TODAY'S TOP STORY: Spotify and Universal Music yesterday confirmed that they had finally inked a new multi-year licensing deal after long drawn out negotiations that could now be turned into some kind of opera. With Universal Music boss Lucian Grainge dressed in his knight's armour throughout and Spotify chief Daniel Ek delivering all his lines falsetto. I'd buy tickets... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S CMU APPROVED: Anneka may already be familiar for her work on tracks by FaltyDL, Lone, Forest Swords, Blue Daisy and Ital Tek. Now she's preparing to release her debut solo EP, 'Life Force', on 28 Apr, via Anti-Ghost Moon Ray. Her new single and the EP's title track - 'Life Force' - sets the tone for her solo output with dark synth parts winding under densely layered vocals. [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 Viagogo's no-show at the latest parliamentary select committee hearing on secondary ticketing, Spinrilla's irritable response to the major record labels' lawsuit against the mixtape sharing platform, and how new acts should approach journalists.. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
LATEST CMU TRENDS: In late 2014 we published a CMU Trends article on why the year 1972 had become such a talking point among American music lawyers. There have been plenty of developments around the 1972 issue since then, though legal uncertainties remain. CMU Trends investigates. CMU Trends articles are available to premium subscribers. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Universal Music signs new licensing deal with Spotify
LEGAL Rick Ross pleads no contest to kidnapping charges
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Lords call for extension of agent of change principle
MEDIA AC/DC's Brian Johnson to present Sky Arts show
EDUCATION & EVENTS Five updates on the CMU@TGE Royalties Conference
ARTIST NEWS Fall drummer seriously injured in "horrific assault"
RELEASES Beth Ditto announces debut solo album
Mew release new single from Visuals
UNKLE to release new album
ONE LINERS Ole, Regina Spektor, Jorja Smith, more
AND FINALLY... Ed Sheeran is making you fat
Erased Tapes Music is currently seeking a meticulous and highly organised individual to join our team as a part-time Copyright Administrator. The chosen candidate will oversee all aspects of catalogue administration.

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The Columbo Group is seeking a talented and enthusiastic individual to join our events and promotions team for The Blues Kitchen venues. The job will involve programming and promotion of live music events and club nights, managing digital and physical promotion campaigns, and creating social media content.

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The Music Publishers Association Group Of Companies (MPA, MCPS, IMPEL and PMLL) is seeking a dynamic Marketing & Communications Executive to be the gateway to communications on its work to its members, industry stakeholders and the general public.

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MelodyVR is the destination for music in virtual reality. It has partnered with hundreds of artists to create thousands of virtual reality experiences. The company is looking for an exceptional Creative Director to join its team, who is as passionate about music and content, and is as excited by technology, as the MelodyVR team are.

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Name PR is looking for a Press Assistant – a fantastic opportunity for an enthusiastic, switched on individual to develop their communication skills and knowledge of the music business. This person will work across the music trade PR division; activities will include press and industry research, client admin, contacting journalists and writing press releases.

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Renowned artist management company Modest! seeks a Senior Digital Manager to work across its exciting roster of international artists, supporting the firm’s artists and managers in managing their digital and social channels and campaigns, and liaising with digital teams at each artist’s label. A perfect role for an experienced digital marketing expert looking to work closely with number of top artists on exciting digital and social campaigns.

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Working in a team of five, the successful applicant for the role of Event Ticketing Manager will be an organised, enthusiastic and conscientious all-rounder with great attention to detail and willing to help with anything and everything the busy ticketing department throws their way.

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The BPI is introducing a Member Services Manager role. The new position will support the Membership and International department in their objective of actively promoting the BPI and its brands, the rights and reputation of its members and the success of British music.

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A PledgeMusic Campaign Manager's role is to oversee and manage every aspect of a PledgeMusic pre-order or crowdfunding campaign. This involves managing the smooth launch, running, and closure of a campaign, liaising with every other PledgeMusic department, and daily contact with all areas of the music industry.

