The Pitch: Leisure & Sports activities Authorized Information – June 2022 | Arnall Golden Gregory LLP

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The Pitch newsletter is a monthly update of legal issues and news affecting or related to the music, film and television, fine arts, media, professional athletics, eSports, and gaming industries. The Pitch features a diverse cross-section of published articles, compelling news and stories, and original content curated and/or created by Arnall Golden Gregory LLP’s Entertainment & Sports industry team.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” – Thomas Merton

AGG News
Lights. Camera. Location! (Property Owners Beware)
The film industry in Georgia is booming. The state ranks number one globally in the production of top grossing feature films, followed by the United Kingdom, Canada, California, Louisiana, and New York. The state, with its temperate climate and picturesque landscapes, bolstered by a highly successful tax incentive program, has proved irresistible to Hollywood production companies and filmmakers alike. From Savannah to Decatur, film crews can be seen shooting in public spaces, local businesses, and neighborhood homes on any given day.
(Source: Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, June 21, 2022)

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Industry News
Global Music Biz Revenue to Double to $131 Billion in 2030, Says Bullish Goldman Sachs Report
Even as reports from Wall Street grow dark amid worries of a recession, Goldman Sachs predicts a booming decade for the music industry, with total music revenue to double to about $131 billion by 2030. The company’s annual “Music in the Air” forecast predicts that a combination of global streaming growth, emerging platforms like TikTok, the revival of the live music market and the ongoing strength of vinyl sales will drive the recorded music industry revenues to $52.3 billion by 2030, a $7.5 billion boost over last year’s prediction and more than double last year’s IFPI revenues of just under $26 billion.
(Source: Variety, June 14, 2022)

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Shadowbox Studios, Formerly Blackhall Studios, Announces $500 Million Strategic Investment From Silver Lake to Support Over $1.5 Billion Premium Soundstage Platform and Unveils Corporate Rebranding
Shadowbox Studios (“Shadowbox”), a premium operator of purpose-built soundstage facilities, today announced a strategic investment from Silver Lake, the global leader in technology investing. The investment includes a capital commitment of $500 million that will support Shadowbox’s growth strategy, including existing soundstage development projects in the Atlanta, London, and Los Angeles metro areas with over $1.5 billion of expected capital investment. Silver Lake will partner with existing investor Commonwealth Asset Management, which remains the majority shareholder.
(Source: Business Wire, June 14, 2022)

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Netflix Sued for Defamation by Cuban Exiles Over Spy Thriller ‘Wasp Network’
A defamation suit against Netflix from the head of a Cuban exile organization accuses the streamer of distributing propaganda for Cuba by portraying him as a terrorist and drug trafficker in Olivier Assayas’ political spy thriller Wasp Network. In a lawsuit filed on Monday in federal court in Florida, Brothers to the Rescue leader Jose Basulto alleges Netflix and Ossayas falsely depicted him as a puppet of the United States and traitor to Cuba while romanticizing the criminal activity conducted by Fidel Castro’s regime.
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter, June 13, 2022)

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Can CDs Make a Comeback? Reevaluating the CD at 40
The CD was first commercially released 40 years ago and may be having a whole new coming-of-age. With sales on the rise and collectors showcasing their pride across social media, the format might rewind to its glory years.
(Source: Grammy Awards, June 13, 2022)

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Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Ends Lawsuit Over ‘Reasonable Doubt’ NFT After Damon Dash Folds
Jay-Z‘s Roc-A-Fella Records has reached a settlement with label co-founder Damon Dash to end a lawsuit over his aborted plan to auction off a stake in the album Reasonable Doubt as a non-fungible token (NFT).
(Source: Billboard, June 13, 2022)

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Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions Strikes Wide-Ranging Content Deal With Caesars (Exclusive)
The production company, founded by former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, has inked a multiyear deal with Caesars that will see Omaha producing video and audio content for Caesars platforms, and launching a podcast business through a new division, the Omaha Audio Network. Manning and the Omaha team will also help develop digital and social content for Caesars, kicking off with a new series called Mayne on the Street to be hosted by former ESPN host Kenny Mayne, who joined Caesars last year. The deal also includes live events at Caesars locations across the U.S., following the success of a Super Bowl party hosted by the Manning family earlier this year at Caesars Las Vegas (the company also featured Peyton and other members of the Manning family in a commercial campaign last year).
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter, June 9, 2022)

