CMU Digest

CMU Digest 07.12.20: Chance The Rapper, COVID-19, DCMS select committee, Twitch, Spinrilla

By | Published on Monday 7 December 2020

Chance The Rapper

The key stories from the last week in the music business…

Chance The Rapper was sued by his ex-manager. Pat Corcoran says his former client stopped following his advice in early 2019 – instead allowing his father and brother to increasingly control his business affairs – resulting in the rushed release of an album that met with a mixed response among fans, in turn leading to poor ticket sales and a cancelled tour. He was then sacked in April this year. Corcoran is suing to enforce his oral agreement with the rapper and to reclaim unpaid commissions and past expenditure. The rapper’s legal reps denied Corcoran was owed any money and hit out at the other “self-serving and fabricated allegations” in the lawsuit. [READ MORE]

The new COVID restrictions went into force across England, but with a clarification that music venues in tier two regions could sell alcohol. Pubs and restaurants in those parts of the country can only sell alcohol as part of a meal. Reps for the live sector said that applying that rule to venues would mean drinks could not be sold at shows, making it commercially unviable to stage any gigs. At the last minute the UK government confirmed that alcohol could be sold at ticketed gigs without the requirement of also selling food, basically equating a ticket sale with the purchase of a meal. The move was widely welcomed by the live music industry. [READ MORE]

The DCMS select committee in Parliament announced who would take part in its second oral hearing on the economics of streaming. Among the industry people set to speak is the boss of Spanish performer collecting society AIE, who will explain how in Spain the streaming services pay performer royalties to his organisation as well as to record labels and music distributors. His inclusion in the hearing will mean that the proposal so called performer equitable remuneration be applied to streams in the UK will again be a key topic considered by MPs on the select committee. [READ MORE]

The boss of the US National Music Publishers Association said that Twitch’s recent blog post on music licensing contained some “astounding admissions”. That blog post was updating creators on the Twitch platform who had had videos blocked or removed because of copyright complaints from the music industry. Among other things, NMPA CEO David Israelite said Twitch’s claim that it was surprised by the sudden increase in copyright complaints from music companies was “laughable”, and its argument that sorting out music licences was challenging because it had a unique business model was nonsense. Israelite added: “There are several licensing roadmaps for Twitch to follow. Instead, Twitch has gone to incredible lengths to avoid properly licensing music for its streamers”. [READ MORE]

A US court pretty much sided with the record industry in its legal battle with mixtape platform Spinrilla. The judge overseeing the case ruled that Spinrilla is liable for direct copyright infringement for facilitating the streaming of thousands of unlicensed tracks controlled by the majors, and that it cannot rely on the copyright safe harbour to avoid the liability, at least not for streams that took place before July 2017. That’s because prior to July 2017 it hadn’t complied with all the obligations under US law to secure safe harbour protection. The Recording Industry Association Of America welcomed the judgement and said that it hoped it would “serve as a lodestar for other courts and service providers alike”. [READ MORE]

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