TODAY'S TOP STORY: Twitch users have been getting, well, twitchy, to say the least, about the amount of content getting blocked on the platform of late because of music copyright complaints. That's because the music industry has been getting increasingly, well, twitchy, about the amount of unlicensed music swimming around the Amazon-owned livestreaming platform. In a new blog post Twitch has told the twitchy twitchers that it's busy building a better system for dealing with copyright complaints, while also trying to placate twitchy labels with some licensing chatter... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Twitch responds to music takedown frenzy, says music licences will take time or may never happen
LEGAL Donald Trump seeks dismissal of Electric Avenue lawsuit on fair use grounds
Nirvana company files another lawsuit over the band's smiley face

LIVE BUSINESS Ticketmaster says it won't be barring people from entering shows based on their COVID status (that'll be the promoter's job)
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Sonos announces new hi-def premium radio subscription
RELEASES Graham Coxon announces graphic novel project
ONE LINERS Rick James, Billie Eilish, Megan Thee Stallion, more
AND FINALLY... Allstar line-up features on new Children In Need single
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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.

Each webinar presents timely and easy-to-understand insights about a different music business topic, with plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

Attendees can also access online resources - including downloadable slides - and a recording of the webinar available for a month after the live session.

BOOK NOW at special rates - access to each individual webinar is just £25, plus there are further discounts if you book into multiple sessions.

Tuesday 17 Nov 2020 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
The music rights business has been more stable during the COVID-19 crisis, though certain revenue streams have taken a hit. Meanwhile, copyright law and the music industry's licensing systems continue to evolve. Get a speedy update on all the key developments in music rights with this webinar.
Tuesday 24 Nov 2020 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
Music distribution has changed a lot over the last fifteen years. This webinar reviews the evolution of digital distribution, explaining how distributors expanded their services and client base, and runs through the distribution options open to artists and labels today.
Tuesday 1 Dec 2020 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
As the legitimate digital music market has evolved so has online music piracy. This webinar looks at the piracy challenge over the last 20 years, how the music industry has sought to tackle the problem, and which anti-piracy tactics actually work today.
Tuesday 8 Dec 2020 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
The role of the artist manager has changed dramatically over the last two decades as artists themselves seek to take more control over their recorded music and fan relationships. What does management now involve, what skills and knowledge are required, and what should management deals look like?
Tuesday 12 Jan 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
The music rights business makes money by exploiting the controls that come with the copyrights in songs and recordings. Get to grips with all the basic principles of copyright law and how music copyright makes money in this user-friendly easy-to-follow webinar.
Tuesday 19 Jan 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
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Tuesday 26 Jan 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
Getting songwriters and artists paid when their songs and recordings are played often comes down to whether or not the right data is in the system. But what data? This webinar runs through all the key data points and explains how to get information into the system.
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Music Rights Data In Ten Steps
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Music Industry Basics In Ten Steps
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Streaming Challenges In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to the challenges facing the streaming business in 2020
Collective Licensing In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to the collective licensing system
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Twitch responds to music takedown frenzy, says music licences will take time or may never happen
Twitch users have been getting, well, twitchy, to say the least, about the amount of content getting blocked on the platform of late because of music copyright complaints. That's because the music industry has been getting increasingly, well, twitchy, about the amount of unlicensed music swimming around the Amazon-owned livestreaming platform. In a new blog post Twitch has told the twitchy twitchers that it's busy building a better system for dealing with copyright complaints, while also trying to placate twitchy labels with some licensing chatter.

Because it only has licences with a handful of collecting societies and DIY distributors, Twitch relies on the good old copyright safe harbour to avoid liability for all the uncleared music on its platform. That means that it has to respond to takedown requests from copyright owners. If it didn't, it would lose safe harbour protection and could be sued, sued, sued for the mega-bucks.

That said, until recently the music industry kind of ignored Twitch. There were a flurry of takedowns from the majors in 2018, leading to a flurry of copyright chatter in the Twitch community, but in the main very few takedown requests were issued against the Amazon platform.