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H.E.R. Facing Lawsuit Over Alleged Gospel Sample in ‘Could’ve Been’
H.E.R. was hit with a copyright lawsuit that claims her song “Could’ve Been” used an unlicensed sample of a 1990 a capella track by the gospel group Take 6. In a complaint filed in Manhattan federal court, the six members of the vocal sextet claimed that H.E.R. (real name Gabriella Sarmiento Wilson) used “substantial original segments” from their “Come Unto Me” in the R&B singer’s song without permission.
(Source: Billboard, June 8, 2022)

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iHeartMedia and State Farm Enter the Metaverse
The insurance company gets exclusive naming rights to the arena in its virtual world, iHeartLand.
(Source: Adweek, June 8, 2022)

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‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Faces a Copyright Infringement Lawsuit
In 1983, Ehud Yonay wrote an article for California magazine called “Top Guns,” a character-driven tale of two ambitious Navy fighter pilots. Paramount Pictures bought up the film rights, and three years later, in 1986, “Top Gun” came out. Now Yonay’s family say they own the copyright to the story and that Paramount is infringing on it.
(Source: NPR, June 8, 2022)

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UTA Acquires Data and Analytics Firm MediaHound
Talent agency UTA is acquiring the entertainment-focused data and analytics firm MediaHound, expanding its presence in the data side of the entertainment business, and bolstering its research and insights capabilities.
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter, June 8, 2022)

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Kylie Minogue Dishes on Kylie Jenner Trademark Battle
The trademark battle occurred after Jenner attempted to gain ownership of the name “Kylie” in 2014. Minogue, known for her hit song “Can’t Get You Out Of My Head,” filed an opposition to the trademark claim in 2016. Jenner had hoped to gain the rights to the name before releasing her first round of beauty products. She later went with the business name “Kylie Cosmetics.”
(Source: Fox News, June 8, 2022)

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Denver Broncos Reach Sale Agreement; Price Tag Is $4.65 Billion, Sources Say
The Denver Broncos have entered a sale agreement with the Walton-Penner family ownership group, the sides announced Tuesday night. The agreement is for $4.65 billion, sources told ESPN, confirming multiple reports. That would be a record price paid for a North American sports franchise.
(Source: ESPN, June 8, 2022)

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Music’s Future Is Here: It’s Called Streaming
The ubiquity of streaming and its arrival alongside the smartphone flatten away much of the friction of music consumption, and from a consumer standpoint, there would need to be a major technological shift to upend this current paradigm. And even if the next shift appeared fully formed tomorrow, the revenue from streaming is situated within recorded music’s economy at a much firmer level than the physical mediums of the past. Comparison between the revenue generated by retail sales is so different from smartphone-based subscriptions or advertising that they’re almost not worth comparing as the RIAA did above.
(Source: Penny Fractions, June 8, 2022)

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This Music-Powered Digital Drug Could Treat Alzheimer’s
In March, the company released the results of its first controlled clinical trial. The experiment pulled together more than 160 participants with self-reported anxiety, split up by the researchers into four groups. One group listened to a playlist of music and binaural beats—an auditory illusion that occurs when you play different tones in each ear—curated by LUCID’s AI; two groups listened either to just music or just beats; the last group listened to pink noise. By the end, the team discovered that the group that had listened to the AI-powered playlist of music and beats had a significant reduction in their anxiety.
(Source: Daily Beast, June 8, 2022)

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Mythical Games Scores NFL License for Blockchain Video Game
The National Football League has announced a partnership with Mythical Games to create a blockchain video game called NFL Rivals. The game will use unique, generative 3D NFL franchise-themed NFTs and let players act as a general manager to assemble a team and compete against other teams.
(Source: The National Law Review, June 4, 2022)

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New York State to Ban Hidden Fees on Concert Tickets
Most notably, the bill requires primary or resale web pages for events in New York to disclose an “all-in” price that includes the ticket price inclusive of all ancillary fees, and show “in a clear and conspicuous manner” the portion of the price that represents a service charge or any other fee. The final price must be disclosed on the ticket’s initial listing rather than multiple web pages later in the buying process. What’s more, the seller cannot mislead the consumer by displaying the total fee in a smaller type size. The bill will bring transparency into the opaque ticket re-sale market by requiring sellers to make clear when a ticket is being resold, disclose the original ticket price and let the buyer know the resale price may exceed the price of the primary ticket. Those rules will help provide “reasonable guardrails” for consumers to make more informed decisions, says Skoufis. “If people still want to buy a ticket, even though it was marked up two times, three times, four times, that’s their decision. But they should at least know it was marked up.”
(Source: Billboard, June 3, 2022)