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We are looking for an experienced Head Of Digital to manage the scheduling and direct delivery for all our digital releases to all DSP’s ensuring quality control and accurate, timely delivery. The successful candidate will also prioritise content management on streaming retailers and be responsible for catalogue registrations for both copyright and publishing direct with many collection societies worldwide.

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World Circuit is seeking a full time Marketing & PR manager at its offices in London. The ideal candidate is a creative, self-motivated individual with 3+ years music business experience in marketing and/or project management.

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21 Apr 2017 CMU Insights @ Canadian Music Week
6 May 2017 CMU Insights @ SPOT+
18 May 2017 CMU Insights @ The Great Escape - The Media Conference
18 May 2017 CMU Insights @ The Great Escape - The Drugs Conference
19 May 2017 CMU Insights @ The Great Escape - The Export Conference
19 May 2017 CMU Insights @ The Great Escape - The Royalties Conference

Universal Music signs new licensing deal with Spotify
Spotify and Universal Music yesterday confirmed that they had finally inked a new multi-year licensing deal after long drawn out negotiations that could now be turned into some kind of opera. With Universal Music boss Lucian Grainge dressed in his knight's armour throughout and Spotify chief Daniel Ek delivering all his lines falsetto. I'd buy tickets.

As much previously reported, Spotify needs new multi-year licensing deals with all the big music rights owners before it goes to Wall Street with its IPO. It also needs to ensure that its original business plan of keeping 30% of revenue is in tact, despite recent efforts by the music publishers to increase the share of digital income they receive. That chiefly means getting a better rate from the record companies.

Although the labels and publishers have no interest in the Spotify IPO tanking - what with the majors and Merlin-repped indies having equity in the business, and the recent growth in the recorded music market being mainly down to subscription streaming services of which Spotify is the biggest - at the same time, the rights owners know that their negotiating power will likely decrease post Spotify's flotation.

Hence the driving of a hard bargain on Universal's part, the slow and tortuous deal negotiations, and the very dramatic last minute jousting tournament between Grainge and Ek in which no one held back. But whose lance hit its target first?

As expected, Universal gets itself some windowing as part of the new deal, with the label now having the option to keep new releases off Spotify's free service for the first two weeks of release. Such windowing - seen by many at the labels as an incentive for freebie streamers to upgrade to premium - has been long discussed in the music community, and has seemed inevitable for some time.

Of course, if the windowing really does persuade free users to go premium, Spotify wins too. Though the streaming service has been hesitant of stripping back its free offer to date, mainly because it fears freemium subscribers might switch to YouTube or piracy services, and Spotify relies on its free userbase as the key marketing channel via which to upsell premium.

Confirming windowing was a key concession made to Universal in the new deal, Ek warbled yesterday: "We know that not every album by every artist should be released the same way, and we've worked hard with Universal Music to develop a new, flexible release policy. Starting today, Universal artists can choose to release new albums on premium only for two weeks, offering subscribers an earlier chance to explore the complete creative work, while the singles are available across Spotify for all our listeners to enjoy".

As for the other kickbacks provided to the mega-major in the new deal, Ek and Spotify were less specific, except to say that "the new agreement will also provide Universal with unprecedented access to data, creating the foundation for new tools for artists and labels to expand, engage and build deeper connections with their fans".

In terms of the specific financials - the new revenue share arrangement and any accompanying advances and minimum guarantees - those are, of course, top secret. Because imagine if a Universal-signed artist actually knew how their music was being monetised by the world's biggest streaming service! The sky would surely fall in and not even Grainge's trusty sword could save us all.

"Working hand in hand with these digital services brought us the industry's first real growth in nearly two decades", boomed the Universal boss when confirming the new Spotify deal yesterday. "Our challenge now is transforming that upturn into sustainable growth. In a market this dynamic, one evolving more rapidly than ever before, success requires creative and continual re-evaluation of how best to bring artists' music to fans".

As previously reported, sources say that Universal has agreed to offer Spotify more preferential rates, but that is dependent on the streaming service achieving certain growth targets. The major will also be hoping that the increased flexibility on releases, and extra data and marketing benefits, will help it maximise streams and therefore royalties on Spotify itself, as well as boosting revenue opportunities elsewhere.

