TODAY'S TOP STORY: The International Artist Organisation - the umbrella body that includes the UK's Featured Artist Coalition - this morning published a letter it has sent to the European Commission about the ongoing and ever vocal safe harbours debate, in which it lends support to the wider music industry's campaign on the 'value gap', but stresses that the need to equitably share the value... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Formed last year by singer-songwriter Julie Title and former Midway State bassist Matt Kirsh, Bad Willow pushed out an initial batch of tracks last autumn. After a break for more writing and recording, as well as their first steps into performing live together, there's been another flurry of releases over the last couple of months. These new tracks, such as latest... [READ MORE]
CMU TRENDS: Who the hell is buying all these CDs? In the final CMU Trends report based on presentations give by CMU Insights at The Great Escape this year, CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke looks at the physical market, and why CD sales remain healthier than we might have expected by 2016. To access CMU Trends become a premium subscriber for just £5 a month. [READ MORE]
CMU PODCAST: CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review the week in music and the music business, including all the goings on at the Led Zeppelin song-theft court case, Apple Music's big revamp announcement at Worldwide Developers Conference, Foo Fighters' insurance litigation and some pop-related EU referendum news. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Artist organisations say 'value gap' not just about what YouTube pays the labels
LEGAL Robert Plant takes to the stand in Led Zeppelin song theft case
Russian man pleads guilty to running StubHub hack attack
DEALS Zayn Malik signs to Kobalt
LIVE BUSINESS Man dies in fire on Glastonbury site
EDUCATION & EVENTS Anna Meredith to lead residency for young female musicians in Manchester
ARTIST NEWS Michael Jackson estate condemns claims that singer stockpiled pornography
Frank Ocean writes response to Orlando shooting
ONE LINERS Wiley, Aphex Twin, MØ, more
AND FINALLY... Victoria Beckham accuses Leave.EU of misusing 20 year old quotes
Click JUMP to skip direct to a section of this email or ONLINE to read and share stories on the CMU website (JUMP option may not work in all email readers). For regular updates from Team CMU follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.
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Artist organisations says 'value gap' not just about what YouTube pays the labels
The International Artist Organisation - the umbrella body that includes the UK's Featured Artist Coalition - this morning published a letter it has sent to the European Commission about the ongoing and ever vocal safe harbours debate, in which it lends support to the wider music industry's campaign on the 'value gap', but stresses that the need to equitably share the value of digital music goes beyond what user-upload sites like YouTube pay the labels.

As much previously reported, record labels, music publishers, artists, songwriters, managers and collecting societies in both the US and Europe are now behind a campaign to reform the safe harbours in American and European law. That is to say, the rules that say that companies which provide internet services cannot be held liable when customers use those services to distribute copyright material without licence, providing there is some sort of takedown process in place via which rights owners can stop the unlicensed distribution.

The music industry doesn't oppose the safe harbours in principle, it just wants limitations put in place on what kinds of internet services qualify. Basically it wants the protection removed from user-upload platforms like YouTube which, the music industry's lobbyists argue, are services that compete head-on with streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, but which exploit safe harbours to pay much lower royalties. Hence the 'value gap'.

With copyright law up for review in Europe as part of the Digital Single Market initiative, various trade groups representing the music industry have been lobbying hard on this issue for nearly two years now. And while it's already on the European Commission's agenda, 58 MEPs this week put their names to a letter calling on its President, Jean-Claude Juncker, to clarify the status of online services providing access to creative works.

Helen Smith of indie-label repping IMPALA welcomed that letter, telling reporters: "Europe's parliamentarians recognise the true value of Europe's cultural and creative sectors, and see that there is a problem when so many works are being accessed on certain platforms while so little money is returning to creators. This is especially true in music. While music is available everywhere and listened to more than ever before, a lot of the value never finds its way back to artists and those investing in creation. The reason is simple: some online services actively distributing music are under-licensed or not licensed at all".

She added: "This letter from Europe's parliamentarians underlines the political importance of addressing this issue. Tackling the transfer of value is essential not only for musicians, but for the entire value chain, and of course ultimately for the fans themselves. The Commission has already committed to fixing this problem, which is a source of friction and inefficiency in the licensing market. It is a key priority for the EU's copyright review and we look forward to continue working together with both the Parliament and the Commission".