That changed earlier this year. Partly because the COVID shutdown made everyone focus on livestreaming, and partly because Twitch has been proactively schmoozing artists as it seeks to expand its creator community beyond its core constituency of gamers. It's the on-demand clips of past livestreams that sit on the platform which have been mainly targeted.

"Until May of this year", Twitch said in its blog, "streamers received fewer than 50 music-related [takedowns] each year on Twitch. Beginning in May, however, representatives for the major record labels started sending thousands of [takedowns] each week that targeted creators' archives, mostly for snippets of tracks in years-old clips. We continue to receive large batches of notifications, and we don't expect that to slow down. We were as surprised by this sudden avalanche of notifications as many of you were".

It's because of that surprise that Twitch has been struggling to deal with the takedown requests, resulting in plenty of complaints from streamers on the platform about the lack of information they have been receiving as content has been blocked, and the lack of tools available to deal with those complaints.

"One of the mistakes we made", Twitch admitted, "was not building adequate tools to allow creators to manage their own [clip] libraries. You're rightly upset that the only option we providing was a mass deletion tool for clips, and that we only gave you three-days notice to use this tool. We could have developed more sophisticated, user-friendly tools awhile ago. That we didn't is on us".

Now that everyone's so damn twitchy about all this, Twitch plans to develop new systems and tools, pretty certain that the takedowns are going to keep flooding on in until it agrees licensing deals with much of the music industry. Meanwhile, how can streamers avoid copyright issues? By not using music in their streams. Or, rather, using tracks from a production music library.

Twitch, of course, has its own such library now called Soundtrack By Twitch, so streamers can take tracks from there no problem. Well, except that some music publishers reckon the song rights haven't been properly licensed for Twitch's own music library, but that's another story for another day.

Why doesn't Amazon just gets its over-sized cheque book out and get some licences from the twitchy labels so that the twitchy twitchers no longer have to worry about any of this shit?

Well, the Twitch blog continues, "we are actively speaking with the major record labels about potential approaches to additional licences that would be appropriate for the Twitch service. That said, the current constructs for licences that the record labels have with other services (which typically take a cut of revenue from creators for payment to record labels) make less sense for Twitch".

"The vast majority of our creators don't have recorded music as a part of their streams, and the revenue implications to creators of such a deal are substantial", it goes on. "We're open-minded to new structures that could work for Twitch's unique service, but we must be clear that they may take some time to materialise or may never happen at all". Fun times.

Interestingly, the Twitch blog confirms that the takedowns it receives don't usually relate to music in the soundtrack of any games appearing in livestreams, instead it's generally other music that may appear in the background of the video.

Though, it adds, "if you're playing games with recorded music in them, we recommend you review their end user licence agreements to see how the terms cover streaming with that music". Yeah, that sounds like fun. Happy small print reading all you twitchers out there!


Donald Trump seeks dismissal of Electric Avenue lawsuit on fair use grounds
Donald Trump's legal team are currently popping in and out of courthouses all across America as part of that grand experiment to see if any judge anywhere might respond positively to the US President's big pile of non-arguments and no-evidence regarding fraudulent voting in last week's big election. So it's almost impressive that they also had time to stop by a district court in New York to respond to Eddy Grant's copyright infringement lawsuit. But that they did. And with a lovely fair use defence.

By our maths, Grant was the 407,981st artist to complain about Trump using one of their songs in his political campaigning without permission. In most cases, artists get angry after their music is played at one of Trump's rallies. However, in Grant's case, his track 'Electric Avenue' was used in a campaign video that dissed Joe Biden. That's important in copyright terms, because whereas music played at rallies may be covered by a blanket licence from collecting societies like BMI and ASCAP, when a track is synchronised into an advert, a bespoke licence is required.

With the Trump campaign having no such licence, Grant sued in September. His lawsuit confirmed that neither he nor his companies "nor any agent on their respective behalves, has licensed any rights" in the 'Electric Avenue' song or recording "to either Mr Trump or [his campaign organisation], or otherwise consented to defendants' use of the [track] in connection with the infringing video".

But no licence was actually required, reckon Trump's attorneys in their response to that lawsuit. Because the campaign's use of Grant's track - alongside out-of-context excerpts from Biden's past speeches and interviews - was "fair use" under US copyright law. Fair use, of course, is the concept under US law that says people can make use of copyright works without permission, providing that usage is "fair".

