TODAY'S TOP STORY: Electric car maker Tesla is considering launching its own streaming service to package into its vehicles. And why not, I say? Because new streaming services are incredibly expensive to license and you might as well just integrate your proprietary in-car entertainment service with streaming music set-ups already on the market, you say? You're no fun... [READ MORE]
VIGSY'S CLUB TIP: Hey there, I'm in Canada at the moment. Not specifically to check out the Canadian club scene, but I'll sacrifice my holiday to check it out for you if you insist. No, no, it's fine, don't worry about me. Luckily, a stop off in Montreal this weekend coincides with a chance to see the brilliant Tiga playing on his home turf. [READ MORE]
BEEF OF THE WEEK: Over the years, this column has got a little bit lax with what it classes as 'a beef'. Often that's out of necessity - there simply isn't a massive artist-on-artist smackdown every single week. But this week there have been various bona fide beefs to choose from. [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 Pandora selling Ticketfly to Eventrbite and nearly a fifth of itself to Sirius XM, the latest indie label streaming stats from Merlin, and Bob Dylan borrowing from a school book in his Nobel lecture. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
LATEST CMU TRENDS: While the challenges faced by the music industry since the mainstream adoption of the internet in the early 2000s have been widely documented, the music media has faced many of the same challenges too. CMU Trends reviews recent developments and trends in the music media business, and the ongoing challenges faced by media owners. CMU Trends articles are available to premium subscribers. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Car maker Tesla considering launching its own streaming service
LEGAL City Of London Police welcome sentencing in online piracy case
Jury must decide whether Monster should pay Beats' attorney fees
DEALS Warner/Chappell signs XTC co-founder
THE GREAT ESCAPE CMU@TGE 2017: When Music Gets Synchronised - Deal Making
EDUCATION & EVENTS New networking event Collaborate kicks off with next-step in streaming debate
ARTIST NEWS Justin Bieber NOT a Latin King
Chance The Rapper apologises for 'satirising' Dr Dre's Aftermath label
GIGS & FESTIVALS Glastonbury opens with minute's silence
AND FINALLY... Beef Of The Week #360: Nickelback v Slipknot
As DHP Family's Concerts Promotions Co-ordinator in London, you will be creative, fast working, forward thinking, with the ability to work under pressure, both alone and as part of a team. As well as a strong marketing knowledge, you will ideally have a good grasp of the music/ents industry in London.

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New Citizens is an established leading events company within the music, food and drink sector, based in the North of England. You’ll be responsible for driving and increasing ticket sales, brand awareness and positive association for the projects/events you’ll be working on.

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Band On The Wall is recruiting a full-time Administration and Operations Manager. The Administration and Operations Manager is responsible for managing the venue’s day-to-day operations and building maintenance, as well as dealing with general administration surrounding office and facilities management and human resources.

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Help Musicians UK, the leading independent music charity, is looking for a proactive and experienced Marketing & Digital Officer. This is an exciting opportunity to work across all areas of communications activity.

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Really Useful Theatres Group is seeking to appoint a Venue Manager for the London Palladium. The Venue Manager will have overall responsibility for the leadership of the venue and will be in charge of project managing all major and high profile events.

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Really Useful Theatres Group is seeking to appoint an Event Operations Manager for the London Palladium. The Event Operations Manager will be in charge of project managing all small and medium scale productions and events at the London Palladium.

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MelodyVR's Artist Research Assistant is responsible for the compilation and distribution of all live opportunities and research on exciting new artists around the world. You will be knowledgeable and excited when it comes to the live music landscape globally, with an eye on live touring, festival/event line-ups and emerging talent.

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Secretly Distribution seeks a full time International Digital Marketing Co-ordinator based in our London office. This experienced individual will bring knowledge and depth to our marketing efforts in a fast paced and constantly evolving digital music landscape.

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International live music booking agency Free Trade is looking for a book-keeper/accountant to look after the company's accounts. The work will entail looking after sales ledger, purchase ledger, bank reconciliations, payroll and HMRC returns such as VAT and payroll.

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Tru Thoughts is looking to hire a new member of the press and radio department, to work in-house at our office in Brighton. The candidate should be confident, outgoing and organised, with a demonstrable passion for the label’s music (and a love of being by the sea).

