TODAY'S TOP STORY: A Toronto-based independent music retailer is planning on taking over more than two thirds of the record stores that are due to close as a result of the collapse of HMV Canada. [READ MORE]
TODAY'S CMU APPROVED: Eivør has been successfully releasing music for the best part of two decades, having put out her debut album at just sixteen. Now, off the back of various syncs, including on 'Game Of Thrones' and the soundtrack for BBC drama 'The Last Kingdom', she's finally releasing her first English-language album - a reworking of her 2015 long-player 'Slør'. [READ MORE]
LATEST CMU PODCAST: CMU Insights recently presented two sessions at the Output conference in Belfast focused on how artists can get more media coverage and drive more streams. Look out for edited highlights of both sessions in a special edition of the CMU Podcast going online 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 considers 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 Independent music retailer plans to take over 70+ HMV Canada stores
LEGAL Russia considering law to force search engines to delist piracy sites
Movie firm seeks to block dozens of piracy sites in Australia
BMI and US radio industry agree interim royalty rate
LABELS & PUBLISHERS IMPEL sees income from digital platforms rise by 60% in 2016
LIVE BUSINESS Superstruct Entertainment invests in Spanish promoter Elrow
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Spotify announces three original podcasts
Warner Music partners with MediaCom to find innovators in digital music tech
ONE LINERS Beyonce, Skepta, Migos, more
AND FINALLY... Little Mix's Perrie Edwards new boyfriend fears Zayn-style break up takedown
BASCA is seeking to employ a temporary events administrator on a short term fixed contract to offer administrative departmental support on the Ivor Novello Awards. We are looking for someone with previous office administration experience who has a ‘can do’ attitude, impeccable attention to detail and can remain calm under pressure.

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27 Feb 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fanbase - Social Media Tools
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Independent music retailer plans to take over 70+ HMV Canada stores
A Toronto-based independent music retailer is planning on taking over more than two thirds of the record stores that are due to close as a result of the collapse of HMV Canada.

Sunrise Records says that it will take over more than 70 of the 102 stores that are due to close after the Canadian HMV business was put into receivership last month, ensuring that there will remain a sizeable network of music sellers in the country. Hundreds of HMV Canada employees who will soon be out of work could also get jobs in the new Sunrise stores.

It's an ambitious move on the part of Sunrise, which currently operates just ten shops. It had also downsized its operations before being acquired by Doug Putman in 2014. Since then he has doubled the number of Sunrise stores to ten. The new announcement will see the firm make a seven-figure investment in order to increase its network to over 80 shops across Canada.

Putman is quoted by CBC as saying: "With HMV leaving, it leaves a big hole in the marketplace, so we just thought it was a good opportunity and the timing was right. So we are going to jump on it and do what we can. The reality is there is a large amount of customers that want that physical product that they can touch and hold and have".

Sunrise Records is seriously ramping up its high street presence as CD sales continue to decline. And while the vinyl revival marches on - and Putman says vinyl will be up front in his new stores - vinyl sales overall remain relatively modest.

Putman says that by keeping his overheads down, including negotiating the best possible rents, he is confident he can make a success of the stores which lost money for HMV, which itself sought to considerably cut costs following its acquisition by Hilco.


Russia considering law to force search engines to delist piracy sites
The Russian government has proposed a new copyright law that could force search engines to entirely delist piracy websites.

The new rules, proposed by the country's Ministry Of Communications, would force global firms like Google and the market leading search engine in Russia, Yandex, to remove sites from their search databases that have been subject to a web-block injunction in the Russian courts. Piracy sites that have failed to respond to takedown requests by rights owners may also qualify for de-listing, even without a web-block injunction.

As much previously reported, the music and movie industries have long argued that the search engines should do more to downgrade and delete links to copyright infringing websites and content on their platforms.

Most search engines allow rights owners to request that specific URLs be removed from their databases, but record companies and movie studios argue that process is inefficient, because new URLs are constantly popping up often linking to the same unlicensed content.

Although Google in particular has introduced some anti-piracy initiatives, the web firms have generally resisted efforts to make them more proactively police piracy on the internet. Though Google and Microsoft's Bing last week signed a voluntary code of conduct in the UK to do more work in this domain, partly to halt efforts to introduce more obligations under law via the in development Digital Economy Bill.

It's still not entirely clear what new anti-piracy activity will be introduced by Google and Bing in the UK as a result of that code. It may well be that search engines in Russia will have to go considerably further if the new proposed rules there become law. Traditionally a country seen as being pretty slack in protecting intellectual property rights, in more recent years Russia has been tightening up its copyright regime.


Movie firm seeks to block dozens of piracy sites in Australia
As expected, the web-block party is about to get properly underway in Australia, as movie firm Village Roadshow seeks an injunction forcing internet service providers there to block access to dozens of piracy websites.

A change in copyright law has enabled web-blocks down under, and last year Village Roadshow was among a number of companies to successfully secure a first web-block injunction against The Pirate Bay among others. That test case sorted out exactly how the new Australian web-blocking system was going to work.

