TODAY'S TOP STORY: Rumours that Universal Music is seeking to cancel its $30 million deal with the Prince estate to represent the late musician's recordings catalogue have seemingly been confirmed in a court filing by estate administrators Comerica Bank... [READ MORE]
VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: The first Peckham Rye Music Festival takes place this weekend, mainly based at Copeland Park. Covering a diverse range of sonic treats, there seems to be something for everyone at an event that should place The Rye well and truly on the musical map. One of the highlights tonight will be Hyperdub's stage at the Copeland Gallery, with Kode 9 and Cooly G topping the bill. [READ MORE]
BEEF OF THE WEEK: Calvin Harris announced his new album this week. Although you may have missed that Harris himself was involved under the weight of guest vocalists he's brought in for the project. But, while amassing around 80% of all the big names in pop may seem like an exciting prospect for some, Deadmau5 is not amused. [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 spectacular collapse of Ja Rule's Fyre Festival and the many-layered fallout from it, Eminem's song-theft lawsuit against New Zealand's ruling National Party getting to court, and the launch of the CMU Insights @ The Great Escape programme. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
LATEST CMU TRENDS: The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry last week published its annual stats report, rounding up the financial performance of the global record industry in 2016. Revenues were up 5.9% worldwide, fuelled by the streaming boom. Reviewing the figures, CMU Trends provides three reasons to be optimistic, and three reasons for pessimism. CMU Trends articles are available to premium subscribers. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Prince estate confirms Universal's $30 million recordings deal in doubt
LEGAL Fyre won't fire you, but won't pay you either, failed festival boss tells staff
YouTube doesn't negatively impact on the streaming market, says YouTube
Dappy arrested over assault and knife possession
Frank Ocean responds to father's $14 million libel lawsuit
THE GREAT ESCAPE CMU@TGE Top Ten Questions: How do you successfully launch new acts in new markets?
RELEASES Denai Moore announces new album
Boris announce new album, Dear
ONE LINERS Jay-Z, LA Reid, BBC Music Day, more
AND FINALLY... Beef Of The Week #354: Deadmau5 v Calvin Harris
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16 May 2017 CMU:DIY x Urban Development: Getting A Gig
18 May 2017 CMU Insights @ The Great Escape - The Media Conference
18 May 2017 CMU Insights @ The Great Escape - The Drugs Conference
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20 Jun 2017 CMU:DIY x Urban Development: Where Labels & Publishers Fit In

Prince estate confirms Universal's $30 million recordings deal in doubt
Rumours that Universal Music is seeking to cancel its $30 million deal with the Prince estate to represent the late musician's recordings catalogue have seemingly been confirmed in a court filing by estate administrators Comerica Bank.

As previously reported, the Wall Street Journal reported last month that execs at Universal - which secured the rights to represent Prince's recording, publishing and merch rights in three separate multi-million dollar deals - had been having second thoughts about the former of those arrangements now that they had had time to dig into the details of the agreement.

Prior to his death, Prince agreed a new deal with his original label Warner Music, ending over two decades of feuding. That arrangement saw the musician regain control of some of his early recordings, especially in the US, which he then licensed back to the mini-major. Quite what recordings are in Warner's control - now and in the future - varies according to release, format and territory.

Universal's deal covered the rights to represent Prince's post-Warner output, including the large vault of previously unreleased works, plus any Warner-released albums as they came back into the estate's control. It's the latter albums, and the hits they contain, that Universal was most interested in repping. And, it seems, they thought they'd get access to more hits sooner than the 2014 Warner deal actually allows.

Which is why the mega-major is now trying to back out of the deal, accusing the Prince estate's former entertainment industry advisor L Londell McMillan of misrepresenting what recordings the deal would cover when, an allegation he has already denied.

We now have confirmation that Universal is indeed accusing McMillan of misconduct during its deal negotiations with the Prince estate, specifically of "fraudulent inducement in connection with the deal". This is confirmed in a letter sent by the aforementioned Comercia Bank to the court overseeing the Prince estate, which has in turn been seen by Billboard.

The letter has been prompted by a totally different Prince deal that is now being negotiated by the estate in relation to a concert film that was recorded in 1983 and features the first performance of a number of songs from the star's 'Purple Rain' album. The estate is seemingly shopping the rights to stream the live recording to various platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify.

That has required the estate to inform legal reps for Prince's six presumed heirs of the potential concert film deal, with confidential information about the nature of that arrangement. Three of those heirs are still represented by McMillan, and have asked for permission to share details of the concert film proposal with him.

