FRIDAY 20 OCTOBER 2017 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The four creators of 'This Is Spinal Tap' have filed amendments to their ongoing litigation against Universal Music owner Vivendi. The new filings make new and more specific allegations against the French entertainment conglomerate, while also adding Universal Music itself as a co-defendant... [READ MORE]
DISSECTING THE DIGITAL DOLLAR - STEP BY STEP
As the UK's Music Managers Forum publishes two new guides as part of phase three of its 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar' programme, CMU Trends summarises what we've learned from the project so far in 30 points - ten from part one, ten from part two, and ten from the new guides. Along the way we cover digital licensing, all the key issues with the current streaming business model, and what you need to know about label deals and transparency in the streaming age. [READ MORE]
   
GLOBAL MUSIC DATA AND BLOCKCHAIN
There has been lots of debate around the music rights data problem in recent years, and a number of initiatives are underway to tackle the issue. Though Spotify's mechanical royalties dispute and the lack of songwriter credits on the streaming platforms shows the problem persists. As Music 4.5 puts the spotlight back on all things data, CMU Trends reviews discussions to date, challenges to be met, and where progress is being made. [READ MORE]
   
THE RIGHTS OF ARTISTS AND SONGWRITERS POST-ASSIGNMENT - PERFORMER AND MORAL RIGHTS
Copyright provides creators with control over that which they create, but what happens when the creators themselves don't own the copyright in their work? Artists and songwriters who are no longer in control of their copyrights do still have some rights, sometimes by contract, and via performer and moral rights. CMU Trends considers what the law says about the rights of artists and songwriters after their copyrights have been assigned. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Spinal Tap creators amend their Vivendi litigation, add Universal Music as a defendant
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DEALS SACEM allies with DJ Monitor on dance music tracking
Proper signs deal with Tru Thoughts
Songwriter Linnea Södahl signs to Warner/Chappell
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES MMF launches Deals Guide and Transparency Guide
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ARTIST NEWS Tom Jones says the music industry has a long history of sexual harassment
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RELEASES Gwenno returns with Cornish language album
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GIGS & FESTIVALS Noel Gallagher to play intimate show for Apple Music
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ONE LINERS Taylor Swift, Liam Payne, Fever Ray, more
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AND FINALLY... Beef Of The Week #377: CDs v Mountains
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KOBALT - SVP SYNCHRONISATION UK & EUROPE (LONDON)
The Senior Vice President of Synchronisation will be responsible for overseeing creative pitching, clearance and synch administration for the United Kingdom, Ireland, Spain, Portugal and Netherlands and overseeing synch agents and sub-publishers in key territories including France, Italy and Eastern Europe.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
THE ORCHARD - INTERACTIVE MARKETING MANAGER (LONDON)
The Orchard is looking for a savvy, seasoned digital music marketer to promote its distributed artists in Europe and beyond. The ideal candidate will come from a label or distribution background and have an exceptional understanding of the digital space.

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SJM CONCERTS - JUNIOR PROMOTER (MANCHESTER)
SJM Concerts are at the forefront of the Live UK Music market. With nearly a 30 year history as a company we promote some of the biggest tours for artists from around the world. Those who are both long established and those setting the bar for the future.

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BMG - DIGITAL MARKETING ASSISTANT, CATALOGUE RECORDINGS (LONDON)
We are looking for a passionate Digital Marketing Assistant to join our Catalogue Marketing team. This is a newly created role and the successful candidate will assist the Marketing Manager and wider team with developing and executing effective digital marketing strategies for the BMG Catalogue campaigns.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
WARP RECORDS - CREATIVE LICENSING MANAGER (LONDON)
Warp Records is looking to hire a Creative Licensing Manager, Advertising to join our Sync team in London to deliver licensing opportunities for our Artists focusing on Advertising, Trailers & Promos.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
GREEN MAN - MARKETING MANAGER (LONDON)
Green Man Festival wishes to appoint a Marketing Manager to join our friendly team, who will create and implement marketing campaigns for the festival as well as other Green Man events and experiences.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
NINJA TUNE - MARKETING ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Ninja Tune seeks a Marketing Assistant to provide support for the Product Managers across all areas of artist campaigns. Someone who is passionate about music, with previous music industry experience, preferably within marketing.

