WEDNESDAY 17 MAY 2017 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: It's been a couple of days since we last reported on anyone filing a lawsuit against the disastrous Fyre Festival, hasn't it? Don't worry, the litigation is still flowing in. Now a ticketing company is suing so that it can refund its customers their money... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S CMU APPROVED: For Record Store Day this year, Boxed In released their first new music since last year's 'Melt' album, double A-side single 'Pushing On/Unable'. Lead track 'Pushing On' now gets a new lease of life via a newly posted video. The piano house influenced track was written by Boxed In founder Oli Bayson with electronic producer George Fitzgerald in Berlin. [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 Warner Music's new licensing deal with YouTube and the ongoing safe harbours debate, Amazon’s latest moves in live music and its all new Echo device, plus an astonishing amount of Fyre Festival legal news. 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 Ticketing company joins the Fyre Festival lawsuit bandwagon
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Universal Music signs up with China's Tencent
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LIVE BUSINESS Pandora considering Ticketfly sale
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Merlin signs deal with hi-res streaming audio firm MQA
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
THE GREAT ESCAPE The Great Escape kicks off tomorrow
CMU@TGE Top Ten Questions: Can drugs really fuel the creative process?
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
RELEASES Broken Social Scene announce first album for seven years
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart announce new album
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
GIGS & FESTIVALS Royal Blood announce UK tour dates
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
ONE LINERS Katy Perry, Courtney Barnett, Why?, more
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
AND FINALLY... Travis Scott performs Goosebumps fourteen times at US show
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
MEXICAN SUMMER/ANTHOLOGY - JUNIOR PROJECT MANAGER (LONDON)
Mexican Summer and Anthology are looking for a junior project manager for our London based office to assist the Director of International Marketing.

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TICKET ARENA/EVENT GENIUS - CLIENT SERVICES MANAGER (LEEDS)
Ticket Arena is looking for an experienced Client Services Director to oversee our organisation’s ongoing operations and procedures. You will be a key member of the companies leadership responsible for the efficiency and progress of the business.

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KILIMANJARO LIVE - VIP SALES & EVENTS MANAGER (LONDON)
Promoter Kilimanjaro Live is looking to recruit a Sales and Event Manager to oversee its in house VIP packages. We are looking for a manager to help drive sales, develop proposals and oversee the running of hospitality packages at our events.

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4AD - JUNIOR DIGITAL ASSET MANAGER (LONDON)
4AD is seeking a junior to oversee management of digital assets, social media, and general label coordination across departments, reporting to the Label Manager.

For more information and to apply click here.
 
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18 May 2017 CMU Insights @ The Great Escape - The Media Conference
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20 Jun 2017 CMU:DIY x Urban Development: Where Labels & Publishers Fit In
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Ticketing company joins the Fyre Festival lawsuit bandwagon
It's been a couple of days since we last reported on anyone filing a lawsuit against the disastrous Fyre Festival, hasn't it? Don't worry, the litigation is still flowing in. Now a ticketing company is suing so that it can refund its customers their money.

Fyre HQ kickstarting a refunds process as soon as it became clear the luxury island event wasn't going to happen. However, ticketing firm Tablelist says it is yet to get back the ticket sales monies it had previously handed over to the event's promoters. As a result, it is unable to action the all of the refunds that have been claimed.

The ticketing company says that it passed on 90% of the ticket sales revenue that it processed to the Fyre company, keeping back just 10% in escrow to cover refunds, fees and other charges, which - of course - does not get close to covering all the money now being reclaimed by ticketholders.

"Despite announcing that 'all festivalgoers this year will be refunded in full', festival organisers never remitted a penny to Tablelist to pass along to consumers", says the ticketing firm in a statement. "Ticket purchasers are now pursuing millions of dollars in chargebacks - working through their credit card companies to receive refunds - which vastly exceed the depleted escrow fund".

Tablelist is seeking $3.5 million to cover those refunds, and to compensate for the damage caused to its business by the Fyre debacle. The company says that the collapse of the festival has already had a significant knock-on effect on its business, resulting in 40% of Tablelist employees being made redundant.

As well as the Fyre Festival company itself, the lawsuit also names founders Billy McFarland and Ja Rule as defendants, plus Marketing Director Grant Margolis and investor Carola Jain. It accuses them of breach of contract, and of defrauding both Tablelist and its customers.

Like several other lawsuits, Tablelist's legal filing alleges that the whole Fyre event was set up as a fraudulent money-making operation, which was "falsely marketed as an 'exclusive, luxury' event".

