THURSDAY 4 JUN 2015
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The newish boss of Universal's music publishing business Jody Gerson has sent a memo to her staff worldwide (published by Hits Daily Double here) dealing with some of the discussions around what will happen if and when the major publishers Stateside decide to pull their digital rights from the collective licensing system and license streaming platforms directly... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: Odd Future offshoot The Internet, led by OF's Syd 'Tha Kyd' Bennett and Matt Martians, this week announced that they will release their third album, 'Ego Death', on 30 Jun. The album will feature guest appearances from Janelle Monáe, Tyler The Creator, Vic Mensa, Kaytranada, James Fauntleroy and Steve Lacy, but the track that accompanied the announcement... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Universal publishing chief addresses questions around direct licensing of digital
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LEGAL Mark E Smith's lyrics "hard to hear", rules High Court judge
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DEALS BMG to work with Janet Jackson on new album
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Publishers to call for better digital royalties at MIDEM this weekend
Didn't we / you / they do well - UK share of global music market reaches new high
Believe announces $60 million in new investment
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Universal Music Japan buys into Line Music
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ARTIST NEWS GRL split
Tool frontman has hip replacement
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GIGS & FESTIVALS The 1975 announce November tour dates
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AWARDS Dancestar Electronic Music Awards to launch this year
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ONE LINERS Fran Nevrkla to leave PPL, Markus Wenzel promoted at Universal, Albert Hammond Jr losing touch, and more
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AND FINALLY... Apple recalls Beats speaker over battery concerns
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NINJA TUNE - DIGITAL ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Ninja Tune is looking for a full-time Digital Assistant to aid its wider Digital and Marketing teams in its London office. The ideal candidate will have some previous experience in a similar role, looking to step up to work across an expanded set of artists, labels and releases. Candidate must be a self-starter with strong multi-tasking and time management abilities, technologically-minded with an understanding of digital’s place in the wider modern music industry.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
MAMA & COMPANY - E-MARKETING CO-ORDINATOR (LONDON)
MAMA & Company is looking for an experienced E-marketing Co-ordinator. This is a fantastic opportunity to work and grow with an exciting company who own some of London's most established venues. You will need to have experience of managing email marketing campaigns, database management and analysis, as well as holding high levels of computer literacy. Knowledge of HTML, CSS and Java is essential.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
ANJUNABEATS & ANJUNADEEP - DIGITAL MARKETING EXECUTIVE (LONDON)
The parent company of Anjunabeats, Anjunadeep and Involved Management (Above & Beyond, Lane 8, ilan Bluestone, Andrew Bayer) is accepting applications now for the role of Digital Marketing Executive. This is a rare opportunity for a motivated individual to help define the future of one of the world’s leading dance music brands during a phase of rapid transformation within our industry.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
IMPRESSIVE PR - SENIOR MUSIC PUBLICIST (LONDON)
Senior Music Publicist vacancy - Must have at least four years direct music PR experience with a contacts book full of journalists. You'll be working across big name music campaigns, new bands and the occasional TV celebrity or music event/festival.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
YOUR ARMY - PROMOTIONS CO-ORDINATOR (LONDON)
Your Army is looking for a Promotions Co-ordinator to work across its Radio, Club and TV departments. The position is ideal for someone with excellent administration and time management skills.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
SUPAPASS - ARTIST/LABEL RELATIONS AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT EXECUTIVE (LONDON OR NORWICH)
SupaPass is an exciting new digital music platform connecting superfans with their favourite bands. We are seeking an ambitious and driven artist/label relations and business development executive with a deep understanding and strong network across music, entertainment and music-tech. If you have previously applied for this role please DO resend your application, as due to technical issues beyond the control of SupaPass, many applications went astray.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
MAMA & COMPANY - GENERAL MANAGER, LIVERPOOL ARTS CLUB (LIVERPOOL)
This is a fantastic opportunity to work and grow with an exciting company that owns some of the UK’s most established venues. To manage the venue both efficiently and effectively ensuring that the diary is commercially maximised and all statutory duties are discharged. To effectively manage the kitchen and restaurant operation, ensuring GP is maintained and customer satisfaction is the primary focus.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
[PIAS] - SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING STRATEGIST (LONDON)
S[PIAS] is seeking an experienced Social Media Marketing Strategist to provide leadership, strategy and implementation of its in-house digital/social and online global presences. The successful candidate will interact across all [PIAS] repertoire divisions as well as working in close conjunction with the [PIAS] Brand Manager to ensure our presences reflect the values, tone and positioning of the company.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
ELITE MUSIC MANAGEMENT - BOOKING AGENT & ASSISTANT BOOKING AGENT (BRIGHTON)
Since 1999, Brighton based Elite Music Management has represented breakthrough DJs, producers and label parties. We are looking for two dynamic, talented individuals to work as part of a hard-working team. You will be required to promote a roster of acts, and manage their worldwide tour diaries. You will liaise with artists, managers and promoters on a daily basis.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
UNDER THE BRIDGE - ACTING GENERAL MANAGER (LONDON)
We require an Acting General Manager to manage and deliver the content of events at Under the Bridge including corporate events, private events, showcases, public music events and match days. To ensure the smooth operational running of Under The Bridge.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
LISTEN UP - EVENTS PRESS OFFICER (LONDON)
Listen Up provides a bespoke 360 promotional service offering radio, club, online and print campaigns in the UK and worldwide, consistently delivering results to clients in a diverse range of musical genres. We are hiring an experienced Events Press Officer to join the events team at Listen Up. The candidate will need 3-4 years' experience running print and online events campaigns and will be working across Listen Up’s extensive festival and events roster.

