WEDNESDAY 25 FEBRUARY 2015
TODAY'S TOP STORY: So, we all know that chart-topping rape anthem 'Blurred Lines' was a shameful pop monstrosity which single-handedly confirmed that a sinister stream of misogynistic arrogance and dangerous indifference continues to flow freely through parts of a male-dominated and domestic-abuse-ignoring music industry, that's a given, but was the song a lazy rip off of someone else's hard work? [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: Nadine Shah previously appeared in the Approved column way back in 2012, releasing her debut album, 'Love Your Dum And Mad', the following year. Confirmation of a follow-up finally came towards the end of last year, with the release of new single 'Stealing Cars', a tense, slow-building track. That second album, 'Fast Food', is now set to be released on 6 Apr through R&S/Apollo... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Blurred Lines copyright case kicks off
JUMP | ONLINE
LEGAL Ariana Grande lyric theft case seemingly settled
JUMP | ONLINE
LABELS & PUBLISHERS STIM replies to Swedish songwriters about streaming royalty concerns
New CEO at Bicycle Music Company, will also oversee rights management at Concord
JUMP | ONLINE
MANAGEMENT & FUNDING Brian Message puts 'NDA culture' back in the spotlight at ERA launch
JUMP | ONLINE
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Minority shareholders in WiMP/Tidal question valuation in Jay-Z's takeover bid
JUMP | ONLINE
MEDIA Radio Academy confirms streamlined new look
JUMP | ONLINE
RELEASES New Rihanna single drops, 'Home'-based concept album incoming
Chilly Gonzales posts second 'Chambers' track
JUMP | ONLINE
AWARDS Breakthrough shortlist out for Artist And Manager Awards
JUMP | ONLINE
AND FINALLY... New Blur album to stop gigs "getting tedious"
JUMP | ONLINE
 
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.
 
 
VMS LIVE - VENUES OPERATIONS MANAGER (MANCHESTER)
VMS Live are looking for an experienced venues and live music professional to oversee their Northern venues management operation including Manchester Academy, Wrexham (William Aston Hall) among others.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
VMS LIVE - VENUES OPERATIONS MANAGER (NORWICH)
VMS Live are looking for an experienced venues and live music professional to oversee their venues management operation with thr University of East Anglia (LCR, Waterfront, The Studio).

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
BIBLIOTHEQUE MUSIC - MUSIC SUPERVISOR (LONDON)
We are looking for an enthusiastic motivated Music Supervisor to help increase our capacity and develop new opportunities. The role will focus on marketing the catalogues to all relevant sectors of media and corporate industries, establishing and developing solid relationships, conducting searches, and taking the lead with all client-facing activity. The position has excellent career prospects going forward with scope for autonomy, innovation and growth.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
ROCKET PR - NATIONAL PLUGGER (LONDON)
Rocket PR is looking for a national radio plugger to join its team working closely with some of the finest independent labels and exciting new artists.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
MAMA NEW MUSIC - PROMOTER/VENUE BOOKER (LONDON)
MAMA New Music is looking for an established concert booker / promoter to work in the small, but highly efficient team of live concert and event organisers at the MAMA Group head office in London.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
MAMA & COMPANY - MARKETING ASSISTANT (LONDON)
MAMA & Company are looking for a Marketing Assistant to join their venue marketing team. You’ll be a great copy writer with excellent attention to detail, responsible for updating and maintaining venue websites, social media channels, with the ability to juggle and prioritise a number of projects at the same time.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
THE BORDERLINE - ASSISTANT BARS MANAGER (LONDON)
MAMA & Company is looking for an Assistant Bars Manager for The Borderline to start ASAP.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
HOXTON SQUARE BAR & KITCHEN - ASSISTANT GENERAL MANAGER (LONDON)
Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen is looking for a dynamic, experienced Assistant General Manager with a proven track record within a live music operation. This is a fantastic opportunity to work and grow with an exciting company that owns some of London's most established venues.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
THE JAZZ CAFE - BARS MANAGER (LONDON)
The Jazz Cafe is looking for an experienced, highly motivated Bars Manager, with a proven track record of maximising bar, cloakroom and other revenues while minimising all relevant costs.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
KEY PRODUCTION - ACCOUNT MANAGER (LONDON)
Key Production, celebrating 25 years of independence is looking to recruit an account manager to work from their busy London offices at the creative hub of Tileyard Studios. The job will entail controlling all aspects of manufacture of high end packaging and promotional items for both music and other industries from initial concept to delivery of finished product.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
 
CMU Jobs is a proven way to recruit the best music business talent for roles across the industry at all levels, from graduate to senior management. To book an ad contact Sam on 020 7099 9060 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 

Blurred Lines copyright case kicks off
So, we all know that chart-topping rape anthem 'Blurred Lines' was a shameful pop monstrosity which single-handedly confirmed that a sinister stream of misogynistic arrogance and dangerous indifference continues to flow freely through parts of a male-dominated and domestic-abuse-ignoring music industry, that's a given, but was the song a lazy rip off of someone else's hard work?

