TODAY'S TOP STORY: The main 'Shake It Off' song-theft legal battle is set to plough on after the judge overseeing the case knocked back Taylor Swift's latest efforts to have the whole matter dismissed. Or, if you prefer, Taylor Swift has failed to shake off the 'Shake It Off' litigation again. Because that almost pun never gets old... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Taylor Swift fails to shake off the Shake It Off litigation again
LEGAL US judge refuses to dismiss the record industry's copyright case against net firm RCN
LIVE BUSINESS New promotions company launches in Ireland with backing of Killimanjaro
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Tencent increases its stake in Indian streaming firm Gaana
MEDIA DIY magazine celebrates 100th edition
AWARDS Ivor Novello Awards biked over to winners
ONE LINERS Kobalt, The Struts & Robbie Williams, Finneas, more
AND FINALLY... BBC backtracks on wordless Rule, Britannia plan
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RightsApp - part of the Sentric Music Group - is transforming the traditional models for royalty collection and accounting. This new role will be accountable for the creation and management of a high quality implementation programme for RightsApp as well as supporting clients thereafter.

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Artists and songwriters often assign the copyrights they create to business partners: labels, publishers and collecting societies. But music-makers have rights over their music even when they no longer own the copyright. What are those and how do they work? Find out in this webinar.
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Markets like China, India, Russia, South Korea and Brazil have played a key role in the revival of the record industry's fortunes, while markets in Africa are set to become increasingly important in the years ahead. Which services and what models dominate in these countries?
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We all know playlists drive a lot of plays on the streaming services, with playlister pitching now a key part of any music marketing campaign. But how do streaming service playlists work? And how is the evolution of playlist curation impacting on the future of music marketing?
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Collective Licensing In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to the collective licensing system
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A ten step guide to artist/brand partnerships
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Taylor Swift fails to shake off the Shake It Off litigation again
The main 'Shake It Off' song-theft legal battle is set to plough on after the judge overseeing the case knocked back Taylor Swift's latest efforts to have the whole matter dismissed. Or, if you prefer, Taylor Swift has failed to shake off the 'Shake It Off' litigation again. Because that almost pun never gets old.

This is the lawsuit being pursued by Sean Hall and Nathan Butler who accuse Swift of ripping off their 2001 song 'Playas Gon Play' on her 2014 hit in which, of course, she sang that "the players gonna play, play, play, play, play/And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate".

In 2018, a US district court judge dismissed Hall and Butler's lawsuit on the basis that the fact of players playing and haters hating was all too "banal" for the duo's 2001 lyric "the playas gon play/them haters gonna hate" to enjoy copyright protection in isolation.

However, Hall and Butler took their case to the Ninth Circuit appeals court, where appeal judges criticised the lower court judge for reaching such a speedy conclusion. Those judges added that Hall and Butler had "plausibly alleged originality" and therefore had a sufficiently strong case for the lawsuit to proceed to a full hearing.

As a result, the whole thing is back with the district court. Last month the Swift side filed new legal documents with said court repeating and expanding on their arguments as to why her 2018 lyric did not infringe any copyright in the 2001 'Playas Gon Play' line.

That included the argument that when an idea and the expression of that idea are inseparable, the expression can't be protected by copyright, because that would mean the idea was also protected by copyright, and copyright doesn't protect ideas.

So, the idea is that players are going to play and haters are going to hate, while the original expression of that idea is "the playas gon play/them haters gonna hate". Given Swift's lyric wasn't identical, the lawyers argued that "the only similarity between plaintiffs' lyric … and 'Shake It Off's lyric … is the unprotectable idea that players play and haters hate".

But the judge - possibly erring on the side of caution after the Ninth Circuit overturned his original ruling - this week said that argument wasn't strong enough to dismiss the case at this stage.

He wrote: "Defendants argue that plaintiffs' claim is precluded because the unprotected ideas underlying the alleged copied words merge with those words, rendering them unprotectable too. [But] defendants have not demonstrated merger as a matter of law, based on the allegations in the complaint".

So, for now at least, this particular song-theft squabble continues to go through the motions. Good news for fans of the almost pun "Taylor Swift has failed to shake off the 'Shake It Off' litigation again"! Maybe we'll get to use that line yet again next time this case pops up.


US judge refuses to dismiss the record industry's copyright case against net firm RCN
A US judge has declined to dismiss one of the ongoing copyright lawsuits being pursued by the American record industry against an internet service provider. This time the ISP is RCN.

Like fellow American ISPs Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Bright House and its own sister company Grande Communications, RCN is accused facilitating the copyright infringement of its users in such a way that it should be held liable for that infringement.

