MONDAY 19 SEPTEMBER 2016
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Somewhat quicker than originally anticipated, a US judge has already rejected the much previously reported conclusion of America's Department Of Justice that collecting society BMI must operate a 100% licensing system. BMI, like its rival American song rights collecting society ASCAP, is regulated by a consent decree. The DoJ, which oversees the consent decrees... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: The year 2016 has been, in the main, let's be honest, a fucking dickhead. And now the first signs of winter are starting to appear. Not only that, but today is Monday. So I thought we could all do with some fist-pumping, anthemic power pop. Enter new Prides single 'Are You Ready'. The song is the first single to be taken from the duo's second album, which is due... [READ MORE]
 
CMU PODCAST: CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from this summer, including the closure of Fabric, the launch of the FanFair campaign against secondary ticketing, and Frank Ocean's two new albums and how they contributed to the debate over streaming exclusives. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital... [READ MORE]
 
CMU TRENDS: As the European Commission publishes its draft new copyright directive, we review the key issues that the music community hopes might be addressed by the latest review of copyright law in Europe, and what the directive says about each of them. What has been achieved so far, and what next? CMU Trends articles are available to premium subscribers... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Judge rejects Department Of Justice conclusion on 100% licensing
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LEGAL Viagogo given green light to pursue legal action against SFX
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Warner/Chappell promotes Eric Mackay to VP Digital
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LIVE BUSINESS Music Venue Trust announces show in support of struggling grassroots venues
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BRANDS & MERCH Deadline looms for CMU-backed music category at European Sponsorship Association awards
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Apple not looking to buy Tidal, though Spotify could go to Facebook (but probably won't)
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EDUCATION & EVENTS New CMU Insights programme kicks off next week, plus Radio // Future Sounds and Music 4.5
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GIGS & FESTIVALS Low announce Christmas tour
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AWARDS Mercury Prize public vote disadvantages "the little guys like us", says The Comet Is Coming
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ONE LINERS ReverbNation, Lady Gaga, Thom Yorke, more
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AND FINALLY... James Arthur rejoins Syco, two years after being dropped
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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.
 
 
NINJA TUNE - DIGITAL ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Ninja Tune is looking for a bright, meticulous and technologically-minded aspiring music industry professional to fill the role of Digital Assistant, based out of its London office.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
YOUR ARMY - CLUB PROMOTIONS ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Your Army is looking for someone with a broad understanding of electronic dance music to be Club Promotions Assistant. Your role will involve researching and building relationships with tastemaker DJs, database management and reporting back to a wide range of labels and artists.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
KARTEL MUSIC GROUP - PROMOTIONS EXECUTIVE (LONDON)
Kartel Music Group is a global, independent label services company representing an internationally acclaimed roster of labels and artists. The role we are seeking to fill is a Promotions Executive within our in-house Promotions Department.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
NOTTINGHAM TRENT STUDENTS' UNION - ENTERTAINMENTS SUPERVISOR (NOTTINGHAM)
Nottingham Trent Students' Union is recruiting for an enthusiastic individual to join its entertainments team. The Union operates across three campuses running a busy schedule of activity in its diverse venues. The Entertainments Supervisor will play a key supporting role in the programming and delivery of a wide range of entertainment.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
NAME PR - ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE (LONDON)
Name PR is looking to hire an Account Executive. This is a fantastic opportunity for a bright individual with exceptional writing ability and a good grasp of the music business to work on some of the UK and Europe's most interesting music issues.

