TODAY'S TOP STORY: The government's Department Of Culture, Media & Sport took time out yesterday to shout very loudly indeed about just how F-A-B the UK's creative industries are, possibly in a bid to drown out all the creative industry professionals who were themselves saying "so the government totally ignored us all and booted out those secondary ticketing regulations we liked so much... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Five years ago, Doldrums, aka Airick Woodhead, emerged as an exciting new force in music. Buoyed by an association with Grimes, he seemed like someone so bursting with ideas that he couldn't always contain them – both on record and in his live shows. Then, in 2013, he released his debut album, 'Lesser Evil', which (for me, at least) did some of the necessary work of... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Creative sector worth £76.9 billion to UK economy, says government
LABELS & PUBLISHERS ASCAP promotes Beth Matthews to CEO
Two senior appointments at Universal Music Group
LIVE BUSINESS Ticketmaster welcomes Commons blocking of new secondary ticketing rules
Lloyds equity business set to acquire Birmingham's NEC Group
MEDIA As UTV reviews its radio assets, who might buy its UK stations?
EDUCATION & EVENTS Eurosonic kicks off today with Iceland the featured country
ARTIST NEWS Brian Harvey launches YouTube channel attacking music industry and News UK
ONE LINERS Katy Perry's first Super Bowl buddy, Jon Hopkins' LateNightTales compilation, Purity Ring's new album and yet more sweet treats
AND FINALLY... Bez begins election campaign
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Creative sector worth £76.9 billion to UK economy, says government
The government's Department Of Culture, Media & Sport took time out yesterday to shout very loudly indeed about just how F-A-B the UK's creative industries are, possibly in a bid to drown out all the creative industry professionals who were themselves saying "so the government totally ignored us all and booted out those secondary ticketing regulations we liked so much, what the fuck?"

According to new DCMS stats, the creative sector was worth £76.9 billion in 2013, or 5% of the UK economy, as the 'gross value added' for the sector rose for the fourth consecutive year. Together the creative industries accounted for 1.71 million jobs, a 1.4% increase on 2012, and 5.6% of the British workforce. Meanwhile the value of creative service exports was £17.3 billion, 8.8% of the UK's service export total.

So that's all fun, isn't it? And here's the government's culture man and ticket tout fan Sajid Javid saying so: "The UK's creative industries are recognised as world leaders around the globe and today's figures show that they continue to grow from strength to strength. They are one of our most powerful tools in driving growth, outperforming all other sectors of industry and their contribution to the UK economy is evident to all".

Giving a music industry spin to the figures, the boss of record industry trade group the BPI, Geoff Taylor, added: "These figures show that the UK's creative industries don't just provide entertainment and culture for the nation. Record labels alone employ thousands of people across the country who support new and established musicians whilst contributing to the economy and helping the UK emerge from its financial deficit".

He went on: "Our musicians' talent and our labels' investment and expertise made 2014 a record-breaking year for British music. For the first time in official charts history, the top ten best-selling artist albums of the year came from UK artists. Very few countries can boast of such success. We hope that in the months ahead - and beyond the General Election - political parties will recognise that creativity is central to Britain's future economic success and focus on practical measures to boost further investment in British talent".

Like forcing Google to actually do something about the listing of piracy websites in its search engine, Taylor didn't say but was probably thinking. Or stopping touts and their techie mates from screwing over gig-going music fans with dodgy under-the-counter ticket resales, most of the artist community would probably add. Though, says former city boy Javid, "the tax reliefs we've got in place and are extending to children's TV and orchestras have been instrumental". Yeah, a bit of tax relief, that'll do it I'm sure.

ASCAP promotes Beth Matthews to CEO
The American Society Of Composers Authors And Publishers, or ASCAP as you cool kids are more likely to call it, has announced a new CEO. Elizabeth Matthews replaces John LoFrumento, who retired last month, with immediate effect. Matthews has been Executive Vice President and General Counsel at the US collecting society since 2013.