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Do you eat, sleep and breathe music? New, old, cross genre, artists that should have been, guilty pleasures and everything in between? Kilimanjaro Live is looking for a new promoter to join the team here, working on everything from pub gigs to, who knows, football stadiums.

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Domino is looking for a Digital Project Manager with front end experience, working across both its record label and Publishing divisions. This position is offered on a part-time, freelance basis and will be based in our offices in London.

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Are you as passionate about music as you are about crafting great content? PRS For Music is looking for an experienced Content Editor with a flair for creating engaging print copy and rich media to play an integral role in our Creative Services team.

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weekly from 25 Sep 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: The How The Music Business Works Programme
25 Sep 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Making Money From Music
2 Oct 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: How Music Rights Work
9 Oct 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: How Music Licensing Works
16 Oct 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: The Music Rights Sector
23 Oct 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Merch, Live & Brands
30 Oct 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fanbase – Social Media Tools
6 Nov 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fanbase – Music Media
13 Nov 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: Building A Fan-Orientated Business

Car maker Tesla considering launching its own streaming service
Electric car maker Tesla is considering launching its own streaming service to package into its vehicles. And why not, I say? Because new streaming services are incredibly expensive to license and you might as well just integrate your proprietary in-car entertainment service with streaming music set-ups already on the market, you say? You're no fun.

According to Recode, the car marker has had talks with the major record companies about possible licensing deals. Specifics are unclear, though TeslaTunes could begin as a Pandora-style personalised radio set-up, but would likely also include a more fully on-demand option. That proposal might suggest that it would have both free and paid-for levels.

However, as a wise person once said, new streaming services are incredibly expensive to license and you might as well just integrate your proprietary in-car entertainment service with streaming music set-ups already on the market. Look at that, I called you 'wise'. Tesla already has an alliance with Spotify in Europe, so why not continue with that approach?

Oh but Wise Person, have you considered the happiness of all those Tesla drivers? Well, have you? "We believe it's important to have an exceptional in-car experience so our customers can listen to the music they want from whatever source they choose", said a spokesperson for the car firm. "Our goal is to simply achieve maximum happiness for our customers".

Who could possibly criticise any bid to assure the maximum happiness of Tesla customers? Though, maybe the company's management should have a quick scan of 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar' before jumping fully into the digital licensing game. Or perhaps even Guvera's IPO prospectus. And then, fully informed of the challenges ahead, they can design the perfect streaming service for their happy drivers. Or just white label Napster, which seems to be in vogue of late.


City Of London Police welcome sentencing in online piracy case
The City Of London Police have welcomed a ruling earlier this week that saw three men receive suspended sentences totalling five years for their role in running a piracy operation which provided online access to a stack of unlicensed music, movies, games and e-books for a subscription fee.

The sentencing was the conclusion of a long-running investigation into the piracy operation run by Eric Brooks, Mark Valentine and Craig Lloyd, originally uncovered by anti-piracy body FACT in 2011 and subsequently investigated by the City Of London Police from 2012 onwards. A raid on Brooks' home in Bolton in 2012 secured email records confirming he was running the piracy server and had received a high number of payments from the service's users via PayPal, which - it turned out - exceeded £500,000.

Valentine and Lloyd were basically sub-letting server space from Brooks and selling access to the big pile of copyright infringing content themselves. Although their operations were somewhat smaller, Valentine made £34,000 out of the venture, while Lloyd saw income of over £70,000 from his involvement.

The three men were charged with conspiracy to defraud the entertainment industry just under a year ago and subsequently all pleaded guilty. Brooks got a 24 month sentence suspended for twelve months, and Valentine and Lloyd were handed eighteen month sentences also suspended for twelve months. All three men will also have to perform community service. Meanwhile, a future confiscation hearing will seek to ensure that any assets secured via the crime are taken away from the three defendants.

Commenting on the conclusion of the case, Detective Constable Chris Glover at the City Of London Police said: "Brooks, Valentine and Lloyd all thought that they were operating under the radar and doing something which they thought was beyond the controls of law enforcement. However, what today has shown is that activity of this kind is illegal and most definitely has its consequences. The actions of Brooks, Valentine and Lloyd and the result should act as deterrent for anyone else who is enticed by abusing the internet to the detriment of the entertainment industry".

