TODAY'S TOP STORY: While it would be highly amusing if Sony Music did pull tracks by some of Tidal's celebrity 'shareholders' off the streaming platform - and you'd think that would be reason enough for Sony HQ to do it - the major's catalogue is staying put. For the time being at least. This is only news because of speculation late last week that Sony tracks - including the oeuvre of Jay-Z's missus... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: We interviewed Anne Lise Frøkedal ahead of the release of the second album by her former band Harrys Gym back in 2011. Having since gone solo, she's now performing with the backing of fellow Norwegians Familien on a new set of folk leaning songs. Following the first Frøkedal & Familien single 'I See You' (a live version of which you can watch here), she has just put out... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Sony not pulling Beyonce off Tidal
LEGAL As 'breakage' debate continues, could things go legal?
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Janice Brock and David Ventura promoted at Sony/ATV
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Apple courting A-listers to front all-new iTunes
Tackling the Digital Pie Debate
MEDIA Thrash Hits bows out with final rant
ARTIST NEWS Son of BB King calls sisters' poisoning accusations "extreme"
Enrique Iglesias suffers mid-concert drone injury
Sam Smith debut album stays top five for one whole year
ONE LINERS Korn man goes country, Owl City returns, Emilie Nicolas London show, and more
AND FINALLY... Bands with female members are cooler, says Stevie Nicks
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Sony not pulling Beyonce off Tidal
While it would be highly amusing if Sony Music did pull tracks by some of Tidal's celebrity 'shareholders' off the streaming platform - and you'd think that would be reason enough for Sony HQ to do it - the major's catalogue is staying put. For the time being at least.

This is only news because of speculation late last week that Sony tracks - including the oeuvre of Jay-Z's missus and fellow Tidal shareholder Beyonce - could be taken off the streaming platform because Sony Music is yet to sign a licensing deal with the new look Tidal company, which is now led by J-Zed of course.

When streaming services change ownership they customarily need to renegotiate their deals with the music rights owners. Word has it that Universal quickly signed up to Jay-Z's 'artist-led' Tidal, but that Warner and Sony instead got about driving a suitably hard bargain. As of last week it seems that Warner has now inked a deal, but Sony is still negotiating.

In a somewhat critical article about the all new Tidal, Bloomberg suggested that the streaming firm was now busy trying to raise new finance to cover the majors' big advance demands, because - said the newswire - a mooted investment by American tel-co Sprint hadn't come off. Without that funding in place, the logic went, a Sony deal was going to be tricky to secure, which could mean no more Beyonce tunes for Team Tidal because the major controls the singer's repertoire.

But not so, said Sony Music top man Doug Morris this weekend. What the fools at Bloomberg forgot is that Morris and Zed are bessy mates, and there'll be no fallings out here. The Sony boss said in a statement: "Jay-Z is a friend and business associate for many years. I have always admired his business acumen, his entrepreneurship and his passion for music. All of our content, including Beyoncs, is available through the Tidal service, and we have announced no plans to remove our catalogue from Tidal. Like all of our other partners, we are rooting for Jay and Tidal to succeed".

So there you go. But shall we all just pretend Beyonce has been pulled from Tidal anyway? Because that's funnier. And it shouldn't be difficult to pretend such a thing. I mean, none of you are actually using Tidal, right?

As 'breakage' debate continues, could things go legal?
Various legal sources have told Digital Music News in the US that there could as yet be legal action over what happens to the big advances paid by the streaming platforms to the majors, such as those outlined in that old Sony/Spotify contract that leaked last month.

While, as previously noted, there was little in the leaked Sony contract that we didn't already know about the way deals between the majors and the big streaming start-ups are structured (except, perhaps, for the specific numbers), the leak reignited the debate around what happens to unallocated advances, which everyone in the industry insists on continuing to call 'breakage', because why use a self-explanatory term when you can use a redundant word from the old record industry?

