TODAY'S TOP STORY: New Zealand-based writer Tommy Wilson will meet with the country's Commerce Commission tomorrow to speak on behalf of 70 people who were refused entry to a Bruno Mars show this weekend. They had all bought their tickets via the infamous resale site Viagogo... [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.
As CMU Insights publishes agendas for each of the conferences that it will present at The Great Escape later this year, CMU Trends outlines the background to each theme being explored: the future of music education in the UK, the AI technologies most likely to kick-start a revolution in music, and challenges and opportunities in the Chinese music market. [READ MORE]
Music business conference Midem this week publishes a brand new white paper from our consultancy unit CMU Insights reviewing the potential impact various AI technologies will have on the music industry in the next decade. As a preview, CMU Trends presents some highlights. [READ MORE]
It's been a while since we've put the spotlight on challenges in the streaming sector. CMU Insights presented a new speed briefing on that very topic at the Output conference in Belfast this week. Based on that, here is a CMU Trends overview of the top five streaming challenges. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Angry parents to meet New Zealand Commerce Commission over Viagogo's fake Bruno Mars tickets
LEGAL Belgian ISPs join with rights owners to request latest anti-piracy web-blocks
ENTERTAINMENT RETAIL Music's doing fine now, so you should all start reading gain
LIVE BUSINESS Two musicians pull out of Great Exhibition over arms firm sponsorship
ARTIST NEWS Rick Ross hospitalised
Veronica Falls drummer Patrick Doyle dies
ONE LINERS Wye Oak, Spotify, Lou Reed, more
AND FINALLY... Liam Gallagher denies pooing in pensioner's bath
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Angry parents to meet New Zealand Commerce Commission over Viagogo's fake Bruno Mars tickets
New Zealand-based writer Tommy Wilson will meet with the country's Commerce Commission tomorrow to speak on behalf of 70 people who were refused entry to a Bruno Mars show this weekend. They had all bought their tickets via the infamous resale site Viagogo.

Local media have reported on a plethora of people who bought tickets for Mars's recent shows in New Zealand at hiked up prices on the often controversial secondary ticketing website and who then were refused admission at the door. That includes Wilson, who was attending the show with his wife and thirteen year old daughter.

Most of those reports talk about 'fake tickets'. Although, of course, there is more than one reason why tickets bought on the secondary market might fail to get you into a show. The seller may be fraudulently selling fake tickets that would never have worked at the door. Or the promoter of the show may have cancelled the tickets after seeing them being touted, resale usually being in breach of a ticket's terms and conditions.

Secondary sites generally promise a full refund if buyers can't get into a show with their touted ticket. However, getting refunds - or indeed any response at all - out of Viagogo is famously tricky. Even if a refund is secured, that doesn't overcome the disappointment on the night when ticketholders can't get into the show.

By a stroke of luck, Wilson's daughter did actually get in. He told the New Zealand Herald: "I just stood outside hoping someone would come along and that is what happened. It was a bit of a divine appointment". Another family whose daughter had not been able to attend at the last minute had a spare ticket. "So we entrusted the family to take our daughter - your gut sometimes tells you when people are good people, and they were".

However, Wilson went on, plenty of other people with fake or cancelled tickets in their hands weren't so lucky. "There were lines of girls and young ones just bawling their eyes out", Wilson told the newspaper. He went on: "There were 70 of us, and that was just our group from that night. No one should be able to break people's hearts like that".

Campaigning against online ticket touting has been gaining momentum in a number of countries, of course, not least the UK via the FanFair initiative.

Viagogo comes in for particular criticism, though it is not alone. A common complaint raised by those campaigns is that many consumers remain confused by the difference between primary and secondary ticketing sites. Something the language traditionally used by secondary sites exacerbates.

Another disappointed Bruno Mars fan told Stuff that the Viagogo site had seemed "genuine and professional" when she bought her tickets for the show. She admitted that she did query her booking when the price of the tickets suddenly shot up from $184 to $526 each, but that she went ahead with the purchase because she desperately wanted to go to the concert. "I feel like a fool", she told Stuff after being refused entry to the gig. "I should have stopped when I saw the price, but I didn't, I went ahead and bought them".

Secondary ticketing sites that want to advertise on Google do now need to be clearer about their unofficial status, following a recent change to the search engine's advertiser rules. Although the jury is out on how effective those new regulations will be.

