MONDAY 8 MAY 2017 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Warner Music has extended its deal with YouTube, and is very excited about its new partnership with the Google video site. Though it's mainly excited about the length of the new deal, and the fact that it's not committed to anything for too long. So basically what the major is saying is "with this new deal in the bag, we can't wait to start negotiating the next deal". Such is the peculiarity of the music industry's relationship with YouTube... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S CMU APPROVED: Back with her first new music as a lead artist since 2015, Tove Styrke recently released new single 'Say My Name'. As occurred with last album 'Kiddo', it marks another dramatic shift in sound, although still remains firmly within the boundaries of pop. [READ MORE]
 
LATEST CMU PODCAST: CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including the spectacular collapse of Ja Rule's Fyre Festival and the many-layered fallout from it, Eminem's song-theft lawsuit against New Zealand's ruling National Party getting to court, and the launch of the CMU Insights @ The Great Escape programme. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
 
LATEST CMU TRENDS: The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry last week published its annual stats report, rounding up the financial performance of the global record industry in 2016. Revenues were up 5.9% worldwide, fuelled by the streaming boom. Reviewing the figures, CMU Trends provides three reasons to be optimistic, and three reasons for pessimism. CMU Trends articles are available to premium subscribers. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Warner extends its deal with YouTube
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LEGAL Suppliers join ticketholders in suing Ja Rule over the Fyre Festival shambles
Spotify and Deezer back call to regulate app store owners
Cliff Richard puts legal battle with BBC on hold to try to reach a deal
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Kobalt secures $75 million in 'growth capital'
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
BRANDS & MERCH YouTube CEO promises to "do better" at keeping ads off extremist material
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
THE GREAT ESCAPE CMU@TGE Top Ten Questions: What impact will Brexit have on music?
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
ARTIST NEWS Tinnitus contributed to suicide of Inspiral Carpets' Craig Gill, says wife
Nicki Minaj pays fans' tuition fees
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
AND FINALLY... Liam Gallagher expresses concern over Noel's Gorillaz performance
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
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Warner extends its deal with YouTube
Warner Music has extended its deal with YouTube, and is very excited about its new partnership with the Google video site. Though it's mainly excited about the length of the new deal, and the fact that it's not committed to anything for too long. So basically what the major is saying is "with this new deal in the bag, we can't wait to start negotiating the next deal". Such is the peculiarity of the music industry's relationship with YouTube.

The mini-major's CEO Steve Cooper last week wrote in a memo to staff, published by Variety, that: "I wanted to let you all know that, following months of tough negotiations, we've extended our deals with YouTube, separately for music publishing and recorded music. On the publishing side, Warner/Chappell tirelessly championed songwriters' rights, and equally, our recorded music team was relentless on behalf of our artists and our music".

He added: "We secured the best possible deals under very difficult circumstances. Our new deals are also shorter than usual, giving us more options in the future".

Of course, while YouTube remains a key marketing platform for the music industry, and does generate some income via rights owners sharing in the ad revenue generated around their content, most labels and publishers are unhappy with their deals with the Google company and the royalties they earn from them.

The issue is that it's hard for music companies to keep their songs and recordings off the user-upload platform, and those pesky safe harbour laws mean that the music industry hasn't to date been able to shift responsibility for keeping unlicensed music off YouTube onto YouTube itself. This, the music industry argues, greatly weakens the negotiating hand of the rights owners, hence them only reluctantly doing licensing deals with the Google site.

Labels and publishers want copyright law rewritten, so that companies like YouTube no longer benefit from the safe harbour. Cooper's memo continued: "Our fight to further improve compensation and control for our songwriters and artists continues to be hindered by the leverage that 'safe harbour' laws provide YouTube and other user-uploaded services. There's no getting around the fact that, even if YouTube doesn't have licences, our music will still be available but not monetised at all. Under those circumstances, there can be no free-market 'willing buyer, willing seller' negotiation".

Warner was actually the first of the big music companies to license YouTube back in 2006, and it has top level content partner status, so that it can directly sell advertising on its own channels, as well as sharing in ad income YouTube sells around user-generated content containing its music. Sony and Universal enjoy similar content partner status, though often via Vevo, the online music video company they co-own.

Nevertheless, all the majors have become ever more critical of YouTube in recent years, making safe harbour reform their top lobbying priority. And that hasn't changed since YouTube hired the record industry veteran who oversaw that first deal at Warner in 2006, Lyor Cohen, to be its Global Head Of Music.

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Suppliers join ticketholders in suing Ja Rule over the Fyre Festival shambles
With three lawsuits already filed by aggrieved ticketholders following the collapse of the Ja Rule-backed Fyre Festival at the end of the last month, the first litigation from one of the event's suppliers has now surfaced.