The new web-block application, which is being led by Village Roadshow but is backed by others in the move industry, is targeting around 41 sites according to ComputerWorld. Amongst those on the list are old file-sharing favourites like ExtraTorrent, plus unlicensed streaming sites like 123Movies and illegal download platforms like RlsBB.

As much previously reported, critics of web-blocking argue that the blockades are ineffective because they are so easy to circumvent. However, rights owners reckon that they serve a useful educational role if nothing else, plus if search engines could be forced to also delist blocked sites - and any proxies set up to help people get around the blocks - then the anti-piracy tactic would be more effective, amongst mainstream web-users at least.


BMI and US radio industry agree interim royalty rate
US song rights collecting society BMI has agreed an interim rate with the Radio Music License Committee, which represents 7000 radio stations in America.

As previously reported, both of the big performing rights societies representing publishers and songwriters Stateside - BMI and ASCAP - spent a bunch of last year negotiating with the radio industry over what rates stations should pay between 2017 and 2022 for the right to air songs repped by the two societies. ASCAP reached a deal but BMI did not.

With 2017 then inconveniently getting under way, the RMLC put in a request for an interim rate while negotiations were ongoing which was below what its member stations had previously paid - so 1.4% of revenues instead of 1.7%. The RMLC argued that BMI's current market share justified the lower rate. The society then said that proposal was "based on incomplete and incorrect information regarding BMI's share of radio performances".

The matter went to court, with a preliminary hearing taking place earlier this month. But now the RMLC has agreed that its stations will pay the interim rate proposed by BMI until a final royalty is agreed.

Confirming this, BMI's SVP Of Licensing, Mike Steinberg, told reporters: "We are pleased that the RMLC recognised the value that BMI music brings to the radio industry across all of its platforms and agreed to BMI's proposed interim rate. Protecting the income of BMI's songwriters, composers and music publishers is of paramount importance, and we will continue to pursue a new final rate that reflects current and future marketplace data and is in the best interests of our affiliates".


IMPEL sees income from digital platforms rise by 60% in 2016
IMPEL - which represents 46 independent music publishers in the digital licensing domain - says that royalties paid out to its members by digital platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and YouTube rose by 60% last year.

IMPEL specifically represents the mechanical rights in the Anglo-American repertoires of its member publishers in the digital domain.

It was set up after the big five publishers - Sony/ATV, Universal, Warner/Chappell, BMG and Kobalt - decided to license their Anglo-American catalogues directly in the digital domain. This is done in partnership with the Anglo-American collecting societies like PRS, which control the accompanying performing rights - streaming services needing to exploit both the mechanical and performing rights in songs.

In some ways there are parallels between IMPEL and the indie labels' digital licensing entity Merlin on the recordings side, in that it gives indie publishers more parity with the majors where they have decided to license digital services directly rather than collectively.

As on the labels side, publishers have seen their income from download stores like iTunes slide in recent years, but revenues generated by streaming services are booming.

This trend is more impactful for publishers, because digital income on the songs side is split between the mechanical rights - where all the money goes to the publisher, which then pays the songwriter subject to contract - and the performing rights - where 50% always goes direct to the songwriter via PRS. With downloads, more income is allocated to the mechanical rights, and the opposite is true with streams.

IMPEL is part of the group of companies run by the UK Music Publishers' Association, whose CEO Jane Dyball says: "IMPEL is a major player now in the digital space. By uniting their repertoire and pro-actively engaging with the digital community the independent publishers are operating on a par with the majors. With repertoire spanning decades, genres and which has been recorded by iconic artists from Elvis to Bowie to Drake, the IMPEL repertoire has become an essential repertoire for digital services. IMPEL is growing in all directions and 2017 is going to be a groundbreaking year for us".


Superstruct Entertainment invests in Spanish promoter Elrow
The new live music focussed division of investment outfit Providence Equity Partners - now named Superstruct Entertainment - has made a new investment in Barcelona-based club and festival promoter Elrow.

As previously reported, the previously unnamed investment fund formally launched in January when it took a 70% stake in Hungary's Sziget festival. Headed up by Cream founder (and recently departed Live Nation dance music chief) James Barton and former Ingenious music investments man Paul Bedford, the latter said that the aim of the new venture was to build "a federation of festival brands".

"We are excited to partner with James Barton and Superstruct and are looking forward to growing the company together", Elrow CEO Juan Arnau Jr tells IQ. "James's global network in music festivals, and Providence's global expertise and resources, will strengthen our position and enable us to explore opportunities in key markets".

Barton adds: "The Elrow team has created a unique experience that is loved by fans. We are excited to partner with and support such an impressive team and look forward to unlocking new growth opportunities for their business".

Elrow promotes events in multiple European countries. In The UK, last December, the company took over London's Carnaby Street for a party to mark the switching on of its Christmas lights.


Spotify announces three original podcasts
Spotify has announced that it is launching three original music-related podcasts in the coming months.

The lesser known podcast library section of Spotify's mobile app has been available for some time now, and this move seems to be an attempt to draw more attention to it. It also fits in with the streaming service's existing move into more documentary style content.

