TODAY'S TOP STORY: Amid the ongoing speculation that Prince's catalogue is soon to return to all fine streaming services, more details about the dispute between Tidal and the musician's estate have come to light. Meanwhile, the finance firm that administrated Prince's estate on a temporary basis has hit back at allegations of mismanagement made by two of his siblings... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S CMU APPROVED: Catherine Pierce is best known as one half of The Pierces, with her sister Allison. But having basically spent their entire lives together, they've decided it might be nice to have a bit of a break and go solo. They actually announced their plans to do that back in 2015, and now here's Catherine with the first glimpse of what a solo Pierce might sound like. Going simply by Cat, she has just released her debut single, 'You Belong To Me'. [READ MORE]
LATEST CMU PODCAST: CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including Tidal's bid to boost subscriber numbers by selling out to US tel co Sprint, a bid to answer all of your questions about piracy, and why Madonna's thoughts about the White House could (definitely won't) land her in prison. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
LATEST CMU TRENDS: As 2017 gets fully underway, the music industry continues to evolve as rapidly as ever. It can be hard to keep up with which challenges and opportunities you should focus on, which tools and tactics you should employ, and which services you should be courting the most. But more importantly, who we can blame when it all goes wrong? CMU Trends articles are available to premium subscribers. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Prince estate's dispute with Tidal rumbles on
LABELS & PUBLISHERS dotBlockchain announces first music industry partners
LIVE BUSINESS Ticketbis to rebrand as StubHub
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Bandcamp to donate all income to ACLU this Friday
INDUSTRY PEOPLE BBC Radio 2 presenter Desmond Carrington dies
ARTIST NEWS Avenged Sevenfold diss Warner Music "imbeciles"
RELEASES Blondie worked with Sia, Johnny Marr, Charli XCX and more on new album
Noga Erez announces debut album
ONE LINERS Virgin EMI, Warner/Chappell, JME, more
AND FINALLY... Drake fans get free show after Travis Scott falls in a hole
Attitude is Everything improves Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working in partnership with audiences, artists and the music industry. We have an exciting opportunity to join the team as Grassroots Project Manager, taking responsibility for delivering our Charter of Best Practice project to grassroots venues and playing a significant part in driving forward our new Breaking the Sound Barriers programme.

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Renowned artist management company seeks Senior Artist Digital Manager to work across an exciting, international artist roster and join their busy London office. This is a fantastic opportunity for an experienced and passionate music individual to deliver innovative and creative digital campaigns for a truly global roster.

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Siren is looking for a music researcher to join the team. We are one of London’s leading music production companies and work with some of the worlds leading agencies, production companies and directors.

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Merlin, the global rights licensing agency for the independent sector, is seeking an experienced professional to head its royalties division. The Head Of Royalties plays an integral role within the organisation.

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Following a very successful 2016, an opportunity has arisen to join the busy sales and events team in a large east London venue. Working closely with the sales and events managers, this role will support the team in maximising sales opportunities and assist converting leads to confirmed events.

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An opportunity has arisen for an experienced Bar Manager to join Troxy's team. We are looking for an experienced candidate who will be tasked to directly control and plan the activities of the bar, its operation and its direction.

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Management Assistant required for London based artist, songwriter and producer management company Solar Management. The job will include general office duties as well as providing support to client managers, including the booking of travel, couriers, web/social media updates, registrations and general administrative duties.

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KINC is offering a three month cover role is as full time Senior Project Manager. The role will require the candidate to step in, manage and execute multiple large scale client campaigns simultaneously to a detailed plan under strict timelines.

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The Leaf Label is a Leeds-based music company, established in 1995, comprising record label, artist management and music publishing. We are looking for a part-time bookkeeper/financial administrator to manage our day-to-day financial accounts.

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The Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) is a not-for-profit organisation for featured recording artists in the music industry. The role of the CEO will be to lead the operations of the organisation and develop its strategy in conjunction with the board (consisting solely of respected recording artists), and the Artist In Residence.

For more information and to apply click here.
MAMA Festivals is a worldwide leading promoter of live music. We are currently seeking a Digital Strategist who would like to pursue a career in the music and events industry, and who is ready to become a key member of the MAMA Festivals team.

