TODAY'S TOP STORY: So, few surprises in the annual stats pack put out by the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry yesterday. Basically 2015 was a good year because of Spotify. But it could have been a whole lot gooder if it wasn't for bloody YouTube. The end. Well, we probably shouldn't ignore the two big developments that occurred in the global record industry... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Producer Slowolf once had to sell his car to pay for guest vocals from Raekwon. Thankfully, his new collaboration with Kimbra, 'White Feathers', seems to have had less impact on his transport situation. "I connected with Slowolf after he remixed a track for me called 'Goldmine'", says the singer. "I loved his use of organic instrumentation matched with the electronic... [READ MORE]
CMU PODCAST: CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review the week in music and the music business, including Sony Music's lawsuit against former Rdio execs, Radiohead’s catalogue seemingly shifting over to XL, MCPS putting its operations up for tender, and Beyonce and Deadmau5's latest trademark squabbles. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital... [LISTEN HERE]
TOP STORIES Record industry returns to growth, but would rather talk about the value gap
LIVE BUSINESS Hackney Council issues statement on Dance Tunnel closure
MP proposes ban on audience members carrying fireworks at music events
P2P ticket selling platform The Physical Network combines with We Represent, becomes StreetTeam
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Facebook unveils its version of Content ID
ARTIST NEWS Brian Wilson announces autobiography
GIGS & FESTIVALS Hevy Fest cancelled and retired
ONE LINERS Dodgy, Tegan & Sara, The Temper Trap, more
AND FINALLY... Gareth Gates launches caffeine-free coconut tea range
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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.
14 Apr 2016 CMU Insights @ Music 4.5: Playlists 2
20 Apr 2016 CMU:DIY x Urban Development Industry Takeover Seminar
22 Apr 2016 CMU Insights @ Wide Days 2016
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6 Jun 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: Making Money From Music
13 Jun 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: How Music Rights Work
15 Jun 2016 CMU Masterclass: Music Business Explained - For Brands
20 Jun 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: How Music Licensing Works
27 Jun 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: The Music Rights Sector
4 Jul 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: Merch, Live & Brands
6 Jul 2016 CMU Masterclass: Navigating The Digital Market
11 Jul 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fanbase - Social Media Tools
18 Jul 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fanbase - Music Media
25 Jul 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fan-Orientated Business

Record industry returns to growth, but would rather talk about the value gap
So, few surprises in the annual stats pack put out by the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry yesterday. Basically 2015 was a good year because of Spotify. But it could have been a whole lot gooder if it wasn't for bloody YouTube. The end.

Well, we probably shouldn't ignore the two big developments that occurred in the global record industry last year, even though both key trends had already become apparent from country specific figures previously published, and financial reporting from the three majors.

First, 2015 saw global recorded music revenues grow by 3.2% to $15 billion. The record industry went into steep decline during the 2000s of course, and has been more or less flat in recent years, so the uplift is welcome news.

The record industry of 2016 is still a long way off the record industry of the late 1990s, but it's worth remembering that these figures are revenue. Digital is much more profitable than physical, and will get more so once the initial set-up costs of digital infrastructure are paid off. Plus record labels are increasingly cut into other artist revenue streams beyond recordings, especially with new talent, and that income is not reported in the record industry's official stats.

The second key trend in 2015 was that digital finally became the record industry's primary revenue stream worldwide. Digital now accounts for 45% of total revenue, while physical sales (mainly CD with a bit of vinyl revival) is 39% of the pie. Sync and growing public performance income account for the rest of the loot. Of course the physical-to-digital shift varies greatly from market to market, but digital now outperforms physical in nineteen countries.

Within digital, downloads are still down loads, meaning the success story - of both the digital market and the record industry in general - is all because of streaming. Revenues from streaming services were up 45.2% last year to $2.9 billion, meaning the streaming market has grown more than four-fold over the last five years.

