TODAY'S TOP STORY: A Californian judge this week sided with Nicki Minaj over one key aspect of her copyright dispute with Tracy Chapman: the sampling of uncleared music behind closed doors in the studio definitely constitutes fair use. However, the other key element of the case - focused on how Minaj's unreleased track with an uncleared Chapman sample got to a New York radio DJ - will proceed to a full jury hearing... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Nicki Minaj wins one element of her Tracy Chapman copyright dispute, but the wider case will go to a jury
LIVE BUSINESS Newcastle's Virgin Money Unity Arena closes early due to new localised lockdowns in the north east
More than a quarter of Paradigm staff to be permanently laid-off, agency confirms

AIF boss reflects on the festival sector's most challenging year

MEDIA MPs call for OfCom review of BBC Sounds app after new dance music service added
AWARDS Scottish Album Of The Year longlist announced
ONE LINERS Chris Difford, Beatport, Pendulum, more
AND FINALLY... Eminem manager denies rumours about scrapped Shady Records compilation (but confirms there was a scrapped Shady Records compilation)
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Expand your knowledge about the inner workings of the music business, best practice across the music industry, and all the latest trends and developments, with CMU’s weekly webinars.

Taking place every Tuesday afternoon at 2.30pm London time, these one hour online training sessions are delivered by CMU's Chris Cooke.

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Tuesday 22 Sep | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
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.
Tuesday 29 Sep | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
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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How do artists go about building a fanbase in 2020? In this webinar we'll talk through the fanbase building process, from when artists are working truly DIY, through the involvement of different music industry business partners like management, distributors, labels, promoters and specialist agencies.
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Nicki Minaj wins one element of her Tracy Chapman copyright dispute, but the wider case will go to a jury
A Californian judge this week sided with Nicki Minaj over one key aspect of her copyright dispute with Tracy Chapman: the sampling of uncleared music behind closed doors in the studio definitely constitutes fair use. However, the other key element of the case - focused on how Minaj's unreleased track with an uncleared Chapman sample got to a New York radio DJ - will proceed to a full jury hearing.

This dispute relates to a track Minaj intended to include on her 2018 album 'Queen'. Said track, called 'Sorry', sampled Chapman's 'Baby Can I Hold You'. But Minaj's people couldn't get clearance on the use of the sample, so 'Sorry' was dropped from 'Queen' at the very last minute. However, that didn't stop New York-based DJ Funk Flex, aka Aston Taylor, playing the track on his radio show.

Chapman then sued Minaj accusing her of infringing the copyright in 'Baby Can I Hold You' by "creating an illegal derivative work" and "distributing that work".

Minaj's response to the lawsuit mainly focused on the former of those claims. Her lawyers argued that copying and editing uncleared samples when creating new records in the studio should qualify as 'fair use' under US copyright law and therefore could not constitute copyright infringement.

They presented mainly practical arguments to back up their fair use claim. First, the use of uncleared samples in the studio is common practice in the music industry and to suggest that doing so infringes copyright would have a major impact on the creative process of many artists.

And secondly, whenever you seek clearance for a sample from an artist or songwriter, they nearly always want to know what snippet of their song is being sampled and how it will be used in the new track. Therefore suggesting clearance should be sought before the sampling artist starts work on their sample-featuring track is stupid.

Responding to those actually pretty sensible arguments, Chapman's lawyers said that the defence's interpretation of the fair use principle was fundamentally flawed, and – while they may be able to back up their arguments with examples of music industry practice – they are simply not backed up by the case law.

However, judge Virginia A Phillips does not agree. This week she ruled that the Minaj side were right to say that the use of uncleared samples behind closed doors was fair use.

She said "artists usually experiment with works before seeking licences from rightsholders ... A ruling uprooting these common practices would limit creativity and stifle innovation within the music industry. This is contrary to copyright law's primary goal of promoting the arts for the public good. This factor thus favours a finding of fair use".

So, a win for Minaj. But what about the fact that 'Sorry', although not released, was played on the radio? That's the "distributing the work" element of the lawsuit and, for the Chapman side, is arguably the more important aspect of this dispute. There may well be grounds for copyright infringement there, though only if it can be proven that Minaj herself did the distributing.

The Chapman side's most recent legal filing presented various social media and text messages that they said proved that it was definitely Minaj who sent Taylor a copy of 'Sorry', despite her being fully aware that Chapman had declined to clear the sample contained within it.

