FRIDAY 15 DECEMBER 2017 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The All-Party Parliamentary Group On Music has urged ministers to back proposals to incorporate an 'agent of change' rule into UK planning law. In a letter to relevant members of the government, the group's Chair - David Warburton MP - called a change to current laws "vital" for protecting the UK's grassroots music venues... [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 MPs call on government to back 'agent of change' law
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LEGAL Music industry welcomes review of Canada's copyright laws
Russell Simmons vows to defend himself as police investigation into rape claims begins
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
DEALS Sony Music renews Michael Jackson record deal
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LIVE BUSINESS Chelmsford's V Festival went ahead with no police presence this year, reports BBC
Cardiff declares itself a 'music city'
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MEDIA Disney agrees to buy much of 21st Century Fox in $52.4 billion deal
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
ARTIST NEWS Massive Attack criticise Pete Tong over orchestral cover of Unfinished Sympathy
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ONE LINERS Roc Nation, Pandora, Taylor Swift, more
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AND FINALLY... Beef Of The Week #385: Ed Sheeran v God
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ROUGH TRADE RECORDS - GLOBAL PRODUCT MANAGER (LONDON)
Rough Trade Records seeks a Global Product Manager to join its London based team. Product Managers strategise and drive artist campaigns and must take a global overview of their implementation.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
SJM CONCERTS - VIP ASSISTANT (MANCHESTER)
SJM offer exclusive VIP ticket packages across many of our major tours for artists such as Take That, One Direction, Little Mix and Coldplay which over the last year has amounted to over 60,000 packages. Working as an assistant to the VIP Manager within our VIP department, the VIP Assistant is responsible for the day to day administration of our exclusive VIP packages, as well as providing general office admin support.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
ISOBEL GRIFFITHS LTD - TRAINEE ORCHESTRAL FIXER (LONDON)
A Trainee Orchestral Contractor (aka Fixer) is required to join an office of six staff, based in the Chelsea Harbour area of SW10. The company books freelance orchestral and specialist musicians for feature films, video games, TV film scores, records and TV commercial recordings.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
MAMA FESTIVALS - HEAD OF CREATIVE PRODUCTION (LONDON)
MAMA Festivals is one of the UK’s leading festival businesses. The Head Of Creative Production works alongside managers and consultants to deliver creative aspects of Lovebox, Citadel and Wilderness festivals.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
KILIMANJARO LIVE - MARKETING ASSISTANT (LONDON)
This role spans two areas within Kilimanjaro Live; working with the Promoters and the Head of Marketing to co-ordinate and implement marketing strategies and plans, and working across the company as a whole on office administration and support as well as providing support to all roles when required.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
GARGANTUAN MUSIC - SENIOR MUSIC CONSULTANT UK (LONDON)
Gargantuan Music is looking for a highly experienced Senior Music Consultant with an excellent proven track record in sales, marketing and music supervision within the music industry.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
GARGANTUAN MUSIC - MUSIC PRODUCTION MANAGER (LONDON)
This is an exciting opportunity to work at a world class production music company. Gargantuan Music is looking for an experienced Music Production Manager.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
I AM POP - MARKETING & PARTNERSHIPS EXECUTIVE (LONDON)
POP is the simplest way for musicians, labels, brands and others to launch a Facebook Messenger bot. The Marketing & Partnerships Executive will work closely with POP’s Head of Partnerships and our Marketing team to help POP connect with customers and grow our presence globally.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
STONES THROW RECORDS - JUNIOR PRODUCT MANAGER (LONDON)
Stones Throw is seeking a full-time Junior Product Manager at its European office in London. You'll work closely with the UK & Europe Label Manager to deliver marketing campaigns in these territories, and provide general support to assist in the day to day running of the label in the UK and Europe.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
ATC LIVE - SENIOR BOOKING ASSISTANT (LONDON)
ATC Live is a live booking agency based in Camden, London, and we are looking for a senior booking assistant to join our team. This is an exciting opportunity for a highly organised and motivated senior booking assistant to join a busy live booking agency.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
KOBALT - SENIOR ONBOARD MANAGER (LONDON)
The primary focus of the client Onboarding team is to work in conjunction with our Tech team to transition the new clients' data onto Kobalt's proprietary systems and into the ongoing day-to-day processes of the core Operational teams.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
KOBALT - AWAL COMMUNITY SUPPORT ASSISTANT (LONDON)
AWAL serves a growing roster of emerging talent and already established independent artists from all over the world. As our AWAL community continues to grow, we're now looking for someone to join our client management team to help support these labels and artists using the cutting-edge AWAL tools.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
KOBALT - ASSISTANT, CLIENT RELATIONS (LONDON)
Our growing Client Relations team in London is looking for a confident and detail oriented self-starter to support with crucial day-to-day tasks such as transitioning new clients into the Kobalt system and carrying out internal reviews and quality checks.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
DOMINO - PRODUCT MANAGER (LONDON)
Domino seeks a Product Manager to join its London team. Product Managers at Domino are in charge of running artist campaigns inside the company.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
SONGULAR MUSIC - PLAYLIST PROMOTIONS (LONDON)
Join the UK's top streaming promotions company and play a key role in helping some of the world's most exciting new artists get heard.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
THE ORCHARD - INDIE SALES MANAGER (LONDON)
The Orchard has a vacancy for an Indie Sales Manager servicing independent record shops and online accounts. Candidates should ideally have experience working with music retail, distribution or at a label.

