An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Thursday 24 October 2013

TODAY'S TOP STORY: YouTube is plotting a premium on-demand music service, according to various sources. The Google-owned video site is, of course, arguably already the world's biggest streaming music platform, even if it's not officially billed as such. But it's thought that the new service, although delivered within the YouTube framework... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: More from the previously CMU approved Solange, who as boss lady of young label Saint Records is shooting at "100% artistic control", assuming its true owners Sony allow that, via a new compilation spotlighting her fave artists. Whilst some of its featured tracks are still TBA, they'll be by Solange (duh), Cassie, Sampha... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES YouTube planning streaming service
LEGAL Sony sues United Airlines over in-flight music system
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Nokia Music expands into more Asian markets
MEDIA RAJAR round up
Commercial radio great, says listener survey
China to limit number of talent shows on TV
NME writers elect The Queen Is Dead as greatest ever LP
Laverne-hosted Mercury Prize to air on Channel 4, More4
EDUCATION & EVENTS BPI to lead new lottery funded youth initiative
ARTIST NEWS Tyler, The Creator disses YouTube Awards, despite being paid to play at them
Lana Del Rey blames public scrutiny, "fickle muse" for artistic dry spell
Jonas Brothers ask fans to 'bear with'
RELEASES Release round-up: Nick Cave, Rustie/Pusha-T and Rick Ross/Lorde
GIGS & FESTIVALS Gigs & tours round-up: Robbie Williams, Chas & Dave and Funeral For A Friend
AND FINALLY... Big Reunion stars to collaborate on charity single
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YouTube planning streaming service
YouTube is plotting a premium on-demand music service, according to various sources.

The Google-owned video site is, of course, arguably already the world's biggest streaming music platform, even if it's not officially billed as such. But it's thought that the new service, although delivered within the YouTube framework, will be designed to accommodate audio-only content, albeit with some sort of photo-based visual display, and would take tracks direct from labels, rather than relying in part on user-uploads.

The new service would also offer both freemium and premium options, the former relying on YouTube's existing advertisers to pay royalties to rights owners, the latter being the video site's first major move into the subscription domain, beyond the small number of YouTube partners already dabbling with pay-to-view. Aside from ad-free music, it is thought the premium version would offer more mobile functionality, pretty much in line with the other on-demand streaming services that charge extra for offline mobile listening etc.

Given how many people, especially younger consumers, already see YouTube as their primary online destination for on-demand music, there is a logic to the site more formally moving into this territory, though whether it can persuade that audience - likely attracted in no small part by the fact YouTube content is free - to sign-up for a premium option remains to be seen.

A YouTube streaming platform would, of course, compete with Google's existing streaming service that operates under the web giant's Play brand, and could quickly supersede it. Given YouTube's usual autonomy from the rest of Google, it's not clear how much joined up thinking there is between YouTube Music and Google Play, though Billboard suggests that the licensing deals done with the majors for the latter included provisions for the former.

It would also put YouTube more readily in competition with Vevo, the Universal/Sony owned music video service which reaches a sizable chunk of its audience via the Google video plaform, and which increasingly brings the official label content to the YouTube site.

While the new service would be more audio based, of course, there is evidence some music fans already use YouTube/Vevo more as an audio than video platform, and if YouTube search started pushing people looking for specific artists more to its own streaming platform than Vevo content, well that could possibly have an impact on the latter's traffic.

Although insiders are pointing to a launch of the new YouTube service before the year is out, a spokesman for the company told Billboard: "We're always working on new and better ways for people to enjoy YouTube content across all screens, and on giving partners more opportunities to reach their fans, however we have nothing to announce at this time".

Sony sues United Airines over in-flight music system
Quite how a major airline could be providing its customers with access to music via its in-flight entertainment system without the appropriate licences, and how that could have gone unnoticed by the labels until know, I'm not sure. But Sony Music is accusing United Airlines of making its content available without licence, and is suing, pushing for an injunction to stop the on-plane music service and compensation for past infringement.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Sony got wise to the allegedly infringing music service via a consultancy hired by the airline and another company, Inflight Productions, to advise on rights issues. That consultancy is now also listed as a defendant in Sony's lawsuit, and the major is reportedly also reviewing other in-flight music platforms looking for other operators in the sky who might also be breaking the copyright laws of their home jurisdictions.

Of course under American copyright law there is no general public performance right for sound recordings, which is presumably how a company like United Airlines ended up operating an unlicensed service, but Sony insists that the nature of the airline's content system means a licence is required, not least because the platform makes copies of recordings as well as playing them.

The lawsuit also reckons that United couldn't rely on the kind of statutory licence utilised by Pandora et al, because of the fully on-demand nature of the service. Though, just to be certain on that point, the litigation also specifically references pre-1972 Sony recordings used by United Airlines, on the basis that the statutory licence, created by federal American law, can only apply to works protected under the federal copyright system (ie recordings since 1972). This argument, of course, has cropped up in several American lawsuits in recent years, and the rights and wrongs of it are yet to be fully resolved.

