TODAY'S TOP STORY: An appeals court in the US has upheld a lower court ruling that said a dispute between broadcaster HBO and the Michael Jackson estate should go to arbitration. It was the estate that sought to enforce an arbitration clause in a 1992 contract between the two parties as a dispute over the 'Leaving Neverland' documentary went through the motions... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Ninth Circuit agrees that the Leaving Neverland dispute should go to arbitration
LEGAL German court says YouTube doesn't have to share email and IP addresses of copyright-infringing users
DEALS FUGA allies with Space Shower Networks on new Japanese digital distribution venture
LABELS & PUBLISHERS IMPALA welcomes 2.2 billion euro budget commitment for next phase of Creative Europe
MEDIA Asian Network begins search for twelve new voices to front new weekly show
ARTIST NEWS Jesy Nelson leaves Little Mix
ONE LINERS Robbie Williams, Becky Hill, Alice Cooper, more
AND FINALLY... Justin Bieber and LadBaby looking like key contenders for Christmas number one
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Ninth Circuit agrees that the Leaving Neverland dispute should go to arbitration
An appeals court in the US has upheld a lower court ruling that said a dispute between broadcaster HBO and the Michael Jackson estate should go to arbitration. It was the estate that sought to enforce an arbitration clause in a 1992 contract between the two parties as a dispute over the 'Leaving Neverland' documentary went through the motions.

The estate sued HBO in February last year over the latter's decision to air the headline-grabbing documentary that put the spotlight back on allegations of child abuse made against the Jackson by Wade Robson and James Safechuck.

Legal reps for the estate claimed that, by broadcasting 'Leaving Neverland', HBO was in breach of a contract the media firm entered into with Jackson all the way back in 1992 when it aired one of the musician's concerts. That contract included a commitment by HBO to never "disparage" Jackson, and the estate argued that broadcasting Robson and Safechuck's allegations against the late musician constituted disparagement.

As the dispute progressed, the estate filed a motion seeking to force the matter to arbitration, rather than a proper court hearing, citing the arbitration clause in the 1992 contract. HBO opposed that motion, mainly on free speech grounds. But 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.

HBO appealed, arguing in the Ninth Circuit appeals court that there was no language in the 1992 contract to suggest clauses in it would be binding "in perpetuity". But the estate countered that the arbitration clause in that agreement was wide-ranging and in no way limited to any specific time period. Meaning that only an arbitrator could decide if the contract was still in force, including - somewhat ironically - the arbitration clause.

Judges in the Ninth Circuit yesterday sided with the estate by upholding Wu's original ruling, stating: "An arbitration clause can still bind the parties, even if the parties fully performed the contract years ago".

The Ninth Circuit judges noted that HBO does not dispute that the 1992 contract was valid nor that it contained an arbitration clause. Its argument is simply that the arbitration obligation is no longer in play, but the appeal judges concluded that that argument doesn't hold.

Therefore it is now for an arbitrator to decide on the actual dispute here, ie whether the other contract term covering disparagement is still in play, and if so whether the airing of 'Leaving Neverland' breached that term, and possibly whether the broadcaster's free speech rights are a valid defence.


German court says YouTube doesn't have to share email and IP addresses of copyright-infringing users
A court in Germany has ruled that YouTube is not obliged to hand over to copyright owners the email addresses, IP addresses or phone numbers of users who have uploaded copyright-infringing content. There is an obligation to provide the physical mailing addresses of such users, but only if YouTube has them. Which it doesn't, normally.

This ruling is the conclusion of a very long-running copyright dispute between the Google video site and movie firm Constantin Film, which ultimately found its way to the European Court Of Justice.

While most copyright owners simply issue takedowns against YouTube itself when users upload infringing content - often via the video site's Content ID system - there is nothing to stop said copyright owners also seeking to sue the users directly for copyright infringement. Which is what Constantin Film considered doing after movies it controlled the German rights to were posted onto YouTube.

The challenge with that approach, though, is knowing who to sue. It's generally agreed that courts in Europe have the power to tell YouTube to hand over contact information relating to infringing users, but the debate in the Constantin Film case was what information precisely? The relevant European Union directive just says "names and addresses". But what kind of addresses?

Given that obligation comes from European law, once the Constantin v YouTube case reached Germany's Federal Court Of Justice judges there bounced the matter up to the EU courts.

Earlier this year, the EU judges concluded that when European law talked about "names and addresses" it meant "addresses" in the standard and narrow sense of the word, so mailing address. In the absence of a mailing address, "addresses" couldn't simply be reinterpreted to mean an email address or IP address.

