TODAY'S TOP STORY: You can never have too many trade bodies. You might think that you can, but I double checked, and you can't. And so, here comes Digital Music Europe, an alliance of digital music companies in Europe. It should now launch a conference and an awards ceremony. Because if there's something the music industry needs even more than new trade bodies, it's yet more conferences and award ceremonies in the calendar... [READ MORE]
As the UK's Music Managers Forum publishes two new guides as part of phase three of its 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar' programme, CMU Trends summarises what we've learned from the project so far in 30 points - ten from part one, ten from part two, and ten from the new guides. Along the way we cover digital licensing, all the key issues with the current streaming business model, and what you need to know about label deals and transparency in the streaming age. [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]
TOP STORIES Streaming companies set up new lobbying group in Europe
LEGAL Taylor Swift criticised over blog post cease-and-desist
Katy Perry's attempted convent purchase is back in court
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Absolute and Bucks partner on neighbouring rights business
ARTIST NEWS Marilyn Manson says rifle stunt was "act of theatre" to highlight US gun control issues
Lily Allen to publish autobiography
RELEASES Kelly Lee Owens covers Aaliyah
ONE LINERS Festicket, Taylor Swift,, more
AND FINALLY... Sia heads off nude paparazzi shots by sharing one herself
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Streaming companies set up new lobbying group in Europe
You can never have too many trade bodies. You might think that you can, but I double checked, and you can't. And so, here comes Digital Music Europe, an alliance of digital music companies in Europe. It should now launch a conference and an awards ceremony. Because if there's something the music industry needs even more than new trade bodies, it's yet more conferences and award ceremonies in the calendar.

"Digital Music Europe will showcase and promote the success of the European digital music industry", says the new organisation, and "will serve as a resource for policy-makers, media and the digital music industry, and will advocate for policies that shape a favourable business environment for digital music".

Resourcing policy-makers is the key aim of the all-new DME, that being code for lobbying lawmakers, especially in Brussels. You know, those pesky political types who keep banging on about the Digital Single Market and trying to rewrite copyright law and reform privacy rules. Take back control, I say.

Adds the DME: "Important policy debates on copyright, geo-blocking, online platforms, e-privacy, data transfers, digital contracts and taxation are underway, and DME will work with European policy-makers and others that are passionate about music to create a legislative and regulatory framework that supports the growth of digital music, and brings benefits to both artists and consumers".

Launch members of the new organisation include various Europe-based streaming platforms and companies working within the digital music sector, including 7digital, Deezer, Qobuz, SoundCloud, Soundcharts and Spotify. Though the big bad American tech giants - ie Apple, Amazon and Google - are notably absent, despite them all being big players in digital music in the European market.

It could be that one of the areas DME chooses to lobby on is whether the European Union should regulate more the tech giants who are both platforms and services, especially as more music is consumed via Apple's HomePod, Amazon's Echo and Google's Home device. Apple in particular is doing a good job of depriving third-party streaming services the opportunity of tapping into the Siri voice activation technology that is increasingly a key part of its gadgets.

In terms of the new lobbying group's potential relationship with the music industry - and the music community's own multifarious lobbying organisations in Europe - that will presumably vary depending on the issue.

DME members likely see Google's safe-harbour dwelling YouTube as a competitor that enjoys an unfair advantage, it exploiting the safe harbour to get better rates from the music industry. Will the DME therefore join the music companies on lobbying for safe harbour reform in Europe? That might depend on the extent to which the revamped SoundCloud reckons it still relies on its own safe harbour protection.

The DME will be headed up by Deezer and Spotify execs, the former's CEO being President and the latter's EU Regulatory Affairs director being Chair.

Says Deezer geezer Hans-Holger Albrecht: "For a decade, European digital music companies have led the transformation of the music industry globally. Bringing these companies together to create DME is a great opportunity to highlight European leadership in this sector, inspire other European entrepreneurs and create a unique voice with policy-makers".

Says Spotify's Olivia Regnier: "DME is eager to share the experience and vision of its members to contribute to policy debates shaping Europe's Digital Single Market. We believe that policy-makers have a key role to play to support the growth of the entire music sector and enable more innovation in Europe".


Taylor Swift criticised over blog post cease-and-desist
Taylor Swift has been criticised for having her lawyers send off a stern cease-and-desist letter to a blogger who posted an article titled 'Swiftly to the alt-right: Taylor subtly gets the lower case kkk in formation'. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the legal missive misrepresented the law and, in trying to push said article off the internet with talk of defamation action, attacked the US blogger's First Amendment free speech rights.

