THURSDAY 10 MARCH 2016
TODAY'S TOP STORY: A legal representative for Dr Luke has denied a report that Sony Music will part company with the producer as a result of the bad PR being generated by his ongoing legal battle with Kesha. As much previously reported, Kesha Sebert accuses Lukasz Gottwald of plying her with drugs and alcohol and raping her as a teenager. Gottwald claims that the allegations and resulting lawsuit... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: As I may have mentioned, our sister website ThisWeek London asked me to pick out the five things that particularly stood out from this year's Convergence festival programme as part if its TW:Guide to the event, and I did just that right about here. Though for those of you too lazy to click on that link, if you're aware of just one show taking place at Convergence this year... [READ MORE]
 
CMU PODCAST: CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review the week in music and the music business, including the confusion around whether or not ATP has been cancelled, Sony's acquisition of Cooking Vinyl's independent label services business Essential, Tidal's mechanical rights lawsuit and the all important Boyzlife venture. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital... [LISTEN HERE]
TOP STORIES Dr Luke denies reports Sony is considering axing his deal
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DEALS Minder Music founder announces deal to represent work of key Elvis songwriter
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MANAGEMENT & FUNDING El-P and his manager ally with Monotone Inc
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Pandora unveils AMPcast
Layoffs at Sonos as company sets new priorities
New boss and priority products at Omnifone
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MEDIA Vice confirms TV deal with Sky
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EDUCATION & EVENTS CMU Insights confirmed for Wide Days
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GIGS & FESTIVALS Dave Okumu discusses Convergence's Gil Scott-Heron tribute
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AND FINALLY... Sacha Baron Cohen discusses why he dropped out of Freddie Mercury biopic project
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LISTEN UP - PRESS MANAGER (LONDON)
We are hiring an experienced Press Manager to join the press team at Listen Up. The candidate will need 2-4 years' experience experience in a similar role with a thorough knowledge of artist and label campaigns.

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SECRETLY GROUP - INTERNATIONAL MARKETING CO-ORDINATOR (LONDON)
Secretly Group are looking for an International Marketing Co-ordinator. The role involves regular travel to mainland Europe, Japan and Australia.

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AUDIO NETWORK - MIX ENGINEER (LONDON)
Audio Network is looking for an audio professional with experience in mixing and mastering music in a wide variety of styles to the highest level. The company has an especially strong reputation for its orchestral and live recordings which are produced at Air and Abbey Road Studios and with composers and artists from around the world.

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SUPAPASS - DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER (NORWICH OR LONDON)
SupaPass is looking for an ambitious Digital Marketing Manager to drive growth marketing and conversion rate optimisation for our fast growing startup. We’re a dynamic passionate team, and we're looking for someone who has an intense passion for music and tech and is looking to get involved in an early stage startup to grow the business.

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ROCKET PR - NATIONAL RADIO PLUGGER (LONDON)
Rocket PR have a fantastic opportunity for a national radio plugger to join their successful team. Rocket is one of the UK's leading radio and TV promotions companies, working with top independent labels and exciting new and established artists.

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AWAL - SENIOR CLIENT MANAGER (LONDON)
Joining AWAL, one of the world leading rights management and music services companies, this role will be a main point of contact for our artist and label clients and responsible for the co-ordination of releases, client support and product development.

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AWAL - CLIENT MANAGER (LONDON)
Joining AWAL, one of the world leading rights management and music services companies, this role will be the point of contact for our clients and will support the co-ordination of releases.

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MUSIC GLUE - DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER (LONDON)
We’re looking for an experienced Digital Marketing Manager with a passion for music and who is inspired by the opportunity to join a dynamic independent music-tech company. You will be responsible for driving international engagement across all of our digital marketing platforms.

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KOBALT LABEL SERVICES - SENIOR PRODUCT MANAGER (LONDON)
Joining Kobalt Label Services this Senior Product Manager will be instrumental in the conception and implementation of creative marketing campaigns for KLS releases in the UK.

