TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Russian operator of stream-ripping sites and has formally petitioned the US Supreme Court to hear his case. Fighting litigation from the major record companies, Tofig Kurbanov wants the top court to consider whether he and his business, based outside the US, can be subject to a copyright action through the American judicial system... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Russian stream-ripper formally takes his copyright dispute to US Supreme Court, and says the majors should support that move
DEALS Mojo Music & Media signs up to IMPEL
ADA Asia partners with DPM in Indonesia

LIVE BUSINESS Guidance published for festivals planning 2021 events amid COVID pandemic
The Lexington still in perilous position despite receiving Culture Recovery Fund grant

EDUCATION & EVENTS Youth Music publishes new research into barriers faced by disabled musicians
ONE LINERS Greta Van Fleet, Stevie Wonder, Niall Horan, more
AND FINALLY... Kanye West applies to trademark presidential campaign slogan
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Sentric Music is looking for a Digital Marketing Executive to optimise Sentric Music Group's digital marketing presence and audience engagement. Through strategic planning, content creation and delivery, the Digital Marketing Executive will be key to shaping the way artists and clients perceive and engage with our business.

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Russian stream-ripper formally takes his copyright dispute to US Supreme Court, and says the majors should support that move
The Russian operator of stream-ripping sites and has formally petitioned the US Supreme Court to hear his case. Fighting litigation from the major record companies, Tofig Kurbanov wants the top court to consider whether he and his business, based outside the US, can be subject to a copyright action through the American judicial system. and are among a number of stream-ripping operations to have been targeted with legal action - or at least the threat of legal action - by the music industry in recent years. For music companies, stream-ripping services – which allow people to turn temporary streams into permanent downloads – remain a top piracy concern.

Most stream-ripping sites targeted by the music industry have ultimately - or in some cases immediately - shut themselves down. However, Kurbanov decided to fight the lawsuit that was filed against him and his websites in a district court in Virginia.

And at first instance he successfully got the labels' lawsuit dismissed on jurisdiction grounds, on the basis that his Russian websites had no direct business dealings with the US, even though Americans used those sites to illegally stream-rip content.

The labels then took the case to the Fourth Circuit appeals court which overturned the lower court's ruling. The appeal judges listed various reasons why it could be deemed that and were actively trading in the US, even though the websites are formally based in Russia and don't require any sign-up from users.

Shortly after the Fourth Circuit ruling, legal reps for Kurbanov indicated that they planned to take the matter to the US Supreme Court, reckoning that the jurisdiction issues they had raised in this case are important and have never been properly considered at the highest level.

Those plans were then confirmed last month back at the Virginia court where the lawsuit began, which is considering the case anew following the Fourth Circuit ruling. Kurbanov's lawyers have asked the district court to pause the ongoing proceedings there pending their application to the Supreme Court.

That application was submitted earlier this week. It argues that the top court should consider the case, because some Supreme Court style consideration is required on the issue of whether or not "the 'due process clause' of the United States Constitution is violated when a foreign citizen is subjected to personal jurisdiction based entirely on: (1) his operation of a website that is popular both within the United States and worldwide, but which is not specifically aimed at the United States; and (2) minor internet-based and internet-initiated transactions entered into by the foreign citizen entirely from outside the United States".

Kurbanov's court filing adds that this question comes up frequently in other cases, that it has never been addressed by the Supreme Court, and that lower courts have been inconsistent on this point. It then concludes: "A proper determination is crucial to respect the sovereignty of foreign nations and to avoid the widespread imposition of de facto national jurisdiction over the operators of any popular website wherever the internet is accessible".

Jurisdiction issues have always been a challenge for copyright owners seeking to fight online piracy, with the operators of piracy platforms often deliberately basing themselves, or their servers, in countries where fighting copyright cases is more tricky.

A Supreme Court win for Kurbanov in this case would definitely be a setback for those seeking to enforce their copyrights online. And would also likely further motivate US copyright owners to push for full-on web-blocking in the US - mirroring systems already operating in various other countries - such blockades being seen as a practical though not perfect fix to overcome jurisdiction issues in piracy cases.

Previous efforts to get web-blocking up and running in the US back in 2011 and 2012 resulted in a big backlash from the tech-sector that pushed the idea well off the agenda in Washington. However, in more recent years, some copyright owners - especially the movie studios - have been trying to sneak it back onto that agenda.

A legal rep for Kurbanov has told Torrentfreak that he is hopeful the Supreme Court might accept his client's case, because the issues it centres on are super important.

