An UnLimited Media Bulletin
Tuesday 24 Jun 2014

TODAY'S TOP STORY: So Digital Music News has published the leaked contact presented by YouTube to the indie labels that has been doing the rounds the last few days because, well, fuck it why not? Let's all dive in and see what all the fuss has been about shall we? Oh, it's 32 pages long. Maybe we'll just assume YouTube are being real bastards and get on with our days? Actually, Billboard has already listed the five... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Following a series of very good singles and EPs over the last couple of years, dream-pop trio Ballet School have announced that they will release their debut album, 'The Dew Lasts An Hour', through Bella Union on 25 Aug. Discussing the sound of the record, vocalist Rosie Blair says: "We're not a synth band, we're a guitar band, but one that's trying to push the boundaries of the traditional set up. We write... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Further YouTube deal chatter as leaked contract is published
CMU's new music business talk show live at The Roundhouse TONIGHT
LEGAL Man in custody on suspicion of Parklife homicide
Blacker Dread jailed over fake invoice scam
Dutch piracy group has begun appeal over web-block ruling
US Justice Department calls for dismissal of Insane Clown Posse lawsuit
DEALS Zola Jesus signs to Mute, details new LP
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Pete Wentz 'expands' label, confirms new signings
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Spotify practicing earnings calls ahead of IPO
Amazon Prime Music users stream "tens of millions of songs" in first week
ARTIST NEWS Prince road tests new album, Eavis confirms Glastonbury talks failed
RELEASES Q-Tip discusses solo LP The Last Zulu, Tribe reissues
Vashti B to release third LP
AND FINALLY... Robin Thicke releases first of many odes to estranged wife
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Further YouTube deal chatter as leaked contract is published
So Digital Music News has published the leaked contact presented by YouTube to the indie labels that has been doing the rounds the last few days because, well, fuck it why not? Let's all dive in and see what all the fuss has been about shall we? Oh, it's 32 pages long. Maybe we'll just assume YouTube are being real bastards and get on with our days?

Actually, Billboard has already listed the five key gripes the indies have with what YouTube is offering the labels if they sign up to its new audio streaming service. Top of the list is money, with the Google subsidiary committing to pay about 65.5% of its audio service revenue to the rights owners (labels and publishers), whereas most of the streaming start-ups are paying closer to 70%.

There's also the lack of guarantees of revenue that YouTube's competitors have generally committed to, and a clause that says that if the majors agree to lower rates in the future, the cut will be applied across the board. Plus, YouTube will continue to receive a more favourable deal on its ad-funded video set-up compared to the freemium level of Spotify et al, even though the new service will go head-to-head with the streaming start-ups.

After DMN leaked the contract last night some commentators also noted the clause that possibly outlaws so called 'windowing', where labels initially service content to one specific platform on an exclusive basis before rolling it out to everyone. In the main, such exclusives have been offered to download stores, and especially iTunes, much to the annoyance of the streaming sector at large.

Although, YouTube's windowing clause covers 'similar' services, which might mean that an exclusivity deal with iTunes would still be OK, labels just wouldn't be able to provide Spotify with new releases a month ahead of everyone else. However, where windowing has happened on big releases, it's usually been driven by management rather than label bosses, with bigger acts often having such controls within their record contract. So labels wouldn't necessarily be able to provide that commitment anyway.

As much previously reported, many indie labels around the world have dubbed YouTube's audio streaming contract "highly unfavourable", arguing that the proposals "undervalue existing rates in the marketplace". Meanwhile the threat that labels which do not sign up to YouTube's audio service will also lose the option to directly monetise their videos on the main YouTube platform has been labelled an abuse of the Google firm's near monopoly in online video in some markets.

Of course a pessimist might wonder whether the YouTube contract, with its low-end offers on pretty much every element of a typical streaming deal, while out of kilter with the current digital music market, might not be a sign of what's to come.

YouTube, unlike the start-ups, isn't so keen on taking a hit or accepting extra risk today to fuel growth tomorrow to maximise sale price at an IPO the day after that. It seems certain that once all the surviving start-ups have been bought, the wider streaming sector will start negotiating its risk and rates down. The hope remains that by that point the streamers will have the kind of scale that it's still worth doing the deal.

