TODAY'S TOP STORY: Having bought the Michael Jackson estate out of its music publishing joint venture Sony/ATV last year, the Sony entertainment group's next task could be taking complete ownership of EMI Music Publishing, say various sources who have spoken to Variety... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S CMU APPROVED: Emily Underhill has been making music as Tusks for a few years now, but her output has not exactly been prolific. This is understandable when you hear how meticulously crafted each of her songs is - each note, each instrument, each effect, each word is arranged with thought and purpose. Now, finally, she is set to release her debut album, 'Dissolve', on 13 Oct. [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 Kanye West falling out with Tidal just as Jay-Z releases his new album, AEG's very public spat with MSG and Live Nation, and Ed Sheeran quitting Twitter while planning an 8 Mile-style biopic. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
LATEST CMU TRENDS: Rarely a week goes by in the music business news these days without at least one catalogue acquisition. But who - other than labels and publishers - is buying music rights, and why? Are there opportunities for individual artists and songwriters to do deals with professional investors? And how do you even value music rights? Ahead of a Music 4.5 event exploring all these topics, CMU Trends reviews the music rights market - past, present and future. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Sony/ATV could take complete control of EMI publishing in 2018
LEGAL Judge admonishes Jackson Estate's "snickering" lawyers in Quincy Jones legal battle
LIVE BUSINESS DHP to extend Drinkaware Crew programme
ARTIST NEWS Unreleased Michael Jackson album withdrawn from auction
Ariana Grande named honorary citizen of Manchester
Thom Yorke responds to calls to cancel Radiohead show in Israel
RELEASES Mount Kimbie announce new album
GIGS & FESTIVALS Pussy Riot stage show coming to London
ONE LINERS Tyler The Creator, Alt-J, Ariel Pink, more
AND FINALLY... Kid Rock announces plans to enter US politics
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Sony/ATV could take complete control of EMI publishing in 2018
Having bought the Michael Jackson estate out of its music publishing joint venture Sony/ATV last year, the Sony entertainment group's next task could be taking complete ownership of EMI Music Publishing, say various sources who have spoken to Variety.

Sony led the acquisition of the EMI publishing company back in 2012, after the bankers at Citigroup repossessed the EMI Group and split it into two - recordings and publishing - to sell on to the other major music corporations. Sony/ATV has since administrated the EMI Music Publishing catalogue so that - day-to-day - Sony/ATV/EMI operates as if it is one company, though technically they remain two entities.

There are other shareholders in EMI Music Publishing, including the Jackson estate, plus finance firms Mubadala Development, Jynwel Capital and Blackstone Group, and music industry veteran David Geffen. Variety notes that the administration deal between Sony/ATV and EMI expires in 2018, and that would be a logical point for Sony to try to buy out the other investors, meaning Sony Corp would finally own its vast global music publishing business outright. And an anonymous source within one of those other investor firms told the entertainment industry trade mag "we'd welcome a big cheque".

There has been speculation in recent years that Sony might look to more closely align its recorded music and music publishing businesses, bringing its music operation more in line with Warner and Universal where - although recordings and publishing operate as distinct units - there is some integration at a senior management level. It's thought that complexities over the ownership of the publishing side of Sony's music business - both the previous joint venture with the Jackson estate and the ongoing consortium owning the EMI catalogues - are one of the reasons why that kind of integration hasn't occurred in the past.

Though there are other reasons too. Not least, at Universal and Warner the top execs on the publishing side report into a CEO who is more focused on the recordings business. Sony/ATV boss Marty Bandier is unlikely to want report into recently appointed Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer, 21 years his junior.

Structuring a combined Sony recordings and publishing business the other way round - Stringer reporting into Bandier - could also cause unnecessary internal politics. A more likely solution would be inserting an extra layer of management above them both.

However, some reckon that any major integration of the two global Sony music businesses is unlikely to happen until 75 year old Bandier retires - and it doesn't look like he is going anywhere anytime soon.

However, Sony/ATV taking complete control of EMI Music Publishing, enabling a true merger of the two firms, would certainly simplify things if and when any such integration occurs. Assuming competition regulators, most likely in Europe, don't throw any spanners in the works if and when Sony/ATV does try to buy its business partners out of EMI.

The Sony-led acquisition of EMI Music Publishing did seem to get an easier ride with the EU competition authorities back in 2012 - compared with Universal and its purchase of the EMI record company - because there was a consortium of bidders.