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
 

Universal publishing chief addresses questions around direct licensing of digital
The newish boss of Universal's music publishing business Jody Gerson has sent a memo to her staff worldwide (published by Hits Daily Double here) dealing with some of the discussions around what will happen if and when the major publishers Stateside decide to pull their digital rights from the collective licensing system and license streaming platforms directly.

As previously reported, frustrated with the royalty rates they were receiving from key digital services, a few years back the bigger publishers in the US decided to follow the lead of their European counterparts and pull their digital rights from the collective licensing system, meaning that organisations like BMI and ASCAP would no longer be able to represent the performing rights of the big publishers' repertoire when licensing digital platforms.

When music rights owners license through their collecting societies there is extra copyright regulation at play, designed to counter competition law concerns about the record or publishing sectors licensing as one. This usually means that, ultimately, unhappy licensees can take the matter to a statutory mediator, in the US the rate courts, where a judge will decide what royalties should be paid. And when it came to digital, the US rate courts always seemed to set the rates pretty low.

For the majors, one solution to this dilemma was to stop licensing digital services through the collective licensing system, moving to a direct licensing scenario where the rate courts have no role. Except that when they tried to do just that, Pandora - which knew it would have to pay higher royalties if negotiating direct - argued that under collective licensing rules in the US, contained in the so called 'consent decrees', the publishers couldn't choose to licence digital direct while still licensing broadcasters and public performance collectively.

And the courts agreed. The consent decrees said publishers had to be 'all in' or 'all out' when it came to collective licensing. Which means that if the US publishers started licensing digital directly, they'd have to license every radio station, gig promoter and music-playing bar directly too, which no one really wants to do. Though Sony/ATV boss Marty Bandier has threatened to do just that if the Department Of Justice - which controls the consent decrees - doesn't change the rules to allow partial withdrawal.

The DoJ has been busying reviewing the collective licensing rules, and the publishers are hopeful that the consent decrees will be rewritten later this year to allow them to withdraw just digital. Collective licensing regulations in Europe, which are a little more flexible, already allow publishers to license digital direct while still dealing with other licensee types through the society system.

Though the prospect of the big publishers moving to direct dealing on digital in the US has thrown up lots of questions in the songwriting and legal community, and the main question is this: can the publishers actually pull digital from BMI and ASCAP without the permission of each and every songwriter on their roster?

In Europe the publishing industry's collecting societies are generally more powerful than their counterparts in the US, because the societies rather than the publishers control certain elements of the copyright (so PRS controls the performing right element of its members' songs, with the publishers simply having a contractual right to a cut of the income). This means that where the big five (Sony/ATV, Universal, Warner/Chappell, BMG and Kobalt) license digital services direct, they have to do so in partnership with a performing rights organisation, with some of the income being paid direct to songwriters via their societies.