For more information and to apply click here.
 
RECRUIT YOUR TEAM RIGHT HERE: 020 7099 9060 or ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
CMU PRIMER: KEY MUSIC BUSINESS TRENDS 2018
These are sessions that we run in-house at music companies or companies working with music. As we head into 2018, CMU Insights is now offering music companies a special two-hour primer session reviewing five key areas of the music business, summarising important developments from the last twelve months and looking at the challenges that lie ahead in the next year. Including: the streaming business, piracy, safe harbour, ticketing and data.

CLICK HERE to find out more about this CMU Insights primer.

MPs call on government to back 'agent of change' law
The All-Party Parliamentary Group On Music has urged ministers to back proposals to incorporate an 'agent of change' rule into UK planning law. In a letter to relevant members of the government, the group's Chair - David Warburton MP - called a change to current laws "vital" for protecting the UK's grassroots music venues.

As previously reported, Labour MP John Spellar recently announced plans to propose a new agent of change law via Parliament's 'ten minute rule' early next year. The new law would put the onus on developers to protect new residential properties from noise emanating from existing venues. The current lack of an obligation for new buildings to be designed with adequate soundproofing has caused problems for music venues, which can face licensing challenges when new neighbours in new buildings start complaining about the noise.

The so called ten minute rule allows backbench MPs to put forward a bill via a speech of up to ten minutes in the House Of Commons. Such bills rarely get passed though, and the system is more often used to put certain issues on the agenda. But the more support for such proposals the better, as it might ultimately influence government to introduce similar legislation in Parliament. Indeed, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has already hinted that the government is considering implementing similar agent of change rules at some point.

Politics moves slowly though, if at all, and one vague positive sign doesn't mean the campaign has been won. Hence Warburton sending a new letter to Bradley, Digital Minister Matt Hancock and Communities And Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid.

"A growth in demand for property in UK cities has led to increasing rents and landlords selling to developers", writes Warburton. "This has placed rising financial burdens on pre-existing operators of grassroots music venues that are often established in popular areas for redevelopment and suddenly find themselves attracting noise complaints from new residents".

He continues: "I am sure you will agree with me in believing our music venues play a vital role in supporting the music industry's infrastructure, nurturing our talent pipeline and ensuring a healthy industry across the country. I do hope you will further agree that John Spellar's bill presents a great opportunity for the government to lead in this area".

The APPG On Music's support for agent of change has been welcomed by UK Music. The trade body's CEO Michael Dugher - himself a former MP - says: "David Warburton is one of the most respected MPs and has been an authoritative and consistent champion of the music industry. It's great that he and MPs from all parties in the All-Party Parliamentary Group On Music have thrown their weight behind this crucial campaign to protect our music venues.

He continues: "We will keep working with our allies like the brilliant Music Venue Trust to save venues that are essential to producing the next generation of global British music stars. They are a key part of the nation's cultural fabric, creating thousands of jobs and giving pleasure to millions of music fans. I hope that ministers will listen to David Warburton and back the Spellar Bill".

