TODAY'S TOP STORY: Emails from Live Nation boss Michael Rapino - in which he admits that some of the fees charged by Ticketmaster are "not defendable" - were made public last week, just as the live giant was specifically blamed for the demise of the Songkick ticketing business. Though Live Nation argues that Rapino advocating lower Ticketmaster fees is surely a good thing, while it continues to deny all the allegations made against it by Songkick... [READ MORE]
There has been lots of debate around the music rights data problem in recent years, and a number of initiatives are underway to tackle the issue. Though Spotify's mechanical royalties dispute and the lack of songwriter credits on the streaming platforms shows the problem persists. As Music 4.5 puts the spotlight back on all things data, CMU Trends reviews discussions to date, challenges to be met, and where progress is being made. [READ MORE]
Copyright provides creators with control over that which they create, but what happens when the creators themselves don't own the copyright in their work? Artists and songwriters who are no longer in control of their copyrights do still have some rights, sometimes by contract, and via performer and moral rights. CMU Trends considers what the law says about the rights of artists and songwriters after their copyrights have been assigned. [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]
TOP STORIES Songkick lays into Ticketmaster once again as it shuts down its ticketing service
LEGAL Tech sector opposes proposed landmark web-block injunction in the US
Nelly's accuser asks for police investigation to end, saying "system will fail me"
DEALS BMG signs Bush and Gavin Rossdale
LIVE BUSINESS Manchester's Soup Kitchen prioritises mobile ticketing via Dice alliance
MARKETING & PR Tasha Anderson-Hatch launches new agency Fine Company
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES CMU's Setlist podcast discusses the legacy of Radiohead's In Rainbows ten years on
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Help Musicians UK publishes mental health report
ARTIST NEWS Björk discusses film industry sexual harassment
AND FINALLY... Dave Grohl gives fan his shoe
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Songkick lays into Ticketmaster once again as it shuts down its ticketing service
Emails from Live Nation boss Michael Rapino - in which he admits that some of the fees charged by Ticketmaster are "not defendable" - were made public last week, just as the live giant was specifically blamed for the demise of the Songkick ticketing business. Though Live Nation argues that Rapino advocating lower Ticketmaster fees is surely a good thing, while it continues to deny all the allegations made against it by Songkick.

Rapino's emails were released as a result of the ongoing legal battle between his company and Songkick, which has variously accused Live Nation and its Ticketmaster division of anti-competitive behaviour, trade secret misappropriation and hacking. Both sides are due back in court later today, though the dispute will get its proper court hearing next month.

Meanwhile, Songkick announced last week that, by the end of this month, "it would complete the shutdown of all ticketing operations we began earlier this year when Ticketmaster and Live Nation effectively blocked our US ticketing business". That announcement follows the sale to Warner Music, back in July, of the live music data set-up and gigs recommendations service that people more commonly associate with Songkick.

That data and recommendations operation was the original Songkick business, of course, it making money from the affiliate fees paid by ticketing companies when fans reached their sites via the Songkick app. The start-up subsequently moved into ticketing itself, prompting a merger with Crowdsurge, another UK-based start-up that provided direct-to-fan ticketing solutions for artists and promoters.

Any start-up entering the ticketing business faces an up-hill battle, especially if it has ambitions to work with mainstream artists and tours. Reaching consumers is actually the easy bit, the challenge is getting access to tickets. Grassroots artists and promoters are often attracted to the better data and user-experience provided by ticketing start-ups, though for bigger shows the ticketing firm's ability to advance monies ahead of a gig is often key. And, of course, Live Nation is both the biggest tour promoter and owns Ticketmaster.

Songkick/Crowdsurge saw an opportunity to provide specific services around the pre-sale of tickets to an artist's core fanbase via their official mailing list, promising a set-up that ensured those pre-sale tickets didn't fall into the hands of touts. It was with that service that Songkick had its public falling out with Live Nation, which it said was exploiting its dominance in both the live sector and artist management to discourage acts from allying with its smaller ticketing rival on fan club pre-sales.

Songkick's anti-trust litigation against Live Nation, filed in 2015, has been both streamlined and extended since the original filing. The additions were mainly new allegations made by Songkick that staff at Ticketmaster stole trade secrets from the start-up and used them to develop its own rival service. These new claims mainly centred on a former Crowdsurge employee who had subsequently joined Ticketmaster.