But what will happen in the US where collecting societies are less powerful? How will songwriters be paid their cut of digital income? What will they receive a cut of? If they haven't recouped on their advance, will they not see any performing rights income (whereas currently, even in the US, they'd be paid this direct by their society even if they haven't recouped)? And what about non-US repertoire, represented by BMI and ASCAP under reciprocal agreements with other societies around the world, societies which may actually control elements of the copyright? Are you keeping up with all this? Basically, lots of questions.

And it is some of these questions that Universal Music Publishing Group CEO Jody Gerson has addressed in her memo, after stating that all the chatter around this issue has led to "misrepresentations" that are "misleading the songwriter community". Universal's lobbying effort for consent decree reform is, she insists, simply part of the firm's ongoing mission to do the best for its songwriters, and "to protect their rights and do all we can to deliver the greatest value for them".

But what about all those questions? Well, the three bullet points in the middle of the memo are most important in tackling these issues. Gerson writes...

1. We will adhere to a standard of transparency with our performance rights licenses by sharing with our songwriters terms and all monies under such licenses, whether royalties, unearned advances, or flat payments.

2. We will not apply the writer's share of performance income against unrecouped songwriter advance balances; in fact, at a songwriter's election, we will direct licensees to pay the writer's share of performance income directly to the songwriter's performance rights organisation of choice.

3. To the extent a songwriter is a member of an ex-US performance rights society, we will not license such songwriter's performance rights unless authorised to do so by the songwriter or society concerned.

She concludes: "As we move into a world of direct performance rights licensing, we need to continue to listen to our songwriters and respect any concerns or questions raised by their representatives and songwriter trade organisations. We need to ensure that they are secure in the knowledge that when we act, we act to serve their best interests".

So there you have it. Though - lawyers repping songwriters will no doubt insist - the devil is in the detail, and while Gerson's commitments will be welcomed, many songwriters on her roster will want to know more about how any directly-negotiated digital deals will work.

True, a certain amount of information can be unofficially gleaned from the contracts Sony/ATV and Universal negotiated with Pandora before they were told direct dealing wasn't allowed. Those contracts were used and therefore revealed in the previously reported Pandora rate court hearing, and are dissected by Music Business Worldwide here. But songwriters and their reps would prefer to be told upfront by the publishers themselves exactly who is paying what to whom, and how each songwriter's royalties will be calculated and paid.

On that front the songwriters are at one with recording artists. "Transparency" remains the buzzword de jour. And while the Universal record company has now followed the lead of Sony and Warner in insisting that it shares those "unearned advances" (to use Gerson's term, or "breakage" if you insist) with its artists, there remains much confusion in the management community as to what these commitments mean, when the sharing of breakage was implemented, and where managers should be looking for it on artist royalty statements.

And anyway, some suspect that the majors (though probably not Warner, which everyone agrees has been doing this for a while) have opted to start sharing breakage just as the streaming services are bringing in sufficient income each year that the advances are always recouped anyway, so there is no unallocated revenue to share. Which is cheeky. But hey, maybe we can put this one to bed for now anyway, and let the resentment silently brew amongst the artist community, ready for an almighty explosion when Spotify floats and the majors don't share they equity spoils.

Mark E Smith's lyrics "hard to hear", rules High Court judge
It's been commonly assumed to be the case for many years, but this week a High Court judge has confirmed that The Fall's Mark E Smith doesn't enunciate properly when delivering his lyrics.

The news came during the ruling in a legal battle between former Fall member Julia Adamson (backed by Smith's publisher Minder Music) and producer Steven Sharples over the ownership of 1999 song 'Touch Sensitive', reports the Manchester Evening News.

Sharples argued that he was entitled to a share of the song as he co-wrote both the lyrics and the music. But Adamson said that the lyrics stemmed from an earlier version of the song which she co-wrote with Smith and performed in 1998 on John Peel's Radio 1 show, and that Sharples had made no contribution to the words when the song was subsequently recorded.

This was despite a 2013 agreement between Adamson and Sharples which gave the latter 50% of the former's two-thirds stake in the song. Both Adamson and Minder Music wanted that agreement set aside.

