TUESDAY 20 DECEMBER 2016
This is the final CMU Daily of 2016, so before we go we'd like to wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year! Stay tuned to our website over the festive period for breaking music industry news. We will also be reviewing the year in the music business on the CMU Podcast this Friday, so be sure to subscribe to receive that. It'll be perfect listening for Christmas Day lunch.
 
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Music media firm TeamRock fell into administration yesterday putting 73 people out of work just as the Christmas break beckoned. The firm's administrators say that the radio and magazine company had traded at a loss "for a significant period of time, with consequent constraints on the cash position". TeamRock was founded in 2012, though... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: The festive season is upon us yet again, and there are some great nights out to be had over the next couple of weeks. New Year's Eve this year is bursting with quality offerings, so it was tough to get it down to this shortlist. I've done it though, and thrown in a few extras to keep you going before getting back to work in January. Merry Christmas and happy new year! [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 what the future may hold for SoundCloud now that talks for Spotify to buy it are off, the latests revamps at Sony Music, and the government's opposition to adding considerations for "cultural benefits" to live music licensing rules. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
 
CMU TRENDS: There have been a lot of developments in the debate around ticket touting since the UK music community launched its FanFair campaign earlier this year. Bot bans are now set to be introduced in the UK and US, while Italian lawmakers are looking to outlaw touting entirely. We review the recent developments. CMU Trends articles are available to premium subscribers... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES 73 jobs lost as music media firm TeamRock collapses
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LEGAL Capitol takes safe harbour on pre-1972 recordings case to Supreme Court
PRS welcomes jailing of prolific file-sharer
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DEALS Kobalt to administer Elvis songs catalogue
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LIVE BUSINESS Competition And Markets Authority launches "enforcement investigation" into secondary ticketing sites
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MEDIA BBC magazine maker could be bought by German firm
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ARTIST NEWS Camila Cabello leaves Fifth Harmony, as angry statements fly back and forth
Chairlift announce split
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ONE LINERS ASCAP, Music Venue Trust, The Black Keys, more
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AND FINALLY... David Bowie almost played Gandalf in Lord Of The Rings
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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.
 
 
ATC LIVE - MANAGEMENT ACCOUNTANT (LONDON)
ATC Live is recruiting for a Management Accountant to take responsibility for our daily artist accounting process. This is a new post within the finance team at ATC; the successful candidate will have final responsibility for all daily accounts processes associated with our artist's bookings.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
THE TICKET FACTORY - SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT MANAGER (LONDON)
The Ticket Factory is looking for a new Sports & Entertainment Manager. This is a great opportunity to join a dynamic part of the live entertainment industry, enjoying the fun along the way and driving the future of The Ticket Factory in the capital.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.

   
IDOL UK - GENERAL MANAGER (LONDON)
IDOL is seeking a new General Manager to look after its UK operations that recently reached a new milestone with the signing of a partnership with a key independent actor of the market. Reporting directly to the Paris-based Head Of International, the candidate will manage a label manager and gradually develop the UK team according to the activity growth.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.

   
ELEVEN SEVEN MUSIC - DIGITAL MARKETING & SALES MANAGER (LONDON)
Eleven Seven Music Group are seeking a Digital Marketing & Sales Manager to join their team in London. Eleven Seven Music Group is an independent record label headquartered in New York City with offices in Los Angeles and London.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.

   
OUTPOST GROUP - MUSIC SERVICES ACCOUNT MANAGER (LONDON)
We are looking for a sharp, motivated and ambitious music industry professional to lead a new music services company, to launch early 2017. You will need a minimum of two years experience in a music role with good all-round knowledge of the music business, particularly PR.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.

   
CR2 RECORDS - DIGITAL CONTENT/RIGHTS MANAGER (LONDON)
Cr2 Records is looking for an experienced Digital Content / Rights Manager to manage the scheduling and delivery for digital releases to all retailers ensuring quality control and accurate, timely delivery. The applicant will also be responsible for producing detailed sales data and also registering all repertoire with relevant collection societies for both copyright and publishing.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.

   
THE O2 - MARKETING MANAGER, BRANDS & ATTRACTIONS (LONDON)
We are now looking for a Marketing Manager – Brands and Attractions, to join the Marketing team based at The O2. You will play a pivotal role in bringing to life the brand proposition across all veins of the business, driving footfall to the venue and driving ticket sales for Up at The O2.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.

