TODAY'S TOP STORY: India's record industry trade group IMI has signed what it is calling a "historic agreement" with ISRA, the country's collecting society for singers and performers. The two organisations say that they hope a closer alliance will "help the music market grow for the common benefit of all stakeholders across the music ecosystem in India"... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Label and performer groups in India announce new alliance
LEGAL GloRilla sued over allegedly uncleared 'Tomorrow' sample
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Grimes happy to split the royalties if anyone wants to create an AI Grimes track
Livestreaming platform Mandolin closes down

MEDIA Rinse FM acquires Bristol's SWU FM as it formally relaunches Kool FM
ARTIST NEWS The Pop Group's Mark Stewart dies
AND FINALLY... Proclaimers track removed from coronation playlist over anti-monarchy statements
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Label and performer groups in India announce new alliance
India's record industry trade group IMI has signed what it is calling a "historic agreement" with ISRA, the country's collecting society for singers and performers. The two organisations say that they hope a closer alliance will "help the music market grow for the common benefit of all stakeholders across the music ecosystem in India".

In particular, the two groups say they will work together in a bid to seek more government support to "tackle the growing menace of digital piracy and non-recognition of copyright". Both labels and artists reckon more political support is needed in that domain to properly achieve the potential of the country's recorded music market.

Confirming the new agreement, Shri Sanjay Tandon - founder and CEO of ISRA, or the Indian Singers' Rights Association - says: "It's great to see the getting together of record labels and artists at last. It will now enable the music industry as a whole to grow and prosper to the level that it should. This historic agreement should be music for all".

Meanwhile, Blaise Fernandes - President & CEO of IMI, or the Indian Music Industry - adds: "The historic accord will be the growth engine for the Indian music industry to propel itself into the top ten markets in the world. When all stakeholders in the music ecosystem work together, a melody happens and this has been the case globally".

On signing the agreement, the two organisations also thanked India's Commerce And Industry Minster Shri Piyush Goyal for "his unconditional support to the artist community and the music industry".

They then added: "[We] look forward to working with Shri Goyal and [his department] to ensure that the industry unlocks its full potential and realises the dream of the Prime Minister of India to encourage Indian music and strengthen this soft power of the country".

GloRilla sued over allegedly uncleared 'Tomorrow' sample
GloRilla is being sued over an allegedly uncleared sample that appears on her 2022 track 'Tomorrow', and also the remix of said track 'Tomorrow 2', which features Cardi B.

The lawsuit was filed last week by Ivory Paynes, a member of rap group Dog House Posse. He reckons 'Tomorrow' samples his 1994 track 'Street Of Westbank', which was on the album 'Dope Gets No Heavier', and which was pushed onto the streaming services in 2017.

"Defendants used unauthorised samples of 'Street Of Westbank' in their sound recordings 'Tomorrow' and 'Tomorrow 2'", Payne's lawsuit alleges.

"The plaintiff did not authorise the defendants' reproduction, distribution, public performance of the sound recording", it adds, "or creation of an unauthorised derivative work of 'Tomorrow' and 'Tomorrow 2'".

Expanding on those allegations further, the legal filing continues: "The infringing works, 'Tomorrow' and 'Tomorrow 2', misappropriate key protected elements of 'Street Of Westbank', including without limitation its musical arrangements, percussion tracks, synthesised orchestration, including but not limited to piano, cello, violin, contrabass, and drum set, and tone and melody".

"Moreover", it reckons, "'Tomorrow' and 'Tomorrow 2' mimic and copy the arrangement of 'Street Of Westbank' by the choice of the instrumentation accompanying the rap lyrics, the choice of when the instruments drop out and reenter and what instruments drop in and re-enter".

GloRilla has yet to respond to the lawsuit. She is being sued alongside her producer Macaroni Toni, with her label Collective Music Group and its distributor Universal Music, plus a bunch of music publishers, also named as defendants.


Grimes happy to split the royalties if anyone wants to create an AI Grimes track
If anyone is thinking of jumping on the bandwagon of training generative AI tools to make new songs in the style of existing artists, well, maybe you should start with Grimes. Because - unlike some in the music industry - she's not bothered at all about AI being employed in that way and would gladly share the royalties in any tracks featuring an AI version of her voice.

Commenting on an article about one of the fake Drake tracks that got people talking last week, Grimes said on Twitter: "I'll split 50% royalties on any successful AI-generated song that uses my voice. Same deal as I would with any artist I collab with. Feel free to use my voice without penalty. I have no label and no legal bindings".