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6 Feb 2017 CMU Insights Masterclass: The Key Developments In Music Rights
6 Feb 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: How Music Licensing Works
8 Feb 2017 CMU:DIY x Barod: Making Money From Music
13 Feb 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: The Music Rights Sector
15 Feb 2017 CMU:DIY x Barod: How Music Rights Work
16 Feb 2017 CMU Insights @ Output 2017
20 Feb 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Merch, Live & Brands
21 Feb 2017 CMU:DIY x Urban Development: Getting Started And Building A Team
22 Feb 2017 CMU:DIY x Barod: How Music Licensing Works
23 Feb 2017 CMU Insights @ IMRO Seminar: The Digital Music Market
27 Feb 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fanbase - Social Media Tools
1 Mar 2017 CMU:DIY x Barod: The Digital Music Market
6 Mar 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fanbase - Music Media
8 Mar 2017 CMU:DIY x Barod: Physical, Sync, Merch, Brands & Gigs
13 Mar 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fan-Orientated Business

Prince estate's dispute with Tidal rumbles on
Amid the ongoing speculation that Prince's catalogue is soon to return to all fine streaming services, more details about the dispute between Tidal and the musician's estate have come to light. Meanwhile, the finance firm that administrated Prince's estate on a temporary basis has hit back at allegations of mismanagement made by two of his siblings.

As previously reported, last November interim estate administrator the Bremer Trust - via Prince's NPG label and publishing business - sued Tidal, claiming that the streaming firm's deal with Prince prior to his death only gave it rights to exclusively stream his penultimate album, not his wider catalogue. Tidal and Jay-Z's Roc Nation countered that they had oral and written agreements with Prince for the wider partnership.

Tidal and Roc Nation filed their own litigation against NPG and Bremer last month. It now transpires that Roc Nation claims it had an agreement with Prince that he would deliver four albums to the company, and an advance was paid to secure that distribution deal. The musician's final two long-players - 'Hit And Run: Phase 1' and 'Hit And Run: Phase 2' - were the first two albums expected under that partnership.

It seems that Roc Nation contacted Bremer shortly after Prince's untimely death to make it aware of its deals with the musician, while also seeking to represent his musical assets on an ongoing basis. But the two parties didn't reach any deal, instead seemingly falling out over what existing deals were in fact in place. Roc Nation and Tidal then demanded access to any new contracts Bremer was negotiating over Prince's catalogue, in case those new arrangements would conflict with the rights the Jay-Z companies reckoned they had.

According to Billboard, the judge overseeing the estate has declined to force Bremer to share those new deals with Roc Nation, though he has ruled that the music firm has a legitimate claim against the estate on the basis of paperwork that seemingly does confirm the alleged four album distribution deal. Though the actual merits of that claim are still to be assessed by the court.

The existence of paperwork for this distribution deal seems to contradict past statements from Bremer that Tidal only had a written agreement over the one album, though that's probably because Prince did different deals with both Roc Nation and Tidal. The nature of his partnership with both businesses remains a little confusing, however, because it seems there may have been various oral agreements that were never written down. It's not clear what impact any of this will have on the Prince estate's widely reported licensing negotiations with Spotify, Apple Music et al.

Elsewhere in Prince litigation news, the Bremer Trust has responded to allegations made by the musician's sister Tyka Nelson and half brother Omarr Baker that it and its music industry advisors - L Londell McMillan and Charles Koppelman - have mis-managed aspects of the estate, and in particular a tribute concert held in honour of the late popstar.

As previously reported, last week Nelson and Baker filed legal documents seeking at least $7 million from Bremer, McMillan and Koppelman. The two siblings and heirs said that the Bremer Trust failed in its commitments to the estate by mismanaging the concert, and by not firing McMillan and Koppelman. They also said that the bank has provided "insufficient" details of the value of the overall estate, having not completed its valuation of most of its assets.

The finance firm denies the allegations in relation to its accounting of the estate's assets, while it distances itself from the tribute show that took place last October, which was down-scaled somewhat while in production after some artists and a promoter pulled out. Bremer says that it was the family who led on the tribute show, and that it insisted from the start that it had no knowledge of the concerts business so couldn't be actively involved.

Bremer in part defends McMillan and Koppelman, blaming many of the problems with the planning of the show on disagreements between Prince's siblings. However it adds that, even if the two entertainment industry men did bungle the tribute concert, it was not liable for their actions on the project, and that it wasn't even involved in the final contract drawn up between the show's promoters and the heirs.

Nelson and Baker have wider issues with McMillan - a lawyer who worked with Prince for over a decade - and they successfully blocked a proposal by other siblings that he become the permanent individual administrator of the estate, alongside the bank which is in the process of taking over from Bremer, Comerica. It's not clear if the falling out between Nelson, Baker and McMillan was a result of the issues around the tribute concert.