ASCAP Chairmen Paul Williams says of Matthews' promotion: "Now, more than ever, songwriters and composers need an advocate we can trust to ensure our work is valued fairly in a rapidly changing music marketplace. What we do is vital to the future of music. Beth's experience in the global multimedia content sector, her deep understanding of the complexities of the music business and her passion for protecting the rights of music creators make her singularly qualified for the CEO role. Her enthusiasm for taking on the new challenges of the digital era is unparalleled".

LoFrumento adds: "Since joining ASCAP's executive team, Beth Matthews has been a tireless advocate for our members and a catalyst for the entire organisation. Working alongside Beth these past two years, there is no doubt in my mind that she has both the know-how and vision to lead ASCAP in a dynamic music landscape".

And, of course, there is a quote from Matthews herself as well, which goes like this: "ASCAP is an expansive, forward-looking and adaptive service organisation that successfully built and grew the market for performance rights for songwriters and publishers in the United States".

She continues: "As CEO, I am excited about building on our unique assets to offer new, innovative services to our members and licensing partners. As new media platforms transform how we listen to music, it is critical that we evolve our own business models and update outdated music licensing laws to better reflect the reality of today's music marketplace. I am honoured to work on behalf of the world's greatest music creators who call ASCAP home".

As alluded to in both quotes there, Matthews takes on the role at the beginning of what is likely to be an exciting/stressful year in the American song publishing industry, as it lobbies to have collective licensing rules overhauled, fights for a bigger cut of the wider music industry's digital income, and possibly reconsiders when and how to licence collectively, with the likes of Irving Azoff favouring direct dealing on some public performance licensing for his hit-writing clients.


Two senior appointments at Universal Music Group
That there Universal Music Group has announced two new appointments, with Marc Cimino named Universal Music Publishing's Chief Operating Officer and Narcís Rebollo made President of Universal Music Iberian Peninsula.

Cimino joins in his newly created role from Warner Bros Records, where he was Executive Vice President and Head Of Business & Legal Affairs. Prior to a decade spent at Warner, he also worked for Sony Music.

Announcing the news this morning, UMPG CEO Jody Gerson said: "At this time in our business, it's important we work with a global perspective and more closely with our record label partners. Marc's broad experience in recorded music will help bolster our organisation and bring a broader industry approach to everything we do, and to the ultimate benefit of our artists and writers".

Cimino added: "I'm grateful and excited to be working for such a dynamic visionary like Jody and for Universal Music Publishing Group. I look forward to working with the entire team around the world, and with our labels and tech partners as we face a rapidly changing business environment with many new opportunities and challenges".

Meanwhile, based in Madrid, Narcís Rebollo will oversee the recordings side of Universal's operations in Spain and Portugal. He was previously Managing Director of Universal Music Spain, having joined the major in 2006 following its purchase of independent music company Vale Music.

CEO of Universal Music Latin America and Iberian Peninsula, Jesús López said: "Narcís has a unique quality in our industry - he combines extensive experience in marketing and new business with expertise in management and booking which positions him within the Spanish market to be a genuine leader in the ongoing evolution of the music business that we are developing. Under his leadership and with the support of the great teams of Universal Music Spain and Portugal I'm convinced we will continue to grow our capacity to develop incredible artists and innovate new business models".

Rebollo added: "I want to thank Jesús López for his continued trust and support. I'm looking forward to working with the brilliant team at Universal Music Spain and Portugal in this exciting new role for me".

Both appointments are effective immediately.

Ticketmaster welcomes Commons blocking of new secondary ticketing rules
So, as expected, on Monday the House Of Commons booted out proposed secondary ticketing regulations, which the House Of Lords had tried to sneak onto the statute book via the Consumer Rights Bill.

As previously reported, the Lords added the new rules for online ticket touting - basically forcing sellers to reveal their identity and more info about the tickets they are selling - last November based on recommendations from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse. Last weekend 85 key people from across the music, sport and theatre sectors backed those regulations.

