TODAY'S TOP STORY: It's BBC Music Day everybody! Yes, BBC Music Day. All day. A whole day of music. As instituted by the British Broadcasting Corporation. And those of you who questioned yet more licence fee money being pumped into a pointless vanity project for BBC music chiefs, take note... The world of music was so inspired by this, Friday 5 Jun, being an official a day of music... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: This festival just off the Hackney Road really joins the dots with its line-up, which boasts a stack of artists known for pioneering in their respective sub-genres. The first of five Found festivals due to take place this summer, it's a relatively early one for clubbers, running from 11am to 9pm with last admission at 7pm, leaving the option for an early night, or... [READ MORE]
BEEF OF THE WEEK: Sometimes people have a bit of a rant on Twitter, the shortform format lending itself to quickly firing off ideas. But Grammy-nominated UK DJ and producer Mat Zo took that approach to the extreme this week when he spent seven straight days laying out his not entirely uncontroversial views on the state of electronic music, stopping in time for BBC Music Day. By the end, there was... [READ MORE]
ANOTHER BEEF OF THE WEEK: Do your eyes deceive you? Are there two Beefs Of The Week this week? You're damn right there are. It is BBC Music Day, after all. Plus, I only saw this one after I spent ages on the Mat Zo story, but it was too good to ignore. This is a tale of injustice and dogs. A David and Goliath story in which one popstar and her mother stand up to the might of P&O Ferries. It's about time... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES SoundCloud signs licensing deal with Merlin
LEGAL Amazon pulls out of MIC Coalition
Justin Bieber pleads guilty to assault
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Managers welcome label commitments on breakage
MPA elects new chair, appoints new GM
LIVE BUSINESS Songkick and CrowdSurge merge
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Spotify reportedly pays out $300 million in first quarter of 2015
MEDIA Music Week to move to Monday as chart day shifts
Global Radio buys Juice Liverpool
ARTIST NEWS Akon to launch Solar Academy in Mali
AND FINALLY... CMU Beef Of The Week #257: Mat Zo v EDM
CMU Beef Of The Week #258: The Grandes v P&O Ferries
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SoundCloud signs licensing deal with Merlin
It's BBC Music Day everybody! Yes, BBC Music Day. All day. A whole day of music. As instituted by the British Broadcasting Corporation. And those of you who questioned yet more licence fee money being pumped into a pointless vanity project for BBC music chiefs, take note...

The world of music was so inspired by this, Friday 5 Jun, being an official a day of music, that the indie labels and big bad SoundCloud called a truce, had a good old game of football in the mud, and then signed a treaty for future collaboration. I just hope the indie label chiefs now heading to Cannes for MIDEM remember to clean their shoes first.

So yes, SoundCloud has made another step towards its dream of becoming a licensed music platform, rather than just an audio storage service for content owners, by announcing a deal with Merlin, the global digital rights group that represents over 20,000 indie labels and distributors around the world, including many of the bigger independents.

The deal provides a framework via which Merlin-affiliated labels can start to monetise their content on the SoundCloud platform. And while Merlin deals are optional for member labels, word has it there is considerable enthusiasm in the indie community for this particular arrangement.

Which is notable, because it wasn't just the majors which had become critical of SoundCloud in recent years, with execs at various indies dissing the digital firm for taking far too long to engage with the labels, all the time building up a massive community of users with a plethora of tracks and mixes uploaded without the copyright owners permission.

Though - as with YouTube - while the labels are increasingly down on those user-upload services that operate 'opt-out' rather than 'opt-in' streaming platforms, the labels couldn't ignore the fact that massive community makes SoundCloud a valuable marketing channel, and a content distribution network that is popular with opinion formers and decision makers like journalists, DJs, bookers and A&Rs.

Confirming its deal with SoundCloud yesterday, Merlin said its members would now "have access to a full range of reporting and content management tools and, by joining On SoundCloud - SoundCloud's new creator partner programme - an opportunity to unlock new revenues, triggering monetisation of their own uploads to the SoundCloud platform, in addition to those posted by SoundCloud users. The agreement will also cover involvement in SoundCloud's forthcoming subscription service - a unique offering, due to launch in 2015".

