WEDNESDAY 31 JANUARY 2018 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Songwriter organisation BASCA has issued a lengthy statement following the resignation of four members of its Songwriter Committee - Kim Appleby, Barry Mason, Megg Nicol and Pete Woodroffe - on Monday... [READ MORE]
Available to premium subscribers, CMU Trends digs deeper into the inner workings of the music business, explaining how things work and reviewing all the recent trends.
   
REVIEWING THE SALES V LICENCE DEBATE
It's four years now since CMU Trends last looked in on the sales v licence debate. But a new lawsuit filed by Enrique Iglesias against Universal Music is set to pose the question anew, this time very much from a streaming perspective. With that in mind, CMU Trends reviews the debate to date and what might happen next. [READ MORE]
   
AGENT OF CHANGE - THE STORY SO FAR
The UK government has announced that it will add the so called 'agent of change' principle into the framework which local authorities must follow when considering planning applications by property developers. With that announcement made, CMU Trends reviews what agent of change is all about and how we got to this point. [READ MORE]
   
FIVE CONTENDERS FOR MUSIC'S ENEMY NUMBER ONE - UPDATE!
A year ago, CMU Trends identified five contenders for enemy number one of the music industry. This week we review what has happened in the subsequent twelve months, and ask whether relations between the music community and its potential enemies improved or worsened in 2017. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES BASCA responds to resignation of four Songwriter Committee members
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LEGAL Prince estate claims legal win over unauthorised EP release
Judge dismisses song-theft case against U2's The Fly
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS More harassment accusations against Charlie Walk
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MEDIA Mike Germano departs Vice Media, following harassment accusations
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EDUCATION & EVENTS MU calls for government music education review following BBC schools survey
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RELEASES Tyni's Fighter named "official anthem" of HMUK's Music Minds Matter
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AWARDS Neil Portnow backtracks on claim that women in the music industry need to "step up"
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ONE LINERS The Great Escape, Paul Simon, BRIT Awards, more
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AND FINALLY... Taylor Swift no good at writing songs because she's lazy, says Quincy Jones
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Check out all the latest job opportunities with CMU Jobs. To advertise your job opportunities here email advertising@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 0906.
   
WILDLIFE ENTERTAINMENT - FINANCE MANAGER (MATERNITY COVER) (LONDON)
Finance Manager for a successful artist management company based in Parsons Green. Accounting for artists, in particular touring for multiple active acts. This is a part time role, three days a week, for a nine month maternity cover contract commencing April 2018.

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THE MUSIC ROYALTY COMPANY - ROYALTIES ASSISTANT (LONDON)
The Music Royalty Company provides financial and administrative services to many record labels, distributors, publishers and recording artists. We require a dedicated Royalties Assistant eager to progress their career alongside other talented people.

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[PIAS] - IN-HOUSE LAWYER (LONDON)
This is an exciting and broad in-house lawyer role within the music industry. Working within a team of four, you'll share responsibility for all legal areas of the [PIAS] business including: [PIAS]'s own Play It Again Sam and Different labels, [PIAS]'s roster of partner labels and its UK distribution business.

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MANCHESTER STUDENTS' UNION - TECHNICAL MANAGER (MANCHESTER)
The University of Manchester Students’ Union and Manchester Academy are looking for an experienced technical manager, with knowledge of everything important to make our events shine. You will be expected to have a keen eye for detail to enable first class delivery that involves working with a wide range of stakeholders.

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FIRE RECORDS - WAREHOUSE/SALES & DISTRIBUTION ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Fire Records is seeking an enthusiastic and hard-working entry level warehouse and sales assistant to maintain the smooth running of the warehouse, maintain and build relationships with distributers and customers, prepare stock for tours and events and assist in the increasing of sales.

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[PIAS] - SYNC & BRAND MANAGER (LONDON)
[PIAS] is seeking someone to maximise sync and brand partnership income by optimising opportunities to place repertoire and artists in TV show, advertisements, games, film, live brand events, brand partnerships and offering creative input to campaigns.