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AWAL - DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER (LONDON)
AWAL is one of the world leading rights management and music services companies offering a transparent, straight to market solution for artists and labels. As part of our growth we are seeking a Digital Marketing Manager to provide digital marketing, technical insight and creative inspiration to AWAL, its artist and label clients and releases.

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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
 
 
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.
 
16 Mar 2016 CMU:DIY x Urban Development Industry Takeover Seminar
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17 Mar 2016 CMU Insights @ Convergence 2016
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13 Apr 2016 CMU:DIY x Urban Development Industry Takeover Seminar
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14 Apr 2016 CMU Insights @ Music 4.5: Playlists 2
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18 Apr 2016 CMU Insights Masterclass: Music Business Explained - For Brands
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22 Apr 2016 CMU Insights @ Wide Days 2016
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6 May 2016 CMU Insights @ Canadian Music Week 2016
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19-20 May 2016 CMU Insights @ The Great Escape 2016
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Dr Luke denies reports Sony is considering axing his deal
A legal representative for Dr Luke has denied a report that Sony Music will part company with the producer as a result of the bad PR being generated by his ongoing legal battle with Kesha.

As much previously reported, Kesha Sebert accuses Lukasz Gottwald of plying her with drugs and alcohol and raping her as a teenager. Gottwald claims that the allegations and resulting lawsuit are an attempt by Sebert to get out of her contract with his Kemosabe label, which is a Sony Music imprint.

As the legal battle slowly goes through the motions, Sebert's attorney sought a temporary injunction that would have allowed the singer to release a record with another label, arguing that the dispute with Gottwald had put his client's entire career on hold. But the judge overseeing the case denied that request, saying that it would set a dangerous precedent if the court interfered with Sebert's contractual relationship with the producer's companies.

The judge also noted that Sony had offered to allow Sebert to work with a different producer and a different label within the major record company. The singer had indicated that she would be OK with such an arrangement, but her lawyer Mark Geragos said that they were yet to be convinced that such a set-up would not still be under the influence of Gottwald, and that they suspected that the major would not properly promote any resulting record, because its loyalties really lie with the producer.

Although Sebert was unsuccessful in court, public and celebrity support for the singer has grown significantly since the hearing, with Sony under increased pressure to release her from contractual obligations that benefit her alleged abuser.

But Sony argues that Sebert's deal is directly with Gottwald's companies, which in turn have a deal with the major, meaning it is not a party to the actual Sebert/Gottwald contract, and therefore not in a position to release the singer from her obligations. All it can do, if it so wishes, is put pressure on its long-term business partner Gottwald to cut the singer free.

Or it could seek to end its alliance with the producer altogether, which - while not necessarily cutting Sebert free from her contractual obligations - would cut the major free from the PR nightmare the case has caused. And yesterday The Wrap cited sources saying that that's exactly what Sony intends to do.

The quoted sourced conceded that Sebert's legal case for getting out of her contract was weak, but added that public support for the singer from high profile artists like Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson and Adele was a problem for Sony. "Kesha has no case in regards to her contract" the source said, "but they can't afford the Adeles of the world out in the streets calling the label unsupportive. The fact that this hasn't already been taken care of with Luke is confusing, especially for people in the building".

Of course, ending its alliance with Gottwald would be costly for Sony, given he reportedly has at least a year left to run on his current contract with the major. Given there has been no criminal proceedings in relation to Sebert's allegations against the producer, Sony couldn't just drop him, meaning it would have to negotiate – ie buy – it's way out of its business partnership. And, of course, it would also lose access to Gottwald's pop-making talents.

Either way, the producer's reps are denying that Sony has any plans at all to end its business alliance with their client. Responding to the story in The Wrap, attorney Christine Lepera told Billboard: "This is not true. Luke has an excellent relationship with Sony. His representatives are in regular contact with executives at the highest levels at Sony and this has never come up".

Minder Music founder announces deal to represent work of key Elvis songwriter
Publishing firm New Songs Administration Limited has announced details of a recent multi-territory deal with the widow of the late songwriter Aaron Schroeder, who wrote over 1500 songs during his long career, and who is perhaps best known for his work with Elvis Presley.

