Must Read: @HannahJKarp: Avenged Sevenfold Surprises Warner Music With New Album on Rival Label

On Thursday night, rock band Avenged Sevenfold announced the surprise arrival of their seventh studio album, on Vivendi SA’s Capitol Records—after playing several songs on the roof of Capitol’s circular building in Los Angeles that was streamed online via a virtual reality app.

But the splashy release will soon face some unusual competition: the band’s own greatest-hits record, slated for a December release by its former label, Access Industries Inc.’s Warner Music Group. Warner Music sued the rockers earlier this year in California state court for breach of contract after they left the label without delivering the final album called for by the deal.

Their battle centers on a California labor law that frees artists and other “personal service” employees from their contracts after seven years—but also explicitly permits record companies to sue acts for damages if they fail to deliver the agreed-upon number of recordings during that time. While plenty of actors, artists, athletes, talent agents and record companies have invoked the “seven-year rule” in the past, Warner Music’s case against Avenged Sevenfold may be the first suit based on the statute to go to trial, slated for next year.

Read the post on Wall Street Journal

@hannahjkarp: Music Industry’s Latest Piracy Threat: Stream Ripping

More excellent reporting from Hannah Karp.

Earlier this year, a federal judge shut down the free music-download site Mp3skull.com and awarded $22 million to the record companies that had sued it for copyright infringement. But Mp3skull.onl, which has surfaced in its place, is touting a service even more worrisome to the music industry: stream ripping.

That practice, which involves turning a song or music video played on a streaming service into a permanent download, is growing fast among young music fans, even as other forms of music piracy wane. The site’s community manager didn’t respond to requests for comment.

As music-streaming services blossomed over the past decade, so have mobile apps and sites allowing users to create MP3 files from songs streamed on free services such as Alphabet Inc. ’s YouTube. Fans can listen to the songs without YouTube’s ads—and without having to buy the songs or pay for a subscription service such as Spotify AB and Apple Inc. ’s Apple Music.

While streams can potentially be ripped from any music-streaming service—paid or unpaid—the most popular sites and apps allow users to convert YouTube videos into ad-free, audio-only downloads with a single click.

Read the post on Wall Street Journal thanks to Patrick @Courrielche for the link.