But the Government has never been in favour of the proposals and therefore used its majority in the Commons to have the Lords' amendments removed. And it now seems unlikely that the final version of the new consumer rights law will have the ticket touting lines. That's a development unsurprisingly welcomed by the secondary ticketing sector, which argues that the new rules would force touts off the established online marketplaces for ticket reselling onto sites outside the jurisdiction of the UK courts, where fraud is much more likely.

Christoph Homann, MD of the resale division of Live Nation's Ticketmaster, said: "We are delighted that the government has maintained its position to support the rights of consumers by voting against a misguided and unworkable proposal. We have consumer protection law, competition law and criminal law already safeguarding consumers in the UK and there is no evidence to support extra regulation for the secondary ticketing market would be effective. Resale is here to stay, as consumers want more choice and greater flexibility".

He went on: "We believe it is important that the industry continues to ensure that consumers are protected, have clear information about the purchases they are making and that fraud is prevented. We are in active dialogue with the Government about how the industry can do yet more to improve its high standards even further".

So there you go. Though there remains strong support in various quarters for further regulation of the secondary ticketing sites, and the campaign for such laws is likely to continue, while anti-touting promoters also investigate technology solutions to make the reselling of tickets harder.


Lloyds equity business set to acquire Birmingham's NEC Group
The private equity wing of the Lloyds Banking Group looks set to acquire Midlands-based venue operator the NEC Group, according to Sky News.

The NEC company - which operates four major venue complexes in and around Birmingham (and which Sky News's American sister network Fox News presumably believes are only allowed to stage events for Muslims) - is currently owned by the City Of Birmingham itself. It also operates a number of ticketing, event management and sponsorship agencies.

According to Sky, Birmingham City Council is seeking to sell the successful venue company in order to raise cash to overcome financial issues brought on in part by the cap on local authority borrowing and a legal case pursed by council workers seeking equal pay.

The deal, which could be announced as soon as today, should be worth between £250 million and £300 million. It's not clear whether Lloyds Development Capital would take outright ownership or if the Birmingham Council would retain a stake.

The city began seeking a buyer for its venues business last March, with council leader Albert Bore saying at the time: "A key purpose of the city council investing in establishing the NEC Group more than 30 years ago was to drive economic development and regeneration. This has been achieved, but now the NEC Group has reached a point in its evolution where it needs to be able to adopt the financial disciplines of a private, rather than a council-owned company to enable the next stage of strategic development".

LDC already has some interests in the media and entertainment space, most notably the venue and festival owning MAMA & Company, and Orion Media, a radio business also based in the Midlands.

As UTV reviews its radio assets, who might buy its UK stations?
Speculation is rife in the radio industry this week as to who might buy the thirteen British local radio stations owned by UTV Media after the Belfast-based company confirmed it is currently assessing "options" for its UK local radio business which "may or may not lead to the disposal of some or all of these stations".

The stations that might potentially be up for sale include the Liverpool Juice outlet, Pulse in Yorkshire and the Signal operations in the Midlands. It's assumed that the UK's biggest commercial radio operator, Global, wouldn't bid given its last big acquisition caused a stack of competition law problems that would likely occur again.

Its main rival Bauer might be interested, as might Global's friendly competitor Communicorp UK. As previously reported, the British wing of the Dublin-based Communicorp Group was set up to buy the FM licences Global was forced to sell after its purchase of The Guardian's old radio business, though it mainly operates Global-owned formats on those frequencies via a licensing deal.

Word has it Communicorp UK is now keen to grow, and RadioToday says talks between it and UTV have already taken place. Whether it would look to use UTV's frequencies to run additional outposts of Global's Capital, Heart or Smooth brands, or whether it would develop its own service (it also owns the only remaining Real XS station) isn't clear.

There may be other bids too for the UTV stations though, from the other smaller players in UK radio, most notably UKRD and Orion, the latter of which has a solid base in the Midlands so might be especially interested in the Signal stations.

