TODAY'S TOP STORY: The latest discussion on America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act by the US Senate's intellectual property sub-committee earlier this week confirmed again that takedown-and-stay-down is now a key lobbying priority for the music industry. Oh, and that Twitter is vying with Twitch for the title of most pesky safe harbour dweller. Which is good news for fans of alliteration... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES RIAA boss leads with takedown-and-stay-down and some Twitter dissing in latest Congressional safe harbour debate
LEGAL Britney Spears' father says he is protecting her from "self-serving" people, as battle over conservatorship continues
DEALS Beatport buys Loopmasters
LABELS & PUBLISHERS 0207 Def Jam names Wretch 32 as Creative Director
Damian Christian promoted to MD at Atlantic UK
LIVE BUSINESS Driift appoints General Manager for the US
ONE LINERS #ILoveLive, Tate McRae, Ringo Starr, more
AND FINALLY... TikTok names UK's most popular artists of 2020
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RIAA boss leads with takedown-and-stay-down and some Twitter dissing in latest Congressional safe harbour debate
The latest discussion on America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act by the US Senate's intellectual property sub-committee earlier this week confirmed again that takedown-and-stay-down is now a key lobbying priority for the music industry. Oh, and that Twitter is vying with Twitch for the title of most pesky safe harbour dweller. Which is good news for fans of alliteration.

The IP sub-committee has been holding discussions about the DMCA all year as senators consider whether it's time for a good old review of the 1990s copyright legislation. And in particular, of the good old safe harbour it provides internet platforms, so that they can avoid liability for their users' copyright infringement providing they operate a takedown system via which copyright owners can get infringing material removed.

The latest discussion on Tuesday put the spotlight on those takedown systems. Among those speaking was Mitch Glazier, CEO of the Recording Industry Association Of America, who said that safe harbour dwelling websites should offer much more efficient takedown systems, actively helping copyright owners to monitor those sites for infringing content as well as processing takedown requests.

He also wants takedown-and-stay-down, the safe harbour reform that wasn't part of the safe harbour conversation around last year's European Copyright Directive, but which is certain to become part of the now ramped up platform responsibility discussions in the UK and EU.

"Platforms should keep infringing material they know about off their sites", Glazier told the sub-committee. "This is the essence of the DMCA. Trafficking in unlawful material to draw users should not be part of a business model. That means once infringing material comes down, the same infringing material should not be allowed to reappear consistently on the same service".

"The sheer volume of infringement online is already staggering, and it is exacerbated by the routine reappearance of the same infringing content on the same service almost immediately after removal", he went on. "This produces a never-ending, largely futile effort to enforce rights that Congress intended copyright owners to have. It wastes time and resources, creates an impossible situation for creators, devalues intellectual property and licensed services, and renders the notice and takedown process a sham".

When safe harbour reform was being discussed as part of that copyright directive in Europe, the whole debate was very much framed as the music industry v YouTube. However, in Content ID, YouTube has a pretty decent takedown-and-stay-down system. Yes, it is much more effective for managing recording rights than song rights on the YouTube platform and is only available to bigger rights owners, but for many of the RIAA's members, it's a pretty good rights management tool.

Plus, even though YouTube continues to oppose the safe harbour reforms contained in the EU copyright directive - which specifically increase the obligations of user-upload platforms - even in the final stages of that directive being negotiated some in the record industry were softening their previously aggressive stance against the Google video site.

That was partly because YouTube had launched its music subscription service and was proactively pushing paid for music via its main free-to-access site. It was also serving significantly more ads on that main site in key markets meaning the labels' share of the service's ad income was rising. And maybe the major labels were also already anticipating the next stage of the safe harbour debate - ie the push for takedown-and-stay-down - where YouTube isn't really the enemy.

And while there is still some YouTube dissing in the music community, in recent months the music industry - and especially the music publishers - have become much more critical about another safe harbour dwelling video platform owned by a web giant, ie Amazon's Twitch.

However, behind the scenes there has also been plenty of griping about all the unlicensed music on Twitter and how slack that social networking site's takedown systems are. And Glazier decided to specifically criticise Twitter this week. Possibly because he knew that IP sub-committee chair Thom Tillis was already pissed off that Twitter had declined to take part in this week's debate.

