TODAY'S TOP STORY: Lawyers for Dua Lipa have set out some key arguments for why one of the song theft lawsuits filed in relation to her 2020 hit 'Levitating' should be dismissed. Basically there is simply no evidence Dua Lipa and her collaborators had ever heard the two songs they are accused of ripping off... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Dua Lipa lawyer sets out arguments for dismissing Levitating song theft lawsuit
DEALS Warner Chappell signs licensing deal with Kuaishou
BRANDS & MERCH The Beatles return to Bravado for more merch adventures
ARTIST NEWS Feist pulls out of Arcade Fire tour following sexual misconduct allegations against Win Butler
Rina Sawayama says This Hell "has the blessing of Abba"

RELEASES Louis Tomlinson releases new single Bigger Than Me
ONE LINERS The 1975, Ava Max, McFly, more
AND FINALLY... South Korean government considering putting question of BTS's military service to the public
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Dua Lipa lawyer sets out arguments for dismissing Levitating song theft lawsuit
Lawyers for Dua Lipa have set out some key arguments for why one of the song theft lawsuits filed in relation to her 2020 hit 'Levitating' should be dismissed. Basically there is simply no evidence Dua Lipa and her collaborators had ever heard the two songs they are accused of ripping off.

Because, yes, in the second of two copyright lawsuits targeting 'Levitating', plaintiffs L Russell Brown and Sandy Linze claimed that Lipa's track actually lifted elements from two songs they wrote back in the day: 1979's 'Wiggle And Giggle All Night' and 1980's 'Don Diablo'.

But, Lipa's lawyer Christine Lepera wrote in a letter to the court earlier this week, "the alleged similarities - a descending scale in which each pitch is repeated on evenly spaced notes, and a common clave rhythm - are unprotectable, and the result of the coincidental use of basic musical building blocks". And, perhaps more importantly, "the 'Levitating' writers never heard the [earlier] compositions".

Of course, to show that one song infringes the copyright in an earlier song, you need to prove that the creators of the later work had access to the earlier work, as well as demonstrate that any similarities are sufficient enough to constitute copyright infringement.

Unless there is solid evidence that the creators of the later song deliberately set out to rip off the earlier song, you need to come up with some kind of hypothesis as to how those creators heard the music they're accused of nabbing.

If the earlier work is super famous - and therefore widely distributed and known - that's relatively easy to do. But if it's not super-famous - and usually in cases like this it isn't - then claimants need to be more imaginative in their hypothesising.

This usually involves constructing some kind of six degrees of separation style chain within the music industry along which you argue the earlier work must have passed to the creators of the newer track.

Or, if all else fails, you can try the "well, the older tracks were streaming, they probably heard it there" line. Although that latter strategy is increasingly rejected in court because of the vast quantity of music that is streaming.

Lepera runs through the various efforts by Brown and Linze to prove access in her letter, and then pulls each effort apart.

"The complaint fails to allege wide dissemination of 'Wiggle' and 'Don Diablo'", she writes. "With respect to 'Wiggle', the complaint merely alleges it achieved certain success in the Netherlands four decades ago. This does not establish 'saturation' and there is no allegation that the songwriters of 'Levitating' were in the Netherlands - or, indeed, had even been born - at that time".

"With respect to 'Don Diablo'", she goes on, "the complaint alleges it has been performed at certain times in Latin America; again, these allegations do not establish 'saturation' or that the 'Levitating' writers participated in the Latin American market at the relevant times".

What about a six degrees of separation claim? "The complaint fails to plausibly allege a particular chain of events leading to access", Lepera argues. "Instead, the complaint alleges that 'Wiggle' and 'Don Diablo' were both 'published by labels that are now under Sony's umbrella', and that one of the publishers of 'Levitating' is a Sony-affiliated company, Sony Music Publishing".

But that's not really a sufficiently strong connection. And to confirm that is so, Lepera cites some legal precedent as follows: "Bare corporate receipt of [plaintiffs'] work, without any allegation of a nexus between the recipients and the alleged infringers, is insufficient to raise a triable issue of access".

And finally, "the complaint [also] alleges defendants purportedly had access to 'Wiggle' and 'Don Diablo' because they both 'can be found on popular streaming services'. However, there are many millions of musical recordings available on 'streaming services', and the mere availability of recordings on those services does not establish wide dissemination".

So, there you go, the court should dismiss this lawsuit for failing to prove access before even considering if the similarities between 'Levitating' and 'Wiggle And Giggle All Night' and 'Don Diablo' constitute copyright infringement; which, of course, Lepera would argue they do not.