The blog in question is called PopFront and carries the strapline "culture and politics from the left coast". The article that offended Team Swift reviews white supremacist politics past and present, and looks at how some in the modern alt-right movement have chosen to interpret some of Swift's lyrics as being supportive of their beliefs. It then criticises Swift for being generally silent on political issues, and therefore failing to distance her songs from the right wing groups who have adopted them in some way.

The piece was by no means the first to observe the adoption of Swift's songs by some in the alt-right movement, and PopFront states that its blog post "was an attempt to continue the discussion, as well as call on Swift to denounce this hateful group".

Swift's lawyers weren't impressed with any such discussions. "On behalf of Ms Swift", they wrote, "we demand that PopFront immediately issue a retraction of a provably false and defamatory story about Ms Swift, as well as remove the story from all sources and cease and desist from publishing or disseminating it ... The story is replete with demonstrable and offensive falsehoods which bear no relation to reality or the truth about Ms Swift".

The blog post's writer Meghan Herning turned to lawyers at the ACLU for help, and they have now penned their own letter which beings: "Ms Herning and PopFront will not in any way accede to your attempt to suppress their constitutionally protected speech".

The letter argues that much of what Team Swift has taken issue with in the blog post is simply PopFront's opinion, and "a statement of opinion cannot constitute defamation".

It then picks holes in various other legal statements made in the original letter, including its insistence that Herning must not publish or disseminate the law firm's correspondence because doing so would breach the laws of confidence and copyright. And, for good measure, it points out that Swift's lawyers demanded that the PopFront article be removed the day before they actually sent their letter.

As the ACLU published both Swift's legal letter and its response, the organisation's Michael Risher said of the former: "This is a completely unsupported attempt to suppress constitutionally protected speech". Meanwhile his colleague Matt Cagle added that "intimidation tactics like these are unacceptable".

The ACLU has now demanded that Swift and her lawyers confirm whether or not they disagree with anything in the union's critique of their letter. Meanwhile PopFront has posted a new article about the cease-and-desist, with Herning herself stating: "The press should not be bullied by high-paid lawyers or frightened into submission by legal jargon. These scare tactics may have worked for Taylor in the past, but I am not backing down".

Which means, I reckon - if we were to borrow a phrase from the annals of English defamation law - PopFront is simply referring Swift and her team to "the reply given in the case of Arkell v Pressdram".


Katy Perry's attempted convent purchase is back in court
The latest chapter in the hoo haa surrounding Katy Perry's attempt to purchase a former convent in LA reached court this week, as Perry and the Archdiocese Of Los Angeles attempt to claw back some of the legal costs accrued fighting the original case.

As previously reported, Perry agreed a deal to purchase the property with the Archdiocese Of Los Angeles for $14.5 million back in 2015. But, shortly afterward, local restaurateur Dana Hollister agreed a separate deal for $15.5 million with Rita Callanan and Catherine Rose Holzman, two nuns from the California Institute Of The Sisters Of The Most Holy And Immaculate Heart Of The Blessed Virgin, which had previously resided in the convent.

This led to two years of arguments between the Archdiocese, the nuns, Hollister and Perry as to who had the right to sell the property, and who had actually bought it. The latest squabble centres on allegations by the Archdiocese and Perry that Hollister knowingly interfered in their property deal by misleading the nuns, thus forcing them to participate in two years of unnecessary and expensive legal back and forth.

Opening the trial, Perry's lawyer's argued that Hollister's actions were a deliberate attempt to derail Perry's deal in order to acquire the building for herself. In doing so, he said, she misled the two nuns into believing they had the authority to sell the property, knowing full well - having bought another former convent in the 1990s - that she would require the approval of both the Archdiocese and the Vatican to complete any deal.

"This was her action plan", Perry's lawyer Eric Rowen said, according to NBC Los Angeles. "[Hollister] schemed to prevent Katy Perry from acquiring the property".

This, they said, led to a "litigation nightmare", which has so far cost the church $3 million in legal fees, according to Courthouse News. And this was only exacerbated by Hollister's decision to continue fighting after her deal was cancelled by the Los Angeles Superior Court last year.

Hollister's lawyers countered that while she may have indeed been mistaken in believing that the nuns had the authority to sell the property, she did not proceed with her own deal maliciously.

They also pointed out that - while the courts have generally sided with Perry in this dispute - the musician has not yet gained the required approval to buy the property from the Vatican, meaning neither she nor Hollister can currently complete any deal. Though, so far, sisters Holzman and Callanan are the only two parties to have actively opposed the Perry deal.