The there mentioned Music Venue Trust has just launched a campaign around this itself, called Agent Of Change Now. It calls on people to support a change in the law through social media and by writing directly to their local MPs. Find out more about that here.

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Music industry welcomes review of Canada's copyright laws
The Canadian music industry has welcomed confirmation that the country's parliament will conduct a review of the Copyright Act Of Canada next year. Lawmakers were actually obliged to instigate another review of the country's copyright regime around about now by a previous round of amendments that were made in 2012.

As next year's review kicks off, you can expect the record labels and music publishers to both have reform wish lists. Among the latter's wishes will almost certainly be term extension, so to bring the song copyright term in Canada in line with Europe.

The European song copyright currently lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years whereas in Canada it's still life plus 50. Representatives from the global music publishing sector recently called on lawmakers in Canada to address that anomaly, stating that "such harmonisation is key to achieve international consistency in the rules of copyright".

Speaking for Canadian songwriters and publishers this week, the country's performing rights organisation SOCAN welcomed news of the upcoming copyright review.

It's CEO Eric Baptiste stated: "Canadian copyright legislation is lagging behind those of other G7 countries and I hope that, through this review, Canada will want to assume a world leadership position on copyright, as it does on other issues. In a sector in turmoil, especially with the arrival of new ways to consume and listen to music, more than ever we need strong copyright protection to ensure that music creators and publishers are fairly compensated for their work".

The collecting society added that it "looks forward to working with the various parliamentary committees that will review the current law to provide expertise and bring the point of view of the songwriters, composers and music publishers".

The bloody value gap is also likely to come up as the spotlight falls on Canadian copyright law, something confirmed by Graham Henderson, boss of the country's record industry trade group Music Canada. He said this week: "Music creators, and all creators who depend on copyright, deserve a Copyright Act that protects their rights when their works are commercialised by others. This is our chance to address the value gap threatening the livelihood of Canadian creators and the future of Canadian culture".

The record industry trade group also added that it "looks forward to participating in the process to ensure that creators are fairly compensated for the use of their works under the revised act".

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Russell Simmons vows to defend himself as police investigation into rape claims begins
Music industry veteran Russell Simmons has vowed to defend himself against mounting allegations of sexual misconduct. He made his latest statement denying the various accusations as police in New York confirmed they were now investigating the allegations of rape that have been against the Def Jam co-founder.

As previously reported, new articles in both the New York Times and LA Times this week featured a total of eight women accusing Simmons of either sexual harassment or rape. This followed previous allegations made by model Keri Claussen Khalighi and screenwriter Jenny Lumet last month.

Writing on Instagram alongside an image containing the words #NotMe, Simmons said yesterday: "Today I begin to properly defend myself. I will prove without any doubt that I am innocent of all rape charges. Today, I will focus on 'The Original Sin' (Keri Claussen), the claim that created this insane pile on of my #MeToo. Stay tuned!"

Noting the #NotMe hashtag, Simmons added: "My intention is not to diminish the #MeToo movement in any way, but instead hold my accusers accountable. Again, this is not a movement against or even in conjunction with #MeToo. It's just a statement about my innocence".

Police for the New York Police Department confirmed yesterday that they were now getting in touch with Simmons' alleged victims, with Deputy Chief Timothy Trainor saying in a statement: "Our detectives are in the process of reviewing that information".

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Sony Music renews Michael Jackson record deal
Sony Music and the Michael Jackson estate have renewed the deal that covers the late pop star's recorded music, continuing an agreement that has already been in place for 42 years. As well as covering Jackson's full recordings catalogue, it also gives the option for Sony to partner on new projects with the estate.

"Michael Jackson was an unsurpassed genius and an iconic force in music entertainment", says Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer. "The music - and videos - he made as an artist as part of the Sony Music family are essential to pop culture history. We're proud to be part of that history and to find new innovative ways to make Michael's music available to future generations of fans".

Jackson estate executors John Branca and John McClain add in unison: "We couldn't ask for more creative and innovative partners than Sony and Rob Stringer, whose history working personally with Michael goes back to the 1990s. Michael continues to inspire generations of artists who have come after him and attract new fans who understand that his music and message are more important than ever. We look forward to continuing to preserve and develop his remarkable musical legacy with Sony".

