TODAY'S TOP STORY: Although based on a sample of just a few thousand, and exclusively US-focused, the latest Music 360 report from Nielsen, published this week, seems to confirm what a lot of commentators have been saying about the next phase of growth in streaming music, that price point remains an issue. Coming as the three-month free trial period... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Brighton duo Dog In The Snow - Helen Ganya Brown and Eva Bowan - are set to release their new EP, 'Uncanny Valley', on 9 Oct through Love They Neighbour. The release features three songs showing off an impressive songwriting talent, which echoes their stated influences of The National and Sufjan Stevens, but equally stands out on its own. Closer 'Plastic Body'... [READ MORE]
CMU PODCAST: CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review the week in music and the music business, including the relaunch of Xfm and the BBC's streaming ambitions, more on the safe harbours debate and Google's takedowns, Sony/ATV’s concerns about one particular consent decree reform in the US, and Sam Smith being a big fat liar. And recording a Bond theme... [LISTEN HERE]
TOP STORIES Nielsen report confirms the streaming sector's pricing and freemium challenges
LEGAL Judge throws out chunk of Rick Ross/LMFAO copyright dispute
MANAGEMENT & FUNDING Axwell & Ingrosso split from ATM Artists
Lily Allen parts with management
BRANDS & MERCH Farah partners with Roundhouse on new talent initiatives
Live Nation announces brand alliance with Aussie bank
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Ministry boss challenges streaming platforms to put a value on curation
EDUCATION & EVENTS Future of radio under the spotlight as part of Brighton Digital Festival
ARTIST NEWS Benga opens up about mental health problems
RELEASES Grimes to release "more political" album next month
AND FINALLY... Russian TV presenters admit faking Putin's call to Elton John
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.
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Nielsen report confirms the streaming sector's pricing and freemium challenges
Although based on a sample of just a few thousand, and exclusively US-focused, the latest Music 360 report from Nielsen, published this week, seems to confirm what a lot of commentators have been saying about the next phase of growth in streaming music, that price point remains an issue.

Coming as the three-month free trial period reaches its final few weeks for the day-one-adopters of Apple Music, and with the tech giant set to ramp up its marketing efforts as it tries to persuade people to actually pay to continue receiving its on-demand streams, the Nielsen study says 46% of those surveyed still give the $10 a month subscription price of Spotify and Apple Music as their reason for not signing up. 38% say they just don't think they'd use said services enough to justify that kind of monthly commitment.

We know that Apple wanted to enter the streaming market with a considerably cheaper price point, though with the tech firm keen to pretty much match the Spotify service, the music business resisted, nervous of allowing Apple Music such a competitive advantage when its more established rival in the streaming music space is so key to the one record industry revenue stream that is in mega-growth.

But everyone knows that for streaming music to go truly mainstream - and however impressive Spotify and Apple Music's user figures may be, worldwide they are still pretty modest - the music industry needs to develop mid-market packages that are more affordable, and which can be bundled up with non-premium mobile phone subscriptions.

Previous attempts at variable pricing in streaming have tended to be based around functionality or sound quality (pay more for mobile access or higher quality audio), though it seems likely that the best way to provide a range of price points is to slice up the content, cable TV style, offering an entry level option closer to $3-4 a month, but with some content - whether brand new, specially curated, premier league acts - costing extra.

Though those already dabbling in that space will quickly hone in on the other reason given in the Nielsen survey for not signing up to the $10 a month package, that consumers can stream music for free elsewhere, which may mean the freemium levels of Spotify and Deezer, or more likely YouTube and SoundCloud. Which brings us back to that old (not really that old) debate.

YouTube and SoundCloud's power, of course, is in their respective role as marketing channels. In that while labels are trying to pressure the big freemium platforms to find and increase revenues in which rights owners can share - by talking tough on safe harbour reform and getting ever more prolific with takedowns - the marketing teams at the same record companies say they need YouTube and SoundCloud to promo new material.

Actually, the Nielsen report reckons that more traditional channels, especially radio, remain some of the most important music discovery platforms for consumers, though that will depend very much on demographics of course. So the YouTube/SoundCloud dilemma remains.

Meanwhile, the former continues to try and distract the industry - maybe - with its continued promise that Music Key will go properly live, so that the Google-owned service itself can play its part in turning freemium users into premium customers.

For a moment yesterday it looked like Music Key was coming out of beta as early adopters signed up to the currently free in-development service received an email telling them they would now be charged. But when Music Ally checked in with the Googlers, it turned out that email had been sent out by mistake "due to a bug in our system".

We're still trying to work out whether the press release announcing the launch of Music Key last year was also sent out due to a bug in the system.

