MONDAY 10 JULY 2017 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The FanFair Alliance has this morning published new research that shows how the secondary ticketing platforms use Google ads to put touted tickets at the top of search results. This means that fans searching for info on upcoming gigs on the search engine will see tickets available on the resale market at hiked up prices first, even when face value tickets are still available from primary ticket sellers... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S CMU APPROVED: After a number of years together making music and putting out various releases - and following some line-up changes more recently - Rare Monk have just put out their debut album, 'A Future'. The LP is more polished and bigger sounding than earlier releases, with an overall sound and style that can be traced back through various EPs and singles. [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 Kanye West falling out with Tidal just as Jay-Z releases his new album, AEG's very public spat with MSG and Live Nation, and Ed Sheeran quitting Twitter while planning an 8 Mile-style biopic. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
 
LATEST CMU TRENDS: Rarely a week goes by in the music business news these days without at least one catalogue acquisition. But who - other than labels and publishers - is buying music rights, and why? Are there opportunities for individual artists and songwriters to do deals with professional investors? And how do you even value music rights? Ahead of a Music 4.5 event exploring all these topics, CMU Trends reviews the music rights market - past, present and future. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES FanFair says tout ads on Google confuse fans
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LEGAL UK Music calls on British government to back safe harbour reform in Europe
BMG rejects Cox Communications' First Amendment argument
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LIVE BUSINESS Green Day issue statement in response to Mad Cool festival acrobat death
Music tourism is up, though grassroots venues still facing challenges
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ARTIST NEWS Robbie Williams becomes first Music Support patron
Mumford & Sons experimenting live to make "great" album
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RELEASES Dizzee Rascal releases new single, announces tour dates
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ONE LINERS Coldplay, Tyler The Creator, DJ Shadow, more
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AND FINALLY... Jenner sisters sued over Tupac t-shirt
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FanFair says tout ads on Google confuse fans
The FanFair Alliance has this morning published new research that shows how the secondary ticketing platforms use Google ads to put touted tickets at the top of search results. This means that fans searching for info on upcoming gigs on the search engine will see tickets available on the resale market at hiked up prices first, even when face value tickets are still available from primary ticket sellers.

The anti-tout campaign says that when it searched for 100 upcoming UK tours on Google - from a diverse range of artists, including Metallica, Cliff Richard, Lulu and Run The Jewels - a link to a secondary ticketing site appeared in the top paid-for slot of the resulting search list 77% of the time, despite only six of the tours actually being sold out on primary ticketing sites. In 65 instances it was big bad Viagogo topping the search list, a service that is billed as an "official site" on the search engine.

FanFair adds that the reason a company like Viagogo can afford to be buy all these Google ads is the massive fees they charge when people purchase their tickets from a tout via the secondary site. Or, in the words of FanFair: "The reason that Viagogo and other secondary sites can manipulate Google search in this way is simple - it's because they can afford to. Their business model is practically risk free and their service fees are typically set at around 20%-30% of the resale price. As a result, when purchasing AdWords they can outbid authorised ticket sellers whose charges are significantly less".

FanFair Alliance Campaign Manager Adam Webb added: "This is a real problem for UK audiences. If you're looking to attend a gig or festival, you'd probably expect a search engine to act as a trusted guide and direct you to the legitimate ticket seller. However, we consistently see secondary ticketing platforms, led by Viagogo, using paid search to dominate search rankings and even masquerade as 'official' sellers - causing considerable confusion in the process. FanFair is contacted on a daily basis by consumers who have been duped by this kind of advertising and led straight into the arms of a ticket tout".

With that in mind, FanFair has a tip for ticket buyers. "FanFair has brought these practices to the attention of regulators and Google itself", the campaign says. "But until action is taken we strongly recommend that would-be ticket buyers give search engines a swerve and check first with the artist or festival website".

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UK Music calls on British government to back safe harbour reform in Europe
Ah, value gap, value gap, value gap. Won't someone close the bloody value gap? Or everyone could just shut up about it. Either would do.

The newish boss of UK Music, Michael Dugher, has written to British culture minister Matt Hancock encouraging him to lobby hard for safe harbour reform in Europe as the much previously reported draft EU copyright directive continues to go through the motions, and especially when it comes before the council where member state governments consider and approve the proposals. You know, the bit of European democracy Hancock's Brexity colleagues in the Conservative Party like to pretend doesn't exist.

