as those within the La Dart work".

So, basically, there are a number of similarities between these two 'Lover' books other than than the name. But, even if La Dart could show that Swift and/or her team had seen the earlier book prior to putting together their book - or even if it could be proven that the later book was deliberately based on the older book - are any of those creative elements shared by the two publications protected by copyright?

Names and titles do not usually enjoy copyright protection, so the fact the two books are both called 'Lover' is not relevant. Copyright also doesn't protect mere concepts. It does protect artistic works - and that can include graphic design - though the various similarities identified in the lawsuit do seem too generic to suggest that the Swift team ripped off a specific copyright protected artistic work contained in La Dart's book.

But nevertheless, a legal rep for La Dart told Billboard: "My client feels strongly about her position and the full comparison of both books side-by-side would provide a clearer view. This filing was not taken lightly".

The Swift team will presumably seek to get this case quickly dismissed by arguing that the creative elements shared by the two books are simply too generic to be protected by copyright. Whether the 'clearer view' promised if the two books are put side-by-side will convince a judge otherwise remains to be seen.


STIM launches music service for YouTube Creators
Swedish collecting society STIM has launched a new service called Cora Music which is, and I quote, "a world-first service, providing YouTubers with a one-stop shop for quality music".

Basically it's a service that allows YouTube creators to easily license a catalogue of commercially released music for use in their videos. If creators use such music in their content without seeking licences, their videos may be blocked, or a record label may claim the creator's share of any ad income that YouTube generates via the Content ID system.

However, sorting out direct licences from record labels and music publishers is a lot of work for YouTubers. Which is why many YouTube creators use production music instead of commercially released tracks. What STIM refers to as "unknown buyout music" in its Cora Music blurb, by which they probably mainly mean music from another Sweden-based entity, good old Epidemic Sound.

With Cora Music's "world-first service" creators can access commercially released tracks via a one-stop shop, with both recording rights and song rights covered. Now, if that sounds very much like the existing Lickd service, that's because it is. Albeit with a few thousand tracks to choose from rather than Lickd's million plus catalogue.

So maybe all that "world-first service" talk is a bit hyperbolic, even if there are some differences between the Cora Music and Lickd models. But still, it's interesting to see a collecting society dabbling in this space, recognising that complexities around music licensing - especially when you go global - have often resulted in the new breed of content creators using production music, or unlicensed music, or no music at all.

"Cora Music represents famous tracks from all kinds of genres, is available in one single database, and has a state-of-the-art filter according to category, mood, tempo and much more", STIM said yesterday. "Cora Music is currently available for YouTubers, and will later be expanded across other platforms".

"There is a myriad of online services that offer music to YouTube creators", added STIM CEO Casper Bjørner, "but Cora Music [offers] unlimited access to hits that the viewers love - not simply anonymous muzak. This is the result of extensive and successful licence negotiations with numerous partners, and we're really proud".


Festicket files 'notice of commencement of moratorium' with Companies House
Another innovative ticketing company seems to be facing some financial challenges, with Festicket having submitted a 'notice of commencement of moratorium' to Companies House.

Under UK law, a moratorium of this kind means no legal action can be taken against a company without court approval. It's a temporary measure that is designed to give companies that are facing certain financial challenges some time to address those issues.

Festicket was founded in 2011 and specialises in selling special packages around festivals and music events, with things like travel and accommodation bundled in.

Founders Zack Sabban, Jonathan Younes and Jerome Elfassy launched the company after attempting to plan a trip to US festival Coachella, and realising how many questions such a trip posed for the festival-goer, and how much hassle was involved in organising travel, accommodation and such like.

In the subsequent decade Festicket has partnered with many festivals around the world - including Coachella - to make the full festival experience easier for the customer. Though, of course, like the entire live and ticketing business, it faced a tricky couple of years during the COVID pandemic when most of those festivals were cancelled.

Specifics about Festicket's current position are not known, and the company says it is not currently in a position to formally comment. However, a source told TheTicketingBusiness that the firm is in talks with a third party, possibly about buying the ticketing platform, while directors are consulting advisors on ways to restructure the business.