Given the indie sector complained when Sony bought the Jackson estate out of Sony/ATV last year, you can expect similar objections to be raised if and when Sony buys everyone else out of EMI. Though, in reality, even a stern investigation of any such deal by the EU would likely only result in the off-loading of some of Sony's songs catalogues.

And - as discussed at the Music 4.5 event on the value of music rights last week - there would be plenty of bidders for those catalogues in any forced sell off, so Sony would cash in nicely even if Bandier's empire had to be trimmed down a little.


Judge admonishes Jackson Estate's "snickering" lawyers in Quincy Jones legal battle
Look, will you all just stop snickering, huddling and laughing. No, not you. I'm not talking to you. I'm talking to the lawyers representing MJJ Productions in its legal battle with the legendary record producer Quincy Jones. You know, those guys. The ones over there who are constantly snickering, huddling and laughing. Shut up!

This isn't me speaking by the way. No, these are the words of LA judge Michael L Stern. The exact words too. Well, not the exact words. But "snickering, huddling and laughing" were the words he used while giving MJJ's attorneys a good telling off on day two of the Jones v MJJ/Sony trial yesterday.

As previously reported, Jones accuses Sony Music and MJJ Productions - one of Michael Jackson's companies, now controlled by the Jackson estate - of screwing him out of $30 million in royalties, mainly in relation to projects and deals done since the late king of pop's death in 2009 which exploited the famous Jackson recordings that Jones produced. MJJ counters that Jones is incorrectly interpreting contracts he signed with Jackson in 1978 and 1985, from which the royalty claims stem.

According to Law 360, Judge Stern sent the jury hearing the case out of the courtroom yesterday so he could tell off the defence team for "snickering, huddling and laughing" while an expert witness called by the Jones side was testifying. The expert witness was another lawyer, Scott Brisbin, who was discussing those disputed contract terms.

"I am astounded by the snickering, huddling and laughing that I hear from the defendant's side of the table", the judge declared. "I don't know if the jury can hear what is being said, but I can. [And] they can see the facial expressions, eyebrow raising and other gestures by defendant's counsel".

Lead defence lawyer Zia Modabber countered that the chit chatting on his side was because his team hadn't been told that Brisbin would be discussing what it turned out he was discussing - principally sync licensing, and the differences between licensing music that soundtracks a video and music that is actually performed in a video.

His side had been "sandbagged" by the plaintiffs, Modabber claimed. Though lawyers for Jones disagreed. They denied owning any sand at all, let alone bags, and argued that pre-trial paperwork made it obvious this would be a topic Brisbin would discuss.

The case continues. But, one would hope, with no more snickering, huddling and laughing. Well, maybe some huddling. I don't really see why that's a problem.


DHP to extend Drinkaware Crew programme
Live firm DHP Family has been talking up a programme it has developed with Drinkaware - the education charity primarily funded by the alcohol industry - which aims to "help young people stay safe and reduce the harm that can result from a drunken night out". The live music company says it now plans to roll out its Drinkaware Crew project - piloted at Nottingham's Rock City and Bristol's Thekla - to other venues in its portfolio.

The programme basically involves having staff at DHP's venues that are specifically focused on looking for customers who may be in distress due to heavy alcohol consumption and to offer them assistance, which may be as simple as locating lost friends or helping people to a taxi. These staff members have bespoke training and wear branded uniforms, and provide a service that otherwise falls to busy bar staff or security.

Says Julie Tippins, Head Of Compliance at DHP Family: "The project has been a really valuable exercise so far, it has not only helped our customers to remain safe but it has also freed up managers and security staff to keep the venue operation running effectively when they would have been otherwise tied up".

Noting the alliance with Drinkaware, Tippins continued: "We worked closely with Drinkaware on developing the scheme and this had led to us taking on our own staff, who have been working in two of our venues since October 2016. We're delighted with the impact of Drinkaware Crew to date and are looking to roll it out to other venues in our portfolio".

The General Manager at DHP's Thekla venue in Bristol, Alex Black, added: "We've had incredible feedback from other management and customers, we are definitely going to keep the Crew on board because it frees up time for management and security and increases the safety of our customers".

Meanwhile Drinkaware CEO Elaine Hindal has also bigged up the scheme, telling reporters: "Drinkaware is committed to finding new and innovative ways to reduce the harms caused by alcohol and to help keep people safe on a night out".