"I'll give you one real-life example from this year for one track", Glazier told the committee. "In that case, despite sending repeat notices for the same sound recording to Twitter continuously for months, the same track kept reappearing on Twitter. As a result, over a ten month period, RIAA had to send notices for nearly 9000 infringements of that same track. Let me repeat that. We had to send 9000 notices over a ten month period for the same exact track. Unfortunately, we must do this all the time for hundreds of tracks on many different services".

Technologies do already exist to power takedown-and-stay-down, he reminded the senators, before name-checking YouTube's Content ID as well as third party audio recognition services Audible Magic and Pex. These technological solutions - or 'standard technical measures' - exist but "have not been implemented uniformly or, in many cases, meaningfully", Glazier argued.

"Establishing uniform and meaningful implementation of [standard technical measures] was one of the original goals of the DMCA, which calls for the voluntary development of these standards 'pursuant to a broad consensus of copyright owners and service providers in an open, fair, voluntary, multi-industry standards process'".

"That's right", he added, "current law already provides for a voluntary process to make the DMCA effective. But this process has never occurred in the 22 years since the enactment of the DMCA, because Congress's intended balance of incentives that would have achieved this, as indicated by the Copyright Office, is 'askew'".

That latter remark references the US Copyright Office report on the copyright safe harbour published earlier this year that concluded that efforts to balance the interests of copyright owners and tech companies via the DMCA safe harbour had been "tilted askew", and that lawmakers might want to consider fine-tuning the rules accordingly.

Tillis has indicated that he supports more significant changes to the DMCA and the safe harbour than mere fine-tuning. Whether he'll get such significant changes properly onto the legislative agenda in US Congress remains to be seen.

Despite much of the music community being excited and relieved that the Donald Trump presidency is nearly at an end, the tech sector lobby will arguably be more powerful with the Democrats in the White House, and especially if they end up controlling both chambers of Congress. Which will likely make decent safe harbour reform harder to achieve.

When it comes to increasing the specific liabilities of user-upload platforms like YouTube, the tech lobby will almost certainly tell Congress that it should wait to see how reforms in Europe turn out before meddling with American copyright law. But takedown-and-stay-down is a different debate, and could therefore become the music industry's lobbying priority in the US as well as the UK and EU.

Fun times. Plus, expect plenty more Twitter and Twitch dissing. Which Twit's the bigger offender? Place your bets!


Britney Spears' father says he is protecting her from "self-serving" people, as battle over conservatorship continues
Britney Spears' father Jamie has defended his role as her conservator, as she attempts to remove him from the role, saying that he is attempting to protect her from "those with self-serving interests".

The pop star's father was placed in charge of his daughter's business and personal affairs after well-publicised mental health issues twelve years ago. While he voluntarily stepped down last year on a temporary basis, due to health problems, his daughter's attorney Samuel D Ingham III has been attempting to have him permanently removed from the role - so far unsuccessfully.

At a hearing last month, Ingham said that his client was "afraid" of her father, and that they no longer have a "viable working relationship" and have not spoken in a "long while".

Jamie Spears refutes this framing of the relationship, saying in a new statement to CNN that he was in contact with Britney and on good terms with her until Ingham filed to have him removed as conservator in August.

"I love my daughter and I miss her very much", he says. "When a family member needs special care and protection, families need to step up, as I have done for the last twelve-plus years, to safeguard, protect and continue to love Britney unconditionally. I have and will continue to provide unwavering love and fierce protection against those with self-serving interests and those who seek to harm her or my family".

Spears Snr's own attorney Vivian Lee Thoreen adds: "Jamie's relationship with Britney is not that different than your average father-daughter relationship insofar as there has always been a mutual love and respect for each other".

"Until Britney's court-appointed attorney Sam Ingham abruptly instructed Jamie not to contact Britney a few months ago, Jamie and Britney had spoken often and regularly throughout the entire conservatorship", she goes on. "In fact, they had spoken just the day before and had had a pleasant and collaborative conversation".

Legal wrangling over the conservatorship continues.