Meanwhile, it remains to be seen how quickly the other labels and publishers sign up to the kind of multi-year deals Spotify needs for its IPO. I'm planning on turning the Sony negotiations into a Brechtian play.


Rick Ross pleads no contest to kidnapping charges
Rapper Rick Ross has been given probation after pleading no contest to kidnapping and assault charges.

As previously reported, Ross and his bodyguard Nadrian James were accused of attacking two of his employees - Jonathan Zamudio and Leo Caceres - at his home in Atlanta, Georgia in 2015. The incident apparently occurred after Zamudio and Caceres held a party at the house without Ross's permission.

The rapper attempted to employ various tactics to have the case dismissed, the last immediately before entering his plea. When that failed, both he and James pleaded no contest to the charges against them. Ross also pleaded no contest to marijuana possession charges.

Both men were given five years' probation, in which time they are not allowed to contact Zamudio and Caceres. They are also barred from using drugs or alcohol, and will have to attend anger management classes.

"The resolution to the case was reached after discussion with the prosecution team, victims and law enforcement", said Fayette County District Attorney Benjamin D Coker, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "It was the best resolution to the case considering the facts and circumstances at hand".

Outside the court, Ross said that he respects and appreciates the ruling.


Lords call for extension of agent of change principle
Cross-sector trade group UK Music yesterday welcomed recommendations made by a House Of Lords select committee on the licensing of live events, and in particular a call to extend the much talked about agent of change principle.

As previously reported, this is the rule that if a developer puts a new residential property next to an existing live music venue, they must take responsibility for ensuring there will be no resulting noise issues once the new residents move in.

The principle aims to overcome the phenomenon where the cultural community revitalises an area of a town or city, property developers then capitalise on that by building new flats, and then complaining residents in those new properties cause licensing headaches for the venues that enticed them to that part of town in the first place.

The Lords committee that has been reviewing the licensing rules that impact on gigs and venues said that the 2012 Live Music Act - which aimed to simplify the licensing process for smaller gigs - was working largely as intended. They also said that the appointment of 'night czars' in cities to focus on the local night-time economy - like London's Amy Lamé - was a good thing.

In terms of proposed changes, extending the agent of change principle was a key recommendation. The UK government has actually already committed to boost agent of change style protections via the National Planning Policy Framework, though the Lords recommendation - if followed - could further protect venues from new property developments resulting in noise complaints.

The Lords also proposed that the 'late night levy' - an extra tax local authorities can charge licensed premises which open late into the night - should be abolished. The parliamentary report argued that the levy, where employed, was a burden on pubs and clubs, and wasn't contributing to local policing costs as had been originally intended.

Welcoming the report, UK Music boss Jo Dipple said: "UK Music asks government to take forward the Lords suggestion that a full 'agent of change' principle for planning and licensing guidance be introduced. If implemented, recommendations to introduce an agent of change principle and ditch the late night levy will make a big difference to the provision of music across the UK's cities and regions".

However, Dipple noted that one new measure her organisation has been lobbying for was not backed in the report. That's the proposal that 'cultural benefit' be added as a criteria for consideration when local councils are reviewing event licensing applications. Lord Tim Clement-Jones proposed adding that extra criteria via the Policing And Crime Bill last year, but the government argued that it wasn't necessary.

On that proposal, which is not backed in the new Lords report, Dipple said: "A proposed 'fifth objective' for licensing decisions, which would enable local authorities to weigh up positive cultural impacts, would also have helped [the provision of live music] and it is a pity the committee did not accept this".


AC/DC's Brian Johnson to present Sky Arts show
Now no longer touring with AC/DC, Brian Johnson is turning his hand to TV presenting. 'Brian Johnson's A Life On The Road' on the Sky Arts channel will see him visit various rock types to talk to them about, er, life on the road.

One of his interviewees, Def Leppard's Joe Elliott recently said on his Planet Rock radio show: "I was quite humbled to be invited to do it because the guests that he's got on the show are quite extraordinary. We spent about eight hours shooting the show. We were walking around the Temple Bar area of Dublin in the rain and wind. It was cold and horrible but we did spend most of it indoors at The Porterhouse HQ where he sampled Joe Elliott's Louder beer. To be quite honest, I think he quite enjoyed it".

