TODAY'S TOP STORY: US collecting societies ASCAP and BMI yesterday announced that they are working on a combined music rights database that will be publicly available and which - the two organisations say - will "deliver an authoritative view of ownership shares in the vast majority of music licensed in the United States"... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S CMU APPROVED: Producer Shigeto and rapper ZelooperZ - a member of Danny Brown's Bruiser Brigade - are set to release their first album as Zgto, 'A Piece Of Geto', on 22 Aug. It's probably a slightly unlikely pairing, but that's precisely what attracted them to the idea of collaborating. ZelooperZ tones down his usually aggressive approach, while Shigeto slides his usually fairly delicate sound across to meet him. [READ MORE]
LATEST CMU PODCAST: CMU's Chris Cooke and guest presenter Becky Brook review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including the latest mechanical right lawsuits against Spotify in the US and what they reveal about the complexities of digital licensing, plus the BBC's big pay reveal and its plan for a new prime-time music show. 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 After a statutory music rights database is proposed in the US, ASCAP and BMI reveal their existing data initiative
LEGAL Quincy Jones wins $9.4 million in royalties battle with Michael Jackson estate
Lawyer working for Fyre Festival founder steps down over unpaid bills
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Lyor Cohen confirms more integration planned for Google Play and YouTube music apps
WeTransfer offers $10,000 grants to ex-SoundCloud employees
MEDIA Radio 1 announces Live Lounge Month line-up
EDUCATION & EVENTS Vinyl Festival cancelled
RELEASES Charli XCX releases Boys
ONE LINERS Mercury Prize, Emily Haines, Converge, more
AND FINALLY... Trent Reznor doesn't like that music you're listening to. It's just noise and you can't even understand the words. Turn it off.
Music sales, marketing and distribution company RSK Entertainment requires a Sales Account Assistant to cover a portfolio of retail accounts and be responsible for the solicitation and sales of new releases, as well as back catalogue orders and the proactive instigation of label promotions and campaigns.

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The Great Escape takes place every May and is now firmly established as the festival for new music and new music business. We are now recruiting an Events Manager who ideally has a minimum of three years experience in a similar management role and is ready for the challenge to become The Great Escape linchpin.

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ICE Services Ltd is an international company that represents music rights across multiple territories. As the Service Development Manager you will be responsible for the effective coordination and delivery of key developments in our business services that respond to our Customers’ changing needs.

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Once Upon A Time Music (OUAT Music) works with major and independent record labels, artist management companies and artists directly to create vinyl, CDs and award winning boxsets. The Production Planner will be responsible for overseeing the production process of all musical formats from start to finish for a wide variety of music industry clients.

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weekly from 25 Sep 2017 CMU Insights Seminar: The How The Music Business Works Programme
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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

After a statutory music rights database is proposed in the US, ASCAP and BMI reveal their existing data initiative
US collecting societies ASCAP and BMI yesterday announced that they are working on a combined music rights database that will be publicly available and which - the two organisations say - will "deliver an authoritative view of ownership shares in the vast majority of music licensed in the United States".

The two societies say that they have been working on developing the combined database for over a year now and that they hope to launch it late next year. The new data platform will bring together the two societies' existing databases and therefore list every song in which an ASCAP or BMI member has a stake. It will reveal what percentage of each song copyright each society represents, and also whether another collecting society in addition to ASCAP and BMI controls a portion of the work.

The lack of a decent music rights database providing information on the artists and writers behind each track and song - and the labels, distributors, publishers and collecting societies which exert some control over any one track or song - has been much discussed over the years, of course, and was a topic of conversation on the latest edition of the CMU Podcast.

There are plenty of bodies of music rights data around the world, with most of the collecting societies having a database of one description or another, though none of those databases are complete, and many aren't publicly accessible. Though, since the music publishing sector's attempt at building a one-stop Global Repertoire Database failed, various societies have been involved in initiatives to join their databases up, and to make some key information more widely available.

In the US, of course, there are four collecting societies just representing the performing rights in songs - whereas in many other countries there is just one - which has further fragmented the data. Hence the move by rivals ASCAP and BMI to more closely align their databases. That won't be a complete database even for the US market though, because it doesn't involve the other two performing rights organisations SESAC and GMR. But because co-ownership is so common with song copyrights, there will be quite a lot of crossover between the repertoires of the big two societies and the two smaller ones.