Last week an AI-generated track featuring vocals in the style of Drake and The Weeknd popped up on the streaming services for a time after going viral on TikTok. It prompted Universal Music - as the label of both artists - to again call on the streaming services to do their bit to help the music industry deal with the ever increasing stream of AI-generated music that is now being created and released.

The major had already urged the streaming services to ensure that people are not able to train generative AI technologies by scraping music on their platforms. The music industry is adamant that, if an AI is trained by mining data linked to existing songs and recordings, a licence is required from whoever owns the copyright in the existing music.

Last week Universal also said that the streaming firms should look for and remove AI-generated tracks that have clearly been created via the unlicensed mining of music data, for example AI-created music featuring vocals in the style of real world artists.

The actual legalities of all this are very much up for debate, of course. Artists could also try to stop the distribution of AI-generated tracks designed to sound like they provided the vocals under publicity rights in some jurisdictions, although again the law still needs to be tested in that domain.

In the same way opinion is divided in the legal community regarding what the law says about music created using generative AI, the music community is also somewhat divided regarding how it should respond to the ever more sophisticated music-making AI technology and the recent spike in interest in using said tech.

When commenting on another AI-generated fake Drake track, Drake himself recently posted on social media: "This is the final straw". Though it wasn't entirely clear if he was joking. Liam Gallagher, meanwhile, declared that an AI-created album in the style of Oasis sounded "mega".

As for Grimes, in a follow up tweet she added: "I think it's cool to be fused with a machine and I like the idea of open sourcing all art and killing copyright".

For more discussion around the use of generative AI in music, listen to this week's edition of out Setlist podcast.


Livestreaming platform Mandolin closes down
A livestreaming platform that launched during the first round of COVID-caused lockdowns - as livestreamed concerts suddenly became a big talking point - last week announced it was closing down.

Mandolin went live at the start of June 2020 as the music industry was increasingly looking into ways to take livestreaming activity off the free-to-access social networks and onto ticketed platforms, especially once it became clear that the COVID pandemic was going to impact on live events for a much longer period than originally anticipated.

As real-world live shows slowly returned in late 2021, and especially last year, opinion was divided within the music community regarding the long-term potential of livestreamed concerts. For its part, Mandolin started to expand the ways in which it could support the direct-to-fan relationship, and sought to interact with and enhance real-world concerts and tours.

However, early last week the company said in a statement on social media: "We are sad to announce that after three incredible years of connecting artists and fans more authentically through digital experiences, we are officially closing down our product and business operations as of Monday 17 Apr".

"We'd like to sincerely thank our clients and partners for their belief in our mission and the time spent helping us develop a platform that truly empowered artists to own their fan relationships", it added.

"Though we can no longer lead the charge, we firmly believe market power will continue to shift toward better supporting artists in this endeavour and we are all so appreciative of the feedback, faith and validation you've provided over the years to get us this far".


Rinse FM acquires Bristol's SWU FM as it formally relaunches Kool FM
Rinse FM has announced that it has acquired Bristol-based SWU FM, a community radio station which launched in October 2020, but was forced off air last September due to rising costs.

At the time, the team behind the Bristol station said: "SWU launched in the middle of the COVID-19 outbreak and took heavy financial losses in this period. Against the odds we managed to survive various lockdowns, navigate restrictions and stabilise. However, recent rising costs and massive energy bill increases have made it impossible for us to continue".

Commenting on that closure last year, Bristol's Night Time Economy Advisor Carly Heath said on Twitter: "In SWU's short life it was an essential hub for Bristol born dance music. SWU was a lifeline for the music community in Bristol. It brought so many people together from across the music spectrum".

It's not entirely clear how the relaunched SWU FM will compare to what was broadcast during its original two years on air, but Rinse FM has promised to publish more details about its plans in the next few months.

The acquisition of SWU FM was announced just before London-based Kool FM resumed operations, it having also been taken over by Rinse FM. That alliance was announced earlier this year after Kool FM's co-founder Eastman announced he was stepping back from full-on management of the station.

At the time, Rinse FM founder Geeneus said: "Starting Rinse for me was based on the passion and love I had for Kool FM. It led me to dedicate my life to helping the underground, searching for talent and encouraging young creatives from our background to try".


Setlist: Universal hits out at AI generated music
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including Universal Music latest call for streaming platforms to play their part in ensuring that generative AI tools are not infringing the copyrights of the music industry, plus the news that cassette sales are booming and driving chart success in the UK.

Listen to this edition of Setlist here.

The Pop Group's Mark Stewart dies
Mark Stewart, frontman of post-punk band The Pop Group, has died, aged 62. The news was shared by his record label Mute on Friday.