Explaining what the moratorium means, the source said: "The company still has to pay its ongoing debts during the moratorium, eg rent and employee liabilities, and also has to appoint someone to oversee the process, ie a licensed insolvency practitioner, whose main job is to monitor and then evaluate whether a rescue plan will work".

According to the Companies House filing, Festicket is working with ReSolve Advisory Limited on this process, which describes itself as an advisory business that helps "owners, investors, boards, and management teams solve complex financial problems".

TheTicketingBusiness's source added: "It is my understanding that the company directors are in exclusive negotiations with a third party, and this gives them some time - initially 20 days but this can be extended - to assess the situation and to potentially develop the plan for the company as a going concern. Unfortunately, for current clients and staff, the business may be considered beyond rescue".

Festicket's notice of moratorium follows the news earlier this month that Pollen - another company that builds packages around festivals and curated live experiences - had fallen into administration, despite raising $150 million in new investment earlier this year.


Edinburgh Festival Reviews
The 2022 Edinburgh Festival is now in its final week, with a packed programme of great theatre, comedy, cabaret, music, musicals, opera, dance, physical theatre, film, visual art, talks, debates and spoken word.

CMU's sister media ThreeWeeks has been covering it all throughout the month. And as we head into the final few days of the Festival, you can check out a stack of reviews from the ThreeWeeks team, who have been reviewing shows since the start of August.

You can access all the reviews here - or browse by genre here.

Human voice of 'AI' rapper FN Meka says he was cut out of the project
The artist who voiced controversial 'virtual' rapper FN Meka has denied claims that he has been leading the project, adding that he has been cut out of the financial gains the company behind the venture, Factory Now, has made.

Previously anonymous, rapper Kyle The Hooligan came forward as the voice of FN Meka yesterday, after Universal's Capitol label severed ties with the project following accusations of racism.

"They came to me with this AI shit and was like would I want to be the voice of it, and I thought it was going to be some collaboration", he said in a video on Instagram. "They promised me equity in the company, percentages, all this stuff, so I'm thinking, 'OK, this about to be some collab, something different for me, so I can do my music and do some AI stuff with this FN Meka character".

Capitol announced that it had signed FN Meka earlier this month, releasing a single, 'Florida Water', featuring Gunna. However, after activist group Industry Blackout accused the project of being "a direct insult to the black community and our culture" and "an amalgamation of gross stereotypes", the major label said that it would no longer work on FN Meka releases and began removing that one single from streaming services.

In an interview with the New York Times, Factory New founder Anthony Martini defended the whole project, and claimed that it had actually been spearheaded by (the then unnamed) Kyle The Hooligan, and that his company's role was more akin to that of a traditional artist manager.

FN Meka is the creation of "a black guy … not this malicious plan of white executives", he said. "It's literally no different from managing a human artist, except that it's digital".

However, not so, says Kyle The Hooligan. "Everything [was] going good", he continues in his Instagram post. "Next thing I know, [they] just ghosted me. Use my voice, use my sound, use the culture and literally just left me high and dry".

"I ain't get a dime off of nothing, and they got record deals, all this stuff", he adds. "I wasn't involved in no meetings or none of that, which is fucked up. So, I'm glad they ass got canceled cos that's karma for they ass cos God don't play with me. I'm gonna tell you that right now".

Initially launched on social media, FN Meka amassed ten million followers on TikTok before signing to Capitol. It's not now clear what the future holds for the project.


New Sleep Party People announce new album with first single Tide
Sleep Party People - aka multi-instrumentalist Brian Batz - will release new album 'Heap Of Ashes' this autumn. New single, 'Tide', is out now.

"I was in a weird place in my life where I felt like I was some kind of observer", says Batz of his life while creating the new album. "I was watching people around me getting sick, grieving, falling apart and the world was somehow disintegrating as well. I wanted to make a record mirroring and coping with the way I felt".

Part of this process involved completely changing his approach to songwriting. He explains: "I had a dogma that I was not allowed to write a song on piano, guitar, or anything else that I was used to. It took an entire month to make the first song!"

He also wrote his lyrics in his native Danish, before translating them into English for the recordings. "Of course it's easier for me to express myself in Danish, and while the translating was difficult it got me somewhere completely different than anything I would ever have written", he says.

