TODAY'S TOP STORY: The rapper who accused Katy Perry of ripping off his song 'Joyful Noise' on her hit 'Dark Horse' has submitted a new brief with the Ninth Circuit appeals court. He cites music by both Beethoven and the Rolling Stones in a bid to demonstrate that the musical segment shared by his song and Perry's hit is substantial enough to be protected by copyright... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Katy Perry's song-theft accuser presents key arguments to Ninth Circuit appeals court
LEGAL ABO and MU again put the spotlight on COVID support for freelancers
LABELS & PUBLISHERS New industry exchange for recordings data up and running
Sony Music partners on new data-driven label and publishing venture

MANAGEMENT & FUNDING BTS management company Big Hit proves a big hit on the South Korean stock market
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Spotify allows podcasters to add music to shows (finally)
ONE LINERS TikTok, Andrew WK, Ariana Grande, more
AND FINALLY... Ice Cube responds to claims he is supporting Donald Trump: "Our justice is bipartisan"
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Katy Perry's song-theft accuser presents key arguments to Ninth Circuit appeals court
The rapper who accused Katy Perry of ripping off his song 'Joyful Noise' on her hit 'Dark Horse' has submitted a new brief with the Ninth Circuit appeals court. He cites music by both Beethoven and the Rolling Stones in a bid to demonstrate that the musical segment shared by his song and Perry's hit is substantial enough to be protected by copyright.

Marcus Gray actually convinced a jury in the Californian district court that 'Dark Horse' infringed 'Joyful Noise', with Perry and her collaborators ordered to pay Gray and his team $2.8 million in damages. But then the judge overseeing the case overturned the jury's decision.

While the jury had concluded that Perry et al had lifted elements of 'Joyful Noise' without permission when writing 'Dark Horse', judge Christina Snyder said that the Grey team's legal arguments nevertheless failed as a matter of law.

She wrote in March that "the uncontroverted evidence points to only one conclusion", that being that the musical element shared between 'Joyful Noise' and 'Dark Horse' - a repeated eight-note melodic phrase - was not substantial enough to enjoy copyright protection.

In Gray's new legal filing, he states: "The district court erroneously asserted that 'a pitch sequence ... is not entitled to copyright protection'. Perhaps the district court didn't understand that a pitch sequence is the technical term for a sequence of musical notes, ie a melody. Copyright most definitely protects original melodies, and especially distinctive eight-note melodies that repeat throughout a song".

Insisting that similar and indeed shorter melodic phrases have enjoyed copyright protection, Gray argues that "the music world is filled with examples of famous, distinctive and unquestionably original eight-note two-bar repeating melodies that are as simple, if not simpler, than the one at issue here".

"One doesn't need a PhD in musicology to understand that distinctive originality of the repeating two-bar guitar riff that opens and then repeats throughout the Rolling Stones song '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction'. Or, from an earlier era, the even simpler (yet unquestionably distinctive) eight-note motif that opens and repeats in Beethoven's 'Fifth Symphony'".

Gray's filing concludes: "In short, the district court's erroneous statement of law that pitch sequence (ie a melody) 'is not entitled to copyright protection' ... undermines its ruling".

A response from the Perry side is now expected next month. Despite Gray's arguments, Perry et al will be hoping that the recent resolution of the 'Stairway To Heaven' song-theft case, which likewise said that common musical elements employed in multiple songs cannot be protected by copyright, will help swing things in their favour.

It will be interesting to see what arguments they present and what the appeals court ultimately says.


ABO and MU again put the spotlight on COVID support for freelancers
The Association Of British Orchestras and the Musicians' Union have again put the spotlight on the challenges faced by freelance music-makers unable to work because of COVID restrictions.

The new general COVID support schemes from the UK government cap the grants available to the self-employed at 20% of each person's average earnings. That's based on the assumption that the average freelancer's workload its getting back to normal post the full-on COVID lockdown earlier this year, even though that's clearly not the case for most musicians.

When asked about the fact that many in the creative sector are still basically in full-on shutdown mode, the government usually points to the £1.57 billion of sector-specific funding it has made available to the cultural and heritage industries. However, in England, freelance musicians are not able to directly apply for that funding, and it remains to be seen how much of the grants awarded to venues, promoters and festivals trickles down to music-makers themselves.

