TODAY'S TOP STORY: Broadcaster HBO yesterday urged the Ninth Circuit appeals court in the US to overturn a lower court judgement that would force its ongoing dispute with the Michael Jackson estate into arbitration. The whole case centres on a 1992 contract between HBO and Jackson, with this particular element of the legal battle basically asking whether an arbitration clause in that contract means that only an arbitrator can decide whether or not that arbitration clause is still in effect... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES HBO urges Ninth Circuit to stop its Leaving Neverland dispute with the Jackson estate from going to arbitration
DEALS Primary Wave acquires Disturbed's music rights
Japan's NexTone joins IMPEL
Electric Feel partners with Universal Music Publishing for European launch

LABELS & PUBLISHERS BPI aims to boost diversity by offering free membership to labels run by people from underrepresented backgrounds
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Rotor Videos announces SoundCloud partnership
ONE LINERS Robbie Williams, BTS, Miley Cyrus & Dua Lipa, more
AND FINALLY... Warner Music creates new radio edit of Fairytale Of New York, to the annoyance of homophobia fans
Check out all the latest job opportunities with CMU Jobs. To advertise your job opportunities here email [email protected] or call 020 7099 9060.
FKP Scorpio is looking for someone to lead the marketing team, creating and managing marketing campaigns for concerts, tours and festivals across the UK, plus overseeing and coordinating marketing for our European Touring division.

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Erased Tapes is currently seeking a highly organised Production Assistant to support the company Director and Production Manager in their regular administrative duties. The chosen candidate will assist with the production and distribution of Erased Tapes products (digital and physical), including vinyl records, CDs, and label merchandise.

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Secretly Distribution is looking for a Digital Content Manager to be based in London (this position will be work from home until further notice).

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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 you can book into four webinars for £75 and all nine for just £150.

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
Sometimes the music industry licenses through direct deals, other times it employs the collective licensing approach. Fully understand how collective licensing works - in the UK and around the world - in this user-friendly easy-to-follow webinar.
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.
Tuesday 2 Feb 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
Streaming now accounts for more than half of recorded music revenues worldwide - and in many countries it's much bigger than that. Get fully up to speed on all the key trends and developments in the global streaming music market in this super timely webinar.
Tuesday 9 Feb 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
The streaming business is complex in terms of how services are licensed, and how artists and songwriters get paid. Get to grips with it all via our concise user-friendly guide to digital licensing and streaming royalties - explained in full in just ten steps.
Tuesday 16 Feb 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
Streaming is a revenue share game, with digital dollars shared out each month between artists, songwriters, labels and publishers. We explain how the money is currently split up and talk through why some people in the industry believe a different approach is needed.s.
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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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HBO urges Ninth Circuit to stop its Leaving Neverland dispute with the Jackson estate from going to arbitration
Broadcaster HBO yesterday urged the Ninth Circuit appeals court in the US to overturn a lower court judgement that would force its ongoing dispute with the Michael Jackson estate into arbitration. The whole case centres on a 1992 contract between HBO and Jackson, with this particular element of the legal battle basically asking whether an arbitration clause in that contract means that only an arbitrator can decide whether or not that arbitration clause is still in effect.

The Jackson estate sued HBO in February last year over the broadcaster's airing of 'Leaving Neverland', the headline-grabbing documentary that put the spotlight back on allegations of child abuse made against the late musician by Wade Robson and James Safechuck.

The estate claims that when HBO broadcast footage of Jackson's live shows all the way back in 1992 it signed a contract that included a promise to never "disparage" the star. The airing of 'Leaving Neverland' - and Robson and Safechuck's allegations - constituted disparagement, the estate reckons. HBO counters that the 1992 agreement is no longer in effect, adding that it would never have voluntarily given up its First Amendment free speech rights in perpetuity.

As the dispute progressed, the estate filed a motion seeking to force the matter to arbitration, rather than a proper court hearing, citing an arbitration clause in the contract. HBO opposed that motion, mainly on free speech grounds. But the lower court judge George H Wu said that he couldn't find any precedent to support HBO's arguments for avoiding arbitration and, as a result, he granted the estate's motion.