As the case continues to work its way to court, last week the judge overseeing the proceedings responded to a request by Live Nation to seal or redact various documents related to the dispute. According to Billboard, this included the Rapino email in which he said that some Ticketmaster fees were "not defendable" and that Live Nation's ticketing division needed a "simpler more artist friendly policy/rule to meet the reality of today".

Judge Dale Fischer did allow certain documents to be kept private to protect financial secrets, but said that that requirement didn't apply to other files Live Nation wanted sealed, which were just embarrassing to the live giant. Though a Live Nation spokesperson denied Rapino's Ticketmaster comments were embarrassing, telling Billboard: "[The emails] indicate that Michael Rapino favoured lower ticketing fees and changes to Ticketmaster's Fan Club Policy that would benefit artists. We are at a loss to understand why that is a bad thing".

The Live Nation rep then added: "The truth is that Songkick's lawsuit has interfered with the natural evolution of these policies, harming both artists and fans". The live giant, of course, continues to deny the various allegations made against it by Songkick, insisting that its smaller rival's litigation is without merit.

But in a note to clients last week, Crowdsurge founder Matt Jones - who ultimately led the combined Songkick business - remained committed to his legal battle with Live Nation. He wrote: "Many of you receiving this note have helped us immensely as we prepare for our day in court, and even as we shutter our business, we will remain focused on pursuing a legal victory and making the live music industry better for artists and fans".

Jones letter stated that all outstanding monies due to artists and promoters who used the firm's ticketing platform will be paid in full, while the shutdown of the Songkick ticketing service won't affect the gig recommendations app, now being operated by Warner.


Tech sector opposes proposed landmark web-block injunction in the US
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Computer And Communications Industry Association has hit out against a web-block injunction being proposed in an American copyright infringement case between the American Chemical Society and a website called Sci-Hub, which makes available academic papers without licence.

As previously reported, the ACS sued Sci-Hub - sometimes dubbed the "Pirate Bay of science" - earlier this year. As often happens with piracy cases, the pirates chose not to defend themselves, so last month the ACS requested a default judgement in its favour. And when responding to that request earlier this month, magistrate judge John Anderson recommended a ruling in favour of the ACS on all counts.

This would mean, in addition to damages, a court order forcing "internet search engines, web hosting and internet service providers, domain name registrars, and domain name registries" to "cease facilitating access to any or all domain names and websites through which Sci-Hub engages in unlawful access to, use, reproduction, and distribution of ACS's trademarks or copyrighted works".

Basically, that constitutes a web-block injunction. Web-blocking - mainly involving internet service providers being forced to block access to copyright infringing websites - has become common place in some countries, including the UK. And while ISPs usually object to such injunctions at the outset, web-blocks generally become uncontroversial once they are under way, with some ISPs even advocating the anti-piracy tactic.

However, when web-blocking was proposed in US Congress back in 2011/2, it proved very controversial indeed, and said proposals were subsequently axed. Which is why you can expect push back from the tech sector against the proposed resolution in the ACS v Sci-Hub case.

Anderson's recommendations will now go to a more senior judge, Leonie Brinkema, who will make the final ruling. And the tech sector-repping CCIA wants Brinkema to reject Anderson's proposals regarding the obligations of search engines and ISPs.

According to Torrentfreak, the CCIA wrote in one of those amicus briefs last week: "[The] plaintiff is seeking - and the magistrate judge has recommended - a permanent injunction that would sweep in various neutral service providers, despite their having violated no laws and having no connection to this case".

The 'neutral service providers' are the search engines and ISPs and such like. Reckons the CCIA: "Plaintiff has failed to make a showing that any such provider had a contract with these defendants or any direct contact with their activities - much less that all of the providers who would be swept up by the proposed injunction had such a connection".

The CCIA then argues that American law prevents the court from issuing an injunction against these 'neutral service providers'. "The Digital Millennium Copyright Act ... puts bedrock limits on the injunctions that can be imposed on qualifying providers if they are named as defendants and are held liable as infringers", it writes.

"Plaintiff here ignores that. What ACS seeks, in the posture of a permanent injunction against non-parties, goes beyond what Congress was willing to permit, even against service providers against whom an actual judgment of infringement has been entered. That request must be rejected."

It now remains to be seen how Brinkema responds. And also whether any copyright groups stick in their own amicus briefs supporting Anderson's recommendations before that final judgement is made.


Nelly's accuser asks for police investigation to end, saying "system will fail me"
The women who accused Nelly of sexual assault after a show in Auburn, Washington earlier this month has requested that police stop their investigation into the alleged crime, because "she believes the system is going to fail her".