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BALLANTYNE COMMUNICATIONS - MUSIC PR & COMMUNICATIONS CO-ORDINATOR (LONDON)
Here at BC HQ we are going through a period of growth and are looking to find a highly motivated and passionate person to join the team and to play a key role in our PR work.

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SOLAR MANAGEMENT - ACCOUNTS MANAGER (LONDON)
Busy London based artist and producer management company Solar requires an Accounts/Finance Manager.

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KOBALT MUSIC GROUP - SENIOR CREATIVE SYNCHRONISATION MANAGER (LONDON)
Kobalt has a unique opportunity to be an integral part of Kobalt’s quickly growing, London-based sync team, working with a diverse catalogue and a passionate team dedicated to our commitment to bring transparency and the highest possible level of service to our clients.

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SNAPPER MUSIC - ACCOUNTS ASSISTANT AND ADMINISTRATION (LONDON)
Snapper Music is an Accounts Assistant. This role is an ideal position for a school leaver looking for a career in the music industry.

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LIVE NATION UK - SOCIAL AND CONTENT MANAGER (LONDON)
Live Nation UK's Social and Content Manager is responsible for managing and building the LN UK social channels and LNTV publishing platform. You will also support the shared team goal to grow reach, engagement and first party data.

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IDOL - HEAD OF DISTRIBUTION (PARIS)
To keep abreast with the current business and technological expansion, IDOL is creating this position. The main purpose of this role is to manage, co-ordinate and optimise IDOL’s core activity.

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ASSOCIATION OF INDEPENDENT FESTIVALS - MEMBERSHIP & PROJECTS CO-ORDINATOR (LONDON)
The Association Of Independent Festivals is looking for a new Membership and Project Co-ordinator to assist the General Manager of AIF with the day-to-day organisation and administration of the association.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
THRILL JOCKEY RECORDS - DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & PROMOTIONS, EUROPE (LONDON)
Thrill Jockey Records is seeking an experienced person for Director of Marketing and Promotions for Europe to be based out of our East London office.

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PROPER MUSIC - ROYALTY ADMINISTRATOR (DARTFORD)
Working as part of the overall Finance and Business Affairs team, reporting to the Head of Department, the successful candidate will oversee royalty processes and reporting for all group companies.

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WARP RECORDS - INTERNATIONAL MARKETING & PROMOTIONS CO-ORDINATOR (LONDON)
Warp Records is looking for an energetic and enthusiastic individual to join its international team based in London. Your role will be to help us deliver great campaigns for our artists internationally.

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INVOLVED GROUP - ROYALTY & ACCOUNTS ASSISTANT MANAGER (LONDON)
Owned and managed by global DJ trio Above & Beyond and James Grant, Involved Group is looking for an experienced Royalty & Accounts Assistant Manager to join our busy and growing Finance Team.

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CMU Insights provides training and consultancy to music companies and companies working with music. Find out about our seminars, masterclasses and primers here...
   
CMU SEMINARS: MAKING MONEY FROM MUSIC COPYRIGHT
Mondays 5, 12, 19 Feb 2018 at 6.30pm in London
These three CMU Insights seminars together provide a user-friendly guide to how music copyright works and how music rights make money. You can book into each individual session at £49.99 per seminar or you can book a place on all three at the special price of £125. CLICK HERE FOR INFO.
   
CMU SEMINARS: BUILDING A FANBASE AND FAN BUSINESS
Mondays 26 Feb, 5, 12 Mar 2018 at 6.30pm in London
These three CMU Insights seminars together provide an overview of how to build a fanbase for new artists and new music. They also look at how artists can use these channels to build a direct-fo-fan business. You can book into each individual session at £49.99 per seminar or you can book a place on all three at the special price of £125. CLICK HERE FOR INFO.
   
CMU PRIMER: KEY MUSIC BUSINESS TRENDS 2018
These are courses we can run in-house at your company
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 FOR INFO.

BASCA responds to resignation of four Songwriter Committee members
Songwriter organisation BASCA has issued a lengthy statement following the resignation of four members of its Songwriter Committee - Kim Appleby, Barry Mason, Megg Nicol and Pete Woodroffe - on Monday.