In seeking to make a case for the fair use claim, Team Trump say that the video only used a portion of the track, that the usage didn't impact on the market value of the original record, and - perhaps most importantly - the use of 'Electric Avenue' was "transformative" and "comedic".

"A reasonable observer would perceive that the [campaign video] uses the song for a comedic, political purpose – a different and transformed purpose from that of the original song. Moreover, in light of the obvious comedic or satirical nature of the [video], a reasonable observer would regard the [video] as criticism or commentary".

While the fair use concept under US copyright law is somewhat ambiguous and open to interpretation, those don't seem like the strongest arguments for getting Grant's case dismissed on fair use grounds. Though they are by no means the weakest arguments presented by a Trump lawyer this week.


Nirvana company files another lawsuit over the band's smiley face
There is now fighting on a second front in what history will surely remember as the War Of The Smiley. Nirvana's company is suing a former Geffen Records designer who claims he created the band's iconic smiley face image, after those claims were used as a key defence argument in the band's ongoing legal dispute with fashion designer Marc Jacobs.

The fashion brand launched a grungy clothing line in 2018 which included a t-shirt clearly influenced by the famous smiley face image used by Nirvana on its merchandise back in the 1990s. That led to a lawsuit from Nirvana LLC, which controls many of the band's IP rights, accusing Marc Jacobs of copyright infringement.

The fashion firm initially tried to argue that because the smiley face on its t-shirt wasn't exactly the same to that which appeared on Nirvana t-shirts back in the day, there wasn't any copyright infringement. But it failed to get the case dismissed based on that argument alone.

So last week the Marc Jacobs company returned to court with a new argument. Nirvana LLC claimed that the late Kurt Cobain created the band's smiley face image, assigning the copyright in it to the band's company, thus giving it the rights to sue over the Marc Jacobs t-shirt.

However, the fashion firm argued that it had found a designer who used to work for Nirvana's label Geffen who said that he had created the image, and had never assigned any rights in it to the band's company. Therefore, Marc Jacobs argued, no copyrights owned by Nirvana LLC had been infringed and the case should be dismissed.

It actually went further than that, calling for the court to issue sanctions against Nirvana LLC for incorrectly presenting as "fact" in its original legal complaint that Cobain created the allegedly infringed image.

But now Nirvana LLC has launched a separate lawsuit against that former Geffen employee, Robert Fisher, who was an art director with the label. Its beef with Fisher actually goes beyond the Marc Jacobs litigation because, it seems, the designer has been making various claims regarding ownership of the original smiley face image since late last year.

Says the band's company in its new lawsuit: "25 years after the death of Nirvana band member Kurt Cobain, the person best situated to conclusively refute his recent claims, defendant Robert Fisher claims to own a copyright interest in a 'smiley face' design Nirvana first sold as part of 'happy face' t-shirts in 1991, which Nirvana registered for copyright in 1993".

"Merchandise bearing that smiley face design has been the band's most popular for years", it adds, "yet in the 29 years since the design's creation, Fisher never claimed any interest in it".

"Instead", it goes on, "in November 2019, Fisher claimed for the first time that he, not Cobain, created the smiley face design, and in the spring of 2020, Fisher for the first time began to claim that he, not Nirvana, owned a copyright in that smiley face design. In August 2020, Fisher filed a copyright registration to that effect and he now asserts that Nirvana has been using the smiley face design for the past almost three decades under an 'implied' licence he granted to Nirvana".

"Fisher claims he will terminate that 'licence' effective 1 Jan 2021, and that any further exploitation by Nirvana after that date will infringe his copyright in the smiley face design. Nirvana seeks declaratory relief establishing that its US copyright in the smiley face image and t-shirt design is valid and Fisher's copyright registration is not".

So that's all fun, isn't it? Later in its lawsuit, Nirvana LLC also says that Geffen itself has always credited Cobain as the creator of the smiley face image and makes no claim to the copyright in it. So that's good. It's always nice to have an ally when you're fighting a war on two fronts.


