TODAY'S TOP STORY: Pandora's fully on-demand service will go live this week, meaning a $9.99 package more in line with your Spotifys and Apple Musics will now be available from the US digital music firm, in addition to its existing free and $4.99 personalised radio options... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S CMU APPROVED: K Flay released her debut album, 'Life As A Dog', in 2014 - a record she self-released after a short time spent signed to Sony's RCA, a deal seemingly ended by a difference of opinion over her tendency to be a rapper on one song and then a rock singer on the next. The album's reception eventually left her vindicated, managing to focus her lack of focus. [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 the latest announcements for CMU Insights @ The Great Escape, ERA's new stats showing access overtook ownership in terms of revenue in 2016, and how Ed Sheeran is ruining the charts for everyone. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
LATEST CMU TRENDS: UK music creatives and their managers have called on the government to assist in their bid to secure more transparency in the digital music market. What do music creatives want to know, why do they need to know it, and can government really help? We review the transparency debate. CMU Trends articles are available to premium subscribers. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Pandora puts its on-demand service live
LEGAL Music industry criticises Australian safe harbour expansion plan
DEALS Public Service Broadcasting sign with Play It Again Sam
LIVE BUSINESS Sharon Hodgson MP welcomes government's commitment on tout regulation
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES SoundCloud plays down talk of "fire sale", opens up Premier to DJs
MEDIA Heart launches "feel good" 80s station on digital
ARTIST NEWS Not charting is bugging Chance The Rapper, so he might sell his next album
RELEASES Snoop Dogg releases BadBadNotGood remix
ONE LINERS Spotify, Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello, Stormzy, more
AND FINALLY... Russia puts forward Eurovision entry, Ukraine threatens to arrest her
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Pandora puts its on-demand service live
Pandora's fully on-demand service will go live this week, meaning a $9.99 package more in line with your Spotifys and Apple Musics will now be available from the US digital music firm, in addition to its existing free and $4.99 personalised radio options.

Pandora's move into fully on-demand streaming has been expected for some time, of course, and in late 2015 it bought the assets of the defunct Rdio to help with the build. It then formally announced that Pandora Premium was incoming last year, in part because its main rival in the personalised radio space Stateside, iHeart Radio, was launching its paid for options, which include a fully on-demand offer powered by Napster.

Both Pandora and iHeart Radio are massive in the US, each previously utilising a compulsory licence available under American copyright law which meant their personalised radio services could go live without doing any bespoke deals with the record companies. That compulsory licence allowed Pandora to get to market super-early while iHeart - although launched much later - benefited from the huge network of AM and FM radio stations the company owns, which promoted the streaming service relentlessly.

The vast majority of Pandora and iHeart users are currently signed up to the free ad-funded personalised radio service. But ad-funded streams aren't especially lucrative, and both firms have moved into paid-for streaming - offering $4.99 ad-free personalised radio and $9.99 on-demand streams - in a bid to drive new revenue.

Of course, the challenge there is that those companies whose core business is already paid-for streaming are also currently loss making. Though, it has to be said, the chances of going into profit are higher with paid-for streaming, which is basically a numbers game - reach a certain scale and the business model can, in theory, work.

Pandora and iHeart both hope that they can exploit their massive free userbases to sign up the tens of millions of paying subscribers they will need for their new subscription businesses to work.

Both are also keen to stress that their $9.99 packages are not direct rip offs of Spotify and Apple Music, but have been specially designed to suit a more mainstream consumer: iHeart by bringing traditional radio programming into the mix, Pandora by claiming it has managed to create a less interactive interactive music experience.

Referencing its Music Genome Project that has always driven the personalisation of its core radio service, Pandora says of playlisting on it's new on-demand set-up: "Everyone loves playlists, but not everyone has time to make them. You've probably had this happen before: you think of three or four songs for a 'workout' or 'study' playlist, but building the rest of it just feels like work".

It goes on: "In Pandora Premium, start a playlist with one or two songs of your choice, tap 'Add Similar Songs' and put the power of our Music Genome Project to work to quickly and effortlessly create the perfect playlist for any activity, mood or party. No other service makes playlist creation so fun and easy".

