TODAY'S TOP STORY: SoundCloud's shareholders have until the end of the day to approve a rescue plan for the flagging streaming music firm, according to Axios, which cites a memo seemingly sent to the company's investors earlier this week... [READ MORE]
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? CMU Trends reviews the music rights market - past, present and future. [READ MORE]
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. [READ MORE]
The recorded music business is back in growth on the back of the streaming boom - but challenges remain. Reviewing IFPI's most recent record industry figures, CMU Trends provides three reasons to be optimistic, and three reasons for pessimism. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Investors reportedly to decide on future of SoundCloud today
LEGAL Taylor Swift testifies in DJ grope case
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Because Group buys old London Records catalogue in latest Warner divestment
BMG announces Canadian expansion via Black Box alliance
LIVE BUSINESS Live Nation launches new dance music division for Asia
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES As Facebook ramps up its video offering, is it more likely to feel the music industry's wrath?
ARTIST NEWS Conor Oberst discusses the impact of that false allegation of rape
AND FINALLY... Beef Of The Week #367: Hope & Glory Festival v Getting Any Work Done
Sunday Best seeks a Product/Project Manager with previous industry experience. A knowledge of digital marketing is essential and specific knowledge of electronic music helpful. The role involves running a campaign from album delivery through to release.

For more information and to apply click here.
Maximum Boost Management and its associated group of companies are looking for an exceptional and motivated addition to their team. As a direct assistant to a lead artist manager within the business you will be entrusted to support, plan and execute a number of processes on behalf of the manager and their artists.

For more information and to apply click here.
Ninja Tune are hiring for a full-time business affairs position within the record label and publishing company, based in its London office. The role will include producing, negotiating and finalising various contracts.

For more information and to apply click here.
Secretly Group is seeking a Label Assistant/Office Manager for its London office, this is the perfect position for anyone with passion and talent to find their first job in the music industry.

For more information and to apply click here.
Ninja Tune are hiring for a full-time copyright administration position within the record label and publishing company, based in its London office. The role will include registering works with societies, maintaining internal databases, compiling credits and supporting the licensing team.

For more information and to apply click here.
Columbo Group is seeking a Promotions Manager for The Blues Kitchen. As a member of our events team, you will be responsible for the programming and promotion of our live music calendar, as well as the communications and marketing of the restaurant and bar, working alongside a small team of very passionate people. You will have at least twelve months experience in hospitality marketing and a passion for the London scene.

For more information and to apply click here.
Leading independent record label and artist services company Cooking Vinyl Limited are looking for an International Product Manager / International Co-ordinator to support our busy International Department.

For more information and to apply click here.
Independent full service advertising agency Sold Out is looking for a Junior Media Planner to join a vibrant, growing team, contributing to the growth and culture of the company and helping drive the business forward. The successful candidate will be looking to establish a career in media and have a gift for organisation and effective time management.

For more information and to apply click here.
Cherry Red Records is expanding their digital and marketing department and looking for a new full-time assistant to join the team. The role includes website management and content creation, plus some social media, eCRM and online advertising.

For more information and to apply click here.
Glasgow Life is the charity responsible for inspiring Glasgow's citizens and visitors to lead richer and more active lives through culture, sport and learning. It is seeking a Business Development Manager to lead on the business development and commercial growth of its Arts, Music & Cultural Venues Service, with specific responsibility for the commercial development of Glasgow Life Tickets, our in-house box office and ticketing operation.

For more information and to apply click here.
Secretly Group is looking for a motivated and ambitious Product Manager to join its London team. Two to four years of music industry experience are essential, although not necessarily specifically in marketing. S/he must have a passion for music and be keen to contribute creative ideas to our European marketing strategy.

For more information and to apply click here.
Domino is looking for a new radio plugger to join its in house promo team. The successful applicant will work within Domino's current radio structure and will have an extensive knowledge of all aspects of UK radio. He or she will need established relationships at radio and a proven track record of working successful releases.

For more information and to apply click here.
Domino is seeking a confident individual to oversee digital account relationships and strategy, based in the London office. The position will lead key partnerships and activity with digital music and video service providers (including Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon, Vevo) across the UK and international markets, excluding North America.

