TODAY'S TOP STORY: There were some fiery exchanges at three artist-only forums organised by Spotify in the US last week, even though the streaming service had allied with the Featured Artists Coalition on its sessions in New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles. Though it seems that most of the fire was coming from a very small number of the artists in attendance. Media weren't invited to the events... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Three and half years on from their second album, 'Safari Disco Club', French pop trio Yelle released the follow-up 'Complètement Fou' at the tail end of last month. The record sees the group team up with US producer Dr Luke - who discovered them after they remixed Katy Perry's 'Hot N Cold', which he produced and co-wrote. As well as lending his glossy production style to the album... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Spotify meets face-to-face with vocal artist critics Stateside
LIVE BUSINESS Glastonbury Head Of Production resigns
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES What one thing could Google do to placate the labels?
Deezer announces new UK & Ireland MD
ARTIST NEWS Iggy Pop delivers his John Peel Lecture
LFO man and Björk collaborator Mark Bell dies
RELEASES Noel Gallagher confirms "pain in the arse" High Flying Birds LP
Taylor Swift's Out Of The Woods out now!
GIGS & FESTIVALS Rock Werchter moves dates to accommodate headliner
ONE LINERS IFPI, David Bowie, MTV Brand New and more
AND FINALLY... Ariel Pink writing songs for Madonna (which she may or may not now want)
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Spotify meets face-to-face with vocal artist critics Stateside
There were some fiery exchanges at three artist-only forums organised by Spotify in the US last week, even though the streaming service had allied with the Featured Artists Coalition on its sessions in New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles. Though it seems that most of the fire was coming from a very small number of the artists in attendance.

Media weren't invited to the events, though both Billboard and entertainment lawyer / Music Tech Policy blogger Chris Castle have spoken to some people who attended.

The latter writes of the Nashville session: "It involved many raised voices and frustrating arguments between those who drank the Kool-Aid and those who did not. It's important to understand that when someone is watching their livelihood slip away, telling them they just have to have faith in people whose own livelihood has more to do with venture capital and IPOs than selling music is not a good look".

Meanwhile artist Blake Morgan, a prominent critic of Pandora in the past, told Billboard of the session he attended, "Spotify reached out to me earlier and made it very clear they don't want to be the next Pandora. Unfortunately, that's not from a policy perspective; that's from a PR perspective. The meeting was very disappointing".

However, others in attendance were more positive about the sessions, which involved both pro-Spotify artists and reps from the streaming service itself explaining how the company's business and revenue-share licensing model work.

As CMU's survey of the UK artist community earlier this year revealed, while some highly vocal artists are outright opposed to the business model of streaming companies like Pandora and Spotify, the majority are just utterly confused about how royalties are calculated and paid, and confusion in the music business tends to result in artists suspecting they are being ripped off.

To be fair to Spotify, it has gone much further than any of its competitors to explain its model to artists, and last week's sessions Stateside were part of that initiative. As the company's artist relations chief Mark Williamson told Billboard: "We're aware discussion can get passionate and emotive, that's part of the reason we're doing it. Ultimately, the goal of why we're over here and doing this isn't to whitewash any concerns or leave the room with any artist being in love with Spotify. We're here to talk. If you disagree, let's discuss".

Meanwhile, explaining FAC's support for Spotify's artist meetings, the group's Paul Pacifico told reporters: "Historically, artists have been excluded from almost all discussions about the structure and functioning of the music industry and we very much welcome Spotify's willingness to engage directly with our community, to explain their business model and address artist concerns. We don't expect to achieve consensus on the first encounter, but rather to get the conversation started and to ensure that the artist's voice is heard".

And one of the artists in attendance at the New York event, Alan Wilkis, reckoned the get-together was a worthwhile experience. He said: "The rise of streaming music presents a range of opportunity for the music industry but it comes with a host of difficult and sensitive challenges, financial and otherwise. The FAC event really felt like it opened up a dialogue between parties that might often consider themselves at odds with a sense that we are all navigating the shift in the distribution model together. Perhaps no one left the room with a changed mind but there was healthy and animated discourse and it definitely felt like a step in the right direction".

All that said, the Spotify artist relations team isn't really empowered to overhaul the firm's entire business plan, which has been put together with the corporate rights owners and is unlikely to change this side of any IPO.

Williamson's task, therefore, is to inform artists how royalties are calculated before the money hits their labels and publishers (where the real jiggery-pokery can occur), and to convince the artist community that rather than pushing for an increase in the 70% share of revenue that already goes to the music industry, they should be helping Spotify et al grow the streaming market, so the music community gets 70% of a much bigger pot.