Meanwhile the boss of FACT, Kieron Sharp, added: "Today's sentencing should send a strong warning to anyone involved in piracy; this is a crime which is taken very seriously and the repercussions can be severe as these men now realise".

Sharp continued: "These individuals exploited the works of the creative industries for their own financial gain, pocketing hundreds of thousands of pounds. However, the harm to the industry was far greater as it reached the millions. There are so many people behind the scenes of our favourite films and shows such as set designers, make-up artists and electricians. If we let intellectual property crimes like this continue, the livelihoods and future of these people's careers could be in jeopardy".


Jury must decide whether Monster should pay Beats' attorney fees
Court proceedings in the legal battle between the Beats company and one of its original business partners, Monster LLC, have generally swung in the former's favour, though an appeal court ruling on one specific question has now found in favour of the latter.

As previously reported, Monster and Beats collaborated on the original 'stick-a-by-Dre-label-on-the-side-and-hike-up-the-price' headphones, but the business partnership ended in something of a messy divorce in 2012.

Monster and its founder Noel Lee sued in the wake of Apple's $3 billion deal to acquire the Beats business in 2014. The lawsuit made allegations about Beats previous share sale to phone maker HTC and the impact it had had on its deal with Monster. It also accused Beats management of misleading Lee about their future plans, so that he sold his stake in the Beats company in 2013 at much less than he would have got for his shares had he held on to them until the Apple deal the following year.

In a summary judgement last year, the judge hearing the case concluded that Beats' actions were allowed under its contracts with Monster and Lee, while also noting that both had entered into deals with the Beats business as "sophisticated investors".

However, one issue remained unresolved, which was Beats' efforts to force Monster to cover its legal costs in relation to the dispute. Beats reckoned that a judge should be able to rule on what, if anything, Monster should pay towards its attorney fees, citing a thing in Californian law called Civil Code Section 1717. At first instance the LA Superior Court agreed, but Monster appealed. And now the appeals judges have ruled that Beats' bid to get its legal costs covered should go before a jury.

To that end the appeals court has told the Superior Court to "issue a new order directing that Monster and Lee are entitled to a jury trial to determine the amount of those attorney's fees". Complying with Beats' interpretation of Section 1717 could undermine the constitution of the state of California, the appeal judges added, and "when possible, we must construe statutes in a manner which avoids constitutional difficulties".

So that's all fun. And so the tedious Monster v Beats squabble continues.


Warner/Chappell signs XTC co-founder
Warner/Chappell has signed one of those worldwide deals with singer songwriter Andy Partridge, who you probably know better as a founding member of British band XTC. But he's had a much more eclectic career as a songwriter, collaborating with artists like Terry Hall, Charlotte Hatherley, Miles Kane, Jamie Cullum and The Monkees.

The new deal with the Warner Music publishing company covers recent solo releases and future songwriting exploits.

Confirming the deal, Warner/Chappell UK MD and Andy Partridge fanboy Mike Smith says: "Andy Partridge is one of the great songwriters of his generation. I was smitten by his music as a teenager and was lucky enough to work with him during my time at EMI, when he was nominated for an Ivor Novello, and then later when I worked in records and would approach him to collaborate with my artists".

He continues: "His music has touched countless people around the globe, through an incredible catalogue of stunning albums to the many uses of his songs in film and television. Andy is a unique talent, a superb British songwriter who has established himself both as part of a groundbreaking band and as a collaborative writer without equal".

But you only read this article to hear from Partridge himself, we know that, and we're famous crowd pleasers. So here's XTC co-founder, songwriter extraordinaire and Mike Smith fanboy Andy Partridge with some words: "There are very few people I trust in the music industry, and with good reason, but one of the rare few is Mike Smith".

He adds: "When Mike asked me to come with him to Warner/Chappell, I jumped at the chance, knowing that when Mike says something gets done, it gets done. He's got a great sense for pairing people up, and what's going to work artistically, and what isn't, [and] an excellent ear for good music. I am more than pleased to be aboard the good ship Warner/Chappell with Captain Mike at the helm. Sail on".