That's the question judge John A Kronstadt has now posed to an eight-member jury. Well, some of those words in the first paragraph might have been more mine than his, but that's basically the gist of what went down yesterday. Because yes, the 'Blurred Lines' copyright trial has got to court.

As much previously reported, the family of Marvin Gaye accuse Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams of lifting plenty of his track 'Got To Give It Up' for their song 'Blurred Lines', partly because Thicke admitted in an interview that he and Williams had set out to create something in the vein of the Gaye song, and partly because of the similarities between the two tracks. So basically it's a 'when does imitation become infringement?' case.

Pre-trial deliberations have narrowed the reach of the case somewhat, in that it's the song copyright, rather than any copyright in Gaye's recording of it, that Thicke and Williams are accused of infringing.

But more than that, lawyers for the duo convinced the judge that only the core score of the song, as set out in the published sheet music, is protected by copyright; any extra elements added in the making of Gaye's track have no IP protection. Which is why the judge has insisted that the two songs be played on a keyboard in court, rather than allowing the released records to be played.

This is important in that, if Thicke and Williams did lift from 'Got To Give It Up', it's arguable they mainly borrowed elements of the track that emerged in the recording rather than the original composition.

Which possibly means the Gayes face an uphill struggle here. So let's just hope Thicke and Williams make idiots of themselves during the trial, so at least we get that even if they end up winning. And both were in court yesterday, and are due to testify during the eight day hearing. As will the other collaborator on 'Blurred Lines', TI, plus Thicke's ex-wife Paula Patton.

Kicking things off yesterday, the Gaye family's legal rep Richard Busch recalled the aforementioned interviews where Thicke discussed the influence of Gaye and 'Got To Give It Up' on his own hit. Noting that in a subsequent deposition Thicke played down those comments, claiming to have actually had next to no involvement in crafting 'Blurred Lines' due to him being drunk and stuffed full of Vicodin at the time, Busch said that the singer had just changed his story because of the legal action.

Speaking for the terrible twosome, Howard King said that depositions and testimonies, and not media interviews, are what the jury should focus on. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he told jurors: "There are many unsworn interviews of people trying to sell records. It's going to be easy to get distracted by the perhaps tawdry details of what goes on in the music business".

Repeating Thicke's most recent claims, King said: "You're obviously going to hear details that are embarrassing about Mr Thicke's personal life. But what you're going to hear is that Mr Thicke did not write that song. He was supposed to be in the studio with Mr Williams, because that's the way Mr Williams likes it, to have the artist there, but it came to ten at night and Mr Thicke was nowhere to be found. Mr Williams sat down and wrote the song, wrote the music, in an hour".

Meanwhile, noting his previous victory in having the case narrowed so that only the core composition of 'Got To Give It Up' can be considered, the legal man added: "The sheet music was only consulted a few months ago, after hundreds of thousands of dollars spent, and it was revealed that a lot of elements of the recordings are not in the sheet music. We're going to show you what you already know: that no one owns a genre or a style or a groove. To be inspired by Marvin Gaye is an honourable thing".

The case continues.

Ariana Grande lyric theft case seemingly settled
A previously reported legal battle between UK-based Minder Music and the pop machine that is Ariana Grande has seemingly been settled. Which is no fun at all. Say what you like about Robin Thicke - and I think you all know what we like to say about Robin Thicke - but at least his petty and entertaining copyright battle has got to court.

As previously reported, Minder Music claimed that Grande's hit 'The Way' stole a line from a song it represents, The Jimmy Castor Bunch track 'Troglodyte' from 1972. The offending Grande lyric was "What we gotta do right here is go back, back into time", which Minder reckoned ripped off the 'Troglodyte' line: "What we're gonna do right here is go back, way back, back into time".

And to anyone who said "what the fuck?" to that claim, Minder Music added "the [two] songs' phrases are strikingly similar in several ways, including but not limited to: nearly identical lyrics; similar enunciation speed with a fast and consistent pace for 'what we gotta do right' and a slightly slower pace for 'here is go back'; and substantially similar placement at the same places in the respective compositions".

