WEDNESDAY 20 DECEMBER 2017 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Could YouTube start 2018 without its 'enemy number one' status in the music community? Maybe. The Google company has inked a new long-term agreement with both Universal Music and Sony Music... [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 Universal and Sony sign new deals with YouTube
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LEGAL US appeals court 100% certain fractional licensing is all fine
Casey Dienel drops lawsuit against Justin Bieber and Skrillex
Artists urge Congress to back legislation fixing the 1972 quirk
Insane Clown Posse lose latest legal bid over fans' gang classification
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Alexi Cory-Smith departs BMG
Black Diamond adds publishing wing, Kobalt to administrate
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Amazon begins to shut down digital music locker service
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
ARTIST NEWS Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda dismisses suggestion of hologram Chester Bennington
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AND FINALLY... Liam and Noel are "all good again"
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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.

Universal and Sony sign new deals with YouTube
Could YouTube start 2018 without its 'enemy number one' status in the music community? Maybe. The Google company has inked a new long-term agreement with both Universal Music and Sony Music, according to Bloomberg.

Universal has confirmed its new deal, which it's thought includes new commitments from YouTube to further enhance the Content ID rights management system and a basic agreement for the video site to launch its previously reported new subscription music service.

YouTube's latest commitment to paid-for streaming is likely key to placating the record companies - in the short term at least - they being long annoyed that the video site pays much less into the music industry than Spotify and Apple. The labels generally like paid-for streaming much more than free streaming, seeing the latter as - at best - an upsell platform, and at worst a necessary evil that has to exist to try and stop people using piracy sites.

The video platform's original plan to move into paid-for music streaming in 2015 was abandoned in favour of the video site's wider subscription product, the somewhat lacklustre YouTube Red. But it's rumoured YouTube will now launch a standalone music subscription service in the spring, somehow integrated with the Google Play Music streaming set-up, which operates more in line with the Spotifys of this world.

Either way, Universal Music boss Lucian Grainge said of the new deal yesterday: "This important step forward provides our recording artists and songwriters improved content flexibility and growing compensation from YouTube's ad-supported and paid-subscription tiers, while also furthering YouTube's commitment to manage music rights on its platform. I look forward to collaborating with Susan and her team at YouTube on the important work ahead to advance artists' interests and sustain the music industry's recent growth".

The there mentioned Susan is YouTube chief Susan Wojcicki, who is THRILLED about her new deal with the biggest of all the record companies. "We're THRILLED to strengthen our partnership with Universal Music Group", said she. "This agreement means we can drive more value to the industry, break and support more artists, and deliver an incredible music experience to fans around the world".

Yeah, we'll see about that. Warner Music signed a new deal with YouTube back in May, which is presumably why it was the label said to be already on board for the new standalone music service when that was first mooted earlier this month. Though back in May, Warner Music boss Stephen Cooper was somewhat reserved about the new deal, telling staff in a memo: "We secured the best possible deals under very difficult circumstances. Our new deals are also shorter than usual, giving us more options in the future".

Various sources, including those talking to Bloomberg, reckon Sony Music has also signed up to a new contract with YouTube, presumably on similar terms to Warner and Universal, although it is yet to formally comment. Deals will also need to be done with the indies, and on the publishing side with the collecting societies, which still control many of the rights YouTube needs to exploit, even though the majors have tended to include the Anglo-American repertoires of their publishing divisions in these talks.

Whether any of this will bring to an end the frequent YouTube dissing in the music community remains to be seen, and likely depends on whether the Google site can actually sign anyone up to its higher-royalty-paying paid-for service.

The music industry's lobbyists in Europe still hope that the final draft of the European Copyright Directive will limit the extent to which YouTube can use so called safe harbour protection to strengthen its negotiating hand. That could still take some time to be properly worked out. But it might be that - if YouTube's move into subscription music streaming falters or fails - next time the majors come to renew their deals with the Google company, they'll feel they are newly empowered by European copyright law to demand more.

Though, if in the short term YouTube's enemy number one status is put on hold by the powers that be in the music business, perhaps that will allow them to focus their energies on fucking Facebook. That sounds like fun. Plus "fucking Facebook" alliterates. Result!