   
GIGREV - BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER (LONDON)
The Business Development Manager will be responsible for leading the charge in researching, generating, and contacting potential clients that benefit GigRev’s services. Our client base is artists, bands and vloggers.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.

   
THE O2 – SPECIAL EVENTS TICKETING MANAGER (LONDON)
We are looking to hire a Special Events Ticketing Manager on a six month fixed term contract. You will manage the event ticketing process for special events to include but not limited to exhibitions, corporate/private events (arena and non-arena) and external site wide events.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.

   
THE O2 – MARKETING ASSISTANT (LONDON)
We are looking for a Marketing Assistant, to join the Marketing team based at The O2 for a one year fixed term contract. You will support all areas of Marketing and Communications across the AEG Europe businesses, including, The O2, AEG Live and Thames Clippers.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.

   
ATC LIVE - GENERAL MANAGER (LONDON)
ATC Live is a live booking agency based in Camden, London, created to provide artists with a new style of representation, bringing an unparalleled level of creative and strategic thinking to our artists. Due to expansion we are looking for a General Manager.

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.
 
Jan-Mar 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: The How The Music Business Works Programme
CLICK FOR INFO
23 Jan 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Making Money From Music
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30 Jan 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: How Music Rights Work
CLICK FOR INFO
6 Feb 2017 CMU Insights Masterclass: The Key Developments In Music Rights
CLICK FOR INFO
6 Feb 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: How Music Licensing Works
CLICK FOR INFO
13 Feb 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: The Music Rights Sector
CLICK FOR INFO
20 Feb 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Merch, Live & Brands
CLICK FOR INFO
27 Feb 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fanbase - Social Media Tools
CLICK FOR INFO
6 Mar 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fanbase - Music Media
CLICK FOR INFO
13 Mar 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fan-Orientated Business
CLICK FOR INFO
 

73 jobs lost as music media firm TeamRock collapses
Music media firm TeamRock fell into administration yesterday putting 73 people out of work just as the Christmas break beckoned. The firm's administrators say that the radio and magazine company had traded at a loss "for a significant period of time, with consequent constraints on the cash position".

TeamRock was founded in 2012, though first really appeared the music industry's radar the following year when it acquired the Metal Hammer and Classic Rock titles from Future Publishing. With its founders John Myers and Billy Anderson both coming from a radio background, it was no surprise when TeamRock then announced a radio station alongside the magazines. The various outlets were then brought together in one online hub trading under the TeamRock name.

The company went through a period of growth, in terms of headcount and output, including launching new titles, though last year it took its radio service off the DAB digital radio network. Its radio programmes continued to be available online though, with plans for global expansion of that side of the business.

Despite all that, TeamRock - like many music media companies - seemingly struggled to monetise its sizable online audience; online being the key to long-term success in the music media domain as sales of print magazines decline pretty much across the board. A move into ticketing via an alliance with The Ticket Factory was announced in August, but presumably that was too little too late in terms of generating new revenue streams.

A total of 73 of the company's 80 staff members were immediately laid off as the company went into administration yesterday. The remaining seven staff will be kept on in the short term to assist administrators in both of the company's offices, one in London and one near Glasgow. Those administrators are hoping that a buyer can be found for some of TeamRock's assets, with the long-standing magazine brands the company acquired from Future most likely to attract possible bidders.

Administrator FRP Advisory said that a number of cost-cutting measures had been implemented at the firm to try and improve its financial position, but those had not be sufficient, and management couldn't find any new investment or a buyer for the business. This left the company "with no viable option other than to enter administration and to immediately cease trading".

FRP Advisory's Tom MacLennan said: "The company explored every option to secure the long-term future of the business, however the constraints on the cash position of the business were such that administration was the only viable option. The administration presents an excellent opportunity to acquire high profile rock music titles, products and brands that have a substantial global following".

On possible bidders for those assets, MacLennan continued: "The brands and assets could appeal to a music media business looking to expand its portfolio, or an entrepreneur that sees the potential for developing the brands".

"The business has now ceased trading", he concluded, confirming the immediate redundancies. "Given the financial situation of the company, unfortunately 73 staff have been made redundant with immediate effect. Seven staff will be retained in the short term to assist the administrators with magazine publishing, website maintenance and other matters. Our priority is to work closely with all agencies and services to ensure employees receive every support and assistance at this very difficult time".