Beatport buys Loopmasters
Beatport has acquired Loopmasters, the UK-based online store for samples and music software. The acquisition follows a deal last year that saw dance music platform Beatport invest in the Loopmasters business, transfer its own samples library to its new partner, and start integrating the Loopmasters product range into its website.

Confirming the deal, Loopmasters founder Matt Pelling says: "We have been very impressed by the power of the Beatport brand with the global DJ producer marketplace and have thoroughly enjoyed working closely with the Beatport team over the past few years. Everyone at Loopmasters strongly believes that the combination of these two great companies will deliver an unparalleled, end-to-end content supply chain for music producers for many years to come".

Name-checking Loopmasters products Plugin Boutique and Loopcloud, Beatport CEO Robb McDaniels adds: "Matt Pelling and the entire Loopmasters team are world-class people who have built amazing products for the producer community that simply belong in our ecosystem. The phenomenal growth of Plugin Boutique, the leading global seller of virtual instrument plug-ins, and the recent launch of Loopcloud, an innovative subscription service for the samples market, are a testament to the talent of their team, and we couldn't be happier to welcome them to the Beatport family".

Pelling and Plugin Boutique's General Manager Gareth Halsall will continue to lead the Loopmasters business from its Eastbourne base within the Beatport group.


0207 Def Jam names Wretch 32 as Creative Director
Launched last month, Universal Music's new UK version of its Def Jam label - aka 0207 Def Jam - has announced Wretch 32 as its Creative Director.

"Alongside being an incredible artist, we're super excited our new label will be able to tap into Wretch 32's unrivalled creative mind", says co-President Alec Boateng. "I've been lucky enough to be close up and witness his ever-evolving genius many times. His creative wisdom and example has been invaluable to so many within the industry and I'm so gassed he's now officially working with us".

Wretch 32 himself adds: "I'm excited to make a new mark in music with a team that's reminiscent of the first label I signed with [Levels]. I feel as though I'm going full circle working with Alec again and I'm just as excited to be working closely with Alex and the entire 0207 Def Jam family. I believe that when music is your calling, you have the ability to prove it in multiple arenas and now I'm looking forward to seeing projects through a different lens, creative directing and A&Ring".

The new UK offshoot of the Def Jam label launched late last month led by brothers Alec and Alex Boateng, who quickly announced Stormzy as their first signing. Wretch 32's most recent album, 'Upon Reflection', was released through Universal's Polydor label.


Damian Christian promoted to MD at Atlantic UK
Warner Music UK has announced the promotion of Damian Christian to the role of MD and President Of Promotions at its Atlantic label. He will have an expanded role guiding the overall approach of the label while still overseeing its promotions team. He'll continue to report into Atlantic UK Presidents Briony Turner and Ed Howard.

Announcing the promotion, Turner says: "Damian's been instrumental in the remarkable growth and award-winning success of Atlantic UK, and his new role will see him continue to do what he does best - promote our artists and our music - while also acknowledging the broader leadership and deep experience that he brings to the team by way of invaluable guidance, mentorship, artist development and his priceless sense of humour".

Christian himself adds: "Atlantic has been my home for more than two decades, and I couldn't be prouder to take on this larger role, and I'd like to thank Ed and Briony for the opportunity. I'd also like to thank my Atlantic promotion work-family - Carrie, Deidre, Holly, Will, Katia, Mel and Alex - they're the best in the business and make me look good!"


Driift appoints General Manager for the US
New livestreaming business Driift continues with its rapid global expansion by announcing the hiring of Adam Shore as GM for the US. Formerly Head Of Global Programming for Red Bull's music activities, he will be charged with the task of expanding the start-up's North American operations and developing partnerships in that market.

Launched in August by London-based ATC Management's Ric Salmon and Brian Message in response to the increased interest in livestreaming caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Driift has been involved in a number of high profile ticketed livestreams in recent months, working with the likes of Nick Cave, Niall Horan, Laura Marling, Dermot Kennedy, Kylie Minogue and Biffy Clyro.

The company's first international expansion was announced last month with a launch in Australia and New Zealand. The move into the US further demonstrates Driift's global ambitions as it seeks to build on the increased consumer interest in ticketed livestreamed concerts, which most people expect to outlive the pandemic.

