FRIDAY 8 JULY 2016
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The promoter of Sweden's Bravalla festival, FKP Scorpio, has responded to reports of a number of rapes and sexual assaults at last weekend's event. This follows increasing pressure to act from both media and some key artists who performed at the festival. As previously reported, Mumford & Sons said that they would boycott the festival until guarantees... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: Deep Into Soul connects with BBE Records to bring DJ Spinna's Wonder-Full Stevie Wonder tribute night to London Town this Sunday at the Prince Of Wales. It also doubles up as the launch for Spinna's 'The Wonder Of Stevie Vol 3' album. The Wonder-Full project has been officially sanctioned by Mr Wonder, who himself has attended these events in person a few times... [READ MORE]
 
BEEF OF THE WEEK: Politics is a funny old game, isn't it? One moment you can be delivering a speech in which you say things that don't seem like that big a deal, the next you're responsible for instigating a major rift between the biggest names in streaming music and a lot of shouting ensues. I am, of course, talking about US Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren and her recent speech... [READ MORE]
 
CMU PODCAST: Going live this weekend, CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review the week in music and the music business, including the music publishers' dismay at the US DoJ's decision on the 'consent decrees' , a new report on the state of music consumption in the US at 2016's mid-point, and the public slanging match between Spotify and Apple. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES FKP Scorpio boss responds to reports of sexual offences at Bravalla festival
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LEGAL Appeals court ruling extends web-blocking to trademark infringing sites
Russian ticket fraudster sentenced to at least four years in American jail
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Newly independent Chrysalis Records extends catalogue with more EMI divestments from Warner
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LIVE BUSINESS Folk-focused booking agencies combine to create Strada Music
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MEDIA BBC confirms new senior management structure
AEG-owned blogging platform Examiner.com to close
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RELEASES Clean Bandit release video for Tears
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ONE LINERS The Naked And Famous, BMG, IFPI, more
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AND FINALLY... CMU Beef Of The Week #313: Spotify v Apple
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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.
 
 
VILLAGE GREEN - PAID INTERNSHIP (LONDON)
Village Green is a burgeoning British independent label reshaping the landscape of minimalism, classical and electronic music. We are looking for a creative and passionate intern to help out with label duties such as stock mail outs, social media management, website management, metadata entry and demo listening.

For more information and details on how to apply click here.
   
THE COLUMBO GROUP - PROMOTIONS MANAGER (LONDON)
The Columbo Group is seeking a talented and enthusiastic individual to join our marketing and promotions team.

For more information and details on how to apply click here.
   
OVAL SPACE - VENUE MANAGER (LONDON)
Oval Space is seeking an organised and reliable Venue Manager to join the team. You'll be a personal license holder and have experience operating late night licensed premises and an effective bar operation.

For more information and details on how to apply click here.
   
MCPS - ADMIN ASSISTANT (LONDON)
MCPS is looking for a temporary, full-time admin assistant to provide general support, including with respect to synch licensing, over the summer period. You will be based in our offices in Kings Cross, working independently with support from the team.

For more information and details on how to apply click here.
   
TROXY - OPERATIONS MANAGER (LONDON)
An opportunity has arisen for an Operations Manager at one of London’s most versatile venue spaces. Troxy is based in East London, and the venue boasts a ground floor and circle area as well as a smaller event room and hosts events for 200 to 3100 people, such as corporate awards and dinners, live concerts, indoor sports events, club nights and weddings.

For more information and details on how to apply click here.
   
ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL - ASSISTANT BARS & EVENTS MANAGER (LONDON)
Islington Assembly Hall is looking for a dynamic, experienced Assistant Bars & Events Manager with a proven track record within a live music operation to work at one of the country's premier 850 capacity venues. This is a fantastic opportunity to work and grow in national touring venue owned and operated by Islington Council.

For more information and details on how to apply click here.
   
FABRICLIVE - SENIOR BOOKER (LONDON)
We are currently looking for a Senior Booker to join our promotions team to provide 360° delivery of Fabriclive Friday nights at Fabric. The role will involve helping to shape the night’s music policy as well as that of midweek events.

