TODAY'S TOP STORY: Fabric's legal team are reportedly in talks with Islington Council to re-open the club. Reaching a voluntary agreement over new licensing conditions for the venue would mean not having to go to court later this month, potentially avoiding thousands in legal fees for both sides. According to the Islington Tribune, "advanced talks" are underway to re-open... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Cavegreen is a collaboration between musician Eleanor Murray and lyricist GianLuca Bucci. Having released their debut EP last year, they are now set to release their first album, 'Vita Lucida', on 3 Feb. "We believe the universe is built upon the co-creative participation of all that exists, from nebulas to microbes; each a unique part of the universal wholeness... [READ MORE]
CMU PODCAST: CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including the Culture Select Committee session on ticket touting in Parliament, Duran Duran testing the reach of America's copyright reversion rule, and Prince's label suing Tidal over the streaming of the late star's catalogue. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
CMU TRENDS: We all know that the story of recorded music over the last fifteen years has been the shift from CD to download to streams, and from a sales model to a subscription model. It's easy to think that we are now in the final chapter of that story, though perhaps we're only half way through. We review where we're at as 2017 approaches. CMU Trends articles are available to premium subscribers... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Fabric in "advanced talks" to re-open
LEGAL US radio industry accuses Global Music Rights of monopoly abuse, goes legal
Nearly 500 more URLS web-blocked in UK on copyright grounds
LABELS & PUBLISHERS BPI connects record labels with new tech through Innovation Hub
LIVE BUSINESS T In The Park may be put on hiatus to make way for new Glasgow festival
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES MusicToday finds a buyer to take it out of bankruptcy
MEDIA Radiocentre axes Commercial Radio Awards
ARTIST NEWS Dap Kings vocalist Sharon Jones dies
ONE LINERS Childish Gambino, Loyle Carner, Girli, more
AND FINALLY... Kanye West tires himself out shouting, goes home
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A guide to upcoming events from and involving CMU, including seminars, masterclasses and conference sessions from CMU Insights and workshops from CMU:DIY, plus other events where CMU journalists are speaking or moderating.
21 Nov 2016 CMU Insights Masterclass: Digital Deals, Dollars And Trends – Explained!
21 Nov 2016 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fan Orientated Business
Jan-Mar 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: The How The Music Business Works Programme
23 Jan 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Making Money From Music
30 Jan 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: How Music Rights Work
6 Feb 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: How Music Licensing Works
13 Feb 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: The Music Rights Sector
20 Feb 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Merch, Live & Brands

Fabric in "advanced talks" to re-open
Fabric's legal team are reportedly in talks with Islington Council to re-open the club. Reaching a voluntary agreement over new licensing conditions for the venue would mean not having to go to court later this month, potentially avoiding thousands in legal fees for both sides.

According to the Islington Tribune, "advanced talks" are underway to re-open the club, which has been closed since August. The venue was initially shut down pending a review of its licence in the wake of two drug-related deaths. Then in September, the council decided to revoke its licence entirely, prompting the venue - which was commended for its anti-drug policies by a judge less than a year ago - to launch an appeal against the decision.

As previously reported, Fabric recently submitted a new 155 page operating manual as evidence in the case. It also suggested 32 possible new licensing conditions.

Both sides refused to comment on the Tribune's report, though Fabric co-founder Cameron Leslie said that the club "wouldn't have appealed" if it didn't think that there was a good chance of it being able to re-open.

The inquest into one of the deaths that led to the club's closure also took place last week. Ryan Browne died after a night out at the club in June. The hearing was told that he had become frustrated that he wasn't feeling the expected effects of ecstasy that he had taken and so bought and took another pill. A post-mortem found that he had around seven times the upper recreational limit of MDMA in his bloodstream.

Browne and his friends were dubbed "naïve drug users", with Coroner Mary Hassall saying: "The drugs in his system were enough to kill somebody who was very habituated and he was very far from habituated".

Treated by medical staff in the venue after been discovered incoherent and with a temperature of nearly 42°C, Browne went into cardiac arrest at around 2am, dying in hospital the following morning.