The draft copyright directive includes an article seeking to reform the safe harbour that, the music industry argues, is exploited by platforms like YouTube to secure much better deals from record companies, music publishers and collecting societies, and in doing so creating this 'value gap' in the digital music sector. The current draft of the safe harbour article is a little bit waffley, and both the music industry and the tech giants are trying to get the clause amended to their advantage.

Going over old ground, Dugher writes: "User-upload streaming services such as YouTube pay only a fraction of the royalties of other music services despite being the most popular source of music consumption by far. That estimated revenue generated per user is $20 for Spotify, compared with less than $1 for YouTube, clearly demonstrates the existence of a 'value gap' that distorts the online music market".

He goes on: "This significantly reduces the amount of money composers and performers receive for their creative endeavours from user-upload streaming services when compared to licensed streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. Not only are composers, performers and music businesses losing out, it also interferes with establishing a functioning market. Digital music services cannot operate on a level playing field as a result".

Bringing it all back to safe harbour, Dugher goes on: "Excuses are put forward by user-upload streaming services that they are purely passive hosting services and should therefore be exempt from liability. This should not be accepted. These services play an active role for commercial purposes, meaning they should not be entitled to an exemption from liability. Information society services have developed considerably in the last seventeen years, when the exceptions were introduced in the E-commerce Directive 2000, and will only rarely be limited to a passive role".

To that end, he says, "amendments clarifying that there is no ambiguity and that user-upload streaming services are liable for music should be supported".

Any amendments to the contrary should be resisted, he adds. "The European Parliament IMCO Committee provided its opinion on 8 Jun and suggested the introduction of a user-generated content exception to the directive. This would only really benefit the commercial interests of digital providers of online sharing platforms. Given the wide scope of the exception, including reference to entertainment, there is a concern that if put into practice it could have a devastating impact on commercial negotiations. This could have a profound impact on the creative community with rights holders having to initiate expensive legal proceedings to establish the actual boundaries of such an exception".

So that's all lovely isn't it? Value gap, value gap, value gap. Safe harbours, safe harbours, safe harbours.

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BMG rejects Cox Communications' First Amendment argument
BMG has rejected a recent new argument presented by US internet service provider Cox Communications in the two companies' ongoing dispute over piracy and safe harbour.

Cox, of course, was found liable for its users' copyright infringement in 2015 after it was shown to pay only a lip service to its own policies to deal with repeat infringers amongst its customer base. That - the US courts concluded - meant that the ISP no longer enjoyed safe harbour protection in relation to its users' conduct.

It was ordered to pay BMG $25 million in damages but is currently appealing that ruling. And last month it entered a new argument citing a recent ruling in the US Supreme Court that had nothing to do with music, but considered an individual's right to access the internet.

As previously reported, in that case it was ruled that convicted sex offenders cannot be banned from social media, because doing so would violate their free speech rights under the First Amendment of the American Constitution. Cox argued that if the courts can't ban convicted sex offenders from social media, it shouldn't have to disconnect its customers' internet access based on unproven claims of copyright infringement.

The ISP said in a court filing: "[This case] is directly relevant to what constitute 'appropriate circumstances' to terminate internet access to Cox's customers. The decision emphatically establishes the centrality of internet access to protected First Amendment activity".

BMG does not agree.

In a response, the music rights firm says: "The First Amendment does not guarantee Cox's subscribers the right to use Cox's internet service to steal music any more than it prevents Cox from terminating subscribers who violate Cox's policies or fail to pay their bills".

It goes on: "Just as criminalising the use of Facebook for sexual exploitation does not violate the First Amendment, the civil law of copyright liability may incentivise ISPs to terminate those subscribers who repeatedly use their service to infringe".

So, there you go. The squabble continues.

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Green Day issue statement in response to Mad Cool festival acrobat death
Green Day have issued a statement in response to the death of acrobat Pedro Aunión just before the band's set at the Mad Cool festival in Spain on Friday.

The Brighton-based aerial dancer had been performing between sets by Alt-J and Green Day when he fell 100 feet, causing fatal injuries. It was not announced that Aunión had died until later, after which Slowdive cancelled their appearance at the festival, saying they felt that it was now "not appropriate to play".

In a statement yesterday, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong said that the band had not been aware of the death when they took to the stage, and would also have cancelled their performance had they known.

"Many of you are wondering why we continued to play our show after the accident", he wrote. "Green Day did not hear about the accident until after our show was over. We didn't even know there was an acrobat performance at all".