The actual purpose of this week's letter was to request "a conference in advance of filing [a] motion to dismiss", with the lawyer noting: "This is relief to which plaintiffs do not consent".

We await to see how the judge hearing the case responds. Meanwhile, a legal rep for Brown and Linzer told Billboard that they would be submitting a "full rebuttal" to all the statements in Lepera's letter.

"'Don Diablo' has had roughly 20 million listens on YouTube alone with thousands of listeners noting that 'Levitating' sounded like 'Don Diablo' well before this lawsuit was initiated", they added. "We look forward to vindicating our clients' rights in court and for some of these amazing artists of today to properly pay homage to the storied songwriters of the past".

As noted, this is one of two song theft lawsuits in relation to 'Levitating'. Florida-based band Artikal Sound System have also gone legal reckoning Lipa's hit rips off their 2017 track 'Live Your Life'. We await a formal and, presumably similar, response for Team Lipa on that claim.


Warner Chappell signs licensing deal with Kuaishou
Warner Chappell has signed a new licensing deal with Chinese TikTok competitor Kuaishou, bringing the former's songs catalogue to the latter's apps in what the major calls "priority markets". Kuaishou operates under the brand Kwai in Latin America, the Middle East and North Africa, and as SnackVideo in South and Southeast Asia.

"As the digital ecosystem continues to evolve in exciting new ways, social-sharing apps like Kuaishou are changing how people experience and discover music around the world", says Warner Chappell's SVP Global Digital Natalie Madaj. "We're very proud to be partnering with the team to bring our catalogue of songs to Kuaishou's engaged user-base and talented music creators."

Kuaishou Head of Overseas Partnership And Communications, Calvin Liu, adds: "We're always looking to partner with innovative music companies and this deal with Warner Chappell will give our millions of users access to new music to express themselves across our Kuaishou platforms".

The Kuaishou apps currently have more than 180 million active users outside of the company's home market of China. With music always important for apps of this kind, the digital firm has been slowly but surely entering into deals with record labels and music publishers, including the recordings side of Warner Music last year.

Under the new deal, Warner Chappell will be offering some exclusive content to Kuaishou users, as well as providing a licence for any user-generated content that utilises its songs (well, those songs that it directly licenses in the digital domain - because songs from many countries are still licensed via the collective licensing system).


The Beatles return to Bravado for more merch adventures
Universal Music's merchandise business Bravado has announced a new deal to represent The Beatles in North America, with a promise to develop new merch opportunities for the Fab Four brand across "retail, licensing and e-commerce" in the US and Canada.

The Beatles company Apple Corps had a partnership with Bravado before, but in more recent years has worked with Sony Music's merch business The Thread Shop. By re-allying with Bravado, it means Beatles merch activity is back within the same group as the band's recordings, which are controlled by the Universal record company.

Confirming the new deal, Bravado President Matt Young says: "Bringing the Beatles back to Bravado was a top priority of mine - not only as a fan of their music but as someone who is inspired by the creative and cultural impact they continue to have around the world".

"The responsibility of representing such an iconic and beloved brand isn't lost on me", he adds, "and we look forward to working with … the Apple Corps team to continue to bring the Beatles' vision to life".


Playlist: Brand New On CMU
Every Friday we round up all the new music we've covered over the preceding week into a Spotify playlist.

Among the artists with brand new music to check out this week are Louis Tomlinson, The 1975, Ava Max, McFly, Gorillaz, Editors, Connie Constance, Benjamin Clementine, Arctic Monkeys, Yungblud, Confidence Man, Architects, and more.

Check out the whole playlist on Spotify here.

Feist pulls out of Arcade Fire tour following sexual misconduct allegations against Win Butler
Feist has pulled out of tour dates with Arcade Fire, saying that she "can't continue" in light of sexual misconduct allegations made against the band's frontman, Win Butler.

In a statement posted on her website, she said that she had learned of the allegations against Butler last weekend as they were published by Pitchfork, and had already been in Dublin for the first show of the tour, leaving her without "any time to prepare for what was coming let alone a chance to decide not to fly across the ocean into the belly of this situation".

She found herself in circumstances, she says, where "to stay on tour would symbolise I was either defending or ignoring the harm caused by Win Butler and to leave would imply I was the judge and jury".

At the first show of the tour in Dublin on Tuesday, she performed but also announced that she would be donating all proceeds from merch sales to Women's Aid Dublin.

