TODAY'S TOP STORY: An Australian law firm has confirmed it is investigating the possibility of launching a class action lawsuit in relation to failed streaming service Guvera, with private equity outfit AMMA and a number of accountancy firms it had relations with the likely defendants... [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 Law firm plotting class action over Guvera financing
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Google backs new artist services business
LIVE BUSINESS UK Music urges business rates rethink to save venues and recording studios
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Kickstarter revamps Drip, extends it beyond music
Amazon launches Prime Music in Canada
Warner Music signs deal with Middle East streaming service Anghami
ARTIST NEWS Nothing But Thieves deny sexual assault allegations, as NME cancels show tonight
RELEASES Stone Temple Pilots announce new vocalist and release new single
ONE LINERS Alt-J, Amanda Palmer, Fetty Wap, more
AND FINALLY... Pharrell sets 2117 release date for new single to highlight action on climate change (and cognac)
VMS Live is looking for an experienced promoter to work in our expanding events team. Based in one of our UK offices the successful candidate will be work alongside existing staff to book and promote artists/events into our existing partner venues estate around the UK, as well as delivering shows in our own right as VMS Live.

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VMS Live is looking for a Junior Booker to work in our expanding events team. Based in one of our UK offices the position will be working alongside our existing staff to book and promote artists/events into our existing partner venues estate around the UK, as well as delivering shows in our own right as VMS Live.

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13 Artists are looking to recruit a Senior Booking Assistant who, among other things, will liaise with agents, management and labels on touring periods, financial and logistic requirements; negotiate routing and arrange dates with promoters and venues; and analyse costings for shows to get the best deals for artists.

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The Rest Is Noise is a music specialist communications agency that look after a range of PR campaigns. The role is for an experienced PR to join our tight­knit team, delivering high impact PR campaigns within our events arm.

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Domino seeks a Paralegal / Business Affairs Assistant to join its Business Affairs department working across both the record label and publishing company.

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As Client Administrator at Entertainment Intelligence, you will manage primary communication between the client, and both our software development team, and sales team, reporting to the company directors.

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As Campaign Manager at independent full service advertising agency Sold Out, you will be the lead person responsible for all elements of online marketing and be supporting the business through effective implementation of social media campaigns, campaign planning and buying, implementation and reporting for a variety of clients across the entertainment market.

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Kobalt is looking for a VP Digital Marketing, UK & International to join the Kobalt Music Recordings team and work with our growing roster of emerging and established artists from all over the world.

For more information and to apply click here.
TuneCore is looking for a UK Brand Manager to be responsible for the development of its brand and customer base across the UK. The Brand Manager will have a deep understanding of, and an extensive network in, both the UK music market and the indie scene, and direct experience working in the independent music industry.

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Eventbrite is looking for someone to help build a world-class business development team focused on music in Europe that consistently exceeds business targets, partners cross-functionally with our global teams, and helps write the playbook for our European market.

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How The Music Business Works
SEMINARS | every Monday until 13 Nov, 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.

Law firm plotting class action over Guvera financing
An Australian law firm has confirmed it is investigating the possibility of launching a class action lawsuit in relation to failed streaming service Guvera, with private equity outfit AMMA and a number of accountancy firms it had relations with the likely defendants.

As previously reported, Guvera finally shut up shop earlier this year, after a disastrous attempt at an Initial Public Offering on the Australian stock exchange last year forced it to bail on numerous markets and put some of its subsidiaries into administration.

More recently, the spotlight was put on how AMMA had raised money on behalf of the Guvera enterprise, and whether Australia's Corporations Act had been breached in the way unsophisticated investors were persuaded to put cash into the business. In particular, concerns were expressed about AMMA's relationship with various accountants whose clients had been persuaded to invest in the incredibly risky streaming set-up.

Although Darren Herft, a founder of both Guvera and Amma, insisted everything had been above board, back in June the Australian Securities And Investments Commission confirmed to reporters that it was taking a "close and active interest in the fundraising associated with Guvera and related matters".

It was around about that time that rumours began to circulate that a number of law firms were considering putting together a class action lawsuit for some of those unsophisticated investors who had just lost all their money in the Guvera adventure. Now legal outfit Bannister Law has put out a formal call for said investors to join its class.

In a statement on its website, Bannister Law notes: "Guvera Limited, a music streaming service company, engaged a private equity company AMMA Private Equity Pty Ltd. From 2009 to 2016, AMMA raised $185.3 million on behalf of Guvera".

Adding that "initial investigations show that accountants were providing advice to their clients on the prospects of this investment", it then confirms it is "currently investigating a class action against a number of accounting firms and AMMA Private Equity Pty Ltd". The company's Charles Bannister adds: "We are investigating as to how the money was raised and any advice provided to consumers when considering the investment".