But nevertheless, it seems certain the majors received a bunch of sweeteners not included in the leaked contract in order for them to sign up to YouTube's audio service, which is arguably the real issue here. The start-ups having generally offered the indies more parity with the majors, while the tech and web giants, while often droning on about their "independent spirit", nearly always schmooze up to the major players first.

And, of course, even if YouTube's deal is a sign of things to come, that doesn't alter the fact that trying to force terms on the indies less favourable than those offered to the majors, and less favourable than those offered by all the companies YouTube is now hoping to compete with, by threatening to pull the promotional value and revenue stream of the firm's existing video site, is on a totally different page to Google's unofficial "don't be evil" mantra.


CMU's new music business talk show live at The Roundhouse TONIGHT
This evening CMU and Roundhouse Rising will present the first edition of a new music business news-related chat show, live in the Roundhouse's Studio Theatre.

Hosted by CMU editor Andy Malt, he will be joined by Music Managers Forum CEO Jon 'Webbo' Webster, Cooking Vinyl's Head Of Digital Marketing Sammy Andrews, Brittney Bean, co-founder of digital music service Songdrop, and CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke.

On the table for discussion are the indie labels' ongoing battle with YouTube, the addition of streaming stats to the UK singles chart, Amazon Prime Music, the BBC's new music awards show, when it's OK to assume that the word "dope" is a legally binding contract (ie, not when you're trying to licence Beastie Boys music), and One Direction's Louis Tomlinson's new job as the boss of a football club.

Malt says of the event: "I'm really excited about this new show, I think it's going to be a lot of fun. We've got a brilliant panel for the first edition, who'll all be able to shed some valuable insight on some of the biggest news stories of the last month, all very much in a CMU style".

Edited highlights of the show will be made available as a free podcast later this week, but if you want to hear the full discussion (unbroadcastable rants and all), as well as getting involved yourself, you'll need to come and join us in person tonight.

Tickets are available for £10 from the Roundhouse website now, or on the door this evening - we kick off at 7.30pm (after the football, which will be showing in the bar if you want to see England's final World Cup game before they come home).

Don't forget that if you're a CMU Digest subscriber, you can get 50% off the ticket price now - check last Friday's email for your discount code.

Man in custody on suspicion of Parklife homicide
Police have arrested a 31 year old man in connection with the killing of Robert Hart at this year's Parklife Weekender.

As previously reported, Hart suffered a "brutal assault" near the main stage of the Heaton Park-based festival earlier this month. He was given CPR at the scene and taken straight to hospital, but sadly died several days later.

Speaking on behalf of Greater Manchester Police, who now have an unnamed man in custody on suspicion of Hart's homicide, Detective Inspector Richard Eales has stated: "Over the last two weeks, we have received a huge amount support by both the public and the media for the appeal to help find the person responsible. We now have a man in custody but that doesn't mean the investigation is at an end. We are continuing to investigate and we are renewing our appeal for information or any relevant footage".

Representing Parklife HQ, which last week advertised a £20,000 reward in exchange for crucial information on the incident, the festival's director Sacha Lord-Marchionne adds: "We're delighted someone has been arrested. Robert's death didn't just devastate his family, it touched 70,000 people who attended the event. I cannot begin to imagine what his family are going through. I think, as is always the way in Manchester whenever there is a tragedy, the whole community has come together. I want to thank every single person who attended the event for their support. Everyone has been behind it and without their help no doubt we wouldn't have seen this arrest today".


Blacker Dread jailed over fake invoice scam
Reggae producer Blacker Dread, who ran a record store of the same name in Brixton, has been jailed for two and half years for his involvement in a scam that saw £700,000 stolen from a Sutton-based company called IMCD Ltd.

According to the Brixton Blog, the turn of events has led to the closure of Dread's record shop, which was photographed with a hand-written notice carrying the word "ooops" in the window.

Dread, real name Steve Burnett-Martin, was accused of fraudulently receiving £230,411 from IMCD Ltd via his record store, after a former employee in the accounts department at the Sutton company, Lorna Martin, started processing fake invoices.