The four resigning members delivered their own statement at a meeting of that committee in which they aired various grievances. These included issues with BASCA, the leadership of its Chair Crispin Hunt, the organisation's relationship with collecting society PRS, and a recent HR investigation that led to the expulsion of four other members.

The HR investigation related to formal grievances originally raised by a senior staff member in 2016. Five members of the organisation were accused of bullying and harassment. An external HR specialist was hired to investigate and four of the five members were subsequently expelled, while the fifth resigned after being given a formal warning.

Commenting on that investigation in their resignation statement, the resigning members wrote: "There may well have been HR issues within BASCA, but they have been dealt with in an appalling and heavy handed way".

On BASCA's relationship with PRS, the resigning members took issue with Hunt also sitting on the board of the collecting society. While calling PRS "an incredible organisation that collects money from this country and all over the world and processes vast amounts of data", the resignation letter adds that BASCA nevertheless needs to hold the society to account on behalf of composers and songwriters.

They state: "BASCA has a duty to hold PRS For Music up to scrutiny. In short, BASCA has to do all it can to ensure that the deals being done on our behalf are in the best interest of songwriters and with as much transparency as possible". They then add: "Over the last seven years BASCA seems to be getting closer and closer to PRS and this can only be a bad thing for both parties".

The decision of Appleby, Mason, Nicol and Woodroffe to quit BASCA also follows significant changes to the organisation's constitution and internal structure, which were voted through by the vast majority of its membership at an AGM last month. In addition to the specific issues raised in their resignation letter, those changes may have also in part motivated the four songwriters to specifically speak out at this time.

Commenting on those changes shortly after last month's AGM, Hunt said: "This is a massively positive, forward-looking step for BASCA and one that marks the beginning of a new era of improved inclusivity, respect, democracy, unity and purpose. We now have a real mandate from our membership to build a BASCA that is fit for purpose moving forward. I'm excited about what we're going do in 2018 and my heartfelt thanks go out to everyone who backed this vision".

In their response to Monday's resignations, Hunt and BASCA CEO Vick Bain yesterday put out a joint statement which provides some detail about the aforementioned HR investigation and mounts a staunch defence of the way it was handled. The statement then concludes that Hunt and Bain feel they have a mandate from the "vast majority of our membership to take our organisation forward", and that this "is a hugely positive step for all songwriters and composers and we are now focused on the challenges ahead".

Appleby, Mason, Nicol and Woodroffe's joint resignation letter has been published by Songlink here. BASCA's formal statement is as follows...

In response to a formal grievance raised in September 2016 by a senior staff member against five BASCA members, citing accusations of bullying and harassment, BASCA instructed an independent human resources specialist to investigate the allegations and prepare a report into them. This action was in line with existing BASCA policy.

In November 2016, a second grievance was raised by the same staff member with further allegations of victimisation and retribution in relation to the subsequent behaviour of those named in the first grievance.

In March 2017, the board of BASCA convened to hear the conclusions of the investigation and after careful consideration it was agreed to uphold the findings of the report, which found that a number of the allegations of bullying and harassment were proven.

As a result, BASCA made a decision to terminate the membership of four of the five members named in both grievances for unacceptable and inappropriate behaviour, which was described as bullying and harassment in the report. One member was given a conditional formal warning but declined the conditions and chose to resign.

The remaining four members had the right to an appeal, which they elected to pursue. The independent barrister appointed as appeal officer has now delivered her report on three of the four appeals. The report's findings were stark and concluded that the appeals failed and recommended that the board should maintain its decision to terminate membership.

In addition, at BASCA's AGM which took place on December 12th 2017, votes were taken to make changes to the organisation's constitution and internal structure. These changes were carried by 88% of the vote.

Subsequent to the decision to terminate the membership of three members and in response to the motions upheld at the AGM, four other members of the BASCA Songwriters' Committee - Pete Woodroffe, Kim Appleby, Megg Nicol and Barry Mason - resigned from BASCA yesterday.

As part of their resignation this group put out a statement which appeared to condone the inappropriate behaviour that led to the expulsions whilst further making unfounded allegations against both BASCA and senior figures within it - all of which are fully refuted. We find this wholly unacceptable and therefore accept their resignations.

