TODAY'S TOP STORY: The American record industry's collecting society SoundExchange yesterday announced it had acquired Canadian mechanical rights society CMRRA in what the former is calling "a dramatic development for the global music industry". And who doesn't like a bit of drama? [READ MORE]
TODAY'S CMU APPROVED: The solo project of musician Joe Haege - previously a member of Tu Fawning, 31Knots and The Dodos - the first album from White Wine, 'Who Cares What The Laser Says?', was released last year. Picking up the dark sound of that record, Haege, now joined by Tu Fawning sound engineer Fritz Brückner, pre-empts album number two with the release of a new single, 'Hurry Home'. [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 Warner Music's new licensing deal with YouTube and the ongoing safe harbours debate, Amazon's latest moves in live music and its all new Echo device, plus an astonishing amount of Fyre Festival legal news. 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 SoundExchange buys Canadian mechanical rights society
LEGAL Deadmau5 countersues in cat-based trademark case
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Sony/ATV reveals upgrade to royalty reporting platform
MARKETING & PR Bills PR launches playlist plugging service
THE GREAT ESCAPE CMU@TGE Top Ten Questions: What drugs policies and initiatives can actually save lives?
RELEASES Katy Perry announces new album, Witness
Lana Del Rey releases new North Korea-inspired song
Mogwai announce new album, Every Country's Sun
ONE LINERS Mercury Prize, Six By Seven, Noga Erez, more
AND FINALLY... Musicians create new music out of Fyre Festival marketing notes
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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
19 May 2017 CMU Insights @ The Great Escape - The Export Conference
19 May 2017 CMU Insights @ The Great Escape - The Royalties Conference
20 Jun 2017 CMU:DIY x Urban Development: Where Labels & Publishers Fit In

SoundExchange buys Canadian mechanical rights society
The American record industry's collecting society SoundExchange yesterday announced it had acquired Canadian mechanical rights society CMRRA in what the former is calling "a dramatic development for the global music industry". And who doesn't like a bit of drama?

SoundExchange is the closest the US record industry has to an organisation like PPL in the UK, collecting royalties for artists and record labels when their performing rights are exploited. Though American copyright law only provides a digital performing right for sound recordings - rather than the wider general performing right found elsewhere - meaning SoundExchange only collects royalties from online and satellite radio services.

CMRRA, meanwhile, represents the mechanical rights in songs on behalf of Canadian music publishers, making it akin to the UK's MCPS. It claims to "represent the vast majority of musical works licensed in Canada and has assembled a large and comprehensive database that associates musical works to sound recordings".

Whatever you think about the claims of "drama", it is definitely an interesting deal. Aside from the fact that it allies two societies based in different countries, it also brings into common ownership agencies respectively representing the two different sets of music rights - ie the recording rights and the song rights - albeit the performing rights in the former and the mechanical rights in the latter.

SoundExchange says that the deal will provide it with "a unique opportunity to offer a broad and comprehensive range of services to rights holders in both sound recordings and music publishing and music users alike across North America". While the two organisations plan to continue operating autonomously from each other, yesterday's deal will, it says, allow the two organisations to "integrate and streamline the administration and distribution of sound recording and music publishing royalties".

Commenting on the acquisition, SoundExchange CEO Michael Huppe said: "We are proud to join forces with CMRRA. We have a simple, yet ambitious goal: to maximise the value of music for all creators - for musical works and recordings alike - wherever their work is used. The acquisition of CMRRA helps us increase efficiencies while also extending service to the publishing sector. This exciting partnership builds on CMRRA's great relationships with music publishers and licensees, its long record of accomplishment and its stellar reputation".

Meanwhile the current Chair of the CMRRA board, Sony/ATV's Gary Furniss, added: "The board initiated its search for a strategic partner for CMRRA nearly a year ago. The board was committed to finding a firm with the right mix of music industry know-how and a culture of digital entrepreneurship. SoundExchange fit the bill. Additionally, the opportunity for data collaboration will inevitably increase the speed, efficiency and accuracy of royalty payments for everyone".

The SoundExchange/CMRRA deal follows other moves to bring together collecting societies representing different kinds of music rights, though those have mainly been about allying organisations that represent the two different elements of the song copyright, ie the performing rights (when songs are performed or communicated) and the mechanical rights (when songs are reproduced and distributed).

In 2015, American performing rights organisation SESAC bought US mechanical rights company The Harry Fox Agency. Meanwhile back in Canada, last month the country's performing rights society SOCAN announced it was in "active and positive merger discussions" with the other Canadian mechanical rights society SODRAC, which is more focused on the Francophone repertoire. Yesterday SOCAN said it wished CMRRA "only the best with its new owner".