It's not thought UTV's TalkSport or its various radio stations on the island of Ireland are part of the review. And now, given we've mentioned Signal Radio not once but twice, let's remind ourselves of the greatest radio jingle ever made.

Eurosonic kicks off today with Iceland the featured country
The Eurosonic showcase festival and music convention kicks off in Gronigen in the Netherlands later today with Iceland this year's featured country.

Amongst the topics up for consideration on the conference side is the cultural and economic impact of Iceland's annual Airwaves festival, and CMU will be in attendance to delve into this theme in more detail for this month's edition of the CMU Trends Report. Sign up now to receive your copy.

Ahead of the proceedings, Siggi Baldursson of Icelandic Music Export told CMU why having featured country status at events like Eurosonic is so important. He said: "It puts a special focus on Iceland at a really interesting point in the development of our music scene - overseas performances by Icelandic acts more than doubled between 2012 to 2013. And it gives us more exposure, with nineteen of our bands playing at one of Europe's key events for breaking new artists this year".

On his country's presence on the conference side of the event, he explained: "On Thursday we will focus on Iceland Airwaves and its importance in the spectrum of cultural tourism in Iceland. We are delighted to have Kevin Cole from [Seattle radio station] KEXP join us for this discussion, as well as our Minister Of Industry & Commerce, the mayor of Reykjavik City, Airwaves' manager Grímur Atlason and Anna Hildur from NOMEX".

"Meanwhile on Friday, we will look at the development of Icelandic music since the early 1980s", he goes on. That panel will feature Einar Örn, co-founder of The Sugarcubes, the writers Dr Gunni and Zoe Howe, Thomas Morr of Morr Music and Margret Magnúsdóttir from one of our upcoming new bands Vök".

For more information on the Icelandic artists and events appearing at this year's Eurosonic check

  Approved: Doldrums – Hotfoot
Five years ago, Doldrums, aka Airick Woodhead, emerged as an exciting new force in music. Buoyed by an association with Grimes, he seemed like someone so bursting with ideas that he couldn't always contain them – both on record and in his live shows. Then, in 2013, he released his debut album, 'Lesser Evil', which (for me, at least) did some of the necessary work of honing those ideas but lost a large part of that initial spark in the process.

This week he returns with 'Hotfoot', the first single from his second album 'The Air Conditioned Nightmare'. The track follows a clear line from Woodhead's previous work but is delivered with a newly sharpened focus. Raw and aggressive, but also melodic and very clear in its intention, the ideas are both honed and exciting.

"Conflict is at the heart of this album”, he says. "There's a lot of paranoid sentiment and Dystopian imagery in there. The threat of a mundane reality ties it together, as does an obsession with plasticity. Songs come from specific feelings or images. Anxiety is my default state".

'The Air Conditioned Nightmare' is due out through Sub Pop on 6 Apr. You can listen to 'Hootfoot' here.
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Brian Harvey launches YouTube channel attacking music industry and News International
Brian Harvey has launched a new YouTube channel in order to vent his anger at both the music industry and the Rupert Murdoch controlled News UK (formerly known as News International).

His opening gambit is a 20 second video in which he smashes his East 17 platinum discs in an alleyway, saying "That's what I think of your fucking music industry". His second video shows him clearing up the mess created by that outburst, while a third gets more to the point of the channel.

Referencing the two ring binders he was seen brandishing outside Downing Street recently, and showing many more, Harvey says in the video: "So you only saw two ring binders, right? But I'm telling you there's many. There's many. There's many. There's not just a few ... Bags of the stuff. Bags of it. So it's not just about the two ring binders, yeah? It's about this bloody stack of em. Yeah?"

In 2012, Harvey and his ex-wife Natasha Carnegie sued News UK over claims of phone hacking. Focusing on his grievances with the newspaper group, he continues: "The evidence what is in these ring binders is gonna prove to you that News International tell lies, and that they've wasted £100 million of the taxpayers' money. And I'm not having that, especially as I'm caught up in it and they're trying to tell people that I'm saying they stole money from me. It's not about them stealing money from me, it's about me having proof and them not wanting to recognise it. So, there you go. Bundles. Not fucking about".