The Archdiocese and Perry are suing together, with the church seeking $3.5 million in damages from Hollister and the musician seeking $2 million. Perry herself will not testify or appear at the trial.


Absolute and Bucks partner on neighbouring rights business
Label services company Absolute and music publisher Bucks Music have formally unveiled a new joint venture focused on those neighbouring rights you all keep talking about, which are basically the performing rights that come as part of the sound recording copyright.

Because of the so called 'performer equitable remuneration' principle that exists in most copyright systems, income generated by the neighbouring rights are shared equally between performers and copyright owners, meaning companies focused on these rights often work for both artists and labels. As will this here Absolute Rights Management.

Of course, licensees looking to exploit the performing rights in other people's music usually get their licences via the collective licensing system. This means artists and labels can access this money simply by joining their local collecting society - so, in the UK, PPL.

However, neighbouring rights companies make sure said societies have all the right data to ensure their clients get everything they are due. They also argue that - because they deal directly with collecting societies around the world - the artists and labels they represent should get paid quicker than relying on the reciprocal agreements that exist between their local society and all the other collective management organisations worldwide.

The new Absolute Rights Management JV is being headed up by Gina Deacon. She has been managing neighbouring rights for years already on behalf of clients that partner with Absolute on marketing and distribution. But, through the new business - which has been piloting for about a year now - neighbouring rights management is being offered as a standalone service. This, in particular, opens it up to artists.

Announcing the new business, Absolute MD Henry Semmence said: "Absolute and Bucks have been long-time collaborators and we've always worked well together. We have the same commitment to service when it comes to our clients and believe that together we can provide the most complete neighbouring rights offering on the market".

Meanwhile Bucks Music MD Simon Platz added: "This JV with Absolute feels like a natural fit considering the kinship of our two companies in terms of both our philosophy and approach to the business and our clients. Together we have a wealth of resources and expertise that will benefit performing artists of all shapes and sizes".


Approved: Rhi
New Tru Thoughts signing Rhiannon Bouvier - aka Rhi - has just released her hard-hitting, beat-laden first album for the label called 'Reverie'.

The new record serves up a variety of sonic treats over its hip hop and downtempo backgrounds. It's a strong album throughout, though a standout is 'Forever', where Bouvier's firm but fragile vocals are somewhat akin to Lou Rhodes with her early Lamb work, the lyrics about a fated connection being really quite special.

Bouvier cites Arca's production collaborations with FKA Twigs as a particular inspiration for her work on 'Reverie', saying: "When I heard FKA Twigs' 'EP2', I thought her voice was beautiful, but the thing I appreciated most about the music was the production. It made me think I'd want to be able to do that, and all of it".

Check out the video for latest single 'Get To Know' here.

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

Marilyn Manson says rifle stunt was "act of theatre" to highlight US gun control issues
Marilyn Manson has issued a statement justifying his decision to point a fake semi-automatic rifle at the audience of his first live show since injuring himself on stage in September.

Manson was performing at the Glen Helen Amphitheater in San Bernardino, confined to a wheelchair after the accident where he was crushed by a gun-shaped on stage prop, which led to the cancellation of several tour dates. According to TMZ, he pulled out a fake rifle with a microphone in place of its scope while performing his song 'We Know Where You Fucking Live'.

Critics of this act pointed out that fourteen people were killed in San Bernardino in a mass shooting in December 2015. The show also took place hours after 26 people were killed by a man with a military-style rifle in Texas.

However, Manson says that his use of the mock rifle in his show was intended to be a comment on America's gun laws and the "nearly daily occurrence" of mass shootings in the US, and that the stunt had been sanctioned by police.

"In an era where mass shootings have become a nearly daily occurrence this was an act of theatre in an attempt to make a statement about how easily accessible semi-automatic weapons are and how seeing them has become normalised", he said. "My art has always been a reaction to popular culture and my way to make people think about the horrible things that happen in this world".

He added: "My performance was not meant to be disrespectful or show any insensitivity. The prop microphone I used on stage was handed to me with the approval of a police officer. My empathy goes out to anyone who has been affected by the irresponsible and reprehensible misuse of REAL guns".

Manson's return to the live arena also sees him touring with a new bassist, Mars Volta's Juan Alderete. As previously reported, former bassist Twiggy Ramirez was fired during Manson's recuperation after a rape allegation against him came to light. The European leg of the tour begins this week, reaching the UK next month.