Which, says Comercia, is problematic because of the allegations of fraudulent inducement made against McMillan by Universal, which is now seeking to cancel its $30 million deal in relation to Prince's recordings catalogue. A 10% cut of the money generated by that deal was paid to McMillan and his then co-advisor Charles Koppelman as a commission.

The letter confirms that a court hearing is now pending to consider Universal's demand to cancel its deal over Prince's recordings on the basis of McMillan's alleged misconduct.


Fyre won't fire you, but won't pay you either, failed festival boss tells staff
As lawsuits against the organisers of the ill-fated Fyre Festival continue to pile up - with one of the venture's financial backers the latest to go legal - Vice News has published a recording of a post-event conference call in which boss man Billy McFarland tells his staff that no one will be fired as a result of his failed island festival, but that no one is getting paid.

Most of the staff on the call that took place last Friday were actually working on a talent booking app which the woeful attempt at a luxury festival in the Bahamas was designed to promote. In the call, McFarland says: "After conferring with our counsel and all financial people, unfortunately we are not able to proceed with payroll. We're not firing anyone, we're just letting you know that there will be no payroll in the short term".

He went on: "I understand that this is not an ideal situation for everybody, and this will likely cause a lot of you to resign, which we totally get and understand. That said, if you want to stick with us, we'd love to have you and we'd love to work together and hunker down and get back to a place where everything resumes to business as usual".

According to Vice, many of McFarland's team did subsequently resign last weekend, though by refusing to make them redundant Fyre Media may have made it difficult for those people to collect any unemployment benefits that may have otherwise been due to them. One employee also noted that salaries had often been paid in an informal fashion since last October, sometimes in cash, and she wondered whether there was any formal record of her actually being on the staff at all.

Another employee on the conference call revealed that she had heard that at least one of her colleagues on the Fyre team had been contacted by the FBI in relation to the festival debacle. "Should we be concerned about the FBI, Billy?" she asked. "That's really more of an individual thing," McFarland replied, before offering access to Fyre Media's lawyers if the feds came a-calling.

McFarland's co-founder Ja Rule was also on the call, but mainly to listen. Early on he announced, "I'm on the phone but I can barely hear you all because of this fucking hum".

Neither McFarland, Ja Rule nor the Fyre companies have as yet responded to any of the litigation that is now piling up against them. You have to think that some sort of action from former staff will soon be added to that pile.


YouTube doesn't negatively impact on the streaming market, says YouTube
Value gap? What value gap? A new report confirms once and for all that Google's YouTube doesn't have any particularly negative impact on the other streaming music services, despite all the free music it offers. And who commissioned this report? Google. So, you know, they'd know, surely?

The web giant paid a company called RBB Economics to survey 1500 music consumers on its platform in a bid to respond to the music industry's repeated vocal criticism of YouTube. And in particular the industry's argument that the Google site exploits the copyright safe harbours to secure preferential deals from music rights owners, while hindering the growth of premium streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music that pay much better rates to the record labels and music publishers.

The Europe-focused study reckons that - if all the music was somehow removed from YouTube - 85% of the time, users who are currently tapping some tunes on the video site would instead rely on TV or radio for their music, which pay relatively low royalties too. Users would also spend 29% more time on piracy networks.

While, when it comes to a music ban on YouTube driving new premium subscriptions elsewhere, the report reckons that only 15% of even heavy music users on the video site, who consume more than 20 hours of music there each month, would suddenly start paying to stream. Though that figure varies from country to country. In the UK, 19% would go premium, whereas only 12% would in France.

The report also uses YouTube's long stand-off with German collecting society GEMA to provide a 'control' territory, capitalising on the fact that the PRO finally did a deal with YouTube last November to compare music usage in Germany before and after that agreement. Blocking tracks on YouTube had no effect on their performance on the other streaming services, the report reckons.

Says Patrick Smith at RBB Economics: "Our research examines the question of cannibalisation and finds that in the absence of YouTube, most time spent listening to music would be lost or move to similar or lower value channels, including file-sharing and piracy".

Yeah, well they would say that wouldn't they? That's what you're all thinking right now, aren't you? Needless to say, reps for the record industry weren't persuaded or impressed by Google's new research, which is a simple PR move - the labels reckon - to try to distract law-makers in Europe who are considering measures to limit the reach of the aforementioned safe harbour.

"Google's latest publicity push once again seeks to distract from the fact that YouTube, essentially the world's largest on-demand music service, is failing to license music on a fair basis and compensate artists and producers properly by claiming it is not liable for the music it is making available", said globally-focused trade group IFPI.