The firm also claims that it has made it easier to navigate the big library of tracks that most of the streaming services now offer. "Finding what you want to hear in a sea of 40 million songs can be exhausting for even the most patient music fan", it says in a blog post pitching the on-demand package.

"In Pandora Premium, we've done the hard work of separating the killer from the filler for you. We've filtered out karaoke tracks, knock-off covers and pet sounds (but not 'Pet Sounds') that slow down other services. You get fast, accurate search results that get even smarter over time".

It remains to be seen whether Pandora - and iHeart Radio - really can sign up the more mainstream music fan that perhaps others in the on-demand streaming space are yet to reach.


Music industry criticises Australian safe harbour expansion plan
You know how the music industry is hoping to have the copyright safe harbours in European law restricted a little via the in-development new European Copyright Directive? Well, in Australia moves are afoot to expand the safe harbours there, so that's fun isn't it? Needless to say, the local music industry is not amused.

The safe harbours, of course, provide protection to internet companies whose customers use their servers or services to infringe copyright. The internet firm cannot be held liable for its customers' infringement providing it offers copyright owners some sort of takedown system via which they can demand infringing content be removed.

In Europe, the music industry is trying to amend the safe harbours so that services like YouTube - which build media platforms on the back of the content their users upload, often without licence from the copyright owner - no longer enjoy protection. But in Australia the equivalent safe harbours are already much narrower in terms of what kinds of companies get protection, and so there the tech sector is pushing for them to be widened so that a greater range of organisations will qualify.

Schedule Two of a new copyright bill that will do just that has now gone to a Senate committee inquiry in the Australian parliament. But representatives for the media and entertainment industries argue that such proposals should be subject to more rigorous scrutiny, noting that other proposals in the new copyright bill have already gone through a full government review.

Director Of Corporate Affairs at News Corp Australia, Campbell Reid, told The Australian that problems with the safe harbours in the US and Europe should raise enough concerns for a fuller review of the new proposals in Australia.

Criticising the Australian government's plans, he said ministers were "proposing a deceptively simple answer to a complex policy issue", and that "we know from reviews in the US and Europe that the approach the government is taking is out of date and will have serious and material commercial consequences. Schedule Two of the bill should not be introduced to parliament. A review of all elements of the safe harbour ecosystem, including secondary liability, is essential before proceeding with any legislative amendments".

Speaking for the country's record industry, Dan Rosen of the Australian Recording Industry Association said: "A Senate inquiry is woefully inadequate to fix the fundamental flaws of this schedule. The other schedules to the bill were subject to a proper consultation and review by the department and that would be the appropriate place for an evidence-based inquiry into the commercial and market impact of any reform to safe harbour".

Though a government spokesperson said that the Senate committee inquiry into the safe harbour proposals didn't mean a further more thorough review couldn't be subsequently undertaken. The spokesperson said: "A Senate inquiry into a bill where there are disparate views is a standard part of the legislative architecture and doesn't preclude other avenues to input policy prior to legislating. The government is aware of calls in some quarters for a further departmental review to do this".


Public Service Broadcasting sign with Play It Again Sam
The Play It Again Sam label has announced a worldwide licensing deal with Public Service Broadcasting and will release their third album this summer.

The band's J Willgoose says: "We're absolutely delighted to be joining Play It Again Sam, a label with an incredible history and an equally exciting future. We're really looking forward to working together on the upcoming album and seeing where it takes us. It's a new and different chapter for us and I don't think we could've chosen a better label to work with".

The band have previously self-released their output via their own label Test Card Recordings, but manager David Manders says that they thought now was the right time to start working with a label in a bid to grow their global reach, and especially an indie that can also tap into the wider [PIAS] network.

Says Manders: "We have already put down some strong roots in several international territories, and, with a new album approaching, we felt this was the right time to grow our team further and partner with a wider network of experts internationally to help us expand on that success. [PIAS] are also a fiercely independent company and that sat well with the Public Service Broadcasting ethic".

