TODAY'S TOP STORY: The prosecution today presented its closing arguments in the long running MegaUpload extradition hearing in New Zealand, with defence lawyers having yet one more attempt at halting the proceedings. As much previously reported, the US government wants to extradite MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom and three of his former colleagues at the defunct file-transfer... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Youth Lagoon, real name Trevor Powers (seriously, what a name), released his third album, 'Savage Hills Ballroom', through Fat Possum in September. It's a thoughtful album, both musically and lyrically, constructed with interest and intrigue, as well as a critical eye and ear. My interest in his latest project was particularly peaked, as is so often the case, by an appearance on the... [READ MORE]
CMU PODCAST: CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review the week in music and the music business, including Rdio declaring bankruptcy and shutting down as Pandora buys its assets, Spotify's new data platform for artists and managers, the debate about the latest government review of secondary ticketing and Zayn Malik's Fader interview. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital... [LISTEN HERE]
TOP STORIES Prosecution delivers closing arguments in MegaUpload extradition hearing
LEGAL Daily Mail fails in appeal over Paul Weller privacy rights ruling
Significant pre-trial ruling in ongoing BMG/Round Hill v Cox case
LIVE BUSINESS Music Glue chief says industrial touts are hindering new artists' ability to build a fanbase
ARTIST NEWS According to the latest records, Adele's latest record is set to break records
RELEASES David Bowie releases new single
EMA writes horror movie score
GIGS & FESTIVALS Coldplay announce stadium tour
AWARDS Benjamin Clementine wins 2015 Mercury Prize
American Music Awards dished out
ONE LINERS Eagles Of Death Metal, ILMC, The Darkness, more
AND FINALLY... Elton John "gutted" by record label snub
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A guide to upcoming events from and involving CMU, including seminars, masterclasses and conference sessions from CMU Insights and workshops from CMU:DIY, plus other events where CMU journalists are speaking or moderating.
23 Nov 2015 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fanbase - Music Media
30 Nov 2015 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fan-Orientated Business
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10 Dec 2015 CMU:DIY x Urban Development Industry Takeover Seminar
18 Jan 2016 CMU Insights Seminars: How The Music Business Works Programme
10 Feb 2016 CMU Insights Masterclass: Key Developments In Music Rights
5 May 2016 CMU Insights @ Canadian Music Week 2016

Prosecution delivers closing arguments in MegaUpload extradition hearing
The prosecution today presented its closing arguments in the long running MegaUpload extradition hearing in New Zealand, with defence lawyers having yet one more attempt at halting the proceedings.

As much previously reported, the US government wants to extradite MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom and three of his former colleagues at the defunct file-transfer company to face charges of money laundering, racketeering and rampant copyright infringement.

The defendants' lawyers have spent much of the already many times delayed extradition hearing arguing that the whole matter should be further postponed, because, they say, restrictions on how their clients can spend former MegaUpload funds are depriving Dotcom et al from getting a fair hearing.

That argument was presented before the court case began, on the first day, and when it got to the case for the defence, though the judge overseeing the proceedings, Nevin Dawson, has refused to postpone matters any further at every turn.

If it ever gets to court in the US, the MegaUpload case will in no small part revolve around those pesky safe harbours in copyright law, which say that tech firms cannot be held liable for infringement that occurs on their networks providing they have a content takedown system in place for copyright owners.

During the extradition hearing, defence lawyers argued that MegaUpload fulfilled its obligations to secure safe harbour protection in both the US and New Zealand, which means that if it could be held liable for infringement now, that would set a dangerous precedent for all tech players, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Which may or may not be true, though at this stage the key issue is not whether Dotcom et al are actually liable for the infringement of their old customers, but whether [a] the US government has a sufficient case against the MegaUpload men to justify extradition and [b] whether the crimes they are accused of are covered by the extradition treaty between New Zealand and the US.