For more information and details on how to apply click here.
   
SONGKICK - BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (LONDON)
The Business Development member will be responsible for leading the charge in researching, generating, and contacting potential clients that may benefit from Songkick’s ticketing technology and services. This team member has the ability to create and maintain important relationships within the industry and the knowledge, passion and insight to portray our value to major artist clients.

For more information and details on how to apply click here.
   
X-RAY TOURING - PA TO BOOKING AGENT (LONDON)
An exciting opportunity for an experienced PA with music industry experience and a flair for organising with military precision at X-Ray Touring.

For more information and details on how to apply click here.
   
BIMM GROUP - TUTORS (LONDON, BRIGHTON, BRISTOL, MANCHESTER, DUBLIN, BERLIN)
Calling experienced music industry professionals to join our talented tutor roster at the British And Irish Modern Music Institute. Now with over 5500 students studying at six fully connected BIMM colleges, we are again actively recruiting to appoint new specialist music industry tutors to join our roster – especially in the subject areas of music business, event management and music journalism.

For more information and details on how to apply click here.
   
ONE LITTLE INDIAN - PRESS OFFICER (LONDON)
One Little Indian is looking for a Press Officer. A passionate music lover, and a strong communicator, with an extensive network of contacts across the broad spectrum of music media. The ideal candidate must have a proven track record of working with both new and established artists across print and online.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
EINSTEIN'S GARDEN/GREEN MAN - MARKETING ASSISTANT (LONDON)
We are looking for a creative and motivated Marketing Assistant to join our friendly team, which organises events across the country including Wales’ largest music, arts and science festival, Green Man. You will need to have experience in digital marketing, event promotion and brand development. Previous experience working with science, music, or cultural events is preferred.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
 
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.
 
11 Jul 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fanbase - Social Media Tools
CLICK FOR INFO
18 Jul 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fanbase - Music Media
CLICK FOR INFO
25 Jul 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fan-Orientated Business
CLICK FOR INFO
26 Sep 2016 CMU Insights Masterclass: Music Business Explained – For Start Ups & Brands
CLICK FOR INFO
27 Sep 2016 CMU Insights @ Music 4.5: The Politics Of Licensing
CLICK FOR INFO
Oct/Nov 2016 CMU Insights Seminars Programme: How The Music Business Works
CLICK FOR INFO
3 Oct 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: Making Money From Music
CLICK FOR INFO
10 Oct 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: How Music Rights Work
CLICK FOR INFO
17 Oct 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: How Music Licensing Works
CLICK FOR INFO
24 Oct 2016 CMU Insights Masterclass: From Napster To Now – The Battle With Music Piracy
CLICK FOR INFO
24 Oct 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: The Music Rights Sector
CLICK FOR INFO
31 Oct 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: Merch, Live & Brands
CLICK FOR INFO
21 Nov 2016 CMU Insights Masterclass: Digital Deals, Dollars And Trends – Explained!
CLICK FOR INFO
 

FKP Scorpio boss responds to reports of sexual offences at Bravalla festival
The promoter of Sweden's Bravalla festival, FKP Scorpio, has responded to reports of a number of rapes and sexual assaults at last weekend's event. This follows increasing pressure to act from both media and some key artists who performed at the festival.

As previously reported, Mumford & Sons said that they would boycott the festival until guarantees were made on safety, while Zara Larsson criticised audience members for not stepping in to stop attacks, some of which happened in front of stages.

Though FKP Scorpio chief exec Folkert Koopmans told IQ that the number of sexual assaults at the event appeared higher than they actually were, due to the way such crimes are reported in Sweden. Upon investigation, he said that none of the five reported incidents of rape turned out to be so. He added that organisers already went to great lengths to ensure the safety of attendees, but that security would nevertheless be stepped up further at next year's festival.

"In Sweden we work very hard to protect women, and therefore the police initially report many kinds of sexual crimes as rape", said Koopmans. "The law was created to protect the victims, and Swedish women are encouraged to stand up and report any type of sexual harassment - much more so compared to most other countries. As a result we receive a high number of reported rapes and other incidents".