That said, don't write off downloads just yet. Income from the download stores was down 10.5% last year to $3 billion, which was a steeper decline than in 2014. But download money was nevertheless slightly ahead of streaming income last year, even though streams are likely to become the biggest digital revenue generator in 2016.

Within the streams, really it's all about the premium on-demand services which, together, now have about 68 million users worldwide, the IFPI reckons, up from about 41 million in 2014, and about eight million five years ago. Though, record industry bosses are keen to stress, while those sign-up figures are good, they're not good enough.

So why aren't they higher? Is it because it's still relatively early days for the streaming market? Is it because the industry has left all the marketing to the digital services, who then often outsource it to the tel cos, who don't necessarily sell the concept of subscription streaming particularly well? Is it because artists still tend to drive fans towards downloads - or promo content on SoundCloud - rather than bigging up subscription streams? Is it because the media narrative on streaming is that all artists hate it? Is it because the highest profile artist advocates of streaming have often done exclusivity deals with one platform, which just pisses off music fans in general?

No, obviously not. It's all because of bloody YouTube. "There is good reason why the celebrations are muted", said IFPI boss Frances Moore yesterday, despite noting the good news for her industry in 2015. And that good reason? "Revenues, vital in funding future investment, are not being fairly returned to rightsholders. The message is clear and it comes from a united music community: the value gap is the biggest constraint to revenue growth for artists, record labels and all music rightsholders. Change is needed - and it is to policy makers that the music sector looks to effect change".

Ah, the value gap. We all knew that was coming. It was while releasing last year's global industry stats that the IFPI first put safe harbours and the value gap at the top of its lobbying agenda, ahead of any calls for new laws to combat piracy.

As much previously reported, user-upload services like YouTube and SoundCloud say that they are not liable for copyright infringement - even though users routinely upload music to their servers without licence - because of the so called safe harbours in US and European law.

They get this protection providing they offer rights owners some kind of takedown system, like YouTube's Content ID. But even good takedown systems - and Content ID is probably the best - require labels and music publishers to invest time and money in taking down their content when others upload it. Which means you might as well monetise your content on YouTube, to at least recoup that cost.

But - argues the music rights industry - YouTube has exploited that fact to secure much better terms from labels and publishers than the premium streaming services. Meanwhile the existence of free on-demand platforms like YouTube and SoundCloud make it harder for Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music, et al to sign up paying users.

To this end, the music industry wants copyright law rewritten, so that YouTube type services no longer benefit from safe harbours.

"Today the safe harbour rules are being misapplied", said the IFPI yesterday. "They were intended to protect truly passive online intermediaries from copyright liability. They were not designed to exempt companies that actively engage in the distribution of music online from playing by the same rules as other online music services. The effect is a distorted market, unfair competition and artists and labels deprived of a fair return for their work".

Copyright law is being reviewed in Europe, and safe harbours specifically are up for review in the US, so the music industry is hopeful it may get the safe harbour amendments it wants. Though that said, our sources in Washington and Brussels aren't so certain the music industry can take on Google et al in this domain, especially as other branches of the entertainment industry have other copyright law priorities, particularly in Europe.

Even if the music industry did get its way on safe harbours, and the rewritten laws were very clear, and each country in Europe implemented them quickly, and the labels and publishers' respective negotiating hands were strengthened with YouTube et al, enabling them to get the kinds of deals they would like, one key problem remains.

Realistically only a minority of consumers will ever pay £10 a month for recorded music, and a sizable portion will never pay any monthly subscription fee. So even if the music industry could close the value gap, what would the mainstream streaming services look like?

What kinds of bundling, advertising and upselling could be employed to make the high-consumption-low-revenue music services that are an inevitability (and which we used to call radio) work for service providers, rights owners, artists, songwriters and, maybe let's not forget that important group, the fans.

So, while - as a trade group - the IFPI is probably right to employ its lobbying skills if it feels the record industry's return to growth is being hindered by the good old 'value gap', at the same time labels, publishers, artists and songwriters shouldn't assume that fixing safe harbours will be some kind of panacea.