Meanwhile Merlin chief Charles Caldas added: "The independent label community has long embraced SoundCloud as an innovative marketing and discovery platform, and Merlin is pleased to partner with the service at the next exciting stage of its evolution. Our deal significantly extends this existing relationship, and ensures Merlin members can participate fully in the long term value of SoundCloud's future".

For his part SoundCloud boss Alexander Ljung, who has been working extra hard of late to convince music rights owners that, whatever past gripes they might have, his v2 business model offers revenue as well as promotional opportunities, said: "I'm excited to announce our largest independent label partnership to date with Merlin, the global rights agency for the independent label sector. Independent creators have always been at the core of SoundCloud and with this partnership we're thrilled to extend new revenue generating opportunities to thousands of independent labels".

While Universal and Sony are yet to join the party, Merlin joins Warner in announcing a formal partnership with SoundCloud. And all because the BBC was clever enough to declare today the day for all things music.

Amazon pulls out of MIC Coaliation
After the recent 'cunt off' we staged between Apple and Google (you'll remember Google won on penalties), some of you phoned in to ask why the dicks at Amazon had been excluded from the competition. Well, first of all, by your own admission, they're dicks not cunts, and secondly, well...

Amazon has withdrawn from the previously reported MIC Coalition, stating that the trade group of American tech giants, broadcasters and other corporate music users has become primarily focused on collective licensing rules and rates, and the proposal to add a general performing right to sound recordings. But Amazon, it seems, was primarily interested in lobbying on the need for something akin to the abandoned Global Repertoire Database.

As previously reported, back in April companies like Amazon, Google, Pandora and iHeartMedia joined with trade groups representing broadcasters, retailers and restaurants to present a united front in the various debates that are occurring in the US just now on music rights issues. Those include efforts by the music publishers to reform collective licensing rules and increase the rates paid by digital services, and an initiative by the labels to secure a general performing right on sound recordings so that AM/FM stations and public spaces playing recorded music would have to start paying them royalties (as they already do in most other countries, but not the US).

The MIC Coalition has various stated aims, but says it is primarily "committed to a rational, sustainable and transparent system that will drive the future of music". But it turns out that for Amazon - which, as an online service, already pays royalties to the labels and isn't so bothered about what's happening with collective licensing - it was the 'transparent system' bit that was the top priority.

Which is to say that the online retail giant wants a database that tell it who owns what music copyrights so that it knows who to pay when it uses songs or recordings. Which most people in the music community would consider a perfectly reasonable request, even if no one can provide such a database. No, not even on BBC Music Day.

But, it seems, asking music rights owners to make it easier to pay them money isn't so high up the agenda of the rest of the MIC Coalition. Confirming his company was pulling from the enterprise, Amazon's VP Of Digital Music Steve Boom said, according to Billboard: "When we joined the coalition we had a particular agenda topic that we were interested in, and that was transparency. What has become clear to us since MIC went public is that part of the agenda - transparency - is getting lost in the wilder noise surrounding rate-setting".

He continued: "By transparency, we mean having a centralised database of rights ownership so we can identify who the rights owners are and have their contact data so we can pay them. A centralised database would advance transparency and make payments easier. That was our agenda item, but it clearly got consumed. [MIC is] no longer a vehicle for us to push for transparency". So there you go. Not a cunt. Not even a dick. Oh, hang on, I forgot about all that tax stuff. Yeah, OK, still dicks.

Nevertheless, musicFIRST, which is campaigning for some of the aforementioned reforms in music copyright law Stateside, welcomed Amazon's pulling from MIC. Executive Director Ted Kalo told CMU: "We applaud Amazon for withdrawing from the anti-artist MIC Coalition. We do not expect Amazon to be the last to question the Coalition's true agenda".

Putting pressure on other members of the Coalition, he continued: "We call on all members of the MIC Coalition who do not share the agenda of trying to cut pay to music creators to follow suit. We wonder why, for example, National Public Radio, who artists have worked so closely with over the years, would be involved in a Coalition apparently so laser-focused on cutting artists' pay? Amazon raises important issues and we welcome a constructive dialogue that can benefit everyone who loves music. Music services and music creators can and should work together as partners".