However, Wu nevertheless conceded that this was a very unusual case that could probably do with the input of a higher court. And when HBO confirmed that it planned to take the matter to the Ninth Circuit, Wu put his arbitration order on hold. Which is why legal reps for both sides were presenting their arguments to the appeals court yesterday.

According to Law360, HBO's lawyer Theodore J Boutrous Jr argued that the 1992 contract is completely irrelevant to the dispute over 'Leaving Neverland', which makes the arbitration clause in it as irrelevant as the non-disparagement clause HBO is accused of breaching.

Seeking to back up that argument, Boutrous insisted that there is no language in the 1992 contract to suggest clauses in it would be binding "in perpetuity". He added: "There isn't a perpetual right to arbitrate; there was no agreement to that. It's unreasonable to assume that HBO would have given up its right to litigate in court".

Needless to say, the Jackson estate did not concur. Its lawyer, Jonathan Steinsapir, argued that the non-disparagement clause in the 1992 contract isn't limited in any way, meaning the agreement is still in force, which also includes the arbitration clause. And the only person who could dispute that would be the arbitrator brought into the case by the arbitration clause.

While Boutrous argued that it was "absurd" to suggest HBO would voluntarily give up its free speech rights in relation to Jackson forever, the estate's legal reps countered that the musician was at the peak of his stardom at the time of the agreement and was therefore able to command a strong non-disparagement provision be included in it.

And, Steinsapir added, given the large amount of tabloid gossip about Jackson that was circulating in the early 1990s, it wasn't surprising that the star would want a provision of that kind included.

With both sides having presented their arguments, the Ninth Circuit judges are now mulling it all over.


Primary Wave acquires Disturbed's music rights
Primary Wave has acquired the publishing rights and recording royalty rights of metal band Disturbed. The company will also work with the band to market their name and likeness.

"Over the past 20 years, Disturbed's genre-defining music has broken down barriers with their iconic sound, instantly-recognisable melodies and uncanny ability to reimagine songs with an aggressive swagger all their own", says Robert Dippold, President Of Digital Strategy for Primary Wave.

"The band has done a tremendous job [of] building a rabid community and brand around their music, as evidenced by their five consecutive number one albums and sold out world tours", he goes on. "We are THRILLED to welcome them to our family and cannot wait to jump in and do what we do best – build upon their legacy and continue to position Disturbed as one of the premiere hard rock acts".

The band's last album, 'Evolution', was released in 2018. In September this year, they released a cover of Sting's 'If Ever I Lose My Faith In You'.


Japan's NexTone joins IMPEL
Japanese song rights agency NexTone has joined IMPEL, the organisation that negotiates direct deals in the digital domain on behalf of an assortment of independent music publishers.

NexTone is basically a privately owned collecting society which provides mechanical, digital and broadcast licensing services to an assortment of music publishers, as well as the music divisions of various gaming and animation companies in Japan.

The approximately 200,000 works it represents will now be included in the multi-territory deals that IMPEL negotiates with the big streaming platforms.

Announcing the deal, NexTone COO Yuji Arakawa said: "Digital services play a crucial role in the current music market, and digital service providers that operate multi-territory services have become more and more important. Amid such circumstances, this agreement between IMPEL and NexTone is of great significance for us. We are delighted that it will create new opportunities for a wider range of audiences around the world to listen to wonderful music by Japanese artists".

Meanwhile IMPEL boss Sarah Williams added: "Concluding this deal with NexTone is an important and strategic step for IMPEL in developing its global reach. Not only is it an opportunity to optimise digital revenue for a significant part of the Japanese market but it also cements a relationship with an organisation that has a very similar philosophy to our own".

"Both IMPEL and NexTone have started something new and different because they weren't prepared to accept the status quo", she goes on, "and they have both made strong commitments to a fair and equitable remuneration model that values the work of the creator in the digital environment. There is so much potential to be unlocked for both sides here, and we are very excited about the future".


