TODAY'S TOP STORY: Live Nation's Ticketmaster has bought sometimes controversial secondary ticketing firm Seatwave - or, specifically, it's acquired "operating assets from Seatwave" - a deal which will enable the ticketing giant to extend its resale business into a number of new European markets, including Germany, Italy and Spain. The live sector has something of a love/hate relationship with secondary... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Two tips this week, because there are a couple of big birthday parties from a couple of faves that I couldn't choose between. And they're both pretty nearby each other on Saturday night, so you don't necessarily have to choose which to go to either (in that you could check out both). Let's get going...It's Warm's fifteenth birthday on Saturday, and to celebrate the night is returning to... [READ MORE]
BEEF OF THE WEEK: Was there anything else that could be considered a 'beef of the week' this week? If there was, I didn't notice it. In fact, I noticed very little besides this one because it was bloody everywhere. In the unlikely event that you've missed this whole thing, here's a quick recap. Having already 'windowed' her new album '1989' (ie held it back from streaming services in order to maximise... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Live Nation acquires Seatwave
LEGAL AC/DC's Phil Rudd has murder procurement charge dropped
vKontakte hits out at 'piracy' label
Dappy avoids prison following nightclub assault #2
LIVE BUSINESS Lollapalooza confirms Berlin event
The Agency Group buys Bond Music Group
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES MTV allies with MusicQubed for mobile music service
MEDIA WildHitz launches in the UK
ARTIST NEWS Old Man Gloom release 'fake' album to press, announce two 'real' ones
AWARDS MPG Award nominations announced
ONE LINERS Tim McGraw, Emika, Lorde, Selena Gomez and other true stories
AND FINALLY... CMU Beef Of The Week #230: Taylor Swift v Spotify
Click JUMP to skip direct to a section of this email or ONLINE to read and share stories on the CMU website (JUMP option may not work in all email readers). For regular updates from Team CMU follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.
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Live Nation acquires Seatwave
Live Nation's Ticketmaster has bought sometimes controversial secondary ticketing firm Seatwave - or, specifically, it's acquired "operating assets from Seatwave" - a deal which will enable the ticketing giant to extend its resale business into a number of new European markets, including Germany, Italy and Spain.

The live sector has something of a love/hate relationship with secondary ticketing (aka online touting), of course, though major player Live Nation/Ticketmaster quietly got into the resale game in some countries, arguing that it's better for online touting to be within an environment controlled by and ultimately benefiting the music business.

Ticketmaster's US resale platform TicketsNow has caused some controversy along the way, though its UK secondary service Get Me In has generally avoided too much criticism, even when secondary ticketing has been under the spotlight in media and political circles over here.

Under the new deal, Seatwave will continue to operate separately but as "a Ticketmaster company". According the official statement, this move "builds on Ticketmaster's successful strategy of creating best-in-class, consumer-friendly resale platforms in the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States".

Live Nation big cheese Michael Rapino told reporters: "On a global basis we strive to deliver fans all of their ticket options in a safe and convenient marketplace. The acquisition of Seatwave is accelerating this strategy across Europe and we will continue investing in our platforms to provide fans the best ticket buying experience".

Meanwhile Mark Yovich, President of Ticketmaster International, said: "Combining Ticketmaster's ticketing and technology expertise with Seatwave's business in additional markets allows us to provide fans with a better ticketing experience across Europe, with more ticket options to live events. We deliver quality services in the resale industry, which will continue to build consumer confidence and satisfaction in our resale marketplaces".

And on his side of the fence, Seatwave CEO Ajay Chowdhury added: "This is great for Seatwave's customers. Since our inception seven years ago we have given fans of live music, sport, theatre and comedy increased choice when buying and selling tickets".

AC/DC's Phil Rudd has murder procurement charge dropped
The New Zealand authorities have dropped the 24 hour old charge against AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd of attempting to 'procure murder' (ie hire a hitman) because of a lack of evidence.

As previously reported, Rudd was arrested and charged earlier this week in the New Zealand city of Tauranga, following a raid on his home. Whilst the charge of attempting to hire a man to kill two people is now withdrawn, he will still face lesser charges of threatening to kill and possessing cannabis and methamphetamine, and is set to reappear in court on 27 Nov.

Rudd's lawyer, Paul Mabey, has stated via the New Zealand Herald that "the charge alleging an attempt to procure murder should never have been laid", adding that police had not sought the opinion of the Crown Solicitors prior to laying the charge.