Noting his new signing's considerable success to date as a self-releasing artists, Play It Again Sam boss Peter Thompson says: "There's a lot of discussion about the role of the record company in the modern music business but it's all about the people. If you have the right team and a love for a band why not work together with the artist and management and bring extra resource and experience to an already successful act. This is what we intend to do with PSB and it's gonna be an exciting journey building on the band's current fan base and expanding it worldwide. Thanks to Public Service Broadcasting and their management team for giving us this opportunity".


Sharon Hodgson MP welcomes government's commitment on tout regulation
Labour MP Sharon Hodgson has welcomed the commitment this weekend from the UK government to accept all the recommendations contained in Professor Waterson's review of the secondary ticketing market, and to back the insertion of a bots ban into the Digital Economy Bill that is currently working it's way through Parliament.

As previously reported, the government has said that - on the back of Waterson's review of the ticket resale market - it will endeavour to find extra funding for National Trading Standards to enforce existing secondary ticketing regulation and will put pressure on the resale platforms like Viagogo, StubHub, Seatwave and Get Me In to do more to distinguish commercial from causal resellers, the former of which are likely subject to extra consumer right rules.

The government is now also backing the specific ban on the software used by touts to hoover up large quantities of tickets as they go on sale on primary ticketing sites. Previously ministers said they felt the use of such 'bots' was probably already illegal under existing laws, but they are now backing a more specific bots ban in the DEB.

Hodgson has been campaigning for more regulation of secondary ticketing for years, and was involved in inserting the rules that do exist in the Consumer Rights Act of 2015. It was that piece of legislation that also instigated Waterson's review.

Commenting on the government's new commitments, she said yesterday: "It is excellent news that the government have now accepted the 'ban the bots' amendment and will finally accept all of the recommendations of the Waterson Review, which to be frank, has been a long time coming".

She added: "This is all down to the concerted campaigning of a whole host of people and organisations who have pushed the government to do more to put fans first in this broken and parasitical market, and as someone who has been campaigning on this for a very long time, I am delighted that we have seen this day come".

Though the MP conceded that there was still more work to be done. "These measures will ensure that fans are protected and have assurances that they will not be ripped off any longer", she said. "But there still remains work to do to make sure that these measures are enforced properly so touts do not circumvent them".


SoundCloud plays down talk of "fire sale", opens up Premier to DJs
For fans of doom and gloom SoundCloud speculation, here comes your monthly fix. Recode has cited some of those pesky anonymous sources as saying that the digital firm's owners may now be willing to consider bids to buy the company providing the proposed price is higher than the total investment it has raised to date, which is about $250 million. This despite the start-up having been valued at over $700 million at one point.

It's no secret, of course, that SoundCloud has been busy trying to raise new finance while also talking to possible outright buyers. Spotify was hotly tipped as a potential buyer for a while last year, though it's thought in the end the asking price was just too high.

SoundCloud has, arguably, been over-valued for some time now and it's seemed likely that, as the cashflow dries up, much lower bids would eventually be considered. Which, of course, has meant that potential bidders will generally be happy to play the waiting game.

In a statement to Billboard, SoundCloud played down the levels of doom and gloom in Recode's report, in much the same way it did when the Financial Times recently quoted a financier dubbing the firm's latest financing pitch as passing the begging bowl round the investment community.

Not commenting on rumours and speculation while commenting on the latest rumours and speculation, SoundCloud said: "While we do not comment on rumours or speculation, we can say the latest Recode article doesn't accurately portray the current state of the SoundCloud business".

Bigging up its newish premium service, and brand new mid-price subscription package, it added: "We are actively speaking with a variety of potential investors and other strategic partners. These conversations, led by our recently appointed CFO Holly Lim, reflect the market interest in our differentiated platform, unmatched user reach and strong outlook for 2017 and beyond. We expect to see 2.5x year-over-year revenue growth in 2017, driven in part by SoundCloud Go, our just-launched mid-priced consumer subscription".