Although, it should be added, what the EU judges said was that European law didn't oblige member state courts to force YouTube to hand over email and IP addresses as well as mailing addresses. However, they added, nor did European law forbid member state courts from doing such a thing, but there was no obligation at an EU level so it was a matter for national law.

This meant that, once the case returned to Germany's Federal Court Of Justice, judges could still demand YouTube provide Constantin Film with more information about the copyright infringing users. But, in a ruling last week, they declined to do so.

In its ruling, the court said that YouTube was not obliged to share email or IP address under either EU or German law. Whether that really matters to Constantin Film in the context of the movie uploads from 2013 and 2014 that kickstarted this case is debatable. Although, obviously, its the clarity the judgement provides regarding YouTube's wider obligations that matters.


FUGA allies with Space Shower Networks on new Japanese digital distribution venture
Downtown-owned music distributor FUGA has announced a new partnership with Japanese music firm Space Shower Networks which will see the two businesses launch a new digital distribution venture in Japan early next year.

Space Shower already provides distribution, sales and marketing services to independent music companies in Japan. But, says the official statement, the all new Space Shower FUGA business will allow "Space Shower's digital distribution clients to benefit from FUGA's comprehensive range of technology services", while FUGA will get "a unique platform to develop its existing business and service its large international client base in Japan".

The record industry's shift to digital has happened much slower in Japan, of course, with the country's recorded music market still making 68% of its revenues by selling physical discs in 2019. Nevertheless, the shift to digital is now very much underway, with subscription streaming up 33% in the country last year.

That was something noted by Space Shower Networks boss Masashi Kondo when confirming the FUGA alliance earlier today. He said: "The Japanese digital market has been developing at a tremendous speed in recent years and changing the way music is consumed. FUGA's cutting-edge technology and marketing capability make them the perfect partner to help grow our business and deliver the utmost value to our artists".

Meanwhile, FUGA CEO Pieter van Rijn added: "This JV is the ideal collaboration for FUGA to drive the company's continuing global expansion. The hugely experienced and professional Space Shower Networks team will be an enormous asset for both existing and future FUGA clients within the important Japanese music market".


IMPALA welcomes 2.2 billion euro budget commitment for next phase of Creative Europe
The pan-European trade group for the independent music community, IMPALA, has welcomed the news that a 2.2 billion euro budget has been agreed for the European Union's Creative Europe programme, which seeks to support the cultural and creative sectors across Europe.

The next seven year phase of the initiative will also include specific objectives in the music space for the first time. Music projects have been eligible for funding since Creative Europe originally launched in 2014, though there weren't funds specifically allocated to music, and such projects made up a small percentage of the total budget spent.

A specific music strand will be added in the next phase, with Creative Europe building on work done since 2018 via the separate and smaller music-specific EU programme Music Moves Europe.

Confirming that the European Parliament and all the member states of the EU had now agreed to the new Creative Europe budget, the EU's Commissioner For Innovation, Research, Culture, Education And Youth, Mariya Gabriel, said: "I welcome the political agreement on the new Creative Europe programme. The programme has been critical for promoting Europe's cultural diversity as well as the competitiveness of cultural and creative sectors. Now it has been modernised to better equip these sectors to face today's challenges, including those brought about by the pandemic".

Welcoming the news from a music perspective, IMPALA Executive Chair Helen Smith added: "The combination of an increased budget and a new focus on music opens up many opportunities in terms of funding for music projects. Building on all the work done with Music Moves Europe, which was designed to lay the ground for larger-scale support for the sector under Creative Europe, the EU should be able to show renewed ambition for music and hit the ground running".


Asian Network begins search for twelve new voices to front new weekly show
The BBC Asian Network has begun a search for "twelve unique and exciting new voices, who live and breathe British Asian culture and have a passion for reporting on the latest in music, current affairs and the world of entertainment". Those voices will then be heard on a new Sunday afternoon show on the station that will kick off in March.

Each person recruited via this talent search programme will present four two hour shows over the next year. And the BBC station says that, although "the search for new voices will focus on those whose strengths lie in presenting", people with no previous radio experience are still encouraged to apply.

Announcing the talent search, the network's boss Ahmed Hussain said: "Asian Network is all about your voice and I'm excited to hear from the next generation of presenters from right across the UK. This is a chance to represent what you're really about and what you can bring to the Asian Network. We've created a brand new two hour slot on Sundays to ensure that we give the best opportunities to our stars of tomorrow. The great thing about this is that you don't even need previous radio experience!"

There are already a bunch of new voices set to join the station next year following a recently announced schedule revamp.