The video then closes with the caption: "THE TRUTH IS COMING"

As well as News UK, it seems likely that the music industry will receive further focus in later videos, following Harvey's recent meeting with Labour MP Simon Danczuk. The two apparently discussed evidence of child abuse within the music industry gathered by the former popstar. So far that criticism is contained within a song apparently called, 'Fuck That!'

Katy Perry's first Super Bowl buddy, Jon Hopkins' LateNightTales compilation, Purity Ring's new album and yet more sweet treats

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Ninja Tune have only gone and signed Seven Davis Jr. And the first fruits of this deal are coming sooner than you think. Unless you think a twelve-inch single called 'Wild Hearts' will be out on 9 Feb, because that it what's happening. He'll also appear live at Ninja Tune's ICA takeover next week, which further dates in February.

• The approved Oscar Scheller, just Oscar to you and I, has signed to Wichita Records. His debut single, 'Daffodil Days', will be released by the label on 2 Mar.

• Katy Perry has confirmed that Lenny Kravitz will be one of her 'special guests' when she does that Super Bowl thing next month.

• Jon Hopkins has curated the next 'LateNightTales' compilation, which is due for release on 1 Mar. Amongst the tracklist is a cover of Yeasayer's 'I Remember' by Hopkins himself.

• Purity Ring have announced that they will release their second album, 'Another Eternity', on 2 Mar through 4AD. The first single is totally called 'Begin Again' and I would be lying if I told you that you couldn't listen to it here.

• Captured Tracks signing Nic Hessler will release his debut album, titled 'Soft Connections', on 17 Mar. Here's a track from it, 'Hearts, Repeating'.

• The Wave Pictures would like it to be known that their new single, 'I Could Hear The Telephone (Three Floors Above Me)' will be out through Moshi Moshi on 9 Feb. Here it is. Their new album, a collaboration with Billy Childish named 'Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon', will be out a week later. Oh, and they're touring.

• Sometimes it gets a bit boring typing 'so and so has a single and here it is', so praise be to Girlpool who have shared a documentary. It's called 'Things Are OK', and it's on YouTube here. They'll also be in the UK for touring purposes next month, including a show at The Lexington in London on 18 Feb.

• With the UK release of her Polaris Prize winning album 'Animism' coming up later this month, Tanya Tagaq has announced a headline show at London's Village Underground on 19 May.

• 'Breakfast Of Champions' is the new album by DJ Yoda, out 9 Mar. 'The Baddest' is the new single by DJ Yoda, out 16 Mar. The Forum in London is the venue of a show by DJ Yoda, on 14 Mar.

Bez begins election campaign
Bez has kicked off his campaign to become Salford's new MP, with a billboard advert and some free beer.

As previously reported, the former Happy Mondays dancer is standing in this year's General Election as a candidate for independent anti-fracking party Reality, which launched in March last year.

According to The Guardian, at an event to unveil his election advert bearing the slogan "join the revolution", where he handed out bottles of "frack-free" beer, Bez said that "Labour has let everyone in Salford down. The Labour Party was supposed to defend the people and be for the working class, but now they only have ever-so-slightly different polices from the Conservatives".

He apparently added that as well as campaigning for the banning of fracking, he will call for "a global democracy with free food (with the help of bees)", where "all the spare land what's going about" would be turned into a permaculture. Bez is, of course, a noted bee fan, despite once accidently filling his pants with them.

Whether Bez can gain enough popularity to gain the safe Labour seat remains to be seen. A poll carried out last year showed that the public weren't entirely convinced of his abilities as a politician.

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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Aly reports on artist and business news, leads on the CMU One Liners, and contributes to the CMU Approved column. She also coordinates the daily cultural tips on CMU's sister site ThisWeek London.
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