"We had five incidents during the festival", he confirmed. "Three of them happened in front of the stages - sexual harassment - and two of them were reported from couples who actually knew each other. Both of those cases have been taken back".

He did not address the other twelve reports of sexual assault that have also been reported in the press this week.

Saying that police had described the event as "the safest and calmest Bravalla festival ever", he admitted that there had nevertheless been "tragic incidents that a few sick male individuals were responsible for". He said that safety provisions had been increased already this year, but also committed to further increase security in 2017.

For the 2016 event, he said that the number of safety personnel and police officers on site had numbered 600 people, with particular priority for staffing around the stage areas. "We had safety personnel stands on raised platforms in the middle of the audience to have a good sight from above", he explained. "We made sure that we didn't have any dark spots on the area, and if we found any when the festival was ongoing we solved that".

But next year there will be even more security guards on site, as well as more lights. Also, pending "permission from the authorities", he said that there would be an HD security camera system monitoring audiences during performances.

"We will not rest until we can arrange a Bravalla festival free from all sex crimes", he concluded, saying that education was also a key requirement in stopping incidents of this nature. "We are still evaluating what more we can do, and we will do everything in our power to stop any sexual violence at our festival".

As well as the reports of attacks at Bravalla, there were also reports of 35 sexual assaults at another Swedish festival, Putte I Parken, with one woman telling local media that a friend had been dismissed by bouncers when she tried to report an attack.

Earlier this week, local trade body Livemusik Sveriges issued a statement, also shared by Putte I Parken organisers, saying: "We have long worked single-mindedly to prevent all forms of sexual offences and to make Swedish music festivals as safe and secure a place as possible".

The organisation also stressed the need to remove dark areas from festival sites, and to educate audiences on consent and respect. However, it added: "Unfortunately, sexual offences are not a problem unique to festivals. On the contrary, we live in a society where we teach our children to treat women as objects that exist to be viewed, assessed and sexualised, and where boys are brought up into tight macho norms and learn to take more space than girls. 'Boys will be boys'".

"To change this requires work on a broad front", it continued, saying that there was no quick fix to change longstanding societal norms. "That reports of sexual crimes are increasing is a sign that more people are becoming aware that there actually is a crime, and therefore dare to speak up. It is not a certain type of person who commits these crimes, but one common trait among perpetrators is that they are men. Therefore, we would encourage men to talk to each other about the limits of man's standards and to be better able to speak up when someone behaves badly".

"Everyone needs to stop pointing at each other and instead help build a society where everyone can feel safe and secure - everywhere", the statement concluded.

Appeals court ruling extends web-blocking to trademark infringing sites
The UK's Court Of Appeal has upheld a 2014 injunction which extends good old web-blocking to websites that infringe trademarks rather than copyright.

A much previously reported, web-blocking has become an anti-piracy tactic of choice for the UK entertainment industry, with a plethora of copyright infringing websites now officially blocked in the UK, which means all the big internet service providers are obliged to do their best to stop their users from accessing those sites.

In most countries, when web-blocking is introduced for the first time, the ISPs object to being forced to police piracy in this way. But once web-blocking is common practice, they usually fall in line and accept the blocking of piracy sites as a routine part of running an internet provision business. And this has pretty much happened in the UK.

Except when, in 2014, luxury brand owner Compagnie Financière Richemont - which owns the Cartier and Mont Blanc brands, among others - sought to force the ISPs to start blocking websites selling counterfeit goods, rather than facilitating the downloading or streaming of unlicensed music and movies. This extended web-blocking beyond the realm of copyright and into the domain of trademarks, and the big ISPs argued that the law as currently written didn't provide for such a thing.

Such was the opposition, that when, in 2014, the High Court did indeed issued the web-block injunction Compagnie Financière Richemont had requested, the ISPs took the matter to appeal. They argued that the court didn't have the power to issue web-block injunctions in trademark cases, and even if it did required thresholds for such an injunction hadn't been met in this case, and even if it had, they shouldn't have to pay to administer the web blocks.

