TODAY'S TOP STORY: I think it's fair to say that the BRITs divides opinion in the wider music community. This is something you particularly notice if you happen to be running a CMU:DIY session in Wales as the big event kicks off, and you therefore experience the entire proceedings via your social feeds... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S CMU APPROVED: Stevie Parker began making moves last year with a couple of singles - 'Never Be' and 'The Cure' - followed by her debut EP 'Blue'. Now she hits 2017 with new single 'Without You', a powerful and intimate track about moving on. The accompanying video sees Parker performing the song alone in a series of locations typically thought of as masculine. [READ MORE]
LATEST CMU PODCAST: CMU Insights last week presented two sessions at the Output conference in Belfast. In this first of two special editions of the CMU Podcast, we present highlights of the first session, looking at developments in music media and music PR, and the top five things music PRs do wrong. Look out for this first Output-themed podcast going live very soon! The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
LATEST CMU TRENDS: The death of the record company has been predicted many times in the last fifteen years. Yet, in 2017, most artists still work with a record company - or a business that looks rather like a record company - in one way or another. As Music 4.5 gets ready to consider what 'The Record Label Of The Future' might look like, CMU Trends reviews where we're at. CMU Trends articles are available to premium subscribers. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES The BRIT Awards happened, numerous sources claim
LEGAL Google says safe harbours are brilliant
ITV loses High Court appeal against PRS For Music rate ruling
LIVE BUSINESS Avenged Sevenfold crew member dies in accident after show
StubHub discusses thinking behind StubHub Live campaign
BRANDS & MERCH The O2 will continue to be The O2 for at least another decade
ARTIST NEWS Take That want Robbie and Jason back for 25th anniversary
AWARDS Jay-Z to become first rapper inducted into Songwriters Hall Of Fame
ONE LINERS Jay-Z, Coldplay, Jamiroquai, more
AND FINALLY... Mariah Carey blames "everybody" (including herself) for NYE disaster
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The BRIT Awards happened, numerous sources claim
I think it's fair to say that the BRITs divides opinion in the wider music community. This is something you particularly notice if you happen to be running a CMU:DIY session in Wales as the big event kicks off, and you therefore experience the entire proceedings via your social feeds.

Now, as you know, here at CMU we love and cherish every one of our readers across the entire music community, and constantly go above and beyond to ensure that we placate and pander to their every wish and viewpoint. And to that end, we've developed a system to navigate this division of opinion: basically, you need to print this report out and delete as applicable. Yeah, you do some work for once you lazy fuckers.

So, it was the magnificent / run-of-the-mill / God awful BRIT Awards last night over there in that marvelous place of wonder / glorified shopping mall / windy shit hole that we call The O2, right at the heart of London's fashionable / non-descript / soul-destroying Greenwich Peninsula. And what a night it was / wasn't / could have been but for the shit storm of mediocrity!

TV's Dermot O'Leary and Emma Willis did a fantastic / bog-standard / terrible job of standing in as hosts at the last minute, helping the music business stars / champion blaggers / tedious industry types amassed under that big Greenwich tent - not to mention the millions of passionate music fans / misguided consumers / ITV viewers tuning in at home - to navigate a night of fine festivities / routine happenings / embarrassing mishaps.

In terms of the awards, it was David Bowie who was the double winner, in a very fitting / somewhat predicable / entirely unnecessary tribute to the late great music maker. Though technically Rag N Bone Man matched Bowie, taking home both the Critics Choice Award as the one to watch and the prize for best breakthrough act, a double win that fully affirmed his potential / made you wonder why critics were tipping an act who's already broken through / made a mockery of the whole thing.

Elsewhere, Beyonce, Drake and A Tribe Called Quest took the three prizes for non-UK talent in a refreshingly concise / weirdly brief / offensively short segment of the show, in which all three absent winners were announced in close succession. And then there were the important / customary / pointless prizes for One Direction and Adele, in the public-voted best video category and Global Success Award respectively.

"But where were all the grime winners?" you might ask, given all the hoo and the haa about how this year's BRITs were going to be more diverse. Well, none of the nominees from that all-important / moderately successful / super over-rated genre took home a gong, which is understandable / unavoidable / an outrage.