For more information and to apply click here.
Digital Deals, Dollars And Trends – Explained!
MASTERCLASS | Monday 18 September 2017, London | INFO
This half day masterclass, presented by CMU MD and Business Editor Chris Cooke, will explain how digital music platforms are licensed and royalties distributed, as well as reviewing the digital market in 2017 and which services are leading in terms of users and revenue.
How The Music Business Works
SEMINARS | from Monday 25 September 2017, London | INFO
Our 'How The Music Business Works' programme consists of eight two-hour seminars which together cover: the various ways the music industry generates revenue, building and engaging a fanbase, the business partnerships artists form with music companies, and how the artist/label relationship is changing.
Enforcing Music Rights - Safe Harbours And Piracy
MASTERCLASS | Monday 20 November 2017, London | INFO
In this half day masterclass, CMU MD and Business Editor Chris Cooke will look at how the music industry enforces its copyrights, at the long-running battle with online music piracy, and at the controversy around the copyright safe harbour.

Investors reportedly to decide on future of SoundCloud today
SoundCloud's shareholders have until the end of the day to approve a rescue plan for the flagging streaming music firm, according to Axios, which cites a memo seemingly sent to the company's investors earlier this week.

As previously reported, after SoundCloud laid of 40% of its workforce last month, it was indicated at a staff meeting that the company only had finance in place to keep the business running into the fourth quarter of this year. However, management at the firm insisted that it had a long-term future as an independent entity, suggesting talks to sell the business outright to another digital company - such as Spotify or Deezer - were now off the agenda.

Bloomberg then linked New York bank The Raine Group and Singapore's state investment fund Temasek to the company, reporting that both intended to pump money into SoundCloud. The newswire said that although the two new investment deals were separate, the new investors would between them control more than half of SoundCloud's stock.

That arrangement - which seemingly cuts down SoundCloud's current valuation fourfold - needs the approval of existing shareholders, hence the memo. According to Axios, that document basically implies to the firm's other investors that they either back this deal now or the SoundCloud business is in serious danger of folding in the near term.

Or, in the words of the memo itself: "Financing of this size will enable to company to pay off its remaining debt, while ensuring a strong, independent future... In the event that the transaction does not close, and in the event SoundCloud does not otherwise obtain additional funding, based on current cashflow forecasts, SoundCloud faces liquidity concerns in the near term".

It's thought that The Raine Group will likely play a hands-on role in setting SoundCloud's future strategic direction if the new financing deal goes ahead, utilising its experience as an investor in other media and web outfits. SoundCloud, of course, has been busy trying to pivot its business away from selling hosting services to content creators and into the more conventional streaming business model of selling subscriptions to music fans.


Taylor Swift testifies in DJ grope case
Taylor Swift took to the witness stand yesterday in her legal battle with former radio DJ David Mueller, who is accused of groping the singer during a meet and greet in Detroit back in 2013.

As previously reported, it was actually Mueller who initially went legal in relation to the alleged incident, suing Swift for defamation after he lost his radio job when the musician's security team told his bosses about the grope. The musician responded by countersuing for assault and battery.

According to Billboard, in court yesterday Swift insisted that, despite the DJ's claims he accidentally brushed against the singer while moving into frame for a photo that was being taken, in fact he had very deliberately "reached under my skirt and grabbed my ass".

She went on: "There has been a lot of talk about jostling and sliding and gliding into the frame. This was not jostling. There was no diving into the frame... He did not touch my arm. He did not touch my rib. He did not touch my hand. He grabbed my bare ass".

Asked by Mueller's lawyer why she didn't immediately call the police after the incident had occurred, Swift said that she was focused on ensuring that the fans in attendance at the meet and greet were having a good time. But, she said, she tried to get as far away from Mueller as possible, telling her photographer about the alleged grope about fifteen minutes later.

After some tough and persistent questioning from the DJ's legal team, Swift firmly stated that: "It happened to me. I have a 3-D rendition of what happened in my brain. I could have picked him out of a line of 1000. I know exactly who did this. It is not alleged. It is a fact... You can ask me a million questions about it and I'm never going to say anything different".


Because Group buys old London Records catalogue in latest Warner divestment
French independent record company Because Group yesterday confirmed it had acquired much of the old London Records catalogue in the latest of the Warner Music divestments to the indie sector.

As much previously reported, Warner committed to sell a certain portion of its catalogue to independent music companies as part of a 2013 deal with pan-European indie label repping trade group IMPALA and indie label digital rights agency Merlin.

In return for that commitment, the independent sector agreed not to oppose Warner Music's acquisition of the Parlophone Music Group, which constituted a bunch of old EMI subsidiaries and catalogues that Universal Music was forced to sell by European competition regulators when it bought the EMI record company in 2012.

London Records was a subsidiary of the old music major Polygram for a long time, being led by British record industry veterans Roger Ames and Tracy Bennett during its particularly prolific period in the 1980s and 1990s.

After Polygram merged with Universal Music in 1998, the London label got sold off to Warner Music, rejoining Ames who had also jumped over to the rival record company. Though, somewhat confusingly, the London Records name then reverted back to Universal in 2010, which subsequently relaunched the label as part of its UK business.

