TODAY'S TOP STORY: Sony Music has told a US court that video-sharing app Triller has conceded that outstanding payments are due under its former licensing agreement with the major and that - as of 4 Apr - $4,574,250 is owed. To that end, Sony's lawyers are requesting that the court issue a final judgement on the breach of contract element of the music firm's legal battle with Triller, while a separate copyright infringement claim continues to go through the motions... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Sony says Triller has admitted it owes the major $4,574,250
DEALS Slipknot's Corey Taylor signs to BMG for second solo album
ENTERTAINMENT RETAIL HMV to reopen original Oxford Street shop, four years after shutting it down
EDUCATION & EVENTS Fraser T Smith launches Future Producer Academy
RELEASES Conor Maynard announces first album of original music for over a decade
ONE LINERS Anne-Marie, Miguel, Simply Red, more
AND FINALLY... Ed Sheeran gets his guitar out in court as song-theft case continues
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Sony says Triller has admitted it owes the major $4,574,250
Sony Music has told a US court that video-sharing app Triller has conceded that outstanding payments are due under its former licensing agreement with the major and that - as of 4 Apr - $4,574,250 is owed. To that end, Sony's lawyers are requesting that the court issue a final judgement on the breach of contract element of the music firm's legal battle with Triller, while a separate copyright infringement claim continues to go through the motions.

Triller was accused of both breach of contract and copyright infringement in the lawsuit Sony filed last August. The major said that Triller hadn't made any payments due under its licensing deal since March 2022. As a result the deal had been terminated, but Sony controlled recordings continued to be available in Triller's audio library and within videos streaming on its app. Which is where the copyright infringement claim came into play.

In a new filing with the court this week, Sony says: "Following Triller's recent statement to Sony Music and the court that Triller 'has conceded liability under the contract', the parties entered a stipulation establishing Triller's liability for breach of the agreement. Pursuant to the stipulation, Triller agreed that as of 4 Apr 2023, Triller is liable to Sony Music on Sony Music's breach of contract claim for $4,574,250.00".

While the copyright infringement element of Sony's lawsuit is still ongoing, the music company argues that with Triller having admitted liability on the breach of contract point, the judge should now make a final partial judgement covering that claim.

It presents various arguments as to why such a final partial judgement on the breach of contract claim is justified, adding: "Delaying the inevitable execution of judgment on the contract claim would serve no valid purpose; on the contrary, it would undermine the principle of judicial efficiency. Triller's liability on the contract claim is final with nothing left to resolve".

It then adds that delaying judgement on the unpaid monies while the copyright dispute proceeds could impact on Sony's ability to collect the amount owed.

"As the court is aware", it says, "Triller has claimed an 'inability to pay'. Prompt entry of judgment is needed to protect against any further dissipation of Triller's assets or, worse still, a bankruptcy filing. Courts routinely recognise that if 'a delay in entry of judgment' would impair that party's 'ability to collect on the judgment, that would weigh in favour of certification'".

"That risk here is palpable", it reckons, before noting: "Though Triller concedes liability, it has not yet agreed to pay, so Sony Music needs the a final judgment to enforce".

A number of Triller's partnerships with the music industry started to untangle last year, resulting in music being removed from its in-app audio library as well as various statements to the effect that Triller no longer believed music was key to its user experience. The digital firm's deal with indie label repping Merlin expired and, at the start of this year, Universal followed Sony's lead in suing over unpaid royalties.


Slipknot's Corey Taylor signs to BMG for second solo album
Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor has signed a new record deal with BMG to release his second solo album 'CMF2' - the follow-up to 2020's 'CMFT'.

"I wanted to work with BMG because they came in super hot wanting to work with me and they've been keeping the fires burning for rock, punk and metal over the last few years", Taylor tells Billboard.

The album will be released through Taylor's own new label imprint Decibel Cooper, via which he also plans to sign other artists.

He explains: "Decibel Cooper will not only allow me to release my own music and art worldwide, but it also gives me a solid way to help bolster any rad new acts I want to put on the roster. BMG is going to help me put my money where my mouth is - giving a boost to the next generation".

