TODAY'S TOP STORY: The biggest recorded music market in the world yesterday published its figures for 2015, and they neatly conformed to the key global trends. So, over there in the US, physical and downloads continue to decline while streaming income booms, with the latter set to become the key revenue stream for the record industry. This trend is also enabling the recorded music sector to finally... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: I Wear Experiment are described as everything from post-rock to electro. While those elements do both exist to varying degrees throughout the band's music, the thing that really binds it all together is the great songwriting at its heart. Having released a trilogy of EPs - 'Crickets Empire I-III' - over the last few years, the band spent last year working on their... [READ MORE]
CMU PODCAST: Last week CMU Insights presented a session at the Convergence festival considering the challenges facing the media sector in 2016. This week, a special edition of the CMU Podcast includes highlights from the session, with CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke interviewing the people behind some of our favourite music magazines and websites. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital... [LISTEN HERE]
TOP STORIES Streaming now the US record industry's biggest revenue generator, so streaming really has to work then
LEGAL IP Crime Unit charges web-block proxy provider with fraud
LIVE BUSINESS T In The Park submits weighty licensing application to overcome council concerns
ARTIST NEWS Sex Pistols graffiti granted listed status
Iron Maiden airborne again following emergency repairs to Ed Force One
RELEASES Manic Street Preachers record Wales' Euro 2016 song
GIGS & FESTIVALS AlunaGeorge to perform live in Minecraft tonight
AWARDS GIT Award 2016 shortlist announced
ONE LINERS Deezer, CAA, BIMM, more
AND FINALLY... Not even One Direction can make kids interested in the Daily Mail, says ASA
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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.
13 Apr 2016 CMU:DIY x Urban Development Industry Takeover Seminar
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Streaming now the US record industry's biggest revenue generator, so streaming really has to work then
The biggest recorded music market in the world yesterday published its figures for 2015, and they neatly conformed to the key global trends. So, over there in the US, physical and downloads continue to decline while streaming income booms, with the latter set to become the key revenue stream for the record industry.

This trend is also enabling the recorded music sector to finally turn the corner - just - and grow again in terms of revenue. While that growth is tiny, it's always worth remembering that digital is more profitable than physical, especially once your distribution channels and royalty processing systems are built, so as revenues grow slowly, profit margins should be increasing too, and probably at a faster rate.

The top line figures released by the Recording Industry Association Of America yesterday were that overall revenues were up a whole 0.09% to $7.016 billion, while wholesale income was up 0.08% to $4.95 billion. With download income down 9.6% and physical sales down 10.1%, it was the 29% boom in streaming income that enabled the slight growth overall.

It also means that streaming - which includes premium and ad-funded platforms, and those licensed via SoundExchange - is now the single biggest revenue stream for the US record industry. Streams account for 34.3% of revenue, while downloads are just behind at 34% and physical is at 28.8%. Sync is up but still only accounts for 2.9% overall.

Billboard compared the RIAA's money figures with consumption data from stats firm Nielsen to note that the per-stream rate is dropping as the market grows, though I think we should all agree that we need to stop obsessing about per-stream rates and focus on overall income, and how it is shared between stakeholders.

Though the dropping per-stream rate does link in to the so called 'value gap', which is to say the issue raised by the wider music rights sector that free services account for the most consumption but the least income, when compared to paid-for streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify Premium.

Or in the words of RIAA boss Cary Sherman: "While today's data is encouraging, the challenges facing us are significant. The consumption of music is skyrocketing, but revenues for creators have not kept pace. In 2015, fans listened to hundreds of billions of audio and video music streams through on-demand ad-supported digital services like YouTube, but revenues from such services have been meagre  -  far less than other kinds of music services. And the problem is getting worse".

Opting for 'value grab' as the buzz phrase instead of the customary 'value gap' (get this guy on message, will you?), Sherman continues: "This is why we, and so many of our music community brethren, feel that some technology giants have been enriching themselves at the expense of the people who actually create the music. We call this the 'value grab' -  because some companies take advantage of outdated, market-distorting government rules and regulations to either pay below fair-market rates, or avoid paying for that music altogether".