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US appeals court 100% certain fractional licensing is all fine
Songwriters and music publishers in America have welcomed an appeal court ruling that confirms that the country's performing rights organisations can continue to operate a so called fractional licensing system, rather than the 100% licensing system that the Department Of Justice decreed should be introduced.

Will this be the last time I ever have to explain 100% licensing? Let's hope so. Songs are often co-written and therefore co-owned. In the US, there are multiple collecting societies representing the performing rights in songs, meaning songwriters must decide which one to join. Once the writer is joined up, that society represents their performing rights.

Collaborating writers may choose to join different societies, which means that any one song may be concurrently represented by BMI, ASCAP, GMR and SESAC, with each society representing a percentage of the work. Where that is the case - convention has generally held - anyone wishing to broadcast or perform that work must have a licence from all the societies, and pay royalties to each, pro-rata according to what percentage it controls.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is 'fractional licensing'. You get every licence you need until you have 100% of the song covered. But when the US Department Of Justice reviewed the consent decrees that govern BMI and ASCAP last year, it announced that - by its reading of said decrees - the two big American collecting societies were obliged to operate a so called '100% licensing system'.

That would mean that, where BMI controlled part of a song, a licensee could make use of that song with just a BMI licence. BMI would then collect 100% of the royalties at whatever rates it had agreed with the licensee, but would then have to pass on a share of the money to ASCAP or whoever, who would then pay the writer who was not a BMI member.

The music industry, which had been hoping the Department Of Justice would streamline the aforementioned consent decrees - rather than infer an extra rule from them - were not impressed with the government department's 100% licensing declaration. ASCAP decided to fight the DoJ's decision in Congress, while BMI took the matter to court.

BMI's legal action reached a conclusion much quicker than everyone expected. The judge who oversees the BMI consent decree - Louis L Stanton - almost immediately sided with the society and ruled that the DoJ had been wrong to infer a 100% licensing obligation. The DoJ then appealed that decision to the Court Of Appeals For The Second Circuit.

Yesterday that appeals court also sided with BMI, concluding that Stanton's reading of the consent decree was correct, and that the society can continue to operate a fractional licensing system without being in breach of its regulatory document.

Needless to say, BMI is happy with the latest ruling. Its boss man Mike O'Neill declared yesterday: "This is a massive victory for songwriters, composers, music publishers and the entire industry. We have said from the very beginning that BMI's consent decree allowed for fractional licensing, and we are incredibly gratified that Judge Stanton and the Second Circuit agreed with our position".

He went on: "We thank all the songwriters, composers, publishers and organisations who supported us throughout this process, which unfortunately, has been a nearly two-year distraction from our original intent which was to update our outdated consent decree and modernise music licensing. We look forward to our continued efforts to protect and grow the value of music".

While the ruling specifically related to the BMI consent decree, it is assumed a precedent is set that also covers ASCAP. So it too welcomed the ruling, with CEO Elizabeth Matthews remarking that: "The Second Circuit's ruling today is an important victory for music creators across the country. The court affirms what we have known all along, that the right of public performance allows for the fractional licensing of musical works in our repertories, and the consent decrees do not limit that right".

America's National Music Publishers Association was also happy, with its CEO David Israelite announcing that the appeal court ruling was a "vindication for all songwriters and music publishers". He added: "The DoJ's disastrous interpretation was an attack on songwriters and we congratulate BMI and the industry effort on successfully fighting against this massive government overreach".

Hoping that yesterday's ruling meant the 100% licensing issue was now resolved, and perhaps the DoJ might want to return to thinking about streamlining the rules governing collective licensing, Israelite added: "We are encouraged it is a new day at the Justice Department with new leadership that we trust will respect the rights of songwriters and ultimately address the larger problems with the outdated World War Two-era consent decrees that continue to harm music creators".

So, everyone is happy! Hurrah for that. Oh, what's this, someone's not happy? Who let them in? Yes, that's right, not everyone is happy. The MIC Coalition - the lobbying group representing tech, broadcasting and hospitality companies who use music - is not happy.

"Today's decision by the Court Of Appeals For The Second Circuit will have devastating consequences for the future of music licensing", it said, building up the drama in a way that really needs a suitably dramatic soundtrack. Though you'd have to pay for that.