Nokia Music expands into more Asian markets
Nokia has announced it is launching its Nokia Music service in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, following a recent move into Indonesia. The announcement possibly means the phone firm has recognised that its various music endeavours have had more success (aka some success) in emerging markets where there is less competition.

Speaking about the target territories for Nokia Music, the firm's Jyrki Rosenburg told MusicAlly: "We have recognised the importance of music for consumers in these markets. South Africa is another example where we've been there for several years already, and some of the major players are not there. Places like China and India are very important for us, and we've made great progress there. And now we have the music service for our Asha range of devices in Russia too".

RAJAR round up
Yep, it's RAJAR time people, that quarterly moment when we look at the official listening figures for British radio. And here's five things to know about them...

1. The BBC's big breakfast shows both saw decline this last quarter, compared to the previous one. Grimmy at Radio 1 saw his listening figures slide by 300,000, meaning his average audience is now a million plus down on that enjoyed by his predecessor Chris Moyles, because an arrogant mouthy tosser will always please more people than an amiable music fan. Over on Radio 2, Chris Evans may still front the UK's biggest breakfast show, but his listening figures are down 405,000 quarter-on-quarter, though are still up considerably year-on-year.

2. Elsewhere at the Beeb, the good summer hit radio listening pretty much across the board. Radio 1's average weekly audience was 10.8 million, 1.8% down quarter-on-quarter; Radio 2 saw its overall listening figures slip 3.3% on the previous quarter to 14.9 million; 6 Music scored an average weekly audience of 1.73 million, 3.4% down on the previous quarter, but 6.9% up year on year; and the Asian Network saw its audience slip on both the previous quarter and year to 555,000.

3. In the race to be the biggest in London, one time leader Heart slipped into fourth place, behind sister station Capital, which retained its place atop the London listening chart, followed by Bauer stations Kiss and, newly in third place, Magic.

4. Absolute Radio, now part of the Bauer Radio empire of course, saw it's London audience slip 30.7% quarter-on-quarter and 16.9% year-on-year, to 691,000. UK-wide Absolute's audience was also down quarter-on-quarter, but up year-on-year, to 1.6 million. On digital, the Absolute 80s station is closing the gap with its sister flagship station, now boasting an audience of 1.2 million.

5. Despite many stations seeing audiences slip quarter-on-quarter, the year-on-year figures were generally pretty good; with RAJAR reckoning that a million more people were listening to radio this summer, compared with the July to September quarter in 2012. The portion of listening done via digital platforms (DAB, online and via TV) was also up year-on-year, though down ever so slightly quarter-on-quarter. The digital-analogue split is still around 50/50, slightly in digital's favour.


Commercial radio great, says listener survey
Commercial radio is damn fine, is the basic conclusion of a bit of research by Kantar Media into the UK's commercial radio sector, timed to coincide with the medium's 40th birthday.

The survey says that of those commercial radio listeners surveyed, 65% reckoned that their station or stations of choice provided a unique service not available elsewhere, 77% said stations kept them informed while 66% said they thought commercial broadcasters had a positive impact.

Though 57% said they thought having presenters with local knowledge was important, which possibly flies against the frequent networking of programmes across multiple regions employed by many commercial broadcasters these days.

The survey also asked respondents what they would be willing to pay to access commercial radio services, with £42 a year being suggested as a fair price, if the medium was ever to go that route over free-to-access ad-funded programming.

Commenting on the research, which was presented to a political audience last night, the stand-in boss of commercial radio trade body RadioCentre, Linda Smith, said: "Listeners believe commercial radio delivers really valuable content that is important to them personally - whether it's in music, entertainment, news or information - and we're exceeding expectations across the board. Our message to government and [media regulator] Ofcom is that this value is at risk unless they provide clarity on digital radio and take a fresh look at commercial radio regulation".


China to limit number of talent shows on TV
The Chinese authorities are reportedly cracking down on reality and talent shows on TV, which, like everywhere, have become very popular and rather abundant in recent years.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, broadcasters in the country will need approval to air shows akin to 'American Idol', and each channel will only be allowed to air one such programmer in prime-time each quarter. Which would still amount to a lot of wannabe singers warbling overall.

Some have predicted that the move could actually aid online services in China, where talent-show hungry viewers will likely be able to still access more of that kind of programme once the limits are in place on the traditional TV networks.


NME writers elect The Queen Is Dead as greatest ever LP
NME writers past and present have collectively deemed The Smiths' 'The Queen Is Dead' to be the best LP that ever was, in the physical/digital mag's Kanye West-esque Greatest Albums Of All Time list.