Ticketmaster says it won't be barring people from entering shows based on their COVID status (that'll be the promoter's job)
Ticketmaster has offered some clarifications on reports that it plans to require ticketholders to have proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or recent negative test in order to get into live shows once things get back up and running. Although the Live Nation company's President Mark Yovich did talk up having tools in place to assess the COVID status of gig-goers, that's simply a service it is making available to venues and promoters. It's not for Ticketmaster to set the actual rules.

Speaking to the BBC, the ticketing firm said that verifying vaccine statuses and test results in its app was "one potential idea" that's being considered in order to get the live music business back to full capacity shows. However, it added, there will be "absolutely no requirement" across the board for people to prove that they have been vaccinated, and the ticketing company itself is "not forcing anyone to do anything".

"Ticketmaster does not have the power to set policies around safety/entry requirements, which would include vaccines and/or testing protocols", it continued. "That is up to the discretion of the event organiser. Ticketmaster continues to work with event organisers on all COVID safety measures and it will be up to each event organiser to set future requirements, based on their preferences and local health guidelines".

So basically, Ticketmaster has the tools, but when it comes to deciding whether those tools get used, well that's someone else's problem. Basically it's saying it just providing the tools for denying people access to shows, not dragging them out itself.

The proposals were reported earlier this week by Billboard, along with a quote from Yovich confirming that it was all in the works. "We're already seeing many third-party health care providers prepare to handle the vetting – whether that is getting a vaccine, taking a test, or other methods of review and approval – which could then be linked via a digital ticket so everyone entering the event is verified", he said.


Sonos announces new hi-def premium radio subscription
Having launched its own free-to-access content service earlier this year, Sonos has now launched a paid subscription version of it.

Sonos Radio was launched in April, aggregating feeds from 60,000 radio stations from around the world, as well as providing various pieces of original content. That includes ad-supported genre and artist-specific stations, including one curated by Radiohead's Thom Yorke, plus a more conventional radio station called Sonos Sound System.

It's the original content that is covered by this new premium subscription, giving users access to ad-free, high definition audio. The amount of exclusive content on offer will also be expanded, with more artist-curated stations, more genre-based stations, and lots of sounds for sleep and relaxation.

One of the new artist-specific stations is fronted by Dolly Parton, called Songteller Radio, which will feature her own songs, her favourite songs by other artists, and commentary from the artist herself on her songs and career.

"I had so much fun getting to share little stories and tidbits from the songs that have made up my life and career", says Parton. "My new station brings to life some of my favourite music and stories, similar to those that readers will explore in my first lyric book, 'Songteller', as well as my new Christmas album, 'A Holly Dolly Christmas'. Sharing stories with fans is very special to me - and hopefully new listeners will enjoy them too!"

So, yeah, it's ad-free, but Dolly is selling something. Or some things. Anyway, Sonos CEO Patrick Spence adds: "Sonos Radio is a result of our unwavering commitment to great sound experiences - thoughtfully curated music in incredible sound from the moment our customers set up".

"Sonos Radio HD means even more choice and better sound for Sonos customers", he goes on. "As we continue to innovate to make listening to your favourite audio content at home easier and more enjoyable, Sonos Radio shows the potential of the new experiences we can bring from our platform of hardware, software, and services".

Find out more about the new service here.


CMU Insights: Three webinars providing an overview of the last year in the music business
CMU Insights is currently presenting a three-part series of webinars providing a concise overview of all the key trends and developments that have happened in the music business in the last twelve months.

Parts one and two have already taken place, with the third and final webinar on Tuesday. However, you can still take part in the full series - we can provide access to recordings of webinars one and two, as well as access to the live webinar next week.

The specific topics covered are as follows...

Top Five Music Industry Developments In 2020 | Recording Available Now

Top Five Streaming Developments In 2020 | Recording Available Now

Top Five Copyright Developments In 2020 | 17 Nov

Get access to the full series here.

Graham Coxon announces graphic novel project
Graham Coxon has announced a graphic novel and accompanying soundtrack album called 'Superstate', which has seen him collaborate with fifteen comic book artists and two co-writers.