According to Philadelphia magazine, a company called National Event Services - which was hired to provide medical support on site - sued the Fyre Festival companies, Ja Rule and his co-founder Billy McFarland last Wednesday, accusing the defendants of breach of contract and fraud, amongst other things.

In the lawsuit, NES says that it was hired by Fyre Festival organisers in January, first visiting the island in the Bahamas due to host the event in February. During that visit, it alleges, the festival's management assured the company that they had "taken all necessary actions to ensure the successful staging of a first-class music festival".

However, the legal filing continues, when NES staff arrived on the island of Great Exuma a few days before the festival was due to start, they "immediately discovered that the accommodations were uninhabitable, including bug infestation, blood-stained mattresses and no air conditioning". They then discovered that the space where the NES team was expected to administer medical services was similarly inadequate, making it "impossible" for the firm to fulfil its contractual obligations.

Despite all this, NES staff decided to stay on site and set up as good a medical tent as they could "in response to obvious safety and health concerns for the people trapped on the island". This goodwill gesture "left NES exposed to serving distressed patrons for an unprepared festival site", the lawsuit adds.

Other allegations contained in the new litigation include that, while there is actually a permanent health clinic on Great Exuma, it was closed during the event, meanwhile no plane or helicopter had been hired in case a medical evacuation was necessary during the festival. The legal papers also say that Fyre Festival management had failed to secure cancellation insurance despite understanding that they had underfunded their event.

The medical services company wants compensatory, consequential and punitive damages, and - presumably aware that the Fyre Festival companies may not survive the fallout of the cancelled event - the lawsuit specifically requests that both Ja Rule and McFarland be individually and personally liable for the whole shambles.

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Spotify and Deezer back call to regulate app store owners
Spotify and Deezer were among the companies to sign a letter to the European Commission last week complaining about what they see as an abuse of power by the likes of Apple and Google in relation to their respective mobile operating systems and app stores.

Although the letter didn't mention Apple or Google by name, according to the Financial Times it did talk about the operators of certain mobile operating systems, app stores and search engines abusing their "privileged position" to the detriment of smaller companies which rely on those channels to reach their customers.

Complaints commonly raised by app operators about the two big app stores include not being able to access key consumer data when people sign up to their services within an app, and the app store owners giving preferential treatment to their own products.

Spotify has hit out at Apple in particular in the past, especially since the tech giant launched its rival music service. If people sign up to Spotify via its iOS app, Apple charges a fee which the streaming firm has to pass on to the consumer because of its tight profit margins. But Apple rules mean that Spotify can't make it clear to the consumer that if they were to sign up via the streaming company's own website, they'd not have to pay the extra fee and their subscription would be cheaper. This means that - to anyone reviewing their streaming music options within the Apple app store - Apple Music appears cheaper than its rivals.

The European Commission is already considering measures to help smaller businesses which claim they are disadvantaged by unfair contractual clauses forced on them by the tech and web giants. Those smaller businesses argue that, while they could take their grievances to court and sue Apple or Google for allegedly violating European competition law, such litigation is costly and time-consuming, and therefore often not a realistic option.

According to the FT, solutions being considered by EU officials include sector-specific codes of conduct and an independent dispute settlement body that could consider and settle disputes between big platforms and their smaller business customers in a more speedy and cost efficient way.

Neither Google or Apple have commented on last week's letter.

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Cliff Richard puts legal battle with BBC on hold to try to reach a deal
Cliff Richard and the BBC have both agreed to pause their high court legal battle in a bid to reach an out of court settlement.

As previously reported, Richard is suing the BBC and South Yorkshire Police over the former's coverage of the latter's investigation into claims of sexual abuse that were made against the singer in 2014. The star objected in particular to the broadcaster's filming of a police raid on one of his properties in Berkshire.

No charges were made in relation to the allegations of historical sexual assault, with the Crown Prosecution Service dropping the case because of insufficient evidence. Meanwhile Richard went legal claiming that the BBC's coverage of the case, facilitated by South Yorkshire Police, breached his privacy rights and, in doing so, inflicted "profound and long-lasting" damage on the singer's reputation.

A preliminary hearing in relation to the case took place in court last week during which, among other things, the BBC's lawyers hit out at the legal bills Richard has run up while pursuing his lawsuit against the broadcaster, aware that if it loses the legal battle it might have to cover the singer's costs.

While both sides were standing their ground during much of the preliminary hearing, on Friday reps for the broadcaster and the pop star said that they had now agreed a one-month ceasefire during which time out-of-court negotiations would take place. It remains to be seen if a deal can now be done.

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Kobalt secures $75 million in 'growth capital'
Drinks all round on Kobalt, I say. Actually steak dinners. I'd prefer a steak dinner. A fully transparent, tech-savvy, creator-friendly steak dinner, obviously.