Either way, McMillan has now defended his involvement in that show, telling Billboard: "The Prince Tribute was amazing for all who participated and will continue to be beautiful. There was never any wrongdoing and our efforts saved the Prince Tribute by switching venues, providing the funding personally, and calling friends who loved Prince to perform. It was an absolute success. The false allegations evidence malice and ignorance about the music business and disrespect to Prince and his fans who have discernment".


dotBlockchain announces first music industry partners
The dotBlockchain Music Project - one of several operations hoping to solve all of the music industry's data woes with the blockchain - has announce its first four partners. They are SOCAN, Songtrust, CD Baby and FUGA, who will provide technical and financial assistance to the project.

Each partner brings a certain amount of the data that dotBlockchain will require in order to create its vast database of music rights information. In particular Canadian collecting society SOCAN, which is also offering up access to its own super duper database of music rights data, MediaNet, which it acquired last year.

"In putting that first foot down, these pioneering companies are helping us to build and deploy the real-world architecture needed to create a fair, equitable and efficient way for the music industry to work together in the digital rights world", says dotBlockchain co-founder Benji Rogers. "We could not be more excited to have the teams from these amazing companies involved. Industry-wide adoption of the dotBC format is our goal and this feels like a very promising first step".

Also talking up the project, SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste said: "SOCAN has always been at the forefront of transparency and accountability with innovations like 'drill-down' online royalty statements and calculators that have been available to our members for close to a decade now. We are convinced that it is possible to address payment and rights inefficiencies in the digital music world that have been a drag on the entire ecosystem for far too long. The encouraging work of dotBC has the potential to unlock enormous value for our members in that ever-evolving digital ecosystem".

If you fancy getting in on this too, you can join the queue (there is an actual queue).


Ticketbis to rebrand as StubHub
Spanish secondary ticketing firm Ticketbis is rebranding as StubHub, it having been bought by its eBay-owned rival last year.

The move will boost the StubHub brand in those European and Latin American markets where Ticketbis had a particularly high profile, meaning more consumers will now know to choose the eBay subsidiary whenever they want to buy tickets from dodgy touts at hiked up prices. The rebrand is, of course, I'm sure we all agree, a "milestone" that "represents the latest step in the integration process between the two companies". And what a milestone!

"StubHub is making solid progress in our goal to integrate Ticketbis into our platform, and to give consumers access to the world's largest catalogue of live events", remarked top tout tickler and StubHub President Scott Cutler. "This phase marks a significant step in introducing Ticketbis customers to the StubHub brand, and extending to them access to the performers, artists and athletes they love, no matter where they live, or where they want to travel".

Good times. As previously reported, earlier this week Ticketbis founder Ander Michelena was busy berating plans to regulate secondary ticketing in Italy, insisting that Italians would much rather buy their tickets at hiked up prices from a bot-boy rather than getting them at face value from a primary seller.


Bandcamp to donate all income to ACLU this Friday
Direct-to-fan platform Bandcamp will be donating 100% of its share of all sales on its platform tomorrow to the American Civil Liberties Union. The organisation has been fighting Donald Trump's ban on immigrants and refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries.

"Last week's executive order barring immigrants and refugees from seven Middle Eastern countries from entering the United States is not simply immoral, it violates the very spirit and foundation of America", says Bandcamp CEO Ethan Diamond in a statement. "This is not who we are, and it is not what we believe in. We at Bandcamp oppose the ban wholeheartedly, and extend our support to those whose lives have been upended".

The ACLU works "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States". Earlier this week it received $24 million in online donations in one day, as it fought to oppose Trump's immigration ban. The organisation has said it would normally expect to receive about $4 million online in a year.

From 8am UK time tomorrow, Bandcamp's 15% of any money you spend on digital music, and 10% on merch, will make its way to ACLU too. Bandcamp has also compiled a selection of music from artists from the seven affected countries. You may also like to invest in Secretly Canadian's anti-Trump 'Our First 100 Days' compilation to stretch your money a little further.


BBC Radio 2 presenter Desmond Carrington dies
BBC Radio 2 presenter Desmond Carrington has died, aged 90. Having worked for the station since the 1950s, he is best known for his weekly show 'The Music Goes Round', which he presented for 35 years, until last October when he stepped down due to ill health.

Announcing Carrington's death, his partner and producer Dave Aylott said: "It is with great sadness I announce that Desmond Carrington has passed away. Desmond, who was 90, passed away peacefully this afternoon after a long battle with cancer and Alzheimer's disease. I ask that our privacy is respected at this time".