Capitol takes safe harbour on pre-1972 recordings case to Supreme Court
If you thought that Sirius and Pandora starting to do licensing deals in relation to pre-1972 sound recordings brought to an end all that debate around how, exactly, American copyright law works on golden oldies, well, not quite.

As previously reported, US-wide federal copyright law only protects sound recordings released since 1972, with older records protected by state-level copyright law. Because American satellite and online radio services like Sirius and Pandora are specifically obliged to pay the labels royalties when they play their tracks under federal law, they argued no such royalties were due on older records. Though courts in California and New York eventually decided that there was probably an obligation to pay royalties under state law too.

There is another side to this whole copyright technicality fest though. Because the safe harbours that everyone in the music industry now hates so much also come from federal copyright law. It's the safe harbours that allow user-upload sites to avoid liability for copyright infringement when their users post videos containing unlicensed music. But, wondered the record industry, what if an uploaded video contains a track from the 1960s? Given that that recording is protected by state law, perhaps the safe harbour should not apply?

If that was the case, it would be a sneaky way for labels to put pressure on safe harbour dwelling user-upload websites that will inevitably end up hosting files or videos containing 1960s tracks. And while it was busy trying to find a way to sue pesky safe harbour dwelling Grooveshark out of business, Universal Music tried filing a lawsuit over the pre-1972 tracks that the user-upload streaming service hosted. Though in the end the case never got to court.

So the real test case on this issue was that pursued by Capitol - a former EMI label and now also part of Universal - against YouTube rival Vimeo. This legal battle has been rumbling on since 2009, but back in June America's Second Circuit court ruled in favour of the video site, saying that exempting older recordings from the safe harbour principle would "defeat the very purpose Congress sought to achieve in passing [it]".

The Second Circuit then refused to rehear the case back in August, but last week Capitol filed papers with the US Supreme Court. It wants judges at the top court to consider the case, with the label's lawyer arguing - according to The Hollywood Reporter - that "Section 301(c) of the Copyright Act explicitly protects state law remedies for infringement of pre-72 sound recordings until February 2067".

Capitol's filing also says that the Second Circuit judgement conflicts with rulings in the New York state courts, while urging the Supreme Court to take the case because the "Second Circuit's decision ... diminishes the legal protections enjoyed by owners of every sound recording made in the United States prior to 15 Feb 1972 - including among them works of immense cultural and commercial significance like those of The Temptations and The Supremes, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Pablo Casals and Yehudi Menuhin, to name just a few".

We will have to see if the Supreme Court now takes the case. If so, that'll be more pre-1972 copyright wrangling for us all to enjoy in 2017. Good times.

--------------------------------------------------

PRS welcomes jailing of prolific file-sharer
PRS has welcomed the sentencing last week of a prolific file-sharer, who was handed a one year prison sentence after pleading guilty to illegally distributing chart hits online.

As previously reported, Liverpool-based Wayne Evans was arrested in September last year, accused of uploading a cappella tracks to his own ad-funded website, DeeJayPortal, as well as bundling each week's Top 40 singles and uploading them to various torrent sites. The arrest was the result of a joint investigation between collecting society PRS For Music and their best buds over at the City of London Police's Intellectual Property Crime Unit (aka PIPCU).

When Evans finally appeared at Liverpool Crown Court in October he pleaded guilty to two charges of distributing an article infringing copyright and one of possessing or controlling an article for use in fraud. He was back in court last week for sentencing, resulting in the twelve months of jail time.

It's the first custodial sentence to come out of a joint anti-piracy investigation involving PRS and PIPCU, making it a "milestone case", said the collecting society. It's litigation and anti-piracy man Simon Bourn said: "Music piracy on a commercial scale is a serious criminal offence and this sentencing by the Crown Court acknowledges that".

He went on: "Copyright infringement has a severe impact on the livelihoods of creators and so it is important that PRS For Music, alongside PIPCU, continues to champion and protect our members' rights. We hope that today's sentencing sends a message to all those involved in this type of criminal activity, that consequences will follow".

Kobalt to administer Elvis songs catalogue
Kobalt has signed a deal with the Authentic Brands Group and Elvis Presley Enterprises to administer the Presley estate's interests in the late king of rock n roll's songs catalogue, he having co-published many of the songs he recorded even when he didn't write them.