Meanwhile, back in New Zealand, Wilson took contact details from the other 70 people unable to enter this weekend's Bruno Mars concert because of Viagogo-bought tickets. He and one other parent affected will now share those people's grievances with the New Zealand's government's Commerce Commission, which already announced that it was investigating the secondary ticketing site last year. It remains to be seen what the Commission says to Wilson et al.

While lawmakers were mainly hesitant to regulate online ticket touting in the past, in the last couple of years there does seem to be more support in political circles for introducing new laws limiting secondary ticketing, or at least forcing some transparency on the resale market.


Belgian ISPs join with rights owners to request latest anti-piracy web-blocks
The latest round of web-blocks in Belgium, which could see 33 websites and 450 domains blocked on copyright grounds, is working a little differently than normal. Three ISPs are joining an entertainment industry trade group in requesting the blockades.

Web-blocking is where music or movie companies seek court injunctions forcing internet service providers to block their customers from accessing copyright infringing websites. It is now a preferred anti-piracy tactic of many in the entertainment industry.

In most countries, ISPs initially object to web-blocking when it is first introduced, but ultimately fall in line and comply with any court orders that come their way. Although in some countries - the Netherlands in particular - they put up more of a fight.

Across the border, Belgian net firms Proximus, Telenet and VOO are joining with the Belgian Entertainment Association in requesting the latest round of web-blocks. The ISPs seemingly see web-blocking as an inevitability, and reckon that collaborating with the rights owners in this way makes the whole process more cost efficient from a legal perspective.

You might think that if the ISPs are on board with web-blocking they could just block offending piracy sites without the bother of going to court at all. However, the net companies seemingly want judicial oversight to ensure that they don't fall foul of European Union e-commerce rules by instigating the blockades.

Torrentfreak quotes Belgian Entertainment Association legal rep Benoît Michaux as saying: "This joint request is a little unusual. Things are changing, there is a certain maturation of minds. We realise, from all sides, that we must tackle the problem of piracy by blocking measures. There is a common vision on what to do and how to handle piracy".


Music's doing fine now, so you should all start reading gain
New stats published last week by the UK's Entertainment Retailers Association showed that in 2017 monies generated by home music, video and gaming products and services exceeded the income of the combined book, magazine and newspaper sector. It's the first time the audio and visual business has outperformed the words business. Good news for all you people making audio and visual stuff. Less good for us word-peddlers.

That stat is based on research commissioned by ERA and undertaken by the Leisure Industries Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam University. Researchers there reckon that UK consumers spent £7.2bn on music, video and games in 2017, compared with £7.1bn on books, magazines and newspapers.

It's no secret that the publishing industry (in the books and media sense, not music) is facing many of the same challenges as the music, movie and gaming sectors as it shifts over to digital. But the entertainers are enjoying the mega-bucks royalties paid over by new online platforms like Spotify and Netflix, and the music, video and gaming services offering by Amazon, Apple, Google and Sky.

ERA chief Kim Bayley said: "It is an extraordinary testament to the appeal and resonance of digital entertainment services that they have helped home entertainment to hit this milestone nearly 550 years since the invention of the printing press".

Dr Themis Kokolakakis from the Leisure Industries Research Centre noted that while the economic crash of 2008/2009 hit both the entertainment and reading markets, the former has recovered more rapidly. Meanwhile books, newspapers and magazines are under pressure, "partly because there is so much competition for people's time and attention".

He concluded: "Entertainment has grown while reading has stagnated".


Two musicians pull out of Great Exhibition over arms firm sponsorship
Two acts have pulled out of the Great Exhibition Of The North, a two month festival taking place in Newcastle and Gateshead this summer, because of its sponsorship by arms company BAE Systems. The Great Exhibition calls itself a "celebration of the North of England's pioneering spirit", and boasts a programme including culture, technology and design.

Singer-songwriter Nadine Shah and ex-Chumbawamba member Boff Whalley, who was due to perform with his Commoners' Choir project, have pulled out of the festival after it was confirmed defence firm BAE was on board as a sponsor.

Shah stated on Twitter last week: "I will no longer be playing the [Great Exhibition Of The North] festival now that I have discovered BAE Systems are a sponsor. I am disgusted to hear of their involvement and refuse to be in any way associated with them. I encourage all artists involved to follow suit".