Kobalt has raised around $75 million in growth capital via a new financing round led by media conglom Hearst Entertainment and also involving the money men at investment firms like Balderton Capital and MSD Capital. Which, all in all, is quite a lot of money. You could almost set a streaming service with that kind of money. Almost. Kobalt, though, will use the cash to "further scale its unique royalty collections platform to meet the demands of the global surge in music streaming". Which sounds more sensible.

Says Kobalt boss Willard Ahdritz: "From the start, my vision for Kobalt has been to transform the music industry and help take it into the digital age. With the high growth of streaming and the billions of micro-transactions that take place per song, the music industry is more complex than ever. Guided by core principles of transparency, technology, and putting creators first, I have never been more sure that our platform, combined with our global creative team, is the right one to serve creators and rights owners in the rapidly evolving digital music environment".

Meanwhile Neeraj Khemlani, President of Hearst Entertainment, said of his company joining the Kobalt party: "The music industry is growing revenue again and it's due to the meteoric rise of music streaming. Willard has brilliantly positioned Kobalt to be an important company at the centre of this booming industry by building an invaluable platform for artists, songwriters and third party labels and publishers looking to have complete, real time transparency into how their music is being consumed and thereby collect royalty revenue more efficiently and faster than ever before".

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YouTube CEO promises to "do better" at keeping ads off extremist material
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki used her company's annual Brandcast event last week to address the recent backlash over concerns that adverts were being placed by the Google video site alongside extremist material.

As previously reported, an assortment of agencies and big brands pulled ads from YouTube over concerns that a lack of control over where their commercials went could be causing brand damage, thanks to their association with and apparent funding of extremism. Both music video platform Vevo and the UK radio industry attempted to capitalise on this by talking up the safety they provide their advertisers.

Acknowledging the backlash, Wojcicki said, according to The Hollywood Reporter: "I want you to know that we have taken your feedback to heart. We work hard every day to earn our advertisers' and agencies' trust. We apologise for letting some of you down. We can, and we will, do better".

The rest of Wojcicki's presentation was more upbeat about YouTube's role in the current media world, as was the wider event. "The platforms for the future are different from the ones of the past", she said. "YouTube is not TV and never will be".

That seems like a slightly odd statement, as the company launched its YouTube TV subscription service just two months ago. Also, the big announcement at Brandcast was a collection of new ad-funded original shows, which seem to aimed directly at drawing audiences away from traditional TV.

On the music side, Katy Perry appeared at the event to announce that she would be part of a new Ryan Seacrest produced and Ludacris hosted talent show called 'Best.Cover.Ever'. Jason Derulo, Demi Lovato and The Backstreet Boys will also appear on the programme.

Perry will also host the 'Katy Perry Live Special', a live-streamed listening party for her new album, while Lovato will be the subject of documentary series 'I Am: Demi Lovato', following the writing and recording of her new album.

So, at least some artists are still talking to YouTube HQ. Though maybe only until their shiny new shows get playlisted alongside extremist videos.

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CMU@TGE Top Ten Questions: What impact will Brexit have on music?
In the run up to this year's CMU Insights @ The Great Escape conference, we are going through the top ten questions we will be answering during this year's programme. Today: What impact will Brexit have on music?

So, Brexit then. That's happening. Though, despite Article 50 having now been triggered, we still don't really know what Brexit will actually look like; except that whatever happens, we can be sure Theresa Mayhem will reduce it to a three word cliché. Brexit means Brexit, remember. Strong and stable, mind. Strong and stable.

However, while we may not yet know what Brexit will look like - and therefore what it will mean in tangible terms for the music industry - we can identify the areas where the UK exiting the European Union could impact on the music business.

The industry's trade bodies need to do just that, to inform the lobbying they will need to undertake, alongside every other sector. So that, on the off chance Mayhem takes her fingers out of her ears for a few seconds, the music community's reps in Westminster and Whitehall know what to shout.

Brexit will likely impact on UK copyright law, though probably not in the short term. But, cut free from its obligation to work in harmony with the European copyright regime, UK copyright law could be reformed faster in the future.

That might be a good thing, given how copyright struggles to keep up with the ever-evolving digital world. Though, for the music community, one down side could be that the lobbyists from Google and Facebook - who are arguably stronger in London than they are in Brussels - will be more likely to get things their way.

Brexit could also affect copyright in the rest of Europe. The UK has always been particularly vocal on intellectual property issues within the EU. With that voice absent from the table, and the French and German influence likely to increase as a result, the copyright priorities of European lawmakers could shift.

While the Brexit affect on copyright will likely take sometime to emerge, the UK's exit from the EU could have a more immediate effect on the movement of physical product between Britain and continental Europe, and - of course - the movement of workers.

