TODAY'S TOP STORY: Earlier this month the copyright industries sent an open letter to Axel Voss - the MEP leading on the draft European Copyright Directive in the European Parliament - in which they called for the safe harbour clause in said directive to be secured and strengthened. So, no surprise really that earlier this week another letter followed from a consortium of organisations who lobby on so called 'digital rights' calling for the very same safe harbour clause to be deleted... [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 Now the digital rights groups write to the EU about safe harbour reform
LEGAL Boy Better Know's Solo 45 charged with 29 counts of rape
LABELS & PUBLISHERS AIR Studios saved, as neighbouring planning applications dropped
ARTIST NEWS Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie dies
Alex Calder responds to sexual assault accusations, after being dropped by label
Pussycat Dolls deny former member's claim group is "a prostitution ring"
AWARDS Liam Gallagher leads Q Awards
ONE LINERS Songtrust, BRIT Awards, Lady Leshurr, more
AND FINALLY... Ed Sheeran expecting to be back to touring "in a month"
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Now the digital rights groups write to the EU about safe harbour reform
Earlier this month the copyright industries sent an open letter to Axel Voss - the MEP leading on the draft European Copyright Directive in the European Parliament - in which they called for the safe harbour clause in said directive to be secured and strengthened. So, no surprise really that earlier this week another letter followed from a consortium of organisations who lobby on so called 'digital rights' calling for the very same safe harbour clause to be deleted.

As much previously reported, the music industry hopes that article thirteen of the Copyright Directive will put new obligations on user-upload platforms like YouTube, which currently rely on the so called safe harbour to avoid liability when their users upload unlicensed content. The music community argues that YouTube et al - though mainly YouTube - are exploiting the safe harbour to secure much better licensing terms from record labels and music publishers, giving them an unfair advantage in the streaming music market.

The music community - and increasingly the wider copyright industries - have been lobbying hard in Europe as the draft Copyright Directive has worked its way through the European Parliament and EU Council. They want to ensure article thirteen remains. And also that it is written in such a way that there aren't any ambiguities or get-outs that would allow YouTube to claim any new liabilities under European law didn't apply to it or that - via its existing licensing deals and Content ID system - it is already compliant.

However, there are plenty of people lobbying on the other side of this debate too, arguing that article thirteen - beyond any new liabilities it may or may not put onto YouTube - could hinder the way people share, store and consume content on the internet.

European Digital Rights, which says it seeks to "defend rights and freedoms in the digital environment", is a leading voice on that side of the debate. It brings together various associations from around Europe, including the UK's Open Rights Group, and the letter it helped organise this week - to Voss and a number of other EU leaders - was also signed by a flurry of other organisations, including the Civil Liberties Union For Europe

The letter argues that "article thirteen ... includes obligations on internet companies that would be impossible to respect without the imposition of excessive restrictions on citizens' fundamental rights".

The letter reckons that article thirteen could "provoke such legal uncertainty that online services will have no other option than to monitor, filter and block EU citizens' communications if they are to have any chance of staying in business". This, they reckon, contradicts existing European law, including the free speech elements of the EU's Charter Of Fundamental Rights. Which could result in the legal problems for the article down the line, even if it is passed by both the European Parliament and EU Council.

Says the open letter: "If EU legislation conflicts with the Charter Of Fundamental Rights, national constitutional courts are likely to be tempted to disapply it and we can expect such a rule to be annulled by the [European] Court Of Justice. This is what happened with the Data Retention Directive, when EU legislators ignored compatibility problems with the Charter Of Fundamental Rights. In 2014, the Court Of Justice declared the Data Retention Directive invalid because it violated the Charter".

With all that in mind, the letter concludes: "Taking into consideration these arguments, we ask the relevant policy-makers to delete article thirteen".

Both sides in the debate have friends in Brussels, but it remains to be seen whose friends deliver the goods as Parliament and Council consider the next draft of the directive.

Though the letter from European Digital Rights implies that, even in the copyright owners do win this round and get a strong safe harbour clause in the directive, there could be plenty more legal wrangling to be done later if and when the tech firms or consumer rights groups question the legality of the measure in the courts.


Boy Better Know's Solo 45 charged with 29 counts of rape
Boy Better Know member Solo 45 has been charged with 29 counts of rape against four women, Avon & Somerset Police have revealed.

The rapper, real name Andy Anokye, who lives in Bristol, was originally charged with two counts of raping a woman, as well as one count of false imprisonment and another of causing actual bodily harm, back in July.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and a trial was due to begin yesterday. However, as three further alleged victims have now come forward, an additional 27 rape charges have been added and the trial has been adjourned until April next year.

