TODAY'S TOP STORY: So now we know why Apple bought Beats. It saw the headphone seller launch the most overhyped underwhelming streaming service of the year and said, 'Ha, we'll have one of them too thank you very much Jimmy'. And so, ladies and gentleman, Apple Music. But then with such great hype, not to mention a year of long drawn out anticipation, perhaps it was optimistic... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Having fallen somewhat quiet of late, Wrongtom's Rongorongo label is sparking back into action with 'World Of Noise', a new EP from The Casual Sexists, aka husband and wife duo Ed and Varrick Zed. It's an eclectic mix, from Ed Zed's half-rapped autobiography on the title track, to a PC Music influence on the Varrick-led 'Vacation' to the squelchy synth dub of 'Tentacles Of Dub'... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Apple Music finally unveiled
LEGAL Battle over BB King estate continues
Radar to launch new contract for independent music video makers
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Kobalt buys a collecting society
Rob Wells joins Revelator advisory board
ARTIST NEWS NWA members to reunite at BET Experience
GIGS & FESTIVALS Florence And The Machine announce tour dates
ONE LINERS Relentless studio, rebellious credits cards, reunited Corrs, and more
AND FINALLY... Gallagher to new artists: "Put your name on it"
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Apple Music finally unveiled
So now we know why Apple bought Beats. It saw the headphone seller launch the most overhyped underwhelming streaming service of the year and said, 'Ha, we'll have one of them too thank you very much Jimmy'. And so, ladies and gentleman, Apple Music.

But then with such great hype, not to mention a year of long drawn out anticipation, perhaps it was optimistic to expect a whelming. And anyway, those in the music industry with high hopes that Apple can truly take subscription music mainstream are banking more on the tech giant's reach than its product.

As expected, freemium on Apple Music is a cheaper-to-run radio experience, though perhaps even more so than we thought. So rather than rolling out the existing iTunes Radio - a Pandora style experience - beyond the US, Apple is launching a more conventional radio station, Beats 1.

Of course, after Apple poached Zane Lowe and then some production talent from Radio 1 we expected some more conventional radio shows to be thrown into the mix, something both Spotify and Deezer are already in the process of adding too. But Beats 1, a 24/7 global radio station, will be the entirety of the freemium offer at launch, though its name suggests additional channels will be added down the line.

Record industry veteran Jimmy Iovine, who came to Apple via its Beats acquisition of course, introduced Beats1 by noting that "the truth is [that] internet radio isn't really radio, it's just a playlist of songs, and we wanted to do something really big: a worldwide radio station broadcasting around the globe".

Now, Apple's 'internet radio' station - ie the aforementioned iTunes Radio - never really took off, but Pandora and iHeartRadio's combined user base of nearly 150 million, mainly in the US, suggests there is definitely an audience for "just a playlist of songs". And you suspect the real motivation for Beats 1 may be more about licensing, because once you go beyond America its harder to license a Pandora-style experience (which US copyright law forces the labels to service).

Though Apple's new radio station will provide a useful platform via which to instigate low-cost artist exclusives that may pull in curious consumers, who you can then try to upsell to premium with a generous three month free trial. Arguably iHeartRadio's impressive sign-up figures (albeit for a freemium service) come from relentless promotion on the company's traditional radio stations in the US. So there is a logic to Beats 1. Though the team behind it might discover that there's a reason why a global one-size-fits-all radio station has never really thrived before.

But what about the premium service? Well, as Apple chiefs unveiled their new music service at the end of a long session on day one of their Worldwide Developers Conference, it felt like this was the thing they had the least to say about.

Basically it's a standard streaming service with lots of tracks, some videos and curated playlists available at $9.99 a month beyond the free trial, with a $14.99 family package. As with all streaming services, not least Apple Music's forerunner Beats Music, big boasts were made about the curation element, because, said Iovine, "the only song that's as important as the one you're listening to is the one that comes next". Though, as with the recent revamp of Spotify, it remains to be seen if the promises of ever more sophisticated personalised track curation really amount to much.

What else? Well, the other big component of the new service is Connect, which few commentators could resist immediately dubbing Ping v2. This will allow artists - all artists - to pump bits of content - videos, photos, track snippets - into the platform, presumably to accompany their profiles in the Apple Music ecosystem, with the option to also punt things out to Facebook and Twitter.