"If left unchallenged", the MIC Coalition added, "this decision will fundamentally alter decades of business practices while destroying the value of collective licensing and threatening to throw the entire music marketplace into chaos. We urge the Department Of Justice to challenge today's decision all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary. We believe that the clear precedent on the scope of the consent decree will prevail".

It remains to be seen if the Justice Department - under new management since its consent decree review - wants to continue to fight on this. Or whether Israelite is right to be optimistic that the US government's competition regulators might actually be up for reducing the rules governing collective licensing Stateside. Either way, it's not entirely certain that this is definitely the last time I'll ever have to explain 100% licensing. So I'm not happy.

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Casey Dienel drops lawsuit against Justin Bieber and Skrillex
Musician Casey Dienel, formerly known as White Hinterland, has dropped a lawsuit against Justin Bieber and Skrillex in which she claimed that they ripped off one of her songs for their hit 'Sorry'.

As previously reported, Dienel went legal in May last year, claiming that Bieber and Skrillex had lifted the "unique characteristics of the female vocal riff" from her 2014 White Hinterland single 'Ring The Bell".

"Like most artists that sample music, Bieber could have licensed my song for use in 'Sorry'", she said at the time. "But he chose not to contact me. After the release of 'Sorry', my lawyers sent Bieber a letter regarding the infringement, but Bieber's team again chose to ignore me".

The accusation prompted Skrillex to post a video online showing how he created the vocal riff himself, using vocals recorded by one of the song's co-writers Julia Michaels.

Dienel nonetheless pressed on with her legal action. Although now, according to TMZ, more than a year and a half later, she has moved to have the case dismissed. It's not clear what prompted this or if any behind the scenes negotiations have taken place.

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Artists urge Congress to back legislation fixing the 1972 quirk
A group of 41 artists has urged US Congress to finally sort out the bloody 1972 quirk in American copyright law by backing the somewhat clumsily named Compensating Legacy Artists for their Songs, Service & Important Contributions to Society Act. That translates to the CLASSICS Act see. And this is all about classic rock and pop music. Ha ha!

As previously reported, earlier this year Republican Darrell Issa and Democrat Jerrold Nadler proposed a new law that would confirm that online and satellite radio services in America need to pay royalties to artists and labels when they play tracks released before 1972.

US-wide federal copyright law says such royalties must be paid, but - for reasons of history - federal copyright law only applies to recordings released since 1972. Earlier recordings are protected by state level copyright law, and working out what those old laws say about online and satellite radio has proven to be fucking tedious.

The CLASSICS Act would overcome the ambiguities of state level copyright rules - and the possible unsatisfactory conclusion that the royalty obligations of national radio services might differ from state to state - by confirming once and for all that when an online or satellite radio station plays a golden oldie, both artist and label should get a royalty.

With those proposals now on the table, a consortium of artists organised by the Content Creators Coalition - and including T Bone Burnett, Rosanne Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Bette Midler, Bonnie Raitt and Henry Rollins - has suggested that 2018 might be a good year to finally sort out a copyright anomaly created all the way back in 1972.

They stated yesterday: "Digital radio makes billions of dollars a year from airplay of music made before 1972. Yet, because of an ambiguity in state and federal copyright laws, artists and copyright owners who created that music receive nothing for the use of their work. The 'CLASSICS Act' would correct this inequity and finally ensure that musicians and vocalists who made those timeless songs finally get their due. We urge Congress to pass the CLASSICS Act and other pro-artist reforms quickly".

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Insane Clown Posse lose latest legal bid over fans' gang classification
Insane Clown Posse have lost a court appeal to have their fans, known as Juggalos, delisted as a criminal gang by the FBI. This story dates back to 2011, when Juggalos were listed as a "loosely-organised hybrid gang" in the FBI's National Gang Threat Assessment report.

The hip hop duo have launched a number of legal actions against this listing, arguing that simply liking their music was becoming problematic for many ICP fans. The group claim that people have lost jobs, lost custody of children, been unfairly arrested, been refused entry into the military, and more, simply for being Juggalos.

In September this year, more than 1000 Juggalos marched on Washington as an attempt to raise awareness for their plight. They argue that the gang classification is a violation of their fans' first and fifth amendment rights. The first amendment allows for freedom of expression, while the fifth amendment protects US citizens against having to incriminate themselves.