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The Changing World of Record Label Streaming
Over the past decade, as Spotify and its streaming competitors like YouTube, Apple Music, Amazon Music and more helped usher in one of the biggest format shifts the music business has ever seen, the recorded music business has changed dramatically in response, from treating streamers as just another partner amid a suite of digital services to watching streaming account for 83% of all recorded-music revenues in 2021 in the United States, according to the RIAA. But they have not changed in a vacuum: within that decade, the services themselves have evolved, consumer behavior has radically transformed and the way artists and labels release music, and at what speed and in what packaging, has continued to vary in ways both big and small.
(Source: Billboard, June 3, 2022)

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How Hollywood May Be Sabotaging Profits With New Push to Pay Talent Upfront
Featuring an interview with AGG partner, Matthew Wilson, the article reports that studios and streamers believe they’re saving money in the long run, but they could actually be hurting quality and the bottom line.
(Source: The Wrap News, June 3, 2022)

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Are Smaller Uber-Curated Festivals the Future? A Cluster of Uniquely Programmed Events Are Creating a New Template for the Market
With Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival – whose very name seems a paean to Woodstock Music and Art Fair – Goldenvoice has created the closest thing to a working model for the modern music festival, which it is now spinning off into a series of far more manageable mini-Coachella fests taking place at Brookside Park, a golf course area adjacent to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
(Source: Pollstar, June 2, 2022)

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Live Concerts Are Back, But Small Venues Face Longer Road to Recovery
Heading into the summer, entertainment giants Live Nation and MSG Entertainment painted rosy pictures of the live event business, with forecasts of record years of growth. While bookings are on the rise at concert spaces across the U.S., smaller venues are recovering from the impact of the omicron variant, and owners say audiences appear to be cautious to return. There’s also the strain of staffing shortages and the increased cost of goods and labor, plus the lingering question of whether acts will show up.
(Source: The Hollywood Reporter, June 2, 2022)

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Record Labels Dig Their Own Grave. And the Shovel is Called TikTok.
With each passing month, record labels grow more attached to TikTok—but it now looks more like addiction. Some have reached the point where they won’t release an album until the music goes viral on TikTok.
(Source: The Honest Broker, June 2, 2022)

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Prosecutors Charge a Crypto Employee With Insider Trading.
Manhattan prosecutors on Wednesday accused a former employee of OpenSea, an auction site for the digital goods known as nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, of insider trading. It is believed to be the first such case filed related to a cryptocurrency company.
(Source: The New York Times, June 2, 2022)

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NCAA Says SCOTUS Defeat Boosts Brief That Athletes Aren’t Employees
The NCAA might have lost Alston at the U.S. Supreme Court in a 9-0 shutout, but the organization contends last year’s historic defeat supports its assertion that college athletes aren’t employees. The argument was raised in the NCAA’s opening brief filed on Tuesday at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit for Johnson v. NCAA. The case centers on a group of current and former college athletes from Villanova, Fordham, Cornell and other colleges who maintain they are employees under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.
(Source: Yahoo!Sports, June 2, 2022)

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How Johnny Depp Was Victorious Against Amber Heard and What It Means
Johnny Depp’s courtroom victory over ex-wife Amber Heard is being viewed by legal experts not just through the twists and turns of the courtroom drama but also for the wider implications the jury’s verdict will have in the larger world.
(Source: Los Angeles Times, June 1, 2022)

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‘Baseball Players Don’t Dance’? The Savannah Bananas Beg to Differ.
TikTok choreography, dancing umpires, a ballet-trained first-base coach: This collegiate summer league team has amassed a following by leaning into entertainment.
(Source: The New York Times, May 31, 2022)