Justin Bieber pleads guilty to assault
Because he is the world's greatest person now, Justin Bieber has happily admitted to assaulting a photographer and doing some pretty crappy driving back in the bad old days. The singer pleaded guilty to assault and careless driving charges stemming from an incident last year. He was discharged and given a fine.

As previously reported, the incident occurred last September when he was spending time back in his hometown of Stratford, Ontario with Selena Gomez. Bieber apparently crashed a quad bike into a paparazzo's van and then "engaged in a physical altercation" with the photographer.

In a statement at the time, the singer's lawyer Brian Greenspan said: "Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez's peaceful retreat in Stratford this weekend was unfortunately disrupted by the unwelcome presence of paparazzi. This has regrettably resulted in charges of dangerous driving and assault".

Appearing at yesterday's hearing via video link from LA, Bieber entered a guilty plea and was ordered to a fine of CAN$750, plus a victim surcharge of CAN$100.

Presumably the decision not to fight the charges came in part because of Bieber's ongoing bid to put his days as a total cock cheese behind him. But it may also be that he wanted to ensure that today's BBC Music Day could be just about the music. As his God intended.

Managers welcome label commitments on breakage
Following much chatter of late around so called 'breakage' in the digital music space, the Music Managers Forum has welcomed commitments made by all three majors to share unallocated advances paid by streaming services with their artists.

As previously reported, the spotlight was put back on the advances streaming services pay to the big music rights owners when an old Sony/Spotify contract was leaked last month. The multi-million dollar advances are recoupable for the streaming services, but non-refundable, which means if it turns out the royalties owed to the label in any one year, based on revenue share or per-play minimum rates, are less than the advance already paid, the record company pockets the difference. This cash is the 'breakage'. But does it share that extra loot with its artists pro-rata based on what music was actually streamed?

Warner Music has long insisted it shares this money with its acts (and breakage payments have cropped up on royalty statements), while the many indies which signed up to the World Independent Network's Fair Digital Deals Declaration last July also committed to "account to artists a good-faith pro-rata share of any revenues and other compensation from digital services that stem from the monetisation of recordings but are not attributed to specific recordings or performances", which would include breakage.

Sony and Universal have generally been quieter on the issue. But almost as soon as its Spotify contract leaked, Sony put out a statement insisting it was sharing those big bucks advances with artists. And this week Universal Music - now the odd one out - likewise officially stated it was a breakage sharer.

Then a memo from Universal Music Publishing outlining how the American publishers' direct deals with the streaming services will work - if US regulators allow them to start licensing digital directly - stressed that "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" including "unearned advances".

With pretty much all the rights owners now committing to share breakage, the UK's Music Managers Forum said yesterday: "[We] welcome the addition of Universal Music Group and Universal Publishing to the list of companies that will pay breakage to artists. Warner Music, Sony Music and the independents who signed the WIN charter have been doing the right thing in this area already - some for up to six years. The change comes as the voice of the artist has taken centre stage with public statements from the newly formed International Artists Organisation after years of campaigning by the [UK's] MMF and the Featured Artists Coalition".

The statement goes on: "Many have spoken as the voice of the creator in recent years but the only people who can realistically make that claim are the artists themselves. The IAO have our full support in carrying out this task and shining the light of transparency in all the dark corners of a music business that would not exist without artists' creativity. We hope that we are seeing a new beginning and welcome an open discussion - however difficult - of all the issues that concern us and to replace a broken ecosystem with one that recognises the value that all parties bring to the table".

The statement concludes: "It is said you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. We want to see more eggs broken and put to work baking a bigger pie that is sliced up fairly - with all the ingredients in it".

All three majors going public on breakage shows that the big music rights owners are feeling the heat in the 'transparency' debate, though much about the way digital services are licensed remains unclear. Including what exactly "sharing breakage" means, and how far back the sharing goes, given advances exceeded actual streaming income way more in the early days of those services.

If and when Spotify rolls on with its IPO, the equity the labels have in the service will be contentious once again in the artist and songwriter community. So, if we're going stick with the MMF's metaphor, there are still plenty more eggs to break. Especially now Bieber's stopped throwing them all at his neighbour's house.

But hey, this is BBC Music Day, people! It's no time for breaking eggs. Let's all hold hands for once and hum 'Bohemian Rhapsody'. See, everything seems much better now, doesn't it?