Judge throws out chunk of Rick Ross/LMFAO copyright dispute
A judge in Florida has thrown out a slice of a copyright dispute between Rick Ross and LMFAO over one three-word lyric.

Ross sued LMFAO last year over their 2010 hit 'Party Rock Anthem' because it contains the line "Everyday I'm shuffling" which, the rapper claims, is a rip off of his 2006 track 'Hustlin', which contains the lyric "Everyday I'm hustling".

It's one of those classic copyright cases that asks the question can borrowing three mere words constitute infringement? Though with the added complication, of course, that LMFAO actually sang 'shufflin' rather than 'hustlin'.

Whether or not 'Party Rock Anthem' actually infringes 'Hustlin' is still to be decided but, while considering a claim for summary judgement, the judge overseeing the case threw out the part of the litigation relating to the use of the LMFAO lyric on merchandise.

On that point judge Kathleen Williams mused: "The question ... is not whether the lyrics of 'Hustlin', as arranged in their entirety, are subject to copyright protection, the question is whether the use of a three word phrase appearing in the musical composition, divorced from the accompanying music, modified, and subsequently printed on merchandise, constitutes an infringement of the musical composition 'Hustlin'".

And the answer to that question, said Williams, is "no". And anyway, she went on, "the average lay observer would not confuse t-shirts bearing the phrase 'everyday I'm shufflin' with the musical composition 'Hustlin', nor without reference to 'Party Rock Anthem' and 'Hustlin', would an average lay observer recognise the merchandise as having been appropriated from 'Hustlin'".

So hurrah for common sense judgements. Now let's see how the core of this case turns out, on whether the LMFAO lyrics, when delivered within their song, infringe Ross's copyright.

Axwell & Ingrosso split from ATM Artists
Axwell & Ingrosso have parted company with their longtime manager Amy Thomson of ATM Artists, who was last seen in these parts allying her management firm with Irving Azoff's latest entertainment venture.

The EDM stars - 66.6% of Swedish House Mafia of course - are seemingly switching their management allegiances to Ash Pournouri's At Night agency. Though Pournouri, probably best known for steering the Avicii machine, says no deal is as yet in place.

Billboard quote the At Night chief as saying of Axwell & Ingrosso: "The guys are close friends of mine, so we just started talking recently. But nothing is agreed, and I would help them regardless of who they continue their journey with".

Thomson helped build Swedish House Mafia into a global EDM phenomenon of course, and then worked with Axel Hedfors and Sebastian Ingrosso in evolving their post-Mafia venture. She parted company with her most prominent clients once before in 2011, though they rehired her services after six months, later saying "you don't know what you have until you lose it".

Although Thomson seemed surprise that her split with Hedfors and Ingrosso had already been announced yesterday, word has it that discussions regarding their future working relationship had been underway for a while. Thomson told Billboard that she wished her now former clients all the best, while adding "my role as manager of Swedish House Mafia and their rights management remains unchanged".

Meanwhile, responding to chatter about their split with Thomson's management firm, Ingrosso took to Twitter to note: "We didn't leave Amy, we very mutually decided it was time to part ways. We are super grateful for the time together".


Lily Allen parts with management
Also parting with management is Lily Allen, who appointed Henry Village of Stack House and Scott Rodger of Quest/Maverick for management duties just last October.

A spokesperson speaking to The Sun has confirmed the management duo are no longer working with Allen, saying: "It's true that Lily has parted company with her managers Scott Rodger and Henry Village and the decision to split was both mutual and amicable".

Allen, meanwhile, denied other claims in the article that her life is "in deep trouble", saying on Twitter: "I'm not entertaining the absolute rubbish the papers are smearing me with - rest assured, I am fine, very in control of my life".

Said tweet also pledged that new music is on the way. Well, she used a little icon of a mic and said that was on its way. Maybe she's got a new line in microphones coming out. Or emoji.

Farah partners with Roundhouse on new talent initiatives
Clothing brand Farah has launched a new initiative as part of its alliance with the Roundhouse, in which young talent taking part in the Camden venue's Resident Artist scheme will have the opportunity to play pre-gig sets under the brand Farah Presents.

The aim is to let new talent utilising the Roundhouse's studio and rehearsal room facilities to have the opportunity to play to audiences for other gigs in the building in a bid to build profile and fanbase. There will also be opportunities to play beyond the building - two Roundhouse residents played under the Farah Presents banner at Bestival last weekend - plus the brand will support some of the venue's educational workshops.

Confirming all this, Roundhouse's Corporate Partnerships Manager Francesca Hayward told reporters: "We're really excited to have the support of Farah for a third year running, but this year really does offer such an incredible opportunity. Our Resident Artist programme aims to offer support, professional opportunities and progression routes into creative industries and this new partnership with Farah complements all elements of that".