Basically, the big rights owners get big upfront cash advances, which are recoupable for the streaming services but non-fundable. So any royalties owed to the label as tracks are streamed are deducted from the advance, but if at the end of the year the advance exceeds what the digital platform actually owed the label overall for content used, the record company keeps the difference. But what does the record company do with the difference? Does it share it with its artists pro-rata, or does it just pocket the extra cash?

Many artists and managers suspect that it's the record companies that mainly benefit from the advances, though after the Spotify contract leaked Sony quickly issued a statement saying that it had historically "shared digital breakage with its artists, and voluntarily credits breakage from all digital services to artist accounts". Warner, meanwhile, has long claimed to share breakage income with artists, and last week Music Business Worldwide published a royalties statement from the record company that seemed to prove that was the case.

Still, DMN's sources say resentment remains in the artist and management community, because despite reassurances from two of the three majors, and the listing of breakage income on some royalty statements, the big record companies remain generally unhelpful in explaining to their artists - and those artists' managers and accountants - exactly how digital income is processed before splits are paid to talent under contract.

When it comes to labels sharing advances and other digital kickbacks with talent, it's debatable whether the average record contract would actually empower artists to force a better cut of the action through the courts. Though lawyers speaking to DMN said that the next round of artist royalty lawsuits in the US could focus on this area anyway, because "that may be the only way we can get [the lack of transparency] to change".

Meanwhile, some lawyers we've spoken too remain hopeful the previously reported litigation between Sony Music and 19 Entertainment over various 'American Idol' finalist contracts could be that clarity-delivering case, if it ever gets to court.

For their part, the recently formed International Artist Organisation is pushing for a less messy solution, by urging the record companies to agree a code of practise on artist contracts and the way royalties are paid. In their previously reported open letter, the IAO said: "[We call] on the labels to come to the table to develop a code of practise, with strict penalties for transgressors, that should govern all contracts between artists and record labels and which should provide a framework to better align their interests and foster relationships of partnership".

Janice Brock and David Ventura promoted at Sony/ATV
Sony/ATV last week announced the promotion of both Janice Brock and David Ventura to the newly-created positions of Joint Heads of A&R in the UK.

As you might have even guessed, in the new roles they will "oversee the day-to-day operations of Sony/ATV UK's A&R team". In addition to that, Brock will become head of the major publisher's studios and producer management division while Ventura retains his title of VP International.

Both report into Sony/ATV's Guy Moot, who says: "I am really excited that David and Janice will now be heading Sony/ATV UK's incredibly successful A&R team. To me they are the very soul of this company, while possessing management skills and experience that put them at the forefront of where a 21st Century A&R department needs to be".

Apple courting A-listers to front all-new iTunes
Apple is reportedly in talks to sign up Drake, Pharrell and David Guetta to front their all-new iTunes platform because, well, of course they are.

According to the New York Post, the A-listers are being courted with multi-million dollar deals to help promote the revamped Apple music service, possibly providing exclusive content, or fronting curated channels or mixes. Perhaps subscribers could vote for their favourite song each week, and Pharrell could rip it off and make a new hit out of it.

Apple is still expected to unveil its new music play, which will likely integrate the iTunes store and personalised radio service with the Beats streaming platform, at its World Wide Developer Conference in San Francisco next week.

Though negotiations seemingly continue between the tech giant and the music rights owners. The Post reckons that the main bones of contention are that Apple wants the labels to provide their content for free during the generous three month free trial it will offer for its new on-demand streaming set-up, while on the publishing side the firm wants the publishers to throw in a license for an accompanying lyrics service free of charge.

Though quite what we'll see debuted next week remains to be seen.


Tackling the Digital Pie Debate
Back to our post-event coverage of this year's CMU Insights @ The Great Escape, which will continue during this month, and in the latest edition of the CMU Trends Report we summarise the big Digital Pie Debate, which was definitely one of the livelier discussions at the conference this year.