Which is presumably why Because plans to rebrand the London catalogue it has just acquired off Warner as London Music Stream. Artists whose old recordings will now sit under that banner include Bananarama, Happy Mondays, Fine Young Cannibals, Orbital, Jimmy Somerville, Bronski Beat, East 17, Goldie and Shakespears Sister. London Music Stream will operate as a separate entity to the existing Because record company in the UK.

It's not the first deal Because has done as part of Warner's grand divestment party, it having acquired the catalogues of ten French artists earlier this year, including recordings by Mano Negra, Rita Mitsouko, Camille and Les Negresses Vertes.

Commenting on the new deal, Because chief Emmanuel de Buretel said: "I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with a talented group of artists whom I have long admired, and whose music remains relevant today. It is a great honour to be in a position to build on the legacy of the amazing creative vision established by Roger Ames and Tracy Bennett more than 25 years ago, and take London to a new level. The catalogue includes some incredible hit songs which we intend to revitalise in the digital age".

He added: "The ambition for this company is first to optimise the catalogue of the London artists on a worldwide basis using the resources of Because Music, and then to take the label back to its glory days with fresh ideas and talented people, all while using new opportunities on offer in terms of music, creativity, technology and data".


BMG announces Canadian expansion via Black Box alliance
BMG has announced it is ramping up its recorded music operations in Canada via an alliance with Toronto-based independent Black Box Music, which is headed up by Jason Murray.

BMG says that its tie up with Black Box will "support Canadian artists in their home territory, help discover new Canadian talent and also enable BMG to optimise sales in Canada from its growing stable of international artists".

Under the deal, Murray will lead the firm's Canadian operations, reporting into both BMG's US President Repertoire & Marketing Zach Katz and its EVP Recorded Music, Jon Cohen.

Confirming the arrangement, Katz said: "Canada has a long history of generating great artists. Canadian people are great music fans. So it is absolutely natural for us to have a strong presence in Canada. We have made no secret of our goal to build a recordings business as strong as our presence in music publishing. Scaling up in Canada with a trusted and credible partner like Black Box will enable us to further improve our service to artists".

Murray added: "In an ever-changing musical landscape that has more than ever before become an industry without borders, it's exciting to be part of a forward-thinking global music company. Watching first hand what their team have built in both the publishing and recorded music businesses, in such a short period, is awe inspiring."


Live Nation launches new dance music division for Asia
Live Nation has committed to deliver more bleeps to the Asian market by launching a new dance music focused division called Live Nation Electronic Asia. The new unit will stage Live Electronic music in the Nations of Asia. I guess.

The live music giant says that the new venture is being set up "to meet the region's rising demand for electronic dance music". It will be headed up by Hong Kong-based promoter Jim Wong, who has plenty of experience booking club nights, gigs and festivals in both Hong Kong and Mainland China. Early projects include a Chinese tour for Tiësto and editions of Live Nation's Creamfields festival in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Says Live Nation's Alan Ridgeway: "Our overarching goal is to connect artists and fans for unparalleled live music experiences, and it's undeniable that fans in Asia, especially China, are eager for more electronic music. Combining Jim's experience with Live Nation's network and resources allows us to accelerate our presence in this genre, giving fans even more electronic music performances through both concerts and festivals".

Wong adds: "I am excited to join Live Nation, especially considering the enormous potential this new venture creates for electronic music fans and artists. My team and I are passionate about electronic music and we are committed to contributing to the growth of this community in Asia".


As Facebook ramps up its video offering, is it more likely to feel the music industry's wrath?
Facebook's revamp of its video offering, unveiled earlier this week, could impact on the attitude of the music industry towards the social media giant as licensing talks continue.

The new Facebook feature, called Watch, will make it easier for users to navigate all the video content that has been uploaded to the platform. The new navigation tools make the video side of Facebook more like YouTube, and will likely see users more proactively encouraged to browse videos directly, rather than just watching content that automatically pops up within their personal Facebook feed.

The social media company is also more proactively encouraging creators to upload new videos to its servers, offering a 55% split on ad income in line with YouTube, and - also like the Google-owned video site - providing funding for some original content.

The new Watch channel replaces the Videos tab that was added to the Facebook mobile app last year, and will also be available via the social network's web interface and within its other apps, such as those for Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.

As much previously reported, as video has become ever more central to the Facebook proposition, there has been much chatter about the music contained within those videos, given the social media firm doesn't have any licensing deals in place with the record companies, music publishers or collecting societies.