Already available is 'Showstopper', a series of interviews with TV music supervisors hosted by The Fader's Editor-In-Chief Naomi Zeichner. Next month a second show, 'Unpacked', will launch, with music supervisor Matt FX and Spotify's Michele Santucci travelling to different cultural festivals, starting with SXSW. Finally, in April, 'The Chris Lighty Story' will examine the life of the hip hop mogul who died in 2012.

Of course, if you want to listen to a music industry podcast on Spotify, you should really start with this one.


Warner Music partners with MediaCom to find innovators in digital music tech
Warner Music UK's relatively new Firepit Tech division and MediaCom's also recently launched start-up accelerator Blink have partnered to find new companies which are busy doing some innovating in digital music technology.

The aim of the partnership is to identify start-ups doing interesting things with music, and to then invite them to pitch their ideas. A number of those ventures will then go on to receive support and funding from Warner.

"This project with Blink is just one of the ways that we're working with the start-up community", explains Warner Music UK's VP Digital Emmy Lovell. "We want to support and develop the most innovative companies in the market who are leading the way with smart new thinking. We can work with them in a number of ways - be that offering mentoring and advice, access to music rights and Warner Music's impressive catalogue as well as financial investment. We're hoping this will uncover some entrepreneurs who will help us to excite fans and enable them to feel even more connected with their favourite artists".

Head Of Start-up And Accelerator Programmes at advertising group MediaCom, Justin Cross, adds: "With more and more businesses looking to harness the potential of start-ups, it's great to see such a prominent name in the music industry investing significantly in the scene. We're delighted to be working with Warner Music UK's Firepit Tech to open up a direct route for start-ups into their business and look forward to unlocking opportunities with Emmy and the Firepit Tech team".


Approved: Eivør
Eivør has been successfully releasing music for the best part of two decades, having put out her debut album at just sixteen. Now, off the back of various syncs, including on 'Game Of Thrones' and the soundtrack for BBC drama 'The Last Kingdom', she's finally releasing her first English-language album - a reworking of her 2015 long-player 'Slør'.

Translating her lyrics from the original Faroese was apparently an eight month task, as Eivør attempted to retain the meaning and feel of the original. Largely drawing on her childhood in the Faroe Islands, it's easy to see why it might have been difficult to convey her experiences to a British audience.

"One day when I was about eleven years old I was walking up this mountain alone - daydreaming as usual - when the fog sneaked in", she says of the story behind new single 'Into The Mist'. "All of a sudden I was surrounded by thick fog and I could not see anything I completely lost sense of direction - I was lost for hours".

I don't like to make assumptions, but I'm going to guess that didn't happen to you when you were eleven. Nor would you think to turn that experience into the dark, foreboding piece of music that Eivør has.

Eivør will be touring the UK in June, including an already sold out show at The Islington in London. Watch the video for 'Into The Mist' here.

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

Beyonce, Skepta, Migos, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Beyonce has cancelled her Coachella headline slot, which isn't really surprising given that she will be in the advanced stages of pregnancy with twins come April. She has vowed to perform at the festival next year though.

• Skepta has released the video for 'No Security'.

• Migos have released the video for 'Deadz', featuring 2 Chainz.

• Arca has released another track from his new album. This is 'Anoche'.

• Tei Shi has released new track 'How Far'. Don't forget to go and see her at the Moth Club in Hackney this Wednesday.

• Pissed Jeans have released a video for 'The Bar Is Low' from new album 'Why Love Now', which accurately depicts every trip to the gym I've ever had.

• Rap duo release their first major label album 'Not Not Me' through Warner Music next month. From it, this is the brilliant '#Hashdark'.

• Stefflon Don has announced that she'll play her debut headline show at Tape in London on 6 Apr. Here's her new video for '16 Shots'.

• Musical movie 'La La Land' may have lost out on the Best Picture prize at the Oscars last night - on take two of that announcement - but it won both the music prizes, for Best Original Score and Best Original Song, the latter for 'City Of Stars'.


Little Mix's Perrie Edwards' new boyfriend fears Zayn-style break up takedown
The new boyfriend of Little Mix's Perrie Edwards, Arsenal footballer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, is mildly concerned that he might end up as the subject of a song if and when he breaks up with her. It's good to get thinking about the pop implications of a future break-up early on in a relationship.

His concerns rise from the general assumption that Little Mix's 'Shout Out To My Ex' is about Edwards' rather famous ex-boyfriend, that there Zayn Malik - though the group have largely denied this, saying that it's about all of their exes and, indeed, about exes as a subset of humanity.

"I better watch out", he told OK. "I don't want her to become an ex and sing about me".

As for what a Little Mix break up song aimed at him might be about, he added: "Probably something about Arsenal being rubbish". And that there is why Oxlade-Chamberlain is not a songwriter. Though, to be fair, he readily admits that.

Speaking to The Sun at last week's BRIT Awards, where 'Shout Out To My Ex' won Best British Single, the footballer said that he's "not very good" at singing but enjoys a bit of karaoke. "I'm a performer", he said, before making the slightly bizarre claim: "I know the lyrics to most songs".


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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