This could impact on the CD and vinyl market in the UK, which relies on pressing plants elsewhere in Europe, while music companies which run European operations out of London may look to base themselves elsewhere if hiring European citizens becomes tricky.

For the artist community, perhaps the biggest question is what this will all mean for touring. Will there be new costs and bureaucracy when UK artists tour Europe, and will that affect the ability of middle-level artists to tour at all, or at least to take their British crew and session musicians with them?

At the conclusion of The Export Conference at The Great Escape this month, we will put the spotlight on all things Brexit, considering all of these issues, best and worst case scenarios, and what the music community's lobbying priorities should be.

Leading the conversation will be the BPI's Director Of Public Affairs Ian Moss, and he will be joined by Proper Music's Vangel Vlaski, the Musicians' Union's Naomi Pohl, music export expert Anna Hildur and lawyer Luke English.

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Approved: Tove Styrke
Back with her first new music as a lead artist since 2015, Tove Styrke recently released new single 'Say My Name'. As occurred with last album 'Kiddo', it marks another dramatic shift in sound, although still remains firmly within the boundaries of pop.

"I've been hard at work in the studio for the past two years", she tells Pigeons & Planes. "It took me a while to find this new direction, but when I finally found it everything just clicked for me. I love this sound and that it's quite the opposite of what I did last time. It's important for me to always keep reinventing myself and challenging myself creatively. I think that's important in life in general, like, you don't wanna feel like you know yourself. You should surprise yourself constantly".

Watch the lyric video for 'Say My Name' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

Tinnitus contributed to suicide of Inspiral Carpets' Craig Gill, says wife
The wife of Inspiral Carpets drummer Craig Gill has said that she believes that tinnitus lead to a downturn in his mental health, which resulted in him taking his own life last year.

Speaking at her husband's inquest, Rose Marie Gill said that she had discovered the drummer's body after returning home from a day out with their children. She added that his death had come without warning, and that he had not outwardly displayed any signs of depression or suicidal thoughts.

Gill left no explanation for his decision, but his wife explained after the hearing: "For the past 20 years, Craig suffered from debilitating tinnitus, a condition caused by not protecting his hearing when enjoying the careers he loved the most - a successful musician, DJ and love of listening to music. His condition affected his day-to-day wellbeing and he suffered in silence with both sleep deprivation and anxiety".

She added that his tinnitus had become "so unbearable he felt there was no cure" and "instead of reaching out, on that day in November, Craig made the saddest and most tragic of decisions".

Concluding, she said: "Although we struggle with the day-to-day existence of life without Craig, we are now able to discuss and promote awareness of tinnitus and men's mental health. It takes courage for men to speak out, to talk to one another, to share their thoughts and their fears. If you are one of those men, like Craig, we urge you to reach out to those you love and find comfort in sharing your pain".

The inquest recorded an open verdict.

For more information on tinnitus, contact the British Tinnitus Association. Male suicide prevention charity CALM also offers further support.

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Nicki Minaj pays fans' tuition fees
Nicki Minaj has offered to pay the tuition fees of some of her fans. Not sure that's a perfect solution to the issue of poor education funding, but it's something. Although only those who have to date received straight A grades are eligible.

Minaj had been tweeting about a contest to meet her, but one fan replied and asked if she'd pay his tuition fees. "Show me straight As that I can verify with your school and I'll pay it", she replied. "Who wants to join THAT contest?! Dead serious".

It turned out, quite a few people were interested in that contest. So Minaj ended up agreeing to put up money for fees, books, and more, as well as paying off student loans for others who had already graduated.

After 45 minutes, she tweeted again: "OK you guys. It's been fun. Let me make those payments tomorrow then see if I have any money left. I'll do some more in a month or two".

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Liam Gallagher expresses concern over Noel's Gorillaz performance
Liam Gallagher thinks his brother Noel has "seriously lost the plot" after appearing alongside Damon Albarn when Gorillaz performed on 'The Graham Norton Show' last week.

Younger readers may not remember that, back in the 90s, a rivalry between the Gallaghers' Oasis and Albarn's Blur was concocted in order to sell more records by both bands. So successful was the plan that the subsequent chart battle got them on the news, and Liam still believes that it was an actual thing to this day.

Noel and Savages' Jehnny Beth joined Gorillaz to perform their collaborative single 'We Got The Power' on the BBC chat show. Catching up with the performance on Sunday, Liam tweeted: "Fucking hell bruv, you have seriously lost the plot. Man, I'm worried".

You can watch the show on iPlayer here. For maximum enjoyment, imagine Liam Gallagher watching it along with you.

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ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
CHRIS COOKE | MD & Business Editor
Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
Email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
Email sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
   
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of 3CM UnLimited she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
Email caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
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