Martin also used the scheme to pay monies into her own bank account and those of four other people. The scam ran from September 2011 to August 2012, and the fraudulent payments were only uncovered after Martin had left the company.

According to the Croydon Advertiser, Martin, Burnett-Martin and the four other beneficiaries were all found guilty of money laundering at Croydon Crown Court last month, with Martin also found guilty of theft. The defendants were sentenced on Friday with Burnett-Martin receiving two and half years.

Blacker Dread was also the founder of the Brixton Splash festival, though the Brixton Blog says that he resigned as a director of that event earlier this year.


Dutch piracy group has begun appeal over web-block ruling
Dutch internet service provider XS4ALL has confirmed to Torrentfreak that the country's anti-piracy group BREIN has filed its appeal to the Netherlands Supreme Court over the web-blocking of The Pirate Bay in the country.

As previously reported, in 2012, on its second attempt, BREIN secured a web-block injunction against the infamous file-sharing website, ie a court order which told Dutch internet service providers, including XS4All, that they must block their users from accessing the Bay. But, whereas in the UK the net firms have generally accepted and complied with such injunctions, even if a little reluctantly, the Dutch ISPs appealed the web-block ruling, and in January succeeded in the High Court.

BREIN confirmed that it would take the matter to the country's highest court in February, and, says XS4ALL, legal papers were actually filed in late April. The ISPs have until 5 Sep to respond. The anti-piracy group's Supreme Court appeal doesn't deal with new evidence or the original arguments for or against web-blocking, but rather focuses on procedural or legal interpretation failings that may or may not have occurred during the high court hearing.

XS4ALL told Torrentfreak: "The facts as determined by the [High] Court are fixed, the case will not be materially redone and the Supreme Court itself will not perform an investigation. [BREIN] cannot bring more new facts, nor contest the facts. Only the legal criteria which the court has applied will be questioned. If the appeal is successful and the judgement of the lower court is set aside, it may be sufficient to conclude the case. If a new examination of the facts is necessary, the Supreme Court will probably refer back the case to the [High] Court for a full retrial".

January's ruling resulted in existing web-blocks against The Pirate Bay being lifted in the Netherlands. As previously reported, web-blocking has become a preferred anti-piracy tool in various territories, and especially the UK, even though critics dispute the effectiveness of such blocks.


US Justice Department calls for dismissal of Insane Clown Posse lawsuit
The US Justice Department has asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit brought against it and the FBI by Insane Clown Posse and a number of their fans.

As previously reported, this story dates back to 2011, when the FBI added ICP fans, dubbed Juggalos, to its list of known criminal gangs. The hip hop duo launched their original lawsuit the following year, and then submitted a second, having hired a new legal team, in January.

They claim that the categorisation is unfair and has had a negative impact on some of their fans, with some having children taken away by the authorities and others being refused entry to the US Army.

According to the Associated Press, a lawyer representing the government, Amy Powell, argued in court yesterday that the group had no grounds to sue, saying that the government is not responsible for how information in the report is used. She added that despite ICP's claims that the report contravened the first amendment right of their fans, "there is no general right of protection to a social association".

Powell also pointed out that there is no reference to Juggalos in the latest edition of the report, published last year.

Insane Clown Posse members Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope, real names Joseph Bruce and Joseph Utsler, did not appear in court yesterday. A decision on whether or not to dismiss the case is expected next month.

Zola Jesus signs to Mute, details new LP
Zola Jesus, aka Nika Roza Danilova, has signed to Mute in time to release her new LP 'Taiga', the follow-on to 2011's 'Conatus' and 2013's 'Versions'.

With a while still to go until it arrives on 6 Oct, Danilova takes her time in explaining the idea behind its title: "Taiga is the Russian name for the boreal forest. For me it feels very alive... very expansive. It represents a feral, untapped world that could happily exist without us. There are taiga forests in Northern Wisconsin where I was raised, and also in Russia where my ancestors are from, so it also feels very native".

This is top 'Taiga' track 'Dangerous Days' and this is a nice scenic 'Taiga' trailer.