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Chelmsford's V Festival went ahead with no police presence this year, reports BBC
The 2017 (and, it later turned out, final) edition of the V Festival in Chelmsford went ahead with no police presence on site, reports the BBC's 'Victoria Derbyshire Show'. This was seemingly due to a dispute over the cost of policing at the event.

Minutes from a meeting of Chelmsford City Council's Safety Advisory Group, obtained by the BBC, express some concern about this turn of events. Though Essex Police have stressed that on-site policing is not compulsory for privately-organised festivals, while the council ultimately concluded that "the lack of agreement on special police services was a risk which the festival promoter resolved through alternative means to the satisfaction of the Safety Advisory Group".

Increased policing costs have been a talking point in the festival community for a while now. It seems the dispute between V Festival's promoter - Live Nation's Festival Republic - and Essex Police began when organisers tried to reduce those costs in 2017. According to the BBC, Festival Republic submitted a request to pay £100,000 for policing at the Chelmsford edition of its 2017 event, down from £138,000 in 2016. When no agreement could be reached on price, the festival went ahead with no police onsite at all.

Although the SAG was ultimately satisfied with Festival Republic's alternative security measures, and local police did respond to specific reports of crimes on site, some councillors nevertheless raised concerns with the situation, in particular the system in place via which festival security could contact police.

"Drugs were the biggest concern, with no police presence on site", said one council rep,
while the minutes also noted that, after a sexual assault on a thirteen year old girl had been reported, by the time police arrived they were unable to find the tent where the alleged incident took place. A suspect package was also reportedly discovered - which would have likely caused particular concern because the event took place just two months after the attack on an Ariana Grande show at the Manchester Arena.

The SAG meeting also discussed concerns that security vetting for some of the festival's staff was still ongoing by the time they were on site for the event "by which point it is too late". All in all, the council concluded that "last minute arrangements for this year's festival were unacceptable and this must be improved upon from now on. The 2018 event must be planned well in advance and an agreement in principle be made before tickets sales [begin]".

As previously reported, in October this year, Virgin announced that it was pulling its sponsorship of V Festival after 22 years. Festival Republic has said that it plans to continue the dual site event - which takes place in Chelmsford and Staffordshire concurrently - under a new name. Earlier this week, the NME denied rumours that it plans to become the new headline sponsor.

Commenting on the arrangements at V Festival this summer, Essex Police's Deputy Chief Constable told the BBC: "I really must stress that the safety of a commercial event like V Festival sits with the organisers. They are licensed by the local authority, and ... [the] safety of people attending their event ... is down to them. That doesn't mean we abandon them. We had a really good working relationship with security, and with Chelmsford City Council, to make sure that people who were going there were safe".

Chelmsford City Council itself added: "The Safety Advisory Group process allows a transparent and robust examination of all safety issues prior to and during the festival, to ensure any risk to safety is properly managed and mitigated. The lack of agreement on special police services was a risk which the festival promoter resolved through alternative means to the satisfaction of the Safety Advisory Group".

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Cardiff declares itself a 'music city'
Cardiff yesterday declared itself a 'music city', employing development agency Sound Diplomacy to help put in place policies to protect the city's music scene and build its international profile.

Together, Cardiff City Council and Sound Diplomacy aim to "develop policies that treat music as infrastructure and will deliver a healthy music ecosystem". The potential positive effects of this are numerous, says Sound Diplomacy's Shain Shapiro.

"If one attaches music to urbanism - learning about the complex organisms that our cities are and about how they operate - it provides unique insight into understanding the types of cities we want, compared to the types of cities we often create", he says. "Music is a proven tool to reduce social exclusion and loneliness. Taught with the same vigour as maths and sciences, it improves cognition and empathy. It also enhances the perception of safety, such as when classical music is played in stations during rush hour".

Sound Diplomacy's partnership with Cardiff follows similar projects in Barcelona, Berlin, San Francisco and London. It also follows moves by the council in Cardiff to protect music venues on the city's Womanby Street from developers - which included the council buying the land on which Clwb Ifor Bach stands in order to lease it back to the venue.