Says Mabey: "Mr Rudd has suffered unnecessary and extremely damaging publicity as a result of widespread and sensational reporting of a very serious allegation, which on any basis was never justified".

And: "The damage to Mr Rudd is incalculable. Questions arise as to the degree of care taken by those responsible for arresting and charging him with attempting to procure murder. Mr Rudd is considering any possible remedies he may have".

Somewhat surprisingly perhaps, the man identified in court documents as the 'intended hitman' has been speaking to the press too, claiming he is a "family man, not a hitman", and that the charges against Rudd are "hot air".

Yesterday, AC/DC released a short Facebook statement on the Rudd situation. It read: "We've only become aware of Phil's arrest as the news was breaking. We have no further comment. Phil's absence will not affect the release of our new album 'Rock Or Bust' and upcoming tour next year".

Rudd, as previously noted, was already absent from a new promo photograph of the band released last month.


vKontakte hits out at 'piracy' label
Russian social network vKontakte has written to the US Trade Representative asking that it not be included in the American office's annual list of internet naughty boys, arguing that it has put a lot of effort into anti-piracy initiatives in recent years.

As previously reported, the Office Of The US Trade Representative puts out an annual report which includes a list of websites deemed to be "rogue" because of their record for infringing or enabling others to infringe intellectual property rights. The American music and movie industries input on that list, and the Recording Industry Association Of America recently filed its input for this year, with vKontakte still on its list of offending sites.

But, vKontakte argues that it has done much in recent years to combat the distribution of unlicensed music over its networks, particularly since it lost a legal battle with a Russian music company, and having since faced litigation from the Western record labels too.

In a letter to the US Trade Rep's IP Director Susan Wilson, published by Torrentfreak, vKontakte's Dmitry Sergeev writes: "Over the last years, especially in 2013 and 2014, VK took numerous steps to address copyright holders' concerns. These steps were part of the VK long-term plan of improvement and cooperation with the rightsholders and copyright industry associations".

Noting that some in the music community use vKontakte as a marketing channel, and that some music shared via the service is done so legitimately, he goes on: "VK does not have the technical capability to pre-moderate, filter, or otherwise prevent the uploading of works due to the enormous volume of information being uploaded by users on a daily basis and the fact that VK does not have reliable information confirming violation of copyright in advance".

Earlier this year when the US Trade Representative published its last list of rogue websites, the boss of the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry, Frances Moore, wrote: "Russia should have a thriving, world-beating music business. One of the major reasons why it does not is because of vKontakte, the giant online social network whose unlicensed music service dominates digital music in Russia. Reporting over 240 million users, vKontakte uses unlicensed music to attract viewers, and generates substantial revenues from providing access to copyright-infringing music. This is choking the licensed market and draining the music scene of investment".

Whatever Sergeev says, it seems unlikely the IFPI has changed its viewpoint, given the subsequent litigation and the fact the RIAA is still listing vKontakte as rogue. Though what viewpoint the US Trade Representative will now take remains to be seen.


Dappy avoids prison following nightclub assault #2
Entertainer and bane-of-UK-nightclubs Dappy will not, it transpires, go to prison over his latest assault conviction, you know, the one involving him punching a man in the face at Reading nightspot Evissa last year. Appearing at Guildford Crown Court yesterday, the one-time N-Dubz star, real name Costadinos Contostavlos, was given a two month sentence suspended for twelve months.

Though, whilst Dappy won't face jail time, he will have to pay his victim, one Devonn Reid, £800 in compensation, as well as a £800 fine and £1,200 costs, and an £80 surcharge on top of that. Costs he is apparently financing - his defence barrister Jon Harrison said yesterday - along with significant debts, by selling his house.

Contostavlos is also obliged to stick to an electronically-monitored 10pm-5am curfew for four months and take part in a 'thinking skills programme'.

As previously reported, Dappy's latest sentencing was adjourned last month after a judge ruled that the matter should be settled at the Guildford court, because the latest incident occurred while the rapper was already serving a suspended sentence from another assault tried in the Surrey town. The judge hearing the new case reckoned that the judge who heard the Guildford case should decide whether it was now time for Dappy to go to jail.

But Guildford Crown Court judge Neil Stewart yesterday decided not to activate that previous suspended sentence, dishing out the new suspended jail term and the other penalties instead.