We feel that the mandate BASCA has now been given by the vast majority of our membership to take our organisation forward is a hugely positive step for all songwriters and composers and we are now focused on the challenges ahead.

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Prince estate claims legal win over unauthorised EP release
The Prince estate has seemingly won a legal battle against producer Ian Boxill over the release of an EP of unreleased music by the late pop star.

Boxill worked with Prince between 2006 and 2008, and in April last year announced plans to release a collection of six unreleased tracks they had collaborated on. Shortly before the record's release date, the Prince estate was granted a temporary injunction blocking it. The estate claimed that a contract between Boxill and Prince gave copyright solely to the musician, meaning the producer could not release the music without its permission.

Now, according to TMZ, the estate is claiming victory in the dispute, because Boxill has failed to respond to its lawsuit by a deadline of 23 Jan. It is asking for the judge in the case to therefore rule in its favour. If the judge does so, the estate will be granted a permanent injunction stopping Boxill from ever releasing the music.

That doesn't mean you won't be hearing previously unreleased Prince tracks soon though. Quite the opposite, according to the estate's advisor, Troy Carter.

He told Variety this week: "[Prince] was a guy who practically lived in a recording studio, and once we started going through [the unreleased material] we really started finding some gems. I heard some music the other night that was pretty mind-blowing and we're getting some stuff mixed right now. We've got great projects in the works that I'm excited to talk about. So the answer is yes, there will be unreleased Prince music coming soon".

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Judge dismisses song-theft case against U2's The Fly
A US judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by a New York-based British songwriter who accused U2 of ripping off one of his tracks on their 1991 hit 'The Fly'.

Paul Rose went legal over the alleged song theft last year, more than 25 years after the release of the U2 record, claiming that 'The Fly' lifted a thirteen second guitar riff from his 1989 instrumental track 'Nae Slappin'.

Rose's legal claim said that he had sent a demo of his track to U2's then record label back in 1989, which he reckoned was how Bono et al had been exposed to his work. He then alleged that 'The Fly' copied a section of his record "virtually note-for-note".

Calling for the case to be dismissed last summer, U2 argued that ordinary listeners would conclude that 'The Fly' and 'Nae Slappin' sounded "nothing alike". They also questioned why it had taken Rose so long to go legal, adding "nothing about 'The Fly' has changed in the quarter century since it was released".

New York District Judge Denise Cote dismissed the case yesterday. According to Reuters, she concluded that the riff Rose alleged had been ripped off was not a "sufficiently substantial" portion of 'Nae Slappin' to be protected by copyright. And even if it was, she reckoned a jury would conclude U2 hadn't copied it anyway.

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More harassment accusations against Charlie Walk
Two more accusations of harassment have been made against US-based Universal Music exec Charlie Walk.

One of the unnamed women who has now come forward says that she had unwanted interactions with him while working at his current employer, Universal's Republic Records. The label previously said that it would investigate earlier claims made against Walk, despite those other alleged incidents taking place before he joined the company.

The initial allegations were made against Walk by former Sony/Columbia exec Tristan Coopersmith. She said that in the year she worked for Walk at Sony Music, he regularly made sexual comments to her, grabbed her thigh at business dinners, and - on one occasion - attempted to force her into a bedroom.

Walk quickly denied the accusations, calling them "upsetting" and "untrue". Meanwhile, his currently employers Universal and Fox - Walk is acting as a judge on the broadcaster's new TV talent show 'The Four' - said that they were "reviewing the matter".

Now, according to Billboard, more accusations have been made anonymously to industry commentator Bob Lefsetz, after he wrote about Walk in his Lefsetz Letter newsletter.

One woman alleges that while an employee of Republic Records, of which Walk is now President, he made inappropriate comments and invited her to join him in hotel rooms, and more. After being made redundant from the label, Walk reportedly twirled her round in front of another exec at the company and commented on her appearance. He allegedly then said this was fine because she no longer worked for the company.

Another unnamed woman says that while working for Walk, he also made comments about her appearance and attractiveness, leading her to warn other women about him. Walk's position of power meant she felt unable to more publicly speak out against him, she adds.

