FRIDAY 17 JULY 2015
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Despite its various PR challenges in recent years, if there's one thing that's going to send most of the UK creative community to the internet to big up the British Broadcasting Corporation, it's the news that a big bad Tory has instigated a "fundamental review" of the state broadcaster. Though Beeb-fans will have to hope that, in this social media age, the online celebrity big-ups will drown... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: The Bullys hit us hard with a night at The Old Queens Head on Essex Road. Frontman Simon Franks will no doubt be cutting a path that joins the dots between bass, beats and bleeps with an urban-style perspective on things. Get there early as this 250 capacity venue starts filling up early... [READ MORE]
   
CMU PODCAST: CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review the week in music and the music business, including the latest in the Marvin Gaye's family's legal battle with Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke over 'Blurred Lines', the BBC banning Neil Young and others from its radio stations, NPR's withdrawal from the MIC Coalition, and why a cartoonist was sent to a Foo Fighters show... [LISTEN HERE]
   
BEEF OF THE WEEK: If, when I started writing this column five and a half years ago, you'd told me that Neil Young would become one of the artists most featured in it... Well, that would have raised a number of questions. I mean, why would you say such a thing? Is that really what you'd use your powers of precognition for? I think there are more important things, to be honest. But as doubtful as your... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Government announces fundamental review of the BBC
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LEGAL Cash Money sues Tidal over Lil Wayne exclusive
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Culture and digital helps UK top soft power list
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LIVE BUSINESS Amazon starts selling tickets to music events via Local site
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Pandora prepping artist messaging service
Direct-to-fan app Bkstg raises $20 million investment
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MEDIA Perez Hilton joins CBS, as Radio.com staff laid off
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RELEASES Chvrches announce second album, Every Open Eye
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ONE LINERS Arcade Fire, Wilco, Queen, and more
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AND FINALLY... CMU Beef Of The Week #262: Neil Young v Streaming
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Click JUMP to skip direct to a section of this email or ONLINE to read and share stories on the CMU website (JUMP option may not work in all email readers). For regular updates from Team CMU follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.
 
 
MUSIC CONCIERGE - PLAYLIST DESIGNER (HERTFORD)
Music Concierge, the award-winning music consultancy for boutique hotels and luxury brands, is looking for a music Playlist Designer to join our small but expanding creative team. The playlist designer will develop a sound understanding of our clients’ needs, and then source, program and timetable appropriate tracks in line with the client brief.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
IQ - ADVERTISING SALES EXECUTIVE (LONDON)
IQ, a leading trade publication operating in the international live music industry, is seeking a dynamic, bright advertising sales executive to become an integral part of its growing team. The ideal candidate will have solid sales experience across both digital and print media.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA - VENUE MANAGER (NORWICH)
Are you looking for a change in your career? A unique opportunity to run a major venue on the live circuit. You will lead and develop enthusiasm in your management team and inspire them to make highly commercial decisions whilst also delivering an unforgettable experience to each and every customer.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
RSK ENTERTAINMENT - LABEL MANAGER (NEWBURY)
RSK Entertainment is looking for a self-starting and dynamic label manager to manage a diverse roster of UK and international record labels. Based at our office outside Newbury the role would best suit someone already established in the music industry and ideally with either current or previous label management experience.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
FREELANCE DIGITAL MARKETING ASSISTANT (LONDON)
This exciting music/entertainment startup works around the world helping artists connect with their fans. We are in our pre-launch phase and require a temporary marketing assistant to work for one month supporting one of our directors.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
 