In a statement following the inquest, Fabric said: "All of us at Fabric's thoughts are with Ryan Browne's family at this incredibly difficult time. The safety of our customers has always been of paramount importance to us, side by side a zero tolerance policy to drugs. We have always strongly opposed the use of illegal substances, and we reiterate that there is no safe way to take drugs".

"We would like to commend our medical staff, who have been praised by the coroner today, they took the best actions they could under the circumstances", it continued. "We have also been reviewing our operational procedures since the summer so if we are able to re-open we will look to set a new gold standard of best practice and customer safety for the industry".

Fabric has, of course, raised over £300,000 in donations to help cover its legal costs as it fights to regain its licence. If a deal is reached with Islington Council before any appeal hearing takes place, it is not clear what will happen to that money. However, in addition to appealing its licence revocation, Fabric has also been working with lawyers to lobby the government to change official guidance on how the Licensing Act should be applied to clubbing venues.

US radio industry accuses Global Music Rights of monopoly abuse, goes legal
Well, this won't really surprise anyone who follows this kind of thing, but America's mini performing rights organisation Global Music Rights has been sued by the US radio industry in a bid to force the rights agency to submit to independent arbitration when it comes to setting the rates broadcasters must pay to play the songs it reps.

Whenever music rights owners license their works collectively, monopoly concerns are raised by licensees, even though collective licensing generally makes life easier for those seeking to make use of lots of music, like broadcasters. To that end, in many countries copyright law seeks to regulate collective licensing and the collecting societies, sometimes by setting statutory rates that societies must charge, other times by providing a statutory body or court to approve or set rates, especially where rights owners and licensees can't agree.

In the US, the big two collecting societies representing the performing rights in songs - ASCAP and BMI - are regulated by the much talked about consent decrees, which the music industry is desperate to reform but which licensees, like the big broadcasters and web firms, have been keen to keep as they are.

However, there are also two other smaller performing rights organisations in the US - SESAC and the much newer Global Music Rights - which sit outside the consent decrees, giving those organisations much more flexibility.

Though some licensees have pursued anti-trust litigation against SESAC to enforce some consent-decree-like regulations when it is negotiating deals with it, and now the Radio Music Licensing Committee is trying to get the something similar applied to GMR, which was founded by often-vocal artist manager Irving Azoff back in 2014.

Confirming its litigation last week, the RMLC said: "GMR, a public-performance-right licensing agency, is distinguished from ASCAP and BMI, in particular, in that it is a privately-held, for-profit firm that has created a bottleneck to, and artificial monopoly over, the works in its repertory. Unlike SESAC, ASCAP and BMI, which are all now subject to some form of rate regulation that acts to prevent monopoly pricing, GMR has thus far managed to avoid similar limits on its monopoly pricing".

The radio group went on to say that its lawsuit "alleges that GMR has created and maintained an unlawful monopoly over the works in its repertory. RMLC seeks injunctive relief, requiring, among other things, that GMR submit to a judicial rate-making procedure comparable to what the consent decrees governing ASCAP and BMI impose". The RMLC has "also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to prevent GMR from charging radio stations monopoly prices for a GMR licence while the litigation is pending".

The Chair of the RMLC, Ed Christian, then insisted that his organisation was only going legal because its members had not been able to negotiate what its considers reasonable rates with Azoff's new rights agency. He told reporters: "Resorting to litigation is never a first option for the RMLC. This legal process will undoubtedly prove to be taxing in terms of the amount of labour and expense involved. Yet, we feel that GMR's exorbitant fee demands are out of balance with their competitors and would do irreparable harm to our industry and this has left us with no other alternative".

The RMLC will be hoping for a similar outcome to that achieved in its most recent legal battle with SESAC, which reached its conclusion last year.

GMR may dispute RMLC's use of the word "monopoly" though, because of course, in the absence of a compulsory licence, the whole point of copyright is that it gives the rights owner exclusive controls - a monopoly if you like - over its works; and at a basic level copyright law has no problem with a rights owner holding a potential licensee to ransom over price, the argument being that if you're not willing to pay the fee requested, just use another song.