It's not clear how many former Guvera investors are already on board for the class action, though one possible claimant is quoted in the law firm's statement as saying: "I am a simple investor and lost $30,000 of my superannuation savings on the poor advice of my accountants".

It now remains to be seen how many disgruntled Guvera backers come forward and whether Bannister does indeed file legal proceedings against AMMA et al.


Google backs new artist services business
Hey record companies, you know all the millions of dollars that you reckon Google owes you for building its YouTube business on the back of all your lovely music while paying you only nominal royalties? Well, the good news is that Google parent company Alphabet has now located that cash. The bad news is, it's handing it over to a start-up that plans to render you all redundant within years. Happy days.

Alphabet Inc is one of a small number of investors pumping a reported $70 million into a new US-based music distribution, data and direct-to-fan enterprise called UnitedMasters, which is headed up by Steve Stoute, who worked in the major label system in the 1990s.

At its core, the new company seems to compete with DIY distribution set-ups like TuneCore, CD Baby, Ditto Music and Kobalt's AWAL. Though UnitedMasters brags that it will offer participating artists better data tools to help them build direct-to-fan relationships online once their music is streaming. And to then use those D2F relationships to sell tickets and merch, or to get brands involved who might also like to reach said fans.

The Wall Street Journal quotes Stoute thus: "We want to build a business that helps musicians, which is my passion, and also helps brands find a much more specific way of investing their money in the category of music".

None of this is particularly revolutionary, in that various labels, distributors, direct-to-fan companies and new-fangled artist services firms have talked aplenty in recent years about using data to link streams with ticket and t-shirt sales and brand partnerships. Though, arguably, no one is actually doing that particularly well yet, so there are still opportunities for any start-up which has the data tools that can actually do all that.

UnitedMasters also says it will offer a degree of flexibility in how artists access its services and what they give up in return. Though - while the DIY distributors mainly offer one-size-fits-all packages - such flexibility is already pretty common in the next-level-up label services domain. Indeed, it's one way such companies compete with more conventional labels.

Still, it will be interesting to see how UnitedMasters now evolves, given the not insignificant funding it has managed to raise. It seems unlikely companies of this kind are going to lead to the demise of the more conventional record company anytime soon - despite TechCrunch's report on Stout's new business declaring that "record labels are obsolete" - although it is further proof that artists now have more choice when deciding which partners and service providers to engage as they grow their personal artist businesses.


UK Music urges business rates rethink to save venues and recording studios
As the Chancellor of that there Exchequer gets ready to deliver his autumn budget statement next week, cross-sector trade body UK Music has called for an urgent review of plans to increase business rates by 4%, arguing such a move could leave both music venues and recording studios fighting for their survival.

Chancellor Philip Hammond is under pressure from various quarters to have a rethink about any business rates increase. And that includes UK Music CEO Michael Dugher, who says that the rises, "coupled with the impact of the government's business rates revaluation earlier this year, could leave music venues fighting to survive".

Noting that many music venues are already feeling the heat from those recent changes in the way business rates are calculated, UK Music states: "One small venue, the Lexington in North London, has seen a staggering rise of 118% in its rateable value this year. Meanwhile, Arsenal's 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium nearby enjoyed a 7% cut in its rateable value".

It isn't just venues who have already seen their business rates shoot up though. Says the trade body: "New research from UK Music reveals that recording studios have also faced substantial increases in 2017. The rateable value of the world-famous Abbey Road Studios - where the Beatles and Pink Floyd and Oasis recorded a string of hits - increased by 32% in 2017. AIR Studios, where the soundtrack to Kenneth Branagh's 'Murder On The Orient Express' was recently recorded, has also experienced a rise of 32%".

Says Dugher: "The Chancellor must rethink these changes which are woefully unjust and could have a potentially catastrophic impact on some music venues and recording studios. The music industry contributes £4.4 billion to our economy, employs more than 142,000 people and generates exports of £2.5 billion. The Chancellor should use his Budget to make sure the venues and studios that gave artists like Adele, The Beatles and Oasis their big break are not put under threat because of soaring rate bills".

Concluding, the UK Music boss adds: "Music is the jewel in the UK's cultural crown. But we need to protect music venues ... if we are to continue to nurture the stars of tomorrow. The Chancellor must think again and act before it is too late".


Kickstarter revamps Drip, extends it beyond music
Do you remember Drip, the platform that enables labels and artists to offer their own subscription services, which looked like it was closing down last year until Kickstarter stepped in to rescue it?