   
BSI MERCH - SENIOR SALES EXECUTIVE (LONDON)
BSI Merch is looking for a skilled sales/business development person to lead our sales department in our London office. You will be an experienced and well-organised sales professional with wide ranging contacts and an excellent track record in the music industry.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
SENTRIC MUSIC - SYNC ASSISTANT (LIVERPOOL)
Sentric Music is looking to expand their award winning synchronisation department by adding an enthusiastic and passionate individual to their team. Applicants must have a sound knowledge of the sync industry and how to appropriately pitch catalogue to music supervisors, broadcasters, agencies and agents worldwide.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
7DIGITAL - MUSIC PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER - PUBLISHING (LONDON)
As Music Partnerships Manager for Publishing you will play a key role in negotiating music publishing licenses needed for 7digital to expand its services. You should be comfortable with negotiating complex content-licensing agreements with publisher partners as well as working across multiple teams to structure new business models around music publishing licenses providing 7digital and its B2B clients with the best possible user experience and support.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
13 ARTISTS - ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT (BRIGHTON)
13 Artists are looking for a full time Administrative Assistant to join the team. The ideal candidate would have already worked for at least five years in an administrative / secretarial / PA type role and is highly organised with the natural ability to prioritise and multi-task. A great knowledge of MS Office, particularly Excel, is vital as is being extremely organised with meticulous attention to detail and confident and capable with data. An experience working with live music would be appreciated.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
INFLUENCE DIGITAL - SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNT MANAGER (LONDON)
Influence Digital, the award winning social and digital marketing agency, is searching for a new account manager to join our team in London W1. The company creates and manages digital and social media strategies for some of the biggest names in music, film, TV and travel. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with some of the hottest and most respected names in the world of entertainment.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
BIRD ON THE WIRE - MARKETING AND TICKETING ASSISTANT (LONDON)
London-based independent live music promoter Bird On The Wire is offering the opportunity to join their team as their part-time Marketing and Ticketing Assistant. The right person for this position will be passionate about music and be used to attending concerts several nights a week.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
EMOTICAST - SOCIAL WIZARD WANTED FOR MUSIC + MESSAGING + COOL SHIT (LONDON)
Why do job ads try so hard to be boring? If you also genuinely wonder too, we might be on the same page and you might want to work with us. We’re looking for a multidisciplinary Marketer/Social Media manager to lead our efforts. Messaging apps are incredibly popular right now. We want to add music to the mix and we’re uniquely positioned to do so.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
[PIAS] COOPERATIVE - LABEL MANAGER (LONDON)
[PIAS] Cooperative, a division of [PIAS], are looking for a dynamic and knowledgeable UK label manager. Based at [PIAS] UK office, this is an ideal position for someone with a minimum of two years experience in label management, marketing, retail, and production.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
NINJA TUNE - JUNIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER (LONDON)
The role entails ad-hoc graphic design duties, the majority of which are reworking existing artwork for a variety of web and print media, including social network banners and print posters. Applicants must be deadline conscious, perform tasks fastidiously, and able to follow a brief accurately and quickly, with multiple revisions. You should have a keen eye for high visual impact, and an enthusiasm and knowledge for music-based artwork.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
DOMINO RECORDING CO - INTERNATIONAL TEAM (LONDON)
Domino Recording Co is seeking a dynamic music lover to join our International Team, based in the London office. This full-time position will be responsible for production and promotional support as well as general admin required by the International Team.

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
 

Government announces fundamental review of the BBC
Despite its various PR challenges in recent years, if there's one thing that's going to send most of the UK creative community to the internet to big up the British Broadcasting Corporation, it's the news that a big bad Tory has instigated a "fundamental review" of the state broadcaster.

Though Beeb-fans will have to hope that, in this social media age, the online celebrity big-ups will drown out all the inevitable commentary in our marvellous newspapers, most of which will use the big review to wheel out the customary angry critiques about the BBC being wasteful, pointless, out-of-control, and out-of-touch.

The big bad Tory in this particular assault on the Corporation is Johnny Whittingdale, Culture Secretary, who yesterday announced details of a full review of all things BBC ahead of the latest renewal of the Corporation's Royal Charter. BBC supporters fear that, under pressure from commercial media players and Beeb-haters in Whittingdale's own party, this review could force funding-cuts or new regulations onto the Corporation that could damage its output, or change the very ethos of the organisation.

Needless to say, Whittingdale insists that there are no foregone conclusions as he heads into this independent BBC review, and that given how much the Corporation has grown in the last 20 years, not to mention the net-led revolution that has occurred in the wider media and entertainment industries, now is the right time to ask big questions, and to consider whether the current range of services the BBC offers "best serves licence fee payers".

In a green paper published yesterday, the Culture Secretary confirmed that the two big issues of funding and regulation will be at the top of the agenda for the review.

Debate around the long-term future of the licence fee - whereby every household consuming live TV must contribute into the pot - has been particularly loud in recent months. And while something along the current system is likely to appear in the next Royal Charter deal, ministers seem keen for BBC bosses to start working towards some alternative funding approach for when the next deal is done. Whether that would be a complete shift to an opt-in subscription system, or some kind of more flexible licence fee arrangement, is amongst the things to be considered in this review.

As for regulation, it seems likely that the BBC Trust - which currently sits between the Beeb and the government, Parliament and the licence fee payer - will go; though quite what will replace it is not yet clear.