MPA elects new chair, appoints new GM
The Music Publishers Association has a brand new Chair in the form of Jackie Alway, Universal Music Publishing's VP International Legal & Industry Affairs. She takes over from outgoing Chair Chris Butler, off of Music Sales Group, on 1 Jul.

Confirming her new role, Alway took a few moments away from all the many BBC Music Day festivities to tell reporters: "I love being a music publisher and love the work that the MPA does for music publishers. I will be proud to represent music publishers as Chair of the MPA. I look forward to working the MPA team and my friends and colleagues on the board and throughout the industry to build on the MPA's achievements to date".

The publishers' trade group also announced the appointment of a new General Manager - Claire McAuley - who joins the organisation from ad agency TBWA\Media Arts Lab, having previously also worked at Universal Music Publishing.

The GM role is being reinstated at the MPA following the recent and somewhat sudden departure of its CEO (and former GM) Sarah Osborn. Which perhaps suggests that Jane Dyball - the head of the publishers' licensing bodies MCPS, PMLL and IMPEL - and who became interim CEO at the MPA following Osborn's departure, may well stay on in that role, albeit in a slightly less hands-on capacity than her predecessor.

But such speculation isn't appropriate on something as grand as BBC Music Day. So instead, here's Dyball commenting on today's developments: "We must pay tribute to Chris Butler who has successfully steered the organisation through a period of immense change, taking its wholly owned subsidiary MCPS out of the PRS Alliance, and starting a new collection society in the form of PMLL".

She goes on: "However all good things must come to an end and Jackie Alway will be a fantastic replacement. Already committed to the MPA through her work on its board and committees, and to the music publishing sector in general, I look forward to working with Jackie over the next few years when there is so much to be done. Meanwhile, it is important that the team at the MPA have detailed knowledge of the music publishing business and to that end I am delighted to welcome Claire McAuley in the newly created role of General Manager".

The MPA has also confirmed that its AGM will take place on 1 Jul. Hopefully everyone will have recovered from the excitement of BBC Music Day by then.

Songkick and CrowdSurge merge
Gig discovery service Songkick and direct-to-fan ticketing platform CrowdSurge yesterday announced that they were merging, getting in quick before the entire world become too entranced with BBC Music Day to notice such developments. The merged company will use the Songkick brand, and will have $16 million pumped into it by a number of investors, including Warner Music owner Access Industries, an existing CrowdSurge backer.

Although primarily a gig listing and discovery service that links through to third-party ticket sellers, earning an affiliate fee when users then purchase, Songkick did move into selling tickets itself for some events. Seemingly because the mobile platforms of many other ticketing services were so rubbish the gig data company kept seeing transactions fall through.

Songkick confirmed to CMU that it will continue to work with the promoters that have been selling tickets via its app, but that its sales platform will now merge with that of CrowdSurge, which provides ticketing services to both promoters and, more notably, directly to artists (it calls itself the "largest artist-ticketing service in the world"). Songkick will continue to click through to other ticket sellers too, though CrowdSurge presumably hopes being directly integrated into the popular gig discovery service will make its ticket-selling platform more attractive.

In a blog post announcing the merger, Songkick said it and CrowdSurge were united in trying to help the live music industry sell as many tickets as possible. Noting that the live industry had boomed in the last two decades, Songkick co-founder Ian Hogarth wrote: "There is still a huge problem at the heart of the concert industry: 50% of concert tickets go unsold. That's crazy! The average show is half empty".

He went on: "Despite the growth in music consumption and discovery spurred by services like YouTube, Spotify, Pandora and iTunes, our industry hasn't seen this translate into better attendance rates. While the world around us hurtles ahead, the live industry shuffles forward. We need a more open, more innovative and a more artist and fan-centric approach".

Songkick is already tackling this issue, Hogarth said. "It's been said time and time again that the biggest reason that concerts don't sell out is that fans were unaware they were taking place. Songkick solves that problem by listing all the world's concerts in one app - and sending fans personalised alerts when artists they stream on digital music services announce a nearby show".