Electric Feel partners with Universal Music Publishing for European launch
Universal Music Publishing has signed a new deal with Electric Feel Entertainment focused on expanding the latter's European operations through the creation of Electric Feel Publishing Europe.

LA-based Electric Feel is known for being an early partner of songwriters including Post Malone, Rich The Kid, Travis Scott and Iann Dior. Its European division is being run by Berlin-based artist management firms Two Sides and A Million Entertainment, with support from advertising agency Dojo.

"I am THRILLED that we are expanding our global partnership with Austin Rosen and his company Electric Feel", says UMPG CEO Jody Gerson. "As [they] continue to sign hit songwriters in Europe, the UMPG team looks forward to supporting and developing that talent around the world".

Rosen, who founded Electric Feel in 2013, adds: "We are THRILLED to partner with such an impressive group of individuals at UMPG, Two Sides, A Million and Dojo to propel Electric Feel into the European marketplace and continue to expand our global footprint with the launch of Electric Feel Publishing Europe. We look forward to working alongside Thomas and the whole UMPG team to help maximise this vision and bring it to life".

Electric Feel Europe's first signings are German rap producers Minor2Go, Palazzo and Jumpa.


BPI aims to boost diversity by offering free membership to labels run by people from underrepresented backgrounds
UK record label trade body the BPI has launched a new Membership Inclusion Programme, aiming to provide support for small music companies run by people from backgrounds that have previously been underserved by the music industry.

The scheme will see 20 companies run by people from underrepresented categories - including women, people from a black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds, people with disabilities, or those who identify as LGBTQIA+ - given one year's BPI membership for free. This will provide them with free access to BPI training, legal support and access to copyright protection services, research insights, and more.

"Everyone is rightly upping their game to more actively promote equality and inclusion across our industry, and the BPI has been working hard to make a difference also", says the organisation's Senior Special Projects Manager Casandra Strauss. "Among other initiatives, we recently launched equality training aimed at reducing the barriers that undermine equality of opportunity for all, and we feel we can now build on this in a simple but effective way by offering 20 free memberships to companies from underrepresented categories. In doing so, we hope to support the next, diverse generation of leaders".

Co-Chairs of BPI's Equality And Justice Advisory Group, Paulette Long and Kwame Kwaten, add: "2020 has further highlighted that there are so many talented people of all backgrounds out there that could offer so much to our industry, but, they can sometimes lack the support structure or network that would help them to further develop their career path or organisation. We welcome this new BPI initiative, which recognises the need to support future leaders, particularly those from underrepresented categories who often have to overcome more barriers than most if they are to succeed".

Applications for the new scheme are open now and close at 6pm on 10 Dec. Successful applicants' free memberships will commence on 1 Jan 2021. Find out more and apply here.


Rotor Videos announces SoundCloud partnership
AI-powered music video creation app Rotor Videos announced an alliance with SoundCloud earlier this week. Under the deal, SoundCloud Pro Unlimited members will get a 20% discount on all of Rotor's services, which use clever tech to make it easier and cheaper for artists and labels to create video content. SoundCloud, of course, has been busy of late expanding the range of services and tools it offers creators via its Pro package.

The SoundCloud alliance comes as Rotor launches a number of new subscription plans itself, including a DIY level at $19 a month. There's also a 'pro' and 'indie' plan as well as the bespoke packages available to larger labels.

Says Rotor Videos CEO Diarmuid Moloney: "It is a privilege to partner with SoundCloud as a renowned company trusted and utilised by so many musicians globally, and whose business values align with Rotor's. We both strive to provide tools to empower the spectrum of talent in the creative communities we serve, with one place to engage an audience, polish and finish creations, monetise music and distribute to the world".

Meanwhile, the company's recently appointed Head Of Partner Development, Alex Branson, added: "As we work to make Rotor the video provider of choice for music makers, it is great to partner with SoundCloud as a leader in its field. We look forward to seeing, and sharing, the abundance of music video creations from its talented creator community".


Check out all the upcoming CMU Insights webinars
Don't forget CMU is currently presenting a weekly webinar, every Tuesday at 2.30pm London time. There are three more sessions to go this side of Christmas, with six more open for bookings in the new year.