But - while the future of the licence fee (which even most Beeb-fans recognise will eventually have to be replaced) and the BBC Trust (which few would fight to save) will be key components of this government review - of more concern to the broadcaster's supporters is Whittingdale's announcement that he will also consider "the overall purpose of the BBC and what services and content it should provide". Which seems reasonable on the face of it, but many fear this opens the door for commercial rivals to try to cut their unusually-funded competitor down to size, targeting more mainstream output in particular.

For its part, the BBC expressed concerns about that part of the review, and insisted that ultimately the public - rather than politicians and commercial media lobbyists - should decide the future of the Corporation. It said in a statement: "We believe that this green paper would appear to herald a much diminished, less popular BBC. That would be bad for Britain and would not be the BBC that the public has known and loved for over 90 years".

It went on: "It is important that we hear what the public want. It should be for the public to decide whether programmes like 'Strictly' or 'Bake Off', or stations like Radio 1 or 2, should continue. As the Director General said on Tuesday, the BBC is not owned by its staff or by politicians, it is owned by the public. They are our shareholders. They pay the licence fee. Their voice should be heard the loudest".

While the BBC might have to fight off critics elsewhere in the media sector as its remit is reviewed, it is likely to find a strong ally in the music industry. Responding to the green paper yesterday, Geoff Taylor, boss of record label trade group BPI, said: "The BBC is critical to the success of British music. The UK is a world beater when it comes to investing in exciting new music and in developing emerging talent into global stars. The availability of a range of different radio services on the BBC, catering to different tastes and ages, plays a crucial part in this success".

Noting that the Beeb's more mainstream services might be most hotly debated during the review, he added: "That includes stations such as Radio 1 and 2, which bring new popular music to significant, different audiences as well as supporting specialist genres such as folk and country that would not find such broad access to large audiences anywhere else on radio".

Cash Money sues Tidal over Lil Wayne exclusive
Having signed on as one of Tidal's celebrity backers last month, earlier this month - when all of us here in the UK were busy celebrating Good Riddance Day - Lil Wayne pushed a new album onto the much maligned streaming platform as a very special Independence Day treat.

The record was also a statement of independence on the rapper's part, in that he put out the new material without the involvement of Cash Money, the label Wayne has been falling out with in quite spectacular style in recent times, he having sued the company back in January. And perhaps unsurprisingly, the Universal-allied record company ain't impressed with the Tidal release.

The artist/label dispute has further delayed the release of Wayne's long-awaited new record 'Tha Carter V'. To make up for the delay on that LP, the rapper put out a second edition of his 'Sorry 4 The Wait' mixtape earlier this year, and then promised another stop-gap release to be called the 'Free Weezy Album'. And it's that which emerged on Tidal this month.

Tidal claims that it checked all of Wayne's legals with Cash Money and that there are no clauses that stop him from giving the 'FWA' album to the streaming firm. But Cash Money does not concur, and has now gone legal claiming that Wayne isn't allowed to licence out new recordings until he's fulfilled his contractual obligations to the label.

According to TMZ, Cash Money says Tidal's exclusivity deal with Wayne was "a desperate and illegal attempt to save their struggling streaming service". The litigation adds that the mixed reviews 'FWA' has garnered - the lawsuit says "tepid" - could impact on future sales of 'Tha Carter V', assuming it eventually gets released. All in all, the label is seeking a neat $50 million in damages. Good times.

Tidal is yet to comment. Though when it does, I bet it'll be in super high quality sound, the kind of legal response Neil Young would approve of.

Culture and digital helps UK top soft power list
The UK officially leads the world in 'soft power', and if you don't know what that means, well I can only suggest you go straight back to school and do some learning. And once you've done that, could you come back and tell us what 'soft power' means? No, not really. Soft power is that concept developed by Joseph Nye of Harvard University to describe "the ability to attract and co-opt, rather than coerce, use force or give money, as a means of persuasion". Yeah, that's it. Sorry. I bet your mind went straight to soft rock power ballads didn't it? No, the UK doesn't lead at them at all.

But we have lots of soft power, according to a new report that's just been published by lobbying firm Portland, based on an investigation that the aforementioned Nye has dubbed "the clearest picture to date". In fact the UK tops a list of 30 countries, directly ahead of Germany, the US, France and Canada.

Why am I telling you this? Well, says the Portland report: "The UK comes top of the table with an unmatched combination of strong assets across all categories of soft power. The UK does particularly well on culture, digital, and global engagement". Hey, culture, digital, global, they're basically talking about One Direction downloads right there.