In court this week, ICP's legal team called up various Juggalos to describe issues they had faced by being fans of the group. According to the New York Post, one said that he had been detained by police for displaying an ICP window sticker in his truck. Another said that he had been told by an army recruitment officer that he would have to have ICP tattoos permanently removed in order to join the military.

However, the Sixth Circuit court of appeals did not sympathise, saying that the duo had "failed to demonstrate that the Juggalo gang designation results in legal consequences".

The court added that the 2011 FBI list was for information purposes only and not legally binding in itself. Therefore, any view taken by officials on how to treat Juggalos was their own and not the cause of the FBI report for the National Gang Intelligence Center.

"The government officials who harmed appellants were not bound by the Juggalo gang designation nor were they required to consider the 2011 NGIC report", said the court in its ruling. "Thus, the government officials' actions are not the direct consequences of the Juggalo gang designation in the 2011 NGIC report, but are the product of their own independent decision making".

Insane Clown Posse have not yet commented on the ruling.

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Alexi Cory-Smith departs BMG
Alexi Cory-Smith has announced that she is standing down from her senior role at BMG, having led the growth of the v2 BMG business in the UK since joining the firm in 2011. Her job title since the start of the year had been President, Repertoire & Marketing.

Confirming that Cory-Smith was departing the business, a spokesperson for BMG stated yesterday: "Alexi deserves full credit for all she has brought to BMG over the past seven years. We hold her in the highest personal esteem. And we wish her well in her future plans".

After paying tribute to her team and her bosses, Cory-Smith said it was "time for me to start a new chapter" in a memo to staff confirming her departure.

Looking back on her time with the music rights company, she added: "In my time we have signed so many great artists and songwriters including Bring Me The Horizon, Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders, Liam Howlett and The Prodigy, Steve Mac, Wayne Hector, Jamiroquai, Giggs, The National, Robbie Williams and The Rolling Stones - Messrs Jagger and Richards, specifically - twice".

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Black Diamond adds publishing wing, Kobalt to administrate
Having launched a joint venture label with Warner Music earlier this year, Black Diamond Music has now added a music publishing wing to the business. And earlier this month it allied with Kobalt, which will administrate the new venture's songs catalogue. Kobalt is already working with Black Diamond managed artist Mullally.

The company's co-founder, David Olusegun, says: "Our vision at Black Diamond Music has always been to discover, sign and develop the most forward-thinking music creators in our generation and give them the platform and infrastructure to succeed. We expressed this to Alison Donald and she understood the vision immediately and now we are excited about signing unique, culture-defining writers to Black Diamond Publishing with Kobalt".

The there mentioned Alison is Kobalt's Alison Donald, who adds: "We're delighted to be working with Black Diamond and the next stage of their development as a company. We're looking forward to administering their roster of writers including those currently working closely with our recent signing Mullally".

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Amazon begins to shut down digital music locker service
Amazon has announced that it has begun the process of shutting down its online music storage service. You'd forgotten Amazon even had such a thing, hadn't you? And to think, it was all so controversial back in 2011.

Launched in the US that year, Amazon Music Storage sparked a dispute with record labels and music publishers because it didn't have any licences from those companies. The online retailer argued that licences were not required, because its customers were entitled to back up their digital files online under their private copy right. The labels and publishers countered that, while that may be true, playing back those files online did require licences.

After months of refusal to budge on either side, Amazon eventually caved and negotiated licences with the labels and publishers. The service eventually launched in the UK in September 2012, where licences were always required, as there is no private copy right under British copyright law (except for that very brief period when there was).

Users of the free version of the service, which allows storage of up to 250 tracks, lost the ability to upload new files on Monday. Music already stored in people's accounts will remain accessible until January 2019. Meanwhile no new subscriptions - free or paid for - will be accepted after 15 Jan next year.

Exactly how long paying subscribers - who could be storing anywhere up to 250,000 files - will still have access to their accounts remains to be seen. In the short term, those subscribers will be able to renew their existing subscriptions. But should a subscription lapse, there won't be an option to sign-up anew. Instead, they will be downgraded to a free account, with one year's access to 250 of their tracks before being locked out altogether.

For those who continue to pay, it seems that Amazon Music Storage will live on for at least sometime after January 2019. How much longer will likely depend, at least in part, on how many of those paying users there are left.