But what does the artist community actually think? Since the US industry ramped up its value gap efforts after the country's Copyright Office announced a review of America's safe harbours at the end of last year, a number of high profile artists have spoken out on the issue, very much backing up the record companies and music publishers in calling for a change in the law, so that services like YouTube no longer enjoy the protection. And this week veteran artist manager Irving Azoff rallied over 180 big name acts to sign an open letter calling for US Congress to act.

Though most of those 180+ artists are heritage acts, who insist that they are talking for the musicians of the future who, they fear, won't be able to make money from their music unless the value gap is addressed. But younger artists - and younger managers - are often sometimes less resolute.

They recognise that YouTube's per-play royalties are meagre and of course would like more money. And, like the labels, they fear that free-to-access YouTube may be hindering the success of premium streaming services that could drive new growth in the recorded music market.

Though they also know that YouTube is a brilliant fan engagement platform that can help in the building of a decent direct-to-fan and brand partnerships business. And that might actually deliver more value down the line for artists, who feel they are too often cut out of the financial benefits Spotify et al are delivering to the record industry.

Which brings us to the IAO's entry into the value gap debate. Its position can be summarised as follows: Yes there is a value gap. Yes that is a problem that needs to be resolved. But not in a way that means only the major music rights companies benefit.

"It is difficult to argue against the value gap and the headline figures are stark", writes IAO and FAC chief Paul Pacifico. "Usage on YouTube is indeed vast and in terms of functionality it is all too close to services which pay up to ten times more. [And] in spite of the unique promotional opportunities given by YouTube as a platform, the proportion of commercial content usage on YouTube is difficult to reconcile against the proportion of revenue that usage delivers back to artists".

But, he goes on, "it is interesting to observe the labels now making very similar demands from YouTube that artists have been asking of all stakeholders in the digital market. When we have made our demands previously, the majors have consistently stated that care must be taken here not to allow the legislative process to be hijacked as a proxy for commercial negotiations between counterparties".

"However" he continues, "with digital, we have entered into a world of value-share business models as opposed to the buy-sell world of physical retailing and this requires a level of trust that has changed the dynamic in the market and that needs legislative help to build. If we are sharing the value we collectively generate then neither platforms nor labels should be able to use contractual gymnastics to remove value from the table and deny the stakeholders further down the value chain their fair and legitimate share from the use of their works".

As for whether or not artists should embrace the wider music industry's value gap campaign, Pacifico says: "We have recommended to artists across the globe that they support the labels in their quest to review value gap legislation on safe harbours both in Europe and the USA. However, we must be careful to make sure that this review includes the whole value chain and that the results are not just to pass value one link down the chain where it stops with the majors".

Noting some past lobbying priorities of the majors, he goes on: "Artists have always been told to support our intermediaries when lobbying - that we will be 'looked after' if only we play along. We were not looked after in the wake of the copyright term extension campaign and we must make sure that this travesty is not repeated in the current copyright review. Yes we must pull together to 'grow the cake' as we are constantly told, but not to address how that cake is being cut at the same time would be to cut the artists' slice out of the picture".

You can read the IAO letter in full here. And don't forget our recap of the music industry's tortuous relationship with YouTube to date in this CMU Trends report here.

Robert Plant takes to the stand in Led Zeppelin song theft case
And so back to the good old Led Zeppelin song-theft trial, where frontman Robert Plant took to the stand yesterday to echo the testimony of his former bandmate Jimmy Page: "'Taurus' by Spirit'? Never heard of it, mate. Was it a song?"

As previously reported, the Zeppelin are accused of ripping off 'Taurus' - a song written by the late Randy California, aka Randy Craig Wolfe - for their much more famous work 'Stairway To Heaven'. The trust that benefits from Wolfe's estate claims that Plant and Page were exposed to the Spirit song at live shows in the late 1960s, which means it was well and truly in their heads when they sat down to compose 'Stairway'. The former Led Zeppers deny ever knowing the song they are accused of stealing.

When lawyers for the Wolfe Trust presented their arguments last week, it was claimed that Page and Plant would have heard 'Taurus' at shows where they supported Spirit. Page, the first of the band members to take to the witness stand, last week conceded that they supported Spirit at least once, though he insisted that the band left shortly after their set was done because they needed to travel to another show. He also added that the support slot was for a co-headline gig involving both Spirit and heavy rockers Vanilla Fudge, and it was actually the latter act he thought he was supporting at the time.