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Our 'How The Music Business Works' programme consists of eight two-hour seminars which together cover: the various ways the music industry generates revenue, building and engaging a fanbase, the business partnerships artists form with music companies, and how the artist/label relationship is changing.
 
Enforcing Music Rights - Safe Harbours And Piracy
MASTERCLASS | Monday 20 November 2017, London | INFO
In this half day masterclass, CMU MD and Business Editor Chris Cooke will look at how the music industry enforces its copyrights, at the long-running battle with online music piracy, and at the controversy around the copyright safe harbour.

Spinal Tap creators amend their Vivendi litigation, add Universal Music as a defendant
The four creators of 'This Is Spinal Tap' have filed amendments to their ongoing litigation against Universal Music owner Vivendi. The new filings make new and more specific allegations against the French entertainment conglomerate, while also adding Universal Music itself as a co-defendant.

As previously reported, the lawsuit being pursued by Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner is mainly aimed at Vivendi's movie company StudioCanal, which - through various acquisitions - now controls the rights in 'This Is Spinal Tap'. Though, as it happens, Universal Music controls the rights in the accompanying soundtrack, hence its involvement in the case.

The judge overseeing the legal battle recently told Shearer, McKean and Reiner that they couldn't sue Vivendi via their individual companies, but instead need to sue in their own right, as Guest already had. Judge Dolly Gee also said that the four men needed to be more specific in regard to their allegations of fraud against the entertainment firm.

To that end the new legal filing has more specifics. In a statement, legal reps for the four men said last night: "The amended complaint details the fraud by concealment and misrepresentation conducted by Vivendi and its agent Ron Halpern and others. The co-creators contend there was longstanding and deliberate concealment by Vivendi of material facts regarding the actual gross receipts of the film, soundtrack, music and merchandise sales, plus expenses and the profits owed to them".

The lawyers go on: "Vivendi, via its subsidiary Canal, has repeatedly refused to deliver numerous years' accounting statements, contrary to its contractual obligations - in particular, statements relating to years in which substantial exploitation occurred and, as a result, revenues were significantly enhanced. By way of just one example, Vivendi's concealment included the omission of a $1.6 million payment by MGM to Vivendi in 2004, which represented a settlement in respect of VHS and DVD revenues originally underreported by MGM".

They continue: "Further compounding this fraud, improper expense deductions were made in Vivendi's accounting to the creators, allegedly representing print, advertising and publicity expenses (undocumented) totalling over $3.3 million and a further $1 million in freight and other direct costs, more than half of which extraordinarily appears to fall some 20 years after the film's release. Vivendi has also recently charged over $460k in 'interest' on production advances for a film released in 1984 and $165k in 'litigation expenses' to the creators' account. Vivendi clearly has no intention of honouring its obligations to account honestly, or to fairly compensate the Spinal Tap creators for their work".

The new legal filing also expands on the copyright reversion element of the case. The four men now want "a declaratory judgment over the creators' inalienable right to reclaim their copyright in the film, screenplay, musical compositions, sound recording and characters relating to the band".

This relates to the right under US copyright law that says creators can terminate any previous assignment of their copyrights to a corporate entity after 35 years. Although the reversion right originates in 1970s copyright law, it has only really recently come properly into effect, and as a result there remains debate around the reach and workings of the right. Which is ambiguity Vivendi is seeking to exploit in this dispute by claiming the reversion right should not apply in the case of all things 'Spinal Tap'.