To aid her decision, the judge overseeing the case, Amanda Michaels, was given three versions of the track to listen to - the original radio session, a live recording, and the album version that Sharples says he co-wrote - accompanied by lyric transcriptions provided by Sharples to support his claim the lyrics evolved between versions.

Unfortunately for Sharples, it was these transcriptions that convinced the judge that Smith was probably the sole author of the lyrics, as she felt that the producer had struggled as much as she had to work out what the vocalist was banging on about. "Mr Smith delivers the lyrics in a manner which at some points makes it hard to hear the words", she said, adding that Sharples' transcripts did not seem to be "completely accurate".

Honing in on one line, she mused: "I accept the contention that the line is not 'And a Star Wars police vehicle Paul's off', but the more comprehensible 'And a Star Wars police vehicle pulls up'".

However, Michaels did agree that string passages on the album version of the song had been written by Sharples and made a "small but significant contribution" to the finished song. This, she felt, would give Sharples a 20% stake in the piece if she were ruling without the earlier agreement. Ultimately, though, the judge felt her duty was to uphold the existing contract, meaning Sharples can continue to claim a third of the publishing income from it.

But exactly how hard to understand are the words to 'Touch Sensitive'? Here's a crappy YouTube upload of the video to make things extra difficult.

BMG to work with Janet Jackson on new album
The BeeMGees have only gone and signed that there Janet Jackson. You know, Janet. Janet Jackson. Or, in the words of BMG itself, the "icon, music artist, BET honoured, award-winning songwriter, producer, singer, Oscar and Golden Globe nominee and winner of the NAACP Best Supporting Actor award, publisher, dancer, businessperson, philanthropist and one of biggest-selling artists in popular music history". Yes, Janet Jackson. The Super Bowl. The Breast. The Nipplegate. Hurrah, Janet Jackson!

Jackson, says BMG, is the "biggest worldwide superstar to quit the traditional record label system for a so-called artist services deal". I don't know, that Jacob Whitesides is pretty big news. But yes, the BMG partnership will see the music rights firm work with Jackson's own company, Rhythm Nation, to release her first album in seven years this autumn.

The new record is yet to be named, but I'm sure whatever it's called it will be a suitable title for the latest musical offering from an icon, music artist, BET honoured, award-winning songwriter, producer, singer, Oscar and Golden Globe nominee and winner of the NAACP Best Supporting Actor award, publisher, dancer, businessperson, philanthropist and one of biggest-selling artists in popular music history.

And now here's BMG boss Hartwig Masuch with a quote: "Janet is not just a supreme artist, she is a unique cultural force whose work resonates around the world. It is an honour that she has chosen BMG to release her long-awaited new album. We look forward to collaborating with her across every platform".

Publishers to call for better digital royalties at MIDEM this weekend
Germany's music publishing trade group DMV will lead calls from the publishing and songwriting community for an increase in the royalties being paid to song right owners by digital services at a press conference at MIDEM tomorrow.

As much previously reported, the songwriting community has become increasingly vocal of late about the royalties they are receiving from the booming streaming sector, which they say too low. And some in the music publishing community too, though generally less vocal in public, have also criticised the fact that both the digital platforms and the record labels are earning considerably more from the streaming market than the song rights owners.

The issue is set to be discussed at the Independent Music Publishing Forum at MIDEM this week, with DMV President saying yesterday: "We want to form an international movement so that authors are paid what they deserve and are no longer exploited, and that the multinational companies of music streaming stop making a fortune while paying the creative authors next to nothing".

Though, of course, the digital service providers would likely argue that - as loss-making businesses that keep only 30% of their revenues - they are not the problem here. Rather, the issue is that the record companies take the majority of the income generated by streaming (55-60%), making it impossible for the DSPs to increase the revenue share it provides to the songwriters and publishers, currently 10-15%. (Premium subscribers can delve into the Digital Pie Debate more here, using the password in the most recent CMU Digest email.)

Some in the publishing community might argue that, actually, the streaming services could and should reduce their 30% share to pay the song rights owners more, though Budde's statement does acknowledge that the labels earn more from streaming.

"The reason for this is that labels can choose whether to license music to music services", the statement says. "Authors and music publishers are dependent on the collecting societies. In Germany, for example, GEMA has to license at certain rates because of its monopoly status in the market".