In the US, the 'value gap' is partly about the statutory rates paid by those digital services operating under America's compulsory licence for online radio (including personalised radio), which labels reckon are too low. It's also about the fact that AM/FM stations in the country still pay nothing to the record industry at all. And, as with the rest of the world, it's about those services, like YouTube, exploiting the safe harbours in copyright law that allow them to run 'opt-out' rather than 'opt-in' streaming set-ups.

As much previously reported, the music industry hopes to get safe harbour rules revised so that YouTube-type services have to take responsibility for all the unlicensed content on their platforms, which in turn would strengthen the labels and publishers' negotiating hand, enabling them to demand higher rates, and that YouTube et al offer guaranteed payments on unmonetised content.

The safe harbours are currently being reviewed in both the US and Europe. The music industry seems quietly confident of safe harbour reform in the latter, if probably not the former. Though our sources outside the labels and publishers seem less certain even about the European Union, despite there being a couple of champions for the music rights owners' cause in the European Commission.

Meanwhile, beyond safe harbours and YouTube griping, the US figures confirm that streaming will become the single most important revenue stream for the wider record industry in the near future. And as most people in music still rely on the labels for primary new talent investment, that means that everyone has an interest in making premium streaming work. Which means everyone needs the Spotifys and Apple Musics of the world to sign up as many paying users as they can.

A more coordinated industry-wide strategy to help make that happen would be a good Plan B for if and when the safe harbour reforms are denied by law-makers. Because yes, that would mean helping tech giants, digital entrepreneurs and venture capitalists (who are almost certainly evil) get rich on the back of "our content", but at the same time, possibly the biggest concern for the music industry just now is that the single biggest revenue stream in the single biggest recorded music market is wholly dependent on wholly loss-making services. That's just not sustainable.

So, advances and guarantees are a great way for the record industry to return to growth in the short-term, but these services need to become properly profitable to assure growth in the longer term.

IP Crime Unit charges web-block proxy provider with fraud
This goes out to all the magnificent web-block proxy makers of Great Britain. See you in court! And not the easy-going good-time courts of civil concerns. No, the big bad criminal courts. You know, the ones with a direct chute to your local prison.

The City Of London Police's IP Crime Unit have charged a man for operating services that enable British file-sharers to more easily circumvent the web-block injunctions that have been issued by the UK courts.

These injunctions, of course, force internet service providers to block access to copyright infringing websites like The Pirate Bay and KickassTorrents, though as soon as blockades are put in place proxies spring up that help any user with the ability to type 'The Pirate Bay' or 'Kickass' into Google search to access the blocked sites.

Content owners have been seeking ways of combating the proxy makers, in order to make web-blocks a more efficient anti-piracy tool, albeit with limited success. But perhaps the state could intervene. To that end, the City Of London Police's IP Crime Unit arrested one such proxy maker - Callum Haywood - two years ago and have been investigating his involvement in various web-block circumvention services ever since.

According to Torrentfreak, the policing unit has now decided to press charges in what could be a landmark criminal prosecution, because Haywood wasn't actually operating a copyright infringing website himself, but rather was helping others to evade a court order. Police are charging him with one count of converting/transferring criminal property and six of possessing an article for use in fraud.

The charges could result in a lengthy prison sentence if Haywood is convicted. For his part, he denies any wrongdoing. He is due to appear Nottingham Magistrates' Court on 21 Apr for a preliminary hearing.

T In The Park submits weighty licensing application to overcome council concerns
T In The Park promoter DF Concerts has submitted its licensing application for 2016, according to Dundee newspaper The Courier, and it includes a radical overhaul of traffic and security arrangements in a bid to overcome concerns expressed by the local authority which controls licensing for the event's new site.

As previously reported, after the Scottish festival relocated to a new site at the Strathallan Estate in Perthshire last summer there were an assortment of logistical problems during the event, resulting in Barbara Renton of Perth & Kinross Council saying: "Council staff will need substantial reassurances and evidence from DF that detailed plans will be prepared on time, and the event will be delivered more effectively, before officers could have confidence in recommending it takes place at Strathallan again".