However, the Minaj side disputes those claims, saying that Chapman's legal team have made incorrect inferences from the messages they included in their legal filing, and presented said messages in the wrong order in a way that strengthens what they have incorrectly inferred.

Minaj denies sending the track to Taylor, adding that plenty of other people behind the scenes had a copy of the track and could therefore have leaked it to the DJ. For his part, Taylor says he got the track from a blogger and that when he wrote on Twitter that "Nicki gave me something", he was simply trying to hype up the fact he was going to play the unreleased track on his show.

Therefore this side of the dispute is a definite "he said/she said" scenario that only a jury can deliberate on, said the judge. "These factual disputes raise triable issues of material fact that must be resolved by a jury", Phillips added.

And so, while we now know for certain that messing around with uncleared samples in the studio is fair use, the wider Chapman v Minaj dispute continues.


Newcastle's Virgin Money Unity Arena closes early due to new localised lockdowns in the north east
The socially-distanced outdoor concert venue that has been presenting shows in Newcastle since last month will wind up its operations early because of new localised COVID-19 lockdowns that have just been implemented in north east England.

The Virgin Money Unity Arena was set up in Newcastle's Gosforth Park with each group of audience members given their own fenced-in box to ensure that the social distancing rules currently in place for live events in England could be adhered to. Once up and running the likes of Sam Fender, Two Door Cinema Club, The Libertines and Supergrass all played shows at the venue.

Jack Savoretti, Kaiser Chiefs and Declan McKenna were all set to also play the venue this weekend. However, yesterday the UK government announced a number of new localised lockdowns in the north east because of "concerning rates of COVID-19 infections" in the region. With COVID restrictions now heightened again in Newcastle, the Virgin Money Unity Arena can no longer host shows.

The venue's organiser Steve Davis said yesterday: "It is extremely disappointing to have to cancel these final shows at the end of what has been an incredible six week run of successfully socially-distanced concerts. We're honoured to have been able to provide a little happiness and joy to thousands of music and comedy fans throughout the region and the UK in what has been such a tough 2020 for everyone".

"Unfortunately", he went on, "due to the rise of infection in the north east, we must comply with the council's and the government's latest advice. This should not take away from the fact that the people of the north east and from all over the world have embraced this pioneering run of shows".

There are now several localised COVID-19 lockdowns in place across England, with reports that the government might soon reinstate more strict rules across the whole country because of the recent surge in new cases of the virus.

Such moves will obviously result in the live music sector being majorly hit yet again, in particular those venues and promoters that have invested time and money into creating commercially viable events that comply with the most recent rules on social distancing.


More than a quarter of Paradigm staff to be permanently laid-off, agency confirms
The boss of talent agency Paradigm has confirmed that a significant number the company's employees who had previously been temporarily laid off as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic will now not return to the business. Reports suggest that that means 180 of the agency's 600 staff are being made redundant.

All talent and booking agencies have faced unprecedented challenges since COVID-19 caused the shutdown of live entertainment, with the immediate impact on staff dependent to an extent on what government support was available in each country.

Paradigm was particularly quick to temporarily lay off a significant number of its US employees at the start of shutdown, with top man Sam Gores coming under fire for the way in which those layoffs were handled.

With plenty of uncertainty remaining as to when the live entertainment sector will start to return to normal, Gores wrote in a new memo to staff yesterday: "With disappointment and sadness, today we have informed the temporarily laid-off employees whom we have not been able to reinstate that they will be transitioned to permanent layoff".

"As you know", he went on, "over the last six months, we have brought back as many of our temporarily laid off colleagues as we could; unfortunately, the profound effects of the coronavirus have continued to severely impact every aspect of our industry and our world for longer than we had even imagined six months ago. Consequently, we have had to examine every aspect of our business and make this difficult decision".

The memo subsequently concluded: "I recognise that you and your former colleagues have carried a heavy burden this year, and I am grateful for all of your contributions. We all hope that someday soon, the live and filmed entertainment industry will safely and wholly return".


AIF boss reflects on the festival sector's most challenging year
The CEO of the Association Of Independent Festivals, Paul Reed, yesterday reflected on the incredibly challenging year faced by his organisation's members, with COVID-19 pretty much cancelling an entire year of activity for the festival sector. However, while plenty of challenges remain, he said he was still optimistic that - providing there is sufficient support to allow independent festivals to 'bridge' the COVID-caused gap - the sector can prosper again in the future.