Commenting on the new legal filing, Shearer - who originally initiated the legal battle with Vivendi - commented: "The scale and persistence of fraudulent misrepresentation by Vivendi and its agents to us is breathtaking in its audacity. We are slowly unpeeling an onion that's beginning to look rotten to its core. One just has to wonder how these defendants are treating other filmmakers and musicians".

Referencing the reversion right point, he added: "The thinking behind the statutory right to terminate a copyright grant after 35 years was to protect creators from exactly this type of corporate greed and mismanagement".

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SACEM allies with DJ Monitor on dance music tracking
With my favourite of all the Amsterdam-based dance events, that'll be the Amsterdam Dance Event, currently underway in, well, Amsterdam, later today French collecting society SACEM will take to the ADE stage to put the spotlight on the dance music business in its home country, having just produced a report called 'Electronic Music In France'.

Ahead of that, the society has confirmed a new alliance with music recognition technology maker DJ Monitor to assist in the tracking of dancey tracks being played at clubs and events, to improve the payment of royalties on that music. SACEM says that its new partnership with DJ Monitor - which already works with a number of other collecting societies - will help it tackle "the unique challenges in identifying and distributing rights for electronic music artists", which were outlined in the aforementioned new report.

Says SACEM boss Jean-Noël Tronc: "SACEM is committed to ensuring fair remuneration for artists in order to maintain a sustainable future for the music industry, and we are utilising the most advanced technology to achieve this. Our 'Electronic Music In France' study enabled us to identify the issues facing the electronic music industry, and we are confident that DJ Monitor's technology will help overcome these challenges and maximise the value we can provide our members".

Adds DJ Monitor chief Yuri Dokter: "We are delighted to be working with SACEM, an organisation that shares our understanding of the industry's need for innovative solutions to promote a sustainable future for electronic music. DJ Monitor will assist SACEM ... to identify electronic music through music recognition technology with incredibly high recognition - and implementation - rates".

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Proper signs deal with Tru Thoughts
Proper Music has just signed up the very fine Tru Thoughts record company to a new deal via which it will provide sales and physical distribution for the label's releases in the Europe, Australia and New Zealand. This deal expands on an existing relationship between the distributor and the label, though previously there was also another distributor involved in the supply chain.

Confirming the new arrangement, Tru Thoughts' Paul Jonas says: "We're really pleased to be signing this direct deal with our friends at Proper. They've been facilitating and distributing our catalogue for a while, but it's great to be working directly with them now. With so many exciting albums and campaigns on the horizon, we can't wait for Proper's team to get our records in the hands of fans across Europe and further afield".

The deal was completed on Proper's side by Vangel Vlaski, who's just become Senior Label And Business Development Manager at the company. He adds: "It is great to be stepping into a new role in a company that I am so passionate about. I am looking forward to working closely with the amazing team at Tru Thoughts going forward, and, of course, to the Roundhouse birthday party!"

Oh yeah, Tru Thoughts is eighteen years old and is celebrating that fact with a party at The Roundhouse in London tomorrow. Which sounds like just the kind of thing Vigsy might tip in his customary Club Tip column. Will he? Won't he? Will he? Won't he? Will he? Won't he? I can tell you. He will.

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Songwriter Linnea Södahl signs to Warner/Chappell
Warner/Chappell has signed a worldwide publishing agreement with songwriter Linnea Södahl, who has written songs for artists including Zara Larsson, Anne-Marie, Axwell, Icona Pop, Tinie Tempah and more.

"I'm all about gut feeling", says Södahl. "So when I had the chance to work with Warner/Chappell I knew I had to! Warner/Chappell is the home to several of my favourite writers and artists, and I'm so excited to be part of that team that will help take my songwriting to the next level".

Warner/Chappell Music UK MD Mike Smith adds: "Linnea is a tremendous young talent and a songwriter who I'm incredibly impressed by. I'm really looking forward to see her continue to grow and develop with us at Warner/Chappell".

One of Södahl's biggest successes to date is Zara Larsson's 2015 single, 'Lush Life', which has gone platinum in fifteen countries.