Well, Kickstarter announced a reboot of Drip yesterday, the big innovation being that it is opening up the service to creators of all kinds so that it will no longer be music-specific. In the words of the crowd-funding platform, "Kickstarter is for projects, Drip is for people".

In a blog post announcing the reboot, Kickstarter said: "Today we launch a new Drip for artists and creators across the full spectrum of disciplines we support on Kickstarter. Just as artists, authors, game designers, musicians, and filmmakers use Kickstarter to fund and build community around their projects, Drip is a tool for people to fund and build community around their ongoing creative practice".

The blog post acknowledges that the revamp arguably moves Drip more into the territory of platforms like Patreon, which creators - musical or otherwise - use to allow fans to contribute cash whenever they create.

However, reckons Kickstarter: "The world is far from having too many tools for creators. There remain large groups of artists and creators who don't see subscriptions as fitting their creative practices. Our goal with the new Drip is to change that".

Use of the all-new Drip is on an invite-only basis for the time being, though, the company says: "We plan to open Drip up to more creators early next year".


Amazon launches Prime Music in Canada
Amazon Prime Music has launched in Canada, giving Canadian members of the web giant's free delivery club access to the limited catalogue streaming music set-up at no extra cost.

In the UK and elsewhere, Amazon currently offers two streaming music services. The first, bundled in with Prime membership, offers a catalogue of two million songs with a focus on curated playlists. This is what Canada now has access to - although with a catalogue of one million songs initially.

"Music plays such an important role in our customers' lives, and we're excited to provide an even better Prime experience for Canada with the launch of Prime Music", says Mike Strauch, Country Manager for Amazon Canada. "The combination of music and natural language voice controls with [Amazon's voice control assistant] Alexa, paired with playlists and stations developed uniquely for our customers, further highlights the value of Amazon Prime membership".

Amazon's other streaming music offer, Music Unlimited, is not currently available in Canada. Launched in the US and UK last year, this service is a more direct competitor with the likes of Spotify, offering fully on-demand streaming of a catalogue of more than 40 million tracks for ten dollars/pounds a month. Though with Amazon Music Unlimited cheaper options are also available for Prime members or anyone willing to only access the service via an Amazon Echo speaker.


Warner Music signs deal with Middle East streaming service Anghami
Having recently started working with African digital music platform Mdundo, Warner Music has now also signed a licensing deal with streaming service Anghami, which is available in the Middle East and North Africa.

Anghami co-founder Eddy Maroun says: "We are THRILLED to partner with the leading Warner Music in bringing more legit music to the region to enrich the cultural exchange between the Arabic and Western worlds. Our commitment to the Arab region and diaspora evolved into creating a unique platform with the largest local catalogue that perfectly caters to the region's unique music tastes and habits".

WMG's Chief Digital Officer Ole Obermann adds: "In order to create global opportunities for artists, it's imperative that we have a strong network of local partnerships around the world. We're seeing a huge demand for music streaming in the Middle East and North Africa, and Anghami has a beautiful product that super-serves its users there with both local and international music and videos. I'm looking forward to working with Eddy and his team to break artists across the region".

Launched in 2012 in Beirut, Anghami currently says it has over 50 million subscribers across its premium and ad-supported tiers, with a catalogue of both Arabic and international music. The new deal will bring Warner's entire recordings repertoire to the service.


Approved: Pitou
Singer-songwriter Pitou Nicolaes - or just Pitou for professional purposes - released her debut EP just over a year ago. It showcased someone unusually comfortable with their songwriting - lyrically and melodically - for this early in their career. Songs like 'Debt Of A Lover' are the work, it would be fair to say, of a natural.

Now working on a new EP, set for release at some point in the near-ish future, she's back with a brand new single, 'Problems'. Again, it's filled with vivid lyrics and beautiful melodies placed over arresting vocal rhythms - all in all simple but carefully considered songwriting. If she doesn't find an audience vastly beyond the already growing fanbase she currently commands, everything in the world will have gone terribly wrong.

You can catch Pitou live in London on Wednesday, when she'll play one of The Great Escape's 'First Fifty' shows at Zigfrid Vin Underbelly in Hoxton on 22 Nov.

Watch the video for 'Problems' here.

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

Nothing But Thieves deny sexual assault allegations, as NME cancels show tonight
Sony-signed band Nothing But Thieves have denied sexual assault claims made against their keyboard player, Dom Craik. Their statement came after NME cancelled the band's headline performance at the NME Awards 2018 launch party at Tape London tonight.

Allegations were made against Craik on Twitter earlier this week, with the alleged victim claiming that the musician pinned her against a wall by her throat and forcibly kissed her shortly after they met at a Pvris gig in 2015.