Noting that the AIF had secured seventeen new members in the last year, Reed said: "It feels like a strange time to be growing in size but, more than ever, independent festivals understand the value of the collective and a spirit of mutual support – something that is at the core of AIF's mission as a representative body. We exist to fight your corner and, particularly in times of crisis, we have felt real strength in numbers".

Reviewing the impact of the COVID shutdown and what AIF has been doing to help its members through the pandemic, he went on: "The independent festival sector has proved to be incredibly resilient, and AIF itself may yet emerge from this stronger, with a more engaged membership and a louder collective voice heard clearly across government and the wider public".

Reed also confirmed that, in addition to continuing to lobby government for support for the independent festival sector, AIF is also working on producing festival specific guidance to help promoters now planning their 2021 events with COVID concerns still very much on the agenda.

Elsewhere, Reed noted that - beyond COVID - Brexit also presents challenges for independent festivals taking place next year, plus the sector's efforts to make line-ups more diverse and festivals more environmentally sustainable must continue.

"There will be numerous challenges that lie ahead", he concluded. "We're not out of the woods and back into the fields yet. But I'm convinced that, if we can 'bridge' for long enough, there is an incredible appetite for live music, entertainment and escapism. People are yearning for collective experiences and moments that resonate for a lifetime. Where better than a festival? As soon as we can, we'll come roaring back".

In formal business at the AGM, Nick Morgan - CEO of The Fair - was named as the new Vice Chair of the association, and three new board members were confirmed: Anna Wade (Boomtown Fair), Chris Russell-Fish (Black Deer) and Stuart Balkham (Elderflower Fields).


MPs call for OfCom review of BBC Sounds app after new dance music service added
The Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group On Commercial Radio has asked media regulator OfCom to formally investigate the BBC's Sounds app after the broadcaster announced it was launching a new 24/7 dance music focused strand on the platform.

The new Radio 1 Dance service on BBC Sounds will re-purpose dance music skewed specialist shows from the main Radio 1 station and guest mixes from the broadcaster's archives to create a genre-specific stream that will, says the Beeb, "give young audiences even more flexibility to listen to their favourite BBC content outside of the more traditional linear schedules".

Launching the service, Head Of Radio 1 Aled Haydn Jones said: "This is a historic moment for Radio 1. Though the station's world-leading influence in the dance music scene has spanned decades, we're now able to stream all of our brilliant shows in one place on BBC Sounds. Radio 1 Dance will be the perfect accompaniment to Radio 1, offering something for everyone, from die-hard dance fans to those simply looking to inject some more energy into their day".

Meanwhile, Pete Tong, whose Radio 1 show will be a key part of Radio 1 Dance, added: "This is a huge moment for the dance scene and I'm really excited that my Radio 1 show will be providing the soundtrack to drivetime on Radio 1 Dance. I look forward to even more people getting to join us to hear the very best in dance and electronica every Monday to Thursday on the new stream".

However, Andy Carter MP, who heads up the APPG that supports commercial radio, says that he's not convinced Radio 1 Dance serves any public service remit and that he's concerned execs at the Corporation are using BBC Sounds in order to compete head-to-head with music and radio services in the commercial sector.

Carter said yesterday: "It's imperative for the future of the BBC that it provides high quality, distinctive content that warrants its significant licence fee income. I am concerned about the serious lack of transparency and scrutiny of the BBC Sounds platform. New services like Radio 1 Dance do not appear to meet the important public value tests that the BBC must observe. I hope OfCom will conduct a thorough review of BBC Sounds as a matter of urgency".

Needless to say, the boss of the commercial radio repping trade group Radiocentre welcomed Carter's remarks. Noting recent comments made by brand new BBC Director General Tim Davie, Siobhan Kenny said: "We were encouraged to hear new Director General Tim Davie emphasise that distinctiveness and true public service value should be at the heart of all BBC content".

"It is disappointing therefore to see this announcement of a new 24 hour dance stream", she went on. "It is really difficult to understand what qualifies as distinctive in this offering. Commercial radio has a rich catalogue in this area and is very popular with audiences".

She concluded: "We know the BBC is struggling to attract younger audiences but launching in competition to existing, UK-based providers, who rely on advertising revenue rather than public funding, is really not the way ahead. We agree that it is time for an urgent review".