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MMF launches Deals Guide and Transparency Guide
The UK's Music Managers Forum yesterday published two new guides as part of its 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar' project. Produced by CMU's consultancy unit, CMU Insights, 'The Deals Guide' and 'The Transparency Guide' aim to help artists and their managers better navigate the fast-evolving streaming music business and make more educated commercial decisions.

CMU Insights has now been working on the 'Digital Dollar' project for the MMF for nearly three years. The initiative initially set out to provide a guide to how the streaming services are licensed by the music industry, and how streaming royalties are calculated and paid to artists and songwriters. The first 'Digital Dollar' report provided that guide, while also raising a number of issues with the current streaming business model.

Part two of the project considered those issues, based on a series of roundtable discussions involving artists, songwriters, labels, publishers, lawyers, accountants and managers in the UK, US, Canada and France. The second report summarised those discussions and made a series of proposals from a management perspective on how to meet the various challenges.

One outcome of those discussions was the need for artists and managers to fully understand the different label and distributor deals that are now available, so that they can make more informed decisions when deciding which companies to work with on distributing and marketing their recorded music. A second outcome was that managers needed to be much more detailed and specific in their call for more transparency in the streaming business.

'The Deals Guide' identifies ten different kinds of label and distribution deals now available to artists, from fee-based DIY distribution through to conventional indie and major label deals, discussing what different services different business partners are able to provide, what those label partners want in return, and what the key negotiating points are when agreeing a contract.

'The Transparency Guide' identifies 20 pieces of data and information artists and managers need from their labels, distributors, publishers and collecting societies in order to understand how their music is performing in the digital space. This is split into usage data, royalty data and deal information, with a Transparency Index provided to help managers assess the different labels, distributors, publishers and collecting societies they are working with.

Launching the guides last night, MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick said: "In the streaming age, the traditional relationship between the artist as rights 'creator' and label as rights 'owner' is over. As music fans have seen the rise of Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud and YouTube, artists have also seen new companies and new deals emerge behind the scenes which mean they have more choice when deciding who to work with to distribute and market their records".

"This is very exciting", she went on. "Though, as recognised in the 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar' report we published last year, to capitalise on these changes, artists and their mangers are in urgent need of more information about the different kinds of labels and label deals available. And they also need more transparency about the streaming business to make informed decisions about their business partners. These two guides will help plug this knowledge block, ensuring managers are better informed to take the decisions that will grow their artists' businesses".

You can access both guides for free from the MMF and CMU Insights websites. Premium CMU subscribers can also access a CMU Trends article that reviews everything we've learned from the 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar' project so far, with ten key points each from part one, part two and part three.

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Vigsy's Club Tip: Tru Thoughts Festival
Join Tru Thoughts tomorrow as the label celebrates eighteen years in the music business with a mammoth bash! Courtesy of Soundcrash, the Brighton-based recor company takes over The Roundhouse in London for a full day festival, featuring bands, DJs and MCs across three stages at the venue.

Tru Thoughts has always brought out quality music across many genres, and for this event the team have shipped in many of their main players. What a line up!

On the main stage, Quantic is on board for a DJ set, plus there will be live performances from The Hot 8 Brass Band, Alice Russell, Wrongtom Meets The Ragga Twins, Rodney P and Werkha. And it'll all kick off with a DJ set from TT boss Robert Luis.

In the basement it's all live sets from Anchorsong, Flowdan, Lakuta, J-Felix, Bryony Jarman-Pinto and latest TT signing Rhi. Meanwhile, out on the terrace there'll be DJ sets from Nostalgia 77, Belleruche, Maddslinky (aka Zed Bias), J-Felix, TM Juke, and, once again, Robert Luis.

Craft beer will be le drink de jour, with ales from Four Pure, Pin-up Brewing Co and London Fields Brewery on offer, along with a limited edition Signature Brew beer created in collaboration with Rodney P and Tru Thoughts. There'll also be food from Lucky Chip and Joey's Kitchen.