Meanwhile Farah Global Head Of Marketing Mia Zackrisson added: "We are honoured to be working with Roundhouse charity and the Resident Artist programme to support young people to gain experience within a variety of art forms. We are looking forward to develop our relationship this year and creating some great opportunities for the artists who are part of the project".


Live Nation announces brand alliance with Aussie bank
Live Nation in Australia yesterday announced an alliance with the National Australia Bank because, well, why the hell not, that's what I say. Banking is a close second to live music when it comes to my all time favourite pastimes.

Under the alliance the bank's customers will get exclusive access to VIP packages, specialised content, priority tickets and some of those "money can't buy experiences" marketing people like to talk about.

NAB will also become an "official brand partner" of Live Nation as part of the deal, while its wealth management division MLC will be the live firm's official "superannuation partner" in Australia. And you think I made that up don't you? I didn't. It's in the press release. Look, here, it says official "superannuation partner". Don't you love living in 2015?

Speaking for the bankers, NAB's Acting Chief Marketing Officer Michael Nearhos told reporters: "We look forward to bringing these exciting benefits from the partnership to our customers. It will enable us to even further reward and recognise our customers with exclusive ticketing offers and VIP experiences. We're continually looking for ways we can show our customers how much we value and appreciate them - live entertainment is the ideal platform for us to do so".

No word yet on whether Live Nation Australia has appointed an "official lubricant". Though I bet those bankers are quite greasy.

Ministry boss challenges streaming platforms to put a value on curation
So, the value of curation has been back in the spotlight of late as the influence of playlists on the big streaming platforms has become a regular topic of debate, and even more so in the side discussion about labels bunging influential playlist owners cash to include their shitty tracks on their Spotify line-ups, or 'playola' as I reluctantly sense we're now calling it.

The argument goes: Given that there is no revenue to be made in compiling playlists, however many listeners that playlist may attract, does that not make compilers more prone to sneak a few paid-for tracks onto their lists, in the hope that a just a little subtle playola won't ruin the entire playlist, and won't come to the attention of the Spotify police, who are trying to stop such practices via the service's terms and conditions that no one reads (except on that one day when one person actually does and s/he loudly declares the streaming service to be a prolific privacy-right-violator).

So, should the streaming services be offering some revenue share with playlist owners too? This subject is of particular interest to Ministry Of Sound boss and famous streaming service disparager Lohan Presencer, who went legal with Spotify for a time over the value of the tracklistings of his firm's extensive compilations catalogue.

And while his label's original releases are now available on Spotify, though not Apple Music, he remains a vocal critic of most streaming music companies, and the value - or undervaluing - of curation remains an issue for the Ministry chief.

Speaking to Music Ally this week, he said: "Music services who espouse the value of curation, and their support of independent labels, need to put their money where their mouth is. We've established ourself as the best in the world at selecting dance music, whether it be in our club, on our label, or on our compilations. Surely that has a value, and is not something that comes for free?"

He mused on: "The major labels have no interest in exploring this because the model that they have promoted values content ownership alone. So it is up to the Apples and Spotifys of the world to help us find a way through, if they really mean what they say when they tell us that they want to".

Ironically given he is now licensing Spotify but not Apple Music, Presencer says he has more optimism about the latter delivering in this space. "Spotify have not established a model for valuing curation, and as such our compilations will not appear on their service. They don't seem to be making any moves to rectify that situation. I am more hopeful about Apple".

He added: "They make the right noises and say they want to help, but they now need to step up to the mark. I think Apple have the ability to do things differently, because they're the richest company in the world and because they can make unique creative decisions. They just need to focus on the problem and help us try to solve it. Spotify is more difficult: it's a much more marginal business, with no room for manoeuvre."

Read Music Ally's full interview with Presencer - he's always good value when set off on a streaming rant, isn't he? - right about here. No need me to pay me for my article curation services, have it on the house.

Future of radio under the spotlight as part of Brighton Digital Festival
Online radio platform totallyradio is teaming up with PR firm Fugu to present a day looking at the future of radio and music discovery as part of the Brighton Digital Festival next week.

Radio//Future Sounds will be led by the marvellous Chris T-T and will explore what radio even is in 2015, and how digital channels and services are clashing with, complementing, reinventing and learning from traditional radio services.

NTS, London Fields Radio, Resonance FM, Radar Radio, YAM Radio and totallyradio will all take part in the debate, while reps from Mixcloud, Believe Digital and Detour will also contribute. Plus CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke will lead a discussion on where radio fits into the music mix, and how it can and should support new talent, with inputs from labels like Tru Thoughts, FatCat and Mr Bongo.