Karen Koehler, the lawyer who had been repping the alleged victim, posted an open letter to her website on Friday criticising the way police handle rape allegations. She wrote: "We do not live in a society where a 21 year old college student can feel safe enough to pursue criminal charges against a celebrity for an alleged rape".

After outlining the process her client must go through after reporting the alleged assault to police, Koehler writes: "Every step of the way since the time she called 911, she wishes she had not. Not because what happened didn't occur exactly the way she described it. Not because she did not want the police to charge the celebrity with alleged rape. She wishes she had not called 911 because she believes the system is going to fail her".

To that end, Koehler adds: "Today she is telling the Auburn Police Department and the King County Prosecutor's Office to put a halt to the criminal investigation of Cornell Haynes Jr (aka Nelly). She will not testify in a criminal proceeding against him".

Nelly and his representatives have strongly denied the allegations of sexual assault from the off, with his lawyer Scott Rosenblum telling reporters, as news of his client's arrest broke: "Our initial investigation clearly establishes this allegation is devoid of credibility and is motivated by greed and vindictiveness".

Responding to the news that his client's accuser had now requested that police stop their investigations, Rosenblum said this weekend: "We have received word via her lawyer's website that Nelly's accuser is no longer pursuing her false allegation. This is welcome news, even though I was 100% sure Nelly would be vindicated".

He went on: "Her reckless accusation, once investigated thoroughly, was exposed for what it was - a fabrication. A fabrication that has caused Nelly and his family to suffer emotionally and financially. I am suggesting that Nelly seeks a public apology. I am further suggesting that Nelly considers whatever legal options are available to him. Nelly thanks his fans for their unwavering loyalty".

Koehler, who had already been critical of the way Nelly and Rosenblum had responded to her client's allegations, concludes her open letter thus: "[My client] never wanted notoriety. She never wanted a dime from that man. She wants to go back to school and to graduate. And this she cannot do if she remains hidden in her room, crying her heart out".

Alluding to recent events in Hollywood, she then finishes by stating: "One day, maybe our world will change and 30 women will not be needed to (eventually) speak out against a celebrity who has hurt them in order to be believed. But that day has not yet come".


BMG signs Bush and Gavin Rossdale
Bush and the band's frontman Gavin Rossdale have both entered into worldwide deals with BMG. The music rights firm will represent Rossdale's extensive songwriting catalogue and release a remastered version of his band's most recent album, 'Black And White Rainbows'.

Actually, the remastered version of the LP - complete with new bonus tracks - is already out digitally, with a CD release to follow. The album was originally put out by Rossdale's own Zuma Rock Records back in March.

Says Rossdale of the new deals: "I'm very excited to be partnering with BMG - a very powerful label with the passion and capability to bring Bush to a very wide audience".

Add's BMG's Zach Katz: "Led by Gavin and his extraordinary catalogue, Bush remains one of the most successful bands in rock. We welcome them to BMG and look forward to continue building on their musical legacy".


Manchester's Soup Kitchen prioritises mobile ticketing via Dice alliance
Manchester venue Soup Kitchen is following London's Islington Assembly Hall by adopting a 'mobile-first' ticketing policy, issuing mobile tickets by default for its shows. The move - powered by ticketing firm Dice - aims to make it harder to tout tickets.

Confirming his company's alliance with Soup Kitchen, Dice's Russ Tannen said: "In a digital world, where you can book everything through your phone, we believe it's important for venues to move with the times. When venues ditch tout-friendly paper tickets and embrace mobile, everyone wins - except the touts. Soup Kitchen is a great venue partner, it believes in curating the best acts while putting fans first".

Meanwhile, over at Soup Kitchen, John Howes added: "We decided to work with Dice as their focus on for putting fans first, keeping touts out and event curation complements our forward thinking music policy. By making the ticketing journey as seamless as possible, we are giving our customers the best experience we can and at the same time put a stop to secondary ticketing".


Tasha Anderson-Hatch launches new agency Fine Company
Music PR Tasha Anderson-Hatch is stepping down from House Of 27, the agency she has led since 2012, to launch a new business called Fine Company, which will offer online PR, digital strategy and brand consultancy services.

Anderson-Hatch will continue to represent the likes of Lana Del Rey, Dua Lipa and Chlöe Howl in the online PR domain via her new company, while other early clients include Naughty Boy's new project Naughty Town.

Commenting on the new business, Anderson-Hatch told CMU: "I'm really excited to announce this new venture after five brilliant years running House Of 27. As digital editorial titles and streaming exposure for artists continue to evolve, I will be identifying what areas are gaining more exposure for my clients".