The appeals court ruled on the matter this week and, in the main, has sided with the luxury brand operator, insisting that [a] web-blocks are possible in trademark cases and [b] the thresholds for a web-blocking injunction were met in this case. As for who should pay for the web-blocks, judge Michael Briggs reckoned the rights owners should probably cover the admin costs, but that the ISPs are responsible for IT costs.

The net firms could as yet further appeal the matter to the Supreme Court. And if that was to take another two years, well, this week's ruling was in part based on two European Union directives which may or may not apply here by then. Or maybe the ISPs will just give up at this point, and learn to live with web-blocking as a routine part of trademark management, in the same way UK net providers now have little issue with web-blocks on copyright grounds.

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Russian ticket fraudster sentenced to at least four years in American jail
The Russian man who pleaded guilty to involvement in a ticketing scam has been jailed for at least four years.

Vadim Polyakov was sentenced on Wednesday after admitting to being part of a scheme that hacked about 1000 accounts on the eBay-owned secondary ticketing site StubHub, nabbed credit card information, and then bought and sold tickets to in-demand events at StubHub users' expense.

As previously reported, Polyakov was arrested while holidaying in Spain in 2014, and was successfully extradited to the US the following year. Nine others have been linked to the fraud, which reportedly resulted in the buying and selling of about 3500 tickets generating at least $1.6 million in profit.

According to the New York Post, in court this week prosecutor David Neeman said Polyakov was "intelligent" and "educated", before adding: "No doubt there were numerous opportunities for him to make money legitimately in the bounds of the law, [but] instead he chose to use his intelligence and sophistication to direct and orchestrate an international money-laundering scheme for well over a year and nearly $2 million".

Polyakov's defence lawyer said his client was truly sorry for the fraud and had "suffered a lot while waiting for this day".

Newly independent Chrysalis Records extends catalogue with more EMI divestments from Warner
The newly independent Chrysalis Records has acquired four more chunks of old EMI catalogue from Warner Music, bringing recordings from Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel, Suzi Quatro, Fun Lovin Criminals and Athlete into the fold.

As previously reported, newish music management and publishing outfit Blue Raincoat bought the old Chrysalis Records catalogue off Warner last month, as well as the rights to the label brand. Blue Raincoat was co-founded by Jeremy Lascelles, who previously ran the Chrysalis music publishing business, and boasts Chrysalis Records co-founder Chris Wright as its Chairman.

Warner Music itself acquired the old Chrysalis recordings catalogue in 2013 when it bought a big chunk of the former EMI UK business off Universal Music, which in turn had acquired the EMI record company the previous year.

As also previously reported, at that time Warner pledged to offload bite-sized chunks of its EMI purchase to indie music firms, in a bid to ensure the independent sector didn't object to its acquisition of a big part of what had been EMI UK. The sale of the Chrysalis recordings to Team Blue Raincoat was part of that commitment, as is the sale of these four sets of master recordings now.

Steve Harley worked with EMI throughout the 1970s, while Suzi Quatro's early records came out on producer Mickie Most's Rak Records label, which sold its masters to EMI in 1983. Fun Lovin Criminals' first three albums came out via EMI labels, while Athlete released their first three LPs on EMI's Parlophone.

Confirming the latest catalogue acquisition, Blue Raincoat and Chrysalis Records chief Jeremy Lascelles told reporters: "We have been talking to all four of these artists for some time and it's a real THRILL to be able to welcome them all, with their wonderful bodies of work, on to the Chrysalis Records label".

He went on: "Each one of them, in their different ways, captured the spirit of their respective times and wrote absolute classic songs. It's fantastic to have what are arguably their most important recordings on Chrysalis and we look forward to doing justice to this great music".

Co-founder of the Blue Raincoat group, producer Robin Millar, added: "We want brilliant people and their brilliant music to find a proper home that befits their status and their art. Jeremy and I intend to re-imagine great heritage artists for the modern music market place".