That latter point is perhaps most important, because straight copyright infringement is not covered. But, says the prosecution, the level of infringement that Dotcom and co encouraged and enabled constitutes "fraud", which is covered. Why then, countered the defence, had American prosecutors charged their clients with infringement and not fraud.

Summing up, Christine Gordon, the New Zealand Crown lawyer representing the US, said the defendants had "mired" the extradition process in irrelevant and complex legal arguments by attempting to "conduct their trial defence through the extradition process".

She then said that lawmakers in New Zealand surely intended their copyright laws to cover the actions of Dotcom and his colleagues, because "it cannot be right the biggest infringers go free, while a man who peddles CDs out of his boot at a local market gets a harsh sentence".

According to 3 News, on the fraud point, Gordon again argued that the defendants had clearly defrauded copyright owners, before claiming that "even the respondents used that word in referring to their activities". She then pulled out the records of more conversations between the defendants, from back when they were running their old business, in which one of the accused, Mathias Ortmann, indeed referred to his company's actions as "fraud".

It was Gordon's insertion of new evidence at this stage that prompted defence lawyers to again call for a postponement of the hearing. After the Mega attorneys dubbed the late delivery of new evidence as an "ambush", judge Dawson said he'd consider postponing proceedings just long enough for those lawyers to review the new materials.

The case continues.

Daily Mail fails in appeal over Paul Weller privacy rights ruling
Daily Mail publisher Associated Newspapers has lost the appeal in its legal battle with Paul Weller over the publication of photos of his family while shopping in LA in 2012.

As previously reported, Weller won damages for three of his children and secured an injunction against the Mail last year. At the time, the newspaper said the ruling would have "serious consequences" for all media, adding that "our publication of the images was entirely in line with the law in California where they were taken by a freelance photographer".

It also noted that Weller's eldest child had once modelled for Teen Vogue, and that "images of the babies' naked bottoms have been tweeted by their mother, and their father has discussed the children in promotional interviews".

But appeal judges last week upheld the original judgement. Both Weller and his manager told said judges that the singer only ever discussed his family in public when specifically questioned about them in interviews, that he never volunteered any information about his children, and that he refused requests for interviews focused on his personal life.

The singer added that, while his teenage daughter Dylan has been registered with a modelling agency for about one year and had done one shoot for Teen Vogue, she was "not a model in any meaningful sense", and that activity should not affect her right to privacy.

On the jurisdiction point, judge John Dyson said: "Although it was lawful to take the photographs of the claimants, and it would have been lawful to publish them in California, this did not prevent the claimants having a reasonable expectation of privacy in relation to their publication in this jurisdiction".

Which meant that the case hinged on the balancing of the privacy and free speech rights contained within the European Convention On Human Rights, ie the Weller family's privacy rights versus the Mail's right to free speech.

And on this point, the appellate judges concurred with the lower court, saying that, given the environment in which the pictures were taken, and the fact they featured clearly identifiable minors, the Weller children's privacy rights gazump the newspaper's free speech, and the initial ruling should therefore stand.

Despite the Mail claiming that the initial ruling set important precedents for celebrity journalism in general (it also argued it put UK publishers at a disadvantage to US rivals in the online celeb gossip game), the appeal court judges refused Associated permission to take the case further to the UK Supreme Court.


Significant pre-trial ruling in ongoing BMG/Round Hill v Cox case
There was an interesting and potentially significant ruling last week in the ongoing legal battle between music rights firms BMG and Round Hill Music and the US internet service provider Cox Communications, which is due to reach court next month.

As previously reported, BMG and Round Hill sued Cox last year, claiming that the net firm should be held liable for the copyright infringement committed by its customers, because it failed to pass on warning letters to said infringing users on behalf of the music companies. ISPs would normally be protected from liability by the so called safe harbours in US copyright law, but BMG and Round Hill said that the failure to pass on their warning letters to suspected infringers meant that protection should no longer apply.