She added: "As well as social media and brand consultancy, I will be running a more selective, streamlined boutique service that will incorporate innovative new trends".


CMU's Setlist podcast discusses the legacy of Radiohead's In Rainbows ten years on
Among the various discussions on this week's Setlist podcast, CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke look at the legacy of Radiohead's 'In Rainbows', and its pay-what-you-want release, ten years on. The record was originally self-released by the band in 2007, of course, as a download where fans could name the price they paid.

At the time, there was much discussion about what this release strategy meant for the future of the music industry, which was then still dealing with plummeting record sales, while adapting to the download era and still working out what opportunities digital music offered. A decade later, Malt and Cooke go back over those arguments - both positive and negative - to see if Radiohead really did change the world.

Back in 2007, there were those who claimed that Radiohead had just revolutionised the recorded music business, some going as far as to claim that this direct-to-fan release strategy could bring on the end of the record companies. There were also those who said that Radiohead had ruined everything with their pay-what-you-want policy, especially for cash strapped grassroots indie artists, by planting the seed in consumers' minds that music had no intrinsic value.

"Was it genius?" asks Cooke on the show, noting questions that were widely posed, both in 2007 and as the tenth anniversary arrived last week. "Did they screw over all those artists? Were they setting a new agenda? I think the answer to all of those questions is... not really".

"It was really a gimmick", adds Malt, of major artists offering their entire album on a pay-what-you-want basis. "It's probably something you can only do once. If Radiohead had released their next album in the same way, everyone would have just said, 'oh, that's just that Radiohead thing again' and it wouldn't have been so interesting. People probably wouldn't have been talking about it ten years later".

However, that's not to say 'In Rainbows' wasn't a sign of things to come. After all, many artists, especially grassroots acts, now routinely offer pay-what-you-want on their Bandcamp profiles. "It was less about playing with digital and downloads and more about playing with this idea of direct-to-fan", says Cooke of the 'In Rainbows' venture. "Bands do now have this direct relationship with core fanbase, and that's an innovation since the rise of the web. And so, with 'In Rainbows', Radiohead were really pioneers in direct-to-fan".

He continues: "I still think that the record industry is yet to fully capitalise on direct-to-fan. There are certain artists who do it really well. But, in the main, I still think that there are huge opportunities to get more money out of core fans who would gladly spend £10 a month with an artist, if there was something to spend £10 on - rather than just a new record every two years, a show every eighteen months, and a t-shirt at the show".

"If 'In Rainbows' has any legacy" notes Malt, "it's that it gave a legitimacy to direct-to-fan that has definitely grown over the last ten years, but still has a lot of growing to do".

You can listen to the full discussion on 'In Rainbows' - plus chat about Cloudflare's problems with pirates and Ticketmaster's new research into the grime industry - by subscribing to Setlist wherever you get podcasts. Or you can listen here.


Help Musicians UK publishes mental health report
Help Musicians UK today published another report from its study into mental health challenges within the music community, the result of research originally launched at the CMU Insights conference at The Great Escape in 2016.

The charity put out initial stats based on a survey of the music industry just under a year ago. The new report, produced by the University Of Westminster, also includes insights from 26 more in depth interviews with respondents from across the music community.

The new report identifies various characteristics specific to a career in music which can have a damaging affect on the mental health of people working in the sector, and/or make it harder for people to access support and healthcare when they need it.

This includes the unusually high number of self-employed people working in music, many of whom must often undertake multiple concurrent projects in order to bring in sufficient money overall to live off. This makes it very hard to achieve a good work-life balance; can result in a precarious and unpredictable financial situation; can put pressure on relationships with friends, families and partners; and might result in a feeling of isolation, especially when it comes to dealing with mental health problems.

In terms of recommendations, the report says that mental health awareness should be included in the music education curriculum and be a topic more regularly discussed among working musicians. It also recommends a code of best practice for music companies and organisations and more mental health support services specifically aimed at music people.

Work is already underway in some of those areas, of course, especially in the UK where there has been a much more frank conversation about mental health in the music community in recent years. The Music Managers Forum has already begun work in the education domain, while the Music Support charity and Help Musicians itself are providing specialist support services. Though there is still plenty more to be done.

On the back of the report, Help Musicians UK makes three pledges. First to build a music industry mental health taskforce with partners across the industry "to establish a code of best practice and duty of care within the industry". It will also advocate change in this area in the UK and beyond, plus put live its previously reported new 24/7 mental health service - to be called Music Minds Matter - which will launch in December of this year.