All that said, even if BMI, ASCAP, SESAC and GMR were all to pool their data, that would still only cover song copyrights, not recording copyrights. And for many licensees, one of the key bits of information required is confirmation of what songs are contained within what recordings. That's something which requires the record industry's collecting societies to collaborate with the music publishing sector's societies - which is happening in some parts of the world, not least the UK.

ASCAP and BMI also have ambitions for their data project to widen its scope. While confirming that their data venture is initially about "aggregated information from BMI's and ASCAP's repertoire", they added that: "The joint database will serve as a foundation that can evolve to include a broader range of music information across the entire industry".

Confirming the data project yesterday, ASCAP chief Elizabeth Matthews said: "ASCAP and BMI are proactively and voluntarily moving the entire industry a step forward to more accurate, reliable and user-friendly data. We believe in a free market with more industry cooperation and alignment on data issues. Together, ASCAP and BMI have the most expertise in building and managing complex copyright ownership databases. With our combined experience, we are best positioned to make faster headway in creating a robust, cost effective market solution to meet the needs of the licensing marketplace".

Meanwhile BMI boss Mike O'Neill said: "This is an important solution for the marketplace created by the experts who know their data best. We have always advocated for data transparency and supported the need for a user-friendly and comprehensive solution that would benefit music users and music creators alike. While BMI and ASCAP remain fierce competitors in all other regards, we recognise that our combined expertise allows us to create the best solution for our members and the marketplace. We're excited by our momentum and the promise of what this database can become in the future".

The timing of ASCAP and BMI's announcement - about a database already a year into development but more than a year off completion - is telling. It follows the filing of a proposal in US Congress last week by Republican Jim Sensenbrenner that the US Copyright Office set up a one-stop publicly accessible music rights database, with copyright owners forced to provide their data. Music companies which did not would lose some of the remedies available to them if a third party then infringes their copyrights.

Although Sensenbrenner's proposals do attempt to address the music rights data problem that has been identified by the music industry itself, many within the industry don't see a government-led solution as a desirable option. Especially when accompanied by the 'lose your remedies' stick to force participation. To that end, ASCAP and BMI's announcement yesterday could be translated into "hey lawmakers, we're already fixing this problem".

Hence the conclusion of yesterday's statement, which reads: "ASCAP and BMI have proven their commitment to industry-wide data transparency by making public aggregated song share ownership through their respective online, searchable repertory databases - ASCAP's ACE Repertory and BMI's Repertoire Search. ASCAP's and BMI's respective databases will continue to be available on each organisation's respective website during the creation and initial launch of the joint database".

Though Sensenbrenner's proposals already acknowledged and criticised the collecting societies' existing databases. And yesterday the MIC Coalition - the group lobbying for the tech and radio sector, which has been busy of late championing Sensenbrenner's proposals - has already declared that the ASCAP/BMI data venture "misses the mark".

The lobbying group said: "We appreciate that ASCAP and BMI recognise that there is a problem in the current music licensing system, but what they are proposing is not a complete solution. Only Congress has the ability to create a neutral, reliable and comprehensive database".


Quincy Jones wins $9.4 million in royalties battle with Michael Jackson estate
Legendary record producer Quincy Jones was awarded $9.4 million yesterday at the conclusion of his legal battle over unpaid royalties against the Michael Jackson estate.

As previously reported, Jones accused 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 countered that Jones was incorrectly interpreting contracts he signed with Jackson in 1978 and 1985, on which the royalty claims were based.

Although the $9.4 million the jury awarded Jones is considerably less than he thought he was due, it is also a whole lot more than the Jackson estate wanted to pay. Reps for the estate conceded that, as a result of accounting errors, the producer had been underpaid on some royalties, but they argued that the unpaid sums came to less than $400,000. Meaning, all in all, yesterday's result was seen very much as victory for Jones.

He said in a statement: "As an artist, maintaining the vision and integrity of one's creation is of paramount importance. I, along with the team I assembled with Michael, took great care and purpose in creating these albums, and it has always given me a great sense of pride and comfort that three decades after they were originally recorded, these songs are still being played in every corner of the world".

The statement went on: "This lawsuit was never about Michael, it was about protecting the integrity of the work we all did in the recording studio and the legacy of what we created. Although this judgement is not the full amount that I was seeking, I am very grateful that the jury decided in our favour in this matter. I view it not only as a victory for myself personally, but for artists' rights overall".