Folk-focused booking agencies combine to create Strada Music
Folk and roots focused booking agencies Adastra and Regent Music have announced that they are merging to create a new business called Strada Music. The deal reunites Regent Music founder Phil Simpson with the agency he previously worked for.

He will run the new Yorkshire-based business with Adastra boss Chris Wade, with agents Graham Smout, Polly Bolton and Leila Cooper working a roster of over 80 artists from the folk, roots and Americana genres, including The Unthanks, Peatbog Faeries, Colin Hay and Barbara Dickson. The firm is also moving more into the jazz and classical domain too.

Simpson, who had already expanded his business through a merger with GPS Music in 2014, says of the new deal: "It's a very exciting prospect. Not only have we all been friends for years, but when you're able to collaborate, pool resources and share costs we have the opportunity to make something very special indeed".

Meanwhile Wade adds: "I am very excited about this fantastic new merger which will enable us to continue to represent our artists in the excellent way for which we have become known, as well as expanding the roster of artists we are able to represent".

BBC confirms new senior management structure
BBC boss dude Tony Hall has announced his long expected revamp of the top team at the Corporation. The aim was to simplify and streamline senior management, the expectation being that there would be three top execs based around the three core aims set out for the Beeb by its original chief John Reith: inform, educate and entertain. In the end Hall's new executive structure is a little more complicated than that, presumably to accommodate internal politics and legacy structures.

Under the revamp, Anne Bulford is promoted to the recently non-existent role of Deputy Director General. Charlotte Moore becomes Director Of Content, responsible for all of the Corporation's TV channels, plus the iPlayer and sport. James Purnell becomes Director Of Strategy & Education, leading on partnerships with museums and arts organisations, overseeing educational programmes, and doing generic strategy stuff.

Other senior execs keep pretty much the same jobs as before, with James Harding overseeing news and current affairs and Helen Boaden running radio, though 5Live, not previously part of her remit, will be from this point on. Mark Linsey remains Director Of Studios and Tim Davie will continue to run commercial division Worldwide.

The job of Director Of Nations And Regions will also be reinstated, which basically oversees anything not London, with the aim, says the Beeb, of "enhancing the BBC's offer to the nations and regions of the UK to improve our content while also looking for savings so that more money can be released for content".

Though that new commitment to the regions does also see the chiefs of BBC Wales, BBC Scotland and BBC Northern Ireland removed from the top team and the role of Director Of BBC North axed completely. Oh, and the to-be-appointed new Director Of Nations And Regions will be based in London. Good times.

Confirming all the changes on Wednesday, Hall told reporters that the executive rejig was part of a bid to better equip the BBC for the future. "We must never stand still", he said. "We must always be looking to innovate and change. The new executive will lead this process of creative renewal to ensure the BBC remains the most creative force in the world.

He went on: "On a practical level, these changes are also about creating a simpler BBC with fewer layers and clear lines of accountability. Much has already been achieved, but this process must now be accelerated. The BBC also needs to reinvigorate its offer to the public on education - something I am passionate about. That's why its importance is now recognised at the very top of the BBC".

He concluded: "The UK is changing and changing fast. The BBC needs to recognise and address that. That's why the work of improving our news and programming offer to the nations and regions is so important. It will be a challenge in an environment where resources are tight, but it is a priority and the steps taken today recognise that".

While it's debatable whether Hall's executive rejig makes the Corporation's structure any simpler, it does cut the head count at the top of the organisation from sixteen to eleven, which will help with that ambition that is arguably a higher priority that the need to innovate, change or educate: ie the need to save a serious amount of cash.

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AEG-owned blogging platform Examiner.com to close
Prolific blogger network Examiner.com - operated by live entertainment giant AEG since 2014 - is to close down. The thousands of writers who contribute to the site were informed about the decision earlier this week, with the platform set to stop pumping out new content as of next week.

Examiner.com was originally owned by the Clarity Media Group, which shares a parent company with AEG. It was moved over to the latter in 2014, seemingly with plans to more closely align the online operation with the growing media side of AEG's ticketing business AXS.