However, Stormzy excitingly / interestingly / annoyingly popped up during Ed Sheeran's performance, while Skepta took to the stage and stole the show / stole the show / stole the show. Though he was helped in that regard by show-closer and BRITs Icon Robbie Williams, who generously decided to turn in a decidedly lacklustre / lacklustre / lacklustre finale set.

So there you have it - a BRITs report designed with precision for you and your echo chamber. And yes, I do realise I missed out Little Mix taking so bloody long to get on stage to accept their award / Katy Perry's skeletal dig at the Trump-May love in / Andrew Ridgeley's touching George Michael tribute. But rules dictate that you can only criticise me about one of those omissions

And now, here are some winners. Feel free to delete as applicable.

British Female Solo Artist: Emeli Sandé
British Male Solo Artist: David Bowie
British Group: The 1975
British Breakthrough Act: Rag N Bone Man

British Single: Little Mix - Shout Out To My Ex
British Video: One Direction - History
British Album: David Bowie - Blackstar

International Male Solo Artist: Drake
International Female Solo Artist: Beyonce
International Group: A Tribe Called Quest

BRITs Global Success Award: Adele
Critics' Choice: Rag N Bone Man


Google says safe harbours are brilliant
There were you thinking that the safe harbours in US copyright law weren't fit for purpose and were in serious need of some reform. But you're wrong. Those safe harbours are fucking fantastic.

Don't just take my word for it, check out what Google has just told the US Copyright Office. "These safe harbours are fucking fantastic", said Bob Google, the boss of Google. Well, I'm paraphrasing. But only slightly.

"In short, the [safe harbour providing] Digital Millennium Copyright Act has proven successful at fostering ongoing collaboration between rightsholders and online service providers, a collaboration that continues to pay dividends both in the US and in international contexts", says the web giant in its submission to the Copyright Office's previously reported (second) review of the safe harbours, which has been published by law professor Michael Geist.

The safe harbours say that web firms like Google can't be held liable for copyright infringement when they inadvertently host or link to copyright infringing material - as a result of their user's uploads or automated activities - providing they have a system in place for removing infringing stuff when made aware of it.

Google bigs up its systems for allowing rights owners to do just that in its submission, both YouTube's Content ID system and the platform that content firms can use to have links removed from its search engine. Actually, most of the URLs rights owners request to be removed from its search engine aren't even in its database to start with, says Google, but that's fine, because Google loves everything to do with safe harbours because, as I think I may have mentioned, they're fucking fantastic.

FYI - the music industry does not agree.


ITV loses High Court appeal against PRS For Music rate ruling
ITV has lost its High Court appeal against a copyright tribunal ruling last year that said it should pay higher royalties to PRS For Music to cover the performing rights in the songs it broadcasts.

This case has been rumbling on for some time now, and relates to negotiations over the commercial broadcaster's 2014-2017 rates. ITV wanted fees capped at the 2013 rate of £23.5 million per year. However, PRS For Music argued for an increase of the base rate to just over £24 million, plus additional payments based on ITV's viewing figures and the Retail Price Index.

Of course, when rights owners choose to licence as one through a collecting society, the resulting deal making may be subject to extra rules and regulations in order to satisfy competition law. In the UK, if the society and a licensee cannot reach an agreement, the matter can be taken to a special court called the copyright tribunal where a judge will decide a rate. And that is where ITV and PRS ended up - resulting in an increase in admin fees at PRS on royalties collected from TV licensees, to fund the legal costs.

When the copyright tribunal ruled in PRS For Music's favour last year, ITV launched an appeal in the High Court, which was this week rejected. The High Court told ITV that the lower court "had not made an error of law in reaching its decision".

Commenting, PRS Commercial Director Paul Clements said: "In June 2016, the copyright tribunal decided a dispute over the terms of ITV's broadcast licence in PRS For Music's favour. The tribunal decision set down clear and compelling reasons for an increase in the licence fee, reflecting the right value for our members' music".

"While ITV chose to appeal this decision, I am pleased that the High Court has now rejected their arguments and upheld the original tribunal decision", he continued. "This result is very real evidence of our commitment to secure the right value for our members' work".