Of course, in Europe the bigger publishers are now licensing digital outside the collective licensing system - albeit in partnership with the collecting societies - and increasingly when songwriters and publishers gripe about streaming royalties, you sense their real grievances are with the collecting societies and the collective licensing system, even though they never say it. Budde also refers to "difficult and confusing" royalty statements in the digital domain, though the data provided by most DSPs is generally pretty clear, if abundant, and confusions seem more likely to occur with the middle men who process the money.

Nevertheless, it seems likely that the DSPs, and possibly the labels, are more likely to be under fire during any publisher-led discussions in Cannes this weekend.

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Didn't we / you / they do well - UK share of global music market reaches new high
Just in case there was any doubt whatsoever, the BPI has put out a bunch more stats telling us all how well British artists are doing worldwide at the moment, confirming that UK artists accounted for 13.7% of global music sales in 2014, the highest rate in five years. So well done Ed, Sam, James, Paloma, Harry, Niall, Liam, Louis, Chris, Jonny, Guy, Will, Dan, Hannah, Dominic, Nick, Roger, Richard, David and Syd, have yourself an extra Hob Nob with your coffee. Well, those of you who are still living.

And now here's BPI boss Geoff Taylor with some words: "The achievements of UK artists and labels in 2014 were truly outstanding. They dominated sales at home like never before, releasing all of the top ten best-selling artist albums of 2014, while climbing higher than ever in the charts overseas. Music is a tremendous exports success story for the UK - all around the world, fans are listening to the records we produce, supporting not only our balance of trade but a positive image for Britain overseas".

The BPI unleashed its latest stats as the UK record industry's collecting society PPL had its annual general meeting, confirming record revenues from the services and music users it is empowered to licence, with £187.1 million collected and £161.2 million distributed to labels and artists last year.

International income, ie royalties collected for those labels and artists PPL reps for performing rights worldwide, was up 6%, partly by the organisation securing reciprocal agreements with nine more counterpart societies around the globe, but partly also by UK artists making tunes that those crazy foreigners just can't stop playing.

So hurrah one and all and you and them and everyone. And now I want a Hob Nob.

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Believe announces $60 million in new investment
Having recently acquired TuneCore, digital distributor and label services business Believe Digital has announced a new round of funding, with $60 million being pumped into the company by a number of new and existing investors, including Technology Crossover Ventures, which already backs a number of other digital business including Spotify, Netflix and Vice.

In a statement confirming the new round of investment, Believe said: "The backing of TCV, a highly respected investment firm with a deep knowledge of the digital music and video space, and the increased investment from XAnge, a historical investor in Believe Digital since 2007, as well as the investment from GP Bullhound Sidecar and continued trust of Ventech, are a statement of confidence in Believe Digital's strategic vision and ability to execute".

Meanwhile Believe founder and CEO Denis Ladegaillerie said: "Believe Digital aims to become the global leader in digital distribution and label services; the rapid growth of digital music sales - which now surpass CD sales in many countries - is contributing to making Believe Digital and TuneCore increasingly attractive alternatives for labels and artists; the future is exciting and this capital will empower us to invest more to make our artists and labels successful, hire music, digital marketing and technology talents and explore targeted acquisition opportunities with companies that share our vision and goal".

And TCV partner John Rosenberg, who joins the Believe Digital board as part of his company's investment, said: "New distribution channels and digital marketing services are reshaping the global music industry. Through technological innovation and a highly disruptive and transparent business model, Believe Digital has become a powerful force in the global music industry, enabling independent labels and artists to capitalise on these emerging trends. We are delighted to support Denis and his team as they continue their impressive journey".

Universal Music Japan buys into Line Music
Universal Music in Japan has bought into Line Music, which presumably means the major will be participating in the new streaming service when it goes live there.

The digital market is yet to really gain momentum in Japan, the world's second biggest recorded music market, partly because CD sales held up there so much longer than in most other countries. But with CD revenues now in decline in Japan too, the country's music industry really needs to boost its digital income, though most of the big streaming music brands in the US and Europe have as yet found it hard to get licensing deals from the Japanese labels.

