TODAY'S TOP STORY: Amazon seems set to ramp up its operations in the ticketing space, given a series of job ads spotted by Recode, one of which said the new appointments were part of an effort to "position Amazon Tickets as the world's premier destination for purchasing tickets". Amazon first started dabbling in ticket sales in the UK last year, initially selling theatre tickets... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Having recently drawn attention with her vocal contribution to 'The Deal' on Gaika's new 'Spaghetto' EP, Alyusha quickly follows that up with new single 'Moshi Moshi'. Her first self-produced record, having previously worked with MC Zani and Linden Jay, the track sees her forge a more defined sound for herself. It takes trap as its basis, but twists the genre... [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 Amazon planning to "disrupt" global ticketing industry
LEGAL The Game ordered to pay $7.1 million in sexual assault case
Playboy sued over Macca's mullet
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Song right societies collected 7.5 billion euros last year, says CISAC report
LIVE BUSINESS After winning back its licence, Fabric publishes new 'transparency statement'
ARTIST NEWS Inspiral Carpets' Craig Gill dies
Mos Def allowed to leave South Africa after apologising to government
RELEASES Lucy Spraggan announces new album, tour
ONE LINERS Printworks, Box Plus, Kylie Minogue, more
AND FINALLY... Universal's Sing Your Heart Out compilation does not encourage dangerous driving
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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

Amazon planning to "disrupt" global ticketing industry
Amazon seems set to ramp up its operations in the ticketing space, given a series of job ads spotted by Recode, one of which said the new appointments were part of an effort to "position Amazon Tickets as the world's premier destination for purchasing tickets".

Amazon first started dabbling in ticket sales in the UK last year, initially selling theatre tickets and subsequently moving into music and comedy events. The new recruitment drive seems to be part of a bid to expand the ticketing business into other European and Asian markets, while some new ticketing hires at the firm's HQ in Seattle could also mean ambitions in the American market too.

Recode notes that one posting outlines an ambition to shake up the ticketing business, saying: "Our vision goes beyond just selling tickets as we aim to disrupt the entire live entertainment experience, including what happens before, during and after the show. The ticketing business is ripe for innovation and improvement, as much of the industry has not fundamentally changed since the 1970s".

There have been plenty of start-ups in recent years seeking to shake up the ticketing market, of course, usually by providing a more user-friendly experience, especially on mobile, as well as offering consumers recommendations and added value extras, and concert promoters better data and anti-tout services.

Though taking on the big traditional ticketing companies is tricky, partly because of long-term relationships between certain venues and promoters and certain ticket agents, not to mention the fact the biggest promoter Live Nation - which is also a key player in venue and artist management, of course - happens to own Ticketmaster.

Plus many promoters of bigger shows, while liking data and a user-friendly sales platform, often like more the ticket agent with the biggest mailing list, or the one willing and able to advance the most money on unsold tickets. Which gives the advantage to ticketing companies with long histories and big pockets.

That said, Amazon has a very big mailing list indeed, and great data about those consumer's music purchases, and if necessary pretty big pockets too. Plus it seems likely the company could integrate its expanding ticketing operation with its Prime membership scheme and its new Music Unlimited streaming service. So, maybe it could cause some disruption after all.

The Game ordered to pay $7.1 million in sexual assault case
Rapper The Game has been ordered to pay $7.1 million to a former contestant on the reality dating show he fronted for VH1 last year, 'She's Got Game'.

The rapper, real name Jayceon Taylor, was accused of conspiring with the show's producers to force the plaintiff, Priscilla Rainey, to go on a date with him to a sports bar in Illinois.

Rainey said that she was led to believe that the date was part of the programme, but that during the evening an "intoxicated" and "out of control" Taylor inappropriately touched her buttocks and genital area several times.

Rainey sued over the incident last year and, according to TMZ, a court found in her favour last week, ordering the rapper to pay $7.1 million in damages. Taylor's legal rep told the Associated Press that his client was currently considering his options but will likely appeal.