A few high profile critics aside, Williamson's team has been pretty successful in placating the European artist community (even if more work is arguably needed with the non-performing songwriters). In the US, that team enters a much longer running debate where most artist-anger has traditionally been directed at Pandora, but where Spotify will come under increased pressure as it moves towards the IPO which will make millions for its founders, early investors and the major labels.

Spotify has an advantage over Pandora, in that the labels are generally on its side, whereas its already floated US-based rival has critics across the music industry. Though that said, Spotify has some different challenges to tackle too.

First, having the labels on your side doesn't necessarily help with artist relations, and means you can't wheel out the "actually it's the labels who are really ripping you off on streaming royalties" line. And secondly, because Spotify has to licence from the labels direct - whereas Pandora relies in the US on the statutory blanket licence available via SoundExchange - any artists with the right veto clauses in their record contract could stop their music from reaching the streaming platform even where label deals are in place, and some do.

The "let's grow the pot together so your 70% is worth more" argument works to a point. Though there's another message for artists too, which is trickier to deliver. Because while Spotify needs Wall Street to think on-demand streaming "is the future of music" to maximise the mega-bucks IPO that will occur in the next couple of years, artists need to be told Spotify "is part of the future of music", and that direct-to-fan and other digital opportunities are all significant parts of the future artist business model too.

Glastonbury Head Of Production resigns
The man who has production managed Glastonbury's Pyramid and Other stages for the last eighteen years, Dick Tee, has resigned from his position over "irreconcilable issues". He and his company EnTEEtainment have ceased their association with the festival with immediate effect.

Speaking to Event Industry News, Tee said: "I am extremely sad and disappointed that my concerns regarding the way certain elements of the festival are now being structured and managed are not being adequately considered and dealt with, and as such I have found myself in an untenable position regarding my continuing role".

For Tee, the issues apparently began after Festival Republic ended its relationship with Glastonbury two years ago, resulting in a number of management restructures, led by APL Events' Paul Ludford who became the festival's Operations Director. Tee himself became the event's Head Of Production in 2013.

Tee continued: "'Whilst I will obviously miss my involvement with Glastonbury Festival which has been a major part of my life for nearly two decades, I am looking forward to focusing on new projects and challenges. As specialists in site and production management, one thing is for certain - we are far from 'hanging up our wellies' more a case of looking forward to 'moving onto pastures new'".

As well as Glastonbury, EnTEEtainment has managed production at a number of other large-scale events, including Radio 1's Big Weekend, Reading Festival, T In The Park, Lovebox, Outlook Festival, the Live UK Summit and Awards, and non-music events such as the Chinese New Year celebrations in Trafalgar Square.

Glastonbury did not respond to a request for comment.

What one thing could Google do to placate the labels?
As Google continues to prep its all-new YouTube audio streaming service and an overhaul of its existing Google Play streaming platform, the web giant's relations with the music industry remaining strained over its perceived inaction in assisting rights owners in the battle with online piracy.

And while Google strongly rejected recent allegations made by News Corp that it is "sometimes contemptuous of intellectual property", for some in the content industries forcing the web firm to do more to stop its search engine from linking users through to copyright infringing content is piracy policy number one.

In the latest CMU Digest Report, Business Editor Chris Cooke reckons that the single biggest thing Google could do to placate the labels is de-list from its search engine all sites - and proxies linking to sites - that have been the subject of web-block injunctions.

He writes: "The single biggest thing Google could do is start automatically delisting any website that a court of law has decreed is liable for widespread copyright infringement, ie those which are web-blocked. When lyrics service Rap Genius broke Google's own SEO rules late last year the web giant did a very good job of exiling the site from its search engine. So why not, the record labels and music publishers ask, the websites that have been confirmed as copyright infringers in court?"

"Because that single measure - delisting web-blocked sites and the proxies linking to them - would revolutionise the web-blocking tactic for battling piracy. Of course, serial file-sharers are always five steps ahead, but that's not who web-blocking initiatives are trying to stop. Anti-piracy campaigns like this are aiming to redirect more casual mainstream web-users towards legit download and streaming platforms".

The boss of UK record label trade body the BPI, Geoff Taylor, confirmed to CMU that it is looking for more from the web giant in the fight against piracy, saying: "Google's efforts to address piracy have so far been, in the words of the Culture Select Committee, 'derisorily ineffective'. The recent report from the Prime Minister's IP Advisor, Mike Weatherley, set out a series of measures search engines should take to stop helping the online black market and instead promote legal sites that are safe for consumers". And that list, Taylor added "includes delisting sites that courts have ruled are illegal".