"Services like YouTube, that are not licensing music on fair terms, hinder the development of a sustainably healthy digital music market. Rather than Google/YouTube's 'my way or the highway' approach, where they say they can't behave as other digital music services do, legislative action is required to address the 'value gap' that is denying music creators a fair return for their work and investment so that the recent upturn [in recorded music revenues] will be sustainable for the long term".

Meanwhile, the boss of the UK record industry's trade group BPI, Geoff Taylor, questioned YouTube's conclusions of its own research, reckoning that "despite its misleading headlines, the data in this Google-commissioned report reinforces the fact that YouTube is having a negative impact on revenues from recorded music".

He went on: "RBB's report for Google confirms that a significant proportion of YouTube consumption would move onto a higher value service if music were not available on YouTube. RBB's data shows that nearly a fifth of YouTube usage in the UK would divert onto higher value platforms, such as paid subscription services".

Doing some number crunching, he continued: "If that usage were evenly distributed among YouTube's users and 19% of YouTube users chose to take out a music subscription, it would generate approximately £415 million per annum additional retail spend on music - doubling the current value of the UK streaming market. Even if only half this number chose to subscribe, the shift would still make an enormous difference to the UK's artists, songwriters and labels and to the growth of our digital music sector".

"This data therefore reinforces the argument that creators have been making about the value gap for some time", Taylor concluded. "YouTube continues to rely on a legal loophole to pay only a tiny fraction of the rate that competing services such as Spotify and Apple pay for music. This patently unfair distortion in the digital content market must be fixed once and for all, and we again call on the UK government and on EU policymakers to clarify that online platforms must secure fair arms' length licences for the content that they commercially exploit".


Dappy arrested over assault and knife possession
Former N-Dubz star Dappy has been charged with public order offences, after being arrested earlier this week on suspicion of assaulting a woman and carrying a knife in public.

According to The Sun, Dappy, real name Costadinos Contostavlos, was detained after armed police were called to a residential street in Hatfield, where the musician lives, on Wednesday afternoon. He is alleged to have hit a woman with a tennis racket, and later threatened to "stab the Old Bill in the face".

A neighbour told the newspaper: "Dappy and the girl were screaming and shouting and - when he heard that the police had been called - he shouted, 'I'll stab the Old Bill'. He had her pinned down on the driveway and was hitting her with a tennis racket. He was really laying into her and they were spitting at each other".

Four students are said to have come to the woman's aid, at which point Dappy fled into his house. Armed police then arrived and forced their way through the door.

In a statement, Hertfordshire Police confirmed: "The man threatened the woman before leaving the scene. It is believed he had a knife. No one was seriously injured".

The police charges were confirmed this morning by the BBC.


Frank Ocean responds to father's $14 million libel lawsuit
Frank Ocean has responded to the $14 million libel lawsuit filed against him by his father earlier this year. He denies the accusation that a blog post he published on Tumblr last year presents any untrue statements.

As previously reported, in the wake of the attack on Orlando's Pulse nightclub last June, Ocean wrote a post on Tumblr, in which he said: "I was six years old when I heard my dad call our transgender waitress a faggot as he dragged me out a neighbourhood diner saying we wouldn't be served because she was dirty. That was the last afternoon I saw my father and the first time I heard that word, I think, although it wouldn't shock me if it wasn't".

Ocean's father, Calvin Cooksey, denies that this incident ever took place, accusing his son of staging a "publicity stunt in the wake of the Orlando attack ... [and] us[ing] his father as an instrument for personal connection in order to sell records".

In new legal documents, obtained by Pitchfork, Oceans says that his blog post "speaks for itself" and delivers a true account of the incident about which he wrote. He adds that his father's arguments are all "statements of opinion, and thus not the proper subjects of a libel claim".

Ocean is asking for the case to be dismissed, and for his father to cover his legal costs.


CMU@TGE Top Ten Questions: How do you successfully launch new acts in new markets?
In the run up to this year's CMU Insights @ The Great Escape conference, we are going through the top ten questions we will be answering during this year's programme. Today: How do you successfully launch new acts in new markets?

The Great Escape is all about helping artists go global - to 'escape' their home market - and launch themselves, as recording and touring artists, in new territories. And this year we have a whole Export Conference packed with practical tips on how to make that happen.

Of course, in the digital age, on one level artists are global as soon as they upload their music to SoundCloud and Spotify, and set up their social and direct-to-fan channels. But, while digital means artists can score surprise hits in surprising markets, achieving international success requires infrastructure, expertise and investment.