Wow. Make a beeline to The Roundhouse, and also look out for the limited run celebratory red vinyl that marks the eighteenth birthday milestone, which comes as standard with a VIP ticket purchase.

Saturday 21 Oct, The Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road, London, NW1 8EH, 2pm-11.30pm, £19.50-£49. More info here.

Tom Jones says the music industry has a long history of sexual harassment
Tom Jones has said that sexual harassment is as prevalent behind the scenes in the music industry as it is in the movie business, echoing comments made by artist manager Sarah Bowden earlier this week. He also told BBC Radio 5 Live yesterday that he had been the target of unwanted attention early in his career.

"Things happen in showbusiness, and sometimes things are covered up and then they come to light, and then other people come forward", he said of the plethora of recent accusations made against movie producer Harvey Weinstein. "Sometimes it's like taking the cork off the top of a bottle. Things come out that maybe should have come out years ago ... but justice will out. If you've done something wrong, you've got to pay for it, or prove that you haven't done anything wrong".

As for how the music industry fares in comparison to the film business, he added: "Things have always happened in the music industry. There's been people complaining about ... different things that they've been expected to do to get a record contract, just like they do to get a film contract. There's always been that element there, that people with power sometimes abuse it".

Though, contrary to what a number of women in the music business have said this week, Jones said he thought that it was possible to avoid these situations.

"If you're true to yourself, you know when someone's doing something wrong and you avoid it", he said. "You think, if I've got to do this in order to do that, then I'm not going to do it. If somebody physically attacks you then that's even worse, but just suggesting things and trying to manoeuvre you into certain situations, you just get out of there".

This observation, he added, was based on his own experience. "At the beginning [of my career], yes, there were a few things like that", he said. "But you avoid it. What's tried on women is tried on men as well".

Pressed for further detail on the incidents he was referring to, he said: "There was only once, really. [It made me feel] terrible ... It wasn't bad. It was just, somebody tried to pull. It was a question and I said, 'No, thank you'".

It has to be said, Jones seemed to be mainly talking about one specific form of abuse by powerful people in the music industry, which sits alongside a number of other equally unacceptable scenarios and situations that have been described this week by a number of women who work in the business in the wake of the Weinstein allegations.

In some of those other scenarios it's not as simple as saying "no", either because the abuser won't accept that answer, or because doing so would cost the victim their existing job, rather than just depriving them of a new opportunity.

That said, while Jones's comments probably only cover one element of the wider problem, his remarks on the harassment of young men in the industry does widen this week's conversation in some ways. And, of course, all forms of abuse and harassment need to be discussed and tackled to overcome these ongoing issues.

As previously reported, earlier this week artist manager Bowden told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire that harassment in the music industry is "as bad, if not worse" than in Hollywood. It happens "all the way down through the industry", she said, and is "as common as being wolf-whistled at in the street".

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Gwenno returns with Cornish language album
Former Pipettes member Gwenno Saunders released her debut solo album, 'Y Dydd Olaf', in 2014, a sci-fi themed synth-pop record sung in Welsh. For the follow-up, she's ditching that language in favour of one even less prevalent in pop: Cornish.

Saunders being the daughter of Welsh and Cornish language activists, the final track on 'Y Dydd Olaf' was given over to the Cornish language. But now, as one of only around 1000 fluent speakers of the language, she's devoted her entire new album 'Le Kov' to it.

The title translating as "the place of memory", the album is set for release next March. You can watch a trailer for the record here.

Before the release, Saunders has announced two shows in Wales and Cornwall, at which she'll debut songs from 'Le Kov'. Tickets are on sale now. Here are the dates:

1 Dec: Merthyr Tydfil, Redhouse
2 Dec: Falmouth, The Poly

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Noel Gallagher to play intimate show for Apple Music
Apple may have quietly canned its Apple Music Festival, but that doesn't mean the tech company is getting out of live music events altogether. Just announced is an Apple Music sponsored Noel Gallagher show at London's 1200 capacity York Hall.