Morrissey and co's 1985 LP, which features 'Bigmouth Strikes Again', 'The Boy With The Thorn In His Side' and 'Frankly Mr Shankly', only made it to #5 in NME's Best Albums Of All Time poll back in 2006, but that was voted for by fans, not journalists. And it was 'best', not 'greatest', which are different superlatives entirely. And thirdly, it was 2006.

Celebrating a new era in NME's lifetime, the results of the 'Greatest LPs' survey are being slowly unveiled, 100 by 100, on Or, simultaneously to those buying this week's issue. And if you don't feel like waiting or buying, why not review sneak peaks of twelve writers' top tens here. And please, no one point out how much Laura Snapes loves The National.


Laverne-hosted Mercury Prize to air on Channel 4, More4
The Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize awards show, which falls on 30 Oct this year, will be screened on TV in its entirety, with additional specials airing on Channel 4 and More4 too.

Since official coverage of the annual prize moved from the BBC to Channel 4 it's felt like the main event has received less exposure, despite a growing number of spin-off programming. But this year More4 will host a pre-show programme on the night - charting the awards so far - whilst Channel 4 will broadcast live highlights coverage. The entire ceremony will then be re-aired on Channel 4 the next night.

Lauren Laverne will present the main prize-giving event, whilst that Nick Grimshaw will host coverage on both Channel 4 and More4. So that's nice. Hurrah in advance.

BPI to lead new lottery funded youth initiative
Record industry trade body the BPI, radio firm Global and children's charity UK Youth have announced a major new music-led youth outreach programme being backed by nearly £4 million of funding from that BIG Lottery Fund.

Tapping into the BPI's BRITs brand (which the kids are into, right?), and utilising the Global network of radio stations (which the kids listen to, right?), the new scheme aims to "empower and inspire young people" through various music initiatives, including four music business themed events for young people, a Next BRIT Thing competition, and a careers programme including work placements and paid internships, and all that gubbins.

Says BPI boss Geoff Taylor: "We've seen first-hand how music is a force for good that can change lives. And so we're excited that this ambitious initiative will create opportunities for young people right around the country to get involved in playing or working in music. With our partners across the music industry, we'll offer internships in music companies, work experience at the BRIT Awards, and music mentoring to a new generation of young people who never believed they might get the chance to work in such an exciting business".

  Approved: Kelela - Go All Night
More from the previously CMU approved Solange, who as boss lady of young label Saint Records is shooting at "100% artistic control", assuming its true owners Sony allow that, via a new compilation spotlighting her fave artists. Whilst some of its featured tracks are still TBA, they'll be by Solange (duh), Cassie, Sampha and Jhene Aiko, and relative freshers BC Kingdom, Jade de la Fleur, Iman Omari, Petite Noir, Starchild and India Shawn.

And the also CMU approved (and officially 'Rising', says Pitchfork) Kelela, who became R&B's shock scoop of 2013 (I think so, anyway) via her excellent - and still-free - 'CUT 4 ME' mixtape. Kelela's gift to the Saint compilation, titled 'Saint Heron', will be inky slow jam 'Go All Night', which might sound familiar because short blasts of it are on 'CUT 4 ME'.

Hear it here.
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Tyler, The Creator disses YouTube Awards, despite being paid to play at them
The choice of acts nominated for YouTube's first Music Awards has been slammed as "teeny bopper pop shit" by - ah, this is awkward - an artist playing at the live YTMAs event, rapper Tyler, The Creator.

Directing a Kanye West 'I'mma let you finish'-style (in that it was both OTT and strangely rational) Twittirade at the most-nominated likes of Justin Bieber, One Direction and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Tyler said: "YOUTUBE AWARDS COULD'VE FUCKING HAD NOMINATIONS ON COOL CREATIVE VIDEOS SHIT BUT NOOOO AGAIN ITS THE MOST TEENY BOPPER POP SHIT. YOU ARE BUTT".


Why not? Well, first up the shortlists were based on the artists who have most engaged fans with their YouTube content (plays, likes, comments, subscribes), and most people engage more with artists than directors. And it is the YOUTUBE MUSIC AWARDS, not Music Video Awards.

BUT! Worry not, tyler and his pal Earl Sweatshirt are still making an appearance at the 'dreaded' ceremony, which takes place on 3 Nov, as are Arcade Fire, Lady Gaga and Eminem.


Lana Del Rey blames public scrutiny, "fickle muse" for artistic dry spell
Lana Del Rey has essentially said she's having a really hard time writing a sequel to her 2012 LP, 'Born To Die', because she isn't feeling very inspired these days. Only she phrased it in a more 'lyrical' way that that, so it's fine.

Playing for time in an interview with Nylon, she said: "When people ask me about it, I just have to be honest; I really don't know. I don't want to say, 'Yeah, definitely, the next one's better than this one', because I don't really hear a next one".