So there you go. But it seems that that claim will not now be tested in court, because word has it that the whole matter has been settled. Terms, of course, are not known.

STIM replies to Swedish songwriters about streaming royalty concerns
The Swedish music publishing sector's collecting society STIM has responded to that previously reported open letter signed by 133 songwriters from the country which expressed various concerns about streaming royalties, and the deals done between the music rights sector and the digital platforms. On the publishing side of music rights the collecting societies have been involved in licensing services like Spotify.

The Swedish society received some criticism in the songwriters' letter, over both the deals it did with the streaming services at the outset, and the lack of transparency on digital dealings. But in its own open letter, STIM says that it works continuously to ensure more transparency in music licensing matters, adding that "openness towards our associates is the only way to preserve our legitimacy".

On streaming royalty figures that have been mooted, the society says that some percentages being bandied about are misleading, and that streaming services are paying, on average, about 12% of their Swedish revenues to STIM. This conflicts with a 3% figure in a study cited by the songwriters. STIM says there might be some confusion there because that study was based on US deals.

Or it could be that the 12% is often split between the mechanical and public performance elements of the copyright (so if an equal split that's 6% each). The songwriter's royalty, often half of that income, will then often be paid in two chunks, mechanicals via their publisher (subject to contract) and public performance direct from their collecting society. The latter of which would be about 3%.

But how knows what's going on? Though STIM says it's pretty certain its deals with digital services are in line with those done by other European collecting societies, and that "it is clear that the legal digital music services in Sweden have contributed to a positive development in terms of willingness to pay for recorded music".

Yeah, not sure that's going to silence the songwriters who, as previously reported, are becoming much more vocal about digital royalties of late.

Here's the STIM response in Swedish. MusicAlly has translated chunks here.

--------------------------------------------------

New CEO at Bicycle Music Company, will also oversee rights management at Concord
American music rights firm The Bicycle Music Company confirmed the appointment of a new CEO earlier this week in the form of Jake Wisely, formerly co-President at the company. In his new role Wisely will oversee publishing, licensing and rights management for both Bicycle and sister company Concord Music, which has been in common ownership for sometime. He will report into Concord Music Group CEO Scott Pascucci.

Confirming the new gig, Wisely told reporters: "I'm so proud of what we've built at Bicycle over the past decade and grateful to my partners and our board for the opportunity to lead this dynamic company into the future. To be entrusted with this great catalogue is an honour".

Meanwhile Pascucci added: "Jake has been an integral member of the management team responsible for building The Bicycle Music Company to its current leadership role in the industry. With his added responsibilities overseeing rights management and licensing for both Bicycle and Concord Music, he will be able to make even greater contributions on behalf of our writers, artists and label partners. All of us at Bicycle and Concord value his leadership and integrity and congratulate him on his promotion".

Brian Message puts 'NDA culture' back in the spotlight at ERA launch
While Beggars boss Martin Mills wrapped up the launch of the Entertainment Retailers Association's new manifesto yesterday morning, artist manager Brian Message kick-started the proceedings, with both men delivering bold speeches and overtly firing some shots at the major music rights owners.

Noting that, since stepping down as Chair of the Music Managers Forum, he has been able to focus his commitment to the organisation by looking more closely at "streaming, technology and the new business models", he observed that "it's opportune for me to be able to stand here and talk to key drivers of change and innovation, you the retailers and digital service providers".

"It's also relevant from my perspective" he added, "because I see us, the professional creator and management community, beginning to align ourselves much more with those operating at the coal face of the paying fan. It isn't, therefore, too much of a stretch to suggest that with us being close to our artists and their creative process, much as you are close to your consumers, fans, and their purchasing habits, that together we can add real value to the economic chain from creator to fan".

But, he added, "that economic chain isn't without it's challenges, as you probably know just as well as us; in fact, many of my colleagues would go as far as to say that it's pretty well broken and needs fixing. For us, central to this structural failure is the NDA culture that is now ingrained in the licensing of creator catalogues to retailers and digital services".

"The lack of transparency and the very real erosion of trust felt by many creators and managers in how the economic value chain now operates is an issue that the MMF and ERA needs to focus on together so we can add real value to our members".

"Since taking on my new role within MMF and having now met with whistle-blowers, lawmakers, artists, managers, label personnel, digital service providers, lawyers and litigators on all sides and pretty much everyone else in the chain, I'm now reasonably sure that whilst it takes two parties to sign an NDA, it's the corporates owning the major labels that today drive this particular agenda".

