CMU Digest

CMU Digest 14.10.19: Katy Perry, Lil Peep, HMV, SoundExchange, Apple

By | Published on Monday 14 October 2019

Katy Perry

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

Katy Perry appealed the $2.7 million song-theft ruling against her track ‘Dark Horse’. She, her songwriting team and her business partners were previously ordered to pay damages to Christian rapper Flame after a jury ruled her 2013 hit ripped off his earlier track ‘Joyful Noise’. In court papers last week her lawyers argued that Flame’s team had failed to prove Perry and her collaborators had heard the earlier track or that the two works were sufficiently similar to constitute infringement. They want the jury ruling set aside, or the damages reduced, or various defendants removed from the case, or a full retrial. [READ MORE]

The mother of late rapper Lil Peep sued her son’s former management team. First Access Entertainment is accused of negligent conduct that contributed to Peep’s premature death as a result of an accidental overdose. The lawsuit alleges that First Access condoned and encouraged a culture of drug taking on Peep’s tours despite knowing of his issues with addiction, that they supplied him with unprescribed prescription medications, and that they failed to act when his drug taking was clearly negatively impacting on his health. First Access said that the claims were “meritless” and “offensive” and that they look forward to the case being swiftly dismissed. [READ MORE]

HMV formally opened its new warehouse store in Birmingham. It’s the first major initiative from the retailer’s new owners Sunrise, which bought the company out of administration earlier this year. The large unit includes a performance space and will stock a very large quantity of vinyl, CD, DVD and Blu-ray discs. Sunrise says it reckons there are still opportunities for entertainment retail on the high street – despite HMV’s previous owners saying things had got too challenging – and that this new kind of store is designed to meet the needs of the modern music consumer. [READ MORE]

American collecting society SoundExchange put the spotlight back on the issue of performing rights for sound recordings in the US. A year on from the passing of the country’s Music Modernization Act, the society’s boss Michael Huppe co-authored an op-ed in Variety with Common. It reminded everyone that last year’s copyright law reforms didn’t address the fact that AM/FM radio stations in the US, unlike their counterparts in most other mature music markets, do not have to pay any royalties at all to record labels and recording artists. Huppe and Common encouraged the music community to keep on campaigning in Washington on this issue. [READ MORE]

It was reported that Apple is planning to bundle its music streaming service with its new TV+ video-on-demand product. As the tech giant expands its subscription offerings it would make sense for it to bundle the different strands together. But, according to the FT, some in the music industry have expressed concerns about yet more bundling, which usually results in subscribers putting less money into the music pot each month. Obviously if the music/TV bundle brings in new subscribers then it’s worth taking the hit, but if the bundle offer is mainly taken up by existing Apple Music users, then the music industry would see average revenue per user slip without getting much benefit. [READ MORE]

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