First single 'Tide' gives a glimpse of how these changes to Batz's approach have affected his sound. Elements of what we know from his previous work are there, but the middle of the song is torn apart by a sudden burst of anger and noise.

"I had just had another tough day and I wanted to shout into a pillow, but I managed to put all my frustrations into the song instead", he says. "It was one take, no words, just all of my aggression".

'Heap Of Ashes' is out on 28 Oct. Watch the video for 'Tide' here.



Concord Music Publishing has signed country singer-songwriter Justin Wilson. "When I saw the amazing team that Concord had put together, I knew that was the right family for me", he says. "I'm looking forward to this new journey of hit songs we will all create together!"



Universal Music Publishing in the US has named David Gray as Head Of UMPG Global Creative Group. He will also continue in his role as Head Of US A&R. "As UMPG continues to lead the industry with our best-in-class A&R strategy, our newly formed Global Creative Group will further maximise the worldwide success of our songwriters", he says.

Hipgnosis Song Management has appointed Ben Katovsky as President and Chief Operating Officer. He joins from BMG and will take up his new role on 1 Oct. "As someone who has always loved being at the forefront of innovation in our industry, I am incredibly excited about working with the Hipgnosis team to drive this ambition and to ensure that our phenomenal and growing catalogue enjoys the legacy it so richly deserves", he says.

Warner Records in the US has promoted Sean Stevens to VP A&R and Head Of Research & Analytics. "Sean's incredible taste and creative instincts, matched with his ability to mine meaningful insights from a mountain of data, makes him a truly well-rounded A&R exec", says CEO Aaron Bay-Schuck. "He's helped bring bold, original talent into the Warner fold and he cares deeply about the artist development process once an artist walks through our doors".

Secretly Publishing has promoted Eddie Sikazwe to Senior Director Of A&R. "Music publishing represents the essence of why I love music", he says. "It's about connecting great artists, songwriters and producers to create art. I'm excited to continue building with a team that has a track record of championing and supporting artists, songwriters and musicians throughout its history".



Parents of young children! You know all those annoying nursery rhyme channels on YouTube with the crap animation? Well, good news! Now Snoop Dogg has launched one of this own. Check out Doggyland here.

The line-up for this year's Radio 1 Live Lounge Month has been announced, with the likes of Harry Styles, Wet Leg, Self Esteem, Rina Sawayama, The 1975 and Willow all getting involved. It kicks off with Yungblud on 5 Sep.



Arctic Monkeys have announced that they will release their new album, 'The Car', on 21 Oct.

Raye has released new single 'Black Mascara'. "This song is about another story that has contributed to my 'blues'", she says. "I used the juxtaposition of an upbeat dance track to tell this awful story of being misled by someone I really loved and trusted. While it was a dark low moment, it was also cathartic for me".

FaltyDL will release new album 'A Nurse To My Patience' on 11 Nov, and has already released new single 'Four Horses', featuring Julianna Barwick. "I fell back in love with songwriting on 'Four Horses' and feel absolutely blessed to have Julianna Barwick echo my sentiments", he says. "I have been a fan of hers for years and this was truly a dream".

Mike Patton and Dave Lombardo's Dead Cross have released new single 'Heart Reformer'. Says guitarist Michael Crain: "'Heart Reformer' was as much fun to write as it is to listen to. It's a classic Dead Cross song. It's a pit stirrer and a fist pumper!" Their new album - 'II' - is out on 28 Oct.

Ezra Collective have announced details of their new album 'Where I'm Meant To Be', featuring vocals from artists including Kojey Radical, Emeli Sandé and Nao. Here's new single 'Life Goes On', featuring Sampa The Great.

Nicolas Bougaïeff will release new album 'Begin Within' on 11 Nov. "There's a few major themes with this album and honesty is one of them", he says. "I went through years of physical and emotional masochism as a kind of immersive shock therapy to jolt me into understanding something. I lost myself to a degree and 'Begin Within' was the beginning of a process of mental reconciliation and internal unity manifested in my art". Here's the first track from it 'Naked Eye'.

Attawalpa will release his debut album 'Presence' on 7 Oct. Here's new single 'Look Away'. In addition to that, he's also writing the scores to Lena Dunham's upcoming films, 'Sharp Stick' and 'Catherine, Called Birdy'.