Walk has not commented on the new allegations.

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Mike Germano departs Vice Media, following harassment accusations
Vice Media and its Chief Digital Officer Mike Germano have parted ways, following sexual misconduct allegations made against him. He says that his departure was planned and that he has not been fired.

Germano - who joined Vice in 2013 after it acquired his Carrot Creative agency - went on leave earlier this month following reports of misconduct. In a memo yesterday, reports The Wrap, the media firm's COO Sarah Broderick told staff that he would not be returning.

"As you are aware, Mike Germano has been on leave and I want to let you know that he will not be returning to the company", she wrote.

In a statement to The Wrap, Germano denied that he had been fired, despite sources saying otherwise. "I was not fired", he said. "Nor is there any info that states that. I left the company I started after it merged with our parent company, something that was planned for six months".

Accusations of misconduct against Germano first arose in an article published by the New York Times in December. Both he and Vice's President Andrew Creighton were subsequently placed on leave.

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MU calls for government music education review following BBC schools survey
The Musicians' Union has called on the government to review its education policies. This follows a BBC survey confirming that the vast majority of schools in England are cutting back lesson time, staff and/or facilities in at least one creative arts subject.

The new survey seems to confirm a trend that many have blamed on the slightly confusingly named English Baccalaureate (or EBacc) system, which is the way the academic performance of English schools has been assessed since 2010. Creative subjects like music are excluded from the EBacc, meaning schools are less likely to prioritise them, because achievements in those subject areas don't have a positive impact on their perceived success.

In the BBC survey of 1200 primary and secondary schools, 90% said there had been cutbacks of some kind in at least one creative arts subject. 40% said they were spending less money on facilities for these subjects, while 30% had reduced the hours in the timetable dedicated to the creative arts. Most blamed a combination of EBacc criteria and funding cuts for these changes.

Responding to the survey, Amanda Spielman of schools regulator Ofsted defended the shift to prioritising more traditional academic subjects, especially at a GCSE level. Although she added that schools were still expected to offer students a broad education. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Department For Education insisted that the government was investing in music and other creative art subjects in schools.

However, the General Secretary of the MU, Horace Trubridge, reckons that the new BBC survey is further proof that the government needs to review its education policies. He said yesterday: "This new research from the BBC has confirmed the MU's findings that far too many young people are unable to access music as part of a broad and balanced school curriculum".

He went on: "Government policy, in particular the EBacc, is the driving force behind this situation, with the result that increasing numbers of children can have music lessons only if their parents are able to pay for them. This will do nothing to increase diversity and opportunity in the music industry. The MU therefore calls on the government to review its education policy in order to ensure that music is a skill that everyone gets a chance to learn".

The Union's National Organiser For Education & Training, Diane Widdison, noted that the organisation's own education report had stated that the EBacc "has had an extremely damaging effect on school music departments".

She added: "This is because the EBacc forces schools to prioritise entering pupils for seven GCSEs in so-called core subjects, not including the arts. The result of this has been that school music departments are rapidly closing down, our members are losing their jobs as music teachers, and GCSE entries are plummeting".

She concluded: "We are therefore pleased to see this new piece of research from the BBC which strongly supports our own observations. We call on the government to review the EBacc to ensure that music and the arts don't disappear from the curriculum completely".

Given how much certain government departments love to bang on about how important the UK music industry has become, how it repeatedly punches above its weight globally, and how British music will be a calling card around the world post-Brexit, it's sort of ironic that education ministers continue to downgrade music in English schools.

Though that might be partly because there is often a disconnect between music education and the music industry, and the music curriculum too often lacks any focus at all on pursuing a career in music, building a business around your creativity, and understanding the basics of intellectual property.

This means that music lessons are more about making music as a pastime than pursuing it as a career. Of course, making music for the fun is - in itself - an important and brilliant thing, but a closer alignment with the business of music would make a stronger economic case for the state investing in music education in schools and beyond.

These are all things that will be discussed, dissected and debated at the CMU Insights Education Conference as part of The Great Escape in Brighton this May, with the education-focused programme taking place on Wednesday 16 May. More information here.