Lawyers for the Jackson estate said they were both disappointed and surprised by the ruling, though conceded that jury-based judgements are always harder to predict. They told reporters: "While the jury denied Quincy Jones $21 million - or more than two-thirds of what he demanded - from the estate of Michael Jackson, we still believe that giving him millions of dollars that he has no right to receive under his contracts is wrong".

They added that the ruling effectively rewrote "contracts that Mr Jones lived under for more than three decades, admitted he never read, referred to as 'contract, montract', and told the jurors he didn't 'give a damn' about". They concluded: "Any amount above and beyond what is called for in his contracts is too much and unfair to Michael's heirs. Although Mr Jones is portraying this is a victory for artists' rights, the real artist is Michael Jackson and it is his money Mr Jones is seeking".

The estate is expected to appeal the decision.


Lawyer working for Fyre Festival founder steps down over unpaid bills
A lawyer working for the co-founder of that Fyre Festival shambles has announced his plans to become a lawyer not working for the co-founder of that Fyre Festival shambles. Because, you see, Billy is broke.

As much previously reported, Billy McFarland co-founded the Fyre Festival, and an accompanying talent booking app, with Ja Rule. The festival was meant to be a luxury experience on an island in the Bahamas, but collapsed before it had even started as it became clear the required infrastructure for such an event had not been put in place and too many artists and suppliers hadn't been paid.

McFarland and his companies are now on the receiving end of a plethora of lawsuits from angry ticket-buyers, suppliers and financial backers. He also faces criminal charges of fraud over allegations he misled investors about the finances of his enterprise.

It was after his arrest on the fraud charges that McFarland told the court he was broke - so much so he was being represented by a public defender in the criminal case. Now a lawyer hired by McFarland to defend one of the lawsuits filed by an investor, Oleg Itkin, has announced he is stepping down due to unpaid bills.

According to Law 360, Michael Levine of Levine And Associates told the New York courts yesterday that he would no longer be working on the case, and that he would file the formal paperwork to that effect by tomorrow. Levine said he simply couldn't represent a client who wasn't paying him for his time.

The Itkin litigation has been put on hold until September pending the appointment of a new attorney to represent the defendants. Yeah, good luck with that.


Lyor Cohen confirms more integration planned for Google Play and YouTube music apps
So, you all remember that Google has a streaming music service, right? Of course you do. But no, I don't mean YouTube. I mean the Google Play streaming music service. Oh yeah, Google Play has a streaming music service!

YouTube music chief Lyon Cohen has seemingly confirmed plans at Google to bring together the web giant's two music offers - the Google Play service and YouTube's music app - while speaking at the New Music Seminar conference in New York.

According to The Verge, Cohen talked about aligning the music elements of Google Play and YouTube after being asked why the latter's subscription service Red isn't more popular with music fans. "The important thing is combining YouTube Red and Google Play Music, and having one offering", he said.

YouTube Red subscribers already get access to Google Play Music as part of their subscription, though the tie-up is somewhat confusing, and all the more so because of the standalone YouTube Music app that is available in some markets.

There has been chatter for some time about the two Google music services being better integrated, and that was further fuelled when the web firm combined its Google Play and YouTube music teams earlier this year. Cohen's comments seem to confirm such product integration is now underway, but it's still not clear whether that will actually involve abandoning one of the brands or apps down the line.

Following Cohen's remarks, Google seemed most concerned about telling everyone that, whatever happens, it's not going to happen overnight. It told The Verge: "Music is very important to Google and we're evaluating how to bring together our music offerings to deliver the best possible product for our users, music partners and artists. Nothing will change for users today and we'll provide plenty of notice before any changes are made".


WeTransfer offers $10,000 grants to ex-SoundCloud employees
WeTransfer President Damian Bradfield is offering $10,000 grants to the 173 SoundCloud employees who found themselves laid off when the company downsized earlier this month.

"Hidden at the core of this crazy notion is a very serious idea", he writes in a post on Medium. "We need to keep innovating. Everyone -  the folks at SoundCloud included  -  would love to see these former employees go on to develop great things. $10,000 isn't enough to build an entirely new company, but it is enough to get an idea going, to design something, or have it designed. It's enough to get an iOS developer friend to build an MVP that we could introduce or shine a spotlight on. That is, after all, how WeTransfer started".