Shapiro says of this latest project: "It's an honour and a responsibility to be working with Cardiff Council to add up, measure and assess the music infrastructure across the city. The council have shown through their efforts on Womanby Street and their increased engagement on music that to them, music is of economic, social and cultural benefit to the city. We take this incredibly seriously, and will work to develop a music policy that musicians, businesses and residents can benefit from and be proud of".

Council Leader Huw Thomas adds: "We all know that Wales is a musical nation, and as the capital city, I believe Cardiff has a huge role to play in celebrating and promoting this. Music is an incredibly powerful force for good in our everyday lives, but more than this, it has the power to shape cities, particularly ones with the distinctive cultural offering that we have here in Cardiff. That's why this announcement is such great news, not just for musicians and concert-goers, but for everyone who wants to see Cardiff develop its international profile, make the most of its potential and become a truly great world capital".

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Disney agrees to buy much of 21st Century Fox in $52.4 billion deal
The Walt Disney Company yesterday announced that it had agreed to buy the bulk of the assets of the Rupert Murdoch-controlled 21st Century Fox in a deal worth $52.4 billion. The transaction will further boost Disney's dominance in the media and entertainment sectors, bringing much of Fox's US-based movie and television assets into its fold, plus its stake in the Sky TV business in Europe.

Fox's shareholders will get 25% of the combined Disney/Fox business as part of the deal, which is still subject to regulator approval. That means the Murdoch family itself will control just under 5% of the combined company.

This in turn means that - while Murdoch Senior called the deal a "merger" and insisted he wasn't "retreating" - the media mogul and his family will no longer have much control over the movie and television side of their global empire. And it's not clear what role Murdoch's son James, most recently Fox's CEO, will have once much of that business has become a Disney subsidiary.

None of this affects Murdoch's publishing empire News Corp, which was spun off as a separate business from Fox back in 2013. A handful of Fox's current affairs channels - including the infamous Fox News - are not being sold to Disney either, and will remain a standalone company currently called New Fox.

Murdoch says that he hasn't any short-term plans to merge those channels into News Corp, though doing so would make sense. First because News Corp has news provision at its core. And secondly because News Corp does actually have some broadcasting assets already alongside its newspapers and book publishing division, including the Fox-branded sports channels in Australia and the Wireless Group radio network in the UK.

The Disney deal comes as Fox is in the midst of trying to take complete ownership of the Sky TV network, for the second time. The Sky acquisition is being investigating by competition regulators in the UK, with critics saying that the Murdoch family shouldn't get greater control of Sky News while they also own British newspapers The Sun and The Times through their News Corp business.

The phone hacking scandal that erupted around The Sun's former sister title the News Of The World, and other accusations of poor ethics at the News UK newspaper group, have also been used by critics as arguments as to why a Murdoch-controlled business shouldn't get complete control of the Sky network.

The fact that it could ultimately be Disney, rather than the Murdoch-controlled Fox, that would end up owning Sky outright would counter a bunch of those arguments. Though the UK Competition And Markets Authority is expected to carry on with its investigation into the Sky bid regardless, for the time being at least.

Meanwhile, here are some quotes from Murdoch himself and Disney big cheese Bob Iger.

Murdoch: "We are extremely proud of all that we have built at 21st Century Fox, and I firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace in what is an exciting and dynamic industry. Furthermore, I'm convinced that this combination, under Bob Iger's leadership, will be one of the greatest companies in the world".

Iger: "The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible and convenient than ever before. We're honoured and grateful that Rupert Murdoch has entrusted us with the future of businesses he spent a lifetime building, and we're excited about this extraordinary opportunity to significantly increase our portfolio of well-loved franchises and branded content to greatly enhance our growing direct-to-consumer offerings".

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Cirque Du Soul Christmas Special at Studio 338
Cirque Du Soul has been touring the UK for the last couple of months and returns to London tonight for a big finale and Christmas party. Taking place at the re-opened 338 in Greenwich, the awesome Joey Negro will be topping the bill.

Also on hand will be Shaka Loves You, Weaver Bros, Russ Ryan and more. As well as that, you can expect an impressive circus-themed set-up that will set the mood up nicely for all the festivities.

So that's one Christmas party. Join me back here next week for more festive and New Year tips to keep you going over the Christmas break.

Friday 15 Dec, Studio 338, 338 Boord Street, London, SE10 0PF, 9pm-5am, £12-20. More info here.