Lollapalooza confirms Berlin event
The Lollapalooza festival is going on a mini-break, to Berlin! Which will be sehr cool, depending on das line-up.

Lolla's organisers have confirmed the first ever German version of the event will take place at Tempelhof Airport on 12-13 Sep 2015, with Team Lolla (aka the US-based William Morris Endeavor and C3 Presents) working in collaboration with Reading/Leeds/Melt! bookers Festival Republic (the Live Nation-controlled Festival Republic, which is interesting given the live major is mooted to be buying half of C3 Presents).

The Berlin festival will be Brand Lollapalooza's first European event, sitting beside still-active sister fests in Chile, Brazil, and Argentina. Lollapalooza creator and one-time Jane's Addiction man Perry Pharrell says: "Berlin's energy, vibrant art, fashion and music scenes are a mirror reflection of what Lollapalooza is all about and I can't wait to share in this cultural exchange".

Marc Geiger, head of WME's music division, has said that, while he and the team had wanted to bring the franchise over to 'the continent' for a while, they'd felt "intimidated by the rich festival history Europe has had for 50 years". And yet, he adds, in the same 'Berlin is the best ever!'-style: "Berlin feels like it is ready to explode as a city and cultural centre and we want to be there to grow with it".

Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn, meanwhile, has this to say: "Working to bring the Lollapalooza brand to Europe gives me great pleasure in not only building upon my relationship with these global partners, but allows me to return to the iconic Templehof site in September". Nice of him to share.

Now stifle all yawns, please, because it's time for a quick history bit. Created back in 1991 by rock/pop star Pharrell as a touring swansong for Jane's Addiction (pre-reunion), the Lollapalooza festival ran on a yearly basis, roving North America, till 1997, and was revived again in 2003. Cancelled in 2005 over low ticket sales, the franchise was restyled as a 'weekend destination' the following year, and given a permanent Stateside site at Grant Park in Chicago.


The Agency Group buys Bond Music Group
Hey, you'll never guess what, booking agency powerhouse The Agency Group has gone and bought yet another company. There'll be none left at this rate. I mean, that's the second one in just over a week. Calm down, guys. This purchase is electronic music-focussed US booking agency, Bond Music Group.

Says Natalia Nas, CEO of TAG's US operations: "We had been talking with Kris [Krajewski, Bond Music Group CEO] for a while about some form of strategic tie-up. With the major changes that have done so much to transform The Agency Group over these past eighteen months, it became apparent that the time was now optimum for our companies to finally come together. Kris and his team have built an extremely well-balanced, dynamic roster and this acquisition brings in-house a professional, knowledgeable and established team that will spearhead the further development of our electronic/house/dance music division".

Krajewski adds: "Bond has developed artists from obscurity to notoriety, from clubs to major festivals, so we are ecstatic to join an agency that truly values artist and agent development. These values and vision are part of The Agency Group's progressive strategy to lead the music agency field and Bond is an integral part of this expansion. Bond has always believed that music bonds people together and The Agency Group is a company with music at its core".

Amongst the artists on Bond's books are Moby, Dirty Vegas, Francois K and MNDR.

MTV allies with MusicQubed for mobile music service
Good news for fans of O2 Tracks who hate O2, introducing MTV Trax, and this time with an 'x', because MTV is cool, right?

Yes, MTV has teamed up with digital music provider MusicQubed - the people behind the music app O2 launched offering a limited chart-heavy catalogue of music for five pounds a month - to create a new mobile music service launching to coincide with this weekend's MTV EMA tedium up there in Glasgow.

Like O2 Tracks, MTV Trax offers users a relatively small catalogue of music to play on their phones, though whereas the O2 service updates its music offering weekly, this one will seemingly do it daily. "Wake up to new tracks every day", says the blurb.

As part of the EMA's 20th anniversary celebrations the MTV Trax service will be free for three months, though presumably after that some kind of monetisation will kick in.

WildHitz launches in the UK
A Dutch online TV-style music service called WildHitz has arrived in the UK offering all sorts of music video style goodness and thrills. I did check it out but got distracted by that funky Olly Murs track which led to some investigative journalism about when and why Travis McCoy became Travie McCoy, and then I forgot to work out what else WildHitz offers other than Murs-intitiated mysteries. So you'll have to go to and work it out for yourself.