DF pre-empted a damning report from the Council on their 2015 event by announcing the recruitment of two former Police Scotland officers to oversee security and traffic arrangements, and the appointment of a new experienced supplier to look after site management. The promoters also said they had been getting feedback from all stakeholders and would respond to all the criticism.

According to The Courier, the new licensing application from Team T runs to hundreds of pages, and includes major changes to travel arrangements and staffing. A large-scale bus station will be set up Glastonbury-style and ticket-buyers will be encouraged to travel to the event by coach. The site's layout will also be rejigged and efforts will be made to improve staff briefings and communications.

DF boss Geoff Ellis concludes in this submission: "We always strive to create a fun-filled, enjoyable safe weekend for everyone and my whole team is focussed on making ... a festival that we can all be proud of once again".

He, Calvin, Ian and Anthony will now all await with interest, and maybe some anticipation, to see how local residents and all important councillors respond to the new plan.

  Approved: I Wear Experiment
I Wear Experiment are described as everything from post-rock to electro. While those elements do both exist to varying degrees throughout the band's music, the thing that really binds it all together is the great songwriting at its heart.

Having released a trilogy of EPs - 'Crickets Empire I-III' - over the last few years, the band spent last year working on their debut album, 'Patience'. Its lead single, also called 'Patience', is a soaring, anthemic pop song that takes their sound to new levels.

With the album due out in May, check out the title track and its video 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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Sex Pistols graffiti granted listed status
Graffiti drawn by John Lydon has helped two houses in London's famous Denmark Street gain the highest form of listed status from the Department For Culture, Media And Sport. Which, I'm sure, is the legacy everyone was hoping for when punk bounced into action 40 years ago.

The outhouse of a seventeenth century townhouse at 6 Denmark Street that was once occupied by the Sex Pistols still bears graffiti drawn by Lydon. The house and its outbuilding were actually already listed, but have now been granted further protection, upgraded along with the house next door from Grade II to Grade II* listing. Only 5.5% of listed buildings are in this category.

Between 1975 and 1977, the band used a downstairs room in the outhouse, originally thought to have been a silversmith's workshop, to record demos, while guitarist Steve Jones and bassist Glen Matlock lived upstairs.

"These seventeenth century townhouses not only exhibit well-preserved architectural detail but helped nurture Soho's influence on the global music industry during the 1960s and 1970s", says Heritage And First World War Minister David Evennett. "As we celebrate 40 years of punk, I'm delighted to be granting further protection to these buildings which acted as a home and studio to the Sex Pistols".

Emily Gee, Head Of Designation at Historic England, adds: "Numbers 6 and 7 Denmark Street are some of the very few surviving late seventeenth century town houses which still have their original character, fixtures and fittings. For this reason they deserve to be listed at Grade II*. The outbuilding at number 6 also features one of the few physical traces of the importance of Denmark Street to the music industry, with graffiti by John Lydon still on the walls. Cultural phenomena can be difficult to capture in the historic environment, yet here we have an imprint of one of the country's most famous bands. These houses chart the history of Soho, and we're delighted that they're being given such important status".

Speaking to The Guardian, listings adviser Posy Metz explained: "The purpose of listing is to flag things which are of historical and cultural importance and I think punk is a really important part of our cultural history and including it in the listing is a way of recognising that. The alternative is saying: let's forget all about punk because they don't want to be remembered as part of our history".

"Punk can teach us a lot in our modern lives in terms of freedom of expression and not conforming", she continued. "It is really important these things are understood and valued. Punk was not the clincher [to upgrading the listed status of the buildings] but it certainly adds a layer of interest".

No word yet on whether Malcolm McLaren's son Joe Corré will burn some extra stuff in November to protest this latest establishment move to mark the 40th anniversary of punk.

In other graffiti-listing news, as previously reported, Lambeth Council announced earlier this week that it plans to protect a mural of David Bowie that became a shrine to the musician following his death earlier this year.


Iron Maiden airborne again following emergency repairs to Ed Force One
Iron Maiden are back in the air, after their 747 tour jet was grounded earlier this month following an accident that meant two of its engines had to be replaced.