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

Massive Attack criticise Pete Tong over orchestral cover of Unfinished Sympathy
Massive Attack have hit out at Pete Tong for including their song 'Unfinished Sympathy' in his orchestral 'Ibiza Classics' show. The duo's 3D has suggested, in an open letter posted on Facebook, that Tong donate some of the profits from the show to charity, as Massive Attack do when they perform the 1991 track live.

A collaboration with The Heritage Orchestra, Tong's show is currently touring the UK, with performances at London's O2 Arena tonight and tomorrow. A live album, including the cover of 'Unfinished Sympathy', was also released earlier this month.

"Thanks for covering one of our songs on your nostalgia nightmare roadshow", writes 3D. "I don't recollect you getting in touch to see if we would mind, but for your information: When we play that song we display photos of displaced people in refugee camps by the photographer Giles Duley on the screen to raise awareness for their plight and collect money for UNHCR".

He continues: "If you do mean to carry on coining it, why don't you divide your nightly profit by the number of songs you murder in your set, and hand the total of that one song over to UNHCR. It would be the least you could do".

More 'Ibiza Classics' dates have been announced for November 2018, so maybe that will happen. Although it is being billed as "a whole new show", so perhaps 'Unfinished Sympathy' just won't feature. As yet, neither Tong nor the Heritage Orchestra have commented.

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Roc Nation, Pandora, Taylor Swift, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Roc Nation Records has appointed Benny Pough as its new President, reports Billboard. He joins after several years as an exec at Sony's Epic label.

• Pandora is offering free subscribers temporary access to Premium features, in exchange for watching a fifteen second video ad. A similar deal is already available to Spotify users from some advertisers. "This unrivalled experience will drive listeners to Pandora and drive awareness for Premium, while also creating new opportunities for artists, labels, publishers and advertisers", reckons Pandora CEO Roger Lynch.

• Taylor Swift's previously reported social media app, The Swift Life, is now available. Although not in the UK yet, sorry.

• Major Lazer have released new single 'Buscando Huellas', featuring J Balvin and Sean Paul.

• Walter Martin from The Walkmen has released new solo single, 'I Can Run Now From The Hellhounds, But I Can't Hide'. His new album, 'Reminisce Bar & Grill', will be released on 16 Feb.

• Kitty, Daisy & Lewis have released a Christmas single, 'Just One Kiss'. "The song's about how a magic kiss can change your life", they say. "Kitty wrote it one night sitting in front of the fire playing guitar - perfect for all the lovers out there at Christmas time!"

• Pop Etc have released a new Christmas EP, featuring covers of Paul McCartney's 'Wonderful Christmas Time' and 'Christmas Time Is Here' from 'A Charlie Brown Christmas', as well as an original song. Listen here.

• Future Islands have announced that they'll be in the UK to play some shows in June. They've also released the video for 'Beauty Of The Road'.

• 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 #385: Ed Sheeran v God
It's nearly Christmas, so in the grand tradition of the retail business, I'm going to start talking about Easter. Time to buy in those chocolate eggs, my friends. Time to start preparing to stoically remember that our lord and saviour Jesus Christ died for our sins. And was then immediately cracked open resulting in the discovery that he'd been hollow the whole time and filled with Smarties. I'm pretty sure that's how the story goes. I could be wrong. To be honest, it's been a while since I was at a religious primary school.

Either way, Ed Sheeran already has all of his Easter plans in place. He's going to be putting on some of his singing and dancing extravaganzas in New Zealand. Indie mecca Dunedin, in fact. He'll play three shows at the Forsyth Barr Stadium on 29 Mar, 31 Mar and 1 Apr. He's taking a break for Good Friday. After all, it would be disrespectful to play on the anniversary of Jesus's death. But Smarties Day - Easter Sunday - that's fair game. That's when the big finale of the hat trick of performances will take place.

This has prompted something of a crisis in Dunedin City. The city's trading restrictions state that no shops may open on Easter Sunday. However, with tens of thousands of people due to descend on the city in order to catch Sheeran work his magic, many retailers have been keen to open their doors.