But I do have a quote. Oh yes, a quote. And here it is. WildHitz CEO Hans Perukel says: "We are looking into all opportunities to develop our relationships with labels and artists in the UK who will want to utilise our unique viewer experience. We see the UK as a logical step, the country of very popular WildHitz artists, Calvin Harris, Jessie J, Sam Smith, Lily Allen". Very wild indeed. But back to the hits. And apparently Travis's close friends had always called him Travie.

  Vigsy's Club Tip: Warm Fifteenth Birthday at Plastic People
Two tips this week, because there are a couple of big birthday parties from a couple of faves that I couldn't choose between. And they're both pretty nearby each other on Saturday night, so you don't necessarily have to choose which to go to either (in that you could check out both). Let's get going...

It's Warm's fifteenth birthday on Saturday, and to celebrate the night is returning to former haunt Plastic People - a quality Shoreditch basement venue that's still hot to trot. Having started on the south coast in Bournemouth in 1999, Warm has welcomed artists such as Dixon, Nicolas Jaar, Jamie Jones, Ame, Marcel Dettmann, Lindstrom, Prins Thomas, Todd Terje, Joy Orbison, Scuba, Julio Bashmore, Ben UFO, Pearson Sound, James Holden, Optimo, Gerd Janson, Prosumer, Nick Hoppner and Horse Meat Disco (phew!), across venues in London as well as Berlin, Paris, Bournemouth and Brighton.

Special guests on Saturday will be Harri & Domenic, who themselves have a birthday, celebrating 20 years of their Subculture night by tying in a Warm debut. The duo are in the studio too, so watch this space.

Quality house and techno will be the order of the night, with support from the Warm residents Ali, Myles & Ollie.

Saturday 8 Nov, Plastic People. 147-149 Curtain Road, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3QE, 10pm - 4am, £5. More info here.

Vigsy's Other Club Tip: Groove Odyssey Fifth Birthday at Ican Studios
A little younger, but very mature for its age, is soulful house night Groove Odyssey, something of a regular in this column. Over the last five years it's seen Louie Vega, Todd Terry, Kenny Dope, India, Kerri Chandler, Joey Negro, Bobby & Steve, Josh Milan, Julie McKnight and Monique Bingham grace the stage .

The party tomorrow will be headlined by the one and only DJ Spen, alongside London duo Bobby & Steve, Neil Pierce, Sean McCabe and Nick Groove Assassin. Plus, flying in for an exclusive performance is the vocalist Kenny Bobien,

Room Two will have 80s and 90s soul, R&B and boogie headlined by Soul 2 Soul legend Jazzie B, with full support from DJ Bigger, David Bailey and Lloyd Life. Meanwhile, on the terrace, there'll be classic, deep and dirty house hosted by London's underground radio station,

Saturday 8 Nov, Ican Studios, 35 Monier Road, London, E3 2PR, 10pm - 6am, £15. More info here.
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Old Man Gloom release 'fake' album to press, announce two 'real' ones
So, you may be aware that metal band Old Man Gloom - featuring Aaron Turner formerly of Isis, Nate Newton from Converge and Cave In's Caleb Scofield - have a new album coming out, called 'The Ape Of God'. You may also have read a review of said album. A glowing review probably. Journalists who received pre-release copies seem to have liked it. Really liked it.

But here's the thing, that album that all the journalists have been listening to isn't even that actual album. It's a fake! A fake that the band recorded to combat leaks. Instead, they have recorded two other albums, both also called 'The Ape Of God', which the band will release next week.

Confused? Look, it's simple. Old Man Gloom have recorded three albums with the same title, two of which will be released next week, and one of which is a 'fake' album, even though it was recorded by Old Man Gloom and on which, they admit, they "spent a lot of time".

In a Facebook post yesterday, the band said: "Guess what, assholes. 'The Ape Of God' is two entirely different albums. If you downloaded some leaked shit, you don't have either. You have some bogus version we gave to press, cuz we knew those jerks would leak it (if you reviewed that fake record positively, thank you. We're just THAT good). We will always trick you. We will always trick you. We will always trick you".

They added: "To be fair we, Old Man Gloom, spent a lot of time on the music and putting together the 'fake' version of the album. It is still music we believe in and 100% stand behind. We're not punishing anyone, and if you had fun with the record as we have with everything that has gone into it, then we've done our job. And also, anyone that did their research on Old Man Gloom should know that we're pranksters who ARE GOING TO FUCK WITH EVERYONE ALL THE TIME".