The other gig given much attention last week was a Spirit show at a venue in Birmingham. Led Zep didn't play that time, but a former member of Spirit and a fan of the band testified that Robert Plant was in the building on the night of the gig. The fan, photographer Michael Ware, said in a video testimony that he recognised Plant at the 1969 show because of his "distinctive long, corkscrew blond hair", adding, according to The Wrap, that the Led Zep frontman was in the audience that night for at least fifteen minutes, and "he was quite animated and talking to friends, but I saw him really enjoying [Spirit]".

Not so, said Plant yesterday. He isn't familiar with Spirit's music - other than the one song Page admitted Led Zep covered in the early days - and, he said, he doesn't recall having ever seen the band play live. That specific night in 1969 when Spirit played Mother's Club in Birmingham does stand out - he went on - because he had a car accident after leaving the venue. And while the head injuries he suffered in that accident, not to mention the intervening 47 years, may have affected his memories of what occurred that day, he's sure he didn't stand in the room where Spirit were playing.

Because, see, Mother's Club was a social space for the local music community, and not just somewhere you went to specifically attend a gig. "It was a good environment for local musicians to hang out in, no matter what adventure you were on", he reminisced of the venue, according to Rolling Stone. "There weren't too many places for people who dressed differently - it was a clubhouse. It had our own energy, unlike the country pubs where older people would talk about ploughing the field with horses and whatnot".

Plant also discussed his and Page's creative process. Asked by his own lawyer if he could read or write music, he joked "I haven't learned yet". His ambition in the early days, he went on, was to be the best possible frontman. "Conceptually I was into the singer being the singer, having been raised on Elvis, Buddy Holly and Gene Vincent".

"One evening, Jimmy Page and I sat by the fire going over bits and pieces", he said of the inception of 'Stairway'. He then left his bandmates with the basic idea to build a melody and lyrics inspired by "the mountains of Wales, Snowdonia ... and the pastoral areas of Britain I love".

Led Zeppelin's bassist and keyboardist John Paul Jones backed up his former colleague's version of events in his testimony last week. But away from the celebrity testimonies, other court time has been given over to musicology and money.

As it always the case in song-theft litigation, one side presented an expert musicologist to stress just how similar the two songs are, while the other presented an expert musicologist to say the opposite. For the defence, Lawrence Ferrara said that the only similarity between 'Taurus' and 'Stairway' was a "descending chromatic minor line progression" used by composers for more than 300 years.

On the financial front, one of Led Zep's accountants yesterday estimated that Page has earned $615,000 in 'Stairway' royalties since 2011, the period for which the Wolfe Trust could claim back payments if they were to win this case. Plant, meanwhile, earned $532,000 before taxes. Which are relatively modest sums when compared to millions estimated by the plaintiff's maths man.

The trial is expected to conclude later today so that the jury can begin their deliberations. Though the defence has already asked that the judge dismiss the case on the basis that the Wolfe Trust's arguments and evidence last week were so weak. The judge seems still to be planning to let the jury decide on whether this is, indeed, an actual case of song theft.


Russian man pleads guilty to running StubHub hack attack
A Russian man faces four to twelve years in prison after pleading guilty to a ticketing scam which involved stealing the credit card information of StubHub customers, using it to buy tickets to in-demand events, and then selling them on the secondary market. What a bastard, giving ticket touts a bad name.

Vadim Polyakov led a scam that saw about 1000 StubHub accounts hacked, with the card info nabbed used to acquire in the region of 3500 tickets, which in turn sold for at least $1.6 million. According to Pollstar, StubHub became aware of the hack after complaints from customers and reported the matter to the US authorities before refunding monies to affected account holders.

US investigators identified Polyakov as one of the men leading the fraudulent venture, and managed to have him arrested while he was holidaying in Spain in 2014. He was then successfully extradited last year. Nine others have been linked to the scam, not all of whom have as yet been arrested, while those who have, other than Polyakov, have so far pleaded not guilty.

The Americans secured Polyakov's extradition in face of objections from the Russian government. Nevertheless, prosecutors were keen to stress how this case demonstrates that those committing online fraud against Americans from outside the US jurisdiction can still be brought to justice.

According to the New York Daily News, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr said: "Many foreign cybercriminals believe they can operate overseas with total impunity, but this case proves they can be held criminally responsible for their actions, which can have devastating consequences on thousands of victims at a time".

Zayn Malik signs to Kobalt
Zayn Malik, or ZAYN to his marketing team, has signed new deals with Kobalt for his publishing and neighbouring rights. Both deals cover his debut solo album, 'Mind Of Mine'.