Lily Allen to publish autobiography
Bonnier Publishing imprint Blink has acquired the English language rights to an autobiography by Lily Allen.

"Some of it I think might be uncomfortable and shocking and brutal", says Allen of her plans for the book. "There will be good stuff in there too; happy times. I will try and make it funny. I know it's about me but I hope that a lot of it will ring true with anyone who reads it. It won't be written with shame. It will be true".

Blink MD Ben Dunn adds: "A book like this doesn't come along very often. We were completely blown away by the proposal and sample material. It will not only appeal to her generation and fans of her music, but speaks to a wider polemic about the issues society faces today".

Blink also recently secured the global rights to Who frontman Roger Daltrey's autobiography. Both books are set to be published next year.


Kelly Lee Owens covers Aaliyah
Kelly Lee Owens - of "oh my God, have you heard the Kelly Lee Owens album? It's so fucking good" fame - has released a cover of Aaliyah's 'More Than A Woman', plus her own remix of said cover.

"My love and respect for Aaliyah as an artist/vocalist and Timbaland as a producer increased tenfold as I picked the [original] track apart and understood how intricate and layered everything was", says Owens.

"I chose to combine my favourite elements of the original track with my love of analogue production - a stripped down version, and an ode to Aaliyah, one of the greatest. The remix of my cover was something I wanted to write and produce that gave the track new life, and also gave people a sense of power - it's unapologetic".

The cover and remix will be released on twelve-inch on 8 Dec. Meanwhile, a deluxe version of Owens' debut album (which I read somewhere is really fucking good) will be released on 24 Nov, featuring a load of new tracks.

Listen to both of Owens' versions of 'More Than A Woman' here.


Festicket, Taylor Swift,, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Festival ticketing start up Festicket has hired Matt Ephgrave as its new COO. Ephgrave has previously worked for Ticketscript, YPlan and Seatwave. "Ambitious planning for 2018 called for someone of Matt's skills and know-how", says CEO Zack Sabban.

• Taylor Swift is likely to window her new album off the streaming services for a short time when it is released later this week because, well, of course she will. What does this tell us about the state of the streaming market in 2017? Fuck all, that's what.

•'s tech company has raised $117 million in venture capital funding to develop its own voice assistant, to compete with Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa and Google's... Google. "I wanted to create something that allows us to do many things", tells Reuters. "There's so much you can do with a voice platform".'s previous tech projects include a massive camera attachment for iPhones and a smartwatch.

• Goldie and Skepta are releasing a vinyl-only collaboration, 'Upstart (Road Trip)', through the drum n bass producer's Metalheadz label on 22 Dec. "Goldie and Skepta share a birthday, an elemental connection and an impeccable taste in beats", notes the Bandcamp page for the release.

• Morrissey has released another new track, 'Jacky's Only Happy When She's Up On The Stage'. It is, thankfully, better than previous track 'I Wish You Lonely', but I don't think you're going to be rushing to listen to his new album. He's selling gig tickets though. He's just added a third London date to his 2018 tour, at the Palladium on 10 Mar.

• Field Music have announced that they will release their new album, 'Open Here', on 2 Feb. Here's a trailer.

• Brontide have shared a film of their farewell show at The Garage in London in August this year. "When we booked the farewell show earlier this year we were aware that not everyone that wanted to be there, could be", say the band. "With that in mind we decided to enlist the help of our good friend Al Pott to capture the night on film. So, get it on the TV and turn the volume up, enjoy".

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


Sia heads off nude paparazzi shots by sharing one herself
Photographers attempting to sell naked photos of celebrities that were taken without the subject's knowledge or consent is nothing new. But when Sia discovered herself to be the latest celeb to be targeted this week, she headed the paparazzi off by publishing one of the photographs up for sale herself on Twitter.

"Someone is apparently trying to sell naked photos of me to my fans", she wrote. "Save your money, here it is for free. Every day is Christmas!" Hey, she got a nice plug in for her Christmas album there! Double well done.

The screengrab shared by Sia suggests that there are fourteen more photos up for sale. The watermark on the image lists celebrity photo agency FameFlynet Pictures as its owner, although it is not entirely clear if this is who is now attempting to sell the photographs.

Last month, Sia's make up artist shared a photo (albeit censored) of the musician accidentally exposing one of her breasts. So that's twice now you've been able to see bits of her body with her permission. I think that'll probably do.


ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
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CHRIS COOKE | MD & Business Editor
Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
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Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
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Caro 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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