But now, it seems, the priority at AEG is very much the AXS.com set-up, and while there are hopes that some of the former contributors to Examiner.com - called "examiners" - might start writing for the AXS site, that is likely to be a minority of those writers, not least because Examiner.com had a much wider editorial remit.

AEG spokesman Michael Roth is quoted by Inquisitr as saying: "We've shifted our content focus to AXS.com and growing that platform. We're still going to have hundreds of music and live-entertainment contributors to AXS.com, and I'm anticipating that some of our Examiners from Examiner.com will be applying for jobs, and perhaps many of them will stay on".

Meanwhile AXS.com's Justin Jimenez, who was previously a director at Examiner.com, told The Denver Post: "The media landscape and media consumption, it's transformed dramatically. It wasn't an easy decision. The Examiner.com experience has been a very positive one".

  Vigsy's Club Tip: Wonder-Full LDN at The Prince Of Wales
Deep Into Soul connects with BBE Records to bring DJ Spinna's Wonder-Full Stevie Wonder tribute night to London Town this Sunday at the Prince Of Wales. It also doubles up as the launch for Spinna's 'The Wonder Of Stevie Vol 3' album.

The Wonder-Full project has been officially sanctioned by Mr Wonder, who himself has attended these events in person a few times. And with him being in town for his British Summer Time show in Hyde Park this weekend, well, who knows, maybe he'll be calling by to check the proceedings once again.

DJ Spinna, a house head and hip hop producer from Brooklyn, will be joined by the rather talented Paul Trouble Anderson, Rhemi and David Bailey, plus Pete from BBE, among others, at this South London Terrace Party.

Sunday 10 Jul, The Prince of Wales, 467 Brixton Road, London, SW9 8HH, 5pm-2am, £12-17.50. More info here.

CLICK HERE to read and share online
 

Clean Bandit release video for Tears
Clean Bandit have released the video for recently released single 'Tears'. The song, featuring vocals from 2015 'X-Factor' winner Louisa Johnson, is the first track to be released from their yet to be announced second album.

"We always make our own videos, and this one has been an amazing experience", said the band's Jack Patterson. "There are zero special effects and we did everything in front of the camera. As you'll see, there's a lot of water and fire and even a special guest cameo from the Harry Potter owl, Hedwig! The video conveys the fire you need to find within yourself in order to part from a person you love".

Did you hear that? It's got a fucking owl in it! Watch here.

The Naked And Famous, BMG, IFPI, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• The Naked And Famous have signed a "multi-faceted" deal with Kobalt Label Services, because you can never have too many facets. KLS will support the band's own Somewhat Damaged label in releasing a new album this autumn.

• BMG has appointed Zach Katz to the role of President US Repertoire And Marketing, overseeing all repertoire and marketing for both the publishing and recordings side of the business in America. The promotion follows the decision of the music rights firm's President Creative & Marketing, Laurent Hubert, to step down.

• Global record industry trade group IFPI has promoted Dr David Price to the role of Director Of Insight & Analysis. He'll be in charge of analysing how much YouTube is fucking up the music industry, and producing the group's regular 'We Hate Fucking YouTube' insight reports. And maybe some other things too. I don't know.

• PRS For Music Foundation has announced it is involved in a new initiative called Resonate which is "encouraging professional orchestras to programme into their repertoire the best pieces of British music from the past 25 years". It's a joint venture project with the Association Of British Orchestras - info here.

• James Murphy's 'Subway Symphony', originally intended to brighten up New York's underground rail system, has now been installed in a new underground park, The Lowline. Here's LCD Soundsystem's Nancy Whang to explain more.

• If you thought Sigur Rós's 24 hour 'slow TV' film seemed a bit long, you can now watch it as a five minute timelapse. If that still seems too long, I'm afraid I can't help you.

Adam Lambert's put out the video for 'Welcome To The Show'.

• Wild Beasts have another single out. Well, it's the done thing when you have an album imminent, isn't it? This one's called 'Big Cat' and here's the video.