This is partly because of attempts by the big four Japanese record companies - so the Japanese divisions of Universal and Warner, the standalone Sony Music Japan and local major Avex - to control the digital market themselves.

Though in the last year or so, Universal and Warner seem to have been pushing for the Japanese industry to let the global streaming platforms in, while Sony and Avex have been busy going into business with messaging app Line with a view to launching a new streaming service over which the record companies would have some control.

Despite the usual desire for consensus in the Japanese industry, for a time it looked like Universal and Warner would be hold outs on the new Line Music venture, but earlier today Line said that the mega-major was now on board as a shareholder in its music service, which presumably means the firm's catalogue will be available when the new streaming service goes live.

As previously reported, Line has already added music streaming to its network in Thailand with a monthly subscription under $2. But it remains to be see what Line Music looks like when it launches in Japan, where the small number of streaming services already active have had to reduce functionality in order to secure label approval.

Premium subscribers can check out our recent review of the Japanese digital market online using the password published in the most recent edition of the CMU Digest.

  Approved: The Internet - Special Affair
Odd Future offshoot The Internet, led by OF's Syd 'Tha Kyd' Bennett and Matt Martians, this week announced that they will release their third album, 'Ego Death', on 30 Jun.

The album will feature guest appearances from Janelle Monáe, Tyler The Creator, Vic Mensa, Kaytranada, James Fauntleroy and Steve Lacy, but the track that accompanied the announcement, 'Special Affair', was pure unadulterated Internet.

Driven by an infectious bassline, the band's slow funk slinks up behind Bennett's vocals to match the mood of her lyrics. Listen to 'Special Affair' here.
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GRL split
US girl group GRL have announced that they are splitting up, nine months on from the death of band member Simone Battle.

A statement from Sony Music reads: "Nearly nine months following the tragic death of band member Simone Battle, girl group GRL announces today that they are disbanding. We wish them continued success in each of their next creative endeavours".

Former 'X-Factor' contestant Battle joined the Pussycat Dolls offshoot GRL in 2012. She took her own life the week that the group released their debut single, 'Ugly Heart'. In January this year, the remaining members of the group returned with a new single, 'Lighthouse', in memory of Battle and in support of mental health charity Give An Hour.

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Tool frontman has hip replacement
A career in music can be bad for your health in a variety of ways, though this is perhaps something that would less readily spring to mind. Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan has blamed "years of foot stomping" on stage for hip replacement surgery he underwent this week.

In a post on the Facebook page of his Puscifer solo project, he said: "Didn't want to freak anyone out, wanted to wait until out of the woods. Years of foot stomping left me with no cushion in my right hip. Full replacement yesterday. Walking today. Twelve weeks, back on the mat to work towards that brown belt".

People often complain about bands that stand still when they perform, but maybe it is the safest way to do it. So everyone stop dancing. It's for the best.

The 1975 announce November tour dates
The 1975 have announced a tour. They did something before they announced it, like deleting their social media accounts, or something. Basically people thought they might have split up. As you may be able to tell, I wasn't really paying attention, but anyway, it turns out it was just a tour announcement, and I can't be bothered to go back and find out what the gimmick was all about.

Either way, as the band explained in a letter posted to their Facebook page, they are going to start promoting their currently-in-production second album by playing smaller venues than they have been gigging in recently, in order to offer a more intimate experience. "The best way to start is the way we did before - in venues we have loved and places that feel intimate enough to do a proper new show", wrote frontman Matthew Healy. "With people who really want to be there. Or need to be there in some extreme cases".

He continued: "Due to the size of the venues that we feel are appropriate for this particular tour, and taking into consideration the humbling dedication that I have felt from a lot of our fans, I predict that only the most dedicated will end up with tickets. This can only be remedied by our reciprocated dedication to playing more and more shows".

It's probably worth noting that the London date of this tour will be held at the Hammersmith Apollo, which isn't exactly the back room of a pub. Actually, I don't think any of the venues on this tour would have been a surprise for a 1975 show had they just announced the listings without all this fanfare. But maybe I've missed something. Though please don't write in and tell me what, I really don't care.