"Kobalt is a great business partner for Zayn", says his manager, First Access Entertainment's Sarah Stennett. "He made a decision based upon his desire to retain ownership of the copyrights in the songs he has written. He feels that Kobalt is best placed to administer those copyrights globally".

Kobalt's President Of Global Creative, Sas Metcalfe adds: "Zayn is an exceptional talent as an artist and songwriter. His international success is unparalleled and Kobalt is proud to represent and support his career. He's already off to an amazing start and we're very excited for what the future will bring".

Man dies in fire on Glastonbury site
A man has died after fire broke out at the Glastonbury Festival site earlier this week. The man in his 20s was taken to hospital with "serious burns" and later died from his injuries.

A police spokesperson said: "We were called by the fire service after reports of a man on fire at the Glastonbury festival site at about 5.20pm [on Monday] night. The man suffered serious burns and was taken by air ambulance to Southmead hospital in Bristol. He was transferred to the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Birmingham, where he sadly later died. Our enquiries are continuing but we are treating the death as unexplained and do not believe it to be suspicious".

The exact circumstances surrounding the fire are not clear, though reports suggest it involved a petrol spillage in the Green Fields area of Worthy Farm. Flooding on site then made it difficult for emergency teams to reach the injured man.

The festival site opens to ticketholders today.

Anna Meredith to lead residency for young female musicians in Manchester
If you're a female musician aged between sixteen and 25, here's a thing you should definitely try to get involved in. Anna Meredith is hosting a four day residency at Manchester's Museum Of Science And Industry next month, in partnership with Brighter Sound. The event coincides with Manchester's City Of Science Festival and its status as European City Of Science 2016.

Meredith, along with her sister, visual artist Eleanor Meredith, and guitarist Jack Ross, will collaborate with a group of young and emerging female musicians and multi­disciplinary artists to collaborate and create new work inspired by the 'Wonder Materials: Graphene And Beyond' exhibition at the Museum Of Science And Industry.

"I'm so excited to be leading Brighter Sound's summer residency in partnership with the Museum Of Science And Industry", says Meredith. "This fascinating museum is going to be a brilliant starting point for new musical and visual work and I can't wait to see what we all come up with!"

She continues: "I'll be bringing in my longterm collaborators, workshop­leader and guitarist Jack Ross and my sister, visual artist Eleanor Meredith, with whom I've worked on several successful cross­media projects over the years. We're all passionate about supporting young female creators, and collaborating on new work in such an inspiring setting will be a great place to work together, exploring both collaborative large group pieces and giving space to develop individual ideas".

The four day workshop will take place from 18-21 Jul, with a performance of the final work on 27 Jul. Applications are open to female musicians and multi­disciplinary artists aged sixteen to 25. For further details and to apply, click here.

  Approved: Bad Willow
Formed last year by singer-songwriter Julie Title and former Midway State bassist Matt Kirsh, Bad Willow pushed out an initial batch of tracks last autumn. After a break for more writing and recording, as well as their first steps into performing live together, there's been another flurry of releases over the last couple of months.

These new tracks, such as latest offering 'Rise', show a real step up in the duo's songwriting, creating a dark pop sound wrapped up in rhythmic synth riffs that awaken some sort of instinctual reaction and intriguing lyrics.

The strongest of the new tracks is 'Ringer', which seems to bring all the elements of their sound together in the most pleasing way, aided by a super catchy chorus. Listen to the track 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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Michael Jackson estate condemns claims that singer stockpiled pornography
The Michael Jackson estate has accused RadarOnline of dealing in "sleazy internet clickbait" after the gossip website published what it claims is evidence that Michael Jackson groomed children in order to abuse them at his Neverland ranch.

Over the course of this week, RadarOnline has published documents, photos and video purporting to be related to the 2003 search of Michael Jackson's then main home, as part of the then ongoing investigation into accusations of child abuse made against the singer. The website also quotes police sources as saying that they found a large collection of pornography and images of child abuse during the investigation.

A spokesperson for Santa Barbara Sheriff's Office told The LA Times that "some of the documents appear to be copies of reports that were authored by Sheriff's Office", although others seem to have come from other online sources. They added that the Sheriff's Office had not released any documents or photographs to the media.

In a statement, the Jackson estate said: "Everything in these reports, including what the County Of Santa Barbara calls 'content that appears to be obtained off the internet or through unknown sources' is false, no doubt timed to the anniversary of Michael's passing. Those who continue to shamelessly exploit Michael via sleazy internet 'clickbait' ignore that he was acquitted by a jury in 2005 on every one of the fourteen salacious charges brought against him in a failed witch hunt".