And CrowdSurge, he says, are also part of this mission. "CrowdSurge has been tackling this same problem by partnering directly with artists, helping artists to engage their vast online audiences around ticket sales". Artists who successfully build online direct-to-fan businesses should be able to sell more tickets, the logic goes, if they better utilise their engaged fanbase, in both planning and promoting shows.

Which all sounds like fun. Though the direct-ticketing and direct-to-fan sectors are both becoming pretty crowded, and mainly with technology providers rather than firms to help artists actually manage their direct-to-fan businesses. But Songkick enjoys a particularly high profile in this space, while CrowdSurge has an impressive existing client base, so there is plenty of potential here.

Though the predictable "Songkick set to take on Ticketmaster" line - which, to be fair, doesn't come from the companies themselves - ignores the hold traditional big players in ticketing have, over and above Ticketmaster being part of Live Nation, a massive player in both tour promotion and artist management.

And that hold is cash flow, and the advancing big ticketing firms do to promoters in return for exclusivity. Meaning large scale promoters need to balance the lure of better technology and data with the need for upfront cash. And $16 million in new investment won't let SongSurge compete in that particular space.

Still, it's an interesting merger all the same. Let's give it more consideration once all the BBC Music Day celebrations are out of the way.

Spotify reportedly pays out $300 million in first quarter of 2015
Spotify's total payments to rights holders rose by another $300 million in the first quarter of 2015, according to Billboard. This means the company has now paid out $3 billion to music rights owners since launching in 2008, $2 billion of which has come in since the beginning of 2014.

The booming payments come as some in the music community continue to criticise the royalties streaming services pay. Though sometimes detractors lump all streaming services together, and it's unfair to group Spotify with YouTube and SoundCloud in this domain.

And sometimes - especially on the publisher/songwriter side - you wonder what periods royalty statements being scrutinised relate to, given the challenge of crunching so much usage data, and the fact that where collective licensing is involved, money can take a while to move through the system, especially between countries. Which is to say, the fact so much of Spotify's payments have come in since 2014 make it important not to form an opinion on 2013 figures.

Of course, naysayers might point out that while it's all great that Spotify is spitting so much money into the recorded music industry, those payments are still shrouded in secrecy keeping artists in the dark about how their money is divided up.

But what we do know is that the money going to the songwriters and publishers is much less, and it's hard to see how that issue can be resolved any time soon, DSPs like Spotify finding themselves caught up in the middle of a battle between the recording and publishing divisions of (often) the same companies.

And anyway, even if we solve all that, Spotify is still burning fast through its venture capital, streaming music still being a loss-leading business, certainly on a global level.

But it would be a shame to end this story on a downer, on what should be a joyous BBC Music Day. Luckily, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek has spoken about his plans for the service and how he's going to make it a sustainable long-term success story.

Sell it, you say? No way. Well, not just to make a fast buck. Speaking to Dagens Nyheter, reports Reuters, Ek said: "We want to go further with our platform. The only case where we would be interested in selling the company is if someone would offer the possibility of a larger platform".

Music Week to move to Monday as chart day shifts
Fully aware that no other Friday will ever quite match the majesty of BBC Music Day, Music Week has been forced to change its publication day to Monday from next month.

Officially the trade mag is moving back to an early-in-the-week publication day because once the chart starts coming out on a Friday, a Friday morning delivery of each new issue would render the chart pages almost immediately redundant.

So it's all the fault of that damn Global Release Day. Though the major labels almost certainly picked Friday as the day to release new music worldwide after the BBC declared it such a musical day of the week.

Music Week's digital chart pack will also shift to Friday tea time, so record industry types can run to the pub with their iPads and point score over the latest stats. Which is, after all, the main reason the music charts still exist. So good times.


Global Radio buys Juice Liverpool
It may be BBC Music Day, but the Beeb wouldn't mind me mentioning a non-BBC radio station. After all, it's all about the music. Global Radio, still in acquisitive mode it seems, has bought Juice FM in Liverpool (not to be confused with the station of the same name in Brighton) from UTV Radio.

The Capital Radio owner had been a mooted bidder for the Liverpool station ever since UTV revealed it was considering selling its thirteen local radio stations earlier this year. According to The Guardian, the deal is worth £10 million. Global will rebrand the Merseyside station, making the FM frequency an outpost of one of its quasi-national stations, most likely Capital FM itself.