Plus there is the other problem that many freelance musicians never qualified for any general COVID support because of the way they have structured their freelance businesses.

On that latter point, the ABO said yesterday that its research shows that more than 30% of musicians have not been able to access any of the funding schemes for freelancers. That echoes stats published by the MU last month regarding how many musicians have so far gone without any COVID support.

ABO adds: "More than a thousand freelance orchestral musicians have had no earnings since the shutdown of concerts in mid-March 2020. Frighteningly, with restrictions such as social distancing likely to continue until at least the end of March 2021, these world-class musicians face a year of zero income".

Regarding that argument that the £1.57 billion in sector specific funding overcomes other gaps in support for those in the creative sectors, the two musician organisations state "this is misleading". That funding, they add, "is designed to prevent organisations from going bust before the end of the financial year. It will not enable those orchestras that receive funding to engage their musicians for paid work or support freelance musicians prevented from working by COVID-19 restrictions".

Formally calling on the UK government to do more to specifically support freelance music-makers, MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge says: "We have been working with the government to try to ensure that all musicians are able to get back to work safely as soon as possible. But as things stand 70% are currently unable to do more than a quarter of their usual work".

"In the meantime, we desperately need the Chancellor to expand the [freelancer support] to cover more than 20% of monthly profits and plug the gaps that mean that 38% of musicians are ineligible for the wage support schemes', he goes on. "We also urge the Treasury and the Department For Digital, Culture, Media & Sport to allow Arts Council England to distribute some of the £1.57 billion dedicated to culture to individual freelancers, as the devolved administrations have done in Wales and Scotland".

Meanwhile, ABO Director Mark Pemberton adds: "Those musicians who have been able to benefit from [freelancer support] will see the third tranche of support fall to 20% of average profits for the period November 2020 to March 2021. This is simply not enough for the working musician to live on".

"And the word 'working' is moot", he continues. "The purpose of the [scheme] is to support 'self-employed individuals who are actively continuing to trade, but are facing reduced demand due to coronavirus'. But due to government-imposed restrictions, musicians are prevented from trading, simply because concert halls across the country remain closed. This is particularly acute in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, where venues remain forbidden from opening their doors to the public".


New industry exchange for recordings data up and running
Globally-focused record industry trade groups IFPI and WIN yesterday announced that the new Repertoire Data Exchange system they've been collaborating on is now live. The hope is that, via this new system, it will become easier for record labels and music distributors to get data about their new recordings into the record industry's various databases, ensuring faster and more accurate distribution of any monies collected through the collective licensing system.

The record industry's collecting societies collect royalties on behalf of both labels and performers when recorded music is broadcast or played in public. In order to distribute those royalties, societies need to know what recordings each label controls and each performer appears on. And to that end, each collecting society has a database of its members' works.

However, because every country tends to have its own collecting society, each of which tends to have its own database, well, that's a lot of databases. Which means it's a lot of work getting recordings logged across the entire system, and there's a relatively high chance of different databases having different information about the same tracks. The Repertoire Data Exchange project - or RDx - attempts to address these challenges.

Confirming that the new data exchange system is now live, IFPI and WIN explain that "RDx simplifies the data-handling process by offering recording rights holders, of all sizes and from any country, a single registration point to supply their repertoire data in a standardised format that can be quickly and easily accessed by participating [societies]".

They go on: "This is helping to improve the timeliness, accuracy and efficiency of [societies'] revenue distributions to rights holders worldwide and provides mechanisms for increasing data quality and automatically alerting rights holders when potential rights conflicts are detected".

UK society PPL has been developing and will operate the technology that underpins RDx. All three majors and indies like Beggars and the state51 Music Group have already joined the scheme and uploaded their respective catalogue data. Participating societies at launch, as well as PPL, including GRAMEX in Finland, Re:Sound in Canada and SENA in The Netherlands. More labels and societies are expected to join up in the months ahead.

Commenting on RDx, IFPI boss Frances Moore says: "Music companies have made it a priority to invest in and develop systems for music data to be accurately managed and reported. Now live and available worldwide, RDx will significantly contribute to this aim. The addition of more and more record companies and [societies] will drive further operational efficiency and cost reduction for music right holders whilst also enabling [societies] to retrieve authoritative repertoire data from a single point – further enhancing the speed of accurate revenue distribution".