As previously reported, the band rented their new Ed Force One plane in order to fly around the world on their latest tour, piloted by frontman Bruce Dickinson. However, the plane was damaged just a couple of weeks in, when a tow truck at Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in Chile malfunctioned, damaging the two engines and injuring two members of airport staff.

The tour was unaffected, but it took several days to transport new engines to Chile and fit them. This work now complete, the plane is airborne once again.

"The speed and thoroughness of this incredibly complex operation was stunning and we are so very pleased to get our plane back", says Dickinson. "We would like to thank Air Atlanta and their terrific rescue team for a fantastic effort in achieving this in the time they did, and to Boeing, LAN Chile, ACS and Rock-It Cargo for all their invaluable support. We are sorry though for our fans in Cordoba, Buenos Aires, Rio and Belo Horizonte who missed out seeing the plane, but we hope they enjoyed the concerts as much as we did".

He added: "We should also thank our Killer Krew who found themselves at lunchtime on the Saturday of the accident with over 20 tons of equipment at the airport in Santiago and over 60 people all to get to Cordoba for early the next day to set up the huge show we are carrying. The distance is 'only' 1000km, but with a small matter of the Andes in between! They did it, by the skin of the teeth, and all went very well for the show in Cordoba and the other cities EF1 just missed".

The next stop on the tour will be Arena Castelão in Fortaleza, Brazil tomorrow.

Manic Street Preachers record Wales' Euro 2016 song
Manic Street Preachers are to release Wales's official Euro 2016 song. Euro 2016 being some football thing that's happening this summer. And what would a football thing be without a song? Especially as this is the first time Wales has managed to get into a major football tournament in over 50 years. Apparently.

This particular song is called 'Together Stronger (C'mon Wales)' and will be released on 20 May. It's being announced now because the Welsh football team are playing a couple of warm-up matches to limber themselves up. They'll play Northern Ireland tomorrow, then Ukraine on 29 Mar.

Team manager Chris Coleman says: "It was fantastic to be involved with such an iconic Welsh band. Manic Street Preachers have been passionate Welsh football supporters and all the lads enjoyed the experience and joined in. It is also great to be supporting such worthwhile causes in the Princes Gate Trust and Tenovus Cancer Care".

Oh yes, it's all for charity too. I almost forgot to mention that. Thanks Chris. You'll probably be able to listen to the song at some point in the future, but that time is not now.

AlunaGeorge to perform live in Minecraft tonight
Remember when everyone thought the future of music was going to be performing live in Second Life? Almost as funny as when you all had MySpace accounts. Well, Minecraft is the Second Life of 2016, so it makes sense to put some music in there, which is exactly what Norwegian tech event The Gathering is planning to do.

The five day event will kick off later today with a gig headlined by AlunaGeorge and also featuring live performances from Lemaitre and Broiler, which will take place both in Hamar's Olympic Hall and on Minecraft.

"There have been plenty of other music experiences in the Minecraft universe, but not like this. This will be the world's first live Minecraft concert", Gathering organiser Erik Heisholt told The Local. The show is apparently being promoted within the Minecraft universe with posters, like you might in the real world. Heisholt added: "I'm sure they'll be able to accommodate around 2000 to 3000 people, so this will have the same sort of feel as seeing a show in small concert venue".

The show will start at 8pm UK time tonight, so you have until then to work out what Minecraft is and how to find its lone concert venue.

GIT Award 2016 shortlist announced
The shortlist for this year's GIT Award, which champions the best new music in Merseyside, has been announced. Among the nominees are Bill Ryder-Jones, Stealing Sheep and Mic Lowry.

Says award founder Peter Guy: "When The GIT Award began five years ago, new Liverpool music was sadly under-represented on a national scale with few eyes or ears taking notice - now it's widely considered to be the focal point for the best emerging UK artists. Once again, this year's GIT Award nominations shortlist goes a long way to prove that, with artists from across all spheres creating music imploring listeners to take note".

Of the shortlist, one of the judges, Jon Hillcock, said: "What a list! Where else would apocalyptic face-warping deathcore sit so comfortably alongside concise dayglo indie, streamlined R&B and motorik psych-pop? After weeks of delicate negotiation, patient listening and passionate (mostly polite) conflict, here are twelve examples of how and why forward-thinking music Merseyside is thriving".