Each session provides a concise and easy-to-follow overview of a different aspect of the music business, and a recording can also be accessed for a month after the live webinar itself.

You can book into individual sessions for just £25, or book into multiple webinars and get further discounts. You can also book into all nine for just £150.

Here is what's coming up...

The Evolution Of Music Distribution | 24 Nov
The Evolution Of Music Piracy | 1 Dec
The Evolution Of Artist Management | 8 Dec
Making Money From Music Copyright | 12 Jan
Collective Licensing Explained – Get Played, Get Paid | 19 Jan
Music Rights Data Made Simple | 26 Jan
Streaming Explained – The Digital Market In 2021 | 2 Feb
Streaming Explained – How Digital Licensing Works | 9 Feb
Streaming Explained – How Money Gets Shared | 16 Feb


Reservoir has announced a joint venture agreement with film score and soundtrack production company Atlantic Screen Music. The two companies will invest in a series of film score and soundtrack projects together. "We're looking forward to building a strong partnership with one of America's top independent publishers allowing [us] a stronger presence in the US market", says Atlantic Screen CEO Simon Fawcett.



UK record label trade group BPI has announced the election of Snapper Music MD Fred Jude and the re-election of Absolute Label Services MD Henry Semmence to the trade body's key management and policy forum the BPI Council.

Warner Music's Elektra Music Group in the US has hired Jacob Fain as Senior Vice President, A&R and Head Of Research & Analytics. He was previously at Sony/ATV. Elektra co-Presidents Gregg Nadel and Mike Easterlin are both "THRILLED".



Suede are inviting fans to contribute to their new album. "Anyone who wants to get involved should submit a voice recording", they say. "For now we can say no more than that". They then say a great deal more than that in a detailed set of instructions.



Robbie Williams has released a new pandemic-themed Christmas song 'Can't Stop Christmas'.

BTS have released the video for new song 'Life Goes On', taken from their new album 'Be', which is out TODAY - AAAAAAAARGH!

Dua Lipa and Miley Cyrus have released a new single together called 'Prisoner'. Cyrus's new album 'Plastic Hearts' is out next week.

Megan Thee Stallion has released a video for 'Body' from her debut album 'Good News', which is also out today.

Sia has released new single 'Hey Boy'. The track is taken from her upcoming feature film 'Music', which stars Kate Hudson.

Fiona Apple has released the video for 'Shameika' from her latest album 'Fetch The Bolt Cutters'. She's also released a new track, 'Shameika Says', with the real life Shameika who inspired the earlier song.

Nas has released new track 'Fallen Stars Flying', taken from the soundtrack of new HBO series 'Between The World And Me'.

James Blake has covered 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face'.

Lana Del Rey has covered George Gershwin's 'Summertime'.

Slowthai will release his new album, 'Tyron', on 5 Feb 2021. Here's new single 'NHS'.

Danny Brown has released the video for 'Savage Nomad' from his 'Uknowwhatimsayin¿' album. He's also announced that his annual Bruiser Thanksgiving show will this year be a livestream, taking place on 25 Nov. More info here.

Ava Max has released new single 'My Head & My Heart'. The brand new track has also been added to her 'Heaven & Hell' album.

G Flip has released new single 'I'd Rather Go To Bed'. "I think despite the fact the song is written about depression, it carries an almost promising tone of anticipation in the peace we all feel when we sleep and specifically dream", she says.

ARO - aka Aimee Osbourne - has released new single 'House Of Lies'.

FEMM have released the video for new Danny L Harle-produced track 'Peach'. Their new album, '4040 Not Found', is also out today.

Sibille Attar has released new single 'Why U Lookin'. Her new album, 'A History of Silence', is set for release on 26 Feb.

Dry Cleaning have released new single 'Scratchcard Lanyard'. "In the search for your true calling in life, it's easy to try so many things that you end up confused", say the band. "It can lead to an enormous build-up of frustration. You may fantasise about exacting revenge upon your real or imagined enemies. Ephemeral things and small-scale escapist experiences can provide some relief!"