Away from the not commenting on rumours and speculation, SoundCloud announced that it was opening up its Premier level - where creators can opt-in to share in the advertising and subscription revenue the firm generates - to DJs and producers for the first time. Given that "DJs and producers are an integral part of the SoundCloud ecosystem" the firm said in a blog post it was "psyched" to allow those people to join the revenue share programme.

It's an interesting development, in that it means those posting mixes and remixes onto the platform can now also earn, in addition to those posting original tracks and - presumably - those who control the original tracks contained within the DJ or producer's mix. Various streaming services have been trying to work out efficient ways to distribute streaming royalties on unofficial mixes, so that the labels and publishers who own the tracks being remixed can earn in addition to whoever did the mix.


Heart launches "feel good" 80s station on digital
You know how you were saying just this morning, "fuck me, if only someone, anyone, somebody, a person somewhere in this reality we call existence, could just provide to me, at the flick of a switch - a small switch preferably, a switch that requires a light flick to be switched - with a steady flow of non-stop feel good 80s classics, and maybe an occasional well-made and only slightly annoying commercial, then how wonderful would that be"? You said that right? Or was that someone else? Someone definitely said it. Maybe it was Brian. Can someone forward this report to Brian? Who's Brian again?

Anyway, Global Radio has just launched Heart 80s which will play "non-stop feel good 80s classics" while "extending the UK's biggest commercial radio brand". It's available on Digital One, ie the national digital radio network. And did I mention it will play "non-stop feel good 80s classics"? And that Jason Donovan will present a show on Sunday mornings where he will, and I quote, "turn up the feel good"? Brian is going to be ecstatic.

Here's Global boss Ashley Tabor with a quote: "Heart 80s is a brand new radio station for the UK - there's no other 80s station on D1, and no other 80s station in the UK focused on feel good 80s hits. Global is committed to DAB digital radio and to the D1 platform. Our investment in building audiences on D1 is an important part of our strategy to drive DAB digital radio take up. This is a very exciting time for the Heart brand and for Global".


Approved: K Flay
K Flay released her debut album, 'Life As A Dog', in 2014 - a record she self-released after a short time spent signed to Sony's RCA, a deal seemingly ended by a difference of opinion over her tendency to be a rapper on one song and then a rock singer on the next. The album's reception eventually left her vindicated, managing to focus her lack of focus.

Now back in the major label system as the first signing to the new Interscope imprint of Imagine Dragons vocalist Dan Reynolds - Night Street - she's set to finally get the recognition she deserves. Her second album, 'Every Where Is Some Where', is due out on 7 Apr.

Following on from previous singles 'Blood In The Cut' and 'Black Wave', she's back again with new track 'High Enough', a tightly wound play on pop tropes. "There are so many songs out there about getting fucked up", she says on the song's inspiration.

"I think a part of me was asking the question: 'What if I'm already high enough? What if I don't need anything but what I've got?'" she continues. "There are many moments in my life - whether it's because of a person or a place - that I don't want to feel altered or high or buzzed. I just want to feel exactly what I'm feeling".

Listen to 'High Enough' here.

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

Not charting is bugging Chance The Rapper, so he might sell his next album
Following Ed Sheeran's chart takeover, there has been much discussion about how streaming should (or shouldn't) be included in the weekly record sale counts. Many argue that the number of streams deemed equivalent to a sale should be increased. One dissenting voice though is Chance The Rapper, who thinks the bar should be lowered, for the American albums chart at least.

For this year's Grammy Awards, the rules were changed to allow streaming-only releases to be considered for the first time, mainly in order to allow Chance The Rapper to be nominated. It paid off, as he took home some trophies on the night. That he's achieved the success he has without ever putting out a traditional album release has garnered the rapper much attention and praise. But the fact the way the industry traditionally measures success is still arguably stacked against that approach is getting to him.

