TODAY'S TOP STORY: Megan Thee Stallion and Big Sean have settled the song-theft lawsuit that was filed against them earlier this year in which they were accused of ripping off an earlier track on their 2020 collaboration 'Go Crazy'... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Megan Thee Stallion and Big Sean settled Go Crazy song theft lawsuit
LEGAL Culture select committee outlines the agenda of its economics of music streaming update session
3LAU sued by former collaborator over $11 million NFT project

LABELS & PUBLISHERS Indie label sector increasing UK market share again this year
ARTIST NEWS Music stars under pressure as Qatar World Cup approaches
Former PiL and Clash guitarist Keith Levene dies

GIGS & FESTIVALS Morrissey postpones LA show (30 minutes after taking to the stage)
AND FINALLY... Zakk Wylde says he's been watching YouTube tutorials to learn songs for Pantera reunion shows
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Megan Thee Stallion and Big Sean settled Go Crazy song theft lawsuit
Megan Thee Stallion and Big Sean have settled the song-theft lawsuit that was filed against them earlier this year in which they were accused of ripping off an earlier track on their 2020 collaboration 'Go Crazy'.

It was Detroit-based rappers Duawn Payne and Harrell James who filed the lawsuit in July, claiming that 'Go Crazy' lifted elements of their 2012 song 'Krazy'.

In fact, they said in their legal filing, "an average lay observer would recognise the infringing work as having been appropriated from ['Krazy'] because of the striking similarity between the two compositions and the way in which they are performed".

They reckoned it was probably Big Sean that had been exposed to their earlier track, because he is also from Detroit. And while 'Krazy' never had a full release, Payne and James insisted that it was widely played in the clubs and bars of West Detroit where Big Sean was known to hang out at the time. It also topped the Detroit chart on the Reverbnation platform.

Whether that theory for how 'Krazy' might have been influencing the creation of 'Go Crazy' has any credibility at all will now not be tested in court. Because just four months after the lawsuit was filed, an out of court settlement has been reached.

According to Billboard, legal reps for Payne and James informed the court on Friday that they and lawyers working for Megan Thee Stallion and Big Sean have "reached an agreement in principle to settle their dispute in its entirety".

Terms of that settlement deal are not known.


Culture select committee outlines the agenda of its economics of music streaming update session
The UK Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee has published more information about tomorrow's hearing on the economics of music streaming, which will hear from representatives from three music industry organisations as well as three music business experts.

The select committee, of course, last year undertook a full inquiry into the economics of music streaming, putting the spotlight in particular on how artists and songwriters are benefiting - or not - from the streaming boom that took a declining recorded music market back into healthy growth.

MPs raised various concerns about how the streaming business currently works, concluding that artists and songwriters are not seeing a sufficient benefit. And in a lengthy report the committee called for a "complete reset" of the digital music sector.

In response to that report, the UK government's Intellectual Property Office convened a music industry contact group made up of representatives from across the sector to discuss the issues raised by the committee and the various proposed solutions.

In terms of music-maker remuneration, three pieces of research were commissioned looking at the various proposals that had been made by the committee to alter the way artists and songwriters get paid.

Those were mainly copyright law reforms that would either allow artists and writers to renegotiate or terminate old deals with record labels and music publishers, or introduce an equitable remuneration system for streaming which would see artists get a cut of digital income directly via the collective licensing system.

In addition to that, the IPO organised two working groups to look at how music rights data management and transparency regarding digital licensing deals could be improved. Meanwhile the Competition & Markets Authority undertook a study to consider whether there were any competition law concerns with the way streaming currently works.

Tomorrow's select committee hearing will likely touch on all those developments, as well as reviewing how the streaming economy has evolved over the last year.

In a statement this weekend, the committee confirmed that: "MPs will examine how the government, music industry and musicians have responded to the committee's Economics Of Music Streaming report, one year on from its release. The committee will question representatives for music labels and musicians on whether the 'reset of streaming' urged in the committee's report is underway".

"MPs are expected to ask about the future of remuneration for musicians, after the committee found that artists were poorly compensated for the revenue brought in from music streaming", it added. "The session may also cover the CMA's investigation into the music industry".

The session will kick off at 10am tomorrow and will hear from the Musicians' Union's Naomi Pohl, the Ivors Academy's Tom Gray and the BPI's Geoff Taylor, plus music business economist Will Page, IP expert Hayleigh Bosher and CMU's Chris Cooke.