Evan Fray-Witzer said: "If you operate a website that is popular, then you're subject to jurisdiction anywhere – and everywhere – that people access the website. And that's not a precedent that anyone should want to stand, because if Kurbanov can be dragged into court here from Russia, then any US citizen who creates a popular website can expect to be dragged into court anywhere in the world".

The lawyer also told Torrentfreak that the major labels should support his client's bid to get the Supreme Court to provide clarity on this issue.

"If the record companies are so certain that the Fourth Circuit got this question right, then they should be anxious for the Supreme Court to take up the case", he added. "We invite them to join our petition and ask the Supreme Court to weigh in on these crucial jurisdictional questions. But I'm not holding my breath that they'll do so".


Mojo Music & Media signs up to IMPEL
IMPEL – the organisation that negotiates direct deals in the digital domain on behalf of an assortment of independent music publishers – has announced its latest new member, Mojo Music & Media.

Independent music firm Mojo is focused on managing and marketing legacy artists and catalogues, having formally launched in 2019 via the acquisition of Nashville-based HoriPro Entertainment Group and its 15,000 song repertoire. Since then it has expanded its catalogue further through eighteen more deals, including taking a majority stake in London-based Chelsea Music and acquiring a 50% stake in the catalogue of Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen.

That song catalogue will now be represented in the digital space by IMPEL, which recently renewed its partnership with French collecting society SACEM in Europe, while also newly allying with the LatinAutor initiative in Latin America.

Confirming it had signed up to IMPEL, Mojo's COO Alan Wallis said yesterday: "We are delighted to be joining IMPEL. The chance to work with other independent publishers under the IMPEL umbrella, supported by SACEM's technology, is a very exciting prospect. The collective is good news not just for Mojo but independent music publishing generally".

Meanwhile IMPEL boss Sarah Williams added: "We are delighted that Mojo has chosen to trust IMPEL with their valuable catalogue and we are looking forward to working closely with Alan and his team to ensure that we do it justice".


ADA Asia partners with DPM in Indonesia
Warner Music's recently launched ADA Asia has announced a deal with DPM, a music group in Indonesia that includes no less than 21 independent record labels, five of which appear in the IFPI's list of top ten indies in the Indonesian market: Graha Prima Swara, Naga Swarasakti, Pelangi Records, Sani Musik and Virgo Multi Cipta.

The deal will see the Warner label services business support all the DPM labels and the numerous artists they work with, which conveniently includes Indonesian pop-rock outfit ADA Band. Which could be a supergroup set up to celebrate this deal. But isn't.

"We're very excited to join forces with ADA to propel both our well-established catalogue and our frontline hits which have become a revelation in this dawn of the streaming era in Indonesia", says DPM MD Iwan Sastra Wijaya.

Over at ADA Asia, MD Chee Meng Tan adds: "This is a landmark moment for ADA in Asia and I can't overstate the significance of DPM in Indonesia. It's a massive coup for us to have them as our very first partner in the region, as it's home to some of Indonesia's most recognisable cultural icons and music, as well as some of the most exciting developing artists on its roster. I'm looking forward to ADA and Warner Music getting behind them as we look to showcase Indonesia's rich culture and musical talents to the rest of the world".

Meanwhile, CEO of DPM label Virgo Multi Cipta, Andreas Wullur, chips in: "Music distribution is only one thing, but a music partner is a whole different ball game. We're laser focused on thinking strategically to create as many services around an artist or aggregated label as possible. An artist's vision is what matters. We are here to make their path successful".


Guidance published for festivals planning 2021 events amid COVID pandemic
Optimists in the live music sector are still hoping that the 2021 festival season will go ahead more or less as normal, though the ongoing COVID pandemic is obviously going to have an impact on those planning major outdoor events for next year, and how those events will be run. With that in mind, various trade organisations have come together to publish guidance for festival organisers to help with their ongoing event planning in the context of COVID.

The document has been spearhead by the Ops Group of the Association Of Independent Festivals, with support from the Association Of Festival Organisers, the Events Industry Forum and Attitude Is Everything, plus input from Public Health England and the government's Department For Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

AIF says that the guidance, which will be updated monthly, will "assist festival organisers, safety advisory group members, local directors of public health and other industry parties in assessing risk levels and planning festivals based on a flexible, pragmatic and realistic approach to the current pandemic".

Launching the first iteration of the guidance document, AIF CEO Paul Reed says: "Risk mitigation is what festival promoters do for a living, so the intent of this guidance is to outline COVID-19 specific planning considerations that will allow for bespoke risk assessment approaches in liaison with relevant authorities and agencies".