But now she has decided to leave the tour entirely, saying: "My experiences include the same experiences as the many people I have spoken to since the news broke on Saturday, and the many strangers whom I may only be able to reach with this letter, or not at all. We all have a story within a spectrum ranging from baseline toxic masculinity to pervasive misogyny to actually being physically, psychologically, emotionally or sexually assaulted".

"This situation touches each of our lives and speaks to us in a language unique to each of our processing. There isn't a singular path to heal when you've endured any version of the above, nor a singular path to rehabilitate the perpetrators. It can be a lonely road to make sense of ill treatment. I can't solve that by quitting, and I can't solve it by staying. But I can't continue".

"I'm imperfect and I will navigate this decision imperfectly, but what I'm sure of is the best way to take care of my band and crew and my family is to distance myself from this tour, not this conversation", she concludes.

"The last two nights on stage, my songs made this decision for me. Hearing them through this lens was incongruous with what I've worked to clarify for myself through my whole career. I've always written songs to name my own subtle difficulties, aspire to my best self and claim responsibility when I need to. And I'm claiming my responsibility now and going home".

In a subsequent statement, Arcade Fire said: "We are very sorry to see Leslie go home, but completely understand and respect her decision".

The allegations against Butler were made in an article published by Pitchfork last week. Three women say that he engaged in "inappropriate" relationships with them, while a fourth person, who is gender fluid, alleges that he sexually assaulted them twice.

In a statement, issued through a crisis PR rep, Butler did not deny that any of the relationships had occurred, but said that all had been "consensual", and that his wife and bandmate Régine Chassagne had been aware of them. However, he added that, after spending "the last few years" in therapy and Alcoholics Anonymous, he had become "more aware now of how my public persona can distort relationships even if a situation feels friendly and positive to me".

However, he insisted: "I have never touched a woman against her will, and any implication that I have is simply false. I vehemently deny any suggestion that I forced myself on a woman or demanded sexual favours. That simply, and unequivocally, never happened".

Butler's wife and bandmate Régine Chassagne supported him, saying: "I know what is in his heart, and I know he has never, and would never, touch a woman without her consent and I am certain he never did. He has lost his way and he has found his way back. I love him and love the life we have created together".

The band are now on a tour of the UK, Europe, US and Canada that is set to stretch into December. They are next due to perform at Birmingham's Utilita Arena tonight.


Rina Sawayama says This Hell "has the blessing of Abba"
Rina Sawayama has revealed that her recent song 'This Hell' almost sounded very different, after she realised that its guitar riff sounded similar to Abba's 'Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)'. As this dawned on her, she says, she "freaked out".

What do you do in these situations though? Of course, you turn to someone who can offer a reassuring voice. And so, she explains to the BBC: "I contacted my publishers, and they freaked out too. They were like, 'Abba are absolutely going to say no to this, and you have to change it'".

So that's what she did. A version of the song exists somewhere with an entirely different guitar riff. But, as that last sentence suggests, there is a twist in this story.

In a last ditch attempt to stick with the original, she got in touch with Elton John, with whom she had recorded a duet version of her song 'Chosen Family' in 2021.

"I was like, 'You know what? This is crazy. I'm sure I can figure this out'", she says. "So I called up Elton John and I said, 'Elton, do you know Benny or Bjorn from Abba?'"

As you might expect, he did. So, he managed to get a copy of the song to Abba, along with a handwritten note from Sawayama, saying: "Look, I love your music. I'm happy to split the publishing. I'm so sorry, I didn't mean this to happen".

Days later, she goes on, she received a letter back from Andersson, telling her that the song had been approved, which read: "No problem. Absolutely fine. All the best".

"So that song", she says, "has the blessing of Abba!"

And seemingly without having to give up a portion of the rights to Abba either. Unless there were some follow up messages we're not party to in this telling of the story.


Louis Tomlinson releases new single Bigger Than Me
Louis Tomlinson is back with new single 'Bigger Than Me'. The track is taken from his forthcoming new album 'Faith In The Future'.

"It was my first moment of excitement making this record, and where it felt we were on to something which honours the live show", says the former One Direction member of creating the new track. "I've always strived to be a very normal, humble person in this life, but there's a line to that and a responsibility that comes from being in this position".

"I realised from doing those live shows what it means to my fans and how everything I do is bigger than me", he goes on. "It's almost a coming of age for myself and putting opinions about myself to the back of my mind and thinking about what it potentially means for other people".

Currently on a world tour, Tomlinson is set to release 'Faith In The Future' on 11 Nov. For the album, he has collaborated with producer Rob Harvey, Dan Grech, Nico Rebscher, Joe Cross and Theo Hutchcraft.

Listen to 'Bigger Than Me' here.