Meanwhile the Commoners' Choir tweeted: "Commoners Choir will no longer be performing [Great Exhibition Of The North] in June. The discovery that BAE Systems are premier partners in the venture renders our participation impossible".

Other artists have said they are considering their options now that the BAE sponsorship has been confirmed.

The defence company is a big employer in the north of England and it says its support of the Great Exhibition Of The North was "part of its commitment to address the UK skills shortage by encouraging more young people to consider science, technology, engineering and maths careers".

That statement would suggest that BAE is distancing itself from the cultural elements of the Great Exhibition programme. Meanwhile Sage Gateshead, the venue where most of the festival's concerts are due to be held, insisted it was "not in receipt of funds from BAE Systems".

Sponsorship from any arms firm can prove controversial of course, though - partly because of its size - BAE is often in the spotlight, most recently in relation to its supply of arms to Saudi Arabia for use in the war in Yemen. War Child UK, a charity with close links to the music industry, last year accused defence companies, including BAE Systems, of "profiteering from the deaths of innocent children" in Yemen.

Defending its sponsorship deal with BAE, The Great Exhibition's Chairman Gary Verity said: "Our collective focus, working with all of our funders, supporters and contributors, is to make the very most of this opportunity to change perceptions of the north of England and drive future growth and success. Each of our sponsors makes an important contribution to helping us achieve this aim".


Approved: Ty
Ty is back. South London rapper Ben Chijioke has now signed to the Jazz Re: Freshed label, after previous releases on BBE, Big Dada and Tru Thoughts.

On new single 'Eyes Open', Ty shows himself to be - as ever - a man with a keen ear for the perfect backdrop to complement his precise vocal delivery. His lyrics on the track too are thoughtful, delving into social commentary without being overly forceful. Collaborating with Durrty Goodz (now known as OG Rootz), Deborah Jordan and Pumpkin, he encourages you to keep your mind open.

'Eyes Open' is taken from Ty's fifth LP, 'A Work Of Heart', on which he tackles subjects including depression, poverty and racism. It also features collaborations with Tall Black Guy, Wayne Francis from United Vibrations and Umar Bin Hassan from The Last Poets.

Catch him live in London at Archspace next month. Meanwhile, watch the video for 'Eyes Open' here.

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

Rick Ross hospitalised
Rapper Rick Ross is in hospital, and possibly on life support, after reportedly having been found unconscious and having toruble breathing last week. Although there is some confusion about the nature of his condition.

TMZ first broke the news of the rapper's ill health last week, saying that he may have pneumonia and posting what it said was audio from the paramedics sent to treat him. The gossip website later speculated that he'd had a heart attack claimed that he was being kept alive by extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), a type of life support that oxygenates the blood outside the body.

A family member initially denied reports that Ross had been hospitalised. But later the family reportedly confirmed that he was indeed in hospital, but they denied that he was on ECMO. Fellow rapper Fat Trel, who is signed to Ross's record label, then said via Instagram on Saturday that he had spoken to Ross in hospital, adding that he was "good" and "not on life support".

No official statement has yet been published, and Ross himself, usually a prolific Twitter user, has not posted anything since 28 Feb.

Ross's health was in the news back in 2011, when he received medical treatment for seizures twice in one day. He was taken ill on two separate flights as he travelled to a show in Memphis. He later said that he was "totally healthy" and blamed the seizures on a lack of sleep.

As news of Ross being admitted to hospital spread over the weekend, numerous other rappers and associates called on fans to pray for him. Meanwhile, 50 Cent, who has been feuding with Ross for years, posted a picture of Ivan Drago in 'Rocky IV'. Specifically, the picture is taken from a scene where Drago says, "If he dies, he dies".


Veronica Falls drummer Patrick Doyle dies
Veronica Falls drummer Patrick Doyle has died, it was confirmed yesterday. He was 32.

In a statement, the band said: "Patrick was Veronica Falls' drummer, and made solo music as Boys Forever/Basic Plumbing. He was a dear son, brother, uncle and friend, and we loved him dearly. His family are immensely proud of all he achieved. We're asking for any donations to be given to the Los Angeles LGBT Center, who were an invaluable support for Patrick".