Paying tribute, BBC Radio director Bob Shennan said: "Desmond was a warm, caring and generous man who was much loved by the Radio 2 audience and all those who had the pleasure of working with him during his illustrious career. He was a natural broadcaster and a key part of the BBC Radio family. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this very sad time".

Head Of Radio 2, Lewis Carnie, added: "Desmond's weekly Friday evening programme, 'The Music Goes Round', was full of musical gems and treasures, and he will be very much missed by his listeners. He had an illustrious, long career and we are so glad he was part of the Radio 2 family for so much of it".

You can listen to a tribute show, broadcast on Radio 2 last night, here.


Approved: Cat
Catherine Pierce is best known as one half of The Pierces, with her sister Allison. But having basically spent their entire lives together, they've decided it might be nice to have a bit of a break and go solo.

They actually announced their plans to do that back in 2015, and now here's Catherine with the first glimpse of what a solo Pierce might sound like. Going simply by Cat, she has just released her debut single, 'You Belong To Me'.

"I wrote this song while I was micro-dosing with mushrooms", she told Noisey. "When you micro-dose it's supposed to be imperceptible, kind of just lift your mood a little, but I'm really sensitive and I was having some visions".

"I went for a walk" she went on, "and it felt like the plants and moon were communicating with me. This song just came pouring into my head. It's about that beautiful, scary feeling of loving someone so much that you want to possess them and just allowing that madness to consume you for a bit".

So, here's what that sounds like when combined with some high-class 21st century pop production.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column in 2017 by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

Avenged Sevenfold diss Warner Music "imbeciles"
Avenged Sevenfold guitarist Zacky Vengeance (or Zachary Baker if you prefer) has had a little dig at the good people at his former label Warner Music in a new interview with The National Student, given ahead of a recent show at The O2. "Imbeciles", he called them. Imbeciles!

As previously reported, the metallers are currently in the midst of a legal battle with the major. Warner sued the band just over a year ago after they declared that they were no longer signed to the record company, despite having only delivered four of the five albums they committed to release under their 2004 record deal. The Californian band cited that always popular 'seven year rule' that exists in the state's employment law, which allows for 'personal service' contracts to be cancelled after seven years.

As all that legal wrangling worked its way through the motions, Avenged Sevenfold got about signing to Universal's Capitol and working on a new album. Warner, meanwhile, announced it was putting out a best of collection without the band's involvement. A release date was set for the latter record of 2 Dec last year.

There's a minor conspiracy theory that Warner picked that date after Chris Jericho of the band Fozzy - a close friend of Avenged Sevenfold - indicated on the socials that his best mates' new studio album would come out on 9 Dec. Warner went with a week earlier for the unendorsed best of as a spoiler tactic, reckons the conspiracy theory. Avenged Sevenfold, of course, then surprise released new album 'The Stage' during a much hyped virtual reality live stream in late October.

"As far as our old label is concerned, we had no idea they were even going to attempt any of that", Vengeance tells The National Student of the best of compilation. "We didn't know about that until the album was coming up. We actually thought it was quite hysterical when they were misled by a fake tweet that Chris Jericho sent out, and that just kind of shows what kind of a label they were in the first place; that they were led on by that rumour".

He continues: "That's, obviously, why we wouldn't want to be with a team of people that were - I mean, I hate to use the word 'imbeciles', but I'll go ahead and use the word - imbeciles".

Though, if you're buying part two of the conspiracy theory - that the band only did the surprise release to piss of the imbeciles at Warner, no, that wasn't it at all.

"For us, it was about surprising our fans", Vengeance says elsewhere in the new interview. "Because, for [previous album] 'Hail To The King' we did the three-month roll-out and we could sense the boredom in our fans: 'Oh, Avenged is trolling us. They're doing the campaign and doing scavenger hunts, just release the fucking songs already! We just wanna hear the album!' This time, we gave them nothing and then we gave them the album, like, 'Here you go. Make up your mind!'"


Blondie worked with Sia, Johnny Marr, Charli XCX and more on new album
Blondie have announced that they will release new album 'Pollinator' on 5 May. The new record was the last to be recorded at legendary New York studio The Magic Shop before its closure.

Produced by John Congleton, the album features songwriting contributions from artists influenced by Blondie, including Sia, Johnny Marr, Joan Jett, Laurie Anderson, Charli XCX, Dev Hynes and The Gregory Brothers.

"Their material is part of us and we are part of them", says Debbie Harry of her band's influence on their co-writers. "It's a celebration of recycling!"

Here's first single 'Fun', co-written by Dave Sitek.