"We are THRILLED to partner with Kobalt to ensure that Elvis's legacy as the king of rock n roll lives on forever", says Jamie Salter, Chairman and CEO of ABG.

Because it's Christmas and everyone is in a good mood (and possibly drunk), he isn't the only one far too excited about all of this.

"We are THRILLED to represent such an iconic artist and a catalogue of such timeless songs", squeals Kobalt's Laurent Hubert. "There is not a more groundbreaking artist that fits so well with Kobalt's innovative approach to the music business".

OK, I suppose getting your hands on all those songs Elvis made famous is something to be excited about. Still, it might be an idea to temper your language a bit, guys. You don't want to get too carried away.

"This is an absolutely momentous deal", booms Kobalt CEO Willard Ahdritz, apparently having listened to nothing I just said. "We are happy to be working with Authentic Brands Group and are humbled by the great job they do. Elvis's music will continue to influence future generations and we are honoured to be a part of that".

Uh huh huh.

Competition And Markets Authority launches "enforcement investigation" into secondary ticketing sites
The Competition And Markets Authority - or the CMA to its closest friends - yesterday announced it was launching an 'enforcement investigation' into, and I quote, "suspected breaches of consumer protection law in the online secondary tickets market". This, the competition regulator said, "follows concerns that people are not getting the full range of information required by law when buying tickets put up for resale".

The CMA was already reviewing the four main secondary ticketing sites in the UK - Viagogo, eBay's StubHub and Live Nation/Ticketmaster's Seatwave and Get Me In! - to check if they were complying with undertakings they had previously made to improve the information they provide about tickets for sale on their sites. The authority said yesterday that that review concluded one of the four sites had more work to do, while the other three had changed their websites so to fall in line with their undertakings.

However - much like when Parliament's culture select committee sat down to discuss the bots used by ticket touts to access tickets - that initial review of the ticketing market has thrown up all sorts of other concerns. "The review also revealed wider concerns about information provision and compliance with consumer protection law across the sector as a whole", the CMA said, hence its new and more significant enforcement investigation.

Confirming this new investigation will look into the industrial-level touts themselves as well as the resale sites, the authority continued: "In this enforcement investigation the CMA will consider whether, in its view, both the businesses selling tickets and the secondary ticketing platforms advertising them are failing to provide the full range of information in breach of the law and, if so, take enforcement action. In addition, the CMA is also working with event organisers to help ensure that any terms used to restrict the resale of their tickets are fair for consumers".

The new CMA investigation comes as the secondary ticketing market - and especially industrial-level touts and the resale platforms they utilise - come under increased pressure from lawmakers and those in the industry who would like to see rampant ticket touting abolished. The use of ticket touting bots could soon be outlawed in the Digital Economy Bill and it's hoped ministers will announce plans to ramp up the day-to-day enforcement of existing secondary ticketing regulation when they respond to the government's own Waterson Report on the sector in the new year.

Confirming its new investigation yesterday, the CMA's acting CEO Andrea Coscelli said: "A night out at a concert or a trip to a big match is something that millions of people look forward to. So it's important they know who they are buying from and whether there are any restrictions that could stop them using the ticket. We have heard concerns about a lack of transparency over who is buying up tickets from the primary market. We also think that it is essential that those consumers who buy tickets from the secondary market are made aware if there is a risk that they will be turned away at the door".

He added: "We have therefore decided to open a sector-wide investigation to ensure that customers are made aware of important information that they are legally entitled to. If we find breaches of consumer law, we will take enforcement action".

Sharon Hodgson, the Labour MP who has been calling for better regulation of the secondary ticketing market for years, and who chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ticket Abuse, welcomed the CMA's announcement. She said yesterday: "It is welcome that there will now finally be enforcement of the consumer rights legislation on the statute book and the undertakings agreed between the big four and the CMA. The non-compliance evidence found by the CMA backs up the often daily accounts, both online and in the press, that fans are being ripped off or not getting all the information they need when buying off secondary websites. This is one part of a multi-faceted problem in this broken market".

Referencing the secondary ticketing regulation she helped get into last year's Consumer Rights Act, Hodgson added: "We know that non-compliance is rife within the market, and now that the Consumer Rights Act has been on the statute book for over a year, it is paramount that enforcement action is taken seriously and swiftly. Alongside this, we need to see the government taking action on the issue of bulk purchasing of tickets for the sole intention of resale, otherwise this market will remain broken and fans will be continually ripped off".

