Music Industry News: Keith Urban Sells Masters to Litmus Music, UMG Hires For Web3/Metaverse, Roc Nation Partners With TXS, Taylor Swift Copyright Suit Dropped, DaBaby/Roddy Ricch Sued For Copyright, Lickd/Warner Chappell Deal, & More







🎶Inside the Industry🎶

NASHVILLE (CelebrityAccess) – Country music superstar Keith Urban has sold sole his master recordings catalog to Litmus Music. The deal includes Urban’sten gold, platinum, multi-platinum studio albums and his greatest hits compilation. The catalog contains twenty-four No. 1 songs and thirty-six consecutive singles hitting the Top 5. The financial details were not disclosed.

Litmus, based in NYC, was co-founded by Hank Forsyth and Dan McCarroll alongside Carlyle Global Credit, which gave $500 million in both equity and debt.

In a press release announcing its entrance into the rights acquisitions space earlier this year, Litmus said it plans to “acquire and manage music rights, including both music publishing and recorded music, across genres, geographies and vintages.” This deal announced today (December 13) represents the first since Litmus’ founding earlier this year.

As part of the deal, Litmus will continue collaborating with Urban and his team at Borman Entertainment as he works to finish up his new album, scheduled for release in 2023.

“What makes this such a great fit for me is the genuine passion and respect Dan, Hank, and the team at Litmus have for this music. “In working with them, I feel that same collaborative spirit that’s always inspired me as an artist.” – Keith Urban

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LONDON (CelebrityAccess) – Full Time Hobby has signed a publishing deal with Ghost Woman under its agreement with Bucks Music Group. The deal between Full Time Hobby and Bucks Music means that Bucks provides upfront investment, creative sync services, and back-end admin for Full Time Hobby’s publishing sector, as well as support, advice, and expertise.

Ghose Woman is the “alias” of songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Evan Uschenko. The next album, Anne, is set for release in January 2023 on Full Time Hobby’s record label. Ghost Woman incorporates psychedelia and modern influences from White Fence, Kyuss, and more.

Full Time Hobby co-owner Nigel Adams said: “We’re very happy to have signed Evan’s publishing in collaboration with Bucks. We’ve really enjoyed working with him for records over the past 18 months, and, in that time, we’ve seen interest really build for Ghost Woman across Europe. He’s such a naturally talented musician and songwriter, and we’re really looking forward to seeing where the next stage of the journey takes him.”

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FLORIDA (CelebrityAccess) – On Friday (December 9), producer JuJu Beatz – aka Craig Mims, filed a copyright infringement lawsuit in US District Court for the Southern District of Florida, against rappers DaBaby aka Jonathan Lyndale Kirk, and Roddy Ricch, aka Rodrick Wayne Moore for their 2020 hit single, “Rockstar.” The single appeared on DaBaby’s 2020 album, Blame It On Baby.

Beatz alleges his track “Selena” was ripped off by the two rappers and named other defendants to create the single, which sat atop the Billboard Hot 100 in 2020. It has amassed over 1.47 billion streams on Spotify alone. Mims also names Interscope Records executive Caroline Diaz, Universal Music Group and Warner Chappell Music as defendants. Producer SethInTheKitchen aka Ross Joseph Portaro, is also named in the suit.

MR reports that in the lawsuit, Mims claims that he began “communicating with Diaz, in an official capacity as Vice President of Interscope Records in 2019. He says he was also in direct email communication DaBaby’s reps around the same time and sent his track to them in 2019.

Mims claims further that “defendant Diaz and DaBaby’s representative accessed Plaintiff’s “Selena” on more than 40 occasions in late 2019 and early 2020″ and that “Rockstar” “included many compositional elements” present in Mim’s song.

The Florida-based producer argues that he “made numerous attempts to resolve this matter short of litigation, but such efforts were unsuccessful due to Defendants’ unwillingness to cooperate or accept responsibility for blatant and willful copyright infringement”.

He claims he “had no choice but to bring this action to redress and stop Defendants willful infringement that is causing ongoing harm.”

 

This legal action marks the second naming of Roddy Ricch in the past week. Last week, Roddy Ricch was sued for alleged copyright infringement on his megahit The Box, which has been streamed over 1.5 billion times on Spotify alone.

Copyright infringement lawsuits have become frequent in the music industry over the past few years. Beatz is requesting statutory damages of $150,000 PER infringement.

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LONDON (CelebrityAccess) – Lickd has agreed to a new partnership with Warner Chappell Music (WCM). The collaboration gives YouTube creators access to the publisher’s entire music catalog, expanding the number of commercial tracks used in their videos.

Through the Lickd music licensing platform, users can add pre-cleared songs from WCM to their YouTube content. Content creators have more opportunities to generate revenue and increase audience engagement and retention.

Paul Sampson, CEO of Lickd, said: “As we continue to commit to make it easier for YouTubers and other online creators to license commercial music for use in their videos, we also are dedicated to ensuring that Lickd holds the widest, most versatile, and popular selection of tracks available. Signing the latest deal with Warner Chappell Music gives creators more access to great artists but also gives those artists greater exposure to fans. We’re very excited about the opportunities this partnership presents for all parties.”

Natalie Madaj, senior vice president of global digital at Warner Chappell Music, said: “We are thrilled to join forces with Lickd to make our music catalog available to its YouTube creators. Paul and team are committed to supporting both the content creator community and songwriters – which is critical in today’s digital landscape – and we look forward to a successful partnership.”

Since the start of 2020, the company has signed partnership agreements with all three music majors in addition to Hipgnosis, Merlin and Epic Games.

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SANTA MONICA (CelebrityAccess) – Universal Music Group (UMG) has created new roles to promote further initiatives in the Web3/Metaverse world and early-stage companies and start-ups.