Most of the other major ISPs in the US are part of a voluntary programme called the Copyright Alert System, via which warning letters are sent to suspected online copyright infringers. Cox has its own warning system in place instead, but BMG and Round Hill said that system wasn't sufficient, basically implying that the internet firm paid only lip service to its copyright obligations, appearing to terminate the accounts of prolific infringers, but continuing to provide those customers with internet services.

As also previously reported, the legal dispute has resulted in a number of arguments and legal technicalities being presented by both sides. Cox questioned the approach of Rightscorp - the company hired by BMG and Round Hill to chase suspected infringers - whose tactics have been controversial elsewhere. It also criticised the music firms for equating BitTorrent traffic with piracy, and questioned their actual claim to the specific songs listed in the case as having been infringed.

On the latter point, Cox scored some success in its dispute with Round Hill last week, but not BMG. Meanwhile the judge overseeing the proceedings, Liam O'Grady, seemed to side with the music firms on the key point as to whether or not Cox had done enough to combat piracy to qualify for safe harbour protection.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, in a short pre-trial ruling, O'Grady said: "Cox is not entitled to a safe harbour defence", with the judge writing that there is "no genuine issue of material fact as to whether defendants reasonably implemented a repeat-infringer policy as is required by S512(i) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act".

A more detailed document from O'Grady is expected shortly, outlining his thought processes and conclusions in more detail. It is not clear what last week's ruling means for the court hearing on this case, which is due to kick off on 2 Dec.

Music Glue chief says industrial touts are hindering new artists' ability to build a fanbase
As the deadline arrived on Friday for submissions to the latest government review on secondary ticketing in the UK, the boss of direct-to-fan firm Music Glue, Mark Meharry, submitted his take, arguing that the boom in touts, who resell tickets to in-demand events online at highly marked up prices, is hindering the process that new artists, and their managers, employ to build profile and demand.

As previously reported, the government was obliged to instigate a new review of the secondary ticketing market by this year's Consumer Rights Act, which introduced some light regulation of the resale sector, though without the key measures the anti-tout brigade would like to see made law: ie the compulsory publication on resale sites of each seller's name and each ticket number, something that would make it much easier for promoters to cancel touted tickets, making customers much more wary of buying from secondary sellers.

Supporters of the secondary market usually present two arguments in favour of ticket touting. First, that over regulation will force the touts to websites outside the UK, where customers will not get the protections currently provided by sites operating under the UK jurisdiction, like Viagogo, StubHub and Ticketmaster's Seatwave and Get Me In. And second, that if tickets sell on the secondary market for prices much higher than face value, then the artist and promoter put their tickets on sale at the wrong price.

That latter argument, says Meharry, misunderstands how artists build and analyse their live audiences, and by association the fanbases around which a direct-to-fan business can be built. And ignores the fact that fans have a finite amount of money to spend, and that the artist won't want the fan to use up all their monies on one ticket. When they do so on the secondary market, the tout takes income that might otherwise be spent with the artist on merch or future tickets, which is particularly problematic for new artists operating on incredibly tight margins, and middle-level acts for whom live is their primary income stream.

In his submission, Meharry wrote: "The first rule of sustainable touring is 'sell out, create future demand and return soon'. To ensure a sell-out and avoid market saturation, it is important to play in venues that are perhaps too small and with a ticket price that is perhaps too low. Today, when demand outstrips supply, tickets become available on the secondary market for inflated prices. Disappointed fans are presented with a choice: 'wait until next time or pay a premium now'. Many choose the 'pay now' option and are effectively draining money from the artist, into the pockets of ticket touts".

On the impact on new artists in the initial fanbase-building stage, Meharry adds: "In the modern, online, connected world, loyal fans are the new marketing department. The 'super-fan' is highly engaged and typically has a broad network of early adopters that thrive on the newest and coolest music. And they are usually not very rich. When tickets for their favourite artists go on sale and instantly shift to secondary sites, the super-fan is priced out of the market. They cannot attend and cannot spread the word to their network and the modern marketing mechanism breaks".