In the UK, of course, performing rights society PRS and mechanical rights society MCPS have long worked hand-in-hand, via an alliance, then a joint venture, and more recently with MCPS being a client of PRS. Though that arrangement is currently under review.


Deadmau5 countersues in cat-based trademark case
The cat case is evolving, everybody. Deadmau5 has countersued the online seller of feline-themed nonsense that may or may not have been named after the producer's cat.

As previously reported, back in March Deadmau5 - real name Joel Zimmerman - was sued following a long-running dispute over who has the best claim to the name Meowingtons, which is both the name of Zimmerman's pet (well, it's called Professor Meowingtons) and the cat tat selling website meowingtons.com.

The founder of Meowingtons the company, Emma Bassiri, sued Zimmerman after he filed a petition with the US Patent & Trademark office challenging her registration of the Meowingtons trademark. Now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, he is countersuing accusing Bassiri of trademark infringement, cybersquatting and unfair competition.

It is probably worth mentioning that Zimmerman's cat is well known to the producer's fanbase, has its own Instagram account and featured on merch sold by Deadmau5 to his fans prior to the launch of meowingtons.com. Hence his claim to ownership of the name and that Bassiri is confusing his fans and damaging his business.

Though back in March a spokesperson for Bassiri disputed those claims, insisting that "the mouse is clearly the copycat in this case". They told reporters: "The act of naming your pet animal is not protected by the trademark laws of any country of which I am aware. Our legal team is confident that Ms Bassiri, a creative and hardworking entrepreneur who has built a successful online retailing business - Meowingtons.com - inspired by her love of cats, will prevail as the rightful and sole owner of the mark 'Meowingtons'".

After filing the countersuit, a legal rep for Zimmerman, Irene Lee, told THR: "Two months ago, a company that hijacked our clients' trademark Meowingtons filed a lawsuit against our clients, Deadmau5 and his companies, including Prof Meowingtons Ltd. Despite our clients' efforts to resolve the matter amicably, the company - which took the very mark as its name: Meowingtons LLC - has been relentless, now forcing our clients to protect their trademark rights and intellectual property by filing a counterclaim".

Zimmerman is also suing Scott Hutchison, a former DJ who apparently manages the cat tat website. This is related to the producer's claim that Bassiri was aware of his use of the Meowingtons brand before setting up her business. The new legal filing includes a photo posted to social media in 2010 showing Hutchison playing Deadmau5 tracks on his computer. Zimmerman argues that it is "simply inconceivable" that Hutchison was unaware of Professor Meowingtons before Bassiri's website opened for business.

So that's all fun isn't it? Professor Meowingtons himself remains silent on the dispute.


Sony/ATV reveals upgrade to royalty reporting platform
Mega-music publisher Sony/ATV yesterday announced a number of upgrades to its royalties portal in a bid to give the songwriters it represents "access to the most comprehensive and transparent data available about their earnings". Good times.

Most music publishers have been busy in recent years honing their royalty reporting systems for songwriters, mainly as a result as a phenomenon scientists call the 'Kobalt effect'.

The upgrade of Sony/ATV's Score platform includes the introduction of "real-time access" to each songwriter's royalty account, rather than waiting for cash updates at the end of each royalty reporting period. There'll be detailed data about those recent earnings too, plus "an unparalleled overview of historic earnings information that can be searched and organised by song title, income source, time period and territory". Pie charts all round I say.

Says Sony/ATV boss dude Marty Bandier: "Sony/ATV prides itself on providing our songwriters and their teams an unsurpassed level of transparency and service with highly detailed royalty information. Additionally, within the next few months we will unveil the complementary Score app, further providing them with an unrivalled and groundbreaking insight into both their historic and current period royalties".

Oh yes, there's going to be an app too. I forgot to mention that. Good job Marty's here, hey? So, yes, soon all that real time data and unparalleled historic earnings information will be accessible via a mobile phone as well.

Adds the publisher's VP Worldwide Administration, Dale Esworthy: "All of the administration teams around the world are proud and pleased with this new release of Score not only because it provides writers unparalleled access to their information, but also because it demonstrates to our writers the level of attention we pay to them and their songs. We are honoured to represent their work in every corner of the globe, and bring that information to their fingertips".


Bills PR launches playlist plugging service
Music PR agency Bills PR has announced the launch of a new playlist plugging service, alongside its traditional print and online divisions. The service will focus initially on independently curated Spotify playlists.

"Helping people discover new music has always been at the heart of what we do", says company founder Jon Bills. "As this process has evolved, it was immediately apparent to me that Bills PR must adapt to help our clients reach the best possible audience - whether through bloggers, established music critics, or tastemakers".