Effective immediately, Alvaro Galbete-Velilla, an executive with over 20 years of experience in music and tech, will serve as Senior Vice President (SVP) of New Business. He joined UMG from Soundcloud, where he was Director of Business Development.

Kristen Bender has been promoted to SVP Digital Innovation Strategy and Business Development. Bender is critical in implementing digital business partnerships with UMG operating units and directing the label’s engagement with entrepreneurs globally.

Both executives are based in Santa Monica and report to Michael Nash, EVP and Chief Digital Officer (CDO).

Nash said: “We believe our leadership in innovation is a key factor placing us at the forefront of the music industry’s transformation, so we’re excited to have Alvaro and Kristen fulfill these key roles. Here at UMG, we are building a team more focused than ever on harnessing digital disruption to deliver new opportunities for our artists and labels while influencing the formation of the next generation of music services.”

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NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) – Entertainment and tech platform TSX Entertainment (co-founded by ex-Spotify music executive Nick Holmstén) announced today they’ve entered into a partnership with Roc Nation to serve as the company’s strategic programming partner.

According to the press release, TSX and Roc Nation will collaborate to produce immersive, authentic, and exclusive experiences. This includes co-creating tentpole performances and hosting annual events involving music, fashion, film, sports, gaming, and lifestyle arcs while using technology to engage audiences worldwide. Prominent artists, creators, innovators, and leaders are scheduled to perform at TSX in the coming months.

The partnership begins as TSX launches what it describes as the world’s most extensive social feed, an 18,000-square-foot digital screen spanning its 46-story flagship location in Times Square. The TSX App is connected to the massive digital billboard, which opens to reveal the first permanent stage overlooking the iconic site. The location includes a supper club, galleries, bars, rooftop terraces, recording studios, and immersive experiences.

“Roc Nation has set the bar incredibly high, creating and supporting careers in every aspect of modern entertainment. Their significance and influence have tremendous weight, and their partnership is invaluable as we embark on this journey to stage the moments that define pop culture,” said TSX co-CEO Nick Holmstén. “Together, we will empower artists and fans to connect at a deeper level on a larger-than-life canvas powered by incredible technology.”

“The TSX platform is an immersive, unique experience for artists and creators at every level of their careers. A stage positioned above Times Square provides a never-before-imagined performance venue,” said Chris Knight, GM of Artist Management at Roc Nation. “TSX provides the ultimate moment for artist and fan.”

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NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) – The two songwriters who claim Taylor Swift lifted the lyrics of her hit song, “Shake It Off,” has reached an agreement to end the copyright lawsuit- which has been ongoing for approximately five years.

Nathan Butler, Sean Hall and Swift asked a judge to “dismiss this action in its entirety” before the trial was set to begin next month.

The two songwriters alleged that “Shake It Off” infringed upon “Playas Gon’ Play,” a single from the group 3LW that hit No. 81 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2001.

Swift wrote in a filing, “Until learning about Plaintiffs’ claim in 2017, I had never heard the song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ and had never heard of that song or the group 3LW.” She said she would have had little opportunity to hear it when it was popular since her parents “did not permit me to watch MTV’s TRL until I was about 13 years old.”

Swift and her attorney made the case that any similar phrasing is a result of the terminology being a part of ordinary language, and was popular before Hall and Butler wrote “Playas Gon’ Play.” At that point, the record breaker says she was hearing it on the playground, not the airwaves.

“I recall hearing phrases about players play and haters hate stated together by other children while attending school in Wyomissing Hills, and in high school in Hendersonville,” the Pennsylvania-born star wrote. “These phrases were akin to other commonly used sayings like ‘don’t hate the playa, hate the game,’ ‘take a chill pill,’ and ‘say it, don’t spray it.’

Swift noted that she had worn a T-shirt bearing the words “haters gonna hate” at a 2013 concert and was purchased at Urban Outfitters.

The songs appear to have nothing in common except the core lines with the 3LW tune repeating the lyrics “Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate.” At the same time, Swift’s hit uses the lines “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate” as its chorus.

Even though that is all they have in common, it was enough for an earlier judge to overturn a prior dismissal of the lawsuit. It was set aside by a federal judge in 2018, but the suit was reinstated by an appeals court the following year.

The financial details of the settlement were not disclosed from the filings, as reported by Variety, but the song’s writing credits were unchanged when the news broke. Swift, Max Martin, and Shellback are still credited as of press time.

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Vanderheym and Moua

NASHVILLE (CelebrityAccess) – Rhythm House has re-signed songwriting producer Alysa Vanderheym and has promoted Vanna Moua to Creative Director.

Vanderheym originally signed her publishing deal with Rhythm House in September 2019. The multi-genre songwriter has co-written hits such as “Lose Somebody” by Kygo and OneRepublic, country superstar Kelsea Ballerini‘s single “Heartfirst” as well as eight songs on the Heartfirst album, “I Remember” by Cheat Codes and Russell Dickerson, and a No. 1 single – “Cold Beer Calling My Name” by Jameson Rodgers featuring Luke Combs.

Moua, a Knoxville, TN native, began her career at Rhythm House in 2018 as an intern. Following her graduation from Middle TN State University, Moua was hired as the Creative Assistant, leading to her recent promotion.

“We’re so lucky to continue working with both Alysa and Vanna,” said Stevie Frasure, VP of Rhythm House. “Alysa has really come into her own in the last few years and is just killing the game with more and more hits, not only as a writer but a producer as well. She continues to bring such fresh, creative energy to everything she does.” She continues, “Vanna has been one of the best assets to Rhythm House. It fills us with pride to see her grow from intern, to manager, to director. She has truly taken on this position and made it her own. With both of these creative women, I know Rhythm House is in the best hands in all aspects of the industry.”

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