There is no single template way to build international success, but learning from the experience of others who took their artists into new markets very recently is a great starting point. And we'll be doing just that by chatting to four independent managers and labels who have recently secured funding from the UK government-backed Music Export Growth Scheme.

We will hear from David Manders from Test Card Recordings discussing the export of Public Service Broadcasting, Julie Weir from Goremount on Fearless Vampire Killers, Phil Middleton from ATC on Temperance Movement and Samantha Smith from Fairsound Management on LoneLady.

Showcase festivals like The Great Escape play an important role here too, of course. Though just getting your act booked to play a showcase event won't in itself deliver the goods, you need to work the showcase festival to your artist's advantage. We'll be digging deep to get tips aplenty on that too during The Export Conference.

Bhavesh Patel from the PRS Foundation will kick things off with some of the advice he offers to acts who get international funding from his organisation, while Gordon Masson from IQ magazine will discuss how to get more from a showcase festival with artist managers Umong Shah and Peter McGaughrin, Earth Agency's Claire Courtney, [PIAS]'s Pip Newby and Marauder's Rev Moose.

And finally, let's ensure all this global expansion doesn't result in artists getting stuck at the border. In amongst all this, we'll be joined by Andy Corrigan from Viva La Visa to talk through his list of the top five mistakes music people make when securing visas.

The Export Conference is presented in partnership with BPI, and will be a fact-packed, tip-filled day of sessions.

Vigsy's Club Tip: Peckham Rye Music Festival
The first Peckham Rye Music Festival takes place this weekend, mainly based at Copeland Park. Covering a diverse range of sonic treats, there seems to be something for everyone at an event that should place The Rye well and truly on the musical map.

One of the highlights tonight will be Hyperdub's stage at the Copeland Gallery, with Kode 9 and Cooly G topping the bill. One of my faves, Martyn, will also be lashing his awesome blend of tech at the same venue on Saturday night, with Space Dimension Controller on after him.

On Sunday, Secretsundaze host the main outdoor stage from 2-9pm, with Patrice Scott and the Secretsundaze residents leading the proceedings.

Friday 12 May - Sunday 15 May, various venues in Peckham, 1pm-1am each day, £15-£49.50. More info here.

Denai Moore announces new album
Denai Moore has announced that she will release her second album, 'We Used To Bloom', on 16 Jun. Along with this news, she has released a new single, 'Does It Get Easier'.

"'Does It Get Easier' was probably the most rewarding song to finish for this album", says Moore of the new single. "This song was originally a guitar lead song, which never really worked. Playing guitar is my real comfort zone and I knew I needed to push myself past my comfort zone, so I took the original guitar riff out of the song. Suddenly everything felt so much more exciting, and ironically easier to progress".

She continues: "Lyrically, this song means a lot to me. I am at times always my worst critic but I've realised how important it is to make peace with the 'not knowing' element of life and really focus on what makes me excited and how to nurture that excitement. That is what this song is about, there are things that will always be out of my control, and it's a beautiful thing!"

Of the album's title, she adds: "I chose it because I felt like I'm in the growing aspect of my life. There's something about blossoming and blooming that I associate with being younger, but now I'm older and I'm really coming to understand myself as a person. We used to bloom; now we grow".

Listen to 'Does It Get Easier?' here.


Boris announce new album, Dear
Marking their 25th anniversary, Japanese genre jumpers Boris have announced their 23rd studio album 'Dear'.

"At the very first moment, this album began as some kind of potential farewell note of Boris", say the band. "However, it became a sincere letter to fans and listeners... you know, like 'Dear so-and-so, this is the new album from Boris' or something like that. We feel so grateful we can release this album in our 25th anniversary year."

'Dear' will be released on 14 Jul. From it, this is first single 'Absolutego'.


One Liners: Jay-Z, LA Reid, BBC Music Day, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Having confirmed it was renewing its business partnership with Jay-Z last month, Live Nation has now announced that that includes a new ten year exclusive touring relationship with the rapper. Variety reckons the touring deal is worth $200 million. "Testament", says Jay-Z. "Pre-eminent", responds Live Nation boss Michael Rapino.

• Pitbull has signed a new deal with talent agency WME, moving over from CAA. As well as pushing his availability as a sort of rapper, the company will also help to build his burgeoning career as a motivational speaker.

• Black metallers Satyircon have signed a new worldwide record deal with Napalm Records. They will release a still-in-production new album on 22 Sep. "We are proud to announce the signing of one of the most influential extreme metal acts and a pioneer of a whole genre", says Napalm CEO Thomas Caser.

• Death metal originators Possessed have signed a new global deal with Nuclear Blast Records. The band are currently working on a new album for release next year. "This has been a long time coming and this is a very exciting time for us", says vocalist Jeff Becerra.