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Approved: Anna
Having put out releases via a variety of labels over the last few years, techno producer Anna makes her first appearance in the Kompakt catalogue with new EP 'Speicher 101'.

Putting something out on the legendary Berlin label seemed like "a distant dream", she says, adding: "I have so many records from Kompakt, I've had them since I started, and even though I played so many different styles through the years, I can safely say that Kompakt has always been in my crate".

The twelve-inch release finds her on fantastic form, with two intense and enveloping tracks, 'Hidden Beauties' and 'The Dansant'.

Listen to a clip of 'Hidden Beauties' here, or listen to the full track on our CMU Approved playlist on Spotify.

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

Tyni's Fighter named "official anthem" of HMUK's Music Minds Matter
Emerging pop act Tyni's 2017 track 'Fighter' has been named the official song of Help Musicians UK's new Music Minds Matter helpline. Originally released last year, a portion of proceeds from each play or sale of 'Fighter' will be donated to the mental health service.

"Everybody has a reason to fight for something in life", says Tyni. "I've been through heartbreak and sometimes your own mind is the worst place you can be. It's like four walls without a door. I've been extremely fortunate to have songwriting and music as my escape, it enables me to let go, heal and move on".

She continues: "As a musician, I have seen firsthand how tough it can be to keep a career going when struggling with your own demons. That's why I'm hugely passionate about supporting HMUK's Music Minds Matter service. It's so important that the service is there to support people working in music through the dark times. I'm so honoured that 'Fighter' will be the anthem for Music Minds Matter, so please donate with a play!"

HMUK CEO Richard Robinson adds: "Help Musicians UK is delighted to be working with Tyni, a star in the making who has brought us the Music Minds Matter official anthem. The 'Fighter' track is not only high potential as a commercial record, it also has its strong and empowering message".

"Through our innovative campaign to 'donate with a play', we know the song will really resonate and raise the profile of the much needed service and raise additional funds, to support even more people and expand it beyond the UK", he goes on. "In the months since Music Minds Matter has been launched, the service has provided support for many people. We want to continue making a difference and help build a sustainable future for this country's music industry, by supporting the mental health of those who need it most".

The Music Minds Matter service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 0808 802 8008.

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Neil Portnow backtracks on claim that women in the music industry need to "step up"
Grammy Awards boss Neil Portnow has done a bit of frantic backpedalling, following criticism of his comments that women should "step up" if they want to start winning prizes at the ceremony.

Sunday's big prize-giving event was criticised for its poor representation of women in the music industry, after just one woman - Alessia Cara - was presented with an award during the actual televised show. Various other issues were highlighted, such as Lorde (the only female nominee for Best Album) not being offered the opportunity to perform solo, while the likes of U2 (not actually nominated for anything) appeared on stage twice.

Asked about this by Variety on the night, Portnow said: "It has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level. [They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome".

Understandably, this merely increased the criticism of the Grammys. In a handwritten note posted on Twitter, Pink noted that women "have been stepping up since the beginning of time", continuing: "stepping up, and also stepping aside, women owned music this year. They've been KILLING IT. And, every year before this".

Meanwhile, Britney Spears' business manager Lou Taylor wrote on Instagram: "I step up and step in every day! There are countless women who help provide the foundation that this business is built on ... Maybe next year we will have a new Academy president and a new producer. I hear the Academy needs a new accountant since you are in debt - I know a good woman who can 'step up' and help get you out of debt and help you pull your head out of your ass".

But, hey, when Portnow said that women needed to "step up", that isn't what he meant. He meant a different thing. In a statement to Billboard, he said: "I was asked a question about the lack of female artist representation in certain categories of this year's Grammy Awards. Regrettably, I used two words, 'step up', that, when taken out of context, do not convey my beliefs and the point I was trying to make".

He continued: "Our industry must recognise that women who dream of careers in music face barriers that men have never faced. We must actively work to eliminate these barriers and encourage women to live their dreams and express their passion and creativity through music. We must welcome, mentor, and empower them. Our community will be richer for it. I regret that I wasn't as articulate as I should have been in conveying this thought. I remain committed to doing everything I can to make our music community a better, safer, and more representative place for everyone".