Under the deal, New Songs will administrate the catalogues of A Schroeder International, which mainly contain songs written or co-written by Schroeder himself. As well as songs made famous by Presley, the repertoire includes works recorded by The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Roy Orbison and Perry Como, amongst many others.

New Songs is led by UK-based music publishing veteran John Fogarty, who last year sold most of his other business - Minder Music - to BMG.

On his latest deal, he told reporters: "Aaron Schroeder is a songwriter sometimes overlooked in the pantheon of great songwriters. Just look at the list of artists who have recorded his works – it's breathtaking. From rock n roll Elvis to Frank Sinatra crooning, his breadth of genres in amazing. Writing for these two iconic artists at the peak of their respective careers in two entirely different genres was pretty amazing".

He goes on: "[Aaron] continued to write and collaborate with artists through the 1990s, most particularly Barry White. It's an honour to represent such a fantastic catalogue. We are going to actively work on placing these wonderful songs in TV and commercials".

El-P and his manager ally with Monotone Inc
Rapper and producer El-P - off of Run The Jewels – and his manager Amaechi Uzoigwe have formed a new alliance with management firm Montone Inc.

Under the deal, Uzoigwe will continue to oversee El-P's various business ventures and co-manage Run The Jewels through Monotone, while the rapper, his manager and the boss of their new ally, Ian Monotone, will also "develop new projects in music, film and other mediums".

Confirming all that, the Monotone Inc chief told reporters: "We work with the best creative minds in the artist community, so bringing El-P and Amaechi into Monotone makes perfect sense".

Pandora unveils AMPcast
Want to deliver quick audio messages to your fans as they hear your music? Perhaps you need directions to the nearest Homebase and reckon your fanbase may be able to help. Or maybe you just learned an amazing bit of trivia about former US President Calvin Coolidge that you just need to share with someone. Well, Pandora is here to help.

In it's ongoing bid to become an artist-friendly data and marketing platform – rather than just a streaming service that pays shit royalties – Pandora has this week unveiled AMPcast, a new service that allows artists to "speak to their fans" by recording and uploading short audio messages via their phones that will then be pumped out to unsuspecting Pandora listeners.

If that all sounds a little familiar, it's because it's an evolution of the artist messaging service Pandora introduced last summer, the main innovation being that the audio message can now be recorded by an artist on the fly via their phone. And what could possibly go wrong with that?

Says Pandora founder Tim Westergren: "AMPcast has the potential to change the odds for musicians. This powerful tool, combined with the scale and reach of Pandora, gives every talented and hard-working artist a real shot to build a career in music. Marketing and promotion for artists will never be the same".

Except it will be. Artists, managers and labels will just have one more digital marketing channel to manage. Good times.

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Layoffs at Sonos as company sets new priorities
Wireless speaker maker Sonos has announced that an unconfirmed number of employees will be let go by the company as it shifts its business model a little.

Specifics of the rejig and downsizing are not known, but CEO John MacFarlane says his company's priorities are now the delivery of streaming services through its speaker systems (as opposed to digital music stored on a local hard drive) and developing the potential of voice control.

In a blog post announcing all this, MacFarlane wrote: "Today, the entire music ecosystem is in transition – ultimately for the better – and so is Sonos. We have a good idea of how this will evolve over time, and we've never been more bullish on what it means for music fans. But we also know that to continue to innovate and bring compelling new experiences to market, we need to invest heavily against the opportunity".

"Building a company capable of sustained innovation, steady growth and future vitality requires that we run the business profitably. We're not chasing short-term gains or answering to impatient investors. Rather, we're making a decision to substantially and confidently increase our investment in the future of music".

"The short term - and very difficult - consequence of this decision is we've had to make some changes to our team. We do this with a heavy heart, as we are in the process of letting go of some Sonos employees who have played important roles getting us to this point. We wish them well, and we're doing everything we can to make their transition as smooth as possible. As we look to the future there are two big areas that we're leaning into: paid streaming services and voice control".