On The CMU Stereo 2020 - Summer
Hey, it's summer playlist time, everybody. Although I'm not sure part three of our best of 2020 playlist is exactly what you'd call summery. It's been a weird year though, hasn't it? We've established that already. This wasn't like other years. Remember summer, though? Eat Out To Help Out, superspreading, all of that. What fun.

Tracks 21 through 30 of the playlist kick off with the short and sweet opener from Illuminati Hottie's short and sweet 'Free IH' album which is notable (aside from being great) for its reference to podcasts. Maybe we should have done an end-of-year podcast playlist instead of a music one.

After all, you weren't a real music streaming service in 2020 if you didn't have a big podcast section that you were pushing hard. Especially Spotify, which managed to scrape together several hundred million dollars to throw at podcasts and podcast companies. Sorry, I went of on a tangent there - that Illuminati Hotties album really is very good.

You also can't talk about 2020 without talking about Taylor Swift, which is not the only reason she has a track on this playlist. Her first surprise album of the year, 'Folklore', was surprising for a number of reasons. It appeared out of nowhere, plus it was in large part a collaboration with The National's Aaron Dessner, and it diverged completely from the pop track she'd been on for the last few years.

Also, it was really great. It's too early to say if the prompt follow-up, 'Evermore', is as good, but 'Folklore' has been on heavy rotation in these parts this year.

An artist we sadly lost a year ago, Juice Wrld, is also represented. It can be difficult listening to his music, because so much of it foreshadows his death. Also, his posthumous album 'Legends Never Die' was fairly patchy - mainly when it came to the latterly cobbled together collaborations. But there is plenty on there to show his brilliance as an artist.

Elsewhere, there's a good range of genres and approaches from Billie Eilish, Jarvis Cocker's Jarv Is, Raven Bush, Ela Minus, I Like Trains, Vritra, and the ever brilliant Deftones.

Listen to all ten of these tracks, plus our ten winter and spring selections, in this Spotify playlist here. Stay tuned for our autumn playlist on Thursday.

Here's the full summer playlist:

Illuminati Hotties - Will I Get Cancelled If I Write A Song Called, "If You Were A Man You'd Be So Cancelled"
Juice Wrld - Conversations
Jarv Is - House Music All Night Long
Raven Bush - Moonglades
Taylor Swift - The 1
I Like Trains - A Steady Hand
Billie Eilish - My Future
Ela Minus - Megapunk
Vritra - What's That
Deftones - Ohms

Jesy Nelson leaves Little Mix
Jesy Nelson has left Little Mix, just under a month after it was announced that she would be taking an "extended" break from the group. In a statement, she said that "recently being in the band has taken a toll on my mental health".

In a post on Instagram, Nelson said that her nine years as a member of Little Mix had been "the most incredible time of my life". However, she went on: "The truth is recently being in the band has really taken a toll on my mental health. I find the constant pressure of being in a girl group and living up to expectations very hard".

She added: "There comes a time in life when we need to reinvest in taking care of ourselves rather than focussing on making other people happy, and I feel like now is the time to begin that process".

Thanking her fans and her now former bandmates, she went on: "I need to spend some time with the people I love, doing things that make me happy. I'm ready to embark on a new chapter in my life - I'm not sure what it's going to look like right now, but I hope you'll still be there to support me".

In their own statement, the three remaining members of the group, Jade Thirlwall, Leigh-Anne Pinnock and Perrie Edwards, said: "This is an incredibly sad time for all of us but we are fully supportive of Jesy. We love her very much and agree that it is so important that she does what is right for her mental health and well-being".

"We are still very much enjoying our Little Mix journey and the three of us are not ready for it to be over", they went on. "We know that Jesy leaving the group is going to be really upsetting news for our fans. We love you guys so much and are so grateful for your loyalty and continued support of all of us. We're looking forward to seeing so many of you on tour".

Little Mix, of course, were formed on the 2011 series of 'The X Factor', going on to win the show and becoming one of the most successful acts to emerge from it. They have gone on to have huge success as a recording and live act. However, Nelson has spoken previously about the depression she has experienced during her time in the group, including at one point attempting suicide.

The group released their latest album, 'Confetti', last month, although Nelson has not been involved in promotional activities for it. She also missed the final episode of the group's own TV talent show, 'The Search'.



Marshall Records - the record label of the Marshall amps company - has announced a deal with Sentric Music that will see the latter manage the former's music publishing interests. The deal will also see Sentric's sync team work with the Marshall roster.