Sail on indeed - into those warm calm glorious waters ahead. Though, always keep a life jacket to hand, I say.


CMU@TGE 2017: When Music Gets Synchronised - Deal Making
Look out for more reports throughout June on key sessions that took place at the CMU Insights conferences at The Great Escape last month. Today, the latter half of the sync-focused session in The Royalties Conference.

Sync is a big topic for discussion at most music conferences these days, of course. So much so that it would be easy to think that the synchronisation of music to movies, TV, games and ads - and the licensing income it generates - is the most lucrative part of the music rights business. It's not. Indeed, for the record industry it's a very small part of the business indeed (2% worldwide). But it's more important for the music publishers, and most important for those songwriters who are not also performers.

Who negotiates the sync deals for those songwriters and how do the deals work though? Those were the questions posed to Simon Pursehouse from Sentric Music and Ros Earls from 140db, who managers artists, songwriters and producers, in the second part of the sync session during the CMU Insights Royalties Conference.

"The songwriting world has become massively over-saturated", Earls noted, explaining why sync can be such an important part of the business for the songwriters and producers she works with, there being less opportunities to write hits for other artists, and those occasional hits often being less lucrative in the streaming age. "It's getting tougher and tougher to make a living as a songwriter, and as a record producer too. Getting a sync can really save your bacon".

Which is why music publishers make such a big deal about their sync teams, and why a publisher's ability to secure sync and original commission opportunities is an important consideration when a songwriter is deciding which publisher to ally with. The opportunity for future sync deals is "always a big part of a publisher's pitch", Earls confirmed, though she cautioned, "there's no guarantee of any of it".

This may be because the publisher isn't quite as committed to finding a writer sync deals as they claim - especially if they are repping a large repertoire. Or it might simply be because, as with everything, but even more so with sync, there's a 'right time right place' element to it all.

Either way, a good manager, when working with someone who primarily writes or producers music, rather than performing, should also be seeking opportunities for their clients in the sync space. Earls has lots of contacts in the sync business, and is often being pitched to by sync agencies, though - she stressed - the more people who get involved in the deal-making, the more people taking a cut of the money before it reaches the writer.

"In America, there are huge sync agencies pitching all of the time", she said. "But obviously they're taking another slice of the money - in addition to the publisher taking their cut. It's great to be pitched too of course", she added. "And those deals are particularly attractive for writers who are self-published and in control of their own copyrights. But if you're published, then the writer is basically going to end up paying twice".

Of course, having multiple parties each taking a cut is less of an issue if - through those different entities being involved - you score a particularly valuable deal. "It depends on the return", Earls said on whether published writers should also work with sync agencies. "If you're looking at a Disney sync, or you're looking at a Netflix programme, another 20% [commission] might not matter that much. You've got to weigh all that stuff up".

Quite how sync income is shared is important to consider when negotiating a publishing deal, Pursehouse added. "Definitely be aware that if you're going to do a deal with any label or publisher, you should include both a procurement and a non-procurement rate on sync", he said. "That means that if they pitch your song and get you that deal, they can take their full commission. But if the writer secures the deal - directly or via another agent - then the publisher should take a lower cut, maybe an administration fee".

Lynch agreed that its important to structure publishing deals in that way, though added that, with self-procured sync deals, "you have to prove that you secured the deal, and it can be quite tricky getting into who did what".

On the songs side, sync deals usually come in two parts. First there is the deal that allows the licensee to actually synchronise the song into their video. Any TV company which then broadcasts the finished product, or cinema which screens it, then needs a separate licence to cover the 'communication' or 'performance' of the finished work. Outside of TV, the first part of the arrangement is usually a direct deal between writer/publisher and the licensee. The second element is handled by the collecting society - so PRS in the UK.

If a finished work is likely to be broadcast or screened on a regular basis, resulting in regular PRS income, does that mean you'll accept a lower rate at the outset? "It depends on the artist really", said Earl. "If you're an artist that's used to a certain level of income, and you want to sustain your livelihood, you're thinking more about the long term. But at the same time, you also need to consider your worth in the marketplace, you don't want to cutting the value of what you do, which you might by accepting the lower fee".

