CMU Digest

CMU Digest 21.06.21: COVID, Kevin Brennan, The Jesus And Mary Chain, Somethin Else, Jay-Z

By | Published on Monday 21 June 2021


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

The night-time industries – led by promoter Sacha Lord – threatened legal action if the UK government further extends current COVID restrictions beyond 19 Jul. That threat followed confirmation that plans to lift the remaining restrictions on 21 Jun were being pushed back because of concerns about the new delta variant of the coronavirus. That means the return of full capacity gigs, shows and club-nights has been postponed by another month. The live sector argued that decision ignores the findings of the UK government’s own Events Research Programme, which has shown full capacity events do not pose a higher risk of COVID infections. Others pointed out that stricter rules were being applied to culture than sport. Meanwhile there was widespread calls for additional financial support for the live entertainment and night-time sectors through to 19 Jul. [READ MORE]

Labour MP Kevin Brennan formally proposed new legislation that would reform UK copyright law to give musicians a new right to share in streaming income. The Copyright (Rights And Remuneration Of Musicians etc) Bill was one of 20 private member bills presented in Parliament by MPs whose names had been pulled out of a ballot that decides which backbencher legislation should get discussion time. Brennan came sixth in the ballot meaning his proposals will be discussed in December. The proposed new bill is a response to calls by the Musicians’ Union, Ivors Academy and #brokenrecord campaign to have so called performer equitable remuneration extended to streams, meaning all musicians would get at a minimum share of streaming royalties linked to their recordings under law. [READ MORE]

Jim Reid and William Reid from The Jesus And Mary Chain sued Warner Music over the termination right under US copyright law. Under that law, creators who assign their copyrights to another party have a one-off opportunity to terminate that assignment after 35 years. However, a debate remains over whether that applies to record deals, with labels arguing that US record contracts are work for hire agreements, meaning a label is the default owner of any copyrights created, so there is no assignment to terminate. Though in the case of the Reids, there’s a different argument. They actually signed to Warner in the UK, where a label is the default owner providing they organise a recording session. But in their new lawsuit, the Reids argue that none of these are legitimate reasons for Warner blocking their efforts to reclaim the US rights in their 35 year old recordings. [READ MORE]

Sony Music further expanded its podcasting business by buying UK-based audio production company Somethin Else. The major has been working with Somethin Else on podcast projects since February 2020. As a result of the acquisition, the production firm’s CEO and CCO – Jez Nelson and Steve Ackerman – will become EVP Co-Head Of Global Podcasts for Sony Music. The major’s President Of Global Digital Business, Dennis Kooker, said: “Our new global podcast division is key to our plans for a fast-paced expansion in the market, diversifying our creative abilities and providing a home for exciting content that will benefit millions of podcast-lovers around the world”. Somethin Else will also continue to make radio shows via the new Sony division, while its teams working on TV and social media projects will ally with the major’s 4th Floor Creative division. [READ MORE]

Jay-Z sued photographer Jonathan Mannion for selling copies of pictures he has taken of the rapper over the years, including the cover shot from his debut album ‘Reasonable Doubt’. In his lawsuit, Jay-Z argues that – although Mannion may own the copyright in the images – he did not get the rapper’s permission to commercially exploit those photos. By doing so, he is infringing on Jay-Z’s so called image rights under US law. A rep for the photographer hit back at the claims, stating: “Mr Mannion has the utmost respect for Mr Carter and his body of work, and expects that Mr Carter would similarly respect the rights of artists and creators who have helped him achieve the heights to which he has ascended”. [READ MORE]

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