In the article, CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke explores the three strands of the debate over how income from the rapidly expanding streaming services is shared - the DSP v label split, the label v publisher split, and the label v artist split.

On the first strand he writes: "We know that, in the main, the Spotify-style streaming services are keeping about 30% of their revenues, paying over the other 70% to the music rights industry. This is very much an approximate figure, and in the early days a streaming service will likely be paying more to the labels and publishers than it's total revenues, as it pays out minimum guarantees and advances before the revenue share element of its deals kick in. But in the main, the 70/30 split is the arrangement".

"There are some in the music community who reckon that the streaming services, being so reliant on songs and recordings, should actually pay more than 70% of their revenues over to the music rights owners. In the main, the DSPs are resistant to this proposal. And a report published earlier this year by the UK's Entertainment Retailer's Association, which counts the key digital firms among its membership, contained the quote: '70% is tough enough, but at 80%, we would have to shut up shop. Somebody should explain that 80% of nothing is... nothing'".

"That said, since Jay-Z led the acquisition of Tidal, he has indicated that his streaming platform plans to pay 75% of its income to the rights owners, so perhaps there is some room for manoeuvre. Though as Spotify and Deezer start to expand their consumer offer to include speech and video content, and programming commissioned by the DSP themselves, it could be that down the line the streaming firms actually seek to push the split the other way".

Premium CMU subscribers can read the full article in the latest CMU Trends Report, the link for which was sent out by email on Friday. Alternatively you can read it online here using the password published in today's edition of the CMU Digest. To become a premium CMU subscriber for just £5 a month click here.

Thrash Hits bows out with final rant
Rock and metal website Thrash Hits has gone on "indefinite hiatus", which is bad news because Thrash Hits was great.

In a suitably grumpy farewell post last week, editors Raz Rauf and Hugh Platt put the decision down to various things, but boiled it down to the basic fact that "it's become evident that we don't have the time or resources the site needs to maintain our own internal standards, or to re-invent the site to fully cater for the way our audience consumes content in 2015", as well as a lack of good enough writers to replace the contributors they've had poached by various rock magazines.

The second half of the post was then devoted to calling out some of the continued issues they perceive as holding back the rock and metal industry, before noting that "Jared Leto is still a terrible, terrible musician, and he remains the only person ever to threaten us with legal action".

You should go and read the whole thing. And then read as much of the published material on the site as possible. And then kick a bin over, or something.

  Approved: Frøkedal
We interviewed Anne Lise Frøkedal ahead of the release of the second album by her former band Harrys Gym back in 2011. Having since gone solo, she's now performing with the backing of fellow Norwegians Familien on a new set of folk leaning songs.

Following the first Frøkedal & Familien single 'I See You' (a live version of which you can watch here), she has just put out the video for the follow-up, 'Surfers'. Both tracks are beautifully written songs that quickly come to seem like old friends.

The grouping performed in London last week. Hopefully it won't be too long before they're back again. Meanwhile, watch the vide for 'Surfers' here.
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Son of BB King calls sisters' poisoning accusations "extreme"
BB King's son Willie has said that claims made by two of his sisters that their father was poisoned are the result of misplaced anger about his death last month.

Speaking to the NME, Willie King said: "There are always - I don't want to call them this, but - there's always a rotten apple in the barrel. Sometimes you can take hurt, and turn it into something that it should not be. And I think out of the anger of losing their dad, they went to the extreme".

"I pray that the public don't really accept them as an angry person like that, because being my sisters, they are not like that", he continued. "But sometimes you just don't know how to express yourself. And you jump out at the nearest person. And they attacked the wrong person".

As previously reported, Karen Williams and Patty King accused the musician's business manager, LaVerne Toney, and his personal assistant, Myron Johnson, of murdering their father. Police stated that there was no active homicide investigation ongoing, and that they would await the results of an autopsy before taking further steps.