Although licensing talks are ongoing, for now Facebook relies on the pesky copyright safe harbour to avoid liability for all the music being uploaded to its platform without licence, whether in the form of pop promos or music synchronised into other videos.

While labels and publishers have said that they are optimistic about their licensing talks with Facebook, the social network's video service becomes ever more like YouTube as it evolves, meaning there's a high chance the web firm will want similar licensing deals to its Google-owned rival - ie a variation of the 55% advertising share arrangement it is offering all content creators, preferably with no commitments to pay when content plays without ads.

But, of course, the music industry has been going to great lengths for a few years now to diss its YouTube deals. Labels and publishers insist that they only ever agree to the terms enjoyed by the Google company because the aforementioned safe harbour results in rights owners having a greatly weakened negotiating hand when deal making with YouTube.

All of which has led some to predict that Facebook will ultimately end up on the same diss list as YouTube, ie a platform that the music industry reluctantly does business with, for marketing and content management reasons, but which is routinely bad mouthed by the music community to politicians and the press.

Though to date some key music industry execs have been willing to cut Facebook some slack - despite it being very late to the licensing party - because of the way videos pop up in each user's feed, meaning that [a] it feels much more like a marketing platform and [b] it doesn't really compete head-on with Spotify and Apple Music et al, because it's not so easy to go in and demand and organise specific tracks.

But, as Facebook's video channel becomes ever more like a YouTube clone, with new tools for browsing and organising content, the social media is indeed in danger of becoming a competitor to the cash cow premium streaming services. At which point the social media giant is much more likely to be added to the same pariah list as YouTube, unless Facebook is willing to offer the rights owners some nice big advances and financial guarantees.

Fun times ahead then.


Vigsy's Club Tip: Brixton Old School Rave with A Guy Called Gerald
Brixton Jamm yet again delivers a great line-up, with A Guy Called Gerald heading up the proceedings. One of the fathers of the drum and base scene, Gerald Simpson doesn't really need any introduction, all you need to know is that he'll be live in session tonight.

The bill also boasts a Not Normal Records Takeover, Flat James and the Gravity DJs, with the night kicking off on the terrace at 6pm before moving into the club itself after dark, where we are promised a musical journey from the late 1980s right up to today, all the way through to 5am.

Should be a right old session!

Friday 11 Aug, Brixton Jamm, 261 Brixton Road, London, SW9 6LH, 10pm-5am, £15, more info here.

Conor Oberst discusses the impact of that false allegation of rape
Conor Oberst has spoken in a new interview with Noisey about the impact of being falsely accused of rape back in 2013.

As previously reported, the former Bright Eyes frontman was accused of rape by an anonymous woman in an online post made in late 2013. The post claimed the sexual assault had occurred a decade earlier.

Oberst vehemently denied the allegations and began defamation proceedings, though he called the legal action off after his accuser retracted her previous statement, explaining: "I made up those lies about him to get attention while I was going through a difficult period in my life and trying to cope with my son's illness".

Recalling the incident, Oberst says in the new interview: "At the time, it was like: I've lived 34 years on this earth, and I'm not saying I'm a great guy, but I know I'm not... I'm not violent towards anyone. Nothing like that would be a part of my character. And for a second, to have the whole world think that was true about me just did a number on my psyche".

He goes on: "When something like that - something random and terrible - happens to you, it's like... At this point I equate it to getting in a car crash or getting struck by fucking lightning. I don't feel like there's ever complete closure to something like that, in the sense that you carry the psychological things with you. But everyone has some or many things like that in their life, maybe not that public or extreme. It's one of those things where you've just got to go on with life".

Oberst adds that talking about the false accusations that were made against him can be tricky, because he doesn't want to downplay the seriousness of the number of women who are victims of sexual assault. He says: "It's such a tricky topic for me because I don't ever want to minimise how much that happens to women all the fucking time. They say one in four women will experience some kind of sexual assault in their life, which is fucking insane and heartbreaking. So as painful and surreal and fucked up as my situation was, I don't ever want to use this as an example to justify anything".


Beef Of The Week #367: Hope & Glory Festival v Getting Any Work Done
For those who attended day one of new Liverpool festival Hope & Glory most memories will probably involve standing in a queue. But for those of us watching from the outside in the failed event will mainly be recalled in the form of a Twitter feed that continued to entertain even as day two of the shindig was abruptly cancelled. So much so, it all became rather distracting as the week went on. And some of us had work to do.

Plenty of column inches have been dedicated to how day one of Hope & Glory turned out. The festival's city centre site opened late and queues up to the event's single entrance were lengthy throughout, even though security measures at the gate were seemingly very modest indeed. Once inside the compound, festival-goers faced further lengthy queues if they wanted to buy food and drink, or go to the toilet.