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.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
YOUTH MUSIC - PA/ADMINISTRATOR (LONDON)
We’re Youth Music. We're a national charity investing in music-making projects for children and young people facing challenging circumstances. The PA/Administrator will be responsible for managing the CEO’s diary, co-ordinating and administrating trustee meetings and ensuring the smooth running of Youth Music’s office on a day-to-day basis.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
ANJUNABEATS & ANJUNADEEP - MARKETING MANAGER (LONDON)
Anjunabeats and Anjunadeep are looking for an experienced digital marketer to join our growing team in London. You will execute digital marketing campaigns for our releases, streaming playlists and tours with a specific focus on leveraging our social media network to drive results.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
INVOLVED MANAGEMENT - MANAGEMENT ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Home to Above & Beyond, Dusky, Lane 8 and Yotto (among others), Involved Management is looking for a motivated and proactive management assistant to work across two of our highest profile acts and our broader roster.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
INVOLVED GROUP - OFFICE MANAGER & PA (LONDON)
Involved Group is looking for an enthusiastic, highly organised and proactive individual to take on a new, wide-ranging office manager role within our growing operation. The successful candidate will have a can-do attitude, excellent attention to detail and experience implementing and managing office systems.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
ERASED TAPES - MARKETING & PR MANAGER (LONDON)
Erased Tapes is currently seeking a dedicated and highly creative Marketing & PR Manager to collaborate with both our in-house creative team and external PR partners. Core tasks include overseeing social media management, advising on overall business and product marketing strategies, special event planning, brand partnerships, and fostering relationships with online and print press partners.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
NINJA TUNE - SOCIAL MEDIA ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Ninja Tune requires a Social Media Assistant to work on the planning and execution of of compelling content across the label's social channels, working closely with the Social Media Manager and Digital team.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
RESIDENT ADVISOR - SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER (LONDON)
Resident Advisor is seeking a digital media expert to manage our social media strategy. With more than one million fans across all platforms, a huge opportunity exists for an ambitious, quick-thinking person to directly shape the company’s social media agenda.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
9PR - ONLINE PUBLICIST (LONDON)
9PR is looking for an account manager with at least one year's experience in online press. Our campaigns range from up-and-coming-talent, established acts, catalogue releases and events across a variety of genres.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
YOUR ARMY - PROMOTIONS CO-ORDINATOR (LONDON)
Your Army is looking for a Promotions Co-ordinator to work across its raio and TV departments. The position is ideal for someone with excellent administration and time management skills.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
YOUR ARMY - ARTIST MANAGER (LONDON)
Your Army are a developing media company known for promoting the likes of Disclosure, Christine & The Queens, Major Lazer and Duke Dumont, with offices in London and Los Angeles. They are looking for an Artist Manager to join their growing Artist Management Division. The ideal candidate will have at least two years experience of working within a management company, or a proven track record working independently, and have been managing a 'dance' act.

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.
 
22 Sep 2016 CMU's Chris Cooke will moderate a session at Radio // Future Sounds
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26 Sep 2016 CMU Insights Masterclass: Music Business Explained – For Start Ups & Brands
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27 Sep 2016 CMU Insights @ Music 4.5: The Politics Of Licensing
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Oct/Nov 2016 CMU Insights Seminars Programme: How The Music Business Works
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3 Oct 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: Making Money From Music
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10 Oct 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: How Music Rights Work
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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
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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
7 Nov 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fanbase - Social Media Tools
CLICK FOR INFO
14 Nov 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fanbase - Music Media
CLICK FOR INFO
21 Nov 2016 CMU Insights Masterclass: Digital Deals, Dollars And Trends – Explained!
CLICK FOR INFO
21 Nov 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fan Orientated Business
CLICK FOR INFO
 

Judge rejects Department Of Justice conclusion on 100% licensing
Somewhat quicker than originally anticipated, a US judge has already rejected the much previously reported conclusion of America's Department Of Justice that collecting society BMI must operate a 100% licensing system.

BMI, like its rival American song rights collecting society ASCAP, is regulated by a consent decree. The DoJ, which oversees the consent decrees, agreed to review the regulations after various music publishers called for changes to be made, arguing that the current regulatory system is outdated in the digital music age. But, after conducting a long review, the DoJ decided not to make any amendments to the consent decrees, and instead proclaimed that under existing rules BMI and ASCAP were obliged to operate a 100% licensing system.

That would mean that where a song is co-owned by an ASCAP member and a BMI member, a licensee could make use of that song with either an ASCAP licence or a BMI licence, whereas previously a licence would be required from both. The licensee would then pay one society any royalties that are due, and it would be for the PRO to ensure that both rights owners got paid their respective share of that money.