Says Geoff Taylor, boss of record industry trade group BPI: "The UK draws much of its 'soft power' from its creative industries and in particular the dynamic performance of its music industry. The fact that five of the top ten best-selling albums in the world last year were by British artists highlights that music and culture are important not only for our economy and balance of trade, but in helping to promote a positive image of the UK around the world".

Of course, that positive image has now been knocked for six by Liam 1D getting his stylist (well, a stylist) pregnant. Shocking. Though that scurrilous gossip isn't the kind of chitter chatter we'd sully your CMU Daily with. So forget I mentioned it. For the good of the UK's soft power status, if nothing else.

Read this quote from Portland's Jonathan McClory instead: "The rise of networks and the digital revolution has transformed the global affairs landscape, with more actors, more platforms, and more interests vying for global influence. The 'Soft Power 30' enables us to understand how global power is evolving and shows how nations of every size and standing can harness their soft power assets for global influence".

Amazon starts selling tickets to music events via Local site
Amazon is moving into concert and festival ticketing, having started flogging tickets to West End theatre shows earlier this year via its Amazon Local platform.

Among the music events seemingly headed to the Amazon no-booking-fee tickets store are a Tom Jones concert, Bestival and Camp Bestival. Good times.

Says Geraldine Wilson, GM for Amazon Local in the UK: "We wanted to offer a convenient way for Amazon customers to book tickets to a wide selection of music, theatre and comedy events around the UK in a few clicks".

She goes on: "To build trust it was paramount that we provided transparent pricing from the start with no hidden extras at the checkout, which customers told us can be really off-putting and confusing".

Pandora prepping artist messaging service
It looks like the next step in Pandora's big 'We're Not Evil, Honest' programme is coming together nicely, with the news - via Billboard - that the digital music firm has changed its terms and conditions to allow artists to reach subscribers directly via the streaming platform.

This is all part of Pandora's plan to convince artists that, while it's busy trying to cut its royalty commitments over here, it is actually a friend of the music community, by providing data and marketing tools built on the back of the personalised radio set-up.

It includes the promise to introduce 'artist messaging', which will enable artists to record short announcements plugging this thing or that, which will then be dropped into users' personalised streams based on their artist preferences. It's all part of the streaming firm's previously reported Artist Management Platform, and the latest change to Pandora terms suggests the direct-to-fan messaging service could be going live soon.

Confirmation of the terms change has come in a tricky week for the Pandora company on Wall Street, with the firm's share price taking a knock, mainly because of criticism in the media buying community over the streaming business's recently refined ad-buying platform.

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

Direct-to-fan app Bkstg raises $20 million investment
Two former AOL executives have raised $20 million in investment for a new app, Bkstg, that aims to provide a one-stop shop for any one artist's fans, offering ticketing, video, merch and social networking all in one place.

Among the investors that Erika Nardini and Ran Harnevo have somehow convinced this will work are Live Nation, Scooter Braun Projects, Modest! Management and the Three Six Zero Group.

Nardini, who stepped down as AOL's Chief Marketing Officer in 2014, told Billboard: "When you look at the fan experience on the web it's broken. They have to navigate, say, fifteen different platforms that artists work with [to promote their work], whether it's a gaming company, Facebook, YouTube, Live Nation, Twitter, you name it".

She adds: ""Bkstg will offer the ability [for artists] to understand their fanbase and then also to be able to create a direct personal relationship that maps to what the fan wants and what the artist has to share".

Yeah, good luck with that. If you're wondering how to pronounce Bkstg, by the way, it's 'B'kustoguh'.

Perez Hilton joins CBS, as Radio.com staff laid off
CBS Radio in the US has announced that it is partnering with Perez Hilton on a number of projects. Because what the world definitely needs is more of that guy.

Perez's existing 'Radio Perez' daily celeb news update will be syndicated across 20 CBS radio stations, and the company will also distribute a new podcast - titled 'The PHP: Perez Hilton Podcast' (because no one involved understands how abbreviations work) - through it's Play.it platform. That'll come out every Thursday. Though why listen to that on a Thursday when you can just wait until Friday for a new episode of the CMU Podcast?

Says Hilton: "Excited does not begin to describe my overflowing enthusiasm for my new partnership with CBS Radio. FUN is a great way to describe 'The PHP: Perez Hilton Podcast' on Play.it. I put a lot of thought into my co-host and I could not have chosen anyone better than Chris Booker. He and I have electric chemistry, and I can guarantee listeners will agree as we chat everything pop culture and dig deep into the trending topics of the week".