The deal will be subject to regulatory approval - which has proven problematic for Global before - but this is a relatively small deal this time, and neither Global nor UTV seem to expect any problems. It now remains to be seen what will happen to the rest of UTV's local stations, which include the Signal Radio outlets in the midlands. Perhaps I'll buy them just to reinstate this jingle. Come on, it's BBC Music Day, everyone join in now...

  Vigsy's Club Tip: Found presents Born & Bred at Haggerston Park
This festival just off the Hackney Road really joins the dots with its line-up, which boasts a stack of artists known for pioneering in their respective sub-genres. The first of five Found festivals due to take place this summer, it's a relatively early one for clubbers, running from 11am to 9pm with last admission at 7pm, leaving the option for an early night, or, perhaps, to take the party on elsewhere in the capital.

Picking just the highlights from each of the clans, Wiley and Goldie lead the actual Born & Bred zone, while under the Swamp81 banner you will find Benton, Klose One, Loefah, Youngsta and Zed Bias Presents 'Boss' Live. Just Jam presents OGz feat P Money, Blacks, Little Dee, Jendor, Desperado and Stormer, while waving the flag for Wavey Garms you'll find Foundation & MC Creed, DJ Luck & MC Neat and the good old Artful Dodger.

Phew! And that's just for starters. Check out the full impressive line up online.

Saturday 6 Jun, Haggerston Park, Audrey Street, London E2 8QH, 11am-9pm, £35. More info here.
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Akon to launch Solar Academy in Mali
If you're in the UK today, it'll be hard to tear yourself away from the celebrations surrounding BBC Music Day in order to look further afield. But this is something worth paying attention to. Akon has announced the launch of a new Solar Academy in Bamako, Mali to encourage the development of skills and expertise in solar power, as part of his Akon Lighting Africa charity.

Launched in February 2014, Akon Lighting Africa aims to bring solar power to over 600 million Africans who currently have no access to electricity, particularly in rural areas.

Speaking at the United Nations' recent Sustainable Energy For All Forum, ALA co-founder Samba Bathily said: "We have the sun and innovative technologies to bring electricity to homes and communities. We now need to consolidate African expertise and that is our objective. We are doing more than just investing in clean energy. We are investing in human capital. We can achieve great milestones and accelerate the African transformation process on condition that we start training a new generation of highly qualified African engineers, technicians and entrepreneurs now".

The organisation's third founder, Thione Niang added: "We expect the Africans who graduate from this centre to devise new, innovative, technical solutions. With this Academy, we can capitalise on Akon Lighting Africa and go further".

The academy is expected to open its doors later this summer.

CMU Beef Of The Week #257: Mat Zo v EDM
Sometimes people have a bit of a rant on Twitter, the shortform format lending itself to quickly firing off ideas. But Grammy-nominated UK DJ and producer Mat Zo took that approach to the extreme this week when he spent seven straight days laying out his not entirely uncontroversial views on the state of electronic music, stopping in time for BBC Music Day. By the end, there was enough to fill a small book and Zo had annoyed some of dance music's biggest names on the way. Impressive work, and certainly worthy of the 'Beef Of The Week' title.

"Electronic music used to be a bunch of nerds/geeks/outliers, and I have a lot invested in trying to keep it that way", he wrote. "The cool people came with their money and ghost producers and us nerds had to start competing with them".

He continued: "The point is being a nerd is fucking awesome, and the reality is the 'cool' people wish they had as much passion as we do. If you're a nerd/geek whatever, be proud of it, don't be ashamed. Show the fuckwits how much better you are without even trying. Being a nerd doesn't mean wearing glasses or shopping at Wholefoods. If you don't have that burning passion for knowledge then you're not one".

"Tiesto once said to me 'Those trance guys are a bunch of old losers'", he added, naming the first of several big player in dance music to directly come under his fire. "Maybe cus they stuck with their passion and didn't go chasing pussy".

Moving on to other topics, he accused many EDM stars of paying up to $100,000 to secure headline slots at festivals, of acting more like businessmen than artists, and of using ghost producers to create their music. On the latter point he called out Diplo, though more as an example of someone who is doing it and somehow maintaining their integrity.