Obviously the period being argued over is now nearing its end, which likely means new rates need to be agreed for 2018. Another thing that the copyright tribunal approved last year was a new formula devised by PRS For Music to determine future rate increases.


Avenged Sevenfold crew member dies in accident after show
A member of the local crew working on an Avenged Sevenfold show that took place in Germany earlier this week was killed when another stagehand fell from the rafters and landed on top of him.

The incident seemingly happened as the stage was being taken down after the gig. In a statement, the band said: "Last night after our show in Stuttgart, Germany, a 26 year old stagehand fell from the rafters while breaking down our stage. He fell a very far distance onto a nineteen year old man on the local crew. Tragically, the nineteen year old died from his injuries. The other man is now in critical condition at the hospital".

The band continued: "This is beyond heartbreaking to everyone in the band and on our crew. We all send our thoughts and prayers to the man in the hospital, both families involved, all of the local Live Nation crew and everyone else whose lives have been affected by this terrible accident. We love our crew so much as well as the many local staff who are essential to our show every night wherever we are around the world. This is such a stark reminder of how quickly an accident can happen and lives shattered in the process".

Support act Disturbed added in their own statement: "The horror and heartbreak felt by everyone on the tour is beyond words. Our deepest condolences go out to that poor nineteen year old's family, and our best wishes for a speedy recovery go out to the surviving crew member that fell. We love and cherish all those dedicated crew members that are responsible for making the show happen day in and day out, and this horrible tragedy is almost too much to bear. We dedicate the rest of this tour to our fallen brothers".

The bands are next due to perform at Zenith in Munich on Saturday.


StubHub discusses thinking behind StubHub Live campaign
eBay's Stubhub is continuing in its bid to become the friendly face of secondary ticketing with various 'activations' - which is a word marketing people continue to insist on using - at sporting and music events. This is all part of the tout facilitator's recently launched StubHub Live campaign, in case you wondered. It already held a big party at the Super Bowl earlier this month, and it will host a stage at this year's SXSW festival, which 27 artists have apparently agreed to perform on.

"The idea is: It isn't about the ticket; it's about the live moment itself", StubHub CMO Jennifer Betka tells Adweek about all this activation gubbins. "We wanted to widen the range of the audience that engages with us. It's an important differentiator in helping us engage with existing customers and acquire new ones".

Got that so far? OK, now let's all brace ourselves for the conclusion of Betka's quote. She continues: "The positioning is a way for us to connect our presence from the experience of transacting all the way through to commemorating the event and remembering that you saw it live".

Honestly, that's what she said. Let's read it again: "The positioning is a way for us to connect our presence from the experience of transacting all the way through to commemorating the event and remembering that you saw it live".

So that's...
• experience of transacting
• commemorating the event
• remembering that you saw it live

Those are the things StubHub will handle for you, above any other ticket seller, primary or secondary: buying the ticket, taking a photo/recording a video/drawing a picture of the show, and then remembering that you were there and didn't just see a gig on the telly. Though I guess since StubHub launched that "emotional" Apple TV app people might need help distinguishing between thinking about going to a gig and actually doing it.

Presumably it's the 'experience of transacting' bit that includes the needlessly handing over of tonnes of money to some dodgy tout whose legally suspect software pushed in front of you when tickets first went on sale. Though you're possibly welcome to commemorate and remember that too.


The O2 will continue to be The O2 for at least another decade
Naming rights are daft, aren't they? Of all the many forms of sponsorship, they're up there with the daftest.

I mean, the idea that you can take a venue, slap a brand's name on it and then everyone will love and respect that brand is just silly. Especially as no one, beyond maybe three people at the sponsor's head office, ever uses the venue's new official name that's had so much money thrown at it. Because why bother starting to call a venue the Brand X Theatre, when that name will just be swapped for another sponsor brand in a few years anyway?