Commenting on the new report, which you can download here, Westminster University researchers Sally Gross and Dr George Musgrave said this morning: "This research is a crucial step forward in our understanding of the complex relationship between the working conditions of musicians and mental health".

They went on: "The honesty and poignancy of our interviewees has made possible this important work, and informed the service provision being implemented by Help Musicians UK, and for that we are truly thankful. We hope that this research can spark a wider debate both in the music industry about the welfare of those at its heart, and more generally about the challenging nature of precarious work".

Help Musicians UK's Christine Brown added: "The British music industry is in rude health and has a world class reputation - but to continue the long-term wellbeing of the industry and its workers, we aim to create a constructive forum for discussion, partnership and collaboration. Through the new Music Minds Matter service, we are closer to providing the crucial support, advice and education the music community desperately needs. Together we can continue to chip away at the stigma, so that in the long term those working in the community never have to suffer in silence".


Approved: King
Since the release of her debut single 'Promise' last year, King has been slowly building up a head of steam with a steady stream of singles, like February's 'Hello Hello'.

New single 'Only U' - her first since signing to Warner earlier this month - is her most successful production to date, balancing just right the dark and light sides of the character she's developed for herself.

"'Only U' is the hardest track I've ever recorded", she says. "[Producers] Christian [Nilsson] and [St] James made me do everything over and over again because they wanted it to be perfect. I'm really proud of this track: the sound, my tone and the lyrics. If a song could be perfect this is the one".

You can watch the video for 'Only U' here.

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

Björk discusses film industry sexual harassment
As the accusations of sexual harassment and assault against movie producer Harvey Weinstein mount up, Björk has spoken out about her experiences in the film industry, in her case with a Danish director. Meanwhile, footage has emerged of Courtney Love warning young actresses about Weinstein back in 2005.

Writing on her Facebook page, Björk said: "I am inspired by the women everywhere who are speaking up online to tell about my experience with a Danish director".

"I come from a country that is one of the world's places closest to equality between the sexes and at the time I came from position of strength in the music world with hard earned independence", she continues. "[So] it was extremely clear to me when I walked into the [acting] profession that my humiliation and role as a lesser sexually harassed being was the norm and set in stone with the director and a staff of dozens who enabled it and encouraged it".

She says that having "turned the director down repeatedly, he sulked and punished me and created for his team an impressive net of illusion where I was framed as the difficult one". She adds: "I walked away from it and recovered in a year's time. I am worried, though, that other actresses working with the same man did not".

However, she concludes: "The director was fully aware of this game and I am sure ... that the film he made after was based on his experiences with me, because I was the first one that stood up to him and didn't let him get away with it. In my opinion, he had a more fair and meaningful relationship with his actresses after my confrontation, so there is hope. Let's hope this statement supports the actresses and actors all over. Let's stop this. There is a wave of change in the world".

Meanwhile, with the Weinstein scandal still growing, TMZ has unearthed a red carpet interview with Courtney Love from 2005, in which she's asked if she has any advice for young women trying to make it in Hollywood. After hesitating, she says: "If Harvey Weinstein invites you to a private party in his Four Seasons [hotel room], don't go".

Following the publication of the video, Love tweeted: "Although I wasn't one of his victims, I was eternally banned by CAA for speaking out against Harvey Weinstein".


Dave Grohl gives fan his shoe
Dave Grohl gave a Foo Fighters fan one of his shoes at a show in the US last week. Now he only has one shoe.

Actually, it was a spare shoe he had lying around, don't worry. Why did he offer it up to the fan? Because she had a broken leg and needed a shoe. I'm sure you would have done the same. Although you might not be so attuned to the need for shoes when your leg is broken, you having not fallen off a stage in 2015 and sustained a similar injury.

Said fan was backstage at the show in Washington, DC, when Grohl's orthopaedic doctor (what do you mean you don't travel around with one of those?) informed her that the leg wouldn't heal if she didn't put a shoe over her brace.

She later explained to Alternative Press: "Dave brought [the doctor] out once he saw that I was on crutches, and that's when his doctor mentioned that I was supposed to wear a shoe with my brace. I told him that my shoes didn't fit over it because it's pretty big and my shoes are kinda small. So Dave said, 'You need one of my big high tops!' and I laughed it off. I wore it for the rest of the night after Dave told me to put it on".

If Donald Trump has his way, this will be how the whole US healthcare system works by the end of the year.


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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