She goes on: "The Drinkaware Crew at Rock City and Thekla carry out a vital role in supporting vulnerable people whilst minimising the associated costs that drunken behaviour can have on the local night-time economy. Drinkaware is delighted to be working with DHP to help their customers enjoy their night out safely and securely".


Approved: Tusks
Emily Underhill has been making music as Tusks for a few years now, but her output has not exactly been prolific. This is understandable when you hear how meticulously crafted each of her songs is - each note, each instrument, each effect, each word is arranged with thought and purpose. Now, finally, she is set to release her debut album, 'Dissolve', on 13 Oct.

The record's first single, 'Toronto', was released earlier this year, giving a glimpse of the atmospheric sound she has built. Now follows the title track, 'Dissolve', which is a simply stunning extension of the guitar-led world of sonic layers she has created.

"I'm a very visual person, I love being outdoors and surrounded by nature", she says of the influences on her sound. "I grew up by the sea and I've always tried to spend as much time outside and travel as much as possible - I think perhaps subconsciously that all influences how cinematic some of my music can be and why I love creating the artwork to go with it".

Of how she would like others to perceive her music, she says: "I can have something going in my life and listen to a song and totally relate that song to me - it's like that artist is sharing that experience with me and creating a soundtrack to my life. I take a lot of inspiration from more cinematic music in the creation and production of my music and maybe that's why that idea sits with me more - it creates a closer connection between the listener and the record".

Listen to 'Dissolve' here.

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Unreleased Michael Jackson album withdrawn from auction
An album's worth of unreleased Michael Jackson material has seemingly been pulled from an auction of musical memorabilia. The CD was due to go up for sale in the Gotta Have Rock And Roll online auction next week, with a starting price of $50,000.

The album was described on the listing as "Michael Jackson's personally owned copy of his final album consisting of twelve finished tracks, all with finished vocals". It was apparently sourced from an unidentified personal assistant.

Three of the tracks on the record - 'Monster', 'Breaking News' and 'Stay' - actually featured on posthumous album 'Michael', which was released in 2010. However, the other nine are seemingly all previously unheard.

The sale of the album drew much media attention, an added layer of mystique being that the new owner would be prohibited from distributing the music contained on the record, because they were buying the physical disc, not any rights to do anything with the music on it beyond playing the CD in private.

Generally speaking people are allowed to sell on CDs they legitimately acquire without infringing anyone's copyright - under what is called the 'first sale doctrine' in the US - though in the good old says of promo CDs going out to journalists, those usually had a 'not for resale' condition stuck on them.

Not that that ever stopped any journalists from selling the more attractive promo records on. Though had they been sold at a mega-bucks auction, the labels which sent out the promos might have complained. It's not yet clear whether or not this Jackson rarity album has dropped off the published list of items up for auction because of any complaint from the Jackson estate or his label Sony Music.

The release of an EP of previously unheard Prince tracks was blocked earlier this year; though that was a producer actually trying to stage a commercial release of master recordings he was sitting on, rather than just selling the actual master tapes. The Prince estate argued that an agreement between Prince and that producer prohibited the release.

Organisers of the Gotta Have Rock And Roll auction have not yet responded to a request for comment.


Ariana Grande named honorary citizen of Manchester
Ariana Grande has become the first person to be made an honorary citizen of Manchester, in recognition for the benefit concert she put on shortly after the bomb attack at one of her shows in the city back in May.

As previously reported, it was proposed by Manchester City Council leader Richard Lees last month that the honour be created and bestowed upon Grande, with a vote taking place at a special meeting held yesterday. The motion was unanimously passed, giving the musician the freedom of the city.

"It would have been understandable if she never wanted to see this place again", said Lees of Grande's reaction to the attack. "But no - instead she, as an artist, a performer, was determined that she would not perform again until she had returned to Manchester to perform".

He continued: "In doing so, she brought comfort to thousands, she raised millions for the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund and became the first patron of that fund".

No plans for a formal 'freedom of the city' ceremony have been announced. However, planning for a permanent memorial to the victims of the attack are expected to begin in September.


Thom Yorke responds to calls to cancel Radiohead show in Israel
Thom Yorke has responded to increased calls for Radiohead to cancel an upcoming show in Israel. Campaigners want the band to join the ongoing cultural boycott of the country.

The statement follows an article by film director Ken Loach in the Independent, in which he wrote: "I don't know who is advising Radiohead, but their stubborn refusal to engage with the many critics of their ill-advised concert in Tel Aviv suggests to me that they only want to hear one side - the one that supports apartheid".