Speaking to Complex, he said: "I think I might actually sell this [next] album. That's, like, a big step in itself. I kind of hate the fact that I can't chart, really. I can chart, but the way they have the streaming shit set up is weak as fuck. It's unfair. 1500 streams is the equivalent to one [album sale], and that's just that's unfair. Nobody listens to their songs [1500] times when they buy it - fuck outta here! So, it makes it hard. I can't really compete with other people. Not that the charts matters at all, but like, come on".

The novelty of fans actually being able to buy one of his albums seems quite exciting to the rapper, though he concedes that it might annoy some fans for whom the novelty element is what he's already doing.

"I think having it for purchase would be dope", he says. "Also, this is all hypothetical. There is no album. I can feel fans squirming in their chair, like, 'oh shit, he's changing!' [But] this is [just] an idea".


Snoop Dogg releases BadBadNotGood remix
BadBadNotGood have released a new version of their instrumental collaboration with Kaytranada, 'Lavender', this one featuring vocals from Snoop Dogg.

Taken from the band's latest album, 'IV', the rapper apparently heard the track when a studio engineer played it before a session. Inspired, Snoop added vocals to it immediately.

"I love what they do, shit feels so real", he says. "And when I heard the instrumental on their album I had to do it".

The result finds him on top form, as does its video. Check them both out here.

Spotify, Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello, Stormzy, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Spotify has announced a new partnership with The North Face, which will see the soundtrack to the outdoorwear company's new advert - White Denim's 'Seek No Shelter' - made available only in US cities where it's raining.

• Paul McCartney and Elvis Costello are releasing a three track cassette for Record Store Day, featuring demos from their 1989 album 'Flowers In The Dirt'. "What's great about these songs is that they've just been written [at the point we recorded them]", says McCartney. "So there's nothing more hot off the skillet". Quite. Here's a video to explain what a cassette is.

• One of the few artists in the charts at the moment who isn't Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, has released the video for new single 'Cold'.

• Show Me The Body have announced that they will release a new mixtape, 'Corpus 1', on 24 Mar. From it, this is 'Trash'.

• Napoleon IIIrd is back with his first album for six years, 'The Great Lake', which will be out on 19 May. Here's first single 'The Scrape'.

• PC Music's Felicita has released a new EP called 'Ecce Homo'. Here's the title track. She'll also play a show at The Courtyard in London on 7 Apr.

• Lydia Ainsworth has announced that she'll play The Joker in Brighton on 30 May and London Fields Brewery on 31 May. And here's her new single, 'Into The Blue'.


Russia puts forward Eurovision entry, Ukraine threatens to arrest her
Russia has put forward an entry for this year's Eurovision Song Contest, ending speculation that the country would boycott the competition due to it taking place in Ukraine. The announcement of Julia Samoilova as its entrant with the song 'Flame Is Burning' came just one day before the entry deadline.

Ukraine won the competition in Sweden last year with '1944' by Jamala, a song about Joseph Stalin's deportation of Crimean Tatar people during the Second World War. The song was deemed not to have broken Eurovision's 'no politics' rule, despite the fact that Ukraine and Russia have been at odds since the latter annexed Crimea in 2014.

The ongoing conflict may as yet cause problems for Russia's entry. Ukraine has already blacklisted 140 artists who have performed in Crimea since it was occupied by Russia. Although Julia Samoilova does not currently appear on that list, she has admitted that she performed there in 2015. Ukrainian officials have already said that they are considering barring her from entering the country, or may arrest her if she does.

A spokesperson for Ukraine's security services, Olena Gitlyanska, said that they will "study the question and take a balanced decision on her entry into Ukraine based exclusively on the norms of Ukrainian legislation and interests of national security".

A spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin said that it was "absolutely unacceptable" that Ukraine would attempt to politicise the contest, adding that "practically everyone has been to Crimea".

This is just the latest controversy to hit this year's Eurovision. Last month, the entire organising team quit due to a "lack of transparency in making decisions regarding key areas of operations".

Currently, Samoilova is scheduled to perform in the competition's second semi-final on 11 May to decide if she will go through to the final on 13 May. Here's the song you may or may not as yet get to see performed there.


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 andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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.
Email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
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 sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk 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.
Email caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
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