He goes on: "Artists [also] rely on data from their fan networks to decide where to tour next; if a proportion of their 'customer list' is invalid because the email addresses provided came from [ticket-buying bots used by touts], this is undermined".

Perhaps aware that the current government is not so keen on further regulating the secondary ticketing market - some MPs had pushed for stronger regulation in the Consumer Rights Act, but the government resisted - Meharry concluded by drawing parallels with other industries. He says: "If I built a 'bot' that bought EVERY train ticket for EVERY train leaving London on the 24th December and then sold those tickets for five times the price on secondary ticketing sites, I'm sure the House Of Commons would suddenly have a focused sense of clarity as to the core issues being debated here".

Ultimately, says Meharry, it is consumers who lose out the most when artists are hindered in building their fan businesses, and in planning and pricing their gigs as they see fit, by the industrial level touting the online secondary market enables.

As we say, it seems unlikely that the current government will be keen to introduce further regulation of the touting market, and the operators of secondary sites will continue to argue any such extra regulation would be unworkable. But - for an issue that has been a big talking point at several points in the last ten years, only usually to fizzle out into nothing - this time a particularly high number of different people, companies and groups seem to have taken an interest. Though it still remains to be seen what comes of this latest review.

Listen to further discussion of the secondary ticketing market and the current government review on the latest CMU Podcast.

  Approved: Youth Lagoon
Youth Lagoon, real name Trevor Powers (seriously, what a name), released his third album, 'Savage Hills Ballroom', through Fat Possum in September. It's a thoughtful album, both musically and lyrically, constructed with interest and intrigue, as well as a critical eye and ear.

My interest in his latest project was particularly peaked, as is so often the case, by an appearance on the excellent Song Exploder podcast. On the latest episode Powers deconstructs the writing and recording of the album's lead single, 'The Knower', from the ground up.

Listen to that here, and then watch the recently released video for the track here.
CLICK HERE to read and share online

According to the latest records, Adele's latest record is set to break records
So here's some news everybody: people are buying the new Adele album. Who would have thought?

As previously noted, it's looking likely that '25' could take the 'first week sales record' in the US from *Nsync, who have held that accolade since the release of their long player 'No Strings Attached' all the way back in 2000. Pre-release orders from both fans and retailers already suggested that Adele's new album could surpass that *Nsync LP's first week achievements Stateside, and sales data from the weekend confirms that could well happen.

Meanwhile, back here in the UK, could Adele's new record pass the half-million sales mark in just one week, something only previously achieved by Take That in 2010 and Oasis in 1997? Oh, well, now, here's the thing, she might just do that.

'25' had passed 300,000 units by Friday night, putting her ahead of where Take That's 'Progress' was on its first day, but behind the 424,000 copies 'Be Here Now' sold on its first day out. To take the overall 'most first week sales' crown in the UK, Adele would have to top the 695,761 copies 'Be Here Now' went on to sell in its first seven days. Could she do it? Well, could she? Who knows? Not me. I gave up time travelling, I'm afraid.

So we'll have to wait and see, I guess. But what does this tell us about the state of music today? Erm, that every so often, once in a while, when things happily align, a superstar artist comes along with an album that shifts mega-mega-units. Just like in those olden days.

Of course, it's nice that it's an indie-signed artist that is shifting the mega-mega-units this time. Though arguably both *Nsync and Oasis came out of the indie label world too, even if their record companies had sold stakes to the majors by the time their mega-selling records came along.

David Bowie releases new single
David Bowie has released new single 'Blackstar', which would have been a surprise if The Times hadn't gone and ruined it. Well done, guys!

Bowie's 25th studio album will be released on the singer's 69th birthday, 8 Jan, through ISO Records. It will also be two years to the day since he surprise released his last album, 'The Next Day'.

'Blackstar' is also the theme tune for Sky Atlantic show 'The Last Panthers', which first aired earlier this month. The full song was released on Friday, and here it is in this ten minute video.