This, it seems, is part of a bid to make Apple Music the one-stop shop for the music experience. Because, said Iovine again, "in 2015 the music experience is a fragmented mess. You want to listen to music, go over here. Video, go somewhere else. Follow an artist, somewhere else again. Which is why I came to Apple and said, 'Can we build one complete thought around music?'"

And Apple Music is that 'thought', it seems. The iTunes download store is still there, but with radio, video, streams, photos, messages, extra bits, all laid on top. Now both artist and fan can do everything in one place.

Though one thought is that most fans don't want to always experience their music in isolation - SoundCloud excels for new artists because it's so easily embeddable wherever your fans hang out - which means rather than bringing everything together in one place, Connect is arguably yet another digital channel for artists and their teams to manage. But hey, Drake's a fan. I think. Actually, I'm not sure what Drake was talking about at all.

But there you go. Downloads, radio, streams, video, social, all in one package. With added Zane Lowe. Some of it free, but most of it requiring a financial commitment on the part of the user, and for the music industry that remains the real test.

Can Apple user its reach, its existing user base, its control over so many devices, to persuade the more casual consumer to start paying for streaming music? Because it's no use if Apple just nabs Spotify's existing user base, they need to take the free users off Pandora, YouTube and SoundCloud, and make them pay.

Persuading consumers who likely spent tens of pounds on recorded music each year to sign up to a £120 a year service remains a big ask, which means that - even if Apple had overwhelmed with their new music platform - a big challenge would still be ahead. We'll see whether they can meet that challenge when Apple Music goes live in 100 countries on 30 Jun.

Battle over BB King estate continues
The legal battle over the BB King estate is becoming more heated, as the musician's designated executor, LaVerne Toney, fights off attempts by a number of his children to remove her from the position.

As previously reported, following King's death last month, two of his daughters - Karen Williams and Patty King - accused Toney, who was the musician's business manager for almost 40 years, and his personal assistant, Myron Johnson, of poisoning the late musician. They also claim that they were blocked from visiting their father in the weeks prior to his death.

But in a statement, Toney's lawyer Brent Bryson said earlier this week: "We're asking the probate commissioner to approve [Toney] as executor and personal representative of the estate. The spurious and unjustified allegations made against Ms Toney by Patty King, Karen Williams and [their legal representative] Larissa Drohobyczer will be dealt with at a later time".

It is reported that at least five of King's children are now being represented by Drohobyczer, and claim that Toney was also siphoning off the musician's money. They apparently estimate that the estate is worth ten of millions of dollars, though Bryson says that, while the final figure has not yet been reached, it is not likely to be that high.

Bryson has also filed affidavits from one of King's granddaughters, saying that she was able to visit her grandfather the day before his death, and three doctors saying that he received proper care prior to his passing. King's personal physician has said that drops the musician's daughters claim were poison, were actually a drug commonly administered to people in hospice care to combat respiratory problems.

An autopsy was carried out prior to King's funeral last week, with toxicology results expected next month. However, police have said that there is no active homicide investigation ongoing.


Radar to launch new contract for independent music video makers
Radar Music Videos will launch a new standard contract for independent music video makers today. Created in partnership with media law firm Wiggins, the document aims to provide a simple and fair agreement at minimal cost.

Announcing the document, Radar said: "We hope this contract will standardise protocols in the unregulated world of low-budget music video production. Users are taken through all the common requirements for production, like cashflow, re-edits, ownership and promotional use - and are able to customise the contract as appropriate for each particular project. The contract is unique, in that it is equally fair to both parties. It's also written in plain English and downloadable".

The contract will be made available to Radar members at a cost of £25 - or £35 for non-members. Full details of the document will be announced this evening at Music Vid Fest in the Roundhouse's Studio Theatre in London.

Kobalt buys a collecting society
While everyone was looking towards San Francisco for Apple's big music announcement yesterday, Kobalt had a pretty big announcement of its own. And while we've always been cautious of jumping on the Kobalt hype-train - however great the firm's technology for tracking music rights may be - this move could be truly revolutionary when it comes to digital licensing.

Basically, Kobalt has bought its own collecting society. It actually bought what was originally the American Mechanical Rights Association a while back, but yesterday it announced that the new look American Music Rights Association was open for business. Kobalt calls the acquisition of AMRA "the most exciting step" in its bid to revolutionise the way in which music rights - and especially song rights - are licensed, with top man Willard Ahdritz telling CMU that the move was a crucial step in completing the journey he began over a decade ago.

