TODAY'S TOP STORY: Artists and music industry leaders joined politicians in Westminster yesterday to big up the 'agent of change' principle. They gathered as John Spellar MP presented his bill to Parliament which would change UK planning law so that property developers putting new residential buildings next to existing music venues would be responsible for identifying and solving any future sound issues... [READ MORE]
Available to premium subscribers, CMU Trends digs deeper into the inner workings of the music business, explaining how things work and reviewing all the recent trends.
As 2018 gets underway and we start to look at the music year ahead, let's not forget the stage that is the courtroom. What litigation and legal wrangling could have an impact on the music business this year? CMU Trends picks five big cases, reviews the story so far and considers the possible ramifications of each legal battle. [READ MORE]
While the music industry has shouted a lot more about safe harbours than piracy in recent years, that could be about to change. But if the music community gets vocal about piracy once again, what kind of piracy will dominate the conversation? CMU Trends reviews developments in online piracy from the rise of Napster to the new services gaining momentum today. [READ MORE]
CMU Trends summarises what we've learned from the MMF's 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar' project so far in 30 points. 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]
TOP STORIES Music community gathers in Westminster to back agent of change proposals
DEALS INgrooves expands into royalty services via Sovereign acquisition
Michael Huppe renews contract to lead SoundExchange until 2021
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES YouTube demotes Logan Paul, puts new projects on hold
Jimmy Iovine not leaving Apple, says Jimmy Iovine
MEDIA Radio 2 unveils new schedules, puts its organ into storage
ARTIST NEWS Jimmy Nail sails out of Sting's shipbuilding musical
ONE LINERS AVL Digital, Matador Records, Gaz Goombes, more
AND FINALLY... "Brexit is the dumbest thing Britain has ever done in my lifetime", says Brian May
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Music community gathers in Westminster to back agent of change proposals
Artists and music industry leaders joined politicians in Westminster yesterday to big up the 'agent of change' principle. They gathered as John Spellar MP presented his bill to Parliament which would change UK planning law so that property developers putting new residential buildings next to existing music venues would be responsible for identifying and solving any future sound issues.

The agent of change concept aims to ensure that music venues don't run into expensive licensing issues as a result of complaints from new residents who choose to move in next door. With grassroots venues in particular operating on incredibly tight profit margins, sudden new sound proofing requirements can put said venues out of business.

With rising rents and business rates, and other market factors, already making things tricky for the grassroots gigging circuit, venues and promoters could really do without the extra hassle of tetchy new neighbours. Especially when it is often cultural businesses that make previously run down parts of towns and cities cool again, so that property developers want to turn old warehouses into plush new apartments.

In his speech to Parliament yesterday, Spellar said: "I accept that there is a variety of reasons for the decline in venues, but many relate to changes in the neighbourhood, increasingly when redundant commercial or industrial premises are converted to residential, or are knocked down and rebuilt, or as empty sites are developed".

He went on: "Of course, much of that is very welcome. It is part of the regeneration of our inner cities, restoring their historic vibrancy and creating much-needed homes. However, it can sometimes lead to the loss of what makes parts of those areas attractive in the first place, especially to younger residents".

On his specific legislative proposals, he added: "My short bill is a modest and focused measure that would adopt the principle of agent of change into planning law. That basically means that when buildings are converted to residential use or a new development is put up, the onus is on the developer - not the venue - to ensure that the new dwellings are protected from factors, particularly noise, that could be held to affect their general amenity and enjoyment".

In addition to cross-party support for Spellar's proposals in Parliament, the bill is backed by pretty much the entire music community, far beyond those who are in the business of performing or staging grassroots gigs in small venues. This, Spellar explained, is because grassroots gig venues play such an important role in developing new musical talent.

He went on: "Less venues means less work and less opportunity to develop talent - or even for musicians to find out that they are not going to make it in the industry. It also means less opportunity to move up from amateur to part-time to full-time professional, and to national or even international stardom. I was talking today to Billy Bragg, who mentioned that he tried three times to move from having an ordinary job and working part-time to being a full-time musician. It was the existence of the clubs, pubs and venues that enabled him finally to make it on to the national stage".