Those arguments are based on the successful lawsuits pursued by both BMG and the majors against Cox. Net firms usually claim that they have safe harbour protection from liability for their users' infringing ways. But the labels - successfully in the Cox cases - have argued that some ISPs had deliberately shoddy systems for dealing with infringement and infringers on their networks, and so should be deprived safe harbour protection.

Seeking to have the label lawsuit dismissed, RCN presented pretty much the same arguments as its competitors in a legal filing earlier this year. Mainly that the labels haven't proven any actual direct infringement on its networks, that it didn't profit from any customers infringing, and that the labels' anti-piracy agency Rightscorp couldn't be trusted. Which is why it basically ignored millions of copyright notices said agency sent.

It also brought up the good old Betamax defence that was a big talking point in the original file-sharing legal battles of the early 2000s. That's a 1980s legal precedent relating to video recorders and the liability - or rather not - of the makers of such recorders for the copyright infringement those devices enable once sold.

The relevance of that in online infringement cases was generally dismissed in one of the landmark file-sharing cases - the one involving Grokster - which the judge hearing the RCN case pointed out in a ruling earlier this week. He also concluded that those other arguments - that haven't worked in any of the other labels v ISP cases - were not sufficient to dismiss the record industry's lawsuit at this stage.

However, the judge did grant a motion to dismiss the labels' accompanying claims against Patriot Media Consulting, a company that has involvement in both RCN and Grande and which, the labels argue, "effectively makes all policy decisions for RCN". That claim hadn't been sufficiently proven for the specific allegations against Patriot to proceed, the judge said.


New promotions company launches in Ireland with backing of Kilimanjaro
Promoters Fin O'Leary, Brian Hand and Simon Merriman - all formerly of Aiken Promotions - have launched a new Ireland-based live music company called Singular Artists. Set to stage events in both Ireland and Northern Ireland, the company has the backing of UK promoter Kilimanjaro, which will provide infrastructure, accounting and other support to the new business.

"Singular Artists is incredibly exciting for all of us", says O'Leary. "Brian, Simon and I have worked side-by-side for a number of years so it was natural that we would join forces to create something new, given the circumstances. We always strived for an artist-friendly approach to music promotion, and we're very excited for the artists we're working with, and for the new relationships we will be forging. We are looking forward to building on this with the Kilimanjaro team as Singular Artists".

Kilimanjaro CEO Stuart Galbraith adds: "COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on our business across the world and yet at times like this sometimes you have to put faith in the future, and invest in both people and opportunity when it comes knocking".

Referencing his fellow Kilimanjaro director Steve Tilley and the firm's German parent company DEAG, he goes on: "When Steve Tilley and I suggested to DEAG that we back Fin, Brian and Simon it was greeted with enthusiasm and with a long-term vision. I'm delighted we've been able to agree a business plan with the guys and really looking forward to helping them continue to develop their careers once we emerge out of the coronavirus crisis".

As well as music, Singular Artists will promote live shows by YouTubers, podcasters, comedians and other spoken word artists.


Tencent increases its stake in Indian streaming firm Gaana
Chinese web giant Tencent has increased its stake in Indian streaming service Gaana after pumping more money into the business. The music platform's majority shareholder, Indian media conglom Times Group, has also provided new funding, although not as much. As a result, although Times Group is still the biggest shareholder, its stake has gone down and Tencent's up.

Tencent first bought into Gaana in 2018, further expanding its interests in the music business. Through its Tencent Music Entertainment company and other subsidiaries, the wider Tencent group has its fingers in lots of musical pies, of course.

It is the market leader in music streaming in China itself via its QQ Music, Kugou, Kuwo and WeSing services, plus it operates another streaming platform called Joox in a number of other mainly Asian markets. And then there are Tencent's shareholdings in Universal Music, Warner Music and Spotify, and its partnerships in China with various other music firms.

As a China-owned company, Tencent - like TikTok owner Bytedance - is currently having to navigate some political challenges, particularly in India and the US, amid allegations that the Chinese government has access to the audiences and user-data of apps operated by Chinese businesses.

Tencent's WeChat messaging app in particular has been targeted by both the Indian and US governments. However, to date all that political shenanigans isn't really affecting the non-Chinese companies that have Tencent as a shareholder.

Confirming the latest round of financing, a Gaana spokesperson told reporters: "We recently raised [3.75 billion rupee] debt from existing shareholders, Times Internet and Tencent. Gaana is India's leading music streaming service with over [185 million] monthly active users, and is incubated and majority-owned by Times Internet".


DIY magazine celebrates 100th edition
When DIY magazine launched its print edition back in 2011, who knew that by the time the 100th issue came along having actual shops able to stock actual copies and actual venues able to host actual parties would be such a novel thing. But here we are. DIY magazine will celebrate its 100th issue in print next week with actual copies available in actual shops and actual parties in an actual venue. Imagine!