The funding comes with a few caveats and in a more detailed document some ground rules are laid out. Recipients of the grant must have been employed by SoundCloud up to July this year and must not have already accepted a new job. They will also have to prove that they intend to spend the money on innovation in music and have a plan to do so.

"We want people to create", says Bradfield. "What could be better? We want to see amazing proposals. Start something -  that's what we're saying. We'll do whatever we can to help, but we aren't VC's. This isn't an investment. It's not a loan. It's an opportunity. We aren't trying to compete and don't want to own anything. It's a chance to have some fun".

The deadline for applications is 21 Aug.


Radio 1 announces Live Lounge Month line-up
Radio 1 has announced the full line-up for this year's Live Lounge Month, which will run throughout September as part of the station's 50th anniversary celebrations.

Joining previously announced acts like Foo Fighters and Royal Blood are Jay-Z, Chris Martin, Harry Styles, Rita Ora, Pink, Lorde and more. The final night of the series on 29 Sep will feature a special studio concert from an as-yet-unnamed act.

"This year's Live Lounge Month has me more excited for our listeners than ever", says Live Lounge host Clara Amfo. "From LA back to our studios in the UK, there are 50 great years of Radio 1 to celebrate with all of the artists and I can't wait for it to kick off!"

Radio 1 controller Ben Cooper adds: "I love Live Lounge Month - the world's biggest artists, in the world famous Radio 1 studio, playing the best music in the world".

Here's the full schedule:

1 Sep: Foo Fighters
4 Sep: Chris Martin
5 Sep: The Script
6 Sep: The xx
7 Sep: 30 Seconds To Mars
8 Sep: Pink
11 Sep: The Killers
12 Sep: London Grammar
13 Sep: Harry Styles
14 Sep: Stormzy
15 Sep: Miley Cyrus
18 Sep: Rita Ora
19 Sep: Wolf Alice
20 Sep: George Ezra
21 Sep: Rag N Bone Man
22 Sep: Jay-Z
25 Sep: Craig David
26 Sep: Royal Blood
27 Sep: Rudimental with James Arthur
28 Sep: Lorde
29 Sep: TBA


Vinyl Festival cancelled
An event claiming to be the UK's "first vinyl festival" has been cancelled. The Vinyl Festival was due to take place in September, but has been pulled "due to unforeseen circumstances".

Billed as an "immersive vinyl experience", the event was to take over London's Printworks venue with 100 stalls for indie labels and other record sellers to sell records, plus a team of vinyl evaluation experts on hand. Huey Morgan, Tim Burgess, Edith Bowman and Steve Lamacq were also booked to do live Q&As and DJ sets. This opportunity to go into a room and mainly buy vinyl would only have set you back £40. Bargain.

In a statement yesterday, organisers said: "Unfortunately due to unforeseen circumstances we've had to make the difficult decision to cancel the Vinyl Festival due to take place on 23 and 24 Sep. It's been a tough decision to make but sometimes even with the best laid plans these things happen".

Maybe they can have another go next year and bill it as the 'Vinyl Festival revival'.


Approved: Zgto
Producer Shigeto and rapper ZelooperZ - a member of Danny Brown's Bruiser Brigade - are set to release their first album as Zgto, 'A Piece Of Geto', on 22 Aug.

It's probably a slightly unlikely pairing, but that's precisely what attracted them to the idea of collaborating. ZelooperZ tones down his usually aggressive approach, while Shigeto slides his usually fairly delicate sound across to meet him.

"It's a representation of what two brothers from completely different environments can give each other", says Shigeto of the album. "The music is freedom for us. It's a chance to say that all of those rules that you thought existed, don't exist".

Zelooper adds: "It's a piece from him and it's a piece from me. It's a piece from both of us. The whole process has been that. We are just putting in our pieces. It's like a puzzle that was never supposed to fit together. It looks crazy but the vibe is fun".

The pair released the first single from the album, 'Off Dat', last month. Now they follow it up with 'Band Man', which delves further into the collaboration. Listen here.

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

Charli XCX releases Boys
Charli XCX is back with another single from her still to be released third album. New song 'Boys' joins last year's 'After The Afterparty' on the LP's tracklist.