One of the industry groups that has been leading on the campaign to make agent of change law, the Music Venue Trust, declared that yesterday was an important day in its history. It said last night: "Earlier today John Spellar MP's bill was read in Parliament and no objections were raised. A huge list of sponsors of the bill accompanied the first reading, meaning that this can now progress to a second reading".

That second reading is due to take place next week. Legislation introduced by back bench MPs in Parliament rarely becomes actual law, either because the government party ultimately blocks it, or there simply isn't enough time in the parliamentary schedule to see the proposal through. Though bills introduced in this way can put pressure on government to act on an issue. Ministers have previously expressed some support for agent of change, in one form or another, and members of the All Party Parliamentary Group For Music recently urged the government to back Spellar's proposals.

All of which means the music community and its allies in Westminster will keep up the pressure on this one in the coming weeks.


INgrooves expands into royalty services via Sovereign acquisition
Music distributor INgrooves has acquired a company called Sovereign Music Services so to bring royalty and publishing admin specialisms into the business.

California-based Sovereign Music Services was set up by Jennifer Cary and Steve Weatherby in 2013. It provides royalty and admin services to music companies, and owns a proprietary royalty accounting platform which - it says - "offers clients efficient and transparent services, including downstream accounting, statements and payments". Both Cary and Weatherby will join INgrooves as part of the deal.

Confirming the acquisition, INgrooves CEO Bob Roback said: "In just five short years, Jennifer and Steve have used their expertise in a complex yet essential aspect of the music industry to build one of the most nimble and efficient royalty companies in the world. We are THRILLED to be able to immediately offer this strengthened suite of services to label and artist clients, with an eye towards enhancing our industry-leading, integrated technology platform. We are excited to welcome the Sovereign team to INgrooves".

Cary added: "INgrooves has long set the industry standard for efficiency and for embracing the rise of new technology in the music business. So naturally, we feel that moving our enterprise over to INgrooves is a huge win for our team and our clients. Our plan is to continue to develop greater efficiencies and new products within our area of expertise, and we are very eager to begin work with the global INgrooves team".


PRS hires Nigel Hall as COO
UK song rights collecting society PRS For Music has hired former KPMG UK Managing Director Nigel Hall as its new Chief Operating Officer. He replaces Craig Nunn, who left the role way back in July 2017.

PRS boss Robert Ashcroft confirmed Hall's appointment by first noting that - in no small part as a result of the streaming boom - his organisation is now processing ever more data. In fact, in 2016 it processed "4.3 trillion lines of data", he bragged. All that data processing needs the skills of someone like Hall, see.

Ashcroft: "PRS For Music celebrated a record-breaking year in 2016, in no small part thanks to our investments in technology and data, which are becoming ever more integral to the music business. It is therefore my pleasure to welcome Nigel to PRS For Music. We look forward to having his digital expertise on hand to steer us through a time of continuing growth and transformation, not just for us, but for the industry as a whole".

But what does old Nige have to say about it all? Well, this: "Having worked with household names like Orange and O2 in the telecoms sector, I am delighted to be joining an organisation that champions the rights of some of the biggest names in music. These are incredibly exciting times for the industry, not least for our members, and I am looking forward to helping PRS For Music continue to lead in its field".

You might not think that banging on about your knowledge of Orange and O2 is particularly relevant to all this. But did you just bag yourself a top job at a collecting society? No you did not. So step the fuck down and shut the fuck up.


Michael Huppe renews contract to lead SoundExchange until 2021
The big news over at US collecting society SoundExchange is that nothing is changing. At all. For at least three more years. President and CEO of the organisation that represents the US record industry's digital performing rights, Michael Huppe, has just signed a deal to keep the bum impression on his big chair the same until at least 2021. Assuming he makes it all the way to that date, he'll have been in charge there for ten whole years.