Some licensees argued that this had always been the way it worked, but both societies, as well as most publishers and songwriters, said that the DoJ's decision was a radical departure from current practice, because so called fractional licensing - where multiple licences are required for co-owned works - was currently the norm. The shift to 100% licensing, therefore, would require a significant overhaul of the collective licensing system, and could impact on the way songwriters collaborate, and the agreements made between different writers when they work together on new songs.

In the wake of the DoJ's ruling, it was decided that BMI would fight the new interpretation of the consent decrees through the courts, while ASCAP would start lobbying in Congress. A hearing to discuss the former took place on Friday, and in a surprise move the judge, Louis Stanton, having heard arguments from both sides of the debate, reached an immediate judgement, declaring that "nothing in the consent decree gives support to the [Department Of Justice's] views".

The ruling doesn't quite put an end to the debate. For starters, Stanton's judgement only applies to BMI's consent decree, and ASCAP will now need to seek its own judicial clarification on the matter. That will go before a different judge who could reach a different conclusion, though that would result in a rather bizarre situation. Meanwhile the DoJ could as yet take last week's ruling to appeal. Plus, as reported last week, there is the separate legal action being pursued by the Songwriters Of North America organisation, also seeking confirmation that the DoJ got it wrong.

Then, of course, even if both BMI and ASCAP ultimately win the day on 100% licensing, there is still the matter of the various consent decree reforms the music publishers wanted and which the DoJ rejected. ASCAP could well continue with its lobbying efforts in Washington to achieve an overhaul of licensing rules via a change in copyright law.

For now, the US music industry welcomed Friday's ruling. BMI boss Mike O'Neill said: "As we have said from the very beginning, we believed our consent decree allowed for the decades-long practice of fractional licensing and today we are gratified that Judge Stanton confirmed that belief. Our mission has always been to protect the interests of our songwriters, composers and publishers, and we feel we have done just that. Today's decision is a victory for the entire music community".

Meanwhile ASCAP chief Beth Matthews said "this is terrific news for all of us in the songwriting community as we continue to work on modernising the consent decrees to reflect the real world".

David Israelite of the National Music Publishers Association chipped in: "Thanks to the courage of Mike O'Neill, BMI, and the entire songwriting and music publishing community, the DOJ's disastrous views on 100% licensing have been rejected by a federal Judge. This is a huge win for songwriters and a huge win for the rule of copyright law".

And if you were expecting statements from each of the major music publishers too, well, you're not going to leave this news report disappointed. Here they are, from longest to shortest...

Warner Chappell CEO Jon Platt in a note to his songwriters: "I know that the determination of the Department Of Justice on the issue of 100% licensing of US performance rights in musical compositions has weighed heavily on our minds over the past several months. In July, I wrote to you, promising to keep you up-to-date on everything that happens, as it happens. Today, I am very pleased to inform you of the result of a legal challenge brought by BMI against the DoJ. Just this afternoon, Judge Stanton ruled that the BMI consent decree does not require 100% licensing. As he states: 'The consent decree neither bars fractional licensing nor requires full-work licensing'. While I'm sure this story will continue to unfold, this is a fantastic result which should give us hope that the status quo for US performance rights licensing will not be upended. This is a big win, not just for BMI, but for all publishers and songwriters. My personal congratulations to the BMI team for this wonderful outcome".

Sony/ATV CEO Marty Bandier: "We are THRILLED with Judge Stanton's common sense interpretation of the consent decree which clarifies that BMI is not required to grant 100% licences. His statement that 'nothing in the consent decree gives support to the division's views' could not be clearer. While the DoJ's interpretation would have upended decades of licensing practices and caused uncertainty and disorder to everyone in the marketplace, Judge Stanton's ruling is in the public interest and will benefit all interested parties in the music industry, including songwriters, music publishers and licensors. We can now focus once again on working on behalf of our songwriters".