EMA writes horror movie score
EMA has written the score for new horror film '#Horror', with the soundtrack album set for release through Matador on 11 Dec.

"We worked really closely with [director] Tara [Subkoff] on the music", said EMA. "She definitely always had an opinion on what she liked and what she didn't. It was my first score, so I'm not sure if all composers end up spending weeks in a room with the director, but that's how we did it. I love the eeriness of the vocal synth samples and I think it gives the score a very uncanny vibe that matches the themes of the film".

Here's a track from it, 'Amnesia Haze'.

Coldplay announce stadium tour
Coldplay - the coldest of all the players - have announced that they will tour the stadiums of the world next year. Well, why not? Let them have their fun, I say. On their way they'll play four UK shows, including two nights at Wembley Stadium.

It'll be the band's first tour since 2012, them having taken time off from touring after the release of their last album 'Ghost Stories'. But 'A Head Full Of Dreams', out on 4 Dec, needs the push, apparently. So off they go.

Says Chris Martin: "I think that not going on tour with 'Ghost Stories' was one of the best decisions we ever made, because it gave us such pent-up energy in the studio and completely reignited everyone's desire to go around the world and play music. 'A Head Full Of Dreams' was written as a record to be performed live. We can't wait to do that".

Here are all the UK shows so far announced:

4 Jun: Manchester, Etihad Stadium
7 Jun: Glasgow, Hampden Park
16 Jun: London, Wembley Stadium
18 Jun: London, Wembley Stadium

Tickets will be on sale this Friday at 9.30am, or the day before if you pre-order the new album on Amazon by 11.59pm tonight.

Benjamin Clementine wins 2015 Mercury Prize
The Mercury Prize! The Mercury Prize! Did you see it? Did you love it? With its new snappy format that doesn't have time for a big sit down meal. Or even performances by all of the nominated artists. It's the future! Until the government forces the BBC to stop showing anything except documentaries about power stations.

So, yeah, various VIPs took their seats in the BBC Radio Theatre on Friday night for an hour long BBC Four show building up to the big winner reveal. A show that seemed suspiciously short, given that it took three hours to announce the shortlist over on 6 Music in October.

Slaves, Róisín Murphy, Eska and Benjamin Clementine all performed live in the room. Wolf Alice's drummer Joel Amey performed with Slaves, which we might as well count as them getting on stage too. Each nominee got a little video talking them up, and there were interviews with judges in the audience enthusing about the various artists on the shortlist.

But there can be only one winner - that's, like, a rule, or something - and that winner was Benjamin Clementine. Which meant he actually got to perform live twice. Not a very efficient use of musicians, really, that. People who had already played should have been automatically withdrawn from the competition.

Except that would mean that a very deserving winner - yeah, a lot of people took our critique of the shortlist alarmingly seriously - wouldn't have been given the prize, and wouldn't have given one of the best Mercury acceptance speeches in the award's history.

Seeming genuinely surprised to have been called up on stage, Clementine said: "I'd like to thank... music ... I can't believe I've actually won this, I really can't ... I never thought I would say this, but I would like to say that if there is anyone watching - every child, any child, every youngster, every student - the world is your oyster, and just go out there and get whatever you wanna get".

Then, thanking the other nominated artists, he called them all up on stage - turning to host Lauren Laverne first to ask, "Is that OK?" and a few moments later, "Am I taking too long?"

With his fellow nominees on stage, he concluded, "Before I finish, I know that it's about music but I dedicate [this award] to [the victims of] what happened about four, five days ago in Paris..." Choking up at this point and unable to speak further, a silence hung in the air before the audience broke into applause.

Clementine has strong links to Paris, having begun his career sleeping rough and busking on the Paris Metro, being discovered after a number of years living in the city and signing a major label deal in 2012. His Mercury-winning album, 'At Least For Now', was then recorded in London in 2014 and released in March this year.

He said in a press conference following the ceremony that he had visited the Bataclan theatre, where 89 people were killed, the day after the attacks.