He went on: "Fifteen minutes prior our tour management was told by local authorities to wait to go on stage because there was some sort of security issue. Security issues are a normal occurrence and procedure at any show. We were NOT told why, which is also normal. We waited as we were instructed. Still, we had no clue there was any such accident".

The band had finished their show and had returned to the backstage area before being made aware of Aunión's death, he said.

"All of us were in disbelief", he wrote. "I don't know why the authorities chose not to tell us about the accident before our concert. All we know is what was said after our concert. This has never happened in the 30 years Green Day have been performing live. If we had known prior to our performance we most likely would not have played at all. We are not heartless people. The safety and well being at any of our concerts absolutely comes first".

Commenting on the decision not to halt the festival in the wake of the accident, organisers said in a statement later on Sunday evening that they had been acting upon security recommendations.

"The decision to not stop the festival immediately was made between the state and local security forces, as well as our security management", they said. "In this situation it was officially deemed unsafe to have a large mass of people moving all at once, with the possibility of violent reactions, due to a sudden cancelation of an event of 45,000 people. The safety and security of the fans at the festival was of the highest order and it was not compromised".

Green Day's performance at the event was the last on their European tour. Earlier in the week, another show in Glasgow was cancelled at the last minute due to safety concerns caused by weather conditions.

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Music tourism is up, though grassroots venues still facing challenges
UK Music has published the latest edition of its annual music tourism survey 'Wish You Were Here'. Top line stats include that attendance at live music events in the UK rose by 12% last year, up to 30.9 million. Direct and indirect spending around those shows and festivals generated £4 billion, up 11% on the equivalent spend in 2015.

But what about those 'music tourists'? "The total number of music tourists from the UK and abroad increased by 20% in 2016 to 12.5 million", says UK Music. "11.6 million were UK citizens visiting live music events in other parts of the UK". In terms of all those bloody foreigners, "the numbers of overseas music visitors to live music events in the UK rose 7% to 823,000 with each spending an average of £850".

So, that's good news, isn't it? And all that means that more people are now being employed by the live music industry too. Though it's not actually all good news. "The figures also revealed a 13% drop in the level of direct spending at smaller music venues - those with capacity of under 1500 - in 2016 and a 21% fall in the number of overseas visitors to smaller venues".

So, something to be done there, then. We knew that already though didn't we? But good to be reminded. Says UK Music CEO Michael Dugher: "Live music in the UK is a tremendous success story and makes a massive contribution to our culture and general wellbeing, as well as our economy. It showcases our talent to the world and brings pleasure to millions every day. But this success is being put at risk. That's why UK Music will continue to campaign to safeguard smaller music venues, many of which are fighting for survival".

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Approved: Rare Monk
After a number of years together making music and putting out various releases - and following some line-up changes more recently - Rare Monk have just put out their debut album, 'A Future'.

The LP is more polished and bigger sounding than earlier releases, with an overall sound and style that can be traced back through various EPs and singles. There's also a greater emphasis than before on the guitar, with songs like 'Infinite Death' building a wall of noise which brings an increased drama to their songwriting.

The album's standout song is 'Phosphorescence', which slowly builds from calm, interwoven guitar lines to an expansive crescendo that lifts the whole song to another level.

Listen to 'Phosphorescence' here.

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

Robbie Williams becomes first Music Support patron
Music industry addiction and mental health support charity Music Support has announced its first patron, in the form of Robbie Williams.

"This is such a timely undertaking and I am very happy to be its first patron", says Williams in a statement.

Music Support co-founder Andy Franks adds: "I was overwhelmed when Tim Clark [of ie:music, which manages Williams] called to say Robbie had agreed to act as patron for Music Support. We are incredibly grateful and honoured. Having Robbie on board will help bring Music Support to the attention of so many more people who may need our services, and to raise the funds to allow us to provide those services".

Franks previously worked as Williams' tour manager. The singer's late co-manager David Enthoven, the co-founder of ie:music who died last year, was also a supporter of the new charity, having previously personally helped a number of artists tackling addiction.

As previously reported, Music Support is offering a physical presence back stage at a number of major festivals this year, in addition to its existing helpline, in conjunction with Live Nation. The 'Safe Tents' aim to provide "places of refuge for people working at the event who need a break from intense backstage pressures and demands in a stimulant-free environment".