Here are the dates:

9 Nov: Liverpool, Guild of Students
10 Nov: Leicester, De Montfort Hall
11 Nov: Sheffield, Academy
12 Nov: Doncaster, Dome
14 Nov: Nottingham, Rock City
15 Nov: Newcastle, Academy
17 Nov: Edinburgh, Corn Exchange
18 Nov: Bridlington, Spa
19 Nov: Cambridge, Corn Exchange
20 Nov: Plymouth, Pavilion
21 Nov: Southampton, Guildhall
23 Nov: Southend, Cliff Pavilion
24 Nov: London, Hammersmith Apollo
26 Nov: Brighton Centre
27 Nov: Swindon, Oasis
28 Nov: Manchester, Academy

Dancestar Electronic Music Awards to launch this year
Marketing communications agency Big Group and 'media platform' Dancestar Ventures have announced that they are teaming up to launch the Dancestar Electronic Music Awards. Doesn't it just give you a warm glow inside? The first ceremony will be held in Singapore in December, also aided by GroupM, part of ad agency powerhouse WPP. But I'm sure it's all about the music really.

Says Dancestar CEO Andy Ruffell: "Big Group provide unrivalled expertise in brand development, social and digital media so they were an obvious choice to help make Dancestar a truly global brand. Dancestar is the only EDM brand that has a proven TV track record, Big Group and GroupM will enable us to deliver a measurable platform for major brands to engage with EDM culture in a way that's not possible right now".

Big Group CEO Nick Scott added: "With Big Group's heritage in music, being able to help develop the Dancestar brand on a global scale at such an important time for the electronic music industry is an exciting prospect".

So, that's yet another music industry awards ceremony to add to the list.

Fran Nevrkla to leave PPL, Markus Wenzel promoted at Universal, Albert Hammond Jr losing touch, and more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Fran Nevrkla will step down as Chairman of the UK record industry's collecting society PPL at the end of the year. Nevrkla was CEO of the rights body until 2012, and then stayed on as Chair.

• Universal Music Publishing has promoted Markus Wenzel, previously MD of its German unit, to be President of UMP Germany and SVP for UMP in Austria and Switzerland. Which will certainly fill his business card.

• Albert Hammond Jr has made available new single 'Losing Touch', which is taken from his forthcoming new solo album 'Momentary Masters', out on 31 Jul.

• Loyle Carner has announced a new single, 'Tierney Terrace', which is out on 24 Jul.

• Envy have announced their first album in five years, 'Atheist's Cornea', which will be released through Mogwai's Rock Action label on 10 Jul. From it, this is 'Ignorant Rain At The End Of The World'.

• Just approved last week, Georgia has announced that she will release her debut album on 7 Aug. She's also going to be playing support to Hot Chip in October. Here's a new track, 'Be Ache'.

• Alvvays have announced that their new single will be 'Adult Diversion', out on 22 Jun.

• Maribou State have announced UK tour dates for October, kicking off on 27 Oct at London's Village Underground.

• Hurts will play The Scala in London on 16 Jun.

Apple recalls Beats speaker over battery concerns
We've been a bit derisory about Beats headphones over the years, but I think it's fair to say that the firm's Pill XL speakers are on fire at the moment. Though mainly because of their dodgy batteries overheating.

Which is to say Beats owner Apple has recalled its Pill XL speakers, requesting customers who bought the product return them ASAP, because an overheating battery poses a fire risk. The tech firm is keen to stress that Pill XL batteries will only dangerously overheat in "rare cases", and we're not aware of any actual Beats-caused fire incidents. Though imagining one of those speaker units on fire is cheering me up no end. Does that make me a bad person?

Say the Beats makers and Pill peddlers at Apple: "Because customer safety is the company's top priority, we are asking customers to stop using their Beats Pill XL speakers. Customers who purchased a Beats Pill XL speaker should visit www.apple.com/support/beats-pillxl-recall for details about how to return their product to Apple, and how to receive an Apple Store credit or electronic payment of $325".

I wouldn't be so hasty if I were in charge at Apple. With its new iTunes streaming service due to launch next week, the tech giant is entering a very competitive market where it's really hard to differentiate your product. Lock the new iTunes to the Beats Pill XL speakers and there's your hook: "The streaming service that will burn your house down". I mean it sounds idiotic, but think about all those people who bought all those overpriced Beats headphones over the years. Never underestimate the spending power of the idiots.

 
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