Meanwhile the music industry's anti-tout campaign FanFair also welcomed the CMA's new investigation, while also again calling on the government to respond to Waterson. It told reporters yesterday: "An enforcement investigation into online secondary ticketing is to be welcomed. Gig goers need transparency. They should know when the terms and conditions on their tickets prevent resale, and we welcome proper enforcement of the existing law so that real fans have a fair chance to buy tickets and stop them being scooped up by touts".

It went on: "The CMA looking at who these 'professional sellers' are and how they obtain their tickets is a positive development. However, UK audiences will be continue to be frustrated that measures to genuinely fix ticket resale are not being taken sooner - and while other countries take swift and decisive actions, British fans continue to be ripped off by touts operating under cover on the big four resale sites. We call on the government to respond to recommendations made in the Waterson Review on secondary ticketing, and welcome the potential of a full inquiry by the [culture] select committee in the new year".

As previously reported, FanFair is also encouraging artist managers, promoters, agents and ticketing platforms to sign up to a 'declaration' which "asks that supporters take five actions to ensure face value tickets reach fans, as well as measures to disrupt the practices of online ticket touts".

Following the news yesterday that See Tickets had signed up to that, another major primary ticketing firm, Eventim, has also now backed the declaration, as have alt.tickets and Resident Advisor. Very soon that'll be pretty much every primary ticketing firm on board except, well, you know who.

Premium CMU subscribers can catch up on all the other recent developments in the secondary ticketing debate via the latest CMU Trends article here.

BBC magazine maker could be bought by German firm
The media firm that publishes the BBC's magazines, including the classical-focused BBC Music print title, seems set to be bought by German publisher Hubert Burda, according to various sources.

Immediate Media has published the various BBC-branded magazines, print titles based around some of the Corporation's TV shows and the flagship listings publication Radio Times since doing a deal with the Beeb's commercial division, BBC Worldwide, in 2011.

Under that arrangement, Immediate bought some of the BBC's print titles, secured a licence to publish others, and did a deal to produce others still on a contract publishing basis. The firm's ongoing relationship with BBC Worldwide means the Beeb's commercial wing will have to approve the Hubert Burda deal before it can go ahead.

Immediate is currently owned by private equity outfit Exponent, and has grown beyond the BBC magazines it produces, now publishing a total 60 magazines and digital media brands. The takeover deal is said to be worth up to £275 million.

  Vigsy's Festive Club Tips
The festive season is upon us yet again, and there are some great nights out to be had. New Year's Eve this year is bursting with quality offerings, so it was tough to get it down to this shortlist. I've done it though, and thrown in a few extras to keep you going. Merry Christmas and happy new year!

Boxing Day: Backto95 at The Scala
Backto95 hits the Scala for this Boxing Day bash, taking us back 21 years. Norris Windross headlines the main room, with Mike Lloyd also appearing on that bill. Other highlights of the vast line-up include Top Buzz and JJ Frost, who'll be taking us back to the jungle, and the Firin Squad in room three, taking it more soulful. The night will also be supporting the Stand Up To Cancer charity.
Monday 26 Dec, The Scala, 275 Pentonville Road, London, N1 9NL, £25, 10pm-5am. More info here.

NYE: Love Rave at The Coronet
Moondance and United Dance present this monster of a New Year's Eve party at the Coronet over four areas. There are many, many names on the bill, but the biggies are Danny Byrd, Doc Scot, DJ Storm, JJ Frost, Mickey Finn and Jason Kaye. Check out the full line-up though, there are many, many, many more.
Saturday 31 Dec, Coronet Theatre, 28 New Kent Road, London, SE1 6TJ, £35, 8pm-6am. More info here.

NYE: Up On The Roof at The Prince Of Wales
Norman Jay heads this one up, interestingly supported by Colin Dale, the superb tech DJ of 1990s Kiss FM. Jay will be doing a four hour set that will straddle the all-important midnight marker. And there's a silent disco up on the terrace too, for those who want to gaze at the stars.
Saturday 31 Dec: The Prince Of Wales, 467 Brixton Road, London, SW9 8HH, £35, 8pm-6am. More info here.