So now I don't know what to think. Maybe the 'fake' album is actually the 'real' album (or one of them, at least) and they're just fucking with us again like they apparently do "ALL THE TIME". And if they're not, what if it turns out that the 'fake' album is better than the two 'real' ones?

And what does all of this achieve anyway? Did it highlight the problem of journalists leaking things all over the place? That there are one or two bad eggs amongst our number who will totally counter-productively leak the material that they are tasked with writing about? Converge already made that point once before, I believe.

Whatever, it's worked out as quite good promotion for 'The Ape Of God', I guess. Because look how much I just wrote about them for the first time ever.

Anyway, here is the song 'The Lash', which you shouldn't listen to because it is fake.

MPG Award nominations announced
Nominations, you say, for the 2015 Music Producers Guild Awards, you ask, in one easy-to-read list, you demand, with categories and nominees all set out for you to see, you desire, and with confirmation that next year's producer award gathering will take place at the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel on 12 Feb in London, you reckon, and that once again it will include the presentation of the Best Producer BRIT, you muse? Well, glorious things are unfolding right here. Though maybe pause for breath first.

UK Producer Of The Year: Paul Epworth, Flood, Alison Goldfrapp & Will Gregory, Jake Gosling

Recording Engineer Of The Year: Neil Comber, Cameron Craig, Mark Rankin

Mix Engineer Of The Year: Andy Bradfield, Guy Massey, Mark 'Spike' Stent

Mastering Engineer Of The Year: Matt Colton, Mandy Parnell, Tim Young

Re-Mixer Of The Year: Chvrches, Jon Hopkins, James Rutledge

Breakthrough Producer Of The Year: Cameron Blackwood, Tom Dalgety, Jungle

Breakthrough Engineer Of The Year: Olga Fitzroy, Robbie Nelson, Alexis Smith

International Producer Of The Year: Dan Auerbach, T-Bone Burnett, Pharrell Williams

UK Album Of The Year: Ed Sheeran - X, Goldfrapp - Tales Of Us, London Grammar - If You Wait

UK Single Song Release Of The Year: Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know?, Royal Blood - Come On Over, Sam Smith - Stay With Me

Studio Of The Year: Abbey Road Studios, AIR Studios, RAK Studios

The A&R Award: Chris Briggs, Phil Christie, Korda Marshall

Tim McGraw, Emika, Lorde, Selena Gomez and other true stories

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Country star Tim McGraw has parted company with Red Light Management after a five year alliance with the firm, according to Billboard. The singer's ex-manager Scott Siman is reportedly filling in.

• Formerly Ninja Tune-signed producer Emika has announced that she will self-release her third album through her own, newly set up Emika Records label. As well as that, you can expect a series of twelve-inch club tracks, her debut symphony, and a piano LP. That's all to come though, for now you'll have to make do with this video trailer.

• Lordey, Lordey, Lorde has released a video for her new 'Hunger Games' soundtracking track 'Yellow Flicker Beat'. It features some... dancing.

• Idris Elba has slung a Maverick Sabre-featuring track up on his SoundCloud page, called 'You Give Me Love'. It's taken from his previously reported Nelson Mandela-inspired album, 'Mi Mandela'. Listen here.

• Despite only being seven years old, or something, Selena Gomez has now released enough music to warrant a 'greatest hits' record. Called 'For You', it'll be out on 24 Nov and features three previously unreleased songs, including 'Heart Wants What It Wants', which you can see the video for here.

• Manic Street Preachers have will re-release their 20 year old LP 'The Holy Bible' on 8 Dec, both digitally AND on CD AND on vinyl, the first time it's been available on 'wax' since 1994. This news goes nicely with that of the band's sold out 'Holy Bible' shows next month, at which they'll play the album from front to back.

• Excellent 60s Cambodian pop-influenced psyche-rock outfit Dengue Fever are back. You just can't shake them, can you? They'll be releasing their first album in almost four years on 15 Jan, and it will be called 'The Deepest Lake'. Here's the first track off it, called 'No Sudden Moves'.

• Emmy The Great is releasing an outward-looking four-track EP titled 'S' on 27 Jan 2015. Hark at its lead track 'Swimming Pool', which features Tom Fleming of Wild Beasts, here.