CMU Insights autumn webinars kick off next week
The next series of CMU webinars kicks off on Tuesday - 22 Sep - offering an easy way for you to expand your knowledge about the inner workings of the music business, learn about best practice across the music industry, and get up to speed on all the latest trends and developments.

The first session next week looks at what rights artists and songwriters have over their music after they've assigned their copyrights to a label or publisher.

With Kanye West putting the spotlight on record deals and copyright ownership in a major way this week, this webinar provides context to the debate he's now unleashed. How does copyright assignment in the music industry work and to what extent does the law provide protections to artists and songwriters?

Other upcoming sessions will focus on streaming in key emerging markets, the ins and outs of streaming service playlists, building a fanbase and direct-to-fan business, and how brand partnerships work for artists, labels, promoters and other music companies.

The webinars take place each Tuesday afternoon at 2.30pm London time and are delivered by CMU's Chris Cooke. Attendees can also access online resources and a recording of the webinar available for a month after the live session.

BOOK NOW to secure your place - access to each individual webinar is just £25, plus you can book into four webinars for £75 and all nine for just £150.

Scottish Album Of The Year longlist announced

The longlist for this year's Scottish Album Of The Year Award has been announced. It's a strong list, with artists including Anna Meredith, Blanck Mass, Erland Cooper and Shhe. Oh, and Lewis Capaldi, of course.

"This year's longlist showcases 20 outstanding albums and it is arguably the most diverse range of albums of any SAY Award longlist to date", says General Manager of the Scottish Music Industry Association Robert Kilpatrick. "Never have we been prouder to announce the longlist, and never more than now has it felt truly special and important to do so".

Head Of Music at Creative Scotland, Alan Morrison, adds: "In this year like no other, music has given us the strength to get through whatever life has thrown at us. Scotland's musicians have shown us, time and time again, that their creativity can thrive in the most difficult circumstances".

"These 20 albums were recorded when COVID-19 wasn't even a blip on the horizon, but there's a glorious thread of that same creativity running through them all", he goes on. "This thread pulls together different genres, binds debut artists and seasoned stars, and makes The SAY Award such a wonderful expression of Scotland's world-class musical talent".

And here it is, that longlist we've all been banging on about. Have a bloody look at it:

Anna Meredith - FIBS
Blanck Mass - Animated Violence Mild
Bossy Love - Me + U
Callum Easter - Here Or Nowhere
Cloth - Cloth
Comfort - Not Passing
Declan Welsh & The Decadent West - Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold
Elephant Sessions - What Makes You
Erland Cooper - Sule Skerry
Fat-Suit - Waifs & Strays
Free Love - Extreme Dance Anthems
Honeyblood - In Plain Sight
Karine Polwart - Karine Polwart's Scottish Songbook
Lewis Capaldi - Divinely Uninspired To A Hellish Extent
Mezcla - Shoot The Moon
The Ninth Wave - Infancy
Nova - Re-Up
Sacred Paws - Run Around The Sun
Shhe - Shhe
Vistas - Everything Changes In The End

The longlist of 20 will now be whittled down to a shortlist of ten, with one spot on that list chosen by the public - voting for which will take place on from 5-7 Oct. Watch last night's livestreamed longlist announcement here.



Absolute Label Services has partnered with Squeeze's Chris Difford to launch a new label, Songwriter's Garden. The first release will be a compilation called 'Song Club', featuring a collection of songs curated by Difford. A track from it, 'Working On The Frontline', performed by actor Jessie Buckley and her band Jessie And The Leonards, was released earlier this week.



Beatport and Twitch have announced a partnership to increase the amount of livestreamed content on the dance music platform's Twitch channel. "Beatport has been a key part of Twitch's music growth over the past couple of years, driving the diversity and artistry of the electronic music industry in unparalleled ways", reckons Head Of Music Content at Twitch, Will Farrell-Green. "When events all moved to virtual this year, Beatport was one of the first to accelerate their programming on Twitch. We're THRILLED to expand this partnership to continue connecting this group of avid electronic music fans globally".



Netflix has turned the 'Song Exploder' podcast into a TV show. It was fine as a podcast, Netflix. Podcasts are fine. Anyway, Alicia Keys, Ty Dolla $ign, REM's Michael Stipe and 'Hamilton' writer Lin Manuel Miranda will all dissect one of their songs for an episode in the first series, which is set to go live on 2 Oct. Here's a trailer.