"Detectives are still keen to speak to anyone who may be able to offer information which may assist an on-going investigation concerning Mr Anokye", said police in a statement.

Following accusations that the Boy Better Know collective and the grime scene at large were not commenting on the case, BBK co-founder JME said on Twitter yesterday: "I didn't want to speak until the case was over, and verdict reached, as I have no idea what the intricacies are, who the victims are etc. But this is mad. 29 charges fam. Early to pass judgement but yeah. I just hope it's not true man".

He continued: "Everyone saying 'people are being silent', it's because they are waiting for a verdict before passing judgement. The charges are crazy. Some people will speak up immediately as news hits, some will wait for a verdict. That's why I think 'the scene' has been quiet on the issue. Some people will say 'innocent until proven guilty' and some people will say '29 charges! There's no way that he's totally innocent'. But yeah, that's some fucked up shit fam. Full stop".

Anokye is now due to appear at Bristol Crown Court on 16 Apr.


AIR Studios saved, as neighbouring planning applications dropped
North London's AIR Studios appears to have won its campaign against a planning application its owners said could put the recording studio out of business.

As previously reported, the owners of a residential property next door to the studio - which was founded by Beatles producer George Martin in 1969 - had applied for planning permission to excavate a new basement.

Current AIR owner Paul Woolf said that this work would cause vibrations and noise that would make it impossible to record in the studio, which is often used for orchestral work on film soundtracks, for several months. Being out of action for this long would put the operation at risk of permanent closure.

But last week it was announced that two planning applications and additional appeals against AIR's objections had now been dropped by the studio's neighbours. Although the studio noted that "there is nothing to stop new applications of a similar nature", it added that "we are so relieved and so incredibly thankful to all of you who have supported us over the last couple years".


Approved: Mei
Having worked as a backing vocalist for Brian Eno and Karl Hyde, as well as being bassist in soul pop band Lvna, Mercy Welbeck released her debut single as Mei, 'Sandstorm', earlier this year. Now she returns with new track 'Stepping', adding further to a sound that is just so exciting.

Created with producer Count Counsellor, 'Steppin' is an intricate construction of individually fairly sparse sounds into a swelling tower of music, taking in jazz, hip hop, breakbeat and pop. It's in-keeping with the sound of 'Sandstorm', while at the same time being distinctly different.

These two singles don't sound like the early work of a new artist, but instead the output of someone who has thought, developed and already honed their own musical world. I'm wary of laying it on too thick so soon, but Mei doesn't feel like someone who's just got lucky with her first couple of tracks. I can't wait to hear what she does next.

Listen to 'Steppin' here.

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

Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie dies
The Tragically Hip vocalist and Canada's "unofficial poet laureate" Gord Downie has died, it was announced yesterday. He was 53.

Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2015, revealing the diagnosis in May last year. The band set out on a farewell tour shortly afterwards, finishing with a finale show in Downie's hometown of Kingston in Canada. The three hour concert was broadcast nationwide, with so many Canadians planning to watch it people began proclaiming the country to be "closed" during the performance.

In a statement on Facebook yesterday, his family said: "Last night Gord quietly passed away with his beloved children and family close by. Gord knew this day was coming. His response was to spend this precious time as he always had - making music, making memories and expressing deep gratitude to his family and friends for a life well lived, often sealing it with a kiss... on the lips".

"Gord said he had lived many lives", the statement continued. "As a musician, he lived 'the life' for over 30 years, lucky to do most of it with his high school buddies. At home, he worked just as tirelessly at being a good father, son, brother, husband and friend. No one worked harder on every part of their life than Gord. No one".

Following the announcement of Downie's death, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement saying: "For almost five decades, Gord Downie uncovered and told the stories of Canada. He was the frontman of one of Canada's most iconic bands, a rock star, artist, and poet whose evocative lyrics came to define a country. The Tragically Hip's music invited us to explore places we had never been - from Mistaken Point to Churchill - and helped us understand each other, while capturing the complexity and vastness of the place we call home".

Trudeau also delivered a brief speech to reporters, breaking down in tears as he said that "we lost one of the very best of us this morning".

"Gord was my friend", he said. "But Gord was everyone's friend. It's who we were, our buddy Gord, who loved this country with everything he had. And not just loved it in a nebulous, 'Oh, I love Canada' way. He loved every hidden corner, every story, every aspect of this country that he celebrated his whole life. He wanted to make it better. He knew, as great as we were, we needed to be better than we are".