Taking place on 1 Nov, the show will promote the new Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds album 'Who Built The Moon?', and, more importantly, a new Apple Music exclusive documentary 'On the Record: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - Who Built The Moon?'. The film will be released on Apple's streaming music platform on 24 Nov.

Tickets for the show are available only by ballot, with the deadline to apply 11am on Sunday 22 Oct. Tickets will be handed out based on the entrants' answer to the request, "Tell us about your most memorable experience of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds live".

So it slightly unfairly limits tickets to people who have seen the band play live before. Unless it's a trick and the tickets will go to people who say "I have no memorable experience of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds live because I've never seen them live". Or maybe "I have no memorable experience of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds live because I have no memory". Maybe apply three times employing each option, just in case.

Try your luck here.

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Taylor Swift, Liam Payne, Fever Ray, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Following the release of his debut album, '17', in August, Universal's Caroline International has signed XXXTentacion to a deal rumoured to be worth $6 million, according to Billboard. This despite the fact that he is currently awaiting trial on charges of aggravated battery of a pregnant woman, domestic battery by strangulation, false imprisonment and witness tampering. He denies the charges.

• Warner Music has promoted Alfonso Perez-Soto to the newly created position of Senior Vice President, Global Business Development and Chief Commercial Officer, Emerging Markets. His business cards are billboard sized. "Alfonso is a tenacious champion of new technology who takes a truly entrepreneurial approach to helping artists build careers and unlocking greater value from the entertainment ecosystem", says Ole Obermann, WMG's Chief Digital Officer, apparently in all seriousness.

• Taylor Swift has released a new single, 'Gorgeous'.

• Foo Fighters have released new song 'Soldier' as part of the 'Seven-Inches For Planned Parenthood' charity singles series. Other contributors include Mary J Blige, Björk, St Vincent, Bon Iver and Feist.

• Liam Payne has blammed out a new single, 'Bedroom Floor'. It's better than his previous dogshit effort, 'Strip That Down'. Extra points for the comedy telephone impression.

• Fever Ray is baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack. The Knife's Karin Dreijer has just released her first new music under the name since 2009. Here's 'To The Moon And Back' (not a Savage Garden cover, sadly).

• Young Thug has released the video for 'Family Don't Matter', featuring Mollie Go Lightly, from his 'Beautiful Thugger Girls' EP.

• Dizzee Rascal has released the video for 'Bop N Keep It Dippin', from his 'Raskit' album.

• Craig David has released the video for new single 'Heartline'. His new album, 'The Time Is Now', is out on 26 Jan.

• Sophie has released new single 'It's Okay To Cry', the PC Music associated producer's first since 2015.

• Spinning Coin have released new single 'Money Is A Drug'. Produced by Edwyn Collins and Stu Evens, their debut album, 'Permo', is out on 10 Nov via The Pastels' Domino imprint Geographic.

• Swedish star Magnus Carlson will play his first ever UK show at 229 in London tomorrow night, as part of a Northern Soul all-nighter. His new EP, 'From Now On', was released earlier this month. Here's the title track.

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

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Beef Of The Week #377: CDs v Mountains
A man in Japan has been charged by police for illegally dumping nearly 600 CDs in a forest up a mountain.

"Sure", you might say. "It can be hard to get rid of your unwanted CD collection". But no, these were 600 copies of the same CD single.

"Oh right", you think. "He works for a PR company and he'd forgotten to PR a record he'd been paid to PR, like you do sometimes".

No, he was just a guy. Stop trying to jump ahead and just let me tell the story. And I think you should probably keep your views on PR people to yourself. No one in music PR has ever dumped any CDs in a forest. Well, not lately anyway.