Playboy sued over Macca's mullet
Paul McCartney's 1970s mullet may not be quite as hilarious as Playboy thought. The company is being sued for using a picture of the former Beatle without permission back in 2014 in a gallery titled 'Fifteen Hilariously Awesome Celebrity Mullets'.

Photographer James Fortune, who took the picture of Macca's Wings-era moustache and mullet combo, is suing over its use, according to TMZ. He is demanding that he be handed all profits Playboy has made from the use of the photograph, which may be a tricky thing to quantify.

The greatest tragedy in all of this is that the gallery has now been taken down, which means there are fourteen other celeb mullets we may never know about. TMZ has licensed the McCartney one for the good of humanity though.

Song right societies collected 7.5 billion euros last year, says CISAC report
CISAC, the organisation that brings together all the song right collecting societies around the world, has published its annual Global Collections Report, bringing together all sorts of data and figures for 2015. Together, monies collected by all those collecting societies topped 7.5 billion euros last year, up 8.5% year-on-year.

CISAC also counts amongst its membership some collecting societies that represent other groups of creators from the audio-visual and visual art communities, meaning that the total figure recorded in the report is 8.6 billion euros.

Regionally speaking, Europe still accounts for 58.4% of those monies, though income is growing in other areas too, with societies in the Asia-Pacific region logging a 5.6% growth in revenue, while in Africa collections were up 14.9%.

Digital services - including download stores and both ad-funded and paid-for streaming platforms - only account for 7.2% of the royalties recorded in the report - which, while up 21.4% year-on-year, is still a small slice. Though in the digital music domain, the collecting societies aren't collecting all the money due to the music publishing sector.

The big five music publishers - Sony/ATV, Universal, Warner/Chappell, BMG and Kobalt - often license their Anglo-American repertoire to multi-territory digital services directly, albeit in partnership with the Anglo-American societies (the publishers controlling the 'mechanical rights' in the songs, the societies the 'performing rights', and digital services needing to exploit both).

This means that digital income recorded by the collecting societies - and therefore CISAC - doesn't include all the money flowing to the big five's all-important Anglo-American repertoire. Though, acknowledging this, the new CISAC report also includes more general analysis of the digital sector in six markets, which takes the big five publisher's direct income into account.

That, unsurprisingly, concludes that subscription streaming is the key digital revenue stream in the US, UK, France and Sweden, though downloads still continue to dominate in Germany and Canada, both countries where streaming services arrived somewhat later to market. And, of course, "ad-supported services pay creators significantly less than other business models for online music, in all key markets".

Is that last quote there actually code for "bloody YouTube"? Pretty much. Says CISAC Director General Gadi Oron: "2015 saw an overall increase of 21.4% in our members' collections from digital platforms and this is strongly encouraging. Yet, the share of digital income out of total royalties collected by our members is fairly low, at 7.2% only".

"The main root of the problem remains legal loopholes and outdated laws which prevents our members from obtaining fair royalties from digital platforms in many countries", Oron reckons. "The huge difference between collections from subscription services and ad-supported platforms is not only alarming, but also clear evidence that regulatory solutions are desperately needed".

He means safe harbour reform of course. "Some major online services generate huge profits from the use of creative content, but refuse to share them with the creators of that content" he concludes. "What we are witnessing is a transfer of value from those who create to those who disseminate; an unfair situation which requires urgent attention from governments and legislators".

Hey governments and legislators, urgently attend will you? As previously reported, proposed reforms of the European safe harbours exploited by YouTube to operate an opt-out streaming service are currently working their way through the motions following the publishing of a new draft European Copyright Directive earlier this year.

After winning back its licence, Fabric publishes new 'transparency statement'
Fabric yesterday published its latest 'transparency statement' explaining how it is spending the £300,000+ donated to help the London club fight the decision of Islington Council earlier this year to revoke its licence.

The latest statement follows the news that Fabric had reached a deal with the Council that means it will, in fact, get its licence back and be able to re-open for business. That agreement, which involved the club committing to a string of new security measures while issuing a very conciliatory statement defending the actions of both the police and council officials, will mean Fabric no longer has to pursue an appeal through the courts.