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Burning Out and Fading Away: The Exhausting Job of Marketing New Music
“For an artist today, it’s better to have a modest but constantly engaged audience with you everywhere, rather than having one huge audience on one specific platform.” The situation has developed into a crisis of sorts, and now the Music Managers Forum has released ‘The MMF Digital Burnout Report’, which is based on a series of roundtable discussions with music managers and marketers on the subject. The MMF’s report states that: “The sheer volume of release and content demands on artists can be overwhelmingly crippling, especially in an overcrowded marketplace. This is further complicated by the expectation that artists require a significant social following to even receive playlist and marketing support.”
(Source: MIDiA, May 31, 2022)

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Why Is Vinyl Getting So Expensive?
Supply chain problems and rising costs continue to plague pressing plants, labels and retailers — but CDs may be a stopgap.
(Source: Billboard, May 31, 2022)

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Vegas Chapels All Shook Up by Elvis Likeness Crackdown
The company that lords over the King’s image and likeness is cracking down on Las Vegas chapels that book Elvis-themed weddings and otherwise embrace his persona. Authentic Brands Group (ABG), which licenses Elvis Presley-related merchandise, has issued a cease-and-desist letter dated May 19 to several Las Vegas chapels.
(Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 30, 2022)

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Gibson Wins Its Three-Year Lawsuit Over Guitar Shape Trademarks — Dean Guitars Found Guilty of Infringement
Back in 2019, Gibson filed a lawsuit against Dean Guitars over the shapes of its ‘Explorer’ and ‘Flying V’ guitars. The shape of the Gibson Explorer was made famous by U2’s The Edge and James Hetfield of Metallica. Meanwhile, the Gibson ‘Flying V’ was popularized by Albert King and Randy Rhoads with Ozzy Osbourne. Gibson’s lawsuit was filed against Armadillo Distribution Enterprises, the owner of Dean and Luna Guitars. Gibson’s lawsuit alleges that Armadillo copied and profited from multiple Gibson styles and designs by creating similar guitar shapes. Dean Guitars held that the shapes were generic and open for use, but a jury disagreed.
(Source: Digital Music News, May 30, 2022)

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TikTok Is Testing Ground for New Singles — Why Labels Love It (and Some Artists & Writers Don’t)
With labels increasingly trying out unreleased songs on the platform, producers, songwriters and even artists are saying it’s bad for business.
(Source: Billboard, May 27, 2022)

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Justin Timberlake Sells His Song Catalog for $100M
With labels increasingly trying out Singer Justin Timberlake became the latest artist to cash out his song catalogue, selling the rights to such hits as “SexyBack” and “Cry Me a River” to a London-based music investment company backed by private equity firm Blackstone. The terms of the deal with Hipgnosis Song Management were not disclosed, but The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday it was valued at just above $100 million and does not cover future releases.
(Source: New York Post, May 26, 2022)

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South Carolina Supreme Court Affirms Decision in James Brown Estate Dispute
The South Carolina Supreme Court has upheld a circuit court decision ruling that a former trustee of legendary singer James Brown’s estate will not receive additional payment for her time in that position. The lawsuit, Adele J. Pope against the Estate of James Brown and the James Brown 2000 Irrevocable Trust, “is the latest case in a string of litigation” that’s come after the death of the Grandfather of Soul.
(Source: WBTW News 13, May 26, 2022)

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The Top Music Publishers of 2021 Ranked
1. Sony Music Publishing; 2. Universal Music Publishing Group; 3. Warner Chappell Music; 4. Hipgnosis; 5. Primary Wave; 6. Kobalt; 7. BMG; 8. Concord; 9. peermusic; 10. Resevoir Music
(Source: Billboard, May 23, 2022)

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40 Top Record Labels Ranked by Revenue, Market Share and Their Game-Changing Superstars
1. Universal Music Group; 2. Sony Music Group; 3. Warner Music Group; 4. BMG; 5. Intercope Geffen A&M; 6. Republic Records; 7. Atlantic Records; 8. Columbia Records; 9.Capitol Music Group; 10. RCA Records
(Source: Billboard, May 23, 2022)

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Live Nation Subsidiaries Got Millions in Aid Meant for Independent Venues
Congress wrote a pandemic relief law that excluded Live Nation and companies like it. But the Small Business Administration gave nearly $19 million to Live Nation subsidiaries or companies in which it has a significant investment.
(Source: The Washington Post, May 22, 2022)