Speaking for the independent label focused WIN, Charlie Phillips adds: "RDx is a tool that can substantially simplify the delivery by independent record companies of their repertoire and rights data to [societies] around the world. WIN has long advocated for the benefits of a 'global single point of entry' for performance rights data, available to all right holders and [societies]. The 50:50 joint venture between WIN and IFPI has delivered on this objective, with the initial participants in the project having now set up RDx for all other right holders and [societies] to join from now".


Sony Music partners on new data-driven label and publishing venture
Sony Music UK has launched a new joint venture with entrepreneur Rob Ronaldson called Robots + Humans, which will seek to utilise some new fangled data technologies he has developed to spot and support emerging artists.

The major says that it's been working with Ronaldson since 2016 utilising data and analytics to discover and identify opportunities for new artists signed to its labels.

The new venture will have both label and publishing operations, allied with Sony Music and Sony/ATV respectively. Artists-wise, Robots + Humans launches with Powfu signed up on the recordings side, and Nashi on the publishing side.

The boss of Sony Music UK, Jason Iley, says: "Rob has quickly established an impressive track record across genres by working in partnership with Sony Music labels. Robots + Humans gives us more scope to develop new artists using cutting-edge techniques and I'm excited to see what Rob can do next".

While Sony/ATV UK execs David Ventura and Tim Major add: "Rob embodies the new generation of talented and entrepreneurial A&R. His approach is so pioneering that it was a no-brainer to partner with him and we are delighted to be launching this venture together".

And Ronaldson himself chips in: "I never thought my love of data could be applied to the processes of finding new talent within the music industry. We hope that our technology can help R+H keep growing into something exciting, innovative and genuinely competitive over the next few years".


BTS management company Big Hit proves a big hit on the South Korean stock market
The music company behind BTS floated on the stock market in Seoul earlier today. A rapidly rising share price has given the company an initial valuation of 9.6 trillion South Korean wong (that's $8.3 billion or £6.4 billion).

You could say that that valuation proves K-pop is good business. Although, in reality, it's BTS that provides Big Hit with 90% of its revenues. With such a heavy reliance on one act, that could put the company in a precarious position. Particularly with the question of all seven of the band members' outstanding military service still hanging over them. It is mandatory in South Korea for all able-bodied men between eighteen and 28 to serve two years in the country's military.

Although the South Korean government has previously ruled out offering exemptions to members of the group based solely on their k-pop stardom, there have been signs of that stance softening somewhat in recent weeks. In the past, exemptions and deferrals have been granted to classical musicians and athletes with an international following. However, to date, being a K-pop star has never been considered a good enough reason to avoid conscription.

Nevertheless, with BTS contributing a significant sum to the country's GDP annually - and with their fame apparently yet to peak - there have been calls for a rethink. On Tuesday, South Korean defence minister Suh Wook said that it may be possible for the group to defer their service. Big Hit's stock market success will undoubtedly put further pressure on the government to make that decision. With the band's oldest member Jin about to turn 28, the clock is ticking.

Although not yet serving in the military, comments on South Korea's military activities landed the group in hot water earlier this week too. On this occasion, it was China they offended, after band leader RM made comments about the Korean War while accepting an award celebrating relations between the US and South Korea.

"We will always remember the history of pain that our two nations shared together and the sacrifices of countless men and women", he said.

Some fans and officials in China - which fought alongside North Korea in the war - expressed anger at the comments, noting that lives had been lost on the other side too. Some online ads featuring the band were apparently pulled in China following the comments.

China isn't the only country BTS have offended. Two years ago, they had a performance on Japanese TV cancelled after the band's Jimin wore an atomic bomb t-shirt.

With so much reliant on BTS's continued international success, Big Hits' new shareholders will likely be keen for the band's members to be careful what they say and what t-shirts they wear. Those shareholders do, however, include the band members themselves, who were each given 68,000 shares in Big Hit, making them instant multi-millionaires.


Spotify allows podcasters to add music to shows (finally)
Spotify has invented "a whole new kind of show". Get this, right: There's music, but as well as music, there's also talking. Or maybe it's the other way around. There's talking, but as well as talking, there's also music. Either way, it gets really exciting when you combine the two. And that's what's now going to happen, creating something you've never experienced before. Except when you did.