The CDs in question were copies of a single by girl group AKB48 and amounted to around half of the stash of these discs that this man - a fan of the group - had found himself needing to dispose of. Yeah, I know, that revelation is just making this whole thing more bizarre isn't it? I think some background information might be useful at this point.

If you're slightly - but only slightly - aware of Japanese pop music, it's likely that it's AKB48 you're aware of. Founded in 2005 and named after the Akihabara area of Tokyo where they're based, the group currently has around 130 members (not including various spin-off groups). These members are ranked - more on which in a moment - and then split into different teams, allowing AKB48 to appear live and at meet-and-greet events in multiple places simultaneously.

Like many (if not most) girl groups in Japan, AKB48 are largely marketed towards men with lots of disposable income. At this point it would be remiss not to note the pretty awful gender politics of this group - from the 'no boyfriends' rule in their contracts to allusions by some former members that they have been asked to provide sexual favours to older men in the entertainment industry. These issues aren't limited to AKB48 (a member of another outfit called BiS was recently suspended from the group for not losing enough weight), but there is something particularly uncomfortable about this franchise.

The central focus of the marketing that occurs around AKB48 is an annual general election - or Senbatsu Sōsenkyo - at which all the current members of the group are ranked. A live televised event is attended by thousands of fans (although this year the outdoor event was cancelled and moved to a smaller indoor venue due to heavy rain). What you're currently visualising probably doesn't match the actual weirdness of this election event, so here's a video.

This ranking of the group's members is based on fan votes. The only way to cast your vote is to buy a copy of the group's annual 'election single', in which is contained a voting slip. As well as being men with a lot of disposable income, a lot of AKB48's fans also take this election very seriously. And this is how one fan might come to own more than a 1000 copies of that one single. To put this in perspective, to date the group have sold over 50 million physical records, almost 90% of which are singles.

Clearly, once the voting slip has been removed from a CD, it ceases to have much, if any value. Sure, you might want to keep one copy if you're still maintaining an actual CD collection, but hundreds of copies not so much. This is why you can pick up each year's election single for next to nothing in Japan's second hand record shops, because lots of fans offload their extra copies as soon as they've extracted the voting slips. But there are only so many copies those second hand shops can or will take, which leaves the AKB48 superfan with a problem.

And now we're back where we started. According to the Tokyo Reporter, a man from Fukuoka City in southern Japan has been charged with breaking waste disposal laws after dumping 585 copies of this year's election single, 'Negaigoto No Mochigusare' (or 'Wishful Tumbling'), in a forest on a mountain in nearby Dazaifu.

According to police, the accused man received around 1000 copies of the CD in May and June this year from another fan who had found themselves without the time necessary in order to do the actual voting. He, along with two friends, then went about removing all of the voting slips and casting those votes for their favourite AKB48 member.

Left with a stack of now worthless CDs, the trio seemingly split them up between themselves in order to get rid of them. The man now facing prosecution took around 600 away with him. Having shoved a few into his own bins, he realised this method was going to take too long to complete. So he took a trip to the local forest and offloaded them there instead.

"I dumped the CDs in the mountains to dispose of them after extracting the voting ballots necessary for the General Election", he later admitted to police.

How was he caught, though? Fingerprints? DNA? No. Apparently the eleven boxes of dumped CDs were found by a member of the public, who was out for a walk, just three days after they'd been left in the forest. And the boxes still had the address of the original owner of the CDs written on them. Once that person had been tracked down, it wasn't long before the actual culprit was arrested.

This isn't even the first time this sort of thing has happened. As the Tokyo Reporter also notes, in 2014, six people were prosecuted for dumping nearly 700 AKB48 singles in a Kyoto car park, from which they had removed tickets for meet-and-greet events. It's also, amazingly, not the first time we've covered J-pop fans damaging wooded areas in this column.

So basically, next time someone tells you that Japan is still a country totally in love with CDs - "just look at the units still being shifted there!" - remember this tale.

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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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