3LAU sued by former collaborator over $11 million NFT project
An interesting lawsuit was filed last week against DJ and producer 3LAU in a dispute over a mega-bucks NFT auction that he staged in early 2021 linked to his 2018 album 'Ultraviolet'.

3LAU - real name Justin Blau - has been sued by Luna Aura, who co-wrote and appeared on 'Walk Away', a track that appeared on 'Ultraviolet'.

The producer's NFT auction that coincided with the third anniversary of the record offered buyers various products and perks, all linked to his 2018 record, and some specifically to 'Walk Away'. The auction generated more than $11 million for the producer.

In her lawsuit Luna Aura - real name Angela Anne Flores - says that, while Blau owns the copyright in the recording of 'Walk Away', she has a stake in the song copyright, and is also due an artist royalty under contract from the exploitation of the recording. She then claims that Blau did not properly license the inclusion of 'Walk Away' in his NFT release and has not paid her a proper royalty.

Blau did offer Flores a one-off payment of $25,000 in relation to the NFT sale, but she doesn't consider that the be an appropriate fee given how much the wider NFT auction generated for the producer.

It's an interesting legal battle because, despite all the hype and chatter around music NFTs in the last couple of years, there remains no real consensus on how they should be licensed when recordings are part of the offer, but the artist or label leading on the NFT drop does not control all the rights in the songs contained in those recordings. Which they frequently won't.

There are industry conventions for how revenues should be split between the recording rights and the song rights whenever recorded music is exploited, but those splits differ depending on the usage, meaning that with new products it's not clear what kind of split is fair.

There is also often much disagreement as to what the splits should be. Plenty of songwriters and music publishers argue that the split on streams is still unfair, despite streaming having been a key revenue streams for years now, and the song right split having increased slightly over the last decade.

In the US, song royalty rates are actually set in law in many circumstances, including with downloads and discs, and most music NFTs usually involve a download and/or a disc. Though those statutory rates are set in cents not a percentage of revenue, which makes them seem very inappropriate for NFT sales that generate millions.

Then of course, with music NFTs, there are extra complications. First, as with the 3LAU NFT campaign, buyers of each non-fungible token get various different products and perks that need to be taken into account.

And second, there is a debate to be had regarding the extent to which the value of any one token comes from the music connected to it, and the extent to which it's really all about the artist's brand.

With all these uncertainties and complexities, it's probably wise to sort out any licensing bespoke before going ahead with a music NFT project. But that could stop a project from going ahead at all. And presumably Team 3LAU were keen to cash in on all the early 2021 NFT hype which was leading to tokens going for super silly money.

Either way, Flores reckons that Blau failed to fulfil his legal obligations in relation to 'Walk Away' before launching the 'Ultraviolet' NFT drop, meaning he and his company 3LAU Entertainment are liable for breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

Her lawyers write: "Luna Aura has not received any compensation from revenues generated from the NFT project, nor has Luna Aura [received] appropriate credit in connection with the 'Walk Away' and 'Ultraviolet' NFTs. Despite the commercial and financial success of the NFT auction, defendants only offered Luna Aura an after-the-fact, one-time payment".

Blau has already hit back at Flores's claims. His manager Andrew Goldstone told reporters: "These claims are without merit, and we will vigorously defend the lawsuit that was just filed yesterday without any prior notice. There are no set standards for how to approach an NFT project like this, which involved much more than just the music. Justin's team tried for months to reach a deal with Flores in good faith, but she stopped responding and instead chose to file a lawsuit".


Indie label sector increasing UK market share again this year
The independent label community is set to grow its share of the UK recorded music market this year, for the fifth year running, according to new number crunching of Official Charts Company data by record label trade body BPI.

According to the BPI's maths, independently-released tracks have accounted for 28.6% of music consumption in the UK so far this year. That's up from 26.9% for the whole of 2021 and just 22.1% back in 2017.

Of course these days the "independently-released" category includes all the music put out by conventional independent record companies, as well as tracks released by artists who basically run their own labels, including those working with DIY distributors.

The indie sector scores even higher when it comes to album consumption, whether that's the sale of CDs and vinyl records, or when streaming data is crunched on an albums basis. Indies accounted for 40.5% of album consumption last month, though that stat was boosted somewhat by the release of latest Arctic Monkeys album 'The Car' by Domino.

Commenting on the new stats, BPI boss Geoff Taylor says: "It's a sign of just how vibrant and diverse the UK music industry is that independent labels are set to increase their share of the market for a fifth successive year in 2022".