In a statement, Mute boss Daniel Miller said: "I've known Mark as a friend and a fellow traveller for over 40 years, since he was the lead singer of The Pop Group. I have so many wonderful memories of him - some bizarre, some outrageous, but always inspiring and somehow for a reason".

"His musical influence has been much greater than is often acknowledged", he continued. "He was always encouraging young artists, especially those local to him in Bristol - many have gone on to become global stars".

"His warmth and kindness as a friend has always been something very important to me. We had so many laughs together, and he had so much creative energy".

"The last time I saw Mark was a few months ago in Bristol, performing an improvised set with Lee Ranaldo. He was nothing but hilarious, his piece was basically a stand-up routine, and after the show we spent many hours putting the world to rights, it's a wonderful memory, I will miss him greatly".

He concluded: "Mark, I can't imagine you being anything other than restless but I hope you find your very special peace".

Born in 1960, Stewart founded The Pop Group in 1977 with guitarist John Waddington, bassist Simon Underwood, guitarist/saxophonist Gareth Sager and drummer Bruce Smith.

They released their debut album 'Y' two years later, and the follow-up 'For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?' in 1980 before disbanding in 1981.

The band's final performance was at a rally for the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament in 1980, and Stewart continued to work with the campaign after the band's split. He then collaborated with dub producer Adrian Sherwood on his debut solo album 'Learning To Cope With Cowardice' in 1983.

Stewart went on to release numerous solo projects and work with other artists including Trent Reznor, Massive Attack, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Tricky and Primal Scream. He also reformed The Pop Group with Sager and Smith in 2010, releasing two new albums 'Citizen Zombie' and 'Honeymoon On Mars' in 2015 and 2016.

Commenting on Stewart's death, Gareth Sager said: "Mark was the most amazing mind of my generation, RIP".

Adrian Sherwood added: "Thank you my brother. You were the biggest musical influence in my life and our extended family will miss you so so much. Love forever".


Proclaimers track removed from coronation playlist over anti-monarchy statements
Another track has been removed from the official playlist put together by the UK government to celebrate the upcoming coronation of King Charles III. This time it's those monarchy-hating Proclaimers who have had their song axed from the tracklisting.

The playlist was put live in February supposedly to "celebrate British and Commonwealth artists ahead of the upcoming coronation". However, it immediately proved controversial because of the inclusion of 'Dance Wiv Me', Dizzee Rascal's 2008 collaboration with Calvin Harris.

That was deemed inappropriate by many because of Dizzee Rascal's conviction in March last year of assaulting his former fiancée Cassandra Jones, a judgement the rapper had unsuccessfully appealed just a week before the playlist was published.

'Dance Wiv Me' was quickly dropped from the royal tracklisting, with a government spokesperson declaring: "A track featuring Dizzee Rascal was included in error and as soon as this was identified it was removed".

But why has Proclaimers song 'I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)' now also been dropped from the playlist? Well, that seemingly relates to comments made in an interview with Scottish newspaper The National by one half of the sibling duo, Charlie Reid.

Commenting on the coverage last year of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, he mused: "The way they've acted you'd think the story was that it's just about people's grief and people respecting her, but the real story is that in 2022 an unelected head of state has died".

"Her son, similarly unelected, has taken over and the media has encouraged no debate on that - they're unquestioning", he went on. "The way they report that everyone in Britain feels the same way, they don't. This is just simply untrue".

He then referred to an incident that occurred during a proclamation ceremony for King Charles III in Oxford, in which a man was arrested for declaring "who elected him?"

Reid continued: "On the proclamation of King Charles in Oxford, I think one guy was lifted for shouting 'who elected him?' and I thought that guy spoke for me, and he speaks for loads of other people. Not just in Scotland, but right around the UK".

Those comments seemingly resulted in some people complaining about the inclusion of 'I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)' in the coronation playlist, ultimately resulting in its removal.

We are now less than two weeks away from the formal crowning of King Charles III. Which poses the interesting question: could we find reasons why the 26 tracks still appearing on the playlist should also be removed? I'm sure we could if we tried hard enough.


ANDY MALT heads up our editorial operations, overseeing the CMU Dailywebsite and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column.
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CHRIS COOKE is co-Founder and MD of CMU - he continues to write key business news stories, and runs training, research and event projects for the CMU Insights consultancy unit and CMU:DIY future talent programme.
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SAM TAYLOR leads on the commerical side of CMU, overseeing sales, sponsorship and business development, as well as heading up training, research and event projects at our consultancy unit CMU Insights.
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CARO MOSES is Editor of CMU's sister media ThisWeek Culture and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh. Having previously also written and edited articles for CMU, she continues to advise and support our operations.
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