Sony/ATV has promoted Sharon Boyse to SVP International Operations & Society Relations, which is a long title even when you abbreviate it. "I am very excited to be working in this new role at Sony/ATV, and I look forward to working with our frontline international business leaders to deliver the highest level of operational services and benefit our songwriters globally", she says. That was a pretty long sentence, so I'm sure she'll be fine telling people what her new role is.

The Scottish Music Industry Association has appointed Jason Edwards as its new Executive Director. "I'm THRILLED to be joining the SMIA and to be investing my experience into the development of Scotland's brilliantly diverse, world-class music organisations and talent", he says.

Sync marketplace SyncFloor has hired David Rojas to lead its business development efforts. The firm's co-founder Cestjon McFarland says that Rojas's background "from producer to music supervisor to founder of his own creative house" will help the company further its mission to "expand opportunity for the independent sector" in the sync domain.



Robbie Williams has released a new video for his festive single 'Can't Stop Christmas', in which he dresses up as 'Boris' Johnson. So that's a thing now.

Becky Hill has released the video for her cover of Alphaville's 'Forever Young'.

Alice Cooper has released new single 'Our Love Will Change The World'. It is "is one of the oddest songs I've ever done", he says. "It was so strange, because it was happy and what it was saying was anything but happy - it was simply a great juxtaposition".

Little Dragon and Moses Sumney have teamed up for new single 'The Other Lover'. "When we reached out to Moses we didn't know what to expect", say the band. "What we received was very stripped down, with his beautiful voice. We jammed along and sent it back. It bounced back from his end with added horns and sounded beautiful to our ears. We are very proud of this".

Eivør has released new single 'Only Love', featuring Ásgeir. "I will never get tired of writing about [love]", she says. "It's the most complex and yet the most basic of all things. It has so many shapes and shades and on this life journey it takes us through the whole palette of emotions".



The Hives have announced what they are calling 'The World's First World Wide Web World Tour'. It will see them play a series of shows at times appropriate for different timezones around the world - "even if it means we play at 6am or some other totally bullshit time for a rock n roller (we're looking at you, Australia)", they say. They're very much not the first act to do this, but hey, why spoil it? Tickets here.

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


Justin Bieber and LadBaby looking like key contenders for Christmas number one
It's 24 whole hours since we last published anything about this year's Christmas number one race, so it's probably about time we did it again. The big battle now is between Justin Bieber and the NHS on the one side and LadBaby and food bank charity The Trussell Trust on the other. Which organisation is the most worthy? We will find out this Christmas.

YouTuber and sausage roll obsessive LadBaby has, of course, topped the Christmas chart for the last two years running. Can he make it a hat trick? Will sausage roll-based reworks of classic songs have worn thin after three years? Don't rule him out.

However, he has very strong competition from Justin Bieber and The NHS Choir. Five years ago, Bieber and the Choir were actually competitors in this race, with the latter winning out only after the former encouraged his fans to play their song 'A Bridge Over You' instead of his 'Love Yourself'.

Now they've come together for a new version of Bieber's 'Holy'. Does that give them double the festive power? Or will they cancel each other out? It's too early to say.

Caroline Smith, Leader of the Lewisham And Greenwich NHS Choir - to give it its full name, which you really should - says: "Justin Bieber helped make our dreams come true in 2015 and he's doing the same this year; we really can't thank him enough for the chance to work with him on this wonderful, uplifting song. We're so proud to represent Lewisham And Greenwich NHS Trust and all the heroes in the NHS".

Bieber adds: "It's great to be reunited with the Lewisham And Greenwich NHS Choir, as we share a fun bit of UK chart history together. Especially in these difficult times, I'm humbled to team up with them for a charity single that will benefit NHS workers on the frontlines of this pandemic and pay tribute to their unbelievable dedication".

Of course, some will be hoping that nothing charity-related will be the number one record come 25 Dec, and instead that Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' will stay put for three weeks in order to hold the position.

It's probably also worth keeping an eye on BTS who, some might say cynically, have released a festive remix of their track 'Dynamite'.

Boss of the Official Charts Company, Martin Talbot, says: "With two previous winners, a powerful current number one and big name new releases - including Liam Gallagher and Jess Glynne - in the running, this year really is shaping up to be one of the most exciting and competitive races for the Official Christmas Number One that we've yet seen. It really is an incredibly difficult race to call".

People under the age of 30: This is what the charts used to be like every week! Imagine that! What a topsy turvy world we used to live in. Not like these steady normal times we are enjoying in 2020.

FYI, Bieber and LadBaby's tracks will be released this Friday, to ensure that all first week streams and sales go towards their Christmas chart position.


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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