Yeah, that would have been a better thing to say. As would putting on an awards ceremony that didn't necessitate such criticism in the first place. Then claiming to be doing things to improve representation for everyone might not have seemed quite so hollow.

Lorde, meanwhile, took out a full page advert in the New Zealand Herald yesterday, thanking fans for their support and for "believing in female musicians".

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The Great Escape, Paul Simon, BRIT Awards, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Electronic producer Clark has signed a new publishing deal with Decca. "I am very excited to start this new partnership with Decca Publishing", he says. "Working together, we have agreed to take a fresh outlook on how we approach music publishing, what we can do to make the right kind of noise and stand out".

• Django Django - or Double Django, as you insist on calling them for some reason - have released a video for 'Surface To Air', from their really very good new album 'Marble Skies'.

• Andrew WK has, I have it on very good authority, released another new track 'Ever Again'. If he hasn't, I don't know what this video I just watched was.

• You're probably wondering if The Go! Team have released a video for 'Mayday'. Well, yes, they have.

• The Damned have released a video for new single 'Standing On The Edge Of Tomorrow'.

• Let's Eat Grandma have released a new single, 'Hot Pink', which is produced by Sophie. The duo will play Lightbox in London on 8 Mar.

• Another hundred artists - yes, a hundred, I counted them - have been added to the line-up for this year's Great Escape showcase festival. A number of new partnerships have been confirmed too, including with Gilles Peterson's talent development programme Future Bubblers and the Download Festival, which will host a stage this year. Alongside all that, CMU Insights will also be presenting three full-day conferences for industry delegates once again. Info on the TGE line-up so far here. Info on the CMU Insights conferences here.

• Paul Simon has announced that he'll play the British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park on 15 Jul. It's being billed as 'The Farewell Show', so it could be his last ever performance. It's also the last night of the festival, so maybe he's just saying goodbye to the event.

• Gaz 'Gareth' Coombes has announced that he'll be touring the UK in May. Good on you Gaz, I don't care what they say.

• Already-mentioned-up-there-somewhere Sophie will play Heaven in London on 13 Mar. Tickets are on sale now.

• Glassjaw have announced that they will play Brixton Academy on 18 Aug. Tickets go on sale on 2 Feb.

• Justin Timberlake is performing at the BRITs. So are Ed Sheeran, Rag N Bone Man, Jorja Smith, Stormzy, Dua Lipa, Sam Smith, Foo Fighters and Rita Ora. BRITs boss Jason Iley has "no doubt that Justin's performance will be one to remember". Of course, following the controversy surrounding the Grammys, it may actually be remembered as the point in the show that people realised that the balance of male to female performers is pretty heavily off centre.

• I thought we'd decided who the sound of 2018 was going to be, but MTV has just announced that the winner of its annual Brand New prize is Mabel. "This year is going to be incredible", she insists.

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

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Taylor Swift no good at writing songs because she's lazy, says Quincy Jones
Taylor Swift is no good at writing songs, mainly because she doesn't put the effort in. So says Quincy Jones.

Asked if he's a fan of Swift's work in an interview with GQ, the producer said: "We need more songs, man. Fucking songs, not hooks ... Since I was a little kid, I've always heard the people that don't wanna do the work. It takes work, man. The only place you find success before work is the dictionary, and that's alphabetical".

Taylor Swift is definitely successful, so I'm not sure that analogy works on any level. As for what he'd do to polish up a Swift song if she came into his studio, he added: "I'll figure something out. Man, the song is the shit - that's what people don't realise. A great song can make the worst singer in the world a star. A bad song can't be saved by the three best singers in the world. I learned that 50 years ago".

When the interviewer protested that, in fact, many people do consider Swift a good songwriter - even one of the best of her generation - Jones dismissed this too. "But they don't know, man", he said. "They don't know. I've come and gone through seven decades of this shit. Seen all that. Seen how that works. Ignorance is no thing".

Discussing other artists he's taken a dislike to during those 70 years, talk turned to Jones' distaste for Elvis. "Motherfucker couldn't sing", he decreed.

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