The deal with the local authority also means the club cannot make any further comment about its appeal bid, though the transparency statement did include a transcript of what Fabric's legal rep, Philip Kolvin QC, said to the judge who had been overseeing the appeal process, which mainly summarises the new measures the club will introduce in a bid to placate licensing officials and make the venue super safe.

The transparency statement then thanks those who have supporting the campaign to reinstate Fabric's licence. It says: "We owe so much to so many people for making this outcome possible. As such we'd like to express our deepest gratitude to the thousands of people who each played such a crucial role in getting us here".

That includes, it added, "the 872 of you who wrote with great passion and persuasion to make representations in the Review Hearing, to the 160,000 who signed a petition of support, then there's the 7000 of you who showed us so much generosity in funding the complex appeal process. You all made this outcome possible, so on behalf of everyone at Fabric, thank you".

As expected, by avoiding actually having to fight Islington Council through the courts, Fabric is left with a considerable surplus of the monies donated by its supporters. That money, the club says, "will be used to help other worthy causes within the industry, including Philip Kolvin QC's pursuance of licensing reform which is he currently championing. We will look to report on this in our final Transparency Statement".

The statement concludes: "If you donated, keep an eye on your inbox as we will very shortly be inviting you to cement your part in Fabric's history and be part of a piece of artwork we are creating to install in the club".

  Approved: Alyusha
Having recently drawn attention with her vocal contribution to 'The Deal' on Gaika's new 'Spaghetto' EP, Alyusha quickly follows that up with new single 'Moshi Moshi'.

Her first self-produced record, having previously worked with MC Zani and Linden Jay, the track sees her forge a more defined sound for herself. It takes trap as its basis, but twists the genre with some darkness and a whole load of jittery energy. She weaves her voice into this with deft skill, lining herself up as an extraordinarily exciting new talent.

You can catch Alyusha live at XOYO on 29 Nov. In the meantime, listen to 'Moshi Moshi' here.

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Inspiral Carpets' Craig Gill dies
Inspiral Carpets drummer Craig Gill has died, the band announced yesterday. He was 44.

In a statement, the band said: "It's with heavy hearts that we announce the death of our drummer and close friend, Craig Gill. We are all absolutely devastated by the news. Craig was our brother".

"We were honoured to work alongside him for the last 30 years", they continued. "To say we'll miss him is an understatement. He was the beating heart of the Inspirals in more ways than one".

Gill joined Inspiral Carpets in the 1980s while in his early teens, and played with them through to the band's split in 1995 and then again after they reformed in 2003.


Mos Def allowed to leave South Africa after apologising to government
Mos Def has been allowed to leave South Africa, nearly a year after he was arrested and charged with breaking the country's immigration laws.

As previously reported, the rapper, real name Yasiin Bey, has lived in South Africa since 2013. He was arrested in January this year when he attempted to travel to Ethiopia using a World Passport. Although not-for-profit organisation the World Service Authority has been issuing these since 1954, most countries do not recognise them as valid travel documents.

The court case surrounding this rumbled on for the rest of the year, but came to an end yesterday when he agreed to issue an apology to the South African government.

"Bey has unreservedly apologised to the government of South Africa and more particularly to the Department Of Home Affairs for his actions and for any inconvenience and/or prejudice this may have caused", said the country's Department Of Home Affairs in a statement. "The department is satisfied with the apology".

Bey had also applied for and received a US passport, on which he travelled out of the country yesterday, the statement added. Charges against him will be officially dropped on Friday, at which point he will be "declared an undesirable person" and therefore not allowed to re-enter South Africa.

Upon his return to the US, Bey yesterday announced a series of farewell shows pre-empting his retirement from music. He will appear at New York's Apollo Theatre on 21 Dec, then at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall from 31 Dec to 2 Jan. He also has two UK shows scheduled for later in January. It is not clear if these will now go ahead.

Following the shows, Rolling Stone reports that he will relocate again to Africa, focussing on his art, culture and lifestyle collective A Country Called Earth.

Lucy Spraggan announces new album, tour
Lucy Spraggan has announced that she will release her fourth album, 'I Hope You Don't Mind Me Writing', on 27 Jan.

