Kanye West being sued $2.5 million for Yeezus’ New Slaves sample from Hungary

Kanye’s back in the news, but this time it’s not over any controversial tweets, outbursts, or new music – but because a Hungarian musician refused $10,000 from the rapper for a sample on his track New Slaves.

Gabor Presser received an email shortly before Kanye West’s 2013 album Yeezus was released. The email gave him 24 hours to respond stating West “would like to work out a deal with you as soon as possible”. When Presser didn’t respond he received a $10,000 cheque upon the insistence that he license his music for Kanye – he never cashed the cheque.

Presser is now taking the rapper, producer, fashion icon, and part-time delusional egotist to court over the sample of his band Omega’s 1969 song ‘Gyongyhaju Lany’. The song is described by Presser as “one of the most beloved pop songs ever in Hungary and across eastern Europe”.

The song features prominently for the second half of New Slaves as instrumental backing. Presser’s complaint said that: “Kanye West knowingly and intentionally misappropriated (the) plaintiff’s composition. After his theft was discovered, defendants refused to deal fairly with (the) plaintiff.”

It’s not uncommon for copyright disputes in the music industry, in fact it’s incredibly common. Just recently Led Zeppelin have been trialled over the opening melody to their famed track Stairway To Heaven. In hip-hop, a genre rife in samples of other music, it’s especially common – however normally an artist of West’s caliber would appropriate a license rather than just releasing it anyway.

As devastating as it may be the number of unreleased tracks out there because copyright licenses couldn’t be acquired we don’t think the correct answer is to go for it, send a cheque, cross your fingers, hope for the best. Presser is looking for at least $2.5 million in damages for copyright infringement.

Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill Form New Supergroup

Members from the three groups are coming together to form an alternative hip-hop supergroup with a debut concert planned for next month.

The internet went wild last week when a countdown website appeared suggesting a return from rock/rap band Rage Against the Machine (RATM). Since then details have slowly been emerging – revealing that Chuck D of Public Enemy and B-Real of Cypress Hill will be joining RATM to form a new supergroup called Prophets Of Rage.

Unfortunately RATM frontman Zach de la Rocha won’t be joining them but the rest of the band are, including famed guitarist Tom Morello. Prophets Of Rage are planning their first show together at Hollywood Palladium on the 3rd of June.

Very little has been revealed, including whether an album or any original material will be coming from the group. Whether there will be any original tracks from the new supergroup or not, with 3 catalogs of music including tracks like Cypress Hill’s ‘How I Could Just Kill A Man‘, covered by RATM, they won’t be short on setlists.

You can sign up to find out more from: prophetsofrage.com.

Universal Music Make Almost $4m Daily From Music Streaming

Just over a week since Warner Music revealed music streaming had become their primary source of revenue another major label, Universal Music, has revealed they make a massive $3.9 million every day from streaming.

Universal Music Group’s (UMG) streaming income has been unveiled in parent company Vivendi’s first quarter earnings statement. It revealed that their income from music streaming has increased by an incredible 60% since last quarter.

As if it wasn’t clear enough that music streaming is dominating the industry the report shows that UMG’s primary revenue is now from streaming services, making up 34% of their total income. This pushes way beyond digital downloads which account for 22% of total revenue whilst their physical music offerings find middle ground at 27% of UMG’s income.

This report reveals that two of the three major labels now make the majority of their revenue from streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, as Warner Music recently announced it was their primary revenue source. No doubt the story is similar over at Sony Music Entertainment.

music streaming Universal

With close to $4 million earned every day by Universal from streaming it’s clear to see that the issue big artists have with payouts isn’t the services themselves, but rather labels taking large cuts. Label deals can leave artists with under 10% of earnings going to them. This inequality and the dawn of the internet has meant lots more artists are going independent, and now everyone has the chance to with site’s like us, RouteNote, getting your music onto streaming services without the crazy percentage cuts of many labels.

But remember not all labels are rip-offs and record labels are still an important and valuable part of the industry. Just make sure as an artist you’re protecting yourself and your work when you sign to a label.

RouteNote Interviews: Mike Emilio

Mike Emilio is a talented, popular Swedish producer and DJ. He’s amassed millions of listeners on tracks like his hit Fugazi on Spotify and SoundCloud. Mike has found his way onto top lists around the world including in the top ten Latin American charts and 2nd place at Spain’s biggest radiostation.
We managed to get in a few questions with Mike between producing his next hit singles.

How did you get into music, was it a natural passion or something you learned to love?

I grew up in a musical family where both my father and brother played several instruments, we built a studio and I got my first pair of drums when I turned six years old. I got raised with a lot of new metal and hard rock so that was the genre that started everything.

Over the years I started to produce hip-hop in high school and later switched on to EDM. I think my musical background is so important and I don’t want to label my music, I want to mix everything and produce music I love doing.