CBS EVP Programming Chris Oliviero adds: "Our relationship with Perez is a terrific example of our audiences' passion for unique and engaging content suited for their on-demand lifestyle, as well as their desire for compelling entertainment news heard live on their favourite FM music stations. This combined platform of Play.it and major market radio stations will provide Perez with another outstanding opportunity to stay connected to his loyal fans".

Well done everyone. In other CBS news, the company apparently made "almost the entire editorial staff" of its station-supporting and music-news-carrying website Radio.com redundant this week.

In a post on Tumblr, the website's now ex-editor Jeremy Larson said: "I asked why they were letting us all go, and was told that they were switching from 'original content to aggregated content'. So, well, good luck with all that".

But, as Radio.com is also a sub-division of CBS Radio, at least all those former staff can rest assured that some of what used to be their salaries is now going to Perez Hilton.

  Vigsy's Club Tip: Audio Bullys at The Old Queens Head
The Bullys hit us hard with a night at The Old Queens Head on Essex Road.

Frontman Simon Franks will no doubt be cutting a path that joins the dots between bass, beats and bleeps with an urban-style perspective on things.

Get there early as this 250 capacity venue starts filling up early.

Friday 17 Jul, The Old Queens Head, 44 Essex Road, Islington, London N1 8LN, 7.30pm - 2am, £5. More info here.
CLICK HERE to read and share online
 

Chvrches announce second album, Every Open Eye
Chvrches have announced that they will release their second album, titled 'Every Open Eye', on 25 Sep through Universal/Virgin EMI.

And if that wasn't enough to be digesting just right there, first single 'Leave A Trace' was premiered on Radio 1 by Annie Mac last night.

The band will also play V Festival next month, which is a shame. But rest assured that tour dates at less upsetting places are due to be announced soon.

Listen to 'Leave A Trace' here.

Arcade Fire, Wilco, Queen, and more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Arcade Fire will screen a new documentary, 'The Reflektor Tapes', in cinemas on 24 Sep. "There were parts of the Reflektor tour where I think we, Arcade Fire, came the closest in our careers to putting on stage what we imagined in our heads. We were insanely lucky to have Kahlil Joseph documenting from the very beginning", say the band of the film. More info here.

• Wilco have released a new album, called 'Star Wars', for free on their website. Says the band's Jeff Tweedy: "Why release an album this way and why make it free? Well, the biggest reason, and I'm not sure we even need any others, is that it felt like it would be fun. What's more fun than a surprise?" I guess I've ruined that surprise now, but you can get it here in exchange for an email address.

• Queen will release a new fifteen disc vinyl boxset featuring all of their albums, remastered from the original studio masters, on 25 Sep. Don't have a record player? No worries, they're flogging one of those too. More info here.

• Editors will release a new album, titled 'In Dreams', on 2 Oct through [PIAS]. Here's one of those silly video trailer things.

• Pins have released a new song, 'Live & Let Go', the B-side to new single, 'Dazed By You', which is out on 21 Aug.

• Minimalist composer Terry Riley will present new work 'Bell Station III' at the Barbican in London this Saturday (ie tomorrow), as part of Doug Aitken's 'Station to Station: A 30 Day Happening'.

CMU Beef Of The Week #262: Neil Young v Streaming
If, when I started writing this column five and a half years ago, you'd told me that Neil Young would become one of the artists most featured in it... Well, that would have raised a number of questions. I mean, why would you say such a thing? Is that really what you'd use your powers of precognition for? I think there are more important things, to be honest.

But as doubtful as your apparently pointless prediction would have seemed at the time, you would have been right. What can I say? The man loves a beef. And this week we actually have two to choose from.

OK, the first was not entirely of his making, and technically happened last week. Though I suppose he laid the groundwork for it by withdrawing from British mechanical rights collecting society MCPS some years back. But I don't suppose you or he could have foreseen the BBC subsequently banning all of his songs - his own recordings, covers of his songs, and even tracks sampling his songs - from its entire broadcast radio output in order to avoid having to do some slightly tedious licensing negotiations.

In a nutshell, the Beeb is launching a new version of its radio app which will allow users to cache programmes offline for later listening. Young - along with The Doors, Bonnie Raitt and Journey, who are also now banned from BBC radio shows - withdrew from MCPS in order to circumvent the society's blanket mechanical licence for UK TV. But a side effect of this is that the broadcaster would now have to do direct deals with all four artists in order for that app to be able to store their music offline. Caching being a 'mechanical copy', see?