When it comes to the direct sync deals - rather than those covered by collective licensing - the money on offer varies hugely. The writer's status is a key factor, but so is the budget that the licensee has access to. The licensee will also often talk up the promotional value of a writer's music being synced, though that is only really true for songwriters who are also performers, and who have an artist brand to promote and fanbase to build.

Therefore artists and writers need to decide which deals work for their situation. At Sentric, Pursehouse works with lots of artists at the start of their careers. Earlier he recalled how: "We were presented with one deal - for a year-long UK ad campaign - offering the band £3000, which is terrible money. I said to the artist, 'this is bad money - I would say no to this if it was up to me'. But for the band, it was their first ever single, it bought them a van and they were really chuffed".

He added: "Ultimately it's their choice. I'm never going to say no to money when it's an artist livelihood at stake. We can give advice, we can tell them what they should do, but ultimately you put the facts in front of them, give them your recommendation, and if they say 'yes', that's cool. We're simply there to facilitate and add value".

In addition to securing sync deals for existing songs and recordings, there is also the business of original commissions of course, that can be even more lucrative. Though Earls noted that you need to build a decent profile in that space to really see the opportunities.

That said, Earls knows first hand how valuable those opportunities can be when they really work, she having worked with Paul Oakenfold when he got the 'Big Brother' theme commission from TV company Endemol. "They came to us to commission the music. That was one of those really big moments, because the show was then franchised around the world and it just kept on going, it was the gift that kept on giving".

"They didn't do a buyout on that, did they?" Pursehouse interjected. "So they must have had to relicense it every season". Lynch confirmed that was so. "It was a really good deal, and it's still going".

Who gets to own the copyright when TV, movie, gaming or ad companies commission original works is a contentious issue, with more and more production companies and brands seeking to take control of the copyrights their commissions create, which basically means they become the publisher of the music. The writer will get future royalties - certainly their cut of anything collected by PRS - but won't control the work.

"They might give you a flow through of any subsequent income", Earls said of those deals. "But they won't let you hold on to the copyright". Those deals are particularly tricky for published writers, she added, because the writer's publishing deal means they couldn't automatically sign up to a commission that includes a 'buyout'.

Which again means that songwriters who see sync and original commissions as being key to their businesses need to consider all the implications when signing a publishing contract. Though get yourself a 'Big Brother' style deal, and all that time sorting out the technicalities and paperwork will be worth it.

Check out all the reports and resources CMU has published around this year's CMU Insights @ The Great Escape conferences here.


New networking event Collaborate kicks off with next-step in streaming debate
A new networking event for the music community launches in London next week, with a discussion focused on the next chapter in the digital music story, and how artists, labels and digital platforms can get the most out of streaming as it comes of age.

The new event programme is called Collaborate and organisers say that they want to "explore the gaps between the worlds of music and tech", to "discuss key areas of potential and concern" and "inspire the music start-ups and technology of the future". Next week's free event takes place at the Rainmaking Loft in London.

The panel discussion element will be led by CMU MD and Business Editor Chris Cooke, with input from DEF Management's Eric Harle, Mycelia's Carlotta de Ninni, Disc Museum's Guillaume Descottes and Raygun's Julian Deane. It will consider the challenges and opportunities streaming now poses artists and entrepreneurs, as well as music companies.

It takes place on Wednesday 28 Jun at 6.30pm - free tickets are available here.


Vigsy's Club Tip: Turbononstop at StereoBar, Montreal
Hey there, I'm in Canada at the moment. Not specifically to check out the Canadian club scene, but I'll sacrifice my holiday to check it out for you if you insist. No, no, it's fine, don't worry about me. Luckily, a stop off in Montreal this weekend coincides with a chance to see the brilliant Tiga playing on his home turf.

Bringing his Turbononstop night back to StereoBar, Tiga will be going b2b with Ledisko for what promises to be a monster of an evening out. Fellow Montreal music maker Ledisko is also Label Manager at Tiga's Turbo Recordings label.

"I've learned a lot working for Tiga, watching his face as he listens to music", says Ledisko. "Once I have absorbed enough, he will be opening for me. It is a fait accompli, or an accomplished fact. I am simply waiting for the appropriate moment to enact this inevitability".