Pendulum have released their first new music for a decade with a track called 'Driver'. "We've been working on some new tracks for a while now and it's great to finally get them out", says the band's Rob Swire. "We'd been playing exclusive previews of some of the new music at shows in Australia and New Zealand before lockdown, and we've been making tweaks along the way to make sure they're right".

Deftones have released new single 'Genesis'. Their new album, 'Ohms', is out next week.

Katie Melua has released the video for new single 'Your Longing Is Gone'.

Health have announced a new album of collaborations, titled 'Disco 4', featuring artists including 100 Gecs, Jpegmafia, Soccer Mommy and Full Of Hell. "In the past, each Health LP has been accompanied by a corresponding remix record", says the duo. "[However], this time, despite being called 'Disco 4' in the interest of continuity, we offer you a collection of original collaborations with artists we admire. Also, FUCK 2020". The track opens with 'Cyberpunk 2020', which features no one but Health. Listen to that here.

Enter Shikari have uploaded their full 2017 Alexandra Palace show to YouTube.

I Don't Know How But They Found Me has released new single 'Razzmatazz'.

Dream Nails have released the video for 'Kiss My Fist' from their eponymous debut album, which came out last week.



Little Mix have announced that they will tour arenas around the UK and Ireland in April and May next year. And who knows, maybe they really will be able to. Tickets go on sale next Friday. The band's new album, 'Confetti', is out on 6 Nov.

London venue The Clapham Grand will hold its official post-lockdown re-opening party tonight, with a performance from Frank Turner. Turner performed at the venue last month in a test run of a socially distanced event that was deemed commercially unviable. However, the venue has now opened a refurbish balcony area, bringing its socially distanced capacity up to a more workable 400. More info here.

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


Eminem manager denies rumours about scrapped Shady Records compilation (but confirms there was a scrapped Shady Records compilation)
Typical, isn't it? You wait ages for an official denial officially dismissing claims that Eminem has or had new music to release and then two come along at once.

By 'at once', I mean they were about six months apart. Also, it's probably safe to say that you haven't been sitting around hoping that Eminem would deny that he's releasing new music. Also, what we're talking about now isn't a denial that he is about to release new music, rather that he planned to last year but didn't. But you know what, sometimes you just pick the wrong cliché for your opening sentence and then you're stuck with it. We all make mistakes. I wish you'd just drop it.

Anyway, Eminem was never planning to put out new music to mark the 20th anniversary of his Shady Records label. That's what you need to know here. "Oh, it's probably for the 21st anniversary", you'll be thinking now. No. It is not. Not least because all this speculation regarding new material hinges on some 20th anniversary logo designs.

Earlier this week, designer Mike Saputo shared various unused 'Shady XX' logos on Instagram, writing: "So sometime last year, we started working on some things to celebrate Shady's 20th. I worked up a ton of logos and other assets for it. Ended up the project never made it to the light of day, unfortunately".

"So I was left with a whole bunch of stuff I thought came out pretty good, but nowhere to use it", he went on. "Such is the design life".

You'll note that the designer didn't explain what this abandoned anniversary project would have involved. But his remarks led to speculation that Eminem had been planning to release a new mixtape akin to his 'Shady XV' project. That release - put out for the label's fifteenth anniversary - featured new material from artists on the label's roster at the time, as well as Eminem himself.

Responding to that speculation a number of Shady Records' current artists said on Twitter that they had not been aware of any such compilation plans. Tweets that were then somehow interpreted as proof that Eminem had been planning an anniversary release but had kept it secret from his label's roster. Rather than proof that no such project had ever existed. Which it clearly was.

But if you don't believe me, well, I have more proof for you. Because Eminem's manager Paul Rosenberg has now cleared all this up. "None of this is accurate", he tweeted. "The art was created for a vinyl box set that was scrapped due to production time".

So that's the news people. A thing was scrapped. But not the thing that some people thought was scrapped. A slightly different thing was scrapped. So now we know.

In terms of the other new Eminem material denial that we alluded to in that opening line you just will not stop banging on about, well, earlier this year, Eminem tweeted to confirm that he had not released a new album called 'Marshall Law'. That was in response to a rumour that somehow began when Florida Senator Marco Rubio posted a tweet about martial law not having been declared in the US as a result of COVID-19, but he spelled it "marshall law".

I think we're all up to speed now. You know what happened, right? There is not and was never any new music from Eminem. Except that album he put out in January - 'Music To Be Murdered By' - which did (and does) exist.


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]
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