"We have forged relationships with key playlist curators and influencers in the same way we do with journalists and bloggers", he goes on. "I'm extremely excited to be able to offer this service to artists and labels, which allows us to support them in further touch-points of music discovery".

The growing opportunities for plugging songs to playlist curators was a topic covered at CMU's Great Escape conference two years ago.


CMU@TGE Top Ten Questions: What drugs policies and initiatives can actually save lives?
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: What drugs policies and initiatives can actually save lives?

For a time last year the future of London clubbing institution Fabric looked rather bleak after Islington Council revoked the venue's licence following two drugs-related deaths. This despite Fabric being widely recognised, including by the police, as a best practice venue when it comes to drugs policies and safety initiatives.

There was a happy ending when Fabric eventually secured a new licence and was able to re-open for business. But the whole debacle put the spotlight on a number of issues.

First, the way local authorities and police forces work with or against club venues, and how much that varies around the country. Secondly, differing perceptions around the cultural value of the UK's clubbing scene and dance music in general. And thirdly, the way clumsy drug laws that ignore reality actually put young people in danger, by hindering practical educational initiatives and discouraging venues and promoters from working more closely with the authorities.

Shutting down clubs and festivals won't stop people taking drugs. And shutting down the good clubs and festivals will, if anything, simply put those people at a greater risk of harm. There are plenty of council officials and police chiefs around the country who know that, and who therefore support and facilitate better ways to ensure the safety of clubbers and festival-goers.

To ensure we don't see more best-practice venues in risk of being shut down, now seems like the perfect time for the clubbing community - and the wider music industry - to spotlight and celebrate those drugs initiatives that actually save lives, and to promote those schemes both to venues and promoters, but also to local authorities and police forces, and to law makers who ultimately provide the legislation and guidelines local agencies follow.

This is what we'll be doing at the start of the Drugs Conference this week at The Great Escape. Fabric's Andy Blackett and The Warehouse Project's Sacha Lord will discuss some of the best initiatives, and how we might go about promoting them, and making them standard around the country. While campaigner Nathalie Wainwright will explain why she spoke out in support of Fabric last year, and why education and harm reduction programmes should be at the top of everyone's agenda.

With that in mind, we'll also be joined by Vice's Jamie Clifton and Max Daly to discuss the challenge of how you write about and report on drugs in a credible and authentic way that can still deliver the safety message.


Approved: White Wine
The solo project of musician Joe Haege - previously a member of Tu Fawning, 31Knots and The Dodos - the first album from White Wine, 'Who Cares What The Laser Says?', was released last year. Picking up the dark sound of that record, Haege, now joined by Tu Fawning sound engineer Fritz Brückner, pre-empts album number two with the release of a new single, 'Hurry Home'.

"I like to make music that is played when a cafe is closed, and not when it's open", says Haege of the project. "In a world of art and media overload, and the unyielding barrage of advertising, it's not easy to find any territory not already well-trodden".

"Many musicians seek to create music of a fantastic escapism, poetically reframing the harsh reality we're all forced to swallow every day" he goes on. "It's an unbelievable skill that I wish I had. However, I'm not one of these. For some weird reason, I have this need to hold onto the sheer madness of existence, all of the suffering and celebrating happening at the same time".

Listen to 'Hurry Home' here.

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

Katy Perry announces new album, Witness
Katy Perry has announced that she will release her new album, 'Witness', on 9 Jun. So you can stop wondering about that now.

The announcement of this news did not come with a quote from Perry herself, because who's interested in that? Instead, the sponsors of her also newly announced US tour got a chance to chime in.

"Katy is one of the most popular artists on the planet and her social media following is unrivalled", said Peter Intermaggio, SVP of Brand Marketing And Communications for Comcast - its Xfinity TV streaming platform being the lead sponsor on all of Perry's upcoming US dates.

"Having just launched a new national advertising campaign with Katy, we're THRILLED to extend our relationship to encompass the upcoming 'Witness' tour", added Jennifer Breithaupt, Global Consumer Chief Marketing Officer at Citi. Members of the bank's Private Pass scheme will get priority access to pre-sale tickets on the tour.

I'm sure you'll agree, these words were far more valuable to everyone than us having Katy Perry droning on about her songwriting process and her thoughts on how America is being swallowed up by corporate greed.

There are no UK tour dates set as yet, but Perry will be playing BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend later this month.

Oh, and here's the video for new single 'Bon Appetit', featuring Migos, in which Perry claims to be a "five star Michelin", even though that isn't a thing.


Lana Del Rey releases new North Korea-inspired song
Lana Del Rey has released a new track, 'Coachella - Woodstock In My Mind', which is the one she wrote a few weeks ago about dancing at a festival while also being aware of alarming world events.