"Not all DJs with ghost producers are frauds by the way", he mused. "Diplo is a good example. He built his career on being different and playing what he wants".

After some criticised him for naming Diplo, he added: "You think Diplo is all butthurt cus I said he has ghost producers? Nah, this is shit he's said in interviews, he knows where his skills lie".

Diplo did eventually get a bit pissed off with the whole thing though, tweeting: "Two ways a DJ can change the world. 1 Make great music. 2 Complain about other successful DJs. Oh wait there's only one".

To which Zo responded: "Great music takes time, and what looks like complaining is actually someone just standing up to you for the first time in years".

Diplo wasn't the only big name to fire back. Deadmau5 also put in his two cents, saying: "I complained about shit before it was cool. LOLs were had, but then I got to work making the changes I complained about. There you go, Zo".

Pondering the state of electronic music in the wake of the EDM boom, at one point Zo stated: "A few years ago electronic music was like Cuba before the revolution, and a few of us made it on the boat, but we only got as far as Miami. Now all these budding producers are stuck in Cuba, metaphorically speaking with a load of Fidel Castros with slick back hair and V necks".

Eventually, a full week into his rant, on Wednesday he reached some sort of conclusion, saying: "I really don't like being the guy that's after everyone, I feel most fulfilled when I'm inspiring other producers. It was wrong of me to break the eggs so violently, now there might be eggshell in the omelette. All I was saying is the uninspired people are always taking advantage of the inspired, and that should change".

Read Zo's tweets in full here.


CMU Beef Of The Week #258: The Grandes v P&O Ferries
Do your eyes deceive you? Are there two Beefs Of The Week this week? You're damn right there are. It is BBC Music Day, after all. Plus, I only saw this one after I spent ages on the Mat Zo story, but it was too good to ignore.

This is a tale of injustice and dogs. A David and Goliath story in which one popstar and her mother stand up to the might of P&O Ferries. It's about time, I tell you. About bloody time. Not since the Justin Bieber monkey debacle have we seen such a big popstar pet story, and this one has a very different outcome.

Bieber, of course, chose to abandon his monkey in Germany when he was told he didn't have the correct paperwork for it to travel around Europe. But Ariana Grande and her mother Joan did not roll over so easily when they were told that they didn't have the correct paperwork to take their two dogs, Toulouse and Sirius, on a boat from Calais to Dover.

"SO, I am about to tell the story of my experience crossing from Calais France to Dover, UK on the FERRY", began Joan in the first of a series of tweets. "Worst experience of my life".

She continued: "The P&O Ferry was lovely, just to set things straight, the people at the FERRY BORDER were HORRIBLE to me and to Toulouse and Sirius. We are all back together again in London, BUT I need to tell this horrible story, because it needs to be told. Please know that I am telling the story, not for sympathy, because I have the best blessed life in the world, and I am so grateful. I'm telling the story because abusive people shouldn't be in power and we must stand together, when we see bullying and abuse and MAKE IT STOP!"

These are some pretty bold words. And realising, unlike Mat Zo, that a long string of 140 character tweets wasn't necessarily the best way to get her story across, Grande Senior then switched to Twitlonger, posting her missive under the possibly-a-little-over-the-top title, 'That time Ariana Grande's dogs were almost murdered'.

The story is long and very detailed, but it begins, like all good stories, with a bit of tedious bureaucracy. Arriving to board the ferry, the dogs having been cleared for travel, Joan was told that it was not permitted for dogs to be transported onto a ferry on a bus (ie her daughter's tour bus), only a car. After some to-ing and fro-ing, she asked if it would be okay to bring the dogs through if she convinced another traveller with a car to let her travel in with them, and was told that yes it would.

However, after further hurdles, she was then told that, according to official records, the dogs did not have one of the vaccinations they needed to enter the UK. But while this vaccination had not been given with the others back in the US, Grande said, it had been administered by a vet in Italy three days earlier. Though the available evidence of this, it was apparently decided by the man standing between them and the ferry, was not sufficient.

At this point, the anger that can only come when you're at a border, faced with a technicality stopping you from travelling, at 4am, finally came out.