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Inside T Bone Burnett’s High-Tech Reinvention of the Record
Legendary producer T Bone Burnett takes his new Ionic Original discs—a format, he says, that offers the greatest fidelity and durability ever on an analog record.
(Source: MIX, May 20, 2022)

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‘Gray v. Hudson’ Rules on Copyrightability of Musical Elements
The decision articulates the current state of Ninth Circuit law regarding the threshold of protectable originality in music infringement cases, and because so many music cases are brought in the Ninth Circuit the ruling will likely be significant to music litigators nationwide.
(Source: New York Law Journal, May 19, 2022)

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California Bill Could Make Pay for Play for College Athletes a Reality
For the past few months, a bill has been brewing in the California legislature that would force local athletic departments to share revenue with players. The bill, called the “College Athlete Race and Gender Equity Act,” was written by Sen. Steven Bradford and sponsored by the National College Players Association. On Thursday, it’s up for yet another vote in its journey through state bureaucracy.
(Source: Front Office Sports, May 18, 2022)

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U.S. Soccer and Top Players Agree to Guarantee Equal Pay
Landmark labor agreements with members of the men’s and women’s national teams will include higher paychecks and shared World Cup prize money.
(Source: The New York Times, May 18, 2022)

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Sacha Baron Cohen Drops Lawsuit Over Somerset Cannabis Dispensary’s ‘Borat’ Billboard
Actor Sacha Baron Cohen has dropped his lawsuit against a Massachusetts cannabis dispensary that used an image of his character Borat on a billboard without his permission.
(Source: CBS Boston, May 18, 2022)

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Andreessen Horowitz Debuts $600 Million Fund for Games Investments
Andreessen Horowitz is launching a new vertical fund exclusively focused on opportunities in the games industry. The new $600 million fund brings a pool of dedicated capital and a new internal structure dedicated to sourcing deals inside the games vertical. The new vehicle, called Games Fund One, joins other industry-specific arms at a16z, including its crypto and bio divisions.
(Source: TechCrunch, May 18, 2022)

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Astroworld Disaster Takes an Unexpected Twist
Scott’s talent for stirring up a young fan base with the fury of an underground punk act has long been a part of his appeal. On his 2018 song ‘Stargazing,’ the rapper reveled in his crowds’ heaving energy: ‘it ain’t a mosh pit if ain’t no injuries.’
(Source: LAW.COM, May 17, 2022)

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Music Promoters “Shocked at the Inability” of US Government, Have “No Choice” but To Sue Over Rejected COVID Relief
Owners are “frustrated” as more than 60 businesses take the Small Business Administration to court over denied grant funds
(Source: NME, May 17, 2022)

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StubHub Told Claims Will Stay in Court in COVID-19 Refund Litigation
The consumer lawsuit alleges that StubHub misrepresented its refund policy by, in March 2020, failing to explain that it would no longer offer a money back guarantee, but instead would give purchasers a 120% credit in the event of show cancellation. The users allege breach of contract and violations of various California consumer protection statutes.
(Source: Law Street, May 16, 2022)

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Everything You Need To Know About ‘Controlled Compositions’
The music economy is ever-changing and there are some things you should know as a musician and a songwriter to keep up.
(Source: HYPEBOT, May 16, 2022)

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Can Young Thug’s Lyrics Be Used Against Him? Prosecutors Say Yes in RICO Case Against Rapper
Over the last decade, the Atlanta rapper Young Thug has dropped a steady barrage of tracks about pistols and snipers, mob life and gangsters.
(Source: Los Angeles Times, May 10, 2022)

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Major Labels Control 70% – 88% of Spotify’s Playlists
For the longest time, “playlists” were the mantra of every artist who hoped to break out on Spotify. If only you could get on a major playlist, then your career would finally get some traction. That looks less and less likely these days as a new study has found that the major labels control anywhere between 70 and 87% of all major Spotify playlists.
(Source: HYPEBOT, May 10, 2022)

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Choreographer Sues Epic Games for Using His Copyrighted Moves in a Fortnite Emote
Kyle Hanagami, a choreographer who’s worked with BlackPink and Britney Spears, accused Epic Games of ripping off his copyrighted routine for the in-game “It’s Complicated” emote.
(Source: NBC News, April 5, 2022)

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Criticism didn’t really stop us and it shouldn’t ever stop anyone, because critics are only the people who can’t get a record deal themselves.

Paul McCartney