On the voice control thing, he added: "We're fans of what Amazon has done with Alexa and the Echo product line. Voice recognition isn't new; today it's nearly ubiquitous with Siri, OK Google, and Cortana. But the Echo found a sweet spot in the home and will impact how we navigate music, weather, and many, many other things as developers bring new ideas and more content to the Alexa platform".

"Alexa/Echo is the first product to really showcase the power of voice control in the home" he goes on. "Its popularity with consumers will accelerate innovation across the entire industry. What is novel today will become standard tomorrow. Here again, Sonos is taking the long view in how best to bring voice-enabled music experiences into the home. Voice is a big change for us, so we'll invest what's required to bring it to market in a wonderful way".

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New boss and priority products at Omnifone
B2B digital music provider Omnifone has a new CEO in the form of Doug Imrie, who was previously MD and COO at the company. He replaces Jeff Hughes who will become a more hands-off Chairman.

The firm, which has powered digital music offers for various tech and tel co companies over the years, many of which ultimately fizzle out, says Imrie's promotion coincides with a "transition in business strategy, which sees the development of unique, off-the-shelf B2B music products, to cater for new industry demands".

Those products, in case you wondered, are the Global Metering Hub, "a first for the music industry, enabling real-time performance and consumption reporting from digital media distribution"; and the Acoustic Lab, a 'music information retrieval platform', "which promotes the analysis of the DNA of a digital music track, creating a library of audio and musical features that provide unique metadata sets".

Both of which seemingly confirm an opinion that has been expressed in various quarters of the music industry in the last year or so, that the data and data tools owned and developed by companies like Omnifone are arguably now more valuable long-term than their content delivery platforms and licensing services.

Commenting on all this, new boss Imrie said: "I am hugely excited to undertake to role of Chief Executive at Omnifone. Whilst we have continued to enjoy powering music services around the globe, we have identified several exciting opportunities to enable digital service providers, rightsholders and other industry stakeholders to select the key components of our music cloud that they need, to build products that enhance their services and operations".

Vice confirms TV deal with Sky
Vice has entered into a deal with Sky to launch its first TV channel in Europe, the media firm having last year revealed a plan to get into more conventional broadcasting in various European markets. Under the deal, a 24/7 channel called Viceland will launch on the Sky network in the UK and Ireland.

According to The Guardian, Vice boss Shane Smith says of the Sky deal, "This is the biggest move yet in our long love affair with our British and Irish audience. Viceland is going to give them a whole new way to experience Vice content – on their own televisions, around the clock".

The deal only currently includes Sky's UK network - the satellite telly firm also operating in Germany and Italy - and is a non-exclusive deal, meaning the new channel could also set up on the Virgin Media platform. Though Sky will get some upfront exclusives for its on-demand service.

CMU Insights confirmed for Wide Days
Scotland's music business convention Wide Days has announced details about this year's programme, including a session presented by CMU Insights.

Music wise, artists set to appear include Be Charlotte, Best Girl Athlete, Elle Exxe, The Van T's, Tongues and Scumpulse, with the showcases open to both delegates and the public, and unfolding at the city's Pleasance Theatre, La Belle Angele and Electric Circus.

Taking place on 22 and 23 Apr this year, the conference side on the Wide Day proceedings will include a CMU Insights session on the 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar' report our consultancy unit produced for the UK's Music Managers Forum last year.

CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke will explain how streaming service sare licensed in ten simple steps, before leading a conversation on how DIY artists can get the most out of streaming, and about the issues artists and managers now face in the digital domain.

Other topics set to be covered by Wide Days, which presents panels on day one and a series of informal networking events on day two, include the rise of the city-based festivals and how to make outdoor music events more environmentally sustainable. The event's infamous A&R You Brave Enough? demo feedback session will also return.

Commenting on this year's proceedings, and noting that a majority of the acts set to perform this year are fronted by women, Wide Days founder Olaf Furniss told reporters: "We are looking forward to welcoming great speakers to Wide Days and are very grateful that all our partners from 2015 are on board again. We are also really excited with the range of showcase acts, and we hope to inspire those festivals where the line-ups still consist of ten blokes for every bloke".