• Lady Leshurr's released a video for new single 'Where Are You Now?' Wiley's on the track, though he seems to have been busy on the day of the video shoot.

• Hanni El Khatib's has released a new track called 'Come Down'. Here it is.

• Voting is now open for this year's DJ Mag Top 100 DJs poll. I bet the public end up voting to just leave the club. Idiots. Anyway, submit your votes here.

CMU Beef Of The Week #313: Spotify v Apple
Politics is a funny old game, isn't it? One moment you can be delivering a speech in which you say things that don't seem like that big a deal, the next you're responsible for instigating a major rift between the biggest names in streaming music and a lot of shouting ensues. I am, of course, talking about US Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren and her recent speech on 'America's Monopoly Problem'.

In her speech, Warren singled out Google, Apple and Amazon as US companies that started small, grew into massive multi-national powerhouses, and then sought to use their power to freeze out the next generation of start-ups. In the case of Apple, she said the company "has placed conditions on its rivals that make it difficult for them to offer competitive streaming services".

Ah, the good old 'Apple Tax', everyone assumed she meant. That being the 30% fee Apple takes from developers who take payments through apps distributed via the tech giant's App Store. Although it applies across the board, it's a significant problem for streaming services, which already hand over at least 70% of their revenues to the music industry (and generally more like 85%, while revenues aren't yet big enough to cover minimum guarantees).

The result is that the likes of Spotify, Deezer and Tidal are forced to pass on that extra cost to their customers, if they choose to subscribe through the app, rather than the streaming service's own website. Apple's recent concession to drop its cut to 15% after a subscriber has been signed up for a year doesn't help that much. The fact that Apple rules (unlike on the Google Play app store) prohibit companies from communicating that cheaper subscriptions are available via other platforms is also a particularly contentious point.

And contentious points is what we were interested in here, right? Yes, it is. So after Warren raised her concerns about Apple and the impact their policies are having on rival streaming services, Re/code got straight on the phone to Spotify's comms boss. "Yo, JP!" the reporter almost certainly began. "How about that Apple Tax, huh?"

"Apple has long used its control of iOS to squash competition in music, driving up the prices of its competitors, inappropriately forbidding us from telling our customers about lower prices, and giving itself unfair advantages across its platform through everything from the lock screen to Siri", said Jonathan Prince, neither taking on board the jovial tone of this imagined conversation so far, or adhering to efficient sentence structure, something he has now forced me into as well, which is, I am sure, quite annoying for you as a reader, or at least that's what I would assume.

"You know there's something wrong when Apple makes more off a Spotify subscription than it does off an Apple Music subscription and doesn't share any of that with the music industry", he added. "They want to have their cake and eat everyone else's too".

Oh yeah, that's the other problem. The Apple Tax used to be just an annoying thing, and an annoying thing that was generally tolerated, because everyone else in streaming music had the same problem. But then, as the more alert of you might have noticed, last summer Apple launched its own streaming service. And does Apple charge £12.99 a month for in-app subscriptions in line with its competitors? Nope. It's £9.99 all the way. Which, to the casual (in-app-paying) observer, would make it seem like Apple Music is considerably cheaper than any of the other streaming music services.

When asked about the arrival of a big fat new competitor to the market last year, Spotify has previously bragged that all the launch of Apple Music has done is accelerate its own growth. Meanwhile, label sources told MBW this week that Spotify now has over 37 million paying subscribers, an impressive seven million more than the last official stats brag in March this year, and still significantly more than Apple Music's fifteen million.

But the Swedish company isn't currently swaggering around showing off the extra strong braces it had to buy to stop its trousers falling down, thanks to the massive userbase it now keeps in its pockets. And it wasn't pleased to see Apple either. I'm not sure that metaphor works on any level, does it? Sorry. But what I mean is, the recent official communications from both Spotify and Apple Music have had nothing to do with bragging about user numbers. They've been far too busy dissing each other to brag.