In response to Loach tweeting him a link to the article, Yorke replied: "Playing in a country isn't the same as endorsing the government. We've played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others. As we have in America. We don't endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America".

He continued: "Music, art and academia is about crossing borders not building them, about open minds not closed ones, about shared humanity, dialogue and freedom of expression. I hope that makes it clear Ken".

The band are due to play Tel Aviv on 19 Jul.


Mount Kimbie announce new album
Mount Kimbie have announced that they will release their third album, titled 'Love What Survives', on 8 Sep.

Of making the record, the duo say: "It's been a fascinating process that has changed us as a band and we're feeling great about how it's come together".

The album features several collaborations, including two with long-time collaborator James Blake, one of which was released earlier this year. New single 'Blue Train Lines' sees them teaming up for a second time with King Krule - who worked with the duo on 'You Took Your Time' from their second album, 'Cold Spring Fault Less Youth'.

Here's 'Blue Train Lines' right here.


Pussy Riot stage show coming to London
Maria Alyokhina of Pussy Riot's theatrical show 'Riot Days' will receive its UK premiere at the Islington Assembly Hall on 17 Nov, it has been announced.

A collaboration with musician Alexander Cheparukhin, the show is based on Alyokhina's book of the same name - due for publication in the UK in September. It retells the story of the performance of the band's 'Punk Prayer' in a Moscow cathedral in 2012, which led to imprisonment of three members of the group, including Alyokhina.

The performance also features members of Russian band Asian Women On The Telephone. Tickets go on sale tomorrow. More info here.


Tyler The Creator, Alt-J, Ariel Pink, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Here's a new Tyler, The Creator track, 'Boredom'. All official, like. Not off that leak you've all been talking about.

• Alt-J have released the video for new single 'Deadcrush'.

• Ariel Pink's released another new single from upcoming album 'Dedicated To Bobby Jameson'. Here's 'Time To Live'.

• James Yuill has released a video for new single 'Fire Breathing'.

• Aadae has released new single 'Die Happy'. It's very good.

• Unkle will headline Koko on 26 Sep to mark the release of fifth album, 'The Road: Part 1'. James Lavelle will also curate a week of shows at The Jazz Café earlier the same month.

• Brontide will play a farewell show at The Garage in London on 31 Aug, two years after they played what everyone thought was their last gig. "On the 12 Sep 2015, unbeknownst to us, we played our last show as Brontide", say the band. "It has been our intention to play a proper farewell but making it happen has not been easy".

• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.


Kid Rock announces plans to enter US politics
There was a lot of international attention during the British general election last month due to someone called Lord Buckethead challenging Prime Minister Theresa May for her seat in Parliament. Our political system does look odd sometimes, it's true. Although the US has a long tradition of joke candidates achieving major success. I mean, a fictional TV villain is currently president. And maybe soon Kid Rock will be backing him up in the Senate.

Yes, Kid Rock has launched his campaign to be elected as Senator for Michigan in 2018. Well, he's had a photo taken and is selling some merchandise, which is just as good.

A new website - - has appeared online. It features little more than a photo of Kid Rock sitting in an office and a link to buy 'Kid Rock For US Senate' merch. But what more do you need? Policies? I'm not sure you're taking this seriously.

"I have had a ton of emails and texts asking me if this website is real", said Kid Rock on social media yesterday. "The answer is an absolute YES. Stay tuned, I will have a major announcement in the near future".

As yet, there is no official filing to the Federal Election Committee setting the musician's campaign in motion, but a spokesperson told CNN that this may be because it is still working its way through the system. A representative for the Michigan Republican Party said that there had been no conversations with him on this matter.

However, in February is did emerge that the Michigan Republican Party had considered asking Kid Rock to stand for the Senate. This follows his public support for Republican candidates Donald Trump and Mitt Romney in the last two presidential elections.

In April, Kid Rock joined fellow Republican musician Ted Nugent (who has previously suggested that he might also stand as Senator for Michigan next year) and parody politician Sarah Palin for dinner with Donald Trump at the White House.

Whether Kid Rock actually takes this thing to the polls remains to be seen. And then, it's unclear what support he would actually receive - he would be running against Democrat Debbie Stabenow who has been Michigan's Senior Senator since 2001. Still, I guess if movie star Ronald Reagan can become President, anything can happen.


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 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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