"THAT WAS IT! I lost my composure", wrote Joan. "I am embarrassed to say that I became VERY VERY VERY angry and told him that HE WAS WRONG, he was holding me and the dogs hostage from my family and he was taking GREAT PLEASURE in doing so. He single-handedly was detaining me in France for NO REASON and AGAINST MY WILL! I begged him to let me go through, he laughed at me and said NO again. I kept telling him and showing him again that the dogs were fully vaccinated and were 100% vaccinated in order to enter the UK... AND THEN, I screamed!"

"I had done EVERY RIDICULOUS TASK he demanded of me and at this point he said he would call the POLICE and have me arrested if I tried to go through. I told him to call them and to arrest me, because that was the only way I was not getting on the ferry".

She then ran to the car she'd planned to use to board the boat, and then to the tour bus, where security staff did arrive to detain her. "I collected myself, took a deep breath and ran out yelling: 'Take me away with the dogs and I will sue you for abuse and harassment, but go ahead, I will go with you'. I told them that they were wrong, they were targeting Americans, they were abusing their authority... THEY LAUGHED".

Did they laugh because they were specifically targeting Americans and their dogs, or because the concept seemed silly? We may never know. And if you thought this was all getting a bit over the top, well this is where the dog murder comes in.

"At this point, one man in a yellow jacket said to me, 'If you take the dogs, when you arrive in Dover, they will be KILLED!'", continued Joan Grande. "Due to his French accent, I wasn't 100% certain of what he said, so I asked him to repeat it... he said the DOGS WOULD BE KILLED! I actually thought I disengaged from my body as tears started streaming down my face, and I felt as if I were losing my mind! I told him that they would have to KILL ME FIRST and we would see what the US EMBASSY would say about that".

This is now beyond '4am border control technicality' anger. This has become 'a scene'. Though thankfully no dogs were in fact murdered. But only because Ariana's older brother Frankie came to the rescue with some diplomacy and an understanding of the French language. It was agreed that he would take the dogs back to Calais and travel through with them later, once everything had been smoothed over. There's actually a further story about that, but I think we're all pretty exhausted by now and would like to move on so that we can get back to celebrating BBC Music Day. So let's just cut to the end where the dogs get to the UK and everything is fine.

Except is everything fine? The dogs got through, sure. But that doesn't change the fact that all of this happened. Both Joan and Ariana have since called on P&O Ferries repeatedly to make amends. Ariana tweeted: "This was unacceptable. P&O Ferries please have your employees treat people/animals with respect. Kindness goes a long way. The pups were safe and sound thanks to Frankie but it was indeed a terrible experience. No animal/human should be treated that way... ever".

P&O responded in a statement: "We completely understand and sympathise with Ms Grande's frustration, given her attempts to do the right thing. However, the documents she presented were not valid to bring her pets into the UK. There are only two documents we can accept. One is a Pet Passport, the other is a Third Country Veterinary Certificate. The appropriate verification of treatments must be written into these documents".

It continued: "We had no alternative: we had to advise that a local vet should be visited to put everything in order. We carry in the region of 40,000 pets a year between Calais and Dover as a matter of routine. However from time to time we have to decline to carry pets due to irregularities with the documentation stipulated by [the UK government]".

So, hey everyone, chill out. Transporting pets around is a bureaucracy-heavy task, cos of not wanting diseases to spread across borders and all that. Sometimes it's just got to be this way, and all's well that ends well, right? Wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

And to prove that it's still wrong, Joan tweeted pictures of the documents that she says support her claim that the dogs were properly cleared for travel. So it seems that, as far as Grande Senior is concerned, this is still a matter of P&O Ferries staff persecuting Americans. And, as such, she demands at the very least a proper apology.

In fact, she has gone to the length of launching a petition calling on P&O to issue an apology "or be SHUT DOWN". I'm not exactly sure who would be doing the shutting down. Would P&O shut itself down in shame? Surely an apology would be easier.

Although it could possibly be argued that calling for an entire company to be shut because of one incident might seem a little entitled. Which might suggest Grande's telling of the story is a little bit weighted to make it appear that P&O staff acted in a worse manner than they actually did. But I guess we'll never know. Still, I think if there's one thing we can take from all of this, it's that people shouldn't own dogs.

Read Joan and Ariana's tweets about the incident here.

Oh, and happy BBC Music Day everybody.

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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