As well as Prince's angry agreement with Senator Warren's speech, a letter from Spotify general counsel Horacio Gutierrez managed to somehow find its way into Re/code's hands. The letter was sent at the end of June, after an update to Spotify's iOS app was rejected by Apple for breaking "business model rules". The problem, apparently, was that it attempted to circumvent Apple's system when taking payments.

But Gutierrez accused Apple of acting uncompetitively, saying that the company was "causing grave harm to Spotify and its customers".

"This latest episode raises serious concerns under both US and EU competition law", he wrote. "It continues a troubling pattern of behaviour by Apple to exclude and diminish the competitiveness of Spotify on iOS and as a rival to Apple Music, particularly when seen against the backdrop of Apple's previous anticompetitive conduct aimed at Spotify ... we cannot stand by as Apple uses the App Store approval process as a weapon to harm competitors".

And stand by they have not, I suppose, given the increased shouting on the subject. Though you might note that this beef has been somewhat one-sided so far. Where is Apple in this debate, beyond tedious notes on articles saying that the tech giant had "declined to comment"?

Well, after someone managed to slip and accidentally send Spotify's legal letter to Re/code, there was another inadvertent email blunder, which saw Apple's response to Gutierrez end up in the hands of Buzzfeed. I know, it's almost like magic.

"As a valued developer in the App Store, we're disappointed with the public attacks you've made and welcome the opportunity to set the record straight", retorted Apple's top legal type Bruce Sewell patronisingly.

He added that Spotify has "benefitted enormously from its association with Apple's App Store", facilitating "over 160 million downloads" of Spotify's app, "resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars in incremental revenue to Spotify".

Yeah, that's a company with £35 billion a year in profit telling another business that has never made a profit to stop worrying about money. Though he does have a point, without the app store and the iPhone, Spotify would not have anything like the subscriber numbers and income it currently does. There is still that issue of that competing streaming service though. Or not, says Sewell.

"Our guidelines help competition, not hurt it", he insists. "The fact that we compete has never affected how Apple treats Spotify or other successful competitors, like Google Play Music, Tidal, Amazon Music, Pandora or numerous other apps on the App Store the distribute digital music".

No, it hasn't, that is true. Though I think the point is that Apple Music still undercuts most of them by not forcing itself to add an extra £3 (or dollars or whatever) to its subscription fee on in-app purchases.

However, continues Sewell, Apple does have extra costs, because it invests a lot of money into making the App Store work. "To imply that Spotify should not have to pay to avail itself of the benefits of Apple's hard work, just as every other developer does, would give you tremendous advantage over other developers. It's simply unfair and unreasonable".

It's probably worth noting here that another of Spotify's gripes is that, under App Store rules, developers aren't allowed to implement flexible pricing. "Which is why we can never provide special offers or discounts [via the app], and means we won't have the ability to share any savings with our customers [when Apple's cut drops to 15%]", Prince told The Verge in June.

That is a key point. A large part of Spotify's recent growth has been down to offering cheap subscriptions, such as offering 50% off for students, a £14.99 family plan, and a heftily discounted price of 99p for three months. None of which it is able to offer through the App Store. It can't even mention that these options exist elsewhere. These must remain as much a secret as the standard, non-iOS price of £9.99. There is one price and you pay it from day one in planet iPhone.

Which I guess raises the question, is that why the latest Spotify app update was rejected? Was Spotify flouting the rules and trying to make potential new paying users aware of the numerous pricing options available. No. Or at least not so according to Prince.

Remaining on the offensive in the wake of Sewell's letter, Prince tweeted a screengrab of the page in the app that apparently got the whole thing rejected. "You discovered a Premium feature", it says. "You must have a Premium subscription to unlock it".

"This is what Apple wants you to believe violates their rules", seethed Prince. "No offer, no purchase, no link to anywhere at all".

If that really is all it was, then Apple does appear to be in a much weaker position. If anything, it's potentially doing itself out of more of that money it likes to invest in nailing up the walls of the App Store and putting in new carpets. Though if anyone wants to accidentally send me a letter from Apple explaining why that is not the case, feel free. I will require an extra 30% of text though.

 
ANDY MALT | Editor
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