That, Message implied, was because secrecy enabled the major rights owners to structure deals to their advantage, and to the disadvantage of other stakeholders in the recorded music sector, not least artists.

He continued: "I understand how corporate bosses and their lawyers get to a place where they feel the catalogues they have amassed on behalf of their corporation are assets to leverage as they so wish. I get how they can justify their actions at a time of huge economic change for their businesses, but it becomes a problem for you and us when deal terms remove significant value from the economic value chain".

"When the price of getting a license from a licensor is a non-attributable fee and those fees add up to tens of millions of pounds, then not only is this an issue for creators, but licensees cannot spend that money converting fans to paid-for subscription services. Overhead contributions, technology fees, advances that can't be recouped, unattributable advances, equity positions at the expense of streaming rates, the dropping of litigation to receive shares that then get sold and other such clever tactics distort the market and ultimately don't allow it's development for the benefit of everyone".

The NDA culture that has become a norm in the music industry's digital deal making has been a top gripe for the management community in the UK and beyond for a while now, of course (this CMU trends report reviewed the issues last year). Though to date the big music rights owners have done little to address this issue.

And given that the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry now seems set to follow Martin Mills' speech at the ERA launch - in which he criticised moves for a Friday global release day - by announcing Friday as the global release day, perhaps following Message's speech next week the majors will announce one big new NDA covering the entire industry. No one will be able to talk about digital deals, artist contracts, or even the existence of streaming music. Lets make it all one big secret. Did you just mention Spotify? See you in court.

Minority shareholders in WiMP/Tidal question valuation in Jay-Z's takeover bid
Minority shareholders in WiMP and Tidal owner Aspiro have questioned the value put on the business by the Jay-Z-owned vehicle that is trying to buy it.

Management at and key shareholders of Aspiro backed the Jay-Z-led bid to buy the company late last month, very probably aware that WiMP and Tidal are operating in an increasingly competitive market, with lower user numbers than key rivals, and in a sector where deep pockets are generally required to stay in business.

But some smaller shareholders are not convinced that the $56 million offer is good enough. And in a posting spotted by Digital Music News, an association representing those shareholders says "we believe that the lack of information from Aspiro makes it hard to evaluate the offer correctly".

But, it went on, "a consistent view of the minority shareholders who have registered their holdings with the association is that the offer does not sufficiently value the company's potential. Especially given the extensive investments and launches conducted during the fall of 2014. In addition launches are planned in a further 20 countries in Q1 2015".

Although yet to reach a final opinion on Jay-Z's bid for the company, the association says it "has raised questions about the company to the 'independent bid committee', in which we requested answers to a number of important issues and we have so far not received a response. Shareholders in the minority have loyally contributed to the financing of Aspiro up to today's level. The offer provides no premium for this, which feels very unsatisfactory".

Radio Academy confirms streamlined new look
The Radio Academy announced plans for its future yesterday, having axed its popular Radio Festival and Radio Awards late last year and shut its year-round London office.

Moving forward the Academy, which brings together both BBC and commercial radio, will have a "streamlined structure" with "learning and networking" at its core. With support from the BBC, Global, Bauer, UTV, Radio Centre and the Radio Independents Group, the new look Academy will seek to provide "moments to learn, network and celebrate the audio industry".

The Academy will launch a new look conference type-event and awards ceremony in the coming year, the former more low-cost that the old Radio Festival, and the latter "revamped and rejuvenated for the modern world of radio". The Hall Of Fame, Radio Production Awards and 30 Under 30 will also continue with support from Arqiva.

From April, Chris Burns, Head of Radio Operations at the BBC, will take over from Radio 1 chief Ben Cooper as Chair of the Academy, and will oversee the evolution of the new look organisation, with the support of a to-be-appointed Director.

Confirming that, Burns said: "I'm delighted to be the one who will oversee this transition and ensure that the services that the Academy provides are relevant and forward thinking. I want to thank Ben Cooper for his fantastic chairmanship during what was latterly a challenging time".

  Approved: Nadine Shah
Nadine Shah previously appeared in the Approved column way back in 2012, releasing her debut album, 'Love Your Dum And Mad', the following year.

Confirmation of a follow-up finally came towards the end of last year, with the release of new single 'Stealing Cars', a tense, slow-building track. That second album, 'Fast Food', is now set to be released on 6 Apr through R&S/Apollo.