"'Superstate' is a story of escape", says Coxon. "In a society where war rages between the forces, negativity and positivity, encouragement and discouragement, the fragile road to freedom burns its way through the far reaches of space".

Josh Frankel of publisher Z2 adds: "We at Z2 feel that we are setting the standard for the relationship between comic book storytelling and music, and Graham Coxon's 'Superstate' is a high watermark for our company's brief history and bright future".

"We wanted to ensure that Graham's vision was brought to life in the most authentic way possible", he goes on, "and have assembled a team that has delivered a book that is essential to the album experience. I am so proud of the way this project has come together".

The book and soundtrack will be released in March. Watch a trailer here.



Hipgnosis has acquired a 50% stake in the publishing catalogue and master recording rights of Rick James. "Rick James was a true innovator", says founder Merck Mercuriadis. "His 'punk funk' philosophy and style paved the way and influenced everyone from Prince to Michael Jackson to Jay Z and the biggest names in hip hop. He's one of the most sampled and interpolated creators of all time whose works have been turned into huge successes by MC Hammer, Lana Del Ray and Kendrick Lamar just to name a few".



Billie Eilish has released new single 'Therefore I Am'. So good.

Good news! Megan Thee Stallion has announced that she will release her debut album on 20 Nov. It is titled... 'Good News'.

Run The Jewels have released new track 'No Save Point', taken from the soundtrack of upcoming video game 'Cyberpunk 2077'.

Deftones have released another track from their upcoming 'White Pony' remix album, 'Black Stallion'. This one's a Mike Shinoda rework of 'Passenger' and it's very, very good.

The HeavyTrackerz have released new single 'Put The Word Out', featuring Ghetts and Asher D.

Django Django have announced that they will release their fourth album, 'Glowing In The Dark', on 12 Feb. Here, just for you, is the title track.

Haiku Hands have released new single 'Suck My Cherry', written for upcoming horror-comedy film 'Freaky'. "It was our first experience writing a track from start to finish over Zoom", says the band. "It was also a new experience to write from a brief, one we could get behind as they were saying 'make it weirder'".

Liza Owen has released new single 'Starry Eyed'.

Pom Poko have released new single 'Like A Lady'. Their new album, 'Cheater', is set for release on 15 Jan.

Tennin has released a new version of her track 'We Take A Ride', featuring St3ph.

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


Allstar line-up features on new Children In Need single
This year's Children In Need single has been released to coincide with, well, Children In Need, which is today. The song, a cover of Oasis's 'Stop Crying Your Heart Out', features numerous artists, including Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue, Lenny Kravitz, Bryan Adams and Cher.

Produced by Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling, artists were recorded remotely around the world. Radio 2 Head Of Music Jeff Smith, who curated the line-up of artists involved, says: "I would like to thank Mark Taylor and Brian Rawling for brilliantly producing this record plus Phill Deacon for making an amazing film of the song".

"I'd also like to thank every single artist and musician who helped bring this extraordinary track to life", he adds. "I think the lyrics within this song are extremely poignant given the times we are in, and hope this song not only raises vital funds for children and young people across the UK, but also brings hope to people that need it, as the lyrics say 'just try not to worry, you'll see them someday'".

Kylie Minogue comments: "Children In Need is such a special charity and so loved by everyone, including me. It was a privilege to take part in this recording with so many amazing artists. This year it feels even more poignant than ever, and I hope we can all come together to raise as much as possible".

The full line-up for the track is: Bryan Adams, Izzy Bizu, Cher, Clean Bandit, Mel C, Jamie Cullum, Ella Eyre, Paloma Faith, Rebecca Ferguson, Jess Glynne, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, Lenny Kravitz, KSI, Lauv, Ava Max, Kylie Minogue, James Morrison, Gregory Porter, Nile Rodgers, Jack Savoretti, Jay Sean, Anoushka Shankar, Robbie Williams and Yola.

The backing track was performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra alongside Grace Chatto and Sheku Kanneh-Mason on cello and Anoushka Shankar on sitar.

At least 50p from every download sale will go to Children In Need. The video for the track will premiere during tonight's telethon. Find out more and listen to the track here.


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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