And: "My muse is very fickle. She only comes to me sometimes, which is annoying".

Apparently the scrutiny 'awarded' to famous popstars isn't doing her artistry a lot any favours either. Lana says: "It's harder to be an observer when people are watching you. You have to go further inside because the outside world becomes a harder place to draw from".

On the bright side, that 'Tropico' short film we've all heard so much about is coming out soon. Though in light of Del Rey's creative dry spell, and the hints she made earlier this year that the film was a kind of "farewell", that might not be quite so bright a side.


Jonas Brothers ask fans to 'bear with'
Okay, stop the world. Those Jonas Brothers have asked fans to "please hold" while they "get their shit together". As previously reported, the amiable pop Bros/brats binned their entire US tour earlier this month, blaming "creative differences", later deleting the official JB Twitter account.

Issuing an... um, polite placation via his personal account, Joe Jonas asked fans to "bear with us", whilst Nick's way of saying "will you all just fuck off" was "please hold while we get our shit together". Nice.

Release round-up: Nick Cave, Rustie/Pusha-T and Rick Ross/Lorde
Like Nick Cave? Especially when he's live? Well, here's great news; Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds are releasing a new live LP on 2 Dec. Cleverly titled 'Live From KCRW', it features the twelve tracks the band played as part of a session for radio station KCRW, this back in April at the Apogee Studio in LA. The album will also be available as a 'digital deluxe bundle' tied to Cave et al's latest non-live LP, 'Push The Sky Away'. See details here and a trailer here.

In remix news, Scottish producer Rustie has released his take on rapper Pusha-T's 2011 duet with Tyler, The Creator. Apparently it was meant to be released way back on a since-shelved packet of mixes. But it's here now, so never mind. Listen.

Rick Ross has also rapped over a spin of Lorde's rich-disdaining pop hit 'Royals', which is kind of ironic, considering this is swag king and 'Blowin Money Fast' hitmaker Rick Ross I'm talking about. Sample the year's most inappropriate rap guest feature here.

Gigs & tours round-up: Robbie Williams, Chas & Dave and Funeral For A Friend
Robbie Williams' previously reported concert at the London Palladium, the one being filmed for his new live DVD, didn't have a date at first, but now it does, and that date is 8 Nov. The one-off show will find Rob singing with live guests Lily Allen and Rufus Wainwright, who both appear on his new LP, 'Swings Both Ways', and Muppets Miss Piggy and Kermit The Frog, who don't.

Miss Piggy says/oinks: "Moi is always thrilled to perform at the Palladium, no matter who I have to share the stage with. But being up there with moi's dear friend Robbie Williams and Kermie will make this night even more spectacular".

Yes, indeed. And speaking of 'spectacular', showbiz quinquagenarians Chas & Dave are playing the Royal Albert Hall on 25 Apr 2014. They'll play their greatest hits, and greatest hits-in-waiting from their new LP, 'That's What Happens', which is released next week. And this is a photo of C&D standing in front of the Royal Albert Hall, just in case you were worrying that they didn't know where it was.

Lastly, to a Funeral For A Friend announcement, as the band confirm a trio of shows in London, Leeds and Cardiff in late-April 2014. No ordinary live dates, each will see the FFAF run through their 2005 LP 'Hours' in full, with BoySetsFire in support. Info is here, and a pre-tour speech by Funeral's Matthew Davies-Kreye is here...

"It's taken so many years but to finally say that we're going on tour with BoySetsFire again puts a huge smile on my face! I have loved this band through every record they've released and feel honoured that I can call them dear friends. They are a huge musical/lifestyle inspiration and getting to see them tear it up is going to be incredible!"

Big Reunion stars to collaborate on charity single
Acts featured in ITV2's disturbingly popular 'The Big Reunion' show are coming together to release a charity cover of Wizzard's 'I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday', which possibly won't be as God awful as it sounds.

Atomic Kitten, Blue, Five, Liberty X, 911, Honeyz and B*Witched will all feature on the track, to be released by Universal in alliance with ITV's Text Santa charity appeal. The making of the song will be filmed for a special documentary, and will presumably be performed at the Big Reunion live shows planned for December.

So that's all lovely. And having had that extra paragraph to think about it, I reckon this cover will be as God awful as it sounds. But hey, it's all for charidee, so stop your moaning.

ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletin 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 | Co-Publisher, Business Editor & Insights Director
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business, and is MD of CMU publisher UnLimited Media.
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ALY BARCHI | Staff Writer
Aly reports on artist news, coordinates the festival, gig and release round up columns, and contributes to the CMU Approved column. She also writes for CMU's sister title ThisWeek London.
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SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, plus helps manage and deliver the CMU Insights training courses and consultancy services.
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CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of UnLimited Media 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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