Marion Herbain, bassist in Veronica Falls, posted on Instagram: "Everything hurts and it's been hard finding the right words while dealing with feelings ranging from complete heartbreak to remorse. It hasn't fully sunk in yet, but I'm glad I got to spend some of the best years of my life by your side, as a bandmate and a friend".

Veronica Falls have been on hiatus since 2014, while the band's members work on other projects. Doyle released his debut album as Boys Forever in 2016. More recently he worked under the name Basic Plumbing, releasing a single, 'As You Disappear', in December. The video for the song came out last month.


Wye Oak, Spotify, Lou Reed, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Wye Oak have signed a new deal with Sub Pop Publishing. The band's new album, 'The Louder I Call, The Faster It Runs', it out through Merge Records on 6 Apr.

• Spotify and Smirnoff have built a thing that analyses the ratio of men to women you listen to, then provides you with a more balanced playlist.

• A book of poetry by Lou Reed, called 'Do Angels Need Haircuts?', is due to be published next month. The work is lifted from the six month period after he left the Velvet Underground during which Reed vowed never to play music again.

• Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile have released a new 35 minute documentary about their 2017 collaborative album 'Lotta Sea Lice'.

• D Double E has released a new track featuring Skepta, 'Nang'.

• George Ezra has, and there's no denying it, released a new single called 'Pretty Shining People'.

• Elle Exxe has released new track 'Queen' to mark International Women's Day on Thursday.

• Reef have announced that they will release their first album for eighteen years on 4 May. Titled 'Revelation', it features a collaboration with Sheryl Crow.

• Horse Feathers are back. The band will release a new album, 'Appreciation', on 4 May. From it, here's first single 'Without Applause'.

• The Kenneths have released the video for new single 'Favourite Ex'. The track is taken from new EP 'Ex', out on 20 Apr.

• Sasha Sloan has released new single, 'Normal'.

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


Liam Gallagher denies pooing in pensioner's bath
Noel and Liam Gallagher have both commented on accusations that one of them did a poo in a couple's bath while robbing their house in 1989. The claim was published in yesterday's Sunday Sport and seems largely based on the fact that the burglary happened in Manchester.

Actually, it's not just that it was in Manchester. Gladys Tomlinson says that the thought that the Gallaghers might have been responsible for the 1989 break-in at her home was linked to Richard Madeley's recent claims that the Oasis siblings once burgled his family's house too. In Manchester.

Madeley recently discussed Liam Gallagher's Godlike Genius win at the NME Awards on ITV's 'This Morning', saying: "Him and his brother used to live quite close to us when we used to live in Manchester. They admitted in the early stages of their career they did a little bit of robbery, a little bit of burglary, and we think they did our house".

The presenter added that he'd later had his suspicions confirmed by the musicians: "I spoke to them about it, and we spoke about it, it was many years ago and they've probably forgotten about it now and they said, 'Yeah I think we did that one yeah, I think we did that one, went in through the window yeah'".

Having ruminated on this for a couple of weeks, Tomlinson went to the Sport to tell her story. "The dirty little bastards had done a shit in the bath", she remembers, of returning home to find her house ransacked 30 years ago. "Stealing my knick-knacks and video is one thing. But shitting in the bath? That was beyond the pale".

She says her memory was triggered when she heard Madeley's story, explaining: "We lived a couple of streets from that pair of buggers. Pound to a penny it was one of them that shat in the old bath. Looking back, if I'd known it was an Oasis shit, I could have kept it. It would probably worth a fortune on eBay right now".

Of course, if you wanted to sell a dried up piece of bodily waste as music memorabilia on eBay, you'd need confirmation of its authenticity. That's something I'm afraid Liam Gallagher is not going to provide.

"For the record, I never robbed Richard n Judy's [house] and I didn't do a shit in Gladys's bath", he tweeted this morning. Which has to be one of the all time great tweets.

That just leaves Noel, who was a bit more forthcoming with information. "It's a fair cop, guv", he wrote on Instagram. "We thought it was Richard Madeley's gaff. Soz Gladys. No offence".

So there you have it, the necessary validation. But sadly, as Gladys says, the poo is long gone. "Our Colin - God rest his soul - fished it out of the bath with the net he used for his aquarium and flushed it down the bog".

Those poor fish.


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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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.
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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.
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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.
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