Watch out. And if you're in Montreal, come and say hi.

Friday 23 Jun, StereoBar, 856 Saint Catherine Est, Montreal, H2L 2E3, 10pm-3am, $15. More info here.

Justin Bieber NOT a Latin King
Justin Bieber is not one of the greatest Latin artists of all time, it has been confirmed. Spotify began running an Instagram advert declaring Biebs to be a "Latin King" earlier this week, but subsequently pulled it after realising the error.

The advert was placed to mark the success of the remix of 'Despacito' by Puerto Rican artists Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, which features new vocals from Bieber. The track is the first time Bieber has sung in Spanish on a record, which did make his sudden ascent to the position of 'Latin King' seem somewhat suspicious. Also, he recently turned down an audience request to perform the song at Summerburst Festival in Sweden because he couldn't remember the words.

Anyway, this advert started popping up in people's Instagram feeds, much to the annoyance of many people who had heard of actual Latin artists. Lots of them began contacting the streaming service on social media asking for the advert to be taken down. Which, to be fair, it did.

"We made a creative decision to feature Justin Bieber in our ad because we wanted to celebrate 'Despacito' as key cultural moment when music genres crossover", explained a Spotify spokesperson to New York Daily News. "[However] we realised that this could be seen as culturally insensitive so we have pulled those ads'.


Chance The Rapper apologises for 'satirising' Dr Dre's Aftermath label
Chance The Rapper has apologised to Dr Dre for mocking his Aftermath record label in the stage set for his current 'Be Encouraged' tour.

As part of the production, the rapper, who has famously never signed a record deal, mocked various labels by reworking their logos with new names. Sony became Phony, Def Jam became Don't Join and Aftermath became Can't Do Math. But now Chance feels bad about mocking Dre's label, and about the whole thing in general.

"I want to formally apologise to Dr Dre, and all of Aftermath, for publicly disrespecting their hard work and contributions to music", he said on Twitter yesterday. "When I went on the 'Be Encouraged' tour I made LED content to satirise and degrade major labels. I made the mistake of including imprints, which not only dulled my overall point of trying to uplift artists but also singled out artist-owned ventures that have only worked to progress the culture".

He continued: "Dre is a premiere example of creating space for wealth and ownership in an industry designed for creatives to be the foot soldiers. His work with Beats, Compton Schools and artists like Kendrick [Lamar], Game, Eminem, [Anderson] .Paak, 50 [Cent], NWA and others is unmatched and how I inspire to be. I set out to empower and I completely missed the ball and I know that now. Once again, sorry to Dre, all the artists/producers at Aftermath and all the other folk trying to make a difference in music that I belittled".

So that's nice of him, isn't it? By the way, I hate you all and I'm not sorry.


Glastonbury opens with minute's silence
The Glastonbury Festival opened this morning with a minute's silence in remembrance of those who died in the recent terror attacks in London and Manchester. Festival goers were asked to convene in front of the Pyramid Stage at 10.40am as this year's event officially got underway.

As previously reported, in the wake of the recent attacks, organisers announced earlier this month that additional security checks would be in operation at the Glastonbury gates this year. People were asked to travel light and only "bring as much as you can carry yourself", noting that those with trolleys and other large luggage would be placed in separate lanes to other ticketholders.

Following the minute's silence, the first performance of the day was Hacienda Classical - Peter Hook, Graeme Park, Mike Pickering and the Manchester Camerata Orchestra performing reworked rave anthems.


Beef Of The Week #360: Nickelback v Slipknot
Over the years, this column has got a little bit lax with what it classes as 'a beef'. Often that's out of necessity - there simply isn't a massive artist-on-artist smackdown every single week. But this week there have been various bona fide beefs to choose from.

Morrissey versus HMV was discounted early on, because you really have to limit the number of Morrissey rants you let into a column like this, otherwise he'd totally dominate. Hanson calling Justin Bieber "chlamydia of the ear" was a strong contender too, but JB never responded, so it didn't really go anywhere.

There was a mighty beef this week though, which not only went somewhere, but it came back and went out again, and ran a few errands on the way. That is the beef between Nickelback's Chad Kroeger and Slipknot's Corey Taylor.