The music industry at large needs as many as people as possible to sign up to the current subscription services - so that the loss-making businesses driving the record industry's growth can survive long-term - and at the same time labels and service providers need to work out what mainstream streaming could look like.

That said, for artists, securing a fair share of the digital income already being generated, and building good direct-to-fan businesses that sell directly to core fanbase while circumventing all this nonsense, is also a priority.

But hey, 3.2% growth, woo! Well done everybody.

Hackney Council issues statement on Dance Tunnel closure
Hackney Council has issued a statement after Dalston venue Dance Tunnel announced that it will close in August due to "the licensing climate in Hackney".

In a statement earlier this week, the venue's operators said: "Sadly the licensing climate in Hackney has made it impossible for us to get the hours we need to make Dance Tunnel sustainable in the long term".

However, the local council has now issued a statement refuting that clam. "Dance Tunnel has a premises licence to operate until 3am", it says. "They have not applied to extend their opening hours for over two years. They have however been able to regularly operate until 5am using Temporary Event Notices".

It continues: "Hackney Council values its vibrant and exciting nightlife, and we are proud of the borough's reputation as a night-time destination. However, we need to balance the needs of businesses against the rights of our residents to a good night's sleep, and as both our population and night time economy grow, that is becoming increasingly hard to do".

On the ongoing development of its licensing policy the council says: "In February we organised a meeting in Shoreditch with residents and business owners to hear their opinions about how we can strike the right balance. We'll be arranging other opportunities for people to have their say over the coming months, and this will feed into our licensing strategy".

As a petition to save the venue gained traction, the venue's owners also issued a new statement, saying that their mind was already made up.

"We are extremely humbled by the response to yesterday's announcement, and the fact that Dance Tunnel means so much to so many people", they said. "It hasn't been an easy decision to make, but for us Dance Tunnel's future lies elsewhere - we still feel that London is still missing the club it truly deserves. We need to regroup and look further afield to find a space where we are subject to fewer compromises. We would like to offer our heartfelt and sincere thanks to everyone who has been in touch to offer support".


MP proposes ban on audience members carrying fireworks at music events
Conservative MP Nigel Adams, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group For Music, has proposed a new bill to ban members of the public from taking fireworks and flares into music venues and festivals.

Telling Parliament that people setting off pyrotechnics among live music audiences generally do so out a "boneheaded disregard for others [and] stupidity, rather than malice", he put forward that "nobody should be seriously burned as part of a fun afternoon or evening".

"Nobody wants to see a panic at the disco", he added, a joke which fell flat on the few other MPs in the room. Probably for the best, as he immediately went on to describe injuries sustained by some music fans, and MPs still giggling might have seemed insensitive.

Noting specific examples, including teenagers who suffered severe burns during an Arctic Monkeys show and at the Reading Festival, he pointed out that a pyros ban already exists at football grounds. Breaking this law can result in a prison sentence of up to three months and being banned from football grounds for up to six years. And while there were 255 reported incidents of injuries from flares, smoke bombs or fireworks at music events - both indoors and outdoors - in 2014, there were only three at football grounds the same year.

As it stands, under 18s are already banned from using fireworks or smoke bombs on public property (which knocks out most music events, which take place on private property), but adults can only be prohibited from using them if it can be proven that they intend to cause harm. Flares are not covered by this legislation at all, because they are not designed for entertainment use.

The proposed new law is already backed by Live Nation and the Association Of Independent Festivals, the latter of which said in a statement: "It is the responsibility of organisers to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for fans, and the government should support this objective by creating a level playing field between music and sports fans".

Adams also noted that, contrary to some reports, any proposed change in the law would not stop artists from using pyrotechnics in their act.

Wheeling out the gags again, he said: "Having enjoyed many a gig myself Mr Speaker, I know that the fire has always been burning since the world's been turning, and when tested properly and used safely, it's part of a great spectacle. I'm not sure if you're a fan of the Kings Of Leon, Mr Speaker, but we should ensure nothing untoward is ever on fire".