BMG's SVP International Marketing Jason Hradil adds: "We are THRILLED to welcome Corey Taylor to the BMG family. His new album is an extension of the incredible body of work he's assembled over his career and we can't wait for fans around the world to hear it later this year".

No release date has yet been announced for 'CMF2', but - as you possibly just noticed - BMG says that it will definitely arrive later this year. First, Taylor has US and Europe tour dates with Slipknot to get out of the way over the summer.


HMV to reopen original Oxford Street shop, four years after shutting it down
HMV has announced that it is reopening its original shop on Oxford Street in London, four years after closing it as part of downsizing efforts. Something the company says "represents the latest sign of a dramatic turnaround of the HMV business under Canadian owner Doug Putman", who bought the company out of administration in 2019.

"The expansion of our fan-focused pop culture offer is really working for us and the reopening of our flagship [store] represents the culmination of a good few years of hard work", says Putman. "We are also opening stores in Europe this year, so while it is the culmination of one phase of work, more excitingly we see it as the launchpad for an exciting new era for HMV".

Like many of the retailer's larger stores, the revived Oxford Street branch - which originally opened in 1921 - will feature a stage for in-store performances. It also plans to host signings, and will be one of the first to be branded 'The HMV Shop' - a concept it started rolling out in 2021. By the end of this year, 38 stores will carry this branding.

Commenting on the return of HMV to Oxford Street, Westminster City Council's Cabinet Member For Planning And Economic Development, Geoff Barraclough, says: "It's fantastic to see this iconic brand back on Oxford Street, where it stood as a driver of music and pop culture in the capital for so long. It's also particularly pleasing it is replacing one of the many US candy stores which sprang up during the pandemic".

"The return of this famous name is proof that there's a buzz back in the West End", he goes on. "Established retailers want a presence on the UK's premiere shopping street and as a council we want to see the nation's high street reinvigorated and home to brands like HMV. There's nothing quite like browsing through CDs and vinyl in-store. As a teenager who bought his first LP in an HMV shop some decades ago, I look forward to reliving that experience".

HMV was put into administration by previous owner Hilco (which had previously saved the brand following its earlier collapse in 2013) after Christmas in 2018.

Weeks later it was purchased by Putman - owner of Sunrise Records in Canada, the company that had previously taken on the leases of 70 HMV stores in that country after Hilco bailed on the brand in the Canadian market in 2017.

Putman's deal initially saved 100 shops in the UK, with 27 closing immediately - including the one on Oxford Street. Since then, the reach of the company has grown to 120 UK stores.

It was actually Hilco that oversaw the return of HMV to its original site at 393 Oxford Street in 2013. At the time, this was hailed by Hilco as a triumphant return of HMV's first ever shop, but really it represented a significant downsizing when compared to the other unit it had been occupying on the famous London street in the years prior to that.


Fraser T Smith launches Future Producer Academy
Producer Fraser T Smith has announced the launch of the Future Producer Academy, in partnership with collecting society PPL and the Music Producers Guild.

The initiative was formally unveiled last night as Smith was presented with the Outstanding Contribution To UK Music prize at the MPG's annual awards in London. The academy aims to boost the careers of emerging producers from under-represented backgrounds through a combination of financial and educational support.

"I've had an unorthodox career journey and there have been many times when I'd loved to have a more experienced hand in the business sit down and help me understand how things work", says Smith.

"The idea of the Producer Academy is to do just that", he explains. "To be the trusted friends who can open their networks and provide sound guidance when it matters most. We work in an amazing, but uneven, industry, and I am excited about this venture with PPL and the MPG to play a part in bringing more diversity into production".

Natalie Wade, PPL's Director Of Music Industry Engagement, adds: "Working closely with industry partners to build a better music industry is core to what PPL stands for. Partnering with Fraser to support his vision to bring a bespoke programme to life for deserving producers has been a joy".

"It is on all of us to make the music industry a more equitable, diverse and inclusive place in which to work and do business", she goes on. "This programme gets to the heart of making that happen, and we are delighted to be the founding contributors, bringing the expertise of our teams out of the office and into the studio".

Meanwhile, Cameron Craig, Executive Director of the MPG, comments: "The MPG is proud to be associated with the Fraser T Smith Future Producer Academy announced when Fraser received his Outstanding Contribution To UK Music Award at the MPG Awards 2023. We look forward to working with PPL and Fraser to make this a lasting success, to inspire and champion diversity and creativity for those who wouldn't normally get the opportunity".