Univeral Music Publishing CEO Jody Gerson: "We are delighted that our songwriters received a great victory today".

Viagogo given green light to pursue legal action against SFX
Secondary ticketing firm Viagogo was recently given the go ahead to pursue legal action against flagging dance music promoter SFX, it has emerged.

Viagogo accuses SFX of failing to deliver on a five-year $75 million sponsorship deal which made the secondary ticketing firm the official resale partner on a stack of events promoted by the dance music company. According to IQ, Viagogo says that SFX "breached various material provisions of the agreement, some of which are not curable, including, among other things, the cancelling of certain major events".

But SFX, remember, went into administration back in February, and is still stumbling its way towards relaunching as a newer, nimbler EDM powerhouse cut free of many of its former liabilities. And that meant the company got itself chapter eleven bankruptcy protection, which in theory prevents creditors from suing for outstanding debts, those owed money instead needing to participate in the bankruptcy negotiations.

Following a hearing at the end of August, Viagogo has now been permitted by the courts to "assert and prosecute all counterclaims against the debtors", with the restrictions put in place by the bankruptcy set aside for this one case. Viagogo is seeking over $1.6 million from SFX in its legal action.

Warner/Chappell promotes Eric Mackay to VP Digital
Warner/Chappell this morning announced that Eric Mackay has been promoted to VP Digital for the EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions. Which is quite a big area, I think we can all agree. And he'll oversee digital stuff for the music publisher across all of that territory.

"Our primary mission at Warner/Chappell is to offer our songwriters the most sophisticated and wide-ranging services in the music industry", says the Warner Music publishing unit's CEO Jon Platt. "Since joining Warner/Chappell just last year, Eric has done a tremendous job in spearheading our digital initiatives across Europe, as we continue to expand and deepen our relationships with a diverse array of global players and explore new business models. I'm delighted that Eric will expand his role with the company, and bring his expertise and passion to a much wider sphere of our global operations".

Mackay himself adds: "Warner/Chappell is pioneering deals in the digital market to create the maximum opportunities for our talented roster of writers. It's exciting to lead our efforts not just in established territories, but to also work with our talented team of affiliates and sub-publishers in emerging markets, where there is so much opportunity for growth. Jon has a truly inspirational vision for developing Warner/Chappell and I'm proud to play a part in making it a reality".

As previously reported, Mackay joined Warner/Chappell in April last year, having previously done digital licensing gubbins on the other side of the fence at Vevo.

Music Venue Trust announces show in support of struggling grassroots venues
The Music Venue Trust has announced a show at The Roundhouse in Camden on 18 Oct to raise money to help halt the rapid closure of music venues across the UK. And as a way of highlighting the urgency of the campaign, they didn't book any acts or crew before announcing the show.

"We're announcing an event today which has no artists booked and no infrastructure confirmed because this is urgent", said Mark Davyd on Friday. "What's happening to our music venues is an emergency which should concern every music fan, every musician, and everybody working in the music industry in the UK".

He continued: "As of 9am this morning we genuinely don't know who is playing. It might be me with a ukulele and a bass drum tied to my back, or it might be the biggest artist in the world. We're asking music fans from across London to please join us for just one night to say loudly and clearly that we've all had enough of music venue closures and we aren't going to put up with it anymore".

"We hope musicians and music fans will believe that's a cause worth joining", he concluded. "If it turns out someone who believed in that cause paid £10 to hear me whistle the national anthem and rant about the importance of venues for half an hour, then the cause will still be worth it. And if you buy a ticket on Monday for £10 and it ends up being stuffed full of BRIT Award winners and the people around you paid £100, then lucky you".

Meanwhile, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr were quizzed last week on their views about small venues being shut down, while being interviewed about new documentary 'The Beatles: Eight Days A Week'. They agreed that it was a bad thing to lose all these grass roots music spaces, but wondered what could be done about it.