• Warner/Chappell has extended its worldwide publishing agreement with German urban artist Marteria. "I look forward to keeping our momentum together going", says Marteria. "I look forward to continuing our work together", adds Warner/Chappell's Lars Karlsson.

• Sony Music exec LA Reid is departing from his job at the top of the major's Epic Records division in the US, according to Variety. The former Universal exec joined Sony in 2011. It's not clear what his next move will be, though he has always had other projects beyond his label boss role.

• BBC Music Day will this year take place on 15 Jun, with various music-related events being staged around the country to be broadcast on the telly and the radio. "BBC Music Day is a chance for people across the country to celebrate the power of music", says BBC radio boss Bob Shennan. Thank the high heavens we've finally been given that chance.

• Miley Cyrus, in her new less tongue-based guise, has released a new single, 'Malibu'.

• Shakira has announced that she will release a new album, 'El Dorado', on 26 May. From it, this is first single 'Me Enamoré'.

• Fetty Wap has released new single 'Aye', taken from his upcoming 'King Zoo' album.

• Kelly Lee Owens has released the video for 'Throwing Lines'. Here are reasons you should watch it: 1) It's a great video. 2) It's taken from one of this year's best albums. 3) Why aren't you watching it already?

Check out all the new music featured in this week's CMU Dailies on Spotify here.


Beef Of The Week #354: Deadmau5 v Calvin Harris
Calvin Harris announced his new album this week. Although you may have missed that Harris himself was involved under the weight of guest vocalists he's brought in for the project. But, while amassing around 80% of all the big names in pop may seem like an exciting prospect for some, Deadmau5 is not amused.

If this bit of release news passed you by, due for release on 30 Jun, 'Funk Wav Bounces Vol 1' is scheduled to feature Frank Ocean, Travis Scott, Kehlani, Future, Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry, Big Sean, John Legend, Khalid, Migos, Schooboy Q, Ariana Grande, Yung Thug, DRAM, Nicki Minaj, Lil Yachty, Jessie Reyez, Partynextdoor and Snoop Dogg.

"Anyone ever remember when Calvin Harris was just... Calvin Harris?" tweeted Deadmau5, upon seeing the guestlist. "Who the fuck are all these other people? Like... why?"

Before you answer any of those clearly rhetorical questions, Deadmau5 was back with answers himself, saying: "Fucking hate watching what I love to do get raped by popular culture for the sake of selling stupid shit for stupid people".

You hear that, Calvin Harris fans? If you came to the party after the first two Calvin Harris-only albums you are a stupid person who likes stupid shit. I assume that's what Deadmau5 means, because Calvin Harris stopped being "just... Calvin Harris" circa 2012, with the release of his third album '18 Months'. It was very collab-heavy too - Harris having sworn off being a frontman - and is also by far his most successful album to date. You'd think Deadmau5 might have noticed.

Still, that album only had eleven guests on it. This new one has nineteen, maybe more. It is a bit excessive. Deadmau5 joked that his next project would be "Deadmau5 feat Barry Manilow feat Gloria Gaynor feat Ghostface Killah feat REO Speedwagon feat Garth Brooks feat a potato feat Steve Nash". Imagine if he could get all those people (and the potato) in a room together though.

Still, I think the point he's making is that Calvin Harris's success is these days is largely based on the good names of others, rather than his own talent. "I personally like that I've managed to do everything myself", he continued. "I wouldn't trade that for a million album sales. Some would. I'm not anti-collab. Works well when it works well. But fuck, some of this shit just reeks of 'I gotta do this to stay on top' not 'art'".

That's probably is a valid criticism of Harris's work in more recent years - it having been largely stripped of the personality he filled those first two albums with. But, hey, we've not heard this album yet. Maybe it's a solid gold work of cohesive art, where each collaboration makes absolute sense. After all, no one's calling out Damon Albarn enlisting 97 guests on the new Gorillaz album.

Also, the short clip in the teaser video Harris made available this week is a far cry from the fairly run of the mill EDM he's been putting out in recent years. This could be Calvin's masterpiece.

Sure, the title, 'Funk Wav Bounces Vol 1', doesn't exactly inspire confidence, but that's just the sort of thing Calvin Harris would do to blindside us. And that's the sort of thing Deadmau5 should approve of, he being fairly keen on half-arsed album titles himself. Come on Harris, don't let us down.

Deadmau5's most successful single to date, if you were wondering, is 'Ghosts N Stuff', featuring Pendulum's Rob Swire.


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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