The first 'A Life On The Road' show will air on 28 Apr and feature Roger Daltrey. As well as the Who vocalist and Elliott, Johnson will speak to Metallica's Lars Ulrich, Pink Floyd's Nick Mason, Sting and Robert Plant.


Five updates on the CMU@TGE Royalties Conference
The Great Escape is now very much on the horizon, and today we announced more speakers who will be taking part in the Royalties Conference, one of four one-day conferences CMU Insights will present as part of the TGE Convention this year. Here are those updates!

1. How exactly do you license a global streaming service? Digital music expert Becky Brook has navigated the complexities of music licensing across the globe on behalf of large blue chip companies, and will talk us through the different deals a streaming platform must do with the music industry in order to go live. And if you think recording rights are tricky, wait till we get to the publishing rights!

2. What's going down in Europe? The European Union is busy revising its copyright regime for the digital age via an all-new Copyright Directive. European IP law specialist Sophie Goossens will tell you which elements of that directive will impact on music, and how things are shaping up as of May.

3. Direct licensing in live. We're pleased to confirm that rights management expert Maria Forte will be joining our conversation on direct licensing in live. CMU's Chris Cooke will explain why some artists are now leaving the collective licensing system when they go on tour, before discussing the pros and cons of this approach with both Maria and Adam Elfin of PACE Rights Management.

4. The ins and outs of TV sync. We're also pleased to announce that Stacey Mitsopulos, Director Of Commercial & Business Affairs at The Box Plus Network, will be discussing the ins and outs of music on TV, from a rights and royalties perspective. She'll be joining CMU's Chris Cooke and Sentric Music's Simon Pursehouse as part of the session 'When Music Gets Synchronised'.

5. Get up to speed before the event. For the first time this year, we will be offering some CMU Insights ahead of the conference so that delegates can learn the basics that will help them get more out of the debates on the day. Attendees will be able to access an exclusive pre-event CMU Insights online seminar via the TGE Industry Extra service. Signed up delegates should look out for more information about all this soon.

More info on all things CMU@TGE here.


Approved: Anneka
Anneka may already be familiar for her work on tracks by FaltyDL, Lone, Forest Swords, Blue Daisy and Ital Tek. Now she's preparing to release her debut solo EP, 'Life Force', on 28 Apr, via Anti-Ghost Moon Ray.

Her new single and the EP's title track - 'Life Force' - sets the tone for her solo output with dark synth parts winding under densely layered vocals.

Lyrically she takes inspiration from the world of sci-fi, writing from the perspective of an android trying to understand what it means to be human. In the end, it's hard to know if the protagonist means this as empathy or a threat.

Watch the video for 'Life Force' here.

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

Fall drummer seriously injured in "horrific assault"
The Fall's drummer Keiron Melling is recovering after being attacked by two men on a train from Manchester to Blackburn. Melling was left severally injured by what police have called a "horrific assault" just after 9pm on Monday last week.

An update on a Fall fansite suggests that Melling had stepped in to break up an altercation with another passenger before the two attackers turned on him. The two men repeatedly stamped on his head, leaving him in a pool of blood when they left the train at Smithy Bridge in Rochdale

Police have released a CCTV image of two men they want to speak to in relation to the attack.

Investigating officer DS Stephen Kite said in a statement: "This was a horrific assault. The behaviour of the two suspects who fled the area makes me believe they are not residents of Smithy Bridge. They seemed lost and confused so it is likely they intended to stay on the train until a later destination. Therefore, we would also like to appeal to people from Blackburn and other areas who may know who these men are".

Melling is now recovering from his injuries at home.

Anyone who believes they have information relevant to the attack is asked to contact British Transport Police by texting 61016, or calling 0800 405040 quoting reference '572 of March 27'. You can also contact Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.


Beth Ditto announces debut solo album
Former Gossip vocalist Beth Ditto has announced that she will release her debut solo album, 'Fake Sugar', on 16 Jun.