With the song produced by Jerker Hansson and Cass Lowe, Charli XCX co-directed the video with Sarah McColgan. Of the visuals, she says: "'Boys' is my favourite music video I've ever made. I just wanna say a big thanks to all the boys involved, for totally embracing and understanding my vision and being excited by the concept".

Watch the video here.


Mercury Prize, Emily Haines, Converge, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• By the time you read this CMU Daily the shortlist for the Mercury Prize should be out. Imagine! No, go on, imagine it. It'll be more fun than the actual shortlist.

• Metric's Emily Haines has released another track off her upcoming new solo album. Here's 'Planets'.

• Converge are back with two new songs, 'I Can Tell You About Pain' and 'Eve'.

• Chelsea Wolfe has released new song 'Vex'. Her new album, 'Hiss Spun', is out on 22 Sep.

• Field Music affiliates The Cornshed Sisters have released their debut single, 'The Message'. Their debut album, 'Honey & Tar', is out on Memphis Industries on 3 Nov.

• Corbin - the artist fka Spooky Black - has released new single 'Ice Baby'.

• Anna Straker is back with new single 'Ignite Me'.

• Producer Benedict Frey is set to release new album 'Artificial' on 15 Sep. From it, this is first single 'H For Hysteria'.

• All Them Witches have released the video for new single 'Bull', taken from their latest album 'Sleeping Through The War'.

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


Trent Reznor doesn't like that music you're listening to. It's just noise and you can't even understand the words. Turn it off.
With a new EP, 'Add Violence', just out, Trent Reznor has given a long and insightful interview to Vulture. It covers topics from how Donald Trump's election as president has affected parenting to why he thinks musicians shouldn't give long interviews.

He also talks about his experience as Artistic Director at Apple Music, and how he sees it as something different to other celebrity side-jobs. "My experience with Beats Music and then at Apple largely was dismissed from outside, maybe justifiably, as here's another celebrity moron holding up a phone and expecting some sort of credit", he says. However: "I've learned a hell of a lot from working at Beats and Apple. I've seen a lot, and it's interesting to be behind the scenes and meet really cool, smart people that I highly respect".

"Being in that world has made me realise the true value of being an artist", he goes on. "The economics of music aren't what they should be, and the culture isn't giving the arts its fair due, but humans are always going to respond to emotion and storytelling. I believe that as much as I ever did. More, even".

To that end then, what does he think of some of today's big popstars? How about fellow Apple Music affiliate Drake?

"I see what Drake's been able to pull off in terms of being omnipresent and constantly engaging an audience that seems to enjoy the way he's engaging them", he says. "I'm just not part of that audience. I'm not as well-rounded as I used to be about pop culture. I'm not saying pop music isn't well-crafted or the people who make it aren't wonderful, but it's not for me. I've asked people, 'What is it that's good about Drake?' I've said to my friends at Apple: 'Explain to me why'. As the old guy, I don't see it".

It's a valid question. "I wasn't even asking cynically", he insists. "I was curious what it is that he's touching on. The answers I got made me go, 'That's it?'"

He's also not keen on that whole EDM thing: "I've had many agent types over the years say, 'EDM is the future'. No, it's not. It's fucking not ... I'm saying this judgmentally: EDM has certainly changed pop music and is an interesting flavour, but I don't think anyone's going to be listening to it in ten years and saying, 'What a fucking great song that beat was'".

And then there's the visual imagery that accompanies some modern music. Reznor particularly singles out Nicki Minaj's 'Anaconda' video, saying: "Is that supposed to be sexy? How about we just have full gynaecological probing in a video? There's a vulgarity to it".

You might fairly cry 'hypocrisy' there, given that Reznor has a pretty long history of skirting the borders of taste and decency with his art. His most famous lyric, after all, is "I wanna fuck you like an animal" in 'Closer'. However, he's no longer a wild rock star in his 20s, he's a sober parent in his 50s.

"I'm not looking forward to the 'Closer' talk", he says of his children's interest in his music. "Which is probably going to happen quicker than I'd like. Just this morning, me and my two older boys were sitting in the hotel restaurant. Their mom has played the new EP for them a couple times. They're like, "My favourite song is 'Less Than'". That's sweet, but then I'm thinking, 'don't I say 'fuck' in that one?'"

Of how life changes your perceptions of your own art, he adds: "You're not really thinking about how lyrics that seemed cool at the time are going to register with parents at your kid's school 20 years later".

Anyway, you should read the whole interview. Here it is.


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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