For those still keen on having both an MP3 collection and an online back up of that MP3 collection, both Google and Apple still offer music storage services. Apple's iTunes Match charges an annual subscription, while Google Play Music allows users to store up to 50,000 tracks for free.

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Approved 2017: Jhene Aiko
Every day this week, we'll be looking at the last twelve months for one of our favourite artists of 2017. Today, Jhene Aiko...

There's been a trend in recent years towards longer albums, particularly in R&B and hip hop. Often this can feel like a cynical move. As if the artist is packing in as many different trendy production styles as possible to maximise potential airplay. Or maybe it's some attempt to game chart rules for how streams are counted.

But in the case of Jhene Aiko's 'Trip', its 22 tracks provide just about the necessary space to explore the album's intertwining storylines. In fact, these stories and themes spill over into other media too, the project being a MAP - as she calls it - ie a movie, album and poetry book. The movie (or rather short film) goes some way to explaining the themes covered in greater depth on the album itself. Although, actually, a shorter monologue posted on SoundCloud does a better job of that.

Essentially, 'Trip' is a document of Aiko's grief following the death of her older brother, Miyagi Chilombo, in 2012. It sees her attempt to cope through solitude, through romantic relationships, and through drugs. As the album unfolds, it becomes more than that, exploring different facets of all of those things - the good and the bad.

Along the way, she collaborates with artists like John Mayer, Brandy and Rae Sremmurd's Swae Lee. However, it's performances with boyfriend Big Sean, her father Karamo Chilombo, and her daughter Namiko Love, that really pull the record together.

The album is set up with its opening two tracks, 'LSD' and 'Jukai'. The former laying out the influence of drugs over what is to come, while the latter sees Aiko walking through a forest in Japan known as a place where people go to take their own lives, finishing with the line, "I made it out alive".

'Jukai' also features the first appearance of a character, voiced by producer Brian Warfield of Fisticuffs, who - she told NPR earlier this year - "appears at first to be an angel, but then he turns into someone that is not".

It's an ambitious project and an album that delivers ever more with repeat listens.

Listen to 'Jukai' here.

Listen to (almost) ever artist featured in the CMU Approved column in 2017 on this Spotify playlist.

Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda dismisses suggestion of hologram Chester Bennington
Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda has shot down the suggestion that the band might one day perform with a hologram version of late vocalist Chester Bennington.

It seems like a strange thing to ask someone mere months after a bandmate's death, but the topic came up in a recent Q&A on Shinoda's Instagram profile nonetheless. And apparently it's not the first time it has been suggested.

"I can't even wrap my head around the idea of a holographic Chester", he said. "I've actually heard other people outside the band suggest that, and there's absolutely no way ... That would be the worst. For any of you guys who have lost a loved one, best friend, family member, can you imagine having a hologram of them? Ugh. I can't do it. I don't know what we're gonna do, but, you know, we'll figure it out eventually".

Various musicians have returned to the stage as (sort of) holograms, including Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Tupac Shakur and Ronnie James Dio, and various ventures are underway to start touring hologram versions of deceased pop stars.

Though none of those were designed as a means for a band to continue working in the immediate wake of a bandmate's death.

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Liam and Noel are "all good again"
It's a Christmas miracle! Liam and Noel Gallagher are "all good again". Expect an Oasis reunion by Boxing Day.

Publicly, of course, Noel has spent the last few months bad-mouthing his younger brother, as both of them promoted new solo albums. Although it has increasingly felt like Noel was mainly trying to one-up himself in each new interview - rather than displaying any genuine animosity for his brother - as he's asked the same questions repeatedly.

And behind the scenes, it's a different story, if Liam is to be believed. "I wanna say Happy Xmas to team NG", Liam tweeted yesterday. "It's been a great year, thanks for everything, looking forward to seeing you tomorrow".

Many fans immediately fell over themselves with excitement, while others acted with more cynicism. One predicted that Liam would "have a meltdown" on Twitter on Christmas Day when Noel "doesn't reach out".

"He's already reached out", replied Liam. "We're all good again".

So that's definitely all sorted. You don't need to let your concerns about the on going Gallagher brothers feud ruin your festive break. And I know you were all worried.

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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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