"Like so many other companies, investors and endorsers, Tablelist - and our customers - are victims of a fraud", says the company's CEO Julian Jung. "Fyre Festival organisers completely left us hanging out to dry as the middleman between this disastrous event and our ticketholders. All the money sits with Fyre, and we're fighting back to get those funds to our customers, where they belong".

As previously reported, Fyre HQ sent out forms for ticketholders to fill out in order to process refunds soon after the event was cancelled. Customers were also given the opportunity to exchange their 2017 ticket for a VIP pass to the 2018 edition of the event, in lieu of a refund. A rep for the company at one point claimed that over 80% of people were choosing this option. But even if that is the case, the likelihood of the festival going ahead next year now seems incredibly remote.

This legal action brings the number of lawsuits filed in relation to Fyre Festival up to at least eleven. More could still be filed, possibly from other financial backers - including the previously mentioned Carola Jain - or from suppliers and staff who are still owed money.

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Universal Music signs up with China's Tencent
Universal Music has followed the lead of its major label rivals, and others, and struck up an alliance with Tencent Music, what is now the key player in the emerging Chinese music market that everyone hopes is going to be worth shedloads in the relatively near future.

The mega-major says that the "landmark licensing agreement" will "significantly expand the Chinese music market" and "accelerate Universal Music's development of local Chinese artists and repertoire". Oh, and they're going to build a Chinese version of London's famous Abbey Road Studios, which are now a division of Universal, of course.

As with Tencent's other deals with the global music players, under this arrangement it will get access to Universal's catalogue for its own streaming platforms, including QQ Music, and will also be the major's distribution partner in China, meaning it will also control the flow of tracks to other streaming services in the region.

Anything else? Well, so promises the official announcement of the deal, "both parties will work together to find new ways to develop artists, to innovate business models and to reinforce a robust copyright protection environment. In addition, Tencent will support Universal Music artists to promote their music, leveraging Tencent online properties and other media channels". Good times.

Says Universal Music big cheese Lucian Grainge: "We're looking forward to working with Tencent as we develop local Chinese artists and repertoire, as well as global stars, in this dynamic and expanding music market. With more than 80 years of history in China, Universal Music has been engaged in the unique evolution of the country's music business and I'm looking forward to working with Tencent to bring exciting new artists and services to music fans across China".

Meanwhile Tencent President Martin Lau adds: "We are honoured to be Universal Music's master distribution and licensing partner in China. With extensive user reach and deep industry knowledge, Tencent is the partner of choice for the music industry to engage with music lovers. Our partnership with the world's leading music labels will further demonstrate our commitment to cultivating a vibrant ecosystem that benefits music lovers, artists and songwriters".

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Pandora considering Ticketfly sale
American streaming firm Pandora announced last week that it was considering selling itself off to a bigger company as part of one of those strategic review things. Another option, it now emerges, is to just get shot of Ticketfly, the ticking company it acquired in late 2015.

According to Bloomberg, sources have said that selling off Ticketfly would be a back up option if a full sale of the streaming company could not be achieved.

This would leave the company focusing solely on streaming, which would suggest a couple of things. First, that diversifying into selling tickets hasn't created the kind of useful lucrative extra revenue stream Pandora hoped. And second, that it thinks it can still turn a profit by providing streaming services alone.

As previously reported, Pandora recently raised $150 million in new investment from KKR by creating a load of new shares. This money is seemingly aimed to keep the company - which reported losses of $132 million in the first quarter of this year - afloat long enough to find a buyer. It's likely any new owner would look to streamline the operation in order to boost revenues, which may mean that Ticketfly's sale is assured whatever happens.

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Merlin signs deal with hi-res streaming audio firm MQA
Indie label digital rights agency Merlin has announced a deal with hi-res audio company MQA, which will help the body's members encode their music in the MQA format. This follows MQA's deal with indie label distribution platform CI earlier this week.

"MQA's commitment is to provide exceptional sound quality from the studio recording all the way through to the consumer", says MQA CEO Mike Jbara. "We're excited to work with the leaders of the independent community to further fuel the availability of master quality recordings for music fans".

Merlin CEO Charles Caldas adds: "We are delighted to be partnering with MQA. From our own data, we know that Merlin members' repertoire performs best on paid-for subscription tiers, and it's to this high-spending consumer demographic that hi-resolution audio will have the greatest appeal. Consequently, today's future-facing agreement makes perfect sense - offering our independent label members a fast track entry point to an exciting segment of the streaming market, and ensuring they remain at its forefront".

MQA already has deals in place with Universal and Warner, and the format is used by Tidal.