The full shortlist is:

Clean Cut Kid
Dragged Into Sunlight
Hooton Tennis Club
Mic Lowry
Bill Ryder-Jones
Stealing Sheep
The Vryll Society

The winner will be announced at a ceremony at Constellations in Liverpool on 14 May.

Deezer, CAA, BIMM, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Deezer has promoted Aurélien Hérault to VP Product. "Aurélien knows Deezer", says Chief Content And Product Officer Alexander Holland, which is a good start.

• CAA's Emma Banks will speak at an event in the Royal Albert Hall's Elgar Room in aid of Nordoff Robbins on 6 Apr. More details here.

• Meanwhile, back at CAA HQ, the booking agency has promoted ten of its trainees around the world to the roles of agent or executive, including David Ball, Janet Kim, Ben Schildkraut, Lanell Rumion and Phil Quist in the music department.

• BIMM has promoted Nick Donovan to Principal at its Berlin branch. "I'm very excited", says Donovan. "We at BIMM are THRILLED", adds Executive Principal Vaseema Hamilton. Martin Wright was also recently made Principal of BIMM's original Brighton base.

• The Institute Of Contemporary Music Performance has acquired Alchemea, a college that taught audio professionals for over two decades before closing last year. Former Alchemea director Mike Sinnott will run the new Alchemea @ ICMP facility based at the Institute.

• Nigel Godrich is mixing the latest Red Hot Chili Peppers album. Nige, if you could mix it so that it's completely silent, that would be great.

• Mark Pritchard has released the first single from new album 'Under The Sun', which is due out on 13 May. The track features that Thom Yorke. You can listen to it here.

• The new album from CGIV draws ever closer. While you wait, here's a new track from it, 'Repetition'.

• Up and coming pop troupe Nytclub have released their new single, 'Call Your Friends'. Here it is.

• Rodrigo y Gabriela will headline the London Palladium on 5 Jul. They're writing a new album at the moment.

Not even One Direction can make kids interested in the Daily Mail, says ASA
The Advertising Standards Authority has rejected a complaint about a pre-roll advert for horror film 'Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension' being shown before a video related to One Direction on the Daily Mail website. Because, you know, if you're going to go on the Daily Mail website looking for One Direction news, things can't get any more horrific for you. Though that's not actually what the ruling said.

As well as playing before the One Direction clip, the fifteen second movie trailer also ran on a playlist of Disney and music videos on Vevo's Apple TV app. This, said the complainant, showed that the advert had not been targeted responsibly, as it featured alongside content likely to appeal to children.

In its defence, Paramount Pictures said that the trailer for the fifteen certificate film had been targeted at 15-24 year olds, and that the ad agency involved had been instructed not to place adverts on websites specifically marketed to children. The Mail website, it noted, is not aimed at children, but does attract a high number of users within the target demographic, which would likely be why the ad appeared there.

As for the Vevo playlist, it said that neither it nor Vevo were involved in its curation, but that it featured other artists tagged as of interest to the people it was trying to reach. In addition to One Direction, other artists apparently of interest to the sort of person who might want to see if the people behind 'Paranormal Activity' had worked out how to make a good film after six attempts include Beyonce and Selena Gomez.

Also, the film producer said, information provided by users and assumed from their internet activity was used to ensure that the trailer was not served to anyone under the age of fifteen. So there.

In its assessment, the ASA noted that, while One Direction do appeal to a variety of ages, including those under the age of fifteen, the Mail website is not likely to be a particular destination for children. Also, it said, the Vevo playlist in question was one created by the complainant themselves. As well as featuring artists flagged as of interest to the target audience, the Apple account through which it was viewed showed that the user was over fifteen.

"We noted that the ad had appeared before videos from artists who would be popular with people of various ages, including under fifteens, but that they appealed primarily to the target demographic of 15-24 year olds", it said. "As such, we did not consider that the ad was placed within content specifically aimed at children or likely to appeal to them particularly. For those reasons, we concluded that the ads had not been irresponsibly targeted".

I think the moral of this story is, don't let your children see the Daily Mail website.

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.
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