"We are less of a country without Gord Downie in it", he added. "We all knew it was coming, but we hoped it wasn't, and... I thought I was going to make it through this [without crying], but I'm not. It hurts".

Downie completed a solo album, 'Introduce Yerself', in January this year, which is due for release on 27 Oct.

Alex Calder responds to sexual assault accusations, after being dropped by label
Canadian indie musician Alex Calder has issued a statement, after it emerged last week that he had been dropped by his label Captured Tracks due to an accusation of sexual assault.

Calder's second album was due to be released this week, but the release was pulled without warning last week and a launch show then cancelled. At around that time, Calder posted two now deleted tweets, saying "My turn" and "Bye bye!"

Clarifying its decision, Captured Tracks said in a statement via Facebook: "Recently, an allegation of sexual assault against Alex Calder has come to our attention. We have been working tirelessly to speak with all parties involved and are no longer working with Alex moving forward. We feel it is important to preserve the privacy of the third party involved, and therefore we do not feel it is our place as company to share any further details. We will not be proceeding with the release of his album, previously set to come out 20 Oct".

Following his flippant initial response on Twitter last week, Calder returned with a longer statement on Facebook yesterday. In it, he admitted that he had sexually assaulted a woman in 2008, and that he now plans to take "a step back from any creative pursuits to start putting my energy into seeking counselling and attending consent training".

"The intention of this statement is no way to gain sympathy or forgiveness", he wrote. "I would like to address an incident that occurred in 2008 between an individual and myself, who will remain anonymous for their own safety and comfort. In the last year, I have come to understand the sexual encounter I had with this person was non-consensual and constituted assault".

"At the time, I had thought that my actions were consensual and now understand that this was not the case", he continued. "This encounter did not meet the criteria for getting consent. I abused this person, and I have not held myself accountable for this. I want to further express how completely sorry I am to this person for any shame, humiliation, or social isolation that they have experienced following my actions".

Moving on to how he was able to avoid being held to account for the best part of a decade - seemingly not even realising that he might have done anything wrong during that time - he went on: "In part, I have been shielded and protected from accountability or consequence by a community and a culture, that has prioritised my narrative over hers for years. I am learning how my actions and negligence have traumatised this person and I would like to express how deeply, deeply sorry I am to them once again".

Suggesting that it was his decision to cancel his album release, he added: "Several weeks ago, I made the choice to cancel all of my upcoming shows and agreed with my label to halt my album release. I have taken a step back from any creative pursuits to start putting my energy into seeking counseling and attending consent training".

He concluded: "Being ignorant of consent is no excuse, and I would like to thank the people in my community and elsewhere for providing resources about this. This is necessary and overdue. I want others facing similar experiences to understand the importance of holding themselves accountable for their actions and begin educating themselves. Most importantly, I hope the person that I hurt can begin to heal and that we can collectively start believing survivors and addressing similar accusations very seriously".

Elsewhere last week, Domino-signed band Real Estate revealed to Spin that they parted company with guitarist Matt Mondanile last year "when allegations of unacceptable treatment of women were brought to our attention".

At the time his departure was announced in May 2016, the band simply said that Mondanile was leaving in order to focus "on his own Ducktails project, a musical endeavour that predates his involvement in Real Estate".

However, last week the band said: "Matt Mondanile was fired in February 2016 when allegations of unacceptable treatment of women were brought to our attention. While we urged him to seek counselling at the time of termination, we are no longer in contact. We feel that any abuse of one's power or status to victimise another is completely unacceptable. We applaud the courage of the women who came forward to make us aware so that we could address the issue head on".

Speaking to Pitchfork, Mondanile has denied the accusations against him, saying that "There's nothing I can tell you other than that I've done nothing wrong at all". He has issued no public statement, despite further accusations coming to light.

Mondanile released a new Ducktails album, 'Jersey Devil', via his own New Images label last month. Domino has confirmed that it is no longer working with him, and since this news story broke he has been dropped by his Japanese label Plancha, and a number of upcoming shows in the country have been cancelled.


Pussycat Dolls deny former member's claim group is "a prostitution ring"
The Pussycat Dolls have issued a statement denying claims by former member Kaya Jones that the group is, or at least was, "a prostitution ring".

Jones was a member of the group from 2003 to 2005, appearing on three tracks on the band's debut album 'PCD', including the hit 'Don't Cha'. In a series of tweets last week, she said: "My truth. I wasn't in a girl group. I was in a prostitution ring. Oh and we happened to sing and be famous. While everyone who owned us made the $".