Madonna's daughter Lourdes has shared her first single under the name Lolahol, titled 'Lock&Key'.

You might have forgotten that Elon Musk released a pretty ropey house track back in 2020, bearing the fucking dreadful title 'Don't Doubt Your Vibe'. It's alright though, it's back in a Chinese advert for Tesla cars.



Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott have announced UK tour dates in November and December, with support from Billy Bragg. The run will finish up at The O2 in London on 17 Dec. Tickets go on sale on 1 Sep.

Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.


Michael Jackson's nephew says Harry Styles cannot be the 'new king of pop'
Michael Jackson's nephew Taj is angry. Why? Because Harry Styles is on the cover of the new issue of Rolling Stone. Well, not that specifically. I don't think he minds that. What's upset him though is that, on the UK version of said cover, Styles is referred to as "the new king of pop".

Taj is keen for everyone to know that the title 'King Of Pop' died with his uncle. No one else can claim the crown for themselves, despite the traditional conventions of monarchy.

"There is no new King Of Pop", he tweeted. "You don't own the title, Rolling Stone, and you didn't earn it, my uncle did. Decades of dedication and sacrifice. The title has been retired".

You got that? Just because someone is the biggest pop star in the world right now doesn't mean they can go around calling themselves the king of pop. Not that Harry Styles is, mind.

Either way, Jackson used that as a marketing slogan for years, so it's his. In fact, despite Taj's claim that the title has been retired, the Jackson estate still holds two trademarks in the name, for both sound recordings and entertainment services.

I don't think there's any argument that there has been actual trademark infringement by anyone here, but - still - when you think 'king of pop', you probably do think of Michael Jackson. What to do, then? Well, Taj isn't just coming out shouting, he's also got a solution.

"No disrespect to Harry Styles", he insists in his tweet. "He's mega talented. Give him his own unique title". So there you go. We need a new title. Don't just stick 'new' on the front of an old one.

Actually, the US version of the Harry Styles cover has gone with "the world's most wanted man". But we're not sure portraying Styles as a sinister criminal master mind is the way forward either. Surely he can still be the something of something, just not the king of pop.

Now, according to Wikipedia, Styles doesn't just trade in pop, he's also a purveyor of soft rock. So maybe he could be the King Of Soft Rock. That doesn't sound very exciting though, does it? And it still uses two thirds of Michael Jackson's official title.

We need to think more outside the box. So, here are a few suggestions of alternatives that definitely do the job without pissing off any fans or relatives of, you know, the late King Of Pop…

The Duke Of The Hit Parade

The Crown Prince Of The Charts

The Lord Of Contemporary Popular Music

The Marquess Of Great Tunes

The Earl Of Entertainment

The Mayor Of Music

The Baron Of Big Songs

The Life Peer Of Hits

The Admiral Of Sound Recordings

The Archbishop Of Singalongs

The High Priest Of Successful Music Making

The President Of Tracks

The Prime Minister Of Early 21st Century Music Often Played On The Radio

The Lord Chancellor Of Royalty Cheques

The Head Of State Of Singing And Playing A Bit Of Guitar

The Captain Of Actually Pretty Good Songwriting, You Have To Admit

The CEO Of 70s Trousers

The Best One Out Of One Direction

The Viscount Of Really Turning Things Around After Starting Your Career On 'X Factor'

The Grand Master Of Bearing A Passing Resemblance To A Young Mick Jagger

Not Michael Jackson

I think any one of those would do. So, if you work for Rolling Stone, or any other magazine considering slapping Harry Styles on your cover, feel free to print out that list and refer to it as necessary. Or just follow the lead of Rolling Stone Australia and put the actual kings and queens of pop on your cover, the always magnificent Wiggles.


ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU Daily, website and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column. (except press releases, see below)
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Founder & MD
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and CMU Trends. He also leads the CMU Insights consultancy unit and the CMU:DIY future talent programme, as well as heading up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited. (except press releases, see below)
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and also heads up business development at CMU Insights and CMU:DIY. or call 020 7099 9060
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media as a Director of 3CM UnLimited, as well as heading up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supporting other parts of the business.
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