Elsewhere in Michael Jackson news, JJ Abrams' Bad Robot Productions is working with Tavis Smiley to turn the latter's book 'Before You Judge Me: The Triumph And Tragedy Of Michael Jackson's Last Days' into a TV series, reports Variety.

Published in the US this week, the book is apparently a novelised account of Jackson's final months, before he died in 2009, shortly before he was due to begin a 50 night residency at the O2 Arena in London.

US talk show host Smiley and Abrams will act as executive producers on the TV show, which is being created in partnership with Warner Bros Television.


Frank Ocean writes response to Orlando shooting
Frank Ocean has written a blog post responding to the recent shooting in Orlando, in which a gunman opened fire in a gay nightclub, killing 49 people.

"I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a faggot as he dragged me out a neighborhood diner saying we wouldn't be served because she was dirty", he writes. "That was the last afternoon I saw my father and the first time I heard that word, I think, although it wouldn't shock me if it wasn't".

He continues: "Many hate us and wish we didn't exist. Many are annoyed by our wanting to be married like everyone else or use the correct restroom like everyone else. Many don't see anything wrong with passing down the same old values that send thousands of kids into suicidal depression each year. So we say pride and we express love for who and what we are. Because who else will in earnest?"

Read Ocean's full blog post here.

Wiley, Aphex Twin, MØ, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Wiley has announced that he is opening a branch of his Eskisports sportswear shop in the UK, following a recent launch in Cyprus.

• MØ has made a fanzine, titled 'Empty Billboards And Overloaded Minds', which will be available for free at her shows and through fan distribution from today. You can find out more and read it online here.

• Now that The Avalanches are back making music, they're making up for lost time by releasing tonnes of the bloody stuff. Here's the third track from their new album 'Wildflower', titled 'Subways'.

• Aphex Twin has released his first music video for seventeen years. It was directed by a twelve year old boy. Because of course it was.

• Teenage Fanclub will release their tenth album, 'Here', on 9 Sep. Here's the first single, 'I'm In Love'.

Here's the video for 'Dark Necessities' by Red Hot Chili Peppers'.

• Former My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero and The Get Up Kids' James Dewees will release their debut album as Death Spells next month. They will also play a handful of UK shows in August, including the Islington Academy on 10 Aug.

• Birdy has released the video for her new single, 'Words'. She's touring in October and November, you know. Playing the Hammersmith Apollo and everything.

Here's another new Metronomy track, 'Night Owl'.

The video for Jenny Hval's 'Female Vampire' is up upon the internet at this very moment.

• Johnny Foreigner have released the video for new single, 'If You Can't Be Honest, Be Awesome'.

• Girl Band have released the video for new single 'In Plastic'.

• Haarm have released the video for their debut track, 'Foxglove'.

• Moddi has announced that he will play Giles-In-The-Fields in London on 3 Oct. His 'Unsongs' album is due out on 16 Sep.

Victoria Beckham accuses Leave.EU of misusing 20 year old quotes
Victoria Beckham has hit out at unofficial Brexit campaign group Leave.EU for misusing 20 year old quotes to suggest that she disagrees with husband David Beckham on the UK staying in the European Union.

Outing himself as an Inner, David Beckham said in an Instagram post yesterday, "We live in a vibrant and connected world where together as a people we are strong. For our children and their children we should be facing the problems of the world together and not alone. For these reasons I am voting to Remain".

Leave.EU responded by tweeting "Should have listened to the missus, David", posting an image featuring a quote from Victoria Beckham which reads, "The Euro beaurocrats are destroying every bit of our national identity and individuality. We must keep our national individuality".

The quote was taken from a 1996 interview in which Beckham was asked about the possibility of the UK joining the European Single Currency, rather than its membership of the EU as a whole.

Posting her own response on Instagram, she said: "In response to the Leave.EU campaign who have today tried to put a spin on quotes made 20 years ago about keeping or losing the pound, I have to say strongly my comments were not about this referendum and should not be misused in this way! I believe in my country, I believe in a future for my children where we are stronger together and I support the Remain campaign".

Using the strongest political rebuttal he could muster, Leave.EU chairman Arron Banks said on Twitter: "Suck it up, Vicky".

Now, as the rest of the world watches in horror and astonishment at what we might be about to do, just for fun let's watch John Oliver's take on the EU referendum.

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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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, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
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Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of 3CM UnLimited she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
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