The latest edition of the CMU Digest Report also considers the implications of the collapse of the Global Repertoire Database project, how copyright could be better communicated, and the one thing the labels could do to placate their artists. There's also an interview with the founder of innovative new ticketing app Dice.fm. You can download the PDF report for £9.99 from the CMU Shop.

CMU Digest subscribers received a link to download their copies in last week's weekly email bulletin. To receive twelve copies of the Report plus a weekly news digest and other benefits for just £50 a year, become a CMU Digest subscriber by clicking here.


Deezer announces new UK & Ireland MD
Deezer has announced Christian Harris as its new Managing Director for the UK & Ireland. He replaces Mark Foster, who announced his departure in May following the resignation of CEO Alex Dauchez, both of whom left the company last month.

Harris joins from video streaming company Gorillabox, where he was CEO. On his new role, he said: "Deezer's unrivalled mix of man and machine sets the service apart, and I'm delighted to join the team at this exciting time for digital music services. We've made great strides in the UK and Ireland, and I'm looking forward to building on that and really putting Deezer front of mind for music lovers".

Meanwhile, Deezer has also signed up to a new partnership with Vodafone subsidiary Vodacom in South Africa. The mobile provider confirmed earlier this month that it plans to offer Deezer as an add-on on some of its packages, similar to other deals Deezer and its competitors have done in other territories in a bid to gain market share.

  Approved: Yelle
Three and half years on from their second album, 'Safari Disco Club', French pop trio Yelle released the follow-up 'Complètement Fou' at the tail end of last month. The record sees the group team up with US producer Dr Luke - who discovered them after they remixed Katy Perry's 'Hot N Cold', which he produced and co-wrote. As well as lending his glossy production style to the album, he also signed them to his Sony imprint, Kemosabe Records.

For all the slick pop-ness of it, Yelle have not let slip their vision for the project - most notable their continued refusal to switch their lyrics to English to make them more palatable to a global pop audience. While that might possibly seem like a mistake, they seem pretty happy with how they're doing, given that the album's title track describes the success they've so far found in the US - starting with supporting Katy Perry there in 2011 - as 'completely crazy'.

Check out the video for 'Complètement Fou' here.
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Iggy Pop delivers his John Peel Lecture
So Iggy Pop - you know, the Iggy with the Pop - gave his John Peel Lecture at the Radio Festival yesterday. It's a rather long meandering affair, but definitely worth a listen nevertheless, as he discusses in a roundabout way the tension between music the artform and music the business, and the uneasy alliance that is required between the two. Plenty of people are bigged up as good guys, while the bad guys he references are generally left anonymous.

Amongst the modern good guys, Pop reckoned midway through the proceedings, are the indie labels of 2014, who definitely won his support both for their Fair Deals Declaration, and in their battle for a better deal from YouTube. Said Pop: "Almost all the best music is coming out on indies today like XL, Matador, Burger, Anti, Epitaph, Mute, Rough Trade, 4AD, Sub Pop, etc etc. But now YouTube is trying to put the squeeze on these people because it's just easier for a power nerd to negotiate with a couple big labels who own the kind of music that people listen to when they're really not that into music, which of course is most people".

"So they've got the numbers" he continued. "But the indies kind of have the guns. I've noticed that indies are showing strength at some of the established streaming services like Spotify and Rhapsody - people are choosing that music. And it's also great that some people are starting their own outlets, like PledgeMusic, Bandcamp or Drip. As the commercial trade swings more into general showbiz the indies will be the only place to go for new talent, outside the Mickey Mouse Club, so I think they were right to band together and sign the Fair Digital Deals Declaration".

Pop shared various concerns about the impact the internet has had on the music industry, and an artist's ability to make money in the digital age, though was by no means positioning all digital platforms in the bad guy camp. Indeed, the crux of his speech seemed to be, that artists have always had to navigate the good and the bad of the business world to make music for a living and to get their output to the masses, and the addition of the digital industry simply meant there is a whole lot more to navigate. Though, I think Pop's raconteuring last night proved, that in itself can be quite an adventure.

You can listen back to Pop's full speech here.


LFO man and Björk collaborator Mark Bell dies
Mark Bell of 1990s house vanguardists LFO died last week following "complications after an operation", his long-time label Warp has confirmed.