The record comes six whole years after her debut solo release, a Simian Mobile Disco-produced EP. While that saw her take a route into dance music, the album goes in an entirely different direction. Speaking about the inspiration for 'Fake Sugar', she says: "[Previously] I was running away from the bad parts of Southern culture [but] I'm old enough now and so grateful for my family that I can finally embrace the good in where I grew up".

You can catch Ditto live at Omeara in London next week, on 11 Apr. Here's first single, 'Fire'.


Mew release new single from Visuals
Mew have shared another new track from their forthcoming album, 'Visuals', which is out on 28 Apr. Titled 'Twist Quest', the track again comes with a kaleidoscopic video to match those of previous singles.

"This song took shape during a long jam session, like we hadn't done in a long time", says the band's Jonas Bjerre. "It's a joyful song, with dark lyrics. I guess the song is about being confused, and unable to keep your mind still from all the stuff that floats around it. The expectations we put on ourselves. But also there's a sense of celebration in it".

Watch the video for 'Twist Quest' here.


UNKLE to release new album
James Lavelle has announced a new UNKLE album, 'The Road Part 1'. The record sees Lavelle operating as the sole member of the project, though he's kept company by plenty of collaborators on individual tracks.

"I hadn't made a record in a long time, and the incarnation of UNKLE had changed in that now, it was me on my own", says Lavelle. "For that reason, I wanted to make a record that I hadn't been able to before, going back to the roots of where I came from, with a foot in modern London".

Among the guests featured on the record are Mark Lanegan, Primal Scream's Andrew Innes, poet Keaton Henson, The Duke Spirit's Liela Moss, and Eska.

And here's the new video for 'The Road', featuring Eska.


Ole, Regina Spektor, Jorja Smith, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Toronto-based music rights firm Ole has announced a deal with Canadian broadcaster Bell Media, which sees the music firm manage and administer the media company's in-house catalogue of musical works. Bell Media hopes that the deal will grow the international exploitation of its music rights.

• A new trade organisation for music supervisors in the UK and Europe you say? You bet. It's called the UK & European Guild Of Music Supervisors and it will officially launch at Metropolis Studios in London tomorrow. Lovely stuff.

• Public Service Broadcasting have released a video for new single 'Progress'.

• There's a new Sleep Party People album, called 'Lingering', coming out on 2 Jun. About time too. Here's first single 'The Missing Steps'.

• Noga Erez has released the title track from her debut album, 'Off The Radar', which is out on 2 Jun.

• Regina Spektor will be touring the UK this summer, ending with a show at the Hammersmith Apollo on 9 Aug.

• The Drums have announced a short UK tour in October, finishing up at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London on 7 Oct.

• Jorja Smith will play her biggest headline show to date at Electric Brixton on 20 Jul.


Ed Sheeran is making you fat
A study by the Swedish Retail Institute and curated of playlists for brands Soundtrack Your Brand has found that curated playlists in shops can boost retail sales. Funny that. And it turns out that Ed Sheeran is particularly good at shifting burgers.

The study was carried out in Sweden at a mystery American burger chain, reports The Guardian. Analysing nearly two million sales, researchers found that certain songs could boost sales of burgers by 8.6%, chips by 8.8% and desserts by as much as 15.6%.

"Music triggers associations in our brain", says consumer behaviour expert Philip Graves. "The way in which we process our environment is primarily unconscious. What gets passed through to us is a feeling, and that feeling is then misattributed to the thing we are looking at. [The result is that] we like that thing more".

Spotify-backed start-up Soundtrack Your Brand recently raised $22 million for international expansion, so this study is seemingly timed to lay some groundwork for that (it's clearly no coincidence that the brand chosen for the study was an American burger restaurant).

The company's head of music Magnus Rydén says: "When you're curating for a business, it's important to really understand them. It's about expressing that brand through music. Once we've got the parameters right, it comes down to our daily sourcing of new music".

That said, he also admits that his team have as yet failed to find "the perfect burger-and-shake tune", but says that Ed Sheeran's 'Shape Of You' works particularly well in getting people to buy more food.


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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