In collective licensing, however, monopoly concerns arise because of the quantity of rights represented by one organisation - which outside the US is often pretty much all song rights - so that the "just use another song" option isn't available. However, in the US, where there are four organisations all representing the performing rights in songs, the question is, how many songs do you need to represent before there is a credible claim of abuse of monopoly? This case, should it get to court, will pose that question.


Nearly 500 more URLS web-blocked in UK on copyright grounds
Good news for fans of web-blocking, nearly 500 more URLs have now been blocked by the big internet service providers in the UK. And just in time for Christmas!

Web-blocking, of course, is a preferred anti-piracy tactic for the music and movie industries in countries where it is an option, like the UK. ISPs are forced by the courts to block their customers from accessing websites that can be shown to be liable for large quantities of copyright infringement (sometimes contributory or authorising infringement, as file-sharing sites never actually host the infringing content).

The problem with web-blocks, of course, is that proxies soon spring up, ie alternative addresses via which blocked websites can still be accessed.

So that, for example - and this is just an arbitrary hypothetical example - but if you wanted to watch a film that's not available via your Netflix or Amazon Prime subscriptions, so you paid Apple £10 to download it instead, but then the iOS video app - as is the norm - kept sticking and stuttering - you can still go and watch that film on an unlicensed video streaming site like Put Locker, even though it's blocked, because via a quick Google search you can access it at another URL.

Rights owners aren't idiots though. Well, not all of them. They know this and keep going around blocking all the blockade-circumventing proxies too - plus web pages that link to them - and that accounts for much of the recently blocked URLs, a list of which was provided by an unnamed ISP to Torrentfreak.

Of course, new proxies will then pop up yet again, and so the web-blocking process will continue, though there is usually a way for rights owners to add proxies to existing web-block injunctions, rather than having to get a totally new court order.

Meanwhile, the entertainment industry continues to put pressure on Google to play its part in making it harder to circumvent the blockades. Though if the movie industry could please ensure that those of us who no longer own a DVD player can still somehow legitimately access your content before Google finally plays ball and de-lists all the proxies, well, that would be appreciated.

BPI connects record labels with new tech through Innovation Hub
Record industry trade group the BPI has launched new initiative called the BPI Innovation Hub, a new forum where labels and tech companies can meet to present and discuss new ideas. Led by one of the BPI Council's indie label members Vanessa Higgins, the first quarterly meeting of the Hub recently saw nineteen companies come together.

"The relationship between technology and record labels has always been important, and never more so than right now in today's rapidly changing landscape", says Higgins. "With the help of leading minds in both fields, we are bringing together forward-thinking labels of all sizes with emerging technology companies, developing ideas across a plethora of areas".

She continues: "We want to shape the future of the music industry, not react to the rules thrust upon us. The BPI Innovation Hub is here to facilitate and foster these exciting potential partnerships".

BPI chief exec Geoff Taylor adds: "The music business lives at the nexus of creativity, innovation and technology. Labels continually reinvent themselves to take advantage of new possibilities. So I'm delighted that Vanessa has taken on the key role of leading the BPI's Innovation Hub. It is clear from the first Hub session that there are many exciting opportunities to collaborate with start-ups to create new experiences for fans and to find new, more efficient ways of doing business. The BPI is committed to helping member labels grow through innovation and collaboration".

Among the tech companies to present at the first BPI Innovation Hub were metadata cleaning company Beetroot, VR company Mativision, direct-to-fan streaming platform SupaPass, and location-specific digital content platform Landmrk.

T In The Park may be put on hiatus to make way for new Glasgow festival
T In The Park could be replaced by a new festival in Glasgow, according to reports.

As previously reported, Scottish festival T In The Park has had a tricky few years, forced to relocate to a new site at Strathallan Castle in 2015, which came with numerous problems that contributed to a 42% fall in profits for its promoter, Live Nation subsidiary DF Concerts.

According to The Daily Record, DF is now in talks to launch a new event at Glasgow Green, which would be a new festival skewed to an older audience. But if those plans come off, T In The Park could be parked, for 2017 at least, the tabloid says

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council told the newspaper: "We are in discussions with DF Concerts about hosting a non-camping festival in the city next July. We will not be, and are not interested in, hosting T In The Park".