Having, as part of LFO, released Warp's fifth single in the shape of 1990s eponymous single 'LFO', Bell later shifted primarily into production, proving a pivotal collaborator on many of Björk's LPs, from '1997's 'Homogenic' onwards (and including 2011's 'Biophilia'), also working side-by-side with Depeche Mode on 'Exciter' in 2001.

The Warp statement confirming his death reads: "It's with great sadness that we announce the untimely passing of Mark Bell of LFO who died last week from complications after an operation. Mark's family and friends request privacy at this difficult time".

Noel Gallagher confirms "pain in the arse" High Flying Birds LP
Noel Gallagher is releasing a new High Flying Birds LP titled 'Chasing Yesterday' soon. On 17 Nov if you really want to know.

It's a first for him and the HFBs in that it's both written AND produced by one (Noel) Gallagher, who says, in so many words, that he was winging his dual role a bit the whole way through. Or in his actual words: "It was a major pain in the arse. It's not that I've ever had people telling me what to write or what direction to go in, but managing sessions from one end of the week to the other proved extremely difficult. I had all these people looking at me and saying: 'right, what are we doing today?' I was making the whole thing up as I went along".

Good to know. Some other info you may or may not like to know is that the LP will be lead by a single titled 'In The Heat Of The Moment', which is inspired by a film Noel saw in which an astronaut is blasted into space for the first time, and likens it to touching the face of God. And hey, sax fans, there's even a track named 'Riverman' which has 'several' sax solos (and boring guitar ones) on it.

Johnny Marr also pops in on guitar on another song called 'Ballad Of The Mighty I', of which Noel says: "I knew he would be perfect for it [so] I called him and asked if I could send him the rough mix. He said: 'No, I don't want to hear it. I'm just going to react to it on the day'. He didn't even want any pointers. Well, that was brave of him. He just arrived with two guitars and a bag of effects pedals. And I have to say, he's unbelievable. He's way up there, on another level to the rest of us. The result is a burst of energy that helped make 'Mighty I' one of the best songs I've ever written".

Modest ol Noel and his High Flying Birds will be headlining a series of arena-type dates between 3 Mar 2015 (at Belfast Arena) and 10 Mar 2015 (London's O2 Arena). First, mind, he'll lead a Q&A event centring on... erm, himself on 3 Nov at the Hammersmith Club. It's an Xfm thing in aid of Global Radio's Make Some Noise charity, and a 'WORLD FIRST', apparently. Details on that here, and this is the 'Chasing Yesterday' tracklisting:

In The Heat Of The Moment
The Girl With X-Ray Eyes
Lock All The Doors
The Dying Of The Light
The Right Stuff
While The Song Remains The Same
The Mexican
You Know We Can't Go Back
Ballad Of The Mighty I


Taylor Swift's Out Of The Woods out now!
Today (14 Oct) is the day that Taylor 'haters gonna hate' Swift is going to 'exclusively unlock' (ie basically release in the regular way, via iTunes only) a new track from her so-exciting-I-might-die forthcoming LP '1989'.

That said, it wasn't available on iTunes UK when young Swift non-haters logged on over their Cornflakes this morning, leading to plenty of disappointment flooding out onto the social networks, and 'iTunes UK' trending on Twitter. But let's just assume it's going to appear here before bedtime, and anticipate just how gleeful that will be.

Though if you're sitting there anticipating an ordinary pop song in the new track, oh... you have no idea how naive you're acting right now. In reality, its depth of sentiment is like that of a deep, deep, immeasurably deep ocean. An ocean, that is, of T-Swizzy's deepest feelings, mainly feelings linked to "fragility" and, additionally, to "wondering".

Here's Swift to explain: "A goal of mine on this album was to set a sonic landscape and have the music sound exactly the way the emotions felt. This song is about the fragility of some relationships. Musically, I wanted to convey that kind of frantic feeling of wondering. This song stresses that even if the relationship is breakable and fragile, it doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile and beautiful and all the things we look for".

Here she is saying basically the same things, only in a more conversational tone, whilst apparently being interviewed by an invisible ghost.

Rock Werchter moves dates to accommodate headliner
Belgian festival Rock Werchter has announced that it is shifting its dates forward by one week next year, in order to accommodate the availability of one of its headliners.

The festival, which was founded in the mid-70s and traditionally takes place over the first weekend in July, will run from 25-28 Jun in 2015. In a statement, the festival said: "This means we're moving the festival one week forward, to fit the schedule of one of the headliners. Negotiations are still ongoing, and we cannot reveal any names just yet".