• The earth stood still yesterday as Earl Sweatshirt released track that's barely a track, given that it is only 76 seconds long. Stream it via this link for god's sake.

• Swedish heavy metal band Opeth are headlining on a one-off basis at the London Palladium on 18 Oct 2015. Which is really far away, so try to hold it in your mind for the next year, or thereabouts. Remembering that it roughly coincides with the 25th anniversary of the band's formation might help.

CMU Beef Of The Week #230: Taylor Swift v Spotify
Was there anything else that could be considered a 'beef of the week' this week? If there was, I didn't notice it. In fact, I noticed very little besides this one because it was bloody everywhere.

In the unlikely event that you've missed this whole thing, here's a quick recap. Having already 'windowed' her new album '1989' (ie held it back from streaming services in order to maximise CD and download sales in the first weeks, or months, or maybe years of release), earlier this week Swift removed her entire catalogue from Spotify. Deezer-removal also followed, but it was Spotify that everyone focused on, partly because the Swedish company made a big song and dance of it.

There's still some debate over what the exact focus of Swift's beef with Spotify (etc) is. In the past, her label boss Scott Borchetta has been very vocal about his distaste for, or at least hesitance about, streaming services, but on this incident both he and she have so far remained tight lipped.

However, it seems likely that the problem is the refusal of Spotify (and Deezer) to allow artists to make their music available only to paying subscribers. Label/artist royalties from premium are better than from freemium, which is really a loss-leader-style level designed to hook consumers in and then beat them into parting with £120 a year by throwing terrible adverts in their general direction.

Which sort of makes this beef a bit like when the labels moaned on about iTunes not initially offering variable pricing, or when the Apple service insisted on everything being available as single track purchases to the annoyance of "but we're an album artist" artists, ie the label and artist aren't against the service per se, just a specific element of its business model.

Spotify is presumably not keen on the idea of big name artists pulling out of freemium, because, as I say, it's an important sales tool for the streaming service. And if all of the decent/well-known music disappears from freemium, people won't sign up to it (especially while said music is all there on YouTube), and then there won't be anyone to sell premium accounts to.

There was a hint of all this brewing earlier this year when Swift wrote an article for the Wall Street Journal, in which she said: "Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for. It's my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album's price point is. I hope they don't underestimate themselves or undervalue their art".

So, while I think it might be a bit of a stretch to called Taylor Swift's music "rare art", you suspect that she (like Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich before her, who also removed music from Spotify this year) sees the catalogue pull as taking a stand for all artists - all of them - and their future potential to make money.

After all, it's not like she isn't making money herself. She just sold 1.3 million copies of '1989' in the US in the space of a week, and, according to Music Ally, the first single from that album, 'Shake It Off', was likely generating in the region of $84,000 a week from Spotify plays globally at the point it was removed.

And, to be fair to Swift and her label Big Machine, while the catalogue pull might have been an overly grand gesture, they are not alone in having concerns that Spotify freemium might be ultimately hindering the development of the streaming sector. Indeed, you suspect that once the majors have had their big pay day when Spotify floats (until which they have no reason to rock the boat), they too might push for a rethink on the free option offered by Spotify et al.

The matured streaming market almost certainly consists of a spectrum of services from free to as much as £20 a month, at one end personalised radio services of one kind or another, with more functionality for a few pounds, more catalogue for a few pounds more, and then super high quality audio at the top end. But Spotify Freemium (and YouTube, of course, which is possibly the bigger elephant in the room), sort of fucks that streaming music spectrum up by giving away far too much for nothing.

But look at me, putting words in Taylor Swift's mouth. Maybe this isn't a big artist taking a stand for the little guy. It could be an artist who is good at making money trying to ensure that she makes more. Did I mention that she sold a shed load of albums? Sure, while there's no conclusive evidence that windowing '1989' increased its sales, doing so certainly didn't hurt them. And, hey, while you're at it, how about a replica of the t-shirt she's wearing on the cover for 30 quid? Or some concert tickets for anywhere between £55 and £200?

Either way, while you might think pulling from Spotify was a bad move, or will ultimately back fire on Swift Inc, this singer is doing very well with her rare art at the moment, thank you very much. That t-shirt I mentioned? Sold out. And the two UK live dates that went on sale this morning? Sold out too. So, I doubt she's losing much sleep over the backlash (mainly amongst pundits) over her decision regarding streaming services. Though, as I say, we don't really know anything for certain because she's not publicly expressed an opinion on any this.