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The Great Escape kicks off tomorrow
The Great Escape kicks off in Brighton tomorrow morning, with three days of great music taking place in venues all around the seaside city, and 3500 music industry professionals from across the world amongst the audience, looking for new acts to work with and support in markets across the globe.

During the day, those industry delegates also have access to the TGE Convention programme, at the heart of which sits the CMU Insights @ The Great Escape conferences. Four conferences in one, over the next two days CMU Insights will present The Media Conference, The Drugs Conference, The Export Conference and The Royalties Conference, all taking place in the Dukes @ Komedia cinema.

Over the last two weeks we've been identifying the top ten questions we will answer during the four conferences, and you can read up on all of those here...

01: Where does all the streaming money go?
02: How do you make money out of music media in 2017?
03: What impact will Brexit have on music?
04: How do you get paid when your music is synced?
05: How do you get your music onto a journalist's radar?
06: What are the pros and cons of direct licensing your performing rights in live?
07: How do you successfully launch new acts in new markets?
08: Will it be streams that kill the radio star?
09: What drugs policies and initiatives can actually save lives?
10. Can drugs really fuel the creative process?

For a speedy guide to the programme and speakers, check this post on the CMU Insights blog here.

Those looking to dig deeper should follow this CMU Insights blog post, where a range of resources will be appearing over the next three days. Later today a number of articles and a pre-event 'Where We're At' podcast will appear for delegates to read and listen to as they travel to the conference. Plus you'll be able to download the various presentations CMU Insights will deliver this year as they take place in Brighton.

More detailed summaries of those insight presentations will also be available to premium CMU subscribers via CMU Trends later this month, while the CMU team will also be reporting on all the discussions that take place this year in the CMU Daily over the coming weeks.

If you are heading to Brighton - see you there!

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CMU@TGE Top Ten Questions: Can drugs really fuel the creative process?
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: Can drugs really fuel the creative process?

We all know of great songs that were written or recordings that were made supposedly under the influence of one illegal substance or another. It was the drugs that enabled the kind of vision and creativity that resulted in our favourite music, it is sometimes said. But is that true? Or is it myth? And do such myths risk encouraging musicians to adopt lifestyles that could cause them harm?

The second half of our Drugs Conference at The Great Escape this year will look at drug taking within the music community. And it will begin by considering the role of drugs - or not - in the music making process.

Joining that conversation will be a diverse mix of music makers, each with their own perspective: singer-songwriter and former Babyshambles member Adam Ficek; DJ and producer Andrew Ferguson, aka Nomine; singer-songwriter Chris T-T; and producer and Skint Records founder Damian Harris, aka Midfield General. Jen Long with lead the discussion.

While the conclusion of that conversation may well be that certain drugs can fuel creativity, we all know that high levels of consumption can cause damage. The latter sessions of the Drugs Conference will look at addiction, continuing last year's CMU@TGE discussions with regards to how the music industry can better look after the health of its people.

We will watch and discuss a new documentary made by Noisey in which grime MC Jammer investigates the effect that habitual skunk use has had on the mental health of himself and other artists within the scene. Then we'll talk to musician/writer Simon Mason about his book 'Too High Too Far Too Soon' and his projects supporting those struggling with addiction, and to musician Jon Stewart - also now an academic at BIMM - who has been studying the pros and cons of the different treatments available.

Finally, we'll look at projects and initiatives being run by the likes of Help Musicians UK and the Music Managers Forum that are seeking to put in place support structures to better protect the mental health of artists and everyone working in the music industry.

It should make for a fascinating afternoon of conversations and debates, while hopefully spotlighting great initiatives already underway, and identifying what still needs to be done to ensure the health and well-being of the wider music community.

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Approved: Boxed In - Pushing On
For Record Store Day this year, Boxed In released their first new music since last year's 'Melt' album, double A-side single 'Pushing On/Unable'. Lead track 'Pushing On' now gets a new lease of life via a newly posted video.

The piano house influenced track was written by Boxed In founder Oli Bayson with electronic producer George Fitzgerald in Berlin. "It was snowing outside, we'd been at Berghain the night before, and the track came together pretty quickly when we got in from the cold", explains Bayson.

The track now has a video, directed by Davo McConville, which complements the track perfectly. An exhilarating mix of editing and choreography, it focuses on a performance by dancer Imogen Morris Clarke.

"The greatest gift you can receive as a director is amazing music - the right track makes whatever you do visually a pleasure so it has been a joy to work on 'Pushing On'", says McConville.

"From first hearing the track" he continues, "Imogen's journey sprang into my mind fully formed, and in executing it I was blessed by fine folk all around. No animals were harmed in the making of it, but Imogen's torn ankle ligaments ensured that we were ever on the edge of danger".