She also posted screengrabs of a messaging app conversation that allegedly took place with two members of the Nothing But Thieves crew a year later, who seem to play down the incident. One notes that Craik was "wasted" that night, the other that he might have been "on the old sniff", which, they seemed to suggest, would account for his actions.

As the accusations gained more attention, the NME issued a statement yesterday confirming that the band had been dropped from tonight's show, saying: "NME has been made aware of a number of allegations that have been made on social media against the band Nothing But Thieves and we have therefore taken the decision to cancel the show that the band were scheduled to play for us".

The support act on the band's current tour, July Talk, also pulled out of upcoming shows. They said in a statement: "While we've had a great time on the tour, we can no longer participate due to accounts we've read online of misconduct".

In their own statement, Nothing But Thieves denied the claims made against Craik, adding that they are now considering legal action.

"We were advised not to address the false allegations and give them unwarranted attention", said the band. "But this has been so distressing and damaging, we can no longer sit idly by. We want you to know that we 100% deny any wrongdoing in the false allegations brought against us".

Nothing But Thieves released their second album, 'Broken Machine', in September, it going to number two in the UK album chart. A show at Southampton's Guildhall venue last night went ahead as planned. Their two night run at The Roundhouse in London on Friday and Saturday is also still listed on the venue's website.


Stone Temple Pilots announce new vocalist and release new single
Stone Temple Pilots have officially confirmed the identity of their new vocalist, former 'X-Factor USA' contestant Jeff Gutt. The band began auditioning for a new singer over a year ago, although the announcement that Gutt has joined now follows the deaths of both of his predecessors, Scott Weiland and Chester Bennington.

Guitarist Dean DeLeo says in a statement: "We wanted someone who would not only do our earlier songs justice, but would also write new songs and carve out a different path forward with us. It took some time, but we found our guy".

The band reportedly had 15,000 people apply for the role of frontman, after Bennington left the outfit to focus on his main band Linkin Park in late 2015.

"He was one of the last guys we saw, in the last two days of auditions", DeLeo says of Gutt to Rolling Stone. "And that was just over a year ago - September of 2016. Jeff wasn't even part of the singer submissions. But Robert [DeLeo, bassist] happened to be playing a gig with the Hollywood Vampires in Michigan and somebody came backstage after the show and approached him and said, 'You should check this guy out. He's a local guy'".

Since then, the band have been working with Gutt on new material, with plans to release a new album in the spring. And they've just released their first single with the new frontman in place, 'Meadow'.


Alt-J, Amanda Palmer, Fetty Wap, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Alt-J's new video is a tense period drama in six and a half minutes.

• Amanda Palmer has released the video for new single 'Mother'. She's playing a show at London's Union Chapel tonight, which will also be broadcast via her website.

• Fetty Wap has released new single, 'There She Go', featuring Monty.

• Susanne Sundfør will bring the audio/visual live show she's created in support of her new album 'Music For People In Trouble' to The Barbican in London on 21 May next year - the first time it will have been seen outside her native Norway. Tickets go on sale on 24 Nov.

• Fall Out Boy have announced UK shows for March next year, finishing up at The O2 in London on 31 Mar. Here's the video for their new single, 'Hold Me Tight Or Don't'.

• Reef, The Wildhearts and Terrorvision have announced that they will be heading out on tour together next May. That's quite a line-up. "It's going to be great to find out what was going on in the 90s and what it sounded like", jokes Terrorvision's Tony Wright. "I've seen the pics and so I know we were there - but to experience it first-hand will be ace!"

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


Pharrell sets 2117 release date for new single to highlight action on climate change (and cognac)
Pharrell Williams has written and recorded a new song which will be released in 100 years, if the only copy of the track hasn't been destroyed by rising sea levels due to climate change. The musician says the record is "a call to arms" to do something to protect the planet. You know, so that future generations can hear his music. Although, mainly, the project is to promote cognac brand Louis XIII.

The only recording of the song has been pressed onto a piece of vinyl made out of clay from the Louis XIII vineyard and sealed in a safe that is not waterproof. If sea levels rise too high, the safe will fill with water and the record will be destroyed. If not, in 2117 someone will definitely be cracking open that safe and finding a turntable to play it on. Although, the record will almost certainly have disintegrated by then anyway, due to normal atmospheric conditions.

"In 2017, I, Pharrell Williams, created a song that will be publicly released in 100 years", says Williams. "But only if we care about the planet. It's an artistic project that will disappear forever if global warming continues. It's a call to action for people to care about the planet now before it's too late. And, well, if in 2117 they indeed listen to my song, it means something went right".

Yeah, you heard the man. Don't just sit around drinking cognac, get to work on saving humanity from destruction by its own hand.

Here's a video explaining the project further.


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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