"Mike's vision and energy have driven SoundExchange through a remarkable period of growth and diversification, resulting in one of the most effective, efficient and transparent organisations in the industry today", says Cary Sherman, CEO of the Recording Industry Association Of America and a SoundExchange board member, with a little too much familiarity if you ask me. He should be calling him Michael, really. Mr Huppe maybe. "Mike has identified and executed on opportunities to redefine service and efficiency".

Is that all? No. "Moreover, he has guided the expansion of our business beyond its initial core to include administration of direct licenses for sound recordings and brought the company into the music publisher services sector through the acquisition of CMRRA", continues Sherman. "He is a tireless advocate for musicians and the industry, and I'm THRILLED he will be at SoundExchange's helm for another term".

The Huppster didn't comment on any of this himself, but who needs to say anything when David Byrne's got your back? The former Talking Heads frontman and SoundExchange board member says: "Mike has the tricky job of navigating the interests of the various SoundExchange board members, myself included - interests which often converge, but often after a process, which Mike skilfully takes us through".

"The music business is never smooth sailing, to continue the metaphor", he goes on. "But with Mike as our captain we'll adapt, prosper and grow. Mike is great at seeing the larger picture and has been adept at making SoundExchange a unique and trusted - trust, in the music business! - name in our world. I for one am happy to have him continue... everyone on the board seems to be THRILLED to extend his contract and continue to work together".

What a thrilling time to be alive.


YouTube demotes Logan Paul, puts new projects on hold
Having said earlier this week that it was "looking at further consequences" for YouTube celebrity Logan Paul, the Google-owned video platform has acted. Paul has been dropped from the Google Preferred advertising programme, and a number of projects for the YouTube Red subscription service have been cancelled.

Paul drew widespread criticism recently when he posted a video to his daily vlog channel in which he and friends posed next to and laughed at an apparent suicide victim in Japan's notorious Aokigahara forest. The channel has over fifteen million subscribers and the video gained over a million views and 500,000 likes in the brief period it was online before being deleted. Paul later issued an apology, claiming he had been attempting to promote suicide prevention.

YouTube was also criticised for its lack of action on the matter, and earlier this week responded in a series of tweets. "Like many others, we were upset by the video that was shared last week", it said. "We expect more of the creators who build their community on YouTube, as we're sure you do too. The channel violated our community guidelines, we acted accordingly, and we are looking at further consequences".

In a statement this morning, YouTube said that it was putting all of its original content projects with Paul on hold. This means he is dropped from YouTube's 'Foursome' sitcom, which is available through the YouTube Red subscription service. The third season of the show appeared on the platform in November.

Also now in doubt is the sequel to Paul's own sci-fi movie, 'The Thinning'. Made available on YouTube Red in 2016 (or as a standalone rental in the UK), plans for the follow-up, 'The Thinning: New World Order', were announced last year. The film was expected to premiere later in 2018, although it is not clear if it will now be shelved permanently.

Given that the first film was reviewed heroically badly, and it's still not really clear how many people actually subscribe to YouTube Red, these may not be massively damaging sanctions. Potentially more of a blow for Paul is being dropped from Google Preferred.

The Google Preferred programme gives advertisers access to the top 5% of content on YouTube. This guarantees adverts to be placed against the most popular (if not highest quality) videos on the website. For this, of course, the advertisers pay a premium, which will have aided Paul in reaching the estimated $500,000 a year he earns from his videos.

By being dumped down to the level of a standard YouTube user, the money he can earn from advertising on his channels will be reduced, although he will still likely be able to make a pretty decent income given his subscriber numbers.

Paul's vlog channel has also received a 'strike', said YouTube. If any channel receives three strikes within a three month period it is automatically terminated. Though it seems unlikely his channel will gain two more strikes by mid-April, particularly given that Paul is not even posting videos to the channel at the moment, as he is "taking time to reflect".


Jimmy Iovine not leaving Apple, says Jimmy Iovine
Jimmy Iovine has denied recent rumours