Confirming Shore's appointed, Salmon said: "We are delighted to welcome Adam to the team. This is a key hire for Driift and an indication of our confidence that unique, high-quality livestream shows are here to stay. As we look to increase Driift's presence in North America, Adam's experience and track record of working with artists to create bespoke and innovative live productions will be truly invaluable".

Shore himself added: "In a little over six months, Ric and Brian have put together an incredible team and built a highly-collaborative artist-friendly business. Driift is already a byword for quality and innovation, and I look forward to helping US artists realise the potential of this new and exciting art form. We have big plans for 2021".


On The CMU Stereo 2020 - Autumn
So here it is, the end. The conclusion. The climax. The last act. The finish line. The finale. The grand finale, if you like. A grand, magnificent and rousing finale. Yep, it's the final part of our favourite songs of 2020 playlist. Ten more great tracks from a less than great year.

We kick of this autumn selection with a track from Clipping, whose new album 'Visions Of Bodies Being Burned' sees them once again pushing the boundaries of hip hop and continues with the horror movie influences of previous record 'There Existed An Addiction To Blood'.

That's followed by Kelly Lee Owens, who followed up her brilliant debut album this year with another great collection of music distinctly her own. Coming three years after that debut, and after a personal struggle that left her thinking that she may stop making music altogether, the power of overcoming that is apparent throughout.

Asian Dub Foundation also made a welcome return this year with 'Access Denied' - their first album for five years, with music as angry and on point as ever. The track we've chosen, 'Comin Over Here', samples a Stewart Lee stand up routine that pre-dates the Brexit referendum, but remains as relevant as ever as we approach the point where we might finally find out what Brexit even is.

Sorry to remind you of that whole thing. Let's move on to the closing track of the playlist, which comes from Gary, Indiana - a new band with just three singles out in the world currently. The latest, 'Nike Of Samocrace', as well as appearing here, was the last to feature in the CMU Approved column this year. Of it, we said the track "rounds off the year by coiling up like a spring, ready to launch the band and anyone who'd care to come with them into 2021". What more appropriate way to finish?

Listen to all ten of these tracks, plus our ten winter, spring and summer selections, in the Spotify playlist below. Read back through our write ups of the full playlist here.

Here's what's on the autumn playlist:

Clipping - Say The Name
Kelly Lee Owens - Re-Wild
Galya Bisengalieva - Aralkum
Big Sean - Deep Reverence (feat Nipsey Hussle)
Everything Everything - Big Climb
Flohio - Unveiled
Asian Dub Foundation - Comin Over Here
Juice Webster - Let The Dog Out
Masego - Mystery Lady (feat Don Toliver)
Gary, Indiana - Nike Of Samothrace


Stagehand's #ILoveLive crowdfunding campaign to raise money for UK stage crew finishes tonight at 6pm. The £400,000 target has already been passed, but there's still time to put in more, in exchange for the chance to win prizes from a whole load of big name artists, including Radiohead, Nick Cave, Liam Gallagher, The Chemical Brothers, Years & Years, Yungblud, and more. Check it out here.



Sony/ATV has signed Tate McRae to a worldwide publishing deal. "Watching Tate grow has been amazing - she has propelled her career in the midst of a global pandemic, all while finishing high school", say Sony/ATV Creative Managers, Mya Hansen and Danielle Middleton. "We have no doubt that she is on her way to becoming a global superstar, and we are THRILLED to be a part of her journey as a songwriter and artist".

Warner Chappell has signed French rapper Soso Maness to a global publishing deal. "Soso is one of the hottest talents to come out of Marseilles in recent years and has built a fanbase across France and beyond", says Matthieu Tessier, Managing Director of Warner Chappell Music France.

BMG has signed Emily Burns to a global publishing deal. Says the music firm's Alistair Norbury: "I have watched Emily develop as an outstanding songwriter over the past few years and it has always been an ambition to bring her to BMG".

Downtown's Songtrust announced a new administrative partnership with the publishing wing of the Secretly Group earlier this week. Songtrust will take over from Kobalt administrating the Secretly songs catalogue outside of North America.