"I'd like to thank the AIF Ops Group for leading on this important piece of work", he adds, "and also DCMS, PHE officials and the wider festival industry for their invaluable contributions".

You can access the latest guidance here.


The Lexington still in perilous position despite receiving Culture Recovery Fund grant
The music industry was, in the main, very pleased with the number of venues, festivals and other music organisations that were awarded COVID-support grants via Arts Council England's Culture Recovery Fund on Monday.

However, the spotlight is now inevitably falling on those music businesses whose bids for CRF funding were unsuccessful. Although, in some cases, even those organisations that did get a CRF grant are still facing significant challenges, such as popular London venue The Lexington.

The Culture Recovery Fund is distributing a significant portion of the £1.57 billion of sector-specific COVID support that has been provided by the UK government to the cultural and heritage industries.

The funding aims to help those cultural companies and organisations whose operations have been majorly hit by all the restrictions that are in place to slow and limit the spread of COVID-19. With the government's general COVID support schemes changing this month, in a way that makes them much less useful to live and event businesses, for many of those companies and organisations support from the Culture Recovery Fund had become vital in order to survive into 2021.

With that in mind, there were concerns over quite how many companies and organisations the CRF could really support, and whether those more mainstream music businesses that wouldn't usually seek or receive Arts Council funding would be successful in their bids. But in the end, a significant number of venues, festivals and other music organisations did get a grant.

The Association Of Independent Festivals said that, of its members who applied for funding, 71% were successful. For the Music Venue Trust, 90% of its members' applications resulted in a grant.

That came as a relief to many - although, of course, that still means there are plenty of festivals and venues who were unsuccessful. And of those who received grants, not everyone got all the funding they were seeking.

As London venue The Lexington explained on Facebook yesterday. "Like many grassroots music venues this week we're happy to announce that we secured funding from Arts Council England's Cultural Recovery Fund", it wrote, adding: "These funds will go some way in mitigating the financial damage and debt accumulated over the last seven months of closure".

However, it went on, "unfortunately, we were awarded under 40% of the funding we applied for, one of only a small number of grassroots music venues who received a lesser amount than needed to ensure recovery and survival. Whilst the funding received is welcome and we're delighted to see friends and colleagues across the industry receive a vital lifeline, from our perspective the recovery of the venue and the long term survival of our staff and freelancers is still in serious peril".

With that in mind, work remains for The Lexington to find a way of covering the other costs it is incurring as a result of the ongoing COVID restrictions.

Noting the key role the Music Venue Trust has played in securing government support for grassroots venues at large - including the grant it did receive from CRF - the London venue concluded: "We'll be spending the coming weeks working with Music Venue Trust to work out a way to meet this funding shortfall and secure our long-term future. Watch this space".

When criticised over its revamped general COVID schemes being no use for many live and event businesses, the government has repeatedly pointed to the Cultural Recovery Fund and the other ways that that £1.57 billion in sector-specific funding is being distributed around the UK. Which is depressing for those companies and organisations who have not received any or enough CRF funding.

Though for its part, MVT has often stressed that - while significant government support is absolutely essential for the survival of the grassroots venue network - it was unlikely to ever be a panacea, and therefore artist, industry and community-led fundraising will still likely be necessary.


Youth Music publishes new research into barriers faced by disabled musicians
Music charity Youth Music has published a new report - titled 'Reshape Music' - highlighting the significant barriers faced by disabled musicians who want to access music education and opportunities to make music.

Among those barriers are difficulties in finding music instrument tutors able to meet their needs, being unable to locate adapted instruments, and not knowing how to access funding to support their music-making. A total of 67% of disabled musicians surveyed said that financial issues were one of the biggest barriers to making music.

Researchers also surveyed education providers and instrument retailers about what they offer for disabled musicians. Only 48% of educators said that they felt confident teaching people on adapted instruments, while 63% of instrument retailers said that they were unaware of any specialist or adapted instruments for disabled people.

"While there has been some progress, particularly over the last five years, 'Reshape Music' illustrates in very stark terms that the views, lived experience and expertise of disabled people are still absent in the planning and delivery of music education and music-making", says Youth Music CEO Matt Griffiths.

"As a result", he adds, "policies, programmes and infrastructure are often developed in a way that excludes their involvement and participation. This is discriminatory and particularly alarming knowing that there are 13.3 million disabled people in the UK equating to 21% of the total population".

Jess Fisher - one of the researchers on the report and a disabled musician herself - says: "Music has always been my way of expressing myself, it gives me a sense of purpose. Just because a musician is disabled or needs specialist equipment or adaptations or even support, shouldn't stop them from having the chance to make music".