Pete Wentz 'expands' label, confirms new signings
Pete Wentz has expanded and rebranded his Decaydence label, renaming it DCD2, and also confirmed two new signings. Joining flagship acts - like Panic! At The Disco, Travie McCoy and, obvs, Fall Out Boy - are Denmark band New Politics and Brooklyn electro-pop singer Lolo.

Billing the DCD2 aesthetic as emphasising the different and the diverse, Wentz tells Noisey: "Really it's about finding music again, and, with rebranding, it's us saying that it's not going to be a legacy thing. It's not going to be the artists that we've worked with before. It's going to be about new music and new art and new ideas".

He adds re the new signees: "New Politics is a band that we might have worked with before. They could sit in the lane. I think Lolo's outside of that. She's interesting and definitely something that's not in our lane.

And: "And now more than ever, kids are open to listening to different songs that they like. And that's something we've always wanted to embrace. To be able to come back and embrace that is very important".

Spotify practicing earnings calls ahead of IPO
Spotify is getting in shape for its rumoured IPO with practice earnings calls, according to Quartz.

Of course, if and when Spotify floats and becomes listed on a New York (probably) stock exchange, management will be obliged to regularly update investors on how the business is doing, how the hell streaming music is ever going to make a profit, and why YouTube is getting preferential rates from some rights owners.

The company reportedly held a "dry run" earnings call in May to discuss second quarter results with a number of investors and representatives of Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, amongst others. This apparently resulted in the company's credit being extended to $200 million, so it wasn't a complete waste of time.

Quartz reckons the IPO could be coming as early as the autumn of this year.


Amazon Prime Music users stream "tens of millions of songs" in first week
Hey, naysayers, Amazon Prime Music is doing just fine, thank you very much. So what if the biggest record label in the world hasn't signed up to it, and there's no new music on there at all. People like it. They're holding 'Amazon Prime Music is just great' parties. And, according to a press release put out by Amazon yesterday, members of the company's Prime scheme in the US streamed "tens of millions of songs" during its first week online. It was a long party.

"Prime members across the country have been rockin out this week", said Amazon's VP of Digital Music, Steve Boom. Yeah, he really said that. And he continued: "We're humbled and thrilled to see just how enthusiastically customers have responded to this service. We're looking forward to continuing to add new artists, albums and playlists so we can keep Prime members singing, dancing, driving, working out and rocking to their favourite music".

Actually, I mocked Steve a little bit back there, but the most popular playlist on Amazon Prime Music last week was apparently '50 Great Epic Classic Rock Songs', while another collection of classic rock came in at three, followed by 80s rock songs at seven and 90s alternative songs at eight. So I guess its users have been rockin out after all.

When it came to single tracks, classic rock didn't fair quite so well though, with just a couple of songs mooching around the low end of the top ten. Most popular was Pitbull and Kesha's tour de force, 'Timber'.

Here's that top ten in full:

1. Pitbull featuring Ke$ha - Timber
2. John Legend - All Of Me
3. Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers - Get Lucky
4. Paramore - Ain't It Fun
5. Sara Bareilles - Brave
6. Passenger - Let Her Go
7. Journey - Don't Stop Believin
8. Blue Oyster Cult - (Don't Fear) The Reaper
9. Bruno Mars - Treasure
10. Karmin - Brokenhearted

  Approved: Ballet School
Following a series of very good singles and EPs over the last couple of years, dream-pop trio Ballet School have announced that they will release their debut album, 'The Dew Lasts An Hour', through Bella Union on 25 Aug.

Discussing the sound of the record, vocalist Rosie Blair says: "We're not a synth band, we're a guitar band, but one that's trying to push the boundaries of the traditional set up. We write pop songs. I never thought pop music was a lower form of art. We actively try to play with the model of mainstream pop against what indie is supposed to be and find our own new form. And though I love laptop pop, it's vital that people witness our energy, that punk lust, when we play live".

Listen to the 80s wash of new track, 'Cherish', here.
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Prince road tests new album, Eavis confirms Glastonbury talks failed
Prince has played Star Tribune journalist Jon Bream his new solo album - ie not the one he's releasing with 3rdeyegirl. Amongst other things, it features a collaboration with Rita Ora.