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Mumford & Sons experimenting live to make "great" album
Shut up, Mumford & Sons could put out an album tomorrow if they wanted. It would be rubbish, but they could do it. But they want to put out a "great" album. Make Mumford & Sons Great Again, I say.

"I feel like we've got a really good chunk of the record done, although there's still a lot more to do", guitarist Winston Marshall told that NME. "If you're going to write an album of ten songs, our attitude is that you need to write 30 and choose ten fucking good ones. We could probably put out a not-so-good album right now, but it's better to wait and put out a great one".

The band are going back to testing out new songs on live audiences before recording their final versions, added Marcus Mumford. This being a process largely dropped on last album, 'Wilder Mind'.

"We've been playing a couple of new songs a night on this tour", said Mumford. "We've gone back to the mentality we had when we first started out, when every song was new to the audience and we'd get away with experimenting on them almost every night - working out what wasn't quite right, which lyrics didn't work, how 60 people in a pub reacted to certain things.

In an era when every misstep finds its way onto YouTube, this is a risk, he added: "People can share songs online so much more easily these days, so that experimentation is a little riskier than before, but we try not to be too precious about it".

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Dizzee Rascal releases new single, announces tour dates
Dizzee Rascal has released a new single, 'Wot U Gonna Do?', from his upcoming new album, 'Raskit'.

The track quizzes its unnamed subject on what they're going to do when their creativity's dried up, their career's over and they're back where they started working in McDonald's. "The funny thing about that song is people are always asking me who it's about, when it's obvious it's about me", says Dizzee.

Watch the video for 'Wot U Gonna Do?' here.

As well as the album release on 21 Jul, you'll be able to see Dizzee Rascal live up and down the UK in October. Here are the dates:

2 Oct: Liverpool, Academy
3 Oct: Glasgow, Academy
5 Oct: Newcastle Upon Tyne, Academy
6 Oct: Sheffield, Academy
7 Oct: Leeds, Academy
9 Oct: Norwich, The Nick Rayns LCR
12 Oct: London, Brixton Academy
13 Oct: Cambridge, Corn Exchange
14 Oct: Manchester, Academy
16 Oct: Bristol, Academy
17 Oct: Nottingham, Rock City
19 Oct: Southend, Cliffs Pavilion
20 Oct: Birmingham, Academy
21 Oct: Brighton, Dome

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Coldplay, Tyler The Creator, DJ Shadow, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Coldplay have released new single 'Aliens'.

• Tyler, The Creator has announced that he will release his new album, 'Scum Fuck Flower Boy', on 21 Jul. Here's the recently released 'Who Dat Boy?'

• DJ Shadow has released a new EP, 'The Mountain Has Fallen', featuring collaborations with Nas and Danny Brown.

• Run The Jewels have released the video for 'Don't Get Captured'.

• Ghostpoet is back with another new track, 'Freakshow'.

• Wolf Alice have released new single 'Don't Delete The Kisses'.

• Sigrid has put out the video for new single, 'Plot Twist'.

• Pins have released a short film using tracks from their recent 'Bad Thing' EP.

• PassCode will release their debut album 'Zenith' on 2 Aug. Here's new single, 'One Step Beyond'.

• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.

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Jenner sisters sued over Tupac t-shirt
A photographer has launched a lawsuit against Kendall and Kylie Jenner over their now withdrawn collection of t-shirts, which saw them superimpose their own faces and names over classic music photography.

As previously reported, the t-shirts were seemingly put on sale for $125 each without seeking permission to use any of the imagery they were obscuring. Cease and desist letters went out from representatives of The Doors and Notorious BIG. The t-shirts were withdrawn from sale and an apology issued. However, a photographer who took the original photograph of Tupac Shakur used on one of the shirts has now gone legal

According to Complex, photographer Mike Miller is suing the Jenners over their use of his Tupac photograph, in a lawsuit which states that the sisters "at no times notified Miller that they intended to exploit his photography, let alone obtained his authorisation".

The legal papers also say that "an association with Kendall is particularly problematic given that she was complicit in not one but two of the worst public relations disasters in recent memory". Seemingly this refers to both the t-shirts themselves and Kendall Jenner's recent appearance in a withdrawn Pepsi advert.

The Jenner sisters previously apologised for the t-shirts, saying that the designs "were not well thought out". A representative for them has since told TMZ that while they approved the designs, they were not involved in putting them into production and had assumed that licensing would be handled by their team.

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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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