Sony/ATV has promoted Antony Bebawi to President, Global Digital. "As a leader in the digital music space, Antony has been pivotal in strengthening the presence of our songwriters and their music on a global scale", says CEO Jon Platt. "I'm proud to promote Antony to this key role, and I'm confident he will continue driving our business forward in the years ahead".



IMPALA has posted the first two editions of its '20 Minutes With' podcast series, part of the pan-European trade group's 20th anniversary celebrations. In them journalist Juliana Koranteng talks to IMPALA Executive Chair Helen Smith about her personal journey with IMPALA and [PIAS] UK MD Jason Rackham about the #loverecordstores campaign that recently won IMPALA's Outstanding Contribution Award for 2020. Check them both out here.



Ringo Starr has released new single 'Here's To The Nights', written by Diane Warren and featuring guest vocalists including Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Corinne Bailey Rae, Sheryl Crow, Finneas, Dave Grohl, Lenny Kravitz, Jenny Lewis, and more. "This is the kind of song we all want to sing along to, and it was so great how many wonderful musicians joined in", says Starr. "I wanted it out in time for New Years because it feels like a good song to end a tough year on".

Arca has released 100 AI-generated versions of her track 'Riquiquí'. "Did you know that up until now I had never allowed anyone to remix an Arca song", she asks. "There existed zero official remixes to an Arca track until today - 'Riquiquí' has gotten 100 remixes by an intelligent sentience, created and trained by the genius minds at Bronze".



Meshuggah have announced UK tour dates in December next year, as well as a Royal Albert Hall show on 3 Jun 2022. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.

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


TikTok names UK's most popular artists of 2020
TikTok has been big news this year, hasn't it? And not just because Donald Trump tried to ban it. Plus, of course, as the video-sharing platform has continued to grow rapidly, it has become a key music marketing channel. But which musicians has it actually been working for? Does anyone smell stats?

Yeah, so, TikTok has published a whole load of music-related stats for 2020 in an effort to show you just how very important it is now in terms of getting people interested in anything musical. For example, in the UK, ten songs that trended on the service this year went on to top the singles chart. But that's a fact it actually revealed earlier this month. What it is focussing on with these latest stats is the artists, rather than tracks, who were the most popular overall on TikTok in the UK this year.

Dua Lipa proved the most popular artist for UK TikTok users in 2020, with the opening lines of her track 'Don't Start Now' in particular getting plenty of TikTok love. She also created a TikTok-specific video for her track 'Levitating', with a campaign that engaged millions of fans worldwide. And that's how you get to the top of the TikTok tree, my friends.

The other artists in the top five "most-used by UK TikTokkers" list were Harry Styles, S1mba, HRVY and Lewis Capaldi. But, while there's a hefty pop bias in that list, it was actually rap that proved the most popular genre. So that's nice. For rap.

Of course, it's one thing to have your music favoured by TikTok users, but which artists were popular TikTok creators themselves? Well, Anne-Marie, Mabel and Nina Nesbitt all made videos that proved popular with fans on the platform. As did, perhaps surprisingly, Andrew Lloyd Webber.

But none of these had the most popular artist account on the platform in the UK. That accolade went to Sam Ryder. Sam who? Come on, Sam Ryder. You know Sam. One single release to his name (from 2019) and still to play his first live show. Sam Ryder.

He's built up a fanbase on TikTok with his own takes on songs by the likes of Queen, Elton John and George Michael. He's a bit of a celeb on there - even Alicia Keys is in awe of him. So, yeah, he was more popular than HRVY, Liam Payne, Lewis Capaldi and Yungblud, who made up the rest of the top five.

"2020 has been the year that music started on TikTok - driving music discovery and fan engagement for all artists, from emerging talent to global superstars", says TikTok's UK Head Of Music Operations, Paul Hourican. "New artists have been given a big voice on our platform and established names have found new, authentic and creative ways to engage with their fans".

"We've seen so many incredible artist moments in 2020, bringing new music and experiences and inspiring our creative community", he goes on. "I want to say a big thank you to all the artists and our industry partners who have embraced TikTok this year - bring on 2021".

So, if you want to be popular, get on TikTok, that's the news here. At least according to TikTok.


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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