One of the challenges for the music publishers in the digital domain has been working out where the collecting societies fit into the mix. Whereas the labels have mainly licensed digital directly, and therefore circumvented the collective licensing system entirely, it's not so easy for the publishers to do the same.

Partly because the more complicated nature of copyright ownership in songs makes the collective approach more attractive. Partly because songwriters have traditionally received some of their income directly from their societies, even when they are signed to a publisher. And partly because, in Europe at least, the societies, rather than the publishers, control some of elements of the copyright.

But there are issues with just running everything through the societies. First, collective licensing is subject to extra regulation reducing the bargaining power of the songwriters and publishers. Second, collecting societies traditionally only licensed services in their home territories, but most digital services need multi-territory licenses. And thirdly, many societies have legacy structures that don't necessarily make them the most efficient machines for processing millions of tiny micro-payments.

In Europe, the big publishers have tried to tackle this issue by forming joint ventures with key collecting societies and then offering direct multi-territory licenses for their repertoire in partnership. Indeed, Kobalt had such a joint venture with Swedish society STIM.

But the AMRA venture takes this to a whole new level, setting out to offer global licenses. Both publishers and songwriters in the society will then be paid direct, though, presumably, by taking over an existing society already linked into the global collective licensing framework, AMRA hopes to be able to send songwriter royalties back through the local society system too, wherever songwriters choose to remain with their existing performing rights organisations.

Aside from the global focus, the new AMRA will license in Kobalt's technology, and therefore boast all the efficient data processing and transparent royalty calculations that the music rights firm has made such a big deal about in recent years.

While you have sensed that at least some of Ahdritz's past criticism of the traditional music rights administration process has been aimed at the collecting societies - even though he's never named names - the Kobalt chief insisted to CMU yesterday that the existing collecting management organisations remained important, but at a local level. Single territory licensees would continue to deal with their local societies, he says, but multi-territory operations, so all the big digital players, could now deal with a new kind of rights body.

Although the new AMRA provides Kobalt with a very useful vehicle for licensing its own catalogue of owned and administered works to digital players, the society is open to other publishers too. Ahdritz was very keen to stress that AMRA, although owned by Kobalt, is a totally autonomous entity, with PricewaterhouseCoopers hired to ensure that is so. And the always bullish Kobalt boss mused that he wouldn't be surprised if the major publishers took an interest in his newest venture.

Quite how quickly other publishers will embrace a society that is ultimately controlled by a rival - however autonomously it may be run - remains to be seen. But AMRA makes the Kobalt business all the more innovative, and will certainly put further pressure on the conventional collecting societies to up their game on multi-territory licensing and efficient royalty collection and distribution.


Rob Wells joins Revelator advisory board
Rob Wells, who stepped down as Universal Music's President Of Global Digital Business in February, has re-emerged on the advisory board of Revelator, a Jerusalem-based sales and marketing data platform for independent music. Wells is also joined by EMI's former Senior Vice President Of Digital Strategy And Development, Tom Ryan.

Announcing the appointment of the two former major label execs to its advisory panel, Revelator CEO Bruno Guez said: "Analytics and data are becoming increasingly important in the music world, and it is crucial that all artists have open and transparent access to this information either independently or through their record label. Rob and Tom understand this vision and have the experience necessary to help us bring it to fruition via Revelator. We have already made significant strides with our all-in-one solution and look forward to working with them to make it even better".

Wells added: "Over the years, I've watched the digital music business evolve considerably and have been fortunate enough to have a hand in shaping it. Now, I look forward to impacting the business again with Revelator. Data is the name of the game, and we'll be focusing all our energies into making it affordable and advantageous for all artists, labels, and other music companies to have this information accessible and easy to understand".

  Approved: The Casual Sexists
Having fallen somewhat quiet of late, Wrongtom's Rongorongo label is sparking back into action with 'World Of Noise', a new EP from The Casual Sexists, aka husband and wife duo Ed and Varrick Zed.

It's an eclectic mix, from Ed Zed's half-rapped autobiography on the title track, to a PC Music influence on the Varrick-led 'Vacation' to the squelchy synth dub of 'Tentacles Of Dub'. There's also a great remix of 'World Of Noise' by Wrongtom too.