There has as yet been no official announcement made about a 2017 edition of T In The Park, with the festival's website sitting dormant since July.

MusicToday finds a buyer to take it out of bankruptcy
Direct-to-fan company MusicToday has found a buyer. One of its parent company's moneylenders, Hillair Capital Investments, will acquire the business.

An early player in the online artist store domain, MusicToday was originally launched by artist manager Coran Capshaw, before becoming a Live Nation business in 2006. Delivery Agent acquired the company from the live music giant two years ago, but then applied for chapter eleven bankruptcy in September.

According to IQ, some other Delivery Agent creditors were initially critical of Hillair's proposed bid for the company - which wipes clean nearly $20 million in debt - but with no other bidder coming forward an agreement was reached last week.

As it went into bankruptcy, Delivery Agent chief Mike Fitzsimmons said he hoped the process would enable his firm "to reorganise its business affairs and establish a necessary foundation for future growth and profitability".

Radiocentre axes Commercial Radio Awards
The UK commercial radio industry is to lose its standalone awards event, ie the back-slapping bash where commercial stations didn't have to compete with the BBC and all its superior budgets. But hey commercial radio types, who needs awards?

Commercial radio trade group Radiocentre has confirmed that it is parking its Commercial Radio Awards, which have run for over two decades and were most recently sponsored by broadcast infrastructure firm Arqiva.

Radiocentre is now set to instead back the Radio Academy's new awards event which launched last month. A replacement for the old Sony Awards - that were for years seen as the most prestigious of the gongs available to British radio types - the all-new Audio & Radio Industry Awards debuted in Leeds last month, though were not embraced by everyone on the commercial side of the radio industry.

Confirming the new development, Radiocentre chief Siobhan Kenny told RadioToday: "We would like to thank Arqiva for their sponsorship over the years and everyone who has supported the awards, has come along on the night, partied, won, lost and generally celebrated the great and powerful medium of radio. We look forward to working with Radio Academy in the future".

  Approved: Cavegreen
Cavegreen is a collaboration between musician Eleanor Murray and lyricist GianLuca Bucci. Having released their debut EP last year, they are now set to release their first album, 'Vita Lucida', on 3 Feb.

"We believe the universe is built upon the co-creative participation of all that exists, from nebulas to microbes; each a unique part of the universal wholeness that is engulfed in mystery", they say of their collaboration. "It is from the mystery that all creativity sparks - in responsive collaboration with the forces of nature and humanity's will to create".

So there you go. While Murray already has a pretty well established career as an acoustic singer-songwriter, Cavegreen sees her venture into electronic music. She's created a very distinct sound for the project, blending beats with nature, which can be heard on the new album's first single 'Witches Dream'.

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Dap Kings vocalist Sharon Jones dies
Singer Sharon Jones has died three years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, it has been announced. Aged 60, her death was announced on the Facebook page of her band, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings.

"We are deeply saddened to announce Sharon Jones passed away today after a heroic battle against pancreatic cancer", said the band. "She was surrounded by her loved ones, including the Dap Kings. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts during this difficult time".

Jones was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, but continued to perform in between surgery and chemotherapy. Earlier this year she was the subject of Barbara Kopple documentary 'Miss Sharon Jones!'

Childish Gambino, Loyle Carner, Girli, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Childish Gambino has shared a new single, 'Redbone'. The track is taken from his new album, 'Awaken, My Love", which is out on 2 Dec.

• Loyle Carner has announced that he will release his debut album, 'Yesterday's Gone', on 20 Jan. He'll also be touring in February, finishing with two nights at the Shepherd's Bush Empire.

• Girli thinks you should "fuck right back off to LA", assuming you are the person her new single is written about.

• Gaika has released short film 'Another Hole In Babylon', with music taken from his new EP 'Spaghetto'.

• Colour have announced that they will release new EP 'The Famous Boy Making Things' in February. From it, this is 'Slow'.