"I'm writing you this letter to tell you exactly what we can do", said Davyd in an open letter to the former Beatles published by Louder Than War. After explaining what MVT does, he suggested recording a video message, making a donation or becoming a patron of the charity. "Of course, the biggest thing you could do would be for you to come and play", he slipped in at the end of the list. "We know that's a massive ask. But when watching you perform in 'Eight Days A Week', you can hear and feel the incredible power of live music, the way it connects and energises people. This is why saving our music venues is so important, and this is why a performance from you would be the most powerful message you could send".

Whether or not McCartney and Starr put in an appearance, money raised by the show will be put towards MVT's new 'Emergency Response' initiative, which aims to counter the prohibitive costs for grassroots venues seeking legal advice and expert opinion when faced with planning, development, noise and licensing issues. Venue operators will be able to fill out a single form outlining their problem, receiving a guaranteed response within 72 hours for free - saving them between £2000 and £5000 in getting that initial advice.

"Too often, venues are going to the wall because they don't get the best advice they can as early as they can", says Davyd. "Developers and local authorities have got deep pockets to pay for the best legal advice; venues need somebody in their corner and that's what we're going to do".

Tickets for the show went on sale this morning and can be booked here. And if you're an artist, sound engineer, lighting technician, backline supplier or anyone who could help get this event up and running, you should email fightback@musicvenuetrust.com

Deadline looms for CMU-backed music category at European Sponsorship Association awards
The deadline is looming for the European Sponsorship Association's Excellence Awards, which will again feature the CMU-supported prize for best Live Music Sponsorship. Promoters and agencies who want to put themselves forward for consideration need to do so by 30 Sep.

Confirming CMU's support of the music sponsorship prize again last month, CMU MD and Business Editor Chris Cooke said: "While there are a plethora of music/brand partnerships every year, partnering up in a truly credible and mutually beneficial way still requires some clever ideas and strategic thinking. So it's great to be able to big up those projects that really get it right, to both the music business via CMU, but also to the entire European sponsorship community via the ESA's Excellence Awards".

Meanwhile the chair of the Excellence Awards Committee Jackie Fast added: "The music industry is, and always has been, a massively important area of entertainment when it comes to sponsorship. The activation of various music campaigns is rightly held in high esteem, and we're proud to be able to partner with CMU for a second successful year in order that we can showcase the great work that's being done within the sector".

For more information about the awards and how to put a project forward for consideration, check out this page here.

Meanwhile, ahead of the ESA awards deadline, CMU Insights presents a masterclass next week aimed at both brands and start-ups - basically companies seeking to work with artists and music - which explains how the music industry and music rights work - full info here. Ahead of that, Cooke - who will deliver the masterclass - has written an Insights Blog providing five tips for brands working with music for the first time - which you can read here.

Apple not looking to buy Tidal, though Spotify could go to Facebook (but probably won't)
Apple isn't going to buy Tidal, but Spotify could sell to Facebook. Please update your wallcharts accordingly.

After much speculation that Jay-Z was about to get shot of Tidal - which is making massive losses and struggling to pay creditors - by selling it to Apple, Jimmy Iovine has now said that this is not the case.

In an interview with Buzzfeed, he didn't deny that talks had taken place with the Tidallers, but he said that Apple isn't interested in buying any more streaming services. Iovine, of course, joined Apple through its purchase of his Beats company, with its Dre-tastic headphones and a then fledgling streaming platform.

"We're really running our own race", he said. "We're not looking to acquire any streaming services". Which is usually what people in Iovine's position say just before they acquire a streaming service. But you know, we'd never doubt Jim. So that's that, there'll be no Tidal wave of Apples.

Meanwhile, Joakim Dal, an analyst at British investment firm GP Bullhound, which has money in Spotify, reckons that while an initial public offering is still the most likely outcome for the streaming company, we shouldn't rule out the possibility of it actually being bought outright by Facebook. So there's that rumour back on the table.

"Historically, Spotify has been weak on building a social network around their service", Dal told Breakit. "Therefore, a deal with Facebook would be positive. It would further increase [Spotify's] competitive upper hand against Apple, who don't have any social network tied to their service. Daniel Ek and Mark Zuckerberg know each other well and if Facebook develops any new product, a music offering is very likely".