While the name of the headliner in question remains under wraps, what isn't clear is how far into planning for the original dates of 2-5 Jul the event's organisers were. Nor do we know if the festival will be pushing for any sort of exclusivity over that headliner, having pushed the dates forward. A request for further information did not immediately receive a response.

Rock Werchter's 2014 headliners were Metallica, Arctic Monkeys, Kings Of Leon and Pearl Jam.

IFPI, David Bowie, MTV Brand New and more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has announced that Lauri Rechardt is replacing David Carson as the trade body's Director Of Legal Policy, in addition to his existing role of Director Of Licensing. Carson departed last month to take up a new role in the US Government.

• Guy Garvey premiered a new David Bowie song on Sunday. You probably already know that. It's called 'Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)', and is taken from upcoming compilation album 'Nothing Has Changed', which is out on 17 Nov. I could post a link to the radio rip that's floating around, but I thought it would be more fun to just let you take a look at the lyrics and imagine how it might sound.

• Kate Boy, who may or may not be making their 'hat and coat' look work (I haven't decided), will release a new single, 'Open Fire', on 8 Dec. It'll come ahead of two newly announced tour dates, one in Birmingham on 8 Dec and another on 14 Dec in Bristol. It sounds a lot like Kate Boy. Listen here.

• BANG A LARGE GONG, please, for the nom shortlist for 2014's fan-voted American Music Awards has been released. Pop/rap-star and potential sextapee Iggy Azalea is named in practically all possible cases (ie bar the all-male, C&W and 'inspirational' categories), with six noms in total, so it seems likely that she'll win big on the big night, which is 23 Nov. Check the list here.

• More awards - yeah, that's right - more, what of it? Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky' was declared Song Of The Year at the BMI London Awards last night which celebrate European songwriters allied to the US collecting society who have enjoy impressive airplay Stateside. Nile Rodgers collected the gong for his daft punkish friends. Tim Rice got the Icon Award.

• And just so we'd never be accused of taking sides when it comes to US collecting societies, last week's ASCAP London Awards declared Ellie Goulding's 'Lights' Song Of The Year, while giving Dan Smith off of Bastille the new-talent-championing Vanguard Award. I don't know why we didn't tell you this last week, I think I was too busy mocking the BBC's 'God Only Knows' project. Which I think we can all agree was a better use of my time.

• Even more awards! Ozzy Osbourne will be honoured with a Global Icon Award at this year's MTV EMAs, which are happening on 9 Nov at Glasgow's SSE Hydro. So-called booty-with-woman-on-the-side Nicki Minaj is hosting, so that'll be a right laugh, won't it?

• Sticking with MTV as a fly might to that icky paper, MTV has opened the application floodgates for its fresh-face-celebrating MTV Brand New For 2015 campaign. And for the first time, unsigned acts can submit up to 15 secs of one of their tracks as a means of applying via Instagram! Details here.

Ariel Pink writing songs for Madonna (which she may or may not now want)
Ariel Pink is 'working with' Madonna, in that he was apparently asked to write some songs for her new album, which has been in development for ages now. Bloody ages.

Pink seems to think he's been brought in to lend some credibility to the record. It's also possible that Madonna's 'people' asked a lot of songwriters to contribute stuff so see if anything stuck. These are all things that might be worth thinking about, though it's quite possible that Pink's comments on the matter will see him ditched from the project altogether either way.

Speaking to Faster Louder, he said: "Interscope are calling me to help write Madonna's record. They need something edgy. They need songwriting. She can't just have her Avicii, her producers or whatever, come up with a new techno jam for her to gyrate to and pretend that she's 20 years old. They actually need songs. I'm partly responsible for that return-to-values thing".

As for what sort of song he'd write for Madonna, he reckons that she needs to go back to her roots, saying: "I guess it's called 'throwback', but the first record [1983's 'Madonna'] was so good because of the songs. It's been a downward slide [since then] ... 'Ray of Light' is not cool. And all the other stuff she's done after that, it's not like it matters. It really shows a drain of values. People need more substance in their mac-and-cheese. People need more sugar or something".

So, to recap, Madonna needs to return to the unrefined sugar of her youth. What she doesn't need is the treacle of today's youth - aka EDM - which filled her 2012 album, 'MDMA'. And that necessary proper sugar is something Ariel Pink believes he has spoonfuls of.

OK, I'm bored of this whole sugar thing now, let's go and do something else.

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 andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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 chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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.
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SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
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