NYE: ATG at Junction House
Zed Bias heads to Junction House up in Dalston to headline this night. You will also find garage stalwart Dave Jones aka Maddslinky, plus Oneman and El-B, among others. They roll till 7am.
Saturday 31 Dec: Junction House, 578 Kingsland Road, London, E8 4AH, £20, 9pm-7am. More info here.

New Year's Day: Promised Land at Egg London
We've come this far, so why stop now? Keeping the party going on New Year's Day, Egg sees Promised Land hit hard with Adamski, Terry Farley, Xpress2, Soul Avengerz and more. The main room promises to "take you through the years of house from the birth through to today's music". Nuff said.
Sunday 1 Jan, Egg London, 200 York Way, London, N7 9AX, £25, 9pm-7am. More info here.

New Year's Day: Rekids at Oval Space
Also on New Year's Day, Oval Space sees technomeister Robert Hood up there headlining. This Detroit wizard is backed up by Radio Slave and Ryan Elliott, busting out NYD techy mayhem.
Sunday 1 Jan, Oval Space, 29-32 The Oval, London, E2 9DT, £25, 11pm-6am. More info here.
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Camila Cabello leaves Fifth Harmony, as angry statements fly back and forth
Fifth Harmony announced yesterday that Camila Cabello has left the group. Initially looking slightly acrimonious, it quickly became massively acrimonious, as contradictory statements shot back and forth.

Cabello last appeared with the group at Y100's Jingle Ball in Miami on Sunday, outwardly giving no hint that she was about to leave, although there have been rumours of a rift for some time. An initial statement from the group suggested that it had been a surprise to the outfit's other members too, and that they had been informed of her departure by her management, rather than by Cabello herself. Although subsequent statements have revealed that this was actually a long time coming.

The group were formed on the second series of the US version of 'X-Factor', signing a joint deal with Sony labels Syco and Epic in early 2013. To date they have released two albums, 2015's 'Reflection' and this year's '7/27', the latter going to number six in the UK chart.

In a statement posted on Facebook yesterday, Fifth Harmony said: "After four and a half years of being together, we have been informed by her representatives that Camila has decided to leave Fifth Harmony. We wish her well".

They added that the remaining four members of the group "will continue on".

"We are four strong, committed women who will continue with Fifth Harmony as well as our solo endeavours", they said. "We are excited for our future, and we can't wait for what the new year brings".

As alluded to there, the various members have already embarked on their own solo projects outside the group. Cabello recently released a solo single with rapper Machine Gun Kelly, 'Bad Things'. Prior to that, she released 'I Know What You Did Last Summer' with Shawn Mendes in 2015.

Firing back at the group, Cabello said in her own statement last night: "I was shocked to read the statement the Fifth Harmony [Facebook] account posted without my knowing. The girls were aware of my feelings through the long, much needed conversations about the future we had during the tour".

She went on: "Saying that they were just informed through my representatives that I was 'leaving the group' is simply not true. Just like the other girls said in their statement about their plans, I had also planned to continue with my own solo endeavours in the new year, but I did not intend to end things with Fifth Harmony this way".

So now it looks like she was kicked out, and that it was she who wasn't expecting Monday's announcement. But this version of events was also quickly contested.

In a new statement, which Fifth Harmony insisted would be their last, they said: "Over the past several months we have consistently made every effort to sit down and discuss the future of Fifth Harmony with Camila. We have spent the past year and a half (since her initial solo endeavour) trying to communicate to her and her team all of the reasons why we felt Fifth Harmony deserved at least one more album of her time, given the success of the last year that we'd all worked so hard for".

"We called for group meetings, which she refused. We asked [Epic boss] LA Reid and the label to step in and try to set up meeting, which again she refused", they continued. "We even went as far as group counselling, which she did not show up to. So no, after of rejection from her and her team, these supposed 'lengthy conversations' in fact next happened, although we pleaded".

Despite their initial suggestion that Cabello's departure had been a surprise, they added in the second statement: "In mid-November, we were informed via her manager that Camila was leaving the group. At that time we were informed that 18 Dec would be her final performance with Fifth Harmony".

Saying that they were "truly hurt" by this, they reiterated again that they will continue as a four piece into 2017.

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Chairlift announce split
Chairlift have announced that they will split after a final run of shows next year. The duo released their third and final album, 'Moth', in January this year.