It all started innocently enough. Kroeger, speaking to Metal Covenant, made the reasonable claim that he "can't think of another band that's as diverse" as Nickelback. He's right, it's tough to think of another band who beats Kroeger's outfit in the diversity stakes, what with their diverse approach of playing quite loudly and then, diversely, sometimes a bit quieter. The interviewer suggested Stone Sour - who are, of course, fronted by Taylor - and there all hell broke loose.

"They're okay, but they're not as good as Nickelback", said Kroeger. "They sound like Nickelback Lite". Claiming that Stone Sour are, in fact, just "trying to be Nickelback", he brought up an incident when Taylor had apparently claimed that it was easy writing hit songs like those Nickelback have foisted upon the world. "Show me", Kroeger said. "Write one. I have yet to hear one [from Stone Sour]".

Oh, burn. And, in case you were wondering, Kroeger doesn't think that Slipknot are up to much either. He also thinks that Stone Sour was just an attempt to satisfy Taylor's ego, which has failed, due to that whole not being as good as Nickelback thing.

"They had to put on masks and jump around", said Kroeger of Slipknot. "How good can your music be if you've got to beat each other up on stage, throw up in your own masks every night? Music shouldn't come with a gimmick. Music should just be music".

"He got tired of sitting behind a mask", Kroeger went on. "He wanted people to know what he looks like, so he started Stone Sour".

You may remember that Corey Taylor is a bit touchy about people saying Slipknot's masks are gimmicky. Even though they definitely are. Back in 2015 he said in an interview: "To everyone who thinks it's just a gimmick. Live in it and you tell me it's a gimmick, you shitheads ... It's such a part of what we do and it helps us really embrace the music".

Two more things to remember: Taylor formed Stone Sour before he joined Slipknot. And also, Slipknot are demonstrably a more fun live band than Nickelback.

But, hey, this isn't my beef. I don't need to pitch in here. After a couple of days of silence, Taylor finally staged his retaliation. He'd had time to stew, so it should be a good one.

"You know what? I've never said it was easy to write a hit song", retorted Taylor on US radio station KUPD. "I don't know what the hell planet he's living on. Apparently it's Planet Kroeger, and there must be good weed there, cos he's an idiot".

Pow! Yeah, take that idiot man. Alright, not the strongest retort, but Taylor is just getting started. Addressing Kroeger directly, he went on: "You can run your mouth all you want. All I know is I've been voted 'Sexiest Dude In Rock' wearing a mask. You've been voted 'Ugliest Dude In Rock' twice without one. Stick that up your ass".

He doesn't even have an issue with Nickelback, he added: "Everybody else in that band, I'm very, very cool with; I've hung out with them. It's just 'Face Like A Foot' who I can't really hang out with. He's got a face like a foot. Am I wrong? I can't even say anything about the band, Nickelback, because none of them have an issue with us. It's him. So, dude, curl up in bed with your Hello Kitty pillow and shut up".

A reference there to Kroeger's co-writing credit on his ex-wife Avril Lavigne's song 'Hello Kitty', which itself spawned one of the great beefs of our time.

Anyway, the time honoured way to settle any question of musical quality is by financial achievement, as everyone knows. And for a number of years, Slipknot, Stone Sour and Nickelback all shared the same label, Roadrunner Records, which gives Taylor some insight, apparently.

"Let's just say Roadrunner took all the Slipknot money and gave it to Nickelback to sign them", he chortled. "That's all I'm gonna say about it".

Bit weird to focus on his rivals' advance though isn't it, rather than their subsequent record sales? Perhaps that's because Taylor didn't want to discuss the higher level of record sales Nickelback went on to achieve, both at Roadrunner and latterly Republic Records. Now signed to BMG, the new Nickelback album 'Feed The Machine' is looking like it'll flop though. By which I mean only go to number five in the US chart. Take that, Kroeger!

I'm not even sure why Kroeger gets involved in these things. He knows how tough it is out there being a rockstar. He's written two whole songs about it - Nickelback's 'Rockstar' and my personal favourite, his co-write with Tommy Lee, 'Tryin To Be Me'.

But whatever, let's consider this beef well and truly broiled.


ANDY MALT | Editor
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