DIY - which began online in 2002 before adding the print edition nine years later - will celebrate issue 100 with a bunch of retrospective articles featuring the likes of Mystery Jets, Aluna, Will Butler, Creeper, Nadia Rose and Rina Sawayama. Meanwhile, The Cribs, Everything Everything and Disclosure all also appear talking about their new records.

As for the issue 100 parties, they will take place in a suitably socially distanced manner at the Walthamstow brewery of band-beer-makers Signature Brew. With events taking place each evening next week, there'll be a photography exhibition, three intimate gigs and a closing party with Sports Team DJing.

Commenting on the 100th edition, the magazine's Publisher Rupert Vereker says: "In the face of the current climate, the fact that we are celebrating the publication of DIY's 100th magazine issue in September means so much more".

"Against a background of negativity on the economy, employment, live music, artist revenue loss and music magazine media", he goes on, "we want to demonstrate our support for the live industry, labels, artists and fans, and the brands that support it, celebrating achievements in the past and more importantly in the future".

Meanwhile, Managing Editor Sarah Jamieson adds: "Across our September 2020 issue, DIY will be getting a little nostalgic. We'll be looking back through our past 100 issues and remembering the good, the bad and the downright hilarious".

"As well as checking in with a slew of DIY's favourite artists", she says, "including our cover stars Idles, alongside previous mainstays such as Chvrches, The Cribs, Everything Everything and Metronomy, we'll also be revisiting our first ever issue and recalling some of music's finest success stories by looking back through our 'Class of...' series from across the past nine years".

The 100th edition is also available online here, with details about next week's gigs and parties here.


Approved: Phelimuncasi
Formed in 2012, Phelimuncasi comprises vocalists Malathon, Makan Nana and Khera, who have all become very influential in the South African electronic genre gqom as it has developed.

Also very politically outspoken, their storytelling style of lyrics has its roots in anti-Apartheid protests. "We wanted to make people dance of course, but we also wanted to make music that enchanted or poisoned our audience", say the trio. "We wanted people who hear our music to stop what they were doing".

Despite being together for the best part of a decade, the group are yet to release their debut album. However, that will arrive later this month, courtesy of the Nyege Nyege Tapes label.

'Phelimuncasi: 2013-2019' collects tracks recorded over the course of seven years with gqom producers DJ MP3, DJ Scoturn and Menzi.

Watch the video for new single 'Private Party' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

Ivor Novello Awards biked over to winners
The winners of this year's Ivor Novello Awards were revealed yesterday. Although, due to all the stuff and everything, there was no big ceremony. Instead, the awards show was broadcast on Apple Music 1, thanks to headline sponsorship from the streaming service.

Among those who had trophies couriered round to them were Dave, Labrinth, Little Simz and Calvin Harris. Meanwhile, Jamie Cullum took the big Best Song Musically And Lyrically prize for his song 'Age Of Anxiety', and this year's Ivors Academy Fellowship was handed to Joan Armatrading.

Annie Lennox, who received the fellowship in 2015, said of that latter award: "Joan Armatrading was born to create beautiful music, as she has done so consistently over the decades of her life, as an outstanding singer, songwriter, recording artist and performer. With her definitive voice and unique guitar playing style, her songs are masterful classics. She is a legendary British artist who thoroughly deserves to be recognised and honoured with an Ivors Academy Fellowship. I'm THRILLED to know that she will soon be part of this incredible association".

Commenting on all the winners, Ivors Academy Chair Crispin Hunt added: "The Ivors 2020 is a stunning roll call of songwriting and screen composing talent. I would like to congratulate every winner and nominee on their incredible achievements. The UK produces some of the most dynamic, creative and successful music creators in the world working across games, TV, film and recorded music".

"Their talent is the reason that the music we all love exists", he went on. "Each Ivor Novello Award is unique as it is presented to music creators by music creators on behalf of the Academy and is an expression of our admiration".

And now, here's the big long list of all the winners, with the all important writers and composers in brackets...

Best Song Musically And Lyrically: Jamie Cullum - Age Of Anxiety (Jamie Cullum)

Best Contemporary Song: Dave - Black (Dave and Fraser T Smith)

Best Album: Little Simz - Grey Area (Little Simz and Inflo)

Best Original Film Score: Midsommar (Bobby Krlic)

Best Original Video Game Score: Draugen (Simon Poole)

Best Television Soundtrack: Euphoria (Labrinth)

PRS For Music Most Performed Work: Calvin Harris and Rag N Bone Man - Giant (Calvin Harris, Jamie Hartman, Rag N Bone Man and Troy Miller)

Rising Star: Mysie

Songwriter Of The Year: Steve Mac

Ivors Academy Fellowship: Joan Armatrading



Kobalt has renewed its partnership with Nashville-based music publisher SMACKSongs, and will continue to provide admin, creative and sync services for the whole SMACKSongs catalogue. Kobalt Nashville GM Jesse Willoughby is "honoured". SMACKSongs SVP Development Robert Carlton is "excited".