"Everyone loves both a great playlist and a highly engaging conversation", says Spotify, incorrectly. "Today, we're beginning to test a new listening experience that brings together music and spoken-word content in an easy and elegant package, allowing full songs and talk commentary to live together wrapped up in one show".

"Think of your favourite drive-time radio show, that music journalist whose insights help you appreciate a band's leap forward, a DJ whose perspective makes that next track hit perfectly", it goes on. "Now imagine that you're able to enjoy that perfect blend of music and commentary whenever and wherever you want, interactively and on demand".

Yeah, so Spotify has invented online radio, allowing anyone to mix spoken word content and music in one place. If this sounds familiar, it's possibly because you've been on Mixcloud for more than seventeen seconds. Or perhaps you remember when Spotify launched this very feature in 2014, and again in 2015, having borrowed the idea from a company called Playdio, which launched in 2010.

Cynicism aside though, this new thing that's just been launched is actually quite nicely done. Rather than people pumping spoken word files into Spotify's music catalogue and then creating a playlist that mixes up tracks and links - which is how it was done in the past - the streaming firm has created a new format that builds on its existing podcast platform.

Basically it makes it easier for podcasters to combine spoken word elements with music chosen from the Spotify library so to create one clean show. When selected tracks are then played by the podcast's listeners, it counts as a normal Spotify play for that track, with royalties paid to the music industry as normal.

It's a definite draw for podcasters who want to put music in their shows. To date, doing that with proper licences from the record companies, music publishers and/or collecting societies has been difficult, verging on almost impossible. And podcasts that do manage it can find that licensing costs are prohibitive or that the rules suddenly change. Last month, 'Song Exploder' announced that it was removing some episodes from its catalogue due to rising costs.

The downside to all this, of course, is that music-based podcasts created with this new system will only play on Spotify. Which is good for Spotify, in that it's another way that podcasts create a USP for the platform. But it's bad luck for any podcasters who were hoping to make their programmes available on all the other podcast platforms out there, which is still the norm in the podcasting domain, despite Spotify's other efforts to score some exclusives.

Of course, a podcaster could make one version of their show for Spotify and another version for everywhere else, as some people already do with Mixcloud (ie they have a version with full tracks on that platform and without full tracks elsewhere).

Though if other streaming and podcast platforms start offering similar services - which on one level would be a good thing - that would create quite a lot of set-up admin for podcasters as they publish their shows, compared to just pushing the same MP3 onto all platforms.

The music industry could, of course, get around to realising that podcasts are a thing and start offering blanket licences for podcasters in the same way they do for more traditional radio programmes. But that has its own complications. So, the Spotify thing might be your best bet for now.


Approved: Sokoninaru
Sokoninaru's sound is a heady mix of musical acrobatics, wrong-footing studio edits, and sharp changes of direction. As dizzying as this can be - especially as it's all played at such high tempos you have to wonder if they were paying for studio time by the minute - it's all tempered by the clear and comforting twin vocals of guitarist Juko Suzuki and bass player Misaki Fujiwara.

Set to release their debut album, 'Choetsu', through JPU Records on 6 Nov, the band have just released its third single, 'The Limit Is A Moment' - following on from 'Complicated System' and 'Lament Moment'.

The new track is a great entry point for listening to the band, as it highlights that - for all the shock and awe of their performance style - everything is underpinned by solid songs with big, rousing choruses. And it's all done in under two and half minutes, leaving you plenty of time to rewind it repeatedly trying to work out what the hell just happened.

Watch the video for 'The Limit Is A Moment' here.

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


TikTok has signed a new licensing deal with Dutch collecting society Buma/Stemra. "We are very happy that the intense but constructive negotiations with TikTok have brought us this agreement", says Buma/Stemra CEO Bernard Kobes. "This is good news for our authors and publishers, especially in these days where our members' income has diminished in other markets".

Andrew WK has signed a new record deal with Napalm Records. "We at Napalm Records are THRILLED to propel Andrew WK to new heights, having been longtime fans of the work since the beginning", says a spokesperson for the label.



Universal Music Singapore has appointed Simon Jerome Nasser to the role of Managing Director of the label division itself, as well as Head Of Live for Southeast Asia. He joins from Warner Music.

Sony Music has appointed Tiffany R Warren to the newly created role of Executive Vice President, Chief Diversity And Inclusion Officer. "I am delighted to have Tiffany join our leadership team", says the major's top man Rob Stringer. "Her ground-breaking strategic vision, expertise and entrepreneurism will help us further our commitment to equity and long-term change inside our company and throughout the industry".