The academy will particularly attempt to address the lack of female producers working in the music industry - research published by USC's Annenberg School For Communication And Journalism in February finding that men currently outnumber women in this area by 34 to one. Meanwhile, just 26% of the female producers identified in its sample were women of colour.

Another report earlier this month by the US-based We Are Moving The Needle initiative confirmed that lack of diversity in the recording studio, crunching detailed credits data to further assess the problem and help inform possible solutions.


Playlist: Brand New On CMU
Every Friday we round up all the new music we've covered over the preceding week into a Spotify playlist.

Among the artists with brand new music to check out this week are Miguel, Simply Red, Rico Nasty, Health, Dagny, Swim Deep, PJ Harvey, N-Dubz, Four Tet, Rachel Chinouriri, BB Sway, Protomartyr, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, Thundercat & Tame Impala, Jon Hopkins, and more.

Check out the whole playlist on Spotify here

Decca to release recording of King Charles' coronation immediately after it takes place
Universal Music's Decca Records has announced plans to record and release King Charles III's coronation as an album on the same day that it happens next month.

This will be, the label notes, "the first time ever a recording of a coronation ceremony - a tradition which can be traced back more than 1000 years - will be available globally to stream and download on the day of the service itself". Not least because there hasn't been one of these events in the UK since 1953.

Still, this is great news for anyone who wants to immediately relive the whole event in audio form after watching it on 6 May. All four hours of it. Following the digital release, the record will also be issued physically on 15 May, with deluxe editions on CD and vinyl then arriving later in the year.

Music-wise, the event will include six new orchestral pieces, five choral works and one for the organ, which have all be commissioned by the king and written especially for the occasion. This includes a 'coronation anthem', titled 'Make A Joyful Noise', which has been composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Overseeing the quickly created album will be producer Anna Barry, who has previously recorded other royal events, including the marriages of William and Kate in 2011 and then Harry and Meghan in 2018.

"This will be a truly historic recording", says Barry, "capturing a glorious range of music from across centuries and continents, reflecting the worldwide interest in our traditions, covering multiple locations in the wonderful acoustic of Westminster Abbey, and involving an unprecedented technical plan to present the entire experience to the world on the day itself. Balance engineer Mike Hatch, I and the team are honoured and excited to be a part of this".

Co-Presidents of Decca Label Group, Tom Lewis and Laura Monks, add: "Coronation services have been taking place since the eleventh century. Never before has a complete recording been made available to global audiences to stream and download on the same day. Decca have a longstanding and proud association with the British royal family and we are delighted to be once again making recorded music history together".

Again, it's been 70 years since one of these ceremonies has taken place, which would have made it difficult to put together a same-day release on download and streaming services last time around. But whatever, it's happening.


Conor Maynard announces first album of original music for over a decade
Conor Maynard has announced that he will release his first album of original songs for more than a decade in June. Titled '+11 Hours', the record is the follow-up to his 2012 debut 'Contrast'.

Out now is new single 'Storage', of which he says: "'Storage' is about having the capacity to contain various, irrelevant but ultimately incredible, personal and beautiful memories when you're in a relationship".

"Once that ends, your brain holds all of the information and fixates on those tiny little things that didn't really make a difference at the time, but now all they do is consume your so-called 'storage' of your brain", he goes on. "Just as an iPhone would 'run out of storage' when keeping meaningless little pictures over the years, the concept is the same for one's brain".

Set for release on 9 Jun, the album is, he says, inspired by a difficult break up he went though last year with a woman from Sydney in Australia, where the time difference is plus eleven hours from the UK.



Venue operator ASM Global has appointed former artist manager and major label exec Brian Celler to the newly created role of Senior Vice President, Content And Programming, Europe. He will be "responsible for leading ASM Global's best-in-class live entertainment offering, driving high-calibre, diverse content across ASM Global's growing portfolio of venues in the UK and Europe". Sounds fun.

Booking agency Midnight Mango has added frontman of folk band Man The Lifeboats Rich Quarterman to its team of agents. "I'm looking forward to working with the incredible team at MM, and to be representing artists that I truly love and care about is a pleasure and a privilege", he says.