The Struts have released a new collaboration with Robbie Williams, 'Strange Days', taken from the band's upcoming album of the same name. "We did a vocal for a wonderful song that has been gifted my way", says Williams. "It's been an absolute pleasure and a privilege to listen to [frontman Luke Spiller] sing. It's great to be a fan of someone and then a part of this recording. It's like having a hero here and I genuinely mean that".

Finneas has released new solo single 'What They'll Say About Us'. "This song is dedicated to all who have had to endure this year", he says. "I hope this song can offer some sort of comfort to those who may need it".

Corey Taylor has released new solo single 'HWY 666', the opening track from his debut solo album 'CMFT', out on 2 Oct.

A new compilation titled 'Good Music To Avert The Collapse Of American Democracy' is set for release this Friday for 24 hours only. Put together by author Dave Eggers, it will feature previously unreleased music by REM, Hayley Williams, The National's Matt Berninger, Angel Olsen and more. Proceeds will be donated to the Fair Fight voters rights charity. Full tracklist and details here.

Bring Me The Horizon and Yungblud have released new collaborations 'Obey'.

Thurston Moore has released new single 'Siren'. His new album, 'By The Fire', will be released on 25 Sep. Moore and his band are also set to play a socially distanced show at La Sirène in La Rochelle on 6 Nov.

Foxes has released new single 'Friends In The Corner'.

Zhala has released new single 'Holes'. Signed to Robyn's Konichiwa Records in 2014, she remains the only artist on the label, other than Robyn herself.

Shygirl has released new single 'Freak'.

Peter Broderick has released new album 'Blackberry', his first vocal album since 2015. Physical versions will be out on 30 Oct.

A Lily has announced his fifth album 'Sleep Through The Storm', which will be out through Bytes on 16 Oct. From it, this is 'Endless Jasmine'.

Mera Bhai has released new single 'Mañana Groove', via Moshi Moshi.

iDKHOW has released new single 'Leave Me Alone'.

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


BBC backtracks on wordless Rule, Britannia plan
After all that fuss, the BBC has caved and said that the words of 'Rule, Britannia' and 'Land Of Hope And Glory' will now be performed at the Last Night Of The Proms.

There was uproar from at least four people when the broadcaster said last month that instrumental versions would be played this year, so as not to risk a big choir spitting COVID-19 everywhere. Patriotism trumps potential death for some people.

It's not a full U-turn though. Maybe 70%. Because the full bombastic choral force of the songs will not be in effect. Instead, a "select group of BBC singers" will perform the songs' controversial lyrics.

Last month, it was reported that the BBC was considering cutting the two songs entirely from the Last Night Of The Proms concert, where they traditionally form part of the closing of the show. It was suggested that this was in response to recent the Black Lives Matter protests and due to the songs' celebration of British colonialism.

However, days later, the BBC said that instrumental versions of both 'Rule, Britannia' and 'Land Of Hope And Glory' would definitely be included. It said that the changes would respect "the traditions and spirit of the event whilst adapting to very different circumstances at this moment in time".

Those "very different circumstances at this moment in time" referred to all things COVID, not the recent BLM protests. The ongoing pandemic having already led to the decision not to have audiences at this year's Proms, it was also deemed unsafe to have a large choir blasting germs out into the room over each other and the orchestra.

However, because of the ongoing debate over whether it's still appropriate for the empire loving songs to appear at all, some people decided to get all angry over that decision, believing that the BBC opting for instrumentals only was actually political correctness gone mad.

In response to all that manufactured outrage, the BBC reckons it's now come up with a solution. "Both pieces will now include a select group of BBC singers", it says in a statement. "This means the words will be sung in the hall and, as we have always made clear, audiences will be free to sing along at home. While it can't be a full choir, and we are unable to have audiences in the hall, we are doing everything possible to make it special and want a Last Night truly to remember".

"We hope everyone will welcome this solution", it then said, forgetting all the people who have objected to the songs being included at all. "We think the night itself will be a very special moment for the country - and one that is much needed after a difficult period for everyone. It will not be a usual Last Night, but it will be a night not just to look forward to, but to remember".

Commenting on the news, the UK government's Culture Minister Olive Dowden said on Twitter that he was "pleased to see common sense has prevailed on the BBC Proms".

There's more discussion of the row over 'Rule, Britannia' on this week's edition of our Setlist podcast.


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.
[email protected] 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.
[email protected]
CMU helps people to navigate and understand the music business.

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