Three years on from his sudden departure from Sony Music, Hipgnosis has appointed LA Reid to its advisory board. It has also acquired the publishing catalogue he built as a producer and songwriter, which comprises 162 songs. "The work he and [frequent creative collaborator] Babyface did together defines R&B as we know it today", says Hipgnosis boss Merck Mercuriadis. "It's a great pleasure to welcome LA Reid and his incredible set of songs to the Hipgnosis family".

Music charity Help Musicians has appointed Squeeze's Chris Difford, pianist Isata Kanneh-Mason and opera singer Natalya Romaniw as ambassadors. "As ambassadors they will be able to help us reach even more musicians across the UK in coming years, especially as we celebrate our centenary in 2021", says CEO James Ainscough. "As the future for live music is still uncertain, Help Musicians has much to do and much to offer - support from those who understand the unique challenges faced by those in this profession is more important than ever before".



The UK's Music Managers Forum has put out the final call for applications to its 2021 Accelerator programme, which supports new managers financially and through mentoring in order to take their careers to the next level. The deadline is 19 Oct. Full details here.



Ariana Grande says she's releasing her new album THIS MONTH. She hasn't given a date, so it could arrive at any time. Maybe it's out already! Mystery is fun.

James Blake has dropped new EP 'Before'. I hope he picks it up. Oh my god, that's the lamest joke, I hate you. Blake will mark the occasion with a live Boiler Room set tomorrow night. Details here.

Juicy J has released the video for new single 'Load It Up'. His new album, 'The Hustle Continues', is out on 27 Nov.

The Bug has announced that he will release a new album, titled 'In Blue', featuring vocals from Dis Fig, through Hyperdub on 20 Nov. Here's first single, 'You'.

Clipping have released new single 'Pain Everyday'. "This song was one of the most challenging to write because it's the first time we've done a track entirely in 7/8, which, it turns out, is kind of a mind fuck", says the band's Daveed Diggs. "I love how it came out because it's in this odd time signature but the flow still feels natural, like rap is supposed to". Their new album, 'Visions Of Bodies Being Burned', is out on 23 Oct through Sub Pop.

The Body have announced that they will release new album, 'I've Seen All I Need To See', on 29 Jan 2021. "It's a meditation on distortion", says the band's Seth Manchester of the new LP. "We tried pushing the limits of each piece of gear in the studio to hear what its breaking point sounded like and then recorded it - even feeding the console back on itself during one particular live take". From it, this is new single 'A Lament'.

Lav has released new single 'Reds'. It is, she says, "a seductive and melancholy tune I whipped up after reflecting on romance in my adolescence. Dreamy and idealistic, without acknowledging the reality of an eventual expiration on the relationship".

Tsha has released new single 'Change', featuring Gabrielle Aplin. "She has a beautiful voice and is such a great writer", says Tsha. "We had such a good time working together".

Cuushe has released new single 'Magic', taken from her new album 'Waken', which is out on 20 Nov.

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


Ice Cube responds to claims he is supporting Donald Trump: "Our justice is bipartisan"
Ice Cube has clarified his position after a senior adviser to the Donald Trump re-election campaign thanked the rapper for his help developing policies aimed at African Americans. He said that he had spoken to both Democrats and Republicans about his Contract With Black America project, and that the Trump campaign had taken on board some of its recommendations.

"Shoutout to Ice Cube for his willingness to step up and work with [the Donald Trump] administration to help develop the [African American-focussed] Platinum Plan", tweeted Katrina Pierson earlier this week. "Leaders gonna lead, haters gonna hate. Thank you for leading!"

After fans expressed dismay that Cube was working with Trump, the rapper tweeted: "I put out the CWBA. Both parties contacted me. Dems said 'we'll address the CWBA after the election'. Trump campaign made some adjustments to their plan after talking to us about the CWBA".

Responding to one fan's accusation that he was "working with the Darkside", he added: "Every side is the Darkside for us here in America. They're all the same until something changes for us. They all lie and they all cheat, but we can't afford not to negotiate with whoever is in power or our condition in this country will never change. Our justice is bipartisan".

The Contract With Black America makes various recommendations to improve equality in the US, including reform of the country's legal and financial systems.


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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