Of course, that would really go against what Daniel Ek said earlier this year at the Brilliant Minds symposium, where he resolutely told journalists: "I'm not going to sell, no. My selfish ambition with Spotify is just trying to show ... that we can create one of those super companies here in Europe".

Selling to Facebook wouldn't really fit with that plan at all, would it? But, of course, everyone has their price. Especially if they have investors demanding the best possible return on what they put in as soon as possible thanks very much. So the hell knows?

New CMU Insights programme kicks off next week, plus Radio // Future Sounds and Music 4.5
The autumn programme of CMU Insights events kicks off next week with a masterclass aimed at companies seeking to work with the music industry, and in particular brands and start-ups. Meanwhile CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke will be speaking at the Radio // Future Sounds event in Brighton this Thursday and at the upcoming Music 4.5 session in London a week tomorrow.

The half day masterclass 'Music Business Explained - For Start Ups & Brands' is aimed at companies and brands seeking to work with the music business, providing a beginner's guide to the different strands of the industry and how they connect with each other. For companies and individuals looking to license content, get access to shows, or form partnerships with artists, this masterclass will guide then through the people and politics they will need to deal with along the way.

Tickets are still available for the half-day session for just £125, and they can be booked online here. Plus Cooke has written an Insights Blog ahead of the event, providing "five tips for brands working with music for the first time", which you can check out here.

Part of the Brighton Digital Festival, Radio // Future Sounds investigates innovations in radio, both in the traditional sense as well as through all and any digital channels, as well as exploring all that is possible in audio art and entertainment.

This year CMU will lead a session on podcasting, and in particular the realities of turning podcasting as a passion into podcasting as profession. Cooke will moderate a great panel including Darren Knott, producer of Ninja Tune's Solid Steel Radio Show; Imriel Morgan of the ShoutOut Network and Melanin Millennials; digital consultant and podcaster Alex Langley; and journalist, academic and podcaster Gilly Smith. It all takes place this Thursday, 22 Sep, at Patterns in Brighton, info here.

Music 4.5 returns on Tuesday 27 Sep with a session called 'The Politics Of Licensing' and, with all the many recent developments in the world of music rights, there will be lots to cover over the afternoon. As always, CMU will present a 'story so far' introduction to frame the debates that follow.

Also speaking are the likes of Virginie Berger from Armonia, Peter Bradbury from SKY UK, Åsa Carild from ICE Services, Ann Tausis from Kobalt Neighbouring Rights, Jonathan Tester from Bucks Music Group, Paul Pacifico from the Featured Artists Coalition, and music lawyers Tom Frederikse, Sophie Goossens and Simon Jordan. Full details and ticket info are available here.

And for details of all the training and consultancy services offered by CMU Insights, check out cmuinsights.com

 
  Approved: Prides
The year 2016 has been, in the main, let's be honest, a fucking dickhead. And now the first signs of winter are starting to appear. Not only that, but today is Monday. So I thought we could all do with some fist-pumping, anthemic power pop. Enter new Prides single 'Are You Ready'.

The song is the first single to be taken from the duo's second album, which is due out next year. "Lyrically it's about forgiveness", says vocalist Stewart Brocks. "It's about those long nights you stay awake trying to figure out what you want, talking till the early hours, drinking too much, smoking too much, thinking too much. Saying the wrong thing, saying the right thing, saying anything".

Prides are on tour in October - dates here. Now listen to 'Are You Ready' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column in 2016 by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.
CLICK HERE to read and share online
 

Low announce Christmas tour
Low will be performing songs from their 1999 'Christmas' EP (and probably some others) in the run up to the festive season this year, heading out on a tour of the UK and Ireland this December.