Anne-Marie has announced that she will release her third album 'Unhealthy' on 28 Jul. The LP will feature guest vocals from Aitch and Khalid.

Miguel has released new single 'Give It To Me'.

Simply Red have released new single 'Just Like You'. The band's new album 'Time' is out on 26 May. The band will also play their only UK show of the year at London's Shepherds Bush Empire on 5 Jun.

Rico Nasty has released new single 'Turn It Up', produced by 100 Gecs.

Health have released new track 'Hateful', written for the latest edition of the 'Ultrakill' video game.

Dagny has released new single 'Heartbreak In The Making'. The song, she says, "is essentially about diving into something, even though you have that gut feeling that it's never going to end well. It's a bit like the first tequila shot at a bar; you know where the night is headed, but you do it anyway".

Swim Deep have released a new version of their song 'King City' with Warpaint's Jenny Lee Lindberg - the subject of the song - to mark the tenth anniversary of their debut album 'Where The Heaven Are We'. "I had such a lovely time spinning this song into darker territories", she says. "I have always been so honoured they chose me to sing about, still kind of shocking".

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete will release new album 'Datura' on 16 Jun. Out now is new single 'Dínamo'. The band will also be touring the UK in September, including a show at The Lexington in London on 20 Sep.



John Grant and Richard Hawley have announced a tour of their Patsy Cline tribute show, which will premiere at the Manchester International Festival on 11 Jul. The September run of shows will conclude with a performance at the Barbican in London on 24 Sep.

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


Ed Sheeran gets his guitar out in court as song-theft case continues
Ed Sheeran's not the world's most talented guitar player, that's for certain. And don't go dissing me for stating the obvious, not least because that's according to Sheeran himself. And he was on the witness stand under oath when he delivered that statement, so we're talking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. After all, Sheeran's a song thief not a perjurer.

Oh, actually, he's not a song thief either, is he? Or at least, that's the position of Team Sheeran as the 'Thinking Out Loud' copyright case continues to go through the motions in New York. Sheeran is accused of ripping off Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On' when writing his 2014 song. It's the estate of the co-writer on the Gaye classic - Ed Townsend - who went legal claiming the copyright in the earlier work was infringed by the later release.

When he first popped up on the witness stand earlier this week, Sheeran was presented with a video of himself at a show in 2014 mashing together his song with 'Let's Get It On' on stage. But you can mash together lots of pop songs - he told the court - because lots of pop songs are constructed using the same musical building blocks.

Yesterday, being questioned by his own lawyers, Sheeran talked about his music making process. "I draw inspiration a lot from things in my life and family", he said, according to the BBC.

'Thinking Out Loud' was written with his friend and collaborator Amy Wadge at his home in England, he explained. Wadge started the process by strumming some chords, and along the way Sheeran started using the phrase "I'm singing out now". And that then morphed into "thinking out loud".

"When I write vocal melodies, it's like phonetics", he added.

As he went into more detail about his songwriting process - both generally and in relation to 'Thinking Out Loud' - he grabbed his acoustic guitar to play the chord progression the song uses before singing the opening words.

Because, I mean, who doesn't love an in-court sing-song? Though, he cautioned his courtroom audience, don't get too excited because "I'm not the world's most talented guitar player".

Alongside Sheeran, the court also heard this week from a musicologist selected by the plaintiffs who was keen to stress that the two songs sound "very, very similar". But then, musicologists always appear in disputes like this, with each side having an expert who backs up their position, to the extent that you feel they sort of cancel each other out.

Like most song-theft cases, the real question here is whether - when you have two songs that share certain short musical phrases - does that mean the later song infringes the copyright in the earlier one? Can those short musical phrases be protected by copyright in isolation, especially given how regularly they are used in the songwriting process?

With some notable exceptions, US judges have generally been nervous of extending copyright protection to short musical phrases. Although - as with this case - in the US courts it's usually juries that initially get to decide whether there is a valid copyright claim. And once a jury is involved, it's hard to predict what verdict will be reached.

Though when it comes to Sheeran not being the world's greatest guitar player, on that I suspect judges and jurors will agree.


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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