Watch the video for 'World Of Noise' here, and then have a listen to a 30 minute mix of influences put together for us by Ed Zed.
CLICK HERE to read and share online

NWA members to reunite at BET Experience
Ice Cube will reunite with former NWA members MC Ren and DJ Yella later this month, to perform a number of the gangsta rap group's tracks at the BET Experience show in LA.

Speaking about the event, which comes ahead of the release of a biopic of the group, Ice Cube told Rolling Stone: "The last time I performed with Yella was 1989. That was a long time, but with Ren, it was the 'Up In Smoke' tour [in 2000]. It was real cool to be onstage with him again, but that's still been fifteen years ago. So it's real cool to get up there and with the excitement around 'Straight Outta Compton' the movie. I think people are going to just be extra excited to get a glimpse of us".

Asked if Dr Dre would also be in attendance, the rapper added: "You know, if you wish upon a star, you never know. You never know. I hope he blesses us with his presence. But if not, I've been rockin for a long time without anybody. So whoever shows up, I'm still gonna rock. Whoever don't show up, we still gonna rock".

The BET Experience takes place at the Staples Center in LA on 27 Jun.

Florence And The Machine announce tour dates
Florence And The Machine have announced a UK and Ireland tour that will finish with four nights at Alexandra Palace in London.

Coming just after new album 'How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful' went straight to number one, this will be Welch and co's first proper UK tour since March 2012.

Here are the dates:

9 Sep: Belfast, Odyssey
10 Sep: Dublin, 3
12 Sep: Sheffield, Motorpoint Arena
14 Sep: Glasgow, SSE Hydro
15 Sep: Newcastle, Metro Radio Arena
18 Sep: Nottingham, Capital Arena
18 Sep Manchester Arena
19 Sep: Birmingham, Genting Arena
21 Sep: London, Alexandra Palace
22 Sep: London, Alexandra Palace
24 Sep: London, Alexandra Palace
25 Sep: London, Alexandra Palace

Tickets on sale this Friday.

Relentless studio, rebellious credits cards, reunited Corrs, and more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Relentless Energy Drink has announced it is opening a new recording studio on London's Denmark Street as part of its Red Bull Studios-rivalling 'creative hub' on what was once known as Tin Pan Alley.

• As if engaging with multi-national banking corporations wasn't rebellious enough already, Virgin Money is now offering a selection of Sex Pistols credit cards.

• Disclosure have announced that their second album will be called 'Caracal' and that it will be released on 25 Sep.

• Jess Glynn has announced tour dates to follow the 14 Aug release of her debut album 'I Cry When I Laugh'. Among the dates will be a show at The Roundhouse in London on 4 Nov.

• Beach House have announced a second show at the Shempire in October, having sold out the first. The new show will take place the day after the original date, on 31 Oct.

• New Zealanders Surf City will be in the UK this week for a short run of shows, finishing up at The Waiting Room in London on 13 Jun.

• The Corrs have reformed and will play Radio 2 Live In Hyde Park on 13 Sep. This is really happening. This is not a drill.

Gallagher to new artists: "Put your name on it"
Take note aspiring popstars, Uncle Noel has some very useful advice for you all. Tell us who the fuck you are. You'd be amazed how often people fail this test.

Presented with a demo CD from an aspiring musician in his audience at a gig in Boston this weekend, Noel Gallagher quickly noted that the disc had been supplied without a label, card, tracklisting or anything.

"When you're giving away CDs of your shit", he told the "young people" in the room, "there's not even a fucking name of who it is or what it's called or a phone number or nothing. No song titles, no name, no nothing. Now unless this is some kind of psychedelic fucking art project, I'm saying, this cunt's going nowhere".

Having ascertained that the band in question was called The Memo, he went on: "Do you fucking get the irony of that, a CD with nothing written on by somebody called The Memo. Fucking hell!"

He then commanded his advice be posted to YouTube, which it duly was. So take note future music talent. Give your demo CDs to Noel Gallagher without a label on it, and then get loads of free promotion via YouTube. It's a winner.

ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletin and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
CHRIS COOKE | 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.
Email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, plus helps manage and deliver the CMU Insights training courses and consultancy services.
Email sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of 3CM UnLimited she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
Email caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
Send ALL press releases to musicnews@unlimitedmedia.co.uk - this is checked daily by the whole editorial team meaning your release will definitely get to the right person.

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