Watch the video for 'Pushing On' here.

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

Broken Social Scene announce first album for seven years
Broken Social Scene have announced their first album for seven years. Titled 'Hug Of Thunder', the record will be released on 7 Jul and includes contributions from all fifteen original members of the project. That'll explain why it took so long.

The album's title track is out now for you to listen to. Check it out here.

Some iteration of the band will be in the UK for two live shows this month. Here's where you can see them:

23 May: Manchester, Albert Hall
24 May: London, Brixton Academy

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The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart announce new album
The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have announced that they will release their new album, 'The Echo Of Pleasure', on 14 Jul, via their own Painbow label.

"The logistics of [making this album] were so different [to our debut]", says band leader Kip Berman. "When I recorded the record, my wife was six months pregnant. We only had a limited amount of time. There was an absolute uncertainty hanging over our heads, but it was also a kind of escape from worry for that time".

Those worries included "what's going to happen when I have a kid? Am I going to be able to go on tour? Is this the last record I'm going to get to make?" he explains. "It's not a bad thing to be worried when you're expecting this huge transition of life. If you didn't feel scared, you're probably not feeling the right emotion. I tried to make the best record I could, knowing it might be the last time".

"'The Echo Of Pleasure' could be the near-symmetry of love", he adds, of the album's title. "It's the reflection back and forth, modulating over time, of two people who are together. It's not a mirror - but a perpetual answering and asking. When one person is absent, that echo ceases or, as the title track laments, 'fades into these silent days'. In that sense, remembering is a kind of echo, each instance slightly less vivid than the one before".

Listen to first single 'Anymore' here.

The band will also be on tour in the UK this month and next. Here are the dates:

24 May: Bristol, Thekla
25 May: Manchester, Night & Day Café
27 May: Newcastle Upon Tyne, Think Tank
28 May: Glasgow, Stereo
29 May: Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
30 May: London, Oslo
1 Jun: Leicester, The Cookie
2 Jun: Wolverhampton, Newhampton Arts Centre
3 Jun: Oxford, The Cellar

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Royal Blood announce UK tour dates
Royal Blood have announced that they will tour the UK in November this year, following the June release of their second album, 'How Did We Get So Dark?'

To celebrate this news, the duo took part in a Reddit AMA yesterday.

Tickets for the live shows go on sale on 26 May. Here are the dates:

13 Nov: Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
14 Nov: Reading, Rivermead
16 Nov: Manchester, Arena
17 Nov: Leeds, First Direct Arena
18 Nov: Birmingham, Barclaycard Arena
20 Nov: London, Alexandra Palace
24 Nov: Glasgow, The Hydro
25 Nov: Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena
26 Nov: Dublin, 3Arena
28 Nov: Bournemouth, BIC
29 Nov: Brighton, Centre

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Katy Perry, Courtney Barnett, Why?, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Katy Perry will be a judge on the all-new coming-back-to-your-screens 'American Idol', it has been confirmed. Broadcaster ABC is "THRILLED".

• Courtney Barnett has released 'How To Boil An Egg' as part of the Milk Records Split Singles Club. "I used to perform this song at all the open mics when I was 21", she says. "It never got recorded, so for personal posterity I updated it and made this version recently when I was bunkered up in the bush doin some demos for my next album".

• Why? have released the video for 'The Barely Blur', taken from their latest album 'Moh Lhean'. The band will be on tour in the UK next month.

• Doldrums has released the video for new single, 'Heater'.

• Cigarettes After Sex have released new single, 'Each Time You Fall In Love'. Their debut album is out on 9 Jun.

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Travis Scott performs Goosebumps fourteen times at US show
Travis Scott reckons he's now the record holder for the most performances of one song in a single concert, having performed his track 'Goosebumps' fourteen times in a row for an audience in Oklahoma City.

Back in 2012, Jay-Z and Kanye West performed their 'Watch The Throne' track 'Niggas In Paris' twelve times at a show in Paris. Scott performed his song two more times than that last Friday, apparently to the delight of the audience.

"I want you all to know we just broke a record that was set way, way long ago", Scott told the audience after the thirteenth performance of the song. "We just broke that shit. That 'Niggas In Paris' shit? I think we broke that one ... I'm gonna do fourteen just in case they're like, 'nah, that's not it'".

A quick search of the Guinness World Records database suggests that neither West/Z nor Scott's performances are officially recognised as record breakers. But what fun to pay money to see someone play the same song over and over.

Here's a condensed version of Scott's show.

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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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