Of the £20,000 prize money that comes with the Mercury trophy, he said he would spend it on pianos, funding a tour, and donate some to homeless charities.

Watch the full awards show here.


American Music Awards dished out
So, did you win an American Music Award? Well did you? Slackers. Look at all these hard working grafters whose hard work and hard graft was honoured with a fan-voted AMA gong last night.

And if you're now thinking, "Well, mate, I don't see your name on this list, you slacker", well... I formatted the list didn't I? Which is the very definition of hard work and hard graft. So now I come to think about it, why aren't I on the list?

Ah, now I see it, this must be the annual awards event for slackers, and it's everyone who didn't win who are actually the hard working graters. Me, you and your mate downstairs. Well done one and all. Except, of course, for the following...

Artist Of The Year: One Direction
Song Of The Year: Taylor Swift - Blank Space
New Artist of the Year: Sam Hunt

Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist: Ariana Grande
Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist: Ed Sheeran
Favorite Pop/Rock Group: One Direction
Favorite Pop/Rock Album: Taylor Swift - 1989

Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist: Rihanna
Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist: The Weeknd
Favorite Soul/R&B Album: The Weeknd - Beauty Behind The Madness

Favorite Country Female Artist: Carrie Underwood
Favorite Country Male Artist: Luke Bryan
Favorite Country Group: Florida Georgia Line
Favorite Country Album: Florida Georgia Line - Anything Goes

Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Artist: Nicki Minaj
Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Album: Nicki Minaj - The Pinkprint

Favorite Latin Artist: Enrique Iglesias
Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist: Casting Crowns
Favorite Electronic Dance Music Artist: Calvin Harris
Favorite Adult Contemporary Artist: Taylor Swift
Favorite Alternative Rock Artist: Fall Out Boy

Top Soundtrack: Pitch Perfect 2
Collaboration of the Year: Skrillex & Diplo feat Justin Bieber - Where Are Ü Now

Eagles Of Death Metal, ILMC, The Darkness, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Vice News has put up a trailer for the first interview with Eagles Of Death Metal since the attacks on Paris earlier this month. The full interview will air this week.

• The International Live Music Conference - or ILMC if you prefer - will take place from 3-6 Mar next year, with an expansion of its live music showcase programme and a new private networking area in the event's very own off-site pub.

• The Darkness are releasing a second Christmas single, following on from their 2003 classic 'Christmas Time (Don't Let The Bells End)'. This one is called 'I Am Santa' and its video is here.

• Deftones have rescheduled their Wembley Arena show, cancelled in the wake of the attacks on Paris earlier this month. However, fans will have to wait until 3 Jun next year for it. The show will take place shortly before the band play Download Festival on 11 Jun.

• The designer of the 2016 BRIT Awards trophies will be Pam Hogg. A musician as well as fashion designer, Hogg has made each trophy that will be handed out in February unique. She gave us a quote, but it doesn't really make any sense.

Elton John "gutted" by record label snub
Elton John has told Rolling Stone that he was "gutted" when Capitol Records declined to put out his latest album, 'Wonderful Crazy Night'. It will instead be released in America through another of Universal's labels, Island US, next February.

"I was gutted, I have to say", he indeed said. "I thought, 'This is a fucking good record, and I can't understand why they don't want to put it out'. But they've done me a favour. I was so upset for about a week, and then I landed on Island's doorstep with David Massey and they are so thrilled. They have a lot of young artists on their label. I am, by far, the oldest artist they have. They have The Killers, who are friends of mine. I'm 68 years old, and I've made 33 studio albums. All I'm asking for at this age is for them to like it, to be enthusiastic and to do their best. I can ask for no more".

He added that he doesn't have unrealistic hopes for the album, saying: "I'm not going to sell a million albums. I'm not expecting to", but noted that the songs on it were suited to being played in arenas.

'Wonderful Crazy Night' is out on 5 Feb. Read the full Rolling Stone interview here.

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 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.
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