The 1975 have released new single, 'I'm In Love With You', and announced UK and Ireland tour dates in January, including a night at the O2 in London on 12 Jan. Their new album, 'Being Funny In A Foreign Language', is out on 14 Oct.

Ava Max has released new single, 'Million Dollar Baby'. The track is taken from her new album, 'Diamonds & Dancefloors', which is set for release on 27 Jan.

McFly have released new single 'Nothing Rhymes With Sausage', taken from the soundtrack album to Tom Fletcher's new children's book, 'Space Band'.

Balming Tiger have released new single 'Sexy Nukim', featuring RM from BTS. "The theme of the song is that the artist's 'sexiness' is not something that can be bought with money, and the track contains a mind set that wants to be 'one and only' with their unique personality, not just pursuing material things", say the group. "Balming Tiger wants to show the world 'Asian Sexy' and 'Asian Cool' through music and videos of their new songs".

Kali Uchis has released new single 'No Hay Ley'.

Flohio has released new single 'Higher'. Her debut album, 'Out Of Heart', is set for release on 7 Oct.

Shygirl has released new single, 'Nike'. Her debut album, 'Nymph', is out on 30 Sep. She will play Metropolis in London on 2 Oct, followed by shows at Printworks in London and Manchester's Albert Hall in December.

Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs has released new single 'When The Lights Go Out'. He'll play New Century in Manchester on 15 Oct and Heaven in London on 18 Oct.

Swim Deep have released new single 'Little Blue'. The band will be touring in November, finishing with a show at The Garage in London on 30 Nov.

Blawan and Pariah - who have previously worked together as Karenn - have announced new project Persher. Their debut album, 'Man With The Magic Soap', will be out on 21 Oct, featuring a heavier sound than their earlier work together. Listen to the title track here.

Skalpel will release new album 'Origins' on 4 Nov. "This album is a kind of prequel", say the duo. "We return to the music of the 90s that we had listened to and that inspired us before we discovered the potential of jazz sounds. Nostalgia mixed with the desire to update those ideas gives the music a contemporary sound. At the same time, this is an eyewitness and earwitness testimony of one of the most interesting chapters in the history of electronic music". Here's new single 'Why Not Jungle'.



Cannibal Corse will be in the UK for five shows next April, including a performance at the Kentish Town Forum on 22 Apr.



GRM Daily's Rated Awards will return this October and this year will be broadcast on E4. Dave leads the nominations with six nods. Public voting for the overall winners is open now.

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


South Korean government considering putting question of BTS's military service to the public
As the debate in South Korea over whether or not BTS should serve military service continues to drag on, the latest idea is to put the matter to the South Korean public, as the country's government has failed to reach a conclusion.

Yeah, that's right, a referendum on the future of a pop group. Why can't we have votes like that, instead of bloody Brexit? Actually, this is more a survey to gauge public opinion than a full on referendum. And it's not definitely happening. But still, I think my point stands.

Defence minister Lee Jeong-seop said earlier this week that he had instructed the ministry to conduct a survey quickly - although later clarified that he'd actually just asked his department to assess whether or not such a survey is necessary.

The matter is, of course, becoming ever more pressing. Under South Korean law, all able-bodied men must begin serving around two years in the military at some point between the ages of eighteen and 28. There are formal exemptions for athletes and classical musicians with an international following, but nothing for pop acts.

So far, no member of BTS has entered military service, despite the oldest member, Jin, turning 28 two years ago. This is thanks to a change in the law that allowed some pop artists (mainly - some argue only - the members of BTS) to defer the start of their military service until the age of 30. But Jin is now 30, and so this means he must enlist by December under current rules.

Military service is a big issue in South Korea, with opinion divided on whether BTS should serve or not. The group bring a lot of money into the South Korean economy and are obviously hugely successful internationally. But they would not be the first group whose career has been stalled, or even ended, by members having to join the military (something that arguably paved the way for the group's success).

Earlier this year, Lee Jeong-seop suggested that it could be possible for members of the group to carry out their military service and still perform together, but no agreement on what should happen has yet been reached.

Of course, currently the seven members of the group are focussing on solo work, but have insisted that they are not on hiatus as a band. Indeed, they are set to play a show in Busan, South Korea in October, as part of their recently appointed role as ambassadors for the city's bid to host the 2030 World Expo.

Although public opinion has not generally been in favour of BTS skipping military service, a private survey earlier this year found that 60% of people in South Korea now support them not having to do it. So it may be that an official government poll is what ultimately allows the group to continue working together for the foreseeable future.


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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