New track 'Fool' arrived last week, a calmly angry song with a chorus that might be pop if it weren't for the guitar buzzing around it like a wasp, maintaining that tense feeling of the previous single. Even when an acoustic guitar emerges to give a bit of levity, Shah throws in an unexpected chord to set everything slightly on edge again. And, just in case I'm not selling this to you, it all works incredibly well.

Hear for yourself here, and on her upcoming tour dates in April.
CLICK HERE to read and share online
 
 

New Rihanna single drops, 'Home'-based concept album incoming
Rihanna has only gone and premiered another brand new track! Though this one, 'Towards The Sun', has been made for the soundtrack of that new animated movie from Dreamworks called 'Home', in which the singer voices a key character called Tip.

And if you like 'Towards The Sun', well, as previously reported, Rihanna has made an entire concept album to go with the cartoon flick, and just imagine how great/awful/inspired that must be. You can delete that sentence as applicable if you like.

All of this, by the way, has nothing to do with Rihanna's eighth studio album on which will appear 'FourFiveSeconds', that Kanye and Macca featuring track you loved/hated/were entirely indifferent too because, hello, we're at war. You can do some more applicable deleting there.

--------------------------------------------------

Chilly Gonzales posts second 'Chambers' track
Speaking as someone who had to stop Last.fm auto-tweeting my weekly top three most-listened to artists, because they featured Chilly Gonzales under at least two different monikers every single week and it started to get embarrassing - but I just like to start each day with the 'Solo Piano' albums, OK? - you'll understand that I am very excited indeed about the prospect of another LP of piano-led tunes from the self-proclaimed musical genius coming our way next month.

And look, a second track from the 'Chambers' record has just gone live on iTunes and up there in the Soundcloud. It's called 'Sweet Burden'. And if you wondered why this album isn't just called 'Solo Piano 3' (there having been two editions so far), well, because there are some strings on there too, stupid. In fact, the album "re-imagines Romantic-era chamber music as today's addictive pop, using the strings as a modern-day sampler".

So go listen to 'Sweet Burden' here. Or don't. I've just listened to it and am feeling well chilled out, so couldn't care less what you do.

Breakthrough shortlist out for Artist And Manager Awards
Was I meant to mention some big music awards event in today's CMU Daily? I'm pretty sure there was something. Hmm. Did it involve Kanye West? No, of course not. Not everything has to involve Kanye Fuckin West you know.

I remember. It's the shortlist for the Breakthrough Artist Of The Year prize at next month's Artist And Manager Awards, that's what I've got to tell you. And what a shortlist it is.

Up for the Dice-sponsored breakthrough prize at the Music Managers Forum and Featured Artist Coalition's annual awards bash are: Catfish & The Bottlemen, Ella Henderson, FKA Twigs, George Ezra, Hozier, Jungle, Royal Blood and Sigma.

And if you wondered why I mentioned the sponsor there, well, because otherwise you might question why I'm about to quote Dice co-founder Phil Hutcheon, obviously.

Says Hutcheon: "At Dice we are passionate about helping fans discover incredible new artists and getting them in to mind blowing shows. Sponsoring an award that celebrates upcoming talent that inspires and excites fits perfectly with our beliefs and we're proud to put the Dice name to it".

New Blur album to stop gigs "getting tedious"
"So why the new Blur album?" you've all been pondering and wondering and musing and speculating and gossiping and shouting and scrawling on the pavement in blood. Don't go denying it, we know you have.

Well, see, Blur have got some gigs coming up and it was just getting boring for one and all having the band play the same old hits. It's like Graham Coxon told the South China Morning Post: "We just couldn't have done any more shows without some new material. It was getting tedious, and some of the fans were getting peeved about it".

It's true you know. When aging bands find their fans getting peeved about hearing the same old songs over and over and over and over, make some new ones. That way they'll appreciate the old ones all the more.

 
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)
   
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 sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk 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.
Email caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
Send ALL press releases to musicnews@unlimitedmedia.co.uk - this is checked daily by the whole editorial team meaning your release will definitely get to the right person.

For details of the training and consultancy services offered by CMU Insights click here - Andy and Chris are also available to provide music business comment, just email them direct.

To promote your company or advertise jobs or services to the entire UK music industry via the CMU bulletin or website contact Sam on 020 7099 9060 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
© UnLimited Media, a division of 3CM Enterprises Ltd

CMU, UnLimited Media, Kemp House, 152 City Road, London EC1V 2NX
t: 020 7099 9050 (editorial) 020 7099 9060 (sales)

publishing@unlimitedmedia.co.uk | complaints@unlimitedmedia.co.uk