Sure, those deals could be done. Or the four affected artists' songs could just be cut from show recordings before they go onto the iPlayer system. But, fuck it, why not just go the easy route and not play their music at all? None of those artists have commented on this development, but Young doesn't seem particularly bothered by people not being able to hear his music, as shown in beef number two. "Streaming has ended for me", he wrote in a Facebook post this week. "I hope this is OK for my fans".

And why would his fans not be fine with not being able to listen to any of his music at their convenience? Maybe they should have seen it coming. Young has increasingly become chief advocate for getting a better sound quality in music online. And putting his money (and that of a small number of his fans, via Kickstarter) where his mouth is, he's trying to bring that to the digital world, via the outdated concept of downloads and non-internet-connected MP3 players, through his Pono company.

"It's not because of the money, although my share (like all the other artists) was dramatically reduced by bad deals made without my consent", he clarified of his decision to pull from Spotify et al. "It's about sound quality. I don't need my music to be devalued by the worst quality in the history of broadcasting or any other form of distribution. I don't feel right allowing this to be sold to my fans. It's bad for my music. For me, it's about making and distributing music people can really hear and feel. I stand for that".

He's not totally anti the future though, he concluded: "When the quality is back, I'll give it another look. Never say never".

You could, as many people did, point out that "the worst quality in the history of music distribution" must surely be the tinny sound of old AM radios. And what about the cassette? Cassettes were pretty rubbish, right? Especially when played through the stereo in the Fiat Uno that was my first car. Don't say it to Neil Young though, because he's already made his case on this. About radio and tapes I mean. Not my first car.

In a second Facebook post, he wrote: "I was there. AM radio kicked streaming's ass. Analogue cassettes and 8 tracks also kicked streaming's ass, and absolutely rocked compared to streaming. Streaming sucks. Streaming is the worst audio in history. If you want it, you got it. It's here to stay. Your choice".

Of course, there are already two high def streaming services on the market, with Tidal and Deezer Elite, and most others, including Spotify, allow premium users to stream at the highest quality allowed by standard compressed audio files. Though I suppose you could argue that, when the majority of people on streaming services aren't paying, then mostly they're not getting that boost in audio quality.

Either way, Young is having none of it. And before you think this is just a marketing ploy for Pono, I should probably also note that Young also wrote: "Copy my songs if you want to. That's free. Your choice". So, while he may no longer think that everyone is going to rush to buy a Pono player, he is apparently happy for you to rip his music illegally at any quality level you want.

"All my music, my life's work, is what I am preserving the way I want it to be", he continued. "It's already started. My music is being removed from all streaming services. Make streaming sound good and I will be back".

I suppose that, in that reiteration at the end there, we have a glimmer of hope. Because, had Young taken against one of the old physical formats, there's not a huge amount that could be done. The sound quality of those formats was pretty much the sound quality of those formats. But streaming presents a new, and I would argue more positive for the consumer, step in music distribution, in that quality upgrades are much easier to make.

For years the record industry operated on a system of format-updating to boost revenues. In part this was just due to the way the technology developed, but the fact that media bought for one technology was useless once the next format had been developed enabled looping marketing campaigns trying to convince everyone to re-buy their music collection for a second and third time. Certainly no one at any record label was saying, "Oh damn, this CD really does sound better than anything before it, what a shame people are going to want to buy all of their favourite records yet again when they hear it".

But with streaming, where you pay for access rather than ownership, each technological improvement can by provided to the user seamlessly, if a company sees fit. Sure, at the moment some are charging more for the higher quality streams, but there will come a point when higher quality is standard for everyone at no extra cost.

The only real barrier to this is the bandwidth requirements of streaming, and what the average person could reasonably be able to download over a mobile connection without falling prey to the evils of buffering. And that's a key point. There's no point upgrading everyone to high def if they don't have the net connections to access it. Try listening to Spotify while driving across France and you'll see what I mean. Seriously France, your mobile internet is rubbish.

This beef isn't about France though, it's about Neil Young. It's about Neil Young's crusade for a boost in sound quality that many of his fans can't receive, and most can't even perceive. And after 50 odd years of performing on stage, I suspect he would be hard pressed to hear the difference too. And at least if he'd left his music on the streaming services, people would be able to hear something. Now they'll have to make do with radio. Oh...

 
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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