"Disabled people often feel overlooked and excluded, but music-making can make you feel connected to others and part of something bigger", she goes on. "Especially throughout the pandemic, it has been a lifeline for so many people. I hope by sharing my experiences it inspires others and helps music educators and the industry to understand how to make music-making more inclusive".

The report makes a number of recommendations to improve accessibility for disabled musicians, including an increase in the number of disabled people working in music education and the music industry. With that in mind, it then calls for music and education organisations to state where they have an under-representation of disabled people in their workforce and to target recruitment opportunities accordingly.

It also calls for those organisations to work with disabled musicians to discuss their needs and better understand the barriers they face in making music and pursuing music careers.

You can access the full 'Reshape Music' report here.


CMU Insights Webinar: Understanding Brand Partnerships
Brands see the value of music as part of their marketing activity, we know that. But how do brand partnerships actually work? What do brands want from these partnerships and how does that impact who they do the deal with? And what can artists expect in return when they ally with consumer brands?

The next CMU Insights weekly webinar is all about brand partnerships. It looks at what brands want from and can offer artists, labels, promoters and other music companies via partnership deals. Plus it considers how complexities in the music industry - especially around music copyright - impact on brand partnerships, and how those on the music business side also need to consider the complexities in how big brands structure their marketing and communications.

It all takes place next Tuesday, 20 Oct, at 2.30pm. You can book into this webinar for just £25 or sign up for a number of CMU's upcoming training sessions and get additional discounts.

We've just added a brand new webinar providing a beginner's guide to music copyright which will take place on 12 Jan next year - and you can sign up to all nine of the webinars currently on sale for just £150.

Click here to find out more about all the upcoming webinars and to book.


Warner Chappell has signed Greta Van Fleet to a worldwide publishing deal. "From the first time I saw Greta Van Fleet play at a tiny club in LA, I've wanted to work with them and knew immediately they were something special", says SVP A&R US Greg Sowders. "They're amazing songwriters and musicians who are reawakening that rock n roll spirit for the next generation of fans".



Stevie Wonder has put out his first new music for fifteen years with two songs, 'Where Is Our Love Song' and 'Can't Put It In The Hands Of The Free'. The tracks are being put out through Wonder's own Universal/Republic imprint, So What the Fuss Records, the first time in his career he's not released through Motown.

Fred Again... has released new single 'Jessie (I Miss You)'.

I Don't Know How But They Found Me have released new track 'Lights Go Down'.

Lindstrøm and Prins Thomas have announced that they will release new album 'III' on 20 Nov through Smalltown Supersound. From it, this is 'Martin 5000'.

Susu have released new single 'Break You'. It's "a sonic baptism by etheric blues of dobro and acoustic washing over you", they say. "Two powerful black voices become one as they invoke the mother with rhythmic compulsion; calling the pendulum back toward the feminine. There IS something bigger than US".



Niall Horan has announced that he will play a livestreamed show at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 7 Nov to raise money for his tour crew. "I want to highlight the incredible people who work in touring that make those events possible and whose livelihoods have been severely affected", he says. "I'm putting on this gig to try and raise awareness of the immense value they bring to an industry enjoyed by so many, and do something to help them and their families".

Headie One has announced that he will tour the UK next May, including a show at Wembley Arena on 8 May. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.

D-Block Europe have announced that they will tour the UK next May, including a show at the O2 Arena in London on 25 May. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.

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


Kanye West applies to trademark presidential campaign slogan
With Kanye West's US presidential campaign looking increasingly like a ruse to shift some expensive merch, it has now emerged that the rapper is attempting to trademark his campaign slogan, 'God Save America'.

Records show that West's Yeezy fashion company filed a trademark application on 7 Oct, seeking exclusive use of the phrase on sweatshirts, t-shirts and hoodies - all of which are already being sold at eye-watering prices on the West presidential campaign website.

It is highly unlikely that the application will be approved in time for the election next month, which suggests that West is hoping that the slogan will live on further - similarly to Donald Trump's 'Make America Great Again' - either independently of the campaign or on into the 2024 presidential election.

Like many big name musicians today - Taylor Swift most notably - a key part of West's business portfolio is trademarks. Earlier this year he filed an application for '2020Vision', also in relation to his presidential campaign, as well as several phrases and logos associated with this Sunday Service church project. There are also several applications outstanding for the Yeezy brand itself, including the phrase 'West Day Ever'.

Over the weekend, West released his first election campaign advert, giving voters little to go on about what to expect of him in the highly unlikely event that he becomes US President.


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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