In a statement late last week, they said: "It's been an incredible ten years as a band, and it blows our minds to be able to say that every goal we had when we started recording in 2006 has been accomplished. We've been lucky enough to have the sweetest, coolest, most loyal fans an artist could ask for. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all the love and support you've given us, for bringing us all over the world, for waiting to meet us after shows, for learning to dance moves, and for singing loudly".

As for their future plans, they added: "Patrick [Wimberly] will be going on to produce records full-time, and Caroline [Polachek] to make music as a solo artist. The two of us are family at this point, and will undoubtedly turn up on each other's work in the future, but the time has come to take the next step towards where our passion is pulling us".

To date, Wimberly's production credits include Beyonce, Solange, Das Racist and Wet tracks. Polachek released her debut solo album under the name Ramona Lisa in 2014. She also wrote Beyonce's 'No Angel'.

ASCAP, Music Venue Trust, The Black Keys, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• US collecting society ASCAP and Nielsen have announced a new "strategic data partnership" - the best of all the different types of data partnership. Even better, it will be "multi-pronged" and "long-term". "Nielsen's data will bring additional frequency and breadth to ASCAP's reporting, enabling ASCAP's members to have a 360° view of the performance landscape for their music, while enabling faster and more accurate reporting and tracking across all platforms", says ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews.

• The Music Venue Trust has added Ministry Of Sound's Lohan Presencer and Creative United's Sarah Thirtle to its board of trustees. "A strong board is essential to push forward on all aspects of our work", says MVT's Beverley Whitrick.

• Live Nation France has launched a new artist management company, called #NP, which will be headed up by former UMG France president Pascal Nègre. Shall we start a sweepstake on how long it will be before they drop the #? "I'm delighted to join forces with Live Nation France", says Nègre, which is lucky.

• The Black Keys have put their most recent albums on Spotify - 2011's 'El Camino' in full and 2014's 'Turn Blue' in part - after a lengthy hold out. "After five years of struggling with this we agreed to put the keys songs on Spotify", said drummer Patrick Carney on Twitter. "I'd rather people hear our music than not. No advance or money was exchanged. I'm still an advocate for artists to be paid fairly. I'm still apprehensive".

• Rihanna has released a boxset featuring all eight of her albums on vinyl, just too late for Christmas. It's the first time several of the records have been available on vinyl. Watch a video to show what vinyl looks like here.

• Clean Bandit and Rag N Bone Man are currently vying for this Friday's Christmas number one spot - though Little Mix are gaining fast. Inspiral Carpets and The London Hospices Choir, who both started strong over the weekend, have both now slipped down the chart. Is it too late to get Rage Against The Machine to the top again?

• If it's playlists you like - and why wouldn't you? - don't forget that CMU's Spotify profile has plenty of the bloody things to get you through the festive period. Check us out here.

David Bowie almost played Gandalf in Lord Of The Rings
David Bowie wasn't in the 'Lord Of The Rings' films. We all know that. But he might have been. He just wasn't.

Right, so, it's been a rumour for a while now that Bowie was lined up to play Gandalf in the film series, a role which instead went to Ian McKellan. Back in January, Dominic Monaghan, who played Merry in the films, recalled to the Huffington Post: "I was at the Hubbard's, which is a pretty notorious casting agency office in London, doing an audition for 'Lord Of The Rings'. As I was reading a magazine waiting, David Bowie came in and signed his little list and went in. And I'm assuming he read for Gandalf. I can't think of anything else he would've read for".

Actually, he apparently wanted to play elf king Elrond (I guess having already played the goblin king Jareth in 'Labyrinth', it would have been nice to go for the set). It was Peter Jackson who thought he would be better suited to Galdalf.

We know this, because casting director Amy Hubbard has now been speaking to the Huffington Post, and she has cleared up the whole mystery. Why didn't he play either role? Was his audition terrible? Was there are fight? Oh, the drama!

"He was unavailable", explained Hubbard, disappointingly. "It was a very quick conversation with the legendary Chris Andrews at CAA. I do believe that [Bowie] went over and played for everybody at the Millennium party. That would've been New Year's Eve in the year 1999, which was when the films were being shot. He went over and entertained everybody, but he never auditioned. That's for sure".

Back in 1999, of course, Bowie was working on his soundtrack for videogame 'Omikron: The Nomad Soul', in which he also appeared as a character. So, yeah, there's that.

 
ANDY MALT | Editor
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