"How bad was it? People ask", she continued. "Bad enough that I walked away from my dreams, bandmates and a $13 million record deal. We knew we were going to #1. I want the den mother from hell to confess why another one of her girl group girls committed suicide? Tell the public how you mentally broke us. To be a part of the team you must be a team player. Meaning sleep with whoever they say. If you don't they have nothing on you to leverage".

The "den mother from hell" referred to there is thought to be Pussycat Dolls founder Robin Antin. As well as that group, Antin also founded pop group GRL, who split after one member, Simone Battle, took her own life.

Speaking to The Blast days later, Antin said that Jones' tweets were "disgusting, ridiculous lies", and that Jones is "clearly looking for her fifteen minutes". She also claimed that Jones was never an official member of the group anyway, adding that to bring Battle's death into her accusations was "nasty" and disrespectful.

Yesterday, The Pussycat Dolls also issued a lengthy statement denying Jones' "false allegations", adding that "if Kaya experienced something we are unaware of then we fully encourage her to get the help she needs and are here to support her".

"The Pussycat Dolls has always and will always stand for female empowerment and sisterhood", says the statement. "We stand in solidarity with all women who have bravely spoken publicly of their horrific experiences of abuse, harassment and exploitation. However, we cannot stand behind false allegations towards other group members partaking in activities that simply did not take place".

It continues: "To liken our professional roles in The Pussycat Dolls to a prostitution ring not only undermines everything we worked hard to achieve for all those years but also takes the spotlight off the millions of victims who are speaking up and being heard loud and clear around the world".

"While we were not aware of Kaya's experiences that allegedly took place during her short time working with us, before the group signed a recording contract, we can firmly testify that we were not privy to any misconduct taking place around us. If Kaya experienced something we are unaware of then we fully encourage her to get the help she needs and are here to support her".

Finally, it concludes: "Since its inception, The Pussycat Dolls and founder Robin Antin have supported and empowered women from all walks of life to flourish in their careers. Should any member or associate allude to any form of abuse or harassment whatsoever, it will be taken very seriously and investigated. We truly wish Kaya the best and hope she gets the help she deserves".

Jones, who released her second album, 'The Chrystal Neria Album', in 2015, has tweeted in response to Antin's comments: "Doing this to gain [my] fifteen minutes, says the abuser. I went platinum this year. Did you? No. Ten years dated group but you're helping my career? Hahaha. Say sorry. Admit publicly the truth and I might not tell your secrets - and I highly advise you don't test me. I finally have the strength to fight back. Oh by the way, I don't fight to lose. Something you should know before round #1 begins".

Following the Pussycat Dolls statement yesterday, she also tweeted: "Today for me is about letting go and moving forward. Artists on all platforms need to be protected! I am proud to be a part of this movement".


Liam Gallagher leads Q Awards
It was the Q Awards yesterday, which is an event everyone always enjoys. Although for some reason StubHub didn't return to sponsor it again this year.

The big winner of the night, if there was one, was Liam Gallagher, who took home the Best Live Act and Icon awards. His Pretty Green company also sponsored the Best Film prize, so let's say he got that one too. A clever bit of release scheduling means that it'll be Noel's year next year, so there was no awkward reunion. They'll probably both be at the BRITs in February though, so you can look forward to that.

Commenting on the whole awards thing, Q Editor Ted Kessler said: "I am humbled by the array of talent who turned up to accept their Q Awards this year, as well being very grateful to the stars who presented them. It underlines - as if it needs underlining - that Q alone welcomes great music from across all genres, all eras, all backgrounds... as long as the artists are alive. It is also the home of superstars and visionaries alike".

He continued: "Where else would you find Ed Sheeran hanging out with Viv Albertine of art-punk iconoclasts The Slits, Liam Gallagher embracing Stormzy and Wiley, or the Manic Street Preachers, Ellie Rowsell of Wolf Alice and Michael Sheen huddled together in conversation?"

"In the week that Liam smashed all kinds of records for first-week sales of his debut album, it also brought home to me how robust the current music scene is", he added. "And how the old boundaries between underground and pop have crumbled. It felt like we were mapping out history today. But I always feel like that after a good party..."