You can find out more about CMU Insights @ Wide Days here. And get more info about the wider event here.

  Approved: Anna von Hausswolff at Convergence
As I may have mentioned, our sister website ThisWeek London asked me to pick out the five things that particularly stood out from this year's Convergence festival programme as part if its TW:Guide to the event, and I did just that right about here.

Though for those of you too lazy to click on that link, if you're aware of just one show taking place at Convergence this year, please make it Anna von Hausswolff who is playing St John At Hackney Church.

Previously approved Von Hausswolff is an artist whose sound can truly be said to be unique. Using the pipe organ as the basis for her work - a 9000 pipe organ on her latest album, no less! - she builds a sound that is grand, dark and exciting. And the setting of the Convergence show will be an opportunity to see a venue properly do justice to her performance.

Look out for an interview with Von Hausswolff going live within the aforementioned TW:Guide To Convergence later today. And get your tickets for the show here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column in 2016 by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.
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Dave Okumu discusses Convergence's Gil Scott-Heron tribute
As the Convergence festival gets underway today, CMU's sister media ThisWeek London has spoken to Dave Okumu of The Invisible, who is music director on one of the stand-out events of this year's programme, a special concert celebrating the work and legacy of the late great Gil Scott-Heron. Anna Calvi, Jamie Woon, Kwabs, Nadine Shah, Andreya Triana, Loyle Carner, Gwilym Gold and Joan As Police Woman are amongst those set to revisit and reinterpret some of the spoken word pioneer's greatest works this weekend.

"Glenn and I put a great deal of thought into what material we should focus on" Okumu says of the creative process behind the show, "and then started a long conversation about who might be an appropriate fit. Glenn has a real gift for creative programming. I had a really positive experience working with him on the Beck 'Song Reader' show at the Barbican a little while ago; he matched artists to the material with real ingenuity there, so I felt very confident we would find the right ingredients for this new show".

He goes on: "It's been an exciting process, because you never know who will have the courage to participate in a project like this. You might have a great idea of who might work for what piece, but the artist has to be able to envisage the validity of their contribution to such a significant body of work. This takes real boldness. I have huge admiration for all the artists who have taken on the challenge".

Commenting on the continued relevance of Scott-Heron's work, both in terms of his artform and his socio-political message, Okumu adds: "It's almost alarming to see how relevant Gil's work is right now. Although I think any voice that encourages us to keep our eyes and ears open will remain relevant throughout the passage of time. Through his music and poetry he spoke about the plight of the impoverished and marginalised, about immigration, social disquiet, institutional dysfunction, the absence of compassion, the need for humour... it's difficult not to associate his work with the climate we live in now, with its inherent discrepancies and its failure to engage with life's most pressing issues".

You can read the full interview here, and get tickets for the show, which takes place this Sunday at The Roundhouse, here.

Sacha Baron Cohen discusses why he dropped out of Freddie Mercury biopic project
Sacha Baron Cohen has discussed his involvement in the much-postponed Freddie Mercury biopic, which he dropped out of in 2013.

At the time Queen drummer Roger Taylor said that they parted company with the Borat and Ali G star on the movie venture because: "We felt Sacha probably wasn't right in the end. We didn't want it to be a joke. We want people to be moved"

But in a new interview with Howard Stern, Cohen himself says the real issue was the band's plans for the film, which would have focused as much on how they continued on after Mercury's death as it did on the frontman's life and legacy.

Says Cohen: "I said, 'listen, not one person is going to a movie where the lead character dies from AIDS and then you carry on to see how the band carries on'". But, he conceded, "they want to protect their legacy as Queen, and I fully understand that. If you're in control of your rights and your life story, why wouldn't you depict yourself as great as possible?"

But, he mused, "Brian May is a great musician, but he's not a great movie producer".

 
ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins 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, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
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.

For details of the training and consultancy services offered by CMU Insights click here - Andy and Chris are also available to provide music business comment, just email them direct.

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