The proposed bill will now be honed, with a second reading on 22 Apr. However, a spokesperson for Adams has already said that it is unlikely that it will be passed into law during this parliamentary session.

Watch Adams' full speech here.


P2P ticket selling platform The Physical Network combines with We Represent, becomes StreetTeam
Peer-to-peer ticket selling platforms The Physical Network and We Represent have come together under a new brand, StreetTeam, which offers, says the combined operation, the "world's leading peer-to-peer sales software for live entertainment".

By peer-to-peer ticketing selling, we mean getting fans of live events, and especially festivals, to sell tickets via their social networks to friends, getting themselves rewards for their trouble. The people behind StreetTream reckon that: "By mobilising influential fans it becomes possible to reach audiences with trusted peer-to-peer recommendations rather than advertising - in both online and offline social settings such as WhatsApp, parties, work, university - which are unreachable through traditional and digital marketing channels".

The combination of The Physical Network and We Represent brings together the respective founders of the two companies, brothers Callum and Liam Negus Fancey, and James Beaumont and James Ponnusamy.

Callum Negus Fancey is CEO of the combined business, and he says: "The events market is becoming increasingly competitive and as a result, promoters are looking for new and improved ways to find new customers and retain the ones they have. Research shows that building relationships with your top fans and getting them to promote your brand to their friends is a great way to reach new audiences and build brand loyalty".

He goes on: "When I was a promoter, I found peer-to-peer marketing an amazing channel to sell tickets to my events but it was so manual and resource-heavy, our software now makes it quick and easy to do".

Facebook unveils its version of Content ID
So, as you were all loudly declaring, I'm sure, fucking YouTube. But hey, what about fucking Facebook? It's in the process of transforming itself into a video platform, allowing users to rampantly grab bits of video from elsewhere on the net, posting them on their Facebook pages to garner all the likes they can, while screwing over Mr Rights Owner and Mrs Creator. So why don't people moan more about fucking Facebook?

Well, on the quiet, they have been, as video has become an ever bigger deal on the uber social network. Though, actually, it's generally been the YouTube talent who have seen their content plundered by Facebookers who have been moaning the most to date. Perhaps their has been less moaning from the music community because the Facebook video experience isn't such an on-demand style set-up yet, so record labels still see it as promo rather than as a head-on competitor of Spotify and Apple Music.

However, if Facebook is going to rely on those safe harbours everyone loves so much, it needs a decent takedown system that allows content creators to control their videos as third parties upload them. The social network has been developing this for a while now, and yesterday formally unveiled Rights Manager, which is basically its version of YouTube's rights management set-up Content ID.

Rights owners can apply to start using the new Facebook tool, which allows creators to block unapproved uploads of their content, with other functionality such as being able to white list certain pages and profiles which are allowed to use your content, and "specify permitted uses of each video by setting match rules".

The important bit that is currently missing, however, is the monetisation option that is core to Content ID - ie, if someone uploads your video and has a decent following that might watch it, as a rights owner you can let the video stay but take a cut of any ad revenue subsequent streams generate. Which means Facebook is basically ensuring itself safe harbour protection here - safe harbour law rewrites permitting - while not actually offering a new revenue stream to rights owners in return.

The social media firm is experimenting with different revenue share models for content creators, so that key element will likely be added to Rights Manager down the line. Which means that, as Facebook becomes a serious player in online video, its content management and monetisation system will more closely replicate that of YouTube. Just as the music industry tries to force YouTube to change its system. Good times.

David Gest dies
Producer and reality TV star David Gest has died, aged 62. His body was found at the Four Seasons hotel in London's Canary Wharf. Police have stated that they are not treating the death as suspicious.

The news was announced by Gest's friend and former bodyguard Imad Handi yesterday, who said: "David was truly larger than life. He was not just a huge talent and a dear friend but a showbiz icon. I know he will be missed by millions of fans around the world, and particularly in Britain, who came to love his charm and blistering one liners".