Here are all the prizes that people won:

Best Act In The World Today: Ed Sheeran
Best Solo Artist: Stormzy
Best Breakthrough Act: Rag N Bone Man
Best Live Act: Liam Gallagher

Best Track: Kasabian - You're In Love With A Psycho
Best Album: Gorillaz - Humanz
Best Film Presented: Bunch Of Kunst (Sleaford Mods)

Maverick: Viv Albertine
Innovation In Sound: Wiley
Inspiration: Manic Street Preachers
Gibson Les Paul Award: Kelley Deal
Icon: Liam Gallagher


Songtrust, BRIT Awards, Lady Leshurr, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Songtrust, the US-based music royalty collection service launched by Downtown Music Publishing in 2011, has announced an expansion into Europe. Mandy Aubry, most recently with Fintage House, has been hired as Director Of Global Business Development & Client Relations and will lead the company's expansion into the European market and subsequently beyond.

• The BPI has announced a new apprentice scheme that will see ten young people join an independent music company for a fourteen month paid apprenticeship. Apprentices will also receive training and get to work on the BRIT Awards. The new scheme is being funded by money raised by the BRITs. More details here.

• The Association Of Independent Music will stage its annual sync-focused event for indie labels in London on 20 Nov with a special keynote interview with Zach Cowie, an Emmy-nominated music supervisor who has worked on a range of leading TV shows and movies.

• The British Academy Of Songwriters, Composers & Authors is launching a new annual lecture named in honour of its late Chairman David Ferguson. The inaugural edition takes place on 1 Nov and will feature a keynote address from UK Music Chairman Andy Heath and a panel debate also involving Goldie, Imogen Heap and Roxanna Panufnik.

• Iceland Airwaves takes place at the beginning of next month, with the third edition of its Airwaves Talks event forming part of the programme. This will include a screening of 1982 documentary 'Rokk í Reykjavík', featuring a young Björk, and a discussion on mental health in music led by William Doyle, aka East India Youth. See the full programme here.

Here's Lady Leshur wandering around the M6 with a camel and dressed like Lara Croft. It's 'Queen's Speech Episode 7'.

• Teenage Fanclub's Francis MacDonald will release a new album, 'Hamilton Mausoleum Suite', on 26 Jan. Here's a little documentary thing.

• Connie Constance is here again with a new single 'Let Go'. She's got an EP called 'Boring Connie' coming out on 29 Nov. It features a collection of songs about digging tunnels. Possibly.

• Sheridan Smith has released new single 'Anyone Who Had A Heart'. Her debut album, 'Sheridan: The Album', is out on 3 Nov.

• White Kite have released new single 'Devil's Pact'. The band play Sŵn this weekend, before performing at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch on 25 Oct.

• Sophie Morgan has released the video for new single, 'Hey Annie', taken from her debut EP, 'Annie'. She's currently on tour supporting The Waterboys.

• Gary Barlow, or Gazza Bazza as literally all of The Kids are calling him, has added three more dates to his 2018 solo tour, so keen are The Kids to see old Gaz. He'll play a third night at the Manchester Apollo on 5 May, a third London Palladium show on 19 May, and a second Bournemouth International Centre show on 2 Jun. They're not quite so keen in Bournemouth.

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


Ed Sheeran expecting to be back to touring "in a month"
Ed Sheeran reckons he'll be back performing again "in a month", which is good news. Although not if you have tickets to any of his still-to-be-cancelled shows in the next month.

As previously reported, Sheeran fractured his right wrist, left elbow and (it turns out) a rib when he was knocked off his bike by a car earlier this week. This led to the cancellation of the first seven shows on his upcoming Asian tour, due to begin in Taipei this Sunday.

"It's a wrist, elbow and rib", he told reporters at the Q Awards yesterday - where he took home the Best Act In The World Today prize. "I can't do some shows but I'll be back in a month".

If he's out of action for another month, that would put shows in Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand out of the picture, with a possible return to that stage at Mumbai's Jio Garden in India on 19 Nov. As for confirmation on further cancellations, Sheeran wouldn't be drawn, saying: "That's up to [my] manager and agent. I'm staying out of that one".

He can still sing though. Why not just perform with a band? I mean, aside from the fact that there's no time to rehearse. He said: "I'm a one man show - I don't have a band - it's me with an acoustic guitar and a loop pedal, so there's not much I can do. I'm not going to short-change fans [by] getting another musician to play it. If you come to see a show, it should be the show that you paid to see".

But enough of this. I know what you're really wondering. What about all the admin that surely comes with being Best Act In The World Today? "I can't type, and I have a string of emails that I haven't been able to look at", he explained. "I have an automatic reply that goes out saying I can't type".

Good idea, I might try that one.


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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