Deciding that the likely boost to the local economy might be worth the risk of being seen to declare that Ed Sheeran is holier than Jesus, Dunedin City Council opened a review of its Easter trading rules, with a final decision put to a vote by councillors. That all proved to be very divisive indeed. This is basically Dundein's version of Brexit, Trump v Clinton, Macron v Le Pen and Mollie v Aston all rolled into one.

As the debate became more heated, 181 people formally gave their opinions on the proposal shops be allowed to open on Easter to sell stuff to Sheeran fans. A total of 54% said that they'd rather pop lovers not be able to buy anything on their way to Sheeran's show. Speaking for the other side, 44% said they'd be happy for the shops in the city to open. That means 2% of people who bothered to write in expressed no strong opinion either way. How much spare time must you have on your hands to do that?

Anyway, clearly the people had spoken. The council had to act. And act it did. Councillors voted 10-5 in favour of ignoring the 54% and letting shops open their doors on Easter Sunday. Because it turns out that if you ask people their opinion and they're wrong, you can just tell them to shut up. And there was a lot of telling people to shut up to be done.

According to Stuff, Dunedin mayor Dave Cull said that it was an "exceedingly difficult call to make", but the potential boost to local businesses swung it in the end. He added that any business that now attempted to exploit employees in order to make a fast buck would be "put on notice", whatever that means.

Presumably that last comment was meant to placate local trade unions, who had been against the move. First Union was particularly vocal in its opposition, arguing that by allowing shops to open up on Easter Sunday, employees would lose a day of holiday.

The union argued that, although Easter Sunday would normally be a guaranteed day off for retail workers, the fact that it's not actually a public holiday (due to it always being on a Sunday) means staff wouldn't be able to claim a day in lieu. Nor would they be able to claim the boosted wages normally expected for working on a public holiday.

A First Union rep said at a council meeting before the final vote that employees were simply being told, "You've lost your holiday, now suck it up". Another union spokesperson, Unite's Sonja Mitchell, questioned why the shows had been booked around Easter at all, and worried about repercussions for people who refused to work that Sunday.

I suppose the answer to the first part of that would probably be that Ed Sheeran was available on those dates. I couldn't comment on potential repercussions, but I'm guessing that there'll probably be enough people willing to work that day to offset those who actually do some proper Jesus worshipping on Easter Sunday.

This couldn't have even been a debate in Dunedin until relatively recently. The decision-making power to allow trading on Easter Sunday was only devolved to local government in New Zealand in August last year. Before that, it was completely banned nationwide. To date, councillors in Auckland and Christchurch have voted against allowing trading on the day of the Resurrection. Although, to be fair, neither of them had Ed Sheeran coming to town.

A number of smaller towns and areas popular with tourists have relaxed rules on Easter Sunday trading - without the influence of any pop star whatsoever - and none of those places have, as yet, been overrun by plagues of locusts. It's possible God was seeing how it went this year before striking everyone down though. Which could be bad news for Ed.

The good news, however, is that, while the first two Dunedin shows are sold out, there are still tickets available for Sheeran's Easter Sunday gig.

With the guarantee of an extra day's wages now in place, retail workers could possibly put that money towards heading down to the concert in the evening. Assuming they can stomach spending more time with thousands of Ed Sheeran fans, having spent the day selling them tat and answering their stupid questions.

If they can, then buying tickets is definitely the way to go. Proper legitimate tickets. No sneaking in around the back. Because all those local shop workers wouldn't want to be like the two New Zealanders who have just found themselves in jail for forging backstage passes to a Sheeran show in Singapore.

Scott Penk and Michael Hardgrave were jailed for four weeks last month for their part in a scam that used faked access-all-areas passes to get people into the show - charging said people up to $250 a time for the privilege - according to The Straits Times. A British man, Martin Keane, was jailed at the same time, while a fourth man, Australian Paul Cosgrove, was also given four weeks in the slammer this week. Another British man accused of being in on the scam, Luke McKay, is still awaiting trial.

That said, it does seem that at least some of the people who bought those fake passes actually got into the show. So maybe the lesson here is just don't be the person actually handing the fake passes out. Is that a good moral to end on? The guys who wrote the Bible were much better at this. And like I said earlier, it's a while since I've had to study that stuff. Maybe we should all be taking Easter Sunday off to have a think about Jesus Christ after all. Or maybe we could just blame all our sins on Ed Sheeran and carry on regardless.

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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.
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