Ticket-holders have criticised both the number of bars and toilets offered and the positioning of said facilities, which meant queues collided and merged, and dangerous bottlenecks occurred as people tried to move around the site. Bad sign-posting may have also contributed to the problems, with many saying that the urinals in particular were hard to find further lengthening the queues at the other toilets. Though given reports the urinals started overflowing, perhaps that was a good thing.

Meanwhile on stage, the late opening meant few artists were playing in their advertised slots, while some acts had their sets cut short. Charlotte Church's set was cut so short she was given no time at all, instead relocating to a much less chaotic Liverpool club venue to play to those who had given up on the Hope & Glory debacle entirely.

But it was online - rather than on the ground - that Hope & Glory ensured its place in music festival history. Albeit for all the wrong reasons. The event's digital channels went very quiet as the festival fell apart on Saturday, just as real time information about ever changing set times would have been really useful, as would statements on the rumour that the event's gates had now been closed due to overcrowding.

But on Sunday things got lively. First, the second day of the festival was officially cancelled with a three word statement that read "no festival today". Then the personal email address of a production manager was posted on Facebook, with organisers saying that all the problems the previous day were his fault for not finishing site set up on time and for failing to build a bridge that would have overcome the bottleneck issue.

And it sort of went downhill from there, as the festival's official Twitter feed first complained about all the negative feedback the event had been getting online, then hit out at Tim Booth from Saturday headliners James for having the nerve to acknowledge what a shambles day one had been, and then started sparring with angry ticket holders. What was entirely missing was an apology and a statement about ticket refunds.

But so bad was the festival's official response to its own collapse, it soon reached 'so bad it's good' territory, making the #hopeandgloryfestival hashtag on Twitter compelling reading, as tweets went back and forth between organisers and angry ticket holders. Though if the tweets were distracting on Sunday, they were nothing compared to the two big developments on Monday.

First came the comedically long official statement from the Hope & Glory company which did, at least, apologise to punters. Before accepting responsibility for the debacle, and then immediately blaming everything on the production manager whose email address had been published the previous day and certain officials at Liverpool City Council.

Meanwhile, in amongst all the blame shifting, was a particularly bizarre section discussing what had happened to food and drink that had been bought for Sunday's artist riders. A council official had donated the food to charity, while no one seemed certain about what had happened to all the booze. This was an outrage, the Hope & Glory statement exclaimed, which it might have been, though it was hardly relevant to the thousands of ticket holders who had only really showed up at the festival's Facebook page for an update on refunds.

As everyone digested the comedy statement, it was confirmed that festival chief Lee O'Hanlon had agreed to appear on Iain Lee's late night phone in show on Talk Radio to discuss the debacle. Which seemed like an admirable thing to do, though risky in PR terms.

And while - as the Talk Radio DJ got more over the top with his demands to know "where's the money gone!" - it was actually possible to feel a little sympathy for the beleaguered Hope & Glory boss, there was little sympathy for the promoter online as the radio interview aired, and got replayed on-demand the next day.

Possibly because the social media conversation was being led by those who had actually bought tickets and who were understandably pissed off that all the messaging around refunds was very confused - with the promoter saying "speak to your ticket agent", and the ticketing firms telling customers they really needed to talk to the promoter.

Back on Twitter, O'Hanlon was now answering questions on the festival's official feed, insisting that Sunday's flippant tweets had been written by a junior member of staff.

The now generally apologetic tone of the Hope & Glory Twitter feed was a definite improvement, though back on the #hopeandgloryfestival hashtag - which was still proving pretty distracting - there were mainly two kinds of tweets: those mocking O'Hanlon and his Monday essay on missing foodstuffs, and those repeating Iain Lee's mantra of "where's the money gone!"

Further statements on refunds from the Hope & Glory company were promised, though as the week reached its conclusion the festival's official social media channels suspiciously fell off the internet. But back on the hashtag feed good news at last as the two companies that had powered ticketing on the festival's own website - Eventbrite and Skiddle - both announced they were instigating refunds out of their own pockets, the status of the ticketing monies already handed over to the Hope & Glory company remaining unknown.

Further squabbling and probably litigation are now anticipated. But either way, I think it's fair to say that - while the inaugural Hope & Glory festival will be the only ever Hope & Glory festival - the shambolic event will nevertheless be recalled aplenty whenever people talk about how not to handle crisis communications. Though, to be fair, while there was very little glory to be had at the Hope & Glory festival itself, following the subsequent fallout online has been glorious.


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 (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.
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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.
Email or call 020 7099 9060
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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