Noga Erez announces debut album
Approved last year with her debut single 'Dance While You Shoot', Noga Erez has now announced her debut album. 'Off The Radar' will be released on 2 Jun, with new single 'Pity' out now.

"The song 'Pity' was influenced by a sexual assault case that happened a few years ago", explains Erez. "What made it even more alarming and upsetting for me was the fact that it was documented by several different people who were there when it happened. People stood by and willingly chose to film on their smartphones and then upload the videos and share them online. The presence of cameras and the violation of the victim's rights and respect was completely disregarded beyond measure".

Of the accompanying video, she says: "This is the second time we had a chance to work on a video with talented directors Zhang + Knight. For them, as for us, the horrifying story was extremely powerful and chilling. We decided to focus on the video/documenting angle, isolating it from the rest of the story. Creating a performance based video, shooting me from many different camera angles, while playing the footage live on screens behind me. Displaying how quickly and easily video documentation becomes shared, publicised and distorted. Many times, it's done so without the person's knowledge, consent and without accountability".

Watch the video here.


Virgin EMI, Warner/Chappell, JME, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• New A&R Manager at Virgin EMI? Jordan Jay, of course. But don't worry, he'll continue to run his artist management firm Karma alongside the new A&R role at the Universal UK label. He's looking forward to creating both "great music" and "big hits". Maybe at the same time.

• Your good mate Ben Vaughn is now President of Warner/Chappell Nashville, overseeing all the creative and commercial whatnots of that particular division of Warner's music publishing business. "Ben is tireless", says his boss Jon Platt.

• Rapper (and vegan - this information will become relevant) JME is to play himself in Simon Amstell's new film 'Carnage: Swallowing The Past', set in a 2067 where everyone is vegan (see?). "I have written and directed a film about veganism", said Amstell, announcing the film, which will premiere on BBC iPlayer in the spring. "I'm sorry".

• Ariana Grande has released the lyric video for 'Everyday', featuring Future.

• London Grammar have released the video for new single 'Big Picture'.

Here's a reworked version of 'Horns Surrounding Me' from Julia Holter's new live studio album, 'In The Same Room', out on 31 Mar.

• Future Islands will release new album 'The Far Field' on 7 Apr. Here's first single 'Ran'.

• Nathan Fake will release new album 'Providence', on 7 Apr. From it, this is 'RVK'. Here also is a 360° trailer.

• Blanck Mass has released new track 'Silent Treatment'. New album 'World Eater' is out on 3 Mar, and he'll play the Rich Mix in London on 27 Apr.

• Sälen have released new single 'Heartbreak Diet'. They'll also play Electrowerkz in London on 7 Mar.

CMU approved earlier this week, Half Waif has released a new track, 'Frost Burn'.

• The Kills will mark their fifteenth anniversary with a show at the Shepherd's Bush Empire on 30 May.

• This month's televised BRIT Awards show is going to be half an hour longer than usual, apparently. Now 'X-Factor' man Dermot O'Leary is hosting, presumably they need extra time to tell each nominee's tedious life-story.


Drake fans get free show after Travis Scott falls in a hole
Drake has promised to refund all tickets for his show at the O2 Arena last night, after Travis Scott fell in a hole and the audience didn't get to see a big globe.

Oh, you want more context than that? OK. Drake was performing the second of eight shows at the O2 Arena, as part of his 'Boy Meets World' tour, and brought out Travis Scott to perform his song 'Goosebumps'. Bouncing around excitedly, as you might, Scott managed to fall down a big hole in the stage, damaging a large globe that was supposed to emerge from said hole later in the show.

You think someone might have warned Scott about the hole. Or maybe they just thought he might notice the massive fucking hole in the middle of the stage. Still, given that Drake's first tour date already had to be postponed because the globe wasn't ready in time, it now being broken did sort of spoil the "special experience for fans in Europe and the UK" he had planned. As a result, he announced that the show would be free to the 20,000 people already watching.

"I'm doing this shit for free tonight, I don't give a fuck", he announced, having picked Scott up out of the hole, adding that he'd "deal with it later".

He then reiterated his promise later, ending the show by saying: "London, England, I love you, I hope you enjoyed your free show".

If you're worried about Scott, don't be. He was fine. He later tweeted: "The shit was fun. London is wild".

I hope he doesn't think that's the sort of thing we do in London all the time, or it might be something of a letdown next time he's in town. Maybe his management could crowbar up a few manhole covers just to keep things interesting.

Oh, and if you were at the show last night and are wondering how to get your refund, er, no one seems to know. So good luck with that.


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.
Email (except press releases, see below)
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.
Email or call 020 7099 9060
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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