"This growth is built on a rich tapestry of talent, from singer-songwriters and rock groups to pop stars and rappers", he adds, "all supported by a network of hundreds of indie labels who are creating further diversity in the market and giving artists real choice in how to release their music".

If you're interested, here's the ten best performing independently-released albums and tracks of the 2022 so far, further demonstrating the impact the Arctic Monkeys have on all this...

Official Independent Albums Chart 2022
1. Arctic Monkeys - AM (Domino Recordings)
2. Arctic Monkeys - The Car (Domino Recordings)
3. Central Cee - 23 (Central Cee)
4. Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am That's What I'm Not (Domino Recordings)
5. Wet Leg - Wet Leg (Domino Recordings)
6. Adele - 25 (XL Recordings)
7. Adele - 21 (XL Recordings)
8. Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare (Domino Recordings)
9. The 1975 - Being Funny In A Foreign Language (Dirty Hit)
10. Gerry Cinnamon - The Bonny (Little Runaway)

Official Independent Singles Chart 2022
1. Arctic Monkeys - 505 (Domino Recordings)
2. Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know (Domino Recordings)
3. Central Cee - Doja (Central Cee)
4. Russ Millions - One Of A Kind Presents Reggae & Calypso (feat Buni & YV) (One Of A Kind Music)
5. Arctic Monkeys - Why D'you Only Call Me When You're High (Domino Recordings)
6. Adele - Someone Like You (XL Recordings)
7. Wilkinson & Issey Cross - Used To This (BMG)
8. Dod & Carla Monroe - Still Sleepless (Axtone)
9. Passenger - Let Her Go (Nettwerk)
10. Arctic Monkeys - Fluorescent Adolescent (Domino Recordings)


Setlist: Drake and 21 Savage ordered to destroy fake Vogue cover
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including Drake and 21 Savage being sued by magazine publisher Condé Nast for trademark infringement over a fake Vogue cover that formed part of the promotional campaign for their new collaborative album 'Her Loss', plus Lorde's discussion of the challenges facing the live music sector at the moment and how for an increasing number of artists the economics of touring currently don't add up.

Listen to this episode of Setlist here.

Music stars under pressure as Qatar World Cup approaches
As football stars involved in the upcoming World Cup in Qatar face continued criticism because of the country's human rights record, musicians set to perform during the opening ceremony next weekend - or as part of a series of concerts taking place alongside all the football playing - are also coming under fire.

This weekend it was confirmed that Jungkook from BTS will be among those appearing at the opening ceremony. His label Big Hit Music stated that it was "proud to announce that Jungkook is part of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Soundtrack and will perform at the World Cup opening ceremony. Stay tuned!"

BTS fans responding to the news on social media were split, with some excited about his involvement in the big sporting event, but others concerned that that involvement endorses a country that has been repeatedly criticised for human rights violations.

Among other things, Qatar has faced strong criticism over its the treatment of migrant workers in the country, with a report earlier this year estimating that more than 6000 migrant workers have died in Qatar since it won the right to host the World Cup ten years ago.

Meanwhile, homosexuality remains illegal in the Middle Eastern country and anyone found participating in same-sex sexual activity can be punished by up to seven years in prison.

While various high profile football and music stars have so far resisted calls to boycott the Qatar World Cup, those stars will find themselves under pressure during the tournament itself to publicly criticise the host country's human rights violations.

Meanwhile, this weekend Dua Lipa took to social media to deny that she will be performing in Qatar during the World Cup. The musician posted on Instagram following reports that she would be appearing at this weekend's opening ceremony.

She stated: "There is currently a lot of speculation that I will be performing at the opening ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar. I will not be performing and nor have I ever been involved in any negotiation to perform. I will be cheering England on from afar".

She then added: "I look forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host the World Cup".


Former PiL and Clash guitarist Keith Levene dies
Public Image Ltd guitarist - and founder member of The Clash - Keith Levene has died, aged 65. He had been receiving treatment for liver cancer for two years.

In a statement on Twitter, writer Adam Hammond announced Levene's death, saying: "It is with great sadness I report that my close friend and legendary Public Image Ltd guitarist Keith Levene passed away on Friday 11 Nov".

"There is no doubt that Keith was one of the most innovative, audacious and influential guitarists of all time", he went on. "Keith sought to create a new paradigm in music and with willing collaborators John Lydon and Jah Wobble succeeded in doing just that. His guitar work over the nine minutes of 'Theme', the first track on the first PiL album, defined what alternative music should be".

"As well as helping to make PiL the most important band of the age, Keith also founded The Clash with Mick Jones and had a major influence on their early sound", he continued. "So much of what we listen to today owes much to Keith's work, some of it acknowledged, most of it not".