No one has ever called the Brixton Academy the O2 Academy, Brixton. Nor did they call it the Carling Academy before that. And no one calls the Hammersmith Apollo the Eventim Apollo. Or the HMV Hammersmith Apollo. Or the Carling Apollo. Or the Labatt's Apollo. And no one will ever call an iconic venue like the Wembley Arena its claimed new name of The SSE Arena, Wembley. You're all wasting you're money, brands. Just throwing it right down the toilet.

Still, congratulations to O2, which has just signed a deal with live firm AEG to extend its naming rights of The O2 in Greenwich.

To be fair, The O2 does get called The O2 by pretty much everyone. We were all so keen to forget about the Millennium Dome that we just went with it when phone firm O2 first bought the rights to name the complex back in 2005. And they got us all to call the big bit in the middle the O2 Arena too. Though that was a brand new venue, so people had no other name to fall back on. It wasn't until a sponsorship conflict at the 2012 London Olympics that someone thought up calling it the North Greenwich Arena.

So maybe this one naming rights deal actually worked. Though in music we're all exposed to the O2 brand a lot. I don't know about you, but the only time I've been an O2 customer was when it was the only company selling iPhones in the UK, and I dumped that contract at the earliest possible opportunity. This despite me definitely qualifying as "a music fan".

Anyway, this year marks the tenth anniversary of the opening of the O2 Dome, and that is being marked by ensuring that everything stays the same for another decade. Which is another good thing, I guess. There's quite enough change going on already, without The O2 suddenly changing its name to The Pampers Pavilion, or whatever.

As the extended deal was announced this morning, O2 CEO Mark Evans commented: "We are incredibly proud of our highly successful partnership with AEG that has made The O2 into the internationally renowned music and entertainment venue it is today. Over the past ten years our work together has set an industry gold standard and it will continue to do so for the next ten years".

AEG Europe EVP Paul Samuels added: "From signing the deal back in 2005, O2 have become a significant and transformative force in the music business and our partnership has enabled countless benefits and experiences for their customers and all music, sports and entertainment fans. We're THRILLED they're committing to The O2 once again and know it will enable the venue to become even better for fans and the artists that play here. The O2 would not be the success it is without the support and commitment of our partners".

The announcement of the new deal was pre-empted last night by the Britannia Music Club Awards, which were held in the venue for the seventh year running. And tonight I'm sure Jack Whitehall will be doing lots of deferential jokes about the building's sponsor when he performs in the North Greenwich Arena.


Approved: Stevie Parker
Stevie Parker began making moves last year with a couple of singles - 'Never Be' and 'The Cure' - followed by her debut EP 'Blue'. Now she hits 2017 with new single 'Without You', a powerful and intimate track about moving on.

The accompanying video sees Parker performing the song alone in a series of locations typically thought of as masculine, about which she explains: "With this video I really wanted to convey a sense of isolation, which is at odds with the theme of strength and independence evident in the lyrics"

She adds: "Kind of makes you wonder what the actual message is and I like that ambiguity! The variety in the locations and the number of them only furthers that, a sense of being just as lost in a sea of people as you are on your own".

Parker completes her debut headline tour this weekend with two dates in Scotland. You can catch her at The Attic in Glasgow on Friday and Electric Circus in Edinburgh on Saturday.

Watch the video for 'Without You' here.

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

Take That want Robbie and Jason back for 25th anniversary
Take That are hoping to get that there Robbie Williams and the man they call Jason Orange back for a 25th anniversary show later this year. Though they, like you, aren't entirely confident of their chances of making that happen.

Williams, of course, never fully rejoined the band's reunion, though he did do one tour with them. Orange, meanwhile, left the group in 2014.

Speaking to Magic FM, Howard Donald explained: "From when we very first started it's [actually] 27 years, but from when we released music it's the 25th, we're gonna wait for that one. We're gonna hopefully maybe get Robbie on board, get Jason on board. Who knows? It might be the 30th anniversary we end up celebrating".

Then Mark Owen chipped in: "By the time we get everybody on board it might be the 50th!"

It's actually coming up to 26 years since the release of the group's first single, so there's possibly less time to organise that celebration than they realise. But hey, in this post-fact age, who really cares about the maths? Just keep saying it's the 25th anniversary of something until everyone agrees to get on board, I reckon.