Gest had a varied career in music and entertainment, working in management and promotions, and later producing awards shows, TV specials and other music projects. He was particularly known for his association with Michael Jackson, with whom he was friends from childhood, as well as his brief marriage to Liza Minnelli. In recent years he had also become a frequent face on British reality TV shows.

His most recent reality TV appearance was on the last series of 'Celebrity Big Brother', although he left the programme after thirteen days due to illness. During the show, there was brief confusion among participants, after Angie Bowie informed Tiffany Pollard that 'David' had died. With Gest resting in bed due to his illness at the time, Pollard assumed Bowie meant him, rather than her former husband.

Recently, Gest had been working on a new live show, 'David Gest Is Not Dead But Alive With Soul', which was due to premiere in July and tour the UK.

Following the news of his death, a number of former associates paid tribute. Cliff Richard, who worked with Gest on his 2011 'Soulicious' album and tour, said: "David gave me the opportunity of singing with some great soul singers on the album 'Soulicious'. I will be forever grateful. God bless and rest in peace David".

Patrick Simmons of The Doobie Brothers said: "I was so sorry to hear the news of David's passing. He worked for The Doobie Brothers for many years from the mid-70s into the 80s as our public relations representative. A funny, creative person with whom I became close friends. He did a great job for us, and I remained friends with him through the years. I hadn't spoken to him in a long time, but he and I would always call each other out of the blue, and I always was expecting that call at any moment. I'm sorry I didn't get to speak with him one last time. Rest in peace my friend".

Gest had reportedly been living at the Four Seasons for the last six months, but had actually made York his permanent home. In a recent interview with the Grimsby Telegraph, he said: "I will never go back to LA; I will die here and want to be buried in York. I love this country much more than my own".

  Approved: Slowolf x Kimbra
Producer Slowolf once had to sell his car to pay for guest vocals from Raekwon. Thankfully, his new collaboration with Kimbra, 'White Feathers', seems to have had less impact on his transport situation.

"I connected with Slowolf after he remixed a track for me called 'Goldmine'", says the singer. "I loved his use of organic instrumentation matched with the electronic elements like heavy drops and cut-up, out-of-the-box groove approaches. It's been great to collaborate on this track - which we did from separate countries! - and to then explore the song in a live context together where it took on a different life. The song to me is about courage and rising from the ashes after times of pain".

Slowolf adds: "In my world Kimbra is one of the greatest and most unique living female vocalists. She is an artist with a capital A and she has the craziest melodic surplus".

And who doesn't like a good melodic surplus? Their keenness on each other doesn't just stretch to these quotes though. The finished track shows them to be a great match - as with that initial remix project, Slowolf's sound and Kimbra's voice slot together perfectly. More collaborations would definitely be welcome. But for now, check out 'White Feathers' here.

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Brian Wilson announces autobiography
As he prepares to head out on his final European tour next month, Brian Wilson has announced that he will publish his autobiography later this year. 'I Am Brian Wilson: A Memoir' is due out through Da Capo Press in October.

In an excerpt, Wilson writes: "My life has been written about over and over again, and that's mostly OK with me. Other people can talk about my life. Sometimes they'll get it right and sometimes they'll get it wrong".

"For me", he continues, "when I think back across my own life, there are so many things that are painful. Sometimes I don't like discussing them. Sometimes I don't even like remembering them. But as I get older, the shape of that pain has changed ... I've had a whole lifetime to take [these memories] in. Now I have a whole book to put them out there".

The book has been written with Ben Greenman, who previously worked with Questlove and George Clinton on their own memoirs.

Read more from Wilson's book here.

Hevy Fest cancelled and retired
The organisers of Hevy Fest have announced that they are "pulling the plug" on the event permanently after the venture became "financially untenable".

This year's festival was due to take place at a new site in Newhaven, Derbyshire. It had previously been staged at Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent, but was forced to move due to construction work at the site. Previously the event said that the new central UK location had been chosen "in response to fan feedback".