Commenting on it all, producer Nats Spada, who has curated the event, told reporters: "We are thrilled to have so many of the people that are re-shaping radio take part in our first event. We hope that Radio//Future Sounds will highlight the power that radio holds, that direct and personal connection to a piece of music or great storytelling. And more importantly, that it will inspire future radio creators".

This all takes place on 24 Sep from 10am to 6pm at Patterns in Brighton. Tickets are just £5, and that's redeemable on food and drink. Info and tickets here.

  Approved: Dog In The Snow
Brighton duo Dog In The Snow - Helen Ganya Brown and Eva Bowan - are set to release their new EP, 'Uncanny Valley', on 9 Oct through Love They Neighbour.

The release features three songs showing off an impressive songwriting talent, which echoes their stated influences of The National and Sufjan Stevens, but equally stands out on its own. Closer 'Plastic Body' particularly stands out in a whirl of intensifying electronic sounds darting past slow plucked guitars. Meanwhile lead track 'Proxy' is an eerie and beautiful introduction to their sound.

Also of note, their name is inspired by Franz Kafka's 'The Trial', but if you're feeling less cerebral, Google Images makes a search for them a lot of fun.

You can see Dog In The Snow live supporting Jennie Abrahamson at St Pancras Old Church on 30 Sep, and you can watch the video for 'Proxy' here.
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Benga opens up about mental health problems
Dubstepper Benga used Twitter yesterday to discuss his retirement last year, telling his followers that diagnoses of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, received after being sectioned under the Mental Health Act, were behind the decision. He also called on others in music affected by mental health to speak more openly.

"Who wants to do my lead interview on my mental health issue? I would like to get this heard now. I'm asked so much about my retirement", he began, before changing tack. "I might as well explain it on here. My bipolar was brought on by drugs and the schizophrenia was the result of excessive touring".

"I don't want sympathy but to raise awareness", he continued. "Because if I had help early the damage could have been controlled! If you know someone that suffers from mental health issues you'll understand how alone you feel until it's recognised. Many people suffer ... the stigma around it is what makes you so alone... nobody recognises it".

On life before he received medical help, he said: "My girl stood by me through all of my most manic behaviour, which I'll explain at a later date. But for the people around me - ie [Magnetic Man bandmates] Skream and Artwork - they must have been so terrified. Not to mention hurt by my behaviour. I hope I can help change that. And that could be why I'm on this planet. Who knows?"

"Well, that was easier than I thought", he concluded, adding later: "My story today is for people to accept that people deal with mental issues!"

If you are seeking information or advice on mental health, Mind offers a range of support and assistance. Click here to visit the charity's website.

Grimes to release "more political" album next month
Grimes is planning to release her new album at some point in October, an interview with Dazed has revealed. Although the exact release date will only be announced the day before it is made available on iTunes.

"Lyrically, it's more political and less abstract than before", she says of the content of the record. "Like, really trippy free association about nature and shit. There's a song that's from the perspective of a butterfly in the Amazon as people are cutting down trees; there's a song that's from the perspective of angels who are polluted, so they're crying polluted tears. I feel like it's more about the Earth. I think I was more in society when I was making it, so it feels more grounded".

"I think my music used to be more escapist. 'Visions' didn't really acknowledge reality, but this record is more about looking reality in the face", she adds.

Read the full interview here.

Russian TV presenters admit faking Putin's call to Elton John
Russian TV presenters Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov - aka Vova and Lexus - have admitted that they were behind the call Elton John received which the singer believed to have been from the country's president Vladimir Putin.

As previously reported, John recently called on Putin to meet with him, after speaking with Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko on LGBT rights in his country. The musician then posted on Instagram thanking the Russian president for calling him on the phone to discuss his country's stance on gay rights and to arrange a meeting to speak further. A spokesperson for Putin quickly denied that any such call had been made.

Vova and Lexus claimed responsibility yesterday, releasing a recording of the conversation last night. Although described as a 'prank', it's hard to see what the actual joke is. The duo said in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda that it seemed John was "waiting for that call, so immediately believed in the reality", but beyond the unlikeliness of the call in the first place, the duo don't really push John to realise that the conversation is fake.

"Tell him he's made my day", says John to the person he believed to be a translator at the end of the conversation. So I guess the 'joke' here is that a well-meaning man was disappointed and the Russian government still has no plans to improve its terrible human rights record. Ha ha ha?

Here's the conversion in full.

ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletin and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
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CHRIS COOKE | MD & Business Editor
Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
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SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, plus helps manage and deliver the CMU Insights training courses and consultancy services.
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Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of 3CM UnLimited she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
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