Take That's new single, 'Giants', is out now, by the way. Their second album as a trio, 'Wonderland', it out on 24 Mar.


Jay-Z to become first rapper inducted into Songwriters Hall Of Fame
Jay-Z is to become the first ever rapper to be inducted into America's Songwriters Hall Of Fame. And just in case you were wondering, yes the Songwriters Hall Of Fame does pre-date the birth of rap by some distance.

In order to be eligible for induction to the Hall, songwriters must have consistently written hits for 20 years - Jay-Z's nomination comes just after the 20th anniversary of his debut album, 'Reasonable Doubt'.

Also among this year's inductees is Max Martin, who has - of course - written 90% of all hit songs in the last 20 years. Well, the last few years anyway. They're both joined by Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, and Robert Lamm, plus James Pankow and Peter Cetera of Chicago. Berry Gordy, who deferred his 2016 nomination, will also be inducted this year.

"With our 2017 roster of inductees, the Songwriters Hall Of Fame moves definitively into recognising music creators of the 21st century while continuing to honour the greats of earlier decades", say the organisation's co-chairs Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff and president Linda Moran in a joint statement. "The combination of contemporary sounds and timeless hits of the past is certain to make for an unforgettable evening".

"The songwriters we honour cross genres, regional and even national boundaries - R&B, rap, pop and rock n roll from both coasts, the American heartland and Sweden", they continue. "We are THRILLED to once more have the opportunity to preside over an event that recognises the convergence of song craft and musical performance at the very highest level".

The induction ceremony will take place at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York on 15 Jun.


Jay-Z, Coldplay, Jamiroquai, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

Rumour has it that Jay-Z and longtime business partner Jay Brown are setting up a venture capital fund.

• Coldplay and The Chainsmokers' BRITs collaboration 'Something Just Like This' is available to download and stream now in the unlikely event you want to hear it again.

• Jamiroquai have released the video for new single 'Cloud 9'.

• Future has announced that he will release a new album, 'HNDRXX', this Friday. And yes, you are correct, he did only just release an album last week.

• Conor Oberst has released the video for new single, 'Till St Dymphna Kicks Us Out'.

• Dua Lipa has released a video for new single 'Thinkin Bout You'.

• Big Narstie has released a new single, 'They Don't Know'.

• Spoon have released the video for 'Can I Sit Next To You'. They'll play an intimate show at London's 100 Club on Monday.


Mariah Carey blames "everybody" (including herself) for NYE disaster
Mariah Carey blames "everybody" for her disastrous New Year's Eve performance. Though she includes herself in that, so don't feel too bad about your error.

As previously reported, Carey appeared as the headliner on the annual televised 'New Year's Rockin Eve' show from Times Square in New York on 31 Dec last year. Due to her in-ear monitors not working, she was unable to hear her music and therefore did not sing just before midnight, as had been planned. She attempted to muddle through, but eventually walked off stage early.

Subsequently, she and her manager Stella Bulochnikov made various public statements, which really just drew attention to the fact that it had happened and kept it in people's minds. Then Carey went on a self-imposed media blackout, which was probably for the best. However, now she's back and still talking about it.

To be fair, it was Rolling Stone that brought it up, and she begins her response to the question by saying: "I don't even want to bring this up too much, but whatever, we're obviously talking about it, the New Year's Eve situation - that couldn't be helped".

She's polite, see? Anyway, with a bit of distance, she now seems to have a broader perspective on what happened. "This was out of my control, and had everything not been such a total chaotic mess, then I would have been able to make something happen", she says. "Even the dancers should have stopped dancing and helped me off the fucking stage. I'm sorry. It was a mess, and I blame everybody, and I blame myself for not leaving after rehearsal".

I'm not sure that really counts as blaming herself, but maybe the real problem is that I don't understand exactly what she means.

"It's just something where if I can't explain it to the entire world, then they're not going to understand it, because it's not what they do", she told Rolling Stone. "Just like I wouldn't understand somebody who had a desk job and how to do that. I couldn't. I literally am incapable of being in the real world and surviving".

Oh Mariah, a desk job is just like a singing job, but without the singing. And fewer in-ear monitors to go wrong. It's easy really.


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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