"I didn't plan anything. I just wrote how I felt", says Spraggan of the writing process for the record. Which may or may not explain why there's a song on it called 'Freddos Aren't 10p'.

Spraggan has also announced tour dates for 2017, which will run as follows:

1 Mar: Norwich, The Waterfront
2 Mar: London, KOKO
3 Mar: Cardiff, Y Plas
4 Mar: Manchester, Ritz
6 Mar: Edinburgh, Queen's Hall
7 Mar: Newcastle, University Student's Union
8 Mar: Sheffield, Leadmill
9 Mar: Birmingham, Institute
10 Mar: Nottingham, Rock City
12 Mar: Glasgow, ABC
13 Mar: Hull, The Welly
15 Mar: Oxford, Academy 2
16 Mar: Brighton, Concorde 2

Printworks, Box Plus, Kylie Minogue, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• London is getting a brand new 5000 capacity venue at an old newspaper printworks in Canada Water. It's going to be called Printworks. Clever. Promoters LWE and Broadwick Live will lead on music programming at the new space.

• Your good mates over there at the Box Plus Network have promoted Phil Poole to the job of Programming Director, so he can direct some programming across the firm's portfolio of channels like The Box, Box Hits and 4 Music.

• Kylie Minogue has released new single 'At Christmas', taken from her updated Christmas album. It's still November, Minogue. Too early.

• Here, have a bit of a listen to unreleased Prince song 'Moonbeam Levels', taken from the upcoming 'Prince 4ever' compilation, in this ABC News segment. Worth watching to enjoy all the people awkwardly trying to ignore the camera as they listen.

• Angel Haze is back with new single 'Resurrection', taken from her forthcoming new album, due out next year.

• Mykki Blanco has released the video for 'Loner', featuring vocalist Jean Deaux and produced by Pornhub. Obviously.

• Pete Doherty has released new single, 'Kolly Kibber', taken from his forthcoming new album 'Hamburg Demonstrations'.

• Femme En Fourrure have released the video for new single 'Creepers'.

• Former BRITs host James Corden will host next year's Grammy Awards. This despite Donald Trump insisting many people would like to see Roy 'Chubby' Brown host the show.

Universal's Sing Your Heart Out compilation does not encourage dangerous driving
Universal Music has been cleared of promoting dangerous driving by the Advertising Standards Authority.

In a ruling published this morning, the ASA confirmed that it had received one complaint about the TV advert for Universal-released compilation 'Sing Your Heart Out 2016'; a classic mix of super tracks I'm sure we all own. The ad shows various people singing along to songs from the CD in their cars. However, the complaint noted, "three drivers were shown to lift their hands from the steering wheel and two drivers were shown to glance at other passengers while driving".

Actually, I think the most shocking thing about the ad is that people are shown really enjoying Shawn Mendes, but dangerous driving is no joke, and the folks in the 30 second clip really do look like they're losing themselves in the music.

Which sounds very dangerous indeed. And no one wants 'Stiches' to be the last thing they hear before they die in a nasty car crash. But worry not, because those people are not getting distracted by their singing along, oh no. They're utterly focussed and totally in control, as the advert's maker Clearcast will tell you.

In its response to the complaint, Clearcast said that it was the passengers, not the drivers, who were really throwing themselves around, and any time a driver glanced at passengers their car was stationary. And if anyone removed their hands form the wheel it was "a tap or a hand clearly placed downwards to the gear stick".

"Any head movements shown by the drivers were minor and all drivers kept their eyes on the road with limited neck movement which showed that they were looking ahead at all times when the car was moving", says the ASA. Wow, you're really sucking the joy out of this compilation now.

The advert was not "actively seeking to entice the driver to act irresponsibly" and there was "no direct call to action for viewers to consider it as driving music".

Sure, some people enjoyed some songs in a car. Who hasn't? But they could equally have been listening to the songs at home. Listening to them at home with extreme care and thought for the safety of those around them and in other nearby homes.

ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
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CHRIS COOKE | MD & Business Editor
Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
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SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
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CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
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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