Much of the line-up for this year's event, due to take place in August, had been announced, including a headline slot from Enter Shikari. The most recent line-up announcement was less than two weeks ago, adding Saves The Day, Sick Of It All and Mewithoutyou, among others.

In a statement, organisers said: "Hevy Fest is no more. After six years of incredible bands, legendary hangs, and a lot of monkeys - we're sorry to announce that Hevy Fest is pulling the plug. Despite the best efforts of our dedicated team, the festival has become financially untenable".

"Many things have contributed [to the decision]", they continued. "Port Lympne being unable to continue hosting the event, the increasingly difficult task of putting together a line-up with more and more exclusives enforced each year leading to difficulties confirming our final headliner, and the pressure to offer good value with spiralling costs. The odds are stacked against anyone taking on the challenge, and they have proven too great for us to overcome".

They added that they "hope that other small festivals will be able to grow into this space, and to deliver the event we aspired to".

Hevy Fest launched in 2009 in Folkestone, headlined by Feeder, Gary Numan and Ash. The following year it moved to Port Lympne, where it stayed until last year's festival, which was headlined by Coheed & Cambria and Thrice.

All tickets for this year's now cancelled event are expected to be refunded within the next ten days.

Dodgy, Tegan & Sara, The Temper Trap, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• After Labour MP Dennis Skinner was ordered out of the House Of Commons yesterday for having the audacity to call our PM Dodgy Dave 'Dodgy Dave', the band Dodgy have posted a slightly reworked version of their song 'Dodgy Dave'. Take a look.

• Tegan & Sara will release their new album 'Love You To Death' on 3 Jun. Here's first single 'Boyfriend'.

• The Temper Trap will release new album 'Thick As Thieves' on 10 Jun. Here's first single 'Fall Together'.

• Bear's Den will release their new album, 'Red Earth & Pouring Rain', on 22 Jul. They'll be touring the UK in November too, with a show at Brixton Academy on 8 Nov.

• Lovespeake's 'DNA' now has a video. The band's debut album, also called 'DNA', will be out on 22 Apr.

• Batteries (aka Sci-Fi Steve from Bis) has a new single out. It's called 'The Fall-In-Love Club' and you can listen to it here.

• "The 'Futurespective' EPs have made me realise I can release whatever music I want to", says Harleighblu. And so she is releasing an album collecting together her three 'Futurespective' EPs on 3 Jun. Here's 'Mmm' feat Dr Zygote'.

• The City Of London Festival of mainly classical music is ending after 53 years. "Over the years the fundraising landscape has become ever more competitive and despite achieving support from a range of valued sponsors and supporters it has become increasingly difficult to attract the level of funding required to stage the annual festival", said a spokesperson.

• Seasick Steve will headline Wembley Arena on 14 Oct, marking the fact it's a decade since his first appearance on 'Later... With Jools Holland'. "When I realised it was going to be ten years since I was on Jools' show, and ten years since you guys gave me this job, I decided that we gonna have a party", says Steve.

• Katatonia have announced that they will play a show at the Shepherds Bush Empire on 21 Oct to mark their 25th anniversary together. Tickets on sale this Friday.

Gareth Gates launches caffeine-free coconut tea range
Hey, it's time for a quick game of 'What's Gareth Gates up to these days?' If you guessed 'Launching a new range of coconut tea', then congratulations! Boil yourself up a coconut and have a well-deserved sit down.

Sold under the brand name Cuppanut, the teas come in three varieties (varieTEAS, right?): Coconut; coconut and cranberry; and coconut, ginger and turmeric.

"I am THRILLED to announce the launch of a range of teas filled with health bursting properties with real coconut as its main ingredient", says Gates of his concoctions. "Spurred on by my love of coconut and my continuing desire for a healthy lifestyle I often experimented in my kitchen for fun never thinking that one day my teas could become a reality".

The teabags will cost £4.20 for a box of fifteen. And there's not even any caffeine in them. We're all in the wrong business. Everyone follow Gareth Gates' lead.

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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