You’re part the recently launched Shape Music network and record label, what’s it like and were you a part of it’s inception?

I founded Shape Music now in 2016. Before that we were a music collective with four artists including Modo (NY), Tareq (SWE), James Wilson (SWE) and myself. I have been working on trying to cover every part needed, everything from producing to marketing – make everything from scratch and be able to finalize the product.

I have been lucky to be able to work with RouteNote that helps me distribute our songs worldwide. Music is so much more than just making the music, and that is what makes it so fun – to be able to be innovative and creative on so many levels.

You work with a lot of artists, recently you’ve worked a lot with Modo and James Wilson. How does working with other artists affect your creative process?

Connecting and working with other artists is something you must do, you learn a lot from the process and you reach sounds you never thought you would accomplish. Every artist is unique and when you finally feel that you have found the people you love working with, everything gets so much easier.

You stumble upon a lot of people that just want to use your ability of working without giving anything back, so I am happy to be a part of my team containing reliable and talented artists. Hard work pays off!

You’ve already been very prolific this year. Can we expect to see even more releases from you in 2016?

We will have a lot of releases coming up, not in the same tempo as we started 2016 though. We had a project where the team made several songs (over 15-20 so far) so that we could reach out as much as possible. We have new projects ready to be released with some really interesting artists. Some tracks are signed at major labels as Sony Music as well, we want to try to be seen and heard everywhere.

If you could choose to work with any artist/musician, past or present, who would you choose and why?

If I had the possibility to choose an artist/band it would be MUSE, I have been listening to them for so long and I can always go back to their old albums and just get nostalgic – there’s no ‘Best Before Date’ on their songs.

If we talk EDM it would be Skrillex or Deorro, no doubt.

Imagine you’re stuck on a desert island and can only take 3 tracks to listen to and one possession. What would you choose?

Hmmm, three tracks:

Muse – Hysteria
Toploader – Dancing in the Moonlight
Jillionare & Salvatore Ganacci – Fresh ft. Sanjin

Pretty mixed genres! I would bring a guitar.

If you can choose, which of your own tracks would you say is your favourite or you are most proud of?

I would have to say Fugazi that I made together with Modo since that song opened so many doors and helped me in so many ways.

What does the future hold for Mike Emilio?

I’ve just signed a new song with Treyy G (Trumpsta) and Frankie Carrera at Sony Music/Disco:Wax and we are shooting the music video with the talented Samuel Leijon as we speak. Last weekend we also recorded the official video for Fugazi 2016 that will be released through Shape. Modo has been doing a great job together with his crew on that one. I am hoping to take Shape Music into the next level and we got several interesting things going on.

What advice would you give to other aspiring musicians and producers?

You learn as long as you keep doing what you love, don’t let other people that doubt you affect you negatively. We all start somewhere and you must try to find your own path through the labyrinth of music. There will always be people trying to stop you from doing what you love just because they haven’t found out what they want to do yet.

Believe in yourself and don’t be afraid of trying!


Mike Emilio

SoundCloud – soundcloud.com/mikeemilio
Facebook – facebook.com/mikeemiliomusic
Twitter – twitter.com/realmikeemilio
Shape Music – facebook.com/Shapemusic

Warner Music First Major To Sign Deal With MQA (Master Quality Audio)

Warner Music Group are the first major label to sign a deal with MQA to “significantly increase music fans’ access to hi-resolution music globally”.

Master quality audio isn’t new in itself but hi-res audio files have always taken up loads of memory, something that definitely isn’t compatible with streaming. MQA brings hi-res, master quality audio files in packages small enough to sustainably stream or download.

Now Warner Music Group (WMG) have made a world first by being the first major record label to sign a deal with the hi-resolution audio distributors. This will allows all of Warners extensive music catalogue to go through MQA to provide pristine quality tracks to their partners. So far partners are limited to a few specialist services like Onkyo, however with this deal we could see MQA files expanding to mainstream stores like Spotify and iTunes.

MQA creator, Bob Stuart said: “This collaboration is a giant step forward for MQA and music fans everywhere. We have been working tirelessly to ensure labels, studios, artists, services, and playback partners understand the potential of our technology and the responses have been overwhelming. MQA is about bringing the most authentic sound to music lovers all over the world and WMG is our first major partner to help drive this mission forward.”

master quality audio warner music
Bob Stuart, MQA creator and founder

Chairman and CEO of WMG’s Atlantic Records, Craig Kallman added: “The digital music era has been all about convenience. It is fantastic that we can listen to virtually and song, anywhere, any time. In that process, however, convenience has trumped sound quality, and we have gotten further away from the sound that artists work so hard to create. MQA makes hi-resolution music easy to stream or download to any device.

“Music fans will love it when they hear it, and WMG is thrilled to be partnering with MQA to take the next step in bringing hi-resolution music to consumers across the globe.”