SONGS Music Publishing has announced a worldwide co-publishing agreement with the Weeknd, aka Abel Tesfaye. The deal encompasses past and future releases, including his sophomore album, “Kiss Land” (Sept. 10, XO/Universal), and last year’s certified-platinum triple-album “Trilogy,” a compilation of his mixtapes “House of Balloons,” “Thursday” and “Echoes of Silence.” In addition to the Weeknd, the SONGS roster includes such artists as Diplo, Nelly, Jose Gonzales and Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst. SONGS also maintains publishing stakes in such songs as Kelly Clarkson’s “Catch My Breath” and Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” remix featuring Nelly.
Victor Willis, the Village People lyricist and performer of songs like “Y.M.C.A.” and “In the Navy,” says he’s reclaimed the rights to 33 tunes that he wrote. Under a copyright law from 1978, he told the New York Times that he’s exercised his “termination rights,” which allow creators to establish control over works they had signed away after a 35-year period, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2013. Willis is reportedly the first artist to make such a legal triumph public. In 2011, artists including Bob Dylan and Tom Petty had reportedly filed in advance to reclaim ownership of portions of their catalog. In May 2012, a judge granted Willis’ motion to dismiss publishers’ claims against his proceedings, allowing the termination to go forward. Beyond its potential precedent in future copyright cases, Willis’ apparent victory has left the future of his music, and the still-active Village People, in question.
BitTorrent, a San Francisco company founded by the creator of the BitTorrent file transfer protocol, released a test version of its Bundles product on Sept. 11. The self-service platform allows content creators to release material in exchange for email addresses and, eventually, monetary contributions. BitTorrent has worked with dozens of musicians, writers and filmmakers during the past two years to build the Bundles concept, most recently with such acts as Jet Life, Linkin Park and Kaskade. The idea is to let content creators put up free material to encourage downloads as well as layers of additional content behind a “gate” that downloaders can unlock by completing an action, such as submitting their email addresses, sharing the content, taking a survey or entering a contest. The platform, now available to publishers through a “closed alpha,” is a step toward automating the process of assembling Bundles to make available to BitTorrent’s estimated 170 million monthly users.