As previously reported, the musician posted a video of herself on Instagram singing a portion of the new song a cappella last month, saying at the time: "I'm not gonna lie, I had complex feelings about spending the weekend dancing whilst watching tensions with North Korea mount. I find it's a tightrope between being vigilantly observant of everything going on in the world and also having enough space and time to appreciate God's good earth the way it was intended to be appreciated".

"On my way home I found myself compelled to visit an old favourite place of mine at the rim of the world highway where I took a moment to sit down by the sequoia grove and write a little song", she continued. "I just wanted to share this in hopes that one individual's hope and prayer for peace might contribute to the possibility of it in the long run".

Unveiling the finished recording of the song yesterday, she said: "What a blessing it is to make music in general. And to have the freedom to put songs out about things that move me in real time. I wrote this one last month on the way back from Coachella. Thanks to my producer and engineers for turning it around so quickly".

It's not clear if this song will appear on Del Rey's new album, 'Lust For Life', which is due out on 26 May. Either way, here it is.


Mogwai announce new album, Every Country's Sun
Mogwai have announced that they will release their ninth album, 'Every Country's Sun', on 1 Sep via their own Rock Action label. The follow-up to 2014's 'Rave Tapes', the LP also follows two soundtracks recorded by the band, 'Atomic' and 'Before The Flood'.

The first track to be released from the record, 'Coolverine', is out now. You can listen to it here.

The band will be playing live in the UK at the end of the year, with a show at Brixton Academy on 15 Dec, followed by the Hydro Arena in Glasgow on 16 Dec.


Mercury Prize, Six By Seven, Noga Erez, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• You should set aside 20 minutes of your time right now and watch this new documentary about Six By Seven.

• Noga Erez's 'Off The Radar' has a video now.

• Efterklang offshoot Liima have released the video for 'Your Heart', taken from their album 'ii'.

• Tricot have announced that they will tour the UK in August, including a London show at Bush Hall on 25 Aug. Here's the video for latest single 'Melon Soda'.

• The deadline for entries to this year's Mercury Prize is fast approaching. You have until 6pm on 19 May to put forward albums released by British or Irish bands and artists, released between 30 Jul 2016 and Friday 21 Jul 2017. Interested labels should contact entries@mercuryprize.co.uk or Rachel Kellett on 020 7803 1383.


Musicians create new music out of Fyre Festival marketing notes
Sometimes, out of destruction and chaos, something new can be created. So, while all in the world of Fyre Festival falls down in a sea of lawsuits, two composers have created a new piece of music based on the detailed notes that appeared in a leaked marketing memo from Fyre HQ sent prior to the luxury event's amazing collapse.

The lengthy message from the festival's marketing director, Grant Margolin, was published by Amplify earlier this month. It seemingly followed on from a meeting about a promotional video for the festival, where it had been decided that an original composition should be commissioned to soundtrack the ad in order to properly get across the essence of the island party.

Unfortunately, Margolin's "collection of thoughts I'd find helpful if I was writing [this piece of music]" proved to do just that.

Proposing that they find a composer with "a strong theoretical background with a diverse knowledge of classical, popular and world music", Margolin laid out his own incredibly detailed ideas for how this person should then proceed.

Switching between time signatures would be a great idea. And there should be lots of different styles. Oh, and the strings should not be "too luscious", and there shouldn't be any repetition. No French horns, but please don't forget the fretless bass.

I urge you to read the email in full here. It is an amazing piece of work on its own. But now Margolin's vision has been realised, thanks to pop duo Carol Cleveland Sings.

"If you're like us, you can't get enough of reading about the disaster that was the Fyre Festival and just like every other musician, we were overjoyed when the bonkers music direction for the promo video was leaked", they say. "We were excited to realise Grant Margolin's unique and daring musical vision for the festival promotional materials. We humbly present our attempt to channel this incredibly modern approach to the rhythm of the world".

Detailing their process, they explain: "All the key elements from the email have been incorporated. Xylophone, 'sudro' and odd time signatures were utilised for the exploratory moments. We throttled down the lusciousness of the strings. We added a bassoon, but definitely not a French horn".

"We modulate from section to section but try to keep in the more 'consonant' key signatures such as D and G", they continue. "Please enjoy filtered tablas over a fretless bass groove on top of a West African kora lead and experience some heavy 'cutting' elements. No references to video games or anything that sounds like you might want to go fight dragons. No repetition. Effective use of reverberation".

No word form Margolin yet on whether it meets his standards, but you can enjoy Carol Cleveland Sings' work here.


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
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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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