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


Warner Music creates new radio edit of Fairytale Of New York, to the annoyance of homophobia fans
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat! You probably can't even say that now can you? What if the fat geese are offended? Bloody hell, what a bunch of snowflakes. That's how it goes though, isn't it?

Anyway, as noted, the festive season is approaching, so it's time once again to have an argument about whether or not saying the word 'faggot' in a pop song is appropriate in this day and age. The answer is, it depends, context is everything, and you really shouldn't get angry if people decide it's not.

Yeah, so, 'The Fairytale Of New York' by The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl - the undisputed greatest Christmas song of all time - is in the news again due to its more unsavoury lyrics. Specifically the words 'faggot' and 'slut'. This debate is whipped up every year now as a way to alert the general public to the fact that they should probably be thinking about buying Christmas presents soon. Oh, and also to remind people who like giving the BBC a good kicking to give the BBC a good kicking.

The Beeb has been trying to find an answer to whether and how the song should be censored for more than a decade - first cutting out the word 'faggot' in 2007, but later returning it to the song. This year it's decided to look at the issue across different demographics and act accordingly.

So, on Radio 1, where the station's younger audience are apparently more likely to be offended by the offending words, an edited version will be used. On Radio 2, where older listens generally aren't fussed about that sort of thing, the original will be played. And on 6 Music, it will be up to individual presenters to decide.

"We know the song is considered a Christmas classic and we will continue to play it this year, with our radio stations choosing the version of the song most relevant for their audience", says the BBC in a statement.

Fair enough, you might say. Or you might not, if you believe that such words should always be censored, regardless of who is listening. Or, more likely, if you for some reason have decided that everyone should be forced to listen to words that you think are just fine, regardless of whether or not they want to or not. You probably tweeted something like that shortly after calling 'WAP' "disgusting", didn't you?

Two years ago, the writer of 'Fairytale', Shane MacGowan, said that his intention had never been to offend, but to make sure that the language used by the two characters in the lyrics was true to 1940s New York, where the song is set. But he also agreed that awareness of this intention may have been lost over time.

"Sometimes characters in songs and stories have to be evil or nasty in order to tell the story effectively", he said. However, "if people don't understand that I was trying to accurately portray the character as authentically as possible then I am absolutely fine with them bleeping the word".

So he'd be fine with bleeping. Actually, there won't be any bleeps on the BBC, because a decent amount of effort has gone into creating a 'faggot' free radio edit with Warner Music creating a new version using a live performance of the song to replace the most offensive line. As a result, "you cheap lousy faggot" is replaced with "you're cheap and you're haggard". So now there's a whole new line that's just as easy to sing along to but which maintains the malevolent spirit of the original.

Radio 1 has gone one step further and also removed the word 'slut', creating a radio edit of a radio edit. But, maybe, with the line that traditionally causes the annual hoo haa, everyone's finally cracked it. Maybe we've found a way to deal with this song that no one can legitimately complain about!

Of course, that doesn't mean they can't and won't complain. One-man outrage generator Laurence Fox has been complaining about it, for starters, because that appears to be his job. Although when he did so The Pogues responded on Twitter by telling him to "fuck off you little herrenvolk shite". That's a fancy way of calling him a Nazi, by the way. A little Christmas gift for you there.

Actually, I think we should be more upset that this argument seems to be arriving earlier than ever this year. It's mid-November! It's far too early to be getting upset about Christmas music. Although, according to the Official Charts Company, the pandemic has got people playing festive tunes early this year, with sales and streams 51% higher than at this point in 2019.

"After what has been a year to forget for the vast majority of us, it also seems to be the year when Christmas is starting earlier than ever – with Christmas songs surging stronger and earlier than we've ever seen in the past", says OCC chief exec Martin Talbot. "This says volumes for the power of song – and Christmas songs in particular – to raise our spirits at even the most challenging of times".

Well, in that case, let's all raise our spirits now with the newly edited version of 'Fairytale Of New York'.


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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