Kanye West tires himself out shouting, goes home
Hey, are you all looking forward to Kanye West running against Donald Trump for the US presidency in 2020? Because he's still talking about running for president in four years time. In fact, he's been inspired by Trump's campaign model. "[It's] the same model I'm gonna take in 2020", he says.

He's been showing off what sort of president he might be with his first shows since the US presidential election. And they've certainly been eventful, with West first coming out in favour of Donald Trump, then ranting against everyone from Jay-Z to Hillary Clinton, and finally cancelling his remaining US tour dates.

In one of his traditional long rambles at the first show back after a two week break, West told a crowd in San Jose: "I told y'all I didn't vote, right? But if I would've voted, I would've voted on Trump".

Unsurprisingly, there were no shortage of boos to this statement. Though I think West won them back round by going on to say that "black people [should] stop focusing on racism" and that Trump's way of speaking at his political rallies was "very futuristic".

"Sometimes things that you might think are bad need to happen, in order for change to fucking happen", West went on. "Sometimes you might have to not get your way to really understand what to do in the future, to be able to get your way".

The main thing West seems to have drawn from Trump's style of oration is barely making sense half of the time. And if that's what he was going for, he'd really nailed it by Saturday in Sacramento. Mid-way through his third song, he launched into a ten minute rant in which he took aim at radio, MTV, Beyonce, Jay-Z, Drake, DJ Khaled, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Google, Facebook, Shia Leboeuf and Q-Tip.

The general jist of the speech was that everyone is playing a political game, and if we just threw off these shackles we could live in a utopia where everyone is considered equal.

Well, I think that's what he was saying, anyway. In his stream of consciousness speech he blurted out things like this:

"A lot of people here felt like they lost. You know why? Because y'all been lied to. Hulu lied to you. Facebook lied to you. Radio lied to you. Radio, fuck you!"

"Oh yeah, I'm on my Trump shit tonight".

"I know there's gonna be a lot of conversations after tonight. Khaled, I love you. I know you've got killers in Miami, please do not send them at my head. I just wanna have a conversation about how we playing radio's game".

"Obama couldn't make America great, because he couldn't be him to be who he was ... He had to be perfect. But being perfect don't always change shit. So when I talk about MTV, let me explain something. I was hurt".

"Fuck winning! Fuck looking cool. Fuck looking cool. Fuck being cool. Fuck all that, bruh. I've been sitting here to give you all my truth, even at the risk of my own life".

"Jay-Z, call me bruh. You still ain't called me. Jay-Z, call me. Hey, Jay-Z, I know you got killers, please don't send them at my head. Just call me. Talk to me like a man. I'm not trying to be The Man, I just am a man".

"It's a new world, Hillary Clinton. It's a new world. Feelings matter. Cos guess what, everyone in Middle America felt a way, and they showed you how they felt. Feelings matter, bruh. It's a new world. It's a new world, Barack. It's a new world, Jay-Z. Hey, don't send killers at my head, bruh. This ain't the Malcolm X movie. We growing from that moment. Let Ye be Ye".

"If you keep following old models, your ass is gonna get Hillary Clintoned".

"Do I got the vision, Mark Zuckerberg? Was I wrong when I said I was $53 million in debt and you didn't call me? Was you wrong? You ate dinner. You asked my friend Anthony Schiller to have dinner with me. I told you about Kanda. You said you would help. And you didn't. Then you went to look for aliens".

At the end of all that he stormed off stage. Which wasn't as easy as it sounds, because the stage for West's current tour is suspended on a crane above the audience. So he had to wait for it to be slowly carried back and placed down on the main stage. But he filled the time by tying his shoe.

Before dropping the mic, he concluded the evening's 30 minute, music-lite performance by saying: "Right now, press get ready to write your passive aggressive, LeBron James, racist comments - Season 4 racist comments. Get ready to have a field day, press. Get ready! Get ready! Cos the show's over".

A show in LA, which had been rescheduled from earlier in the month, was then cancelled last night. And all of the rapper's remaining US dates have now reportedly been called off too. No word yet on next year's European dates.

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 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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