Which makes her pretty much the only person in music not to have done so. The fact she chose to pull out of Spotify just as the Web Summit conference in Dublin was kicking off, an event that brings together plenty of music business types with all those sinister tech folk and web entrepreneurs, ensured that the debate over Swift's streaming strategy was even louder.

One of the more interesting viewpoints shared at said event came from Adele's manager Jonathan Dickens, who not only manages one of the planet's now rare multi-million album-selling artists but also has experience of windowing her music. According to The Guardian, he said: "Spotify have always been pictured as the bad guys in this, but the biggest music streamer out there is YouTube, without a doubt".

Echoing analyst Mark Mulligan's blog post on the debate from earlier in the week, he continued: "On the one hand, labels are trumpeting YouTube as a marketing tool: ten million views on YouTube and it's a marketing stroke of genius. But on the other hand they're looking at ten million streams on Spotify and saying that's x amount of lost sales".

On how Spotify could rectify this week's debacle, he added: "My feeling would be to get around the situation with someone like Taylor Swift - but Spotify won't do it - is a window between making something available on the premium service, earlier than it's made available on the free service".

And thus Dickens formally put on the agenda an issue that has been rumbling around for a while now, but which has come to ahead this week, "we need windowing, Mr Spotify!" Which made a nice change from the more common conclusion to streaming debates that have taken place this year, "we need more transparency on streaming, Mr Label!"

Though Bono, also along for the Web Summit ride, because by law you have to invite Bono to speak at your conference if you hold it in Dublin, made sure that line got an airing. "The real enemy is not between digital downloads or streaming", he said. "The real enemy, the real fight is between opacity and transparency. The music business has historically involved itself in quite considerable deceit ... For this new model to be successful and to take root, there has to be some kind of fairness... fair models of distribution. And I think when that happens, the music business will be a rising tide that lifts all boats".

All of which is perfectly valid, but unfortunately has to be discounted because Bono said it. That's also the law. Plus, he used the phrase "digital downloads". The sooner the download market dies and I stop having to seethe every time someone says "digital downloads" (as if anyone in the room thought you might mean "analogue downloads") the better. I can't wait until we're only listening to "digital streams" for that sole reason.

Anyway, sorry, I strayed off the point a bit there. But if we have to discard Bono's input on account of him being Bono, that's fine, there are plenty of other artists with opinions out there. Aloe Blacc was one. Though his article for Wired was really about something else entirely, and had presumably been written before all this kicked off, with the sentences about Swift and Spotify being crowbarred in at the last minute.

His article on the review of collective licensing rules going on in the States, and the royalties Pandora pays out, focussed entirely on songwriters and their ability to make money in the streaming age. That may also be a concern of Swift's - again, she's not said - but, though a songwriter too, this beef does seem to be coming from Swift the performing artist, rather than being about the people who stay behind the scenes crafting music for others.

But if she is worried about songwriters, she might be interested in the news from Kobalt, also announced at the Web Summit, that its writers (which include 'Shake It Off' co-writer Max Martin) made more from Spotify royalties than iTunes revenue in Europe in the first quarter of the year. Though she might wonder why the stats presented came from quarter one this year, rather than the subsequent two quarters that have since been completed.

If little Ms Cynical wants some more timely data, what about the news that SoundExchange - which licenses the interactive radio services like Pandora that Swift is obliged to work with under law (in the US, anyway) - has just announced record payouts for the third quarter of this year. And to think, they say streaming services don't pay artists. I'm not sure who 'they' are. Probably an artist who didn't get paid. But, as Bono said, perhaps that's the fault of their label. Argh, I just quoted Bono again.

What the Kobalt and SoundExchange and a whole load more stats prove without doubt is that streaming is growing rapidly, and the music rights industry at large is reaping rewards from it. And while those rewards may not be entirely filling the gap left by the continued slide in CD sales and the looming death of downloads (digital ones, just to be clear), there is still huge potential in this domain for everyone, even if there remains some disagreement as to how the whole thing should be structured.

Those disagreements are fine providing the debate isn't "to stream or not to stream", but "how to stream". Taylor Swift removing her music from Spotify (and Deezer) feels like a milestone in the history of digital music - a point of no return - in repositioning the debate in that way. It will be fascinating to see where everyone stands the next time Taylor Swift releases an album.

ANDY MALT | Editor
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