In an article for the Tribune, Bream reveals that he was called away from a Bruno Mars gig to hear the new record, which he sat down to listen to in Prince's Paisley Park studios with the members of 3rdeyegirl and some of Prince's crew. Though not Prince himself, who joined them via speakerphone.

Discussing the record, Prince said that he felt he'd "finally got something that is a cohesive statement". Although he didn't mention a release date, he said that he wanted to be "able to make music and put it out now", adding that a rap track with Rita Ora should be available soon, because with Ora "time is money".

So, that might be something you hear soon, or it might just come to nothing. You never know with Prince, do you? Speaking of which, Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis has confirmed that he was in talks with Prince to play this year's festival, but "social media chit-chat" put an end to any hopes of booking him.

"We wanted him to play, and it got to the point where his people were talking to us about him doing it, but before he confirmed he got really upset because he thought we had advertised that he was playing", Eavis said in a Guardian interview. "We hadn't, but with social media, rumours get everywhere, and one of those rumours was that Prince was coming. So he didn't want to do it in the end".

He added: "All the social media chit-chat now about who might be playing really doesn't help us. People think we've advertised them early, but there'd be no point to us leaking details because the tickets sell out in an hour in October, before the headline acts are announced. People come for what the event means to them, not the headline acts".

Still, Metallica were on hand to step in at the last minute, which is fortuitous for them. Eavis explained: "Metallica have been trying to play for so long - they ring every year, and they're so polite about it. 'We'd love to be there, we're getting older, can we play it now?' That sort of thing".

Metallica sound a bit whiney.

Q-Tip discusses solo LP The Last Zulu, Tribe reissues
Mr Q-Tip has thrown a bit of light on his forthcoming solo LP 'The Last Zulu', and also the imminent 25th anniversary re-release of A Tribe Called Quest's 1991 record 'Low End Theory'.

Talking as the star of his own hour-long radio doc 'The Story Of Q-Tip', which aired recently via BBC Radio 1Xtra, the rapper named David Bowie and Miles Davis as his main inspirations whilst writing 'The Last Zulu', which he's billing as "the evil twin of Tribe".

The 'Low End Theory' reissue, which is due to be announced "soon", will carry new and unreleased tracks from back in the days it was made, and possibly a take on his original idea for its artwork, a naked painting of Naomi Campbell.

Take a listen to the doc, which features Pharrell, Pharcyde and Nas as talking heads, via this lil link.


Vashti B to release third LP
It's a rare event that Vashti Bunyan releases an LP, and, well, here one is. Representing only Bunyan's third record of length in 50 odd years, 'Heartleap' is set to be released on 6 Oct via Fat Cap, who dealt with her renaissance LP circa 2005, 'Lookaftering'.

Vashti is playing some shows around that time, too, which fall as follows:

7 Oct: Birmingham, MAC
8 Oct: London, St Pancras Church
9 Oct: London, St Pancras Church
11 Oct: Farndale, The Band Room
12 Oct: Manchester, St Philip's Church

Robin Thicke releases first of many odes to estranged wife
When Robin Thicke's 'Blurred Lines' was criticised as being an anthem for rape, the singer denied that it was anything like that, insisting that it was actually a love song to his wife, Paula Patton. Which many people didn't think was the greatest ever defence.

In February the couple announced that they were splitting up, at which point Thicke got to work writing a new batch of love songs for Patton. Though with titles like 'Love Can Grow Back', 'Forever Love' and 'Too Little Too Late' on his new album 'Paula', he seems to have lost that cocky swagger.

Certainly, first single, 'Get Her Back', is a downbeat number, labouring the point that Thicke would quite like to reconcile with his estranged wife. In the new video, he appears battered and bruised as text messages saying things like "You drink too much" and "You ruined everything" pop up in front of him, seemingly outlining Patton's gripes. "I wrote a whole album about you", another responds, just in case you were still unconvinced that this is something that would actually happen.

It remains to be seen how this works out for him. Probably shouldn't have had the naked woman wandering around the video though. That might be an issue.

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.
Email (except press releases, see below)
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.
Email (except press releases, see below)
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.
Email (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, plus helps manage and deliver the CMU Insights training courses and consultancy services.
Email or call 020 7099 9060
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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