BB King's funeral took place on Friday.


Enrique Iglesias suffers mid-concert drone injury
Enrique Iglesias finished a performance in Tijuana, Mexico on Saturday night, despite badly cutting his finger on a drone filming his performance.

The singer was injured when he attempted to grab the drone out of the air - apparently a regular part of his show - but misjudged it all somehow. His hand was bandaged and he performed the remainder of the concert before being flown to LA to see a doctor. Which seems a bit extravagant, but hey.

In a statement, a rep for the singer told to Associated Press: "During the show a drone is used to get crowd shots and some nights Enrique grabs the drone to give the audience a point of view shot. Something went wrong and he had an accident. He decided to go on and continued playing for 30 minutes while the bleeding continued throughout the show. He was rushed to the airport where an ambulance met him there. He was then put on a plane to LA to see a specialist".

Iglesias' next show will be in Mexico City on 3 Jul, where he will play two nights at the Auditorio Nacional. He is then due to play a handful of European dates in August in support of his 2014 album 'Sex & Love'. Drone attacks permitting.


Sam Smith debut album stays top five for one whole year
Sam Smith is basically the new Beatles, I think that's something we all agree on. And proof of that now exists, because he's equalled one of their chart records. It's an open and shut case, your honour.

Smith's 'In The Lonely Hour' is only the second debut album to spend a full year in the top five of the UK album chart, after The Beatles' 1963 album 'Please Please Me'. Although the Official Charts Company says that 'Please Please Me' only managed to stay top five its first 51 weeks on sale, which I'm pretty sure isn't a whole year. So Sam Smith is better than the Beatles.

The only other act to spend 52 weeks in the chart's top five is Simon & Garfunkel's 'Bridge Over Troubled Water' in 1970, which went on to stay there for 84 consecutive weeks in total. Then they split up, which Art Garfunkel is still bitter about. At least Sam Smith doesn't have to worry about that, what with him being a solo artist and all.

Smith told "Seeing this statistic genuinely makes me feel very weird, but also insanely happy and just so thankful to everyone who has purchased the album. Not so lonely anymore!"

But don't they always say it's lonely at the top? I'm pretty sure that's the rule. Sam Smith has misunderstood this entirely.

Korn man goes country, Owl City returns, Emilie Nicolas London show, and more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Korn frontman Jonathan Davis is working on some sort of country project. I'm sure you will all join with me in having high hopes for it.

• Well there's this new Owl City video, and it features Aloe Blacc.

• Postiljonen release their first new track in three years today. Here it is.

• Approved just last week, My Baby have released the lyric video for new single 'Seeing Red'. See it here.

• Kill J have released their first new track for bloody ages. It's called 'Cold Stone' and it's here.

• Chance The Rapper has released a six track EP, but he's done it under the name Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment. You can buy it on iTunes.

• Avicii has released one of those interactive 3D music videos that people seem to be putting on YouTube now. Have a look.

• Emilie Nicolas will play Oslo in Hackney on 8 Jul. This is excellent news.

Bands with female members are cooler, says Stevie Nicks
Lots of people get up in arms whenever anyone suggests that there should be quotas to ensure gender and racial diversity in cultural endeavours. Not Stevie Nicks though. At least not on the gender diversity side. She thinks that "every band should have a girl in it".

She told Mojo: "I think every band should have a girl in it, because it's always going to make for cooler stuff going on than if it's just a bunch of guys. It's ultimately more romantic, no matter what. Even if nobody is going together, it still casts a romantic spell".

Nicks, of course, is currently back touring with Fleetwood Mac, a band with two women in it, both of whom used to be "going" with other members of the band. But now they're not, and that's still fine. They're also all very good at writing songs and playing their instruments, but Nicks didn't mention that, so I guess it's not so important.

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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CHRIS COOKE | MD & Business Editor
Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
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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.
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Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of 3CM UnLimited she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
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