"Our thoughts and love go out to his partner Kate, sister Jill and all of Keith's family and friends", he said finally. "The world is a darker place without his genius. Mine will be darker without my mate".

Prior to his death, Levene and Hammond completed work on a book about Public Image Ltd, and Hammond had been working on music to accompany it.

Born Julian Levene in 1957, the guitarist formed The 101ers with Mick Jones and Paul Simonon as a teenager. The band released one single, 'Keys To Your Heart', in 1976 - by which time Joe Strummer had joined and the outfit's name had been changed to The Clash.

Levene then left the band before they made their first studio recordings - although he has a writing credit on 'What's My Name' from their 1977 eponymous debut album.

John Lydon then invited Levene to join his post Sex Pistols band, Public Image Ltd, in 1978. The guitarist played on the band's first three albums, before leaving in 1984 over creative differences about the sound of the fourth, 'This Is What You Want... This Is What You Get'.

Levene later released his own recordings of the songs that had initially been written for that album - five of which made it to the corresponding PiL album - as a solo record called 'Commercial Zone'.

In later years, Levene worked with artists including the Red Hot Chili Peppers and LoneLady.


Morrissey postpones LA show (30 minutes after taking to the stage)
Morrissey this weekend postponed a show in Los Angeles. Although he had already been on stage for 30 minutes when he decided to do so.

Saturday's gig at the Greek Theatre in LA was the second date of a US tour. Half an hour into the show - after performing The Smiths' 'Girlfriend In A Coma' - Morrissey put his microphone back onto the stand and walked off stage. His band waited for him to return for several minutes before also disappearing.

After several more minutes of the audience staring at an empty stage, guitarists Jesse Tobias and Allan Whyte returned, with Whyte telling the audience: "Sorry, but due to unforeseen circumstances, the show is not going to continue. Very sorry. We'll see you next time".

An update on the Greek Theatre website now says that the "concert has been postponed to a TBD date", while a message on Morrissey's Facebook page told fans who attended the show that he and his band "love you and are grateful for your support", telling them that they should "stand by for further announcements coming shortly".

No reason has been given for the show being cut short, although the rumour is that Morrissey decided that he was too cold. The next show on the tour is the first of two at The Magnolia in El Cajon, California. Someone buy a fan heater.


Zakk Wylde says he's been watching YouTube tutorials to learn songs for Pantera reunion shows

Zakk Wylde has revealed that he is preparing for upcoming Pantera shows by watching YouTube tutorials to help him to work out how to play some of the band's songs.

When Pantera's Phil Anselmo and Rex Martin announced in July that they would reunite for shows next year, they revealed that Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Wylde and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante would stand in for late Pantera members Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul respectively.

Since then, Wylde has been prepping hard for these Pantera shows, and he has now spoken to guitarist Ola Englund, via his YouTube channel, about how that prep is going.

There's a bit in REM's 1996's tour documentary 'Road Movie' (bear with me here!) where the band decide that they want to add an old song to their setlist. Unable to remember how to play it, Peter Buck has to go and buy the guitar tab from a local music shop.

I guess this is the modern version of that. Wylde told Englund: "Sometimes I was like, 'what the hell was that?' And I would just [search] how to play 'Hostile', or whatever. I would just go on YouTube and see all these other amazing players play this stuff".

Still, until rehearsals start in the coming weeks, there are still issues with getting on top of all the songs. "Playing it with the record is one thing, but then you take the record away and it's like, 'Alright, play it for me'", he says.

"You know, [the recording is] a guideline - it's like colouring by numbers, you know", he goes on. "It's like, 'we're taking the GPS off your car, do you remember how to get back to Hollywood?' I have no idea, I was following the GPS the whole time".

He adds that he will be playing guitars at the upcoming shows that were given to him by Dimebag Darrell while he was still alive, while also revealing that he's been in line to join a Pantera reunion line-up for many years.

"There's always been talks about it for years, especially when Vinnie was still alive", he explains. "So I was just like, I'll just wait until that day comes. [I said] if you ever wanna do it, you know I'm always gonna be here for you".

The first Pantera reunion show will take place at the Hell & Heaven Open Air festival in Mexico next month, with other shows around South America taking place throughout December. They will then be in Europe to play Germany's Rock AM Ring festival, the Sweden Rock Festival and Tons Of Rock in Norway in June next year. UK and US shows are still to be announced.


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.
[email protected] (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.
[email protected] (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.
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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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