The dates are as follows:

1 Dec: Norwich Arts Centre
2 Dec: Buxton, Opera House
3 Dec: Brighton, St George's Church
5 Dec: London, Union Chapel
7 Dec: Bristol, St George's Church
9 Dec: Halifax, Minster
10 Dec: Glasgow, St Luke's Church
12 Dec: Belfast, Empire
13 Dec: Dublin, Christchurch

Mercury Prize public vote disadvantages "the little guys like us", says The Comet Is Coming
The Comet Is Coming have said that they don't think that the new public vote in the Mercury Prize - to whittle the shortlist of twelve down to six - is a very good idea. And yes, they would say that, having been knocked out of the competition before the final. Though adding a popularity contest into the judging process did seem a bit odd, for an award where all acts are supposed to be considered on a level playing field based on the quality of their music.

"I don't like the public vote", The Comet Is Coming saxophonist King Shabaka told NME. "Some of the acts obviously have big capital behind them from major labels, which gives them bigger fanbases to have more people to vote for them. For the little guys like us, who only have 2000 Facebook followers, we're obviously going to get less votes. So the vote skews the prize towards the acts who have a good set-up from the beginning".

Introduced for the first time this year, the public vote meant that Kano, Anohni, Bat For Lashes, Jamie Woon, Savages and The Comet Is Coming were not considered for the prize by the judging panel. And while I think Skepta was still the right winner overall, if 2016 has made anything clear, it's that the general public should never be asked for their opinion on anything.

Speaking of Skepta, on Friday, the morning after his Mercury win, he cancelled an Australia tour, which was supposed to begin on Saturday, citing "an unexpected and personal reason".

"With deep disappointment and due to circumstances beyond his control, UK artist Skepta has regrettably been forced to cancel all eleven dates on his upcoming Australia/NZ tour", the tour's promoter said in a statement.

ReverbNation, Lady Gaga, Thom Yorke, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• ReverbNation is expanding its operations in the UK and Europe, hiring Amy Pinnock as its new European Account Manager. "I'm THRILLED to take on this new role at ReverbNation", she says.

• Lady Gaga will release her new album on 21 Oct. It will be called 'Joanne'. Oh, and she'll also headline next year's Super Bowl half-time show, or so reckons Us Weekly. Seems like a reasonable guess.

• Thom Yorke has released a new solo song. It is called 'Coloured Candy'.

• Justice will release their new album on 18 Nov. It will be called 'Woman'.

• Sampha has released the video for his latest single. It is called 'Blood On Me'.

• The Kenneths have announced that they will be touring the UK in October. If you buy your ticket direct from the band, you'll get a free download of their new EP, 'Double N', too.

James Arthur rejoins Syco, two years after being dropped
Two years ago, former 'X-Factor' winner James Arthur was dropped by the Syco label, but now he's been welcomed back into Simon Cowell's fold. Let's see how that goes.

Arthur and Syco parted ways following a string of controversies, which culminated in a dispute over a song called 'Follow The Leader', which included the line "I'm gonna blow up your family like I'm a terrorist". At the time, Arthur said that he had decided to "move on and do something different".

For the last two years, that "something different" has largely meant dropping out of the public eye and not really doing a great deal. Though last September he signed a new worldwide deal with another Sony label, the German division of Columbia.

Earlier this month he released new single 'Say You Won't Let Go', the lead track from his second album 'Back From The Edge', which is due out on 4 Nov. That album will now be distributed by Syco in UK, a spokesperson for the label has confirmed to The Sun.

"We can confirm that James Arthur is now once again signed to Syco Music in the UK", they said. "We are delighted to welcome him back into the Syco fold".

Arthur, meanwhile, says that he's a changed man now, and that past erratic behaviour was down to him struggling with the pressures of sudden fame off the back of 'X-Factor'. "I suffered with the pressure", he said on ITV's 'This Morning'. "I wasn't prepared for scrutiny and attention. It felt super quick. I pressed the self-destruct button. I didn't realise the repercussions and the devastation my behaviour would cause".

All's well now though. 'Say You Won't Let Go' went straight to the top of the iTunes chart last week. Although it only went to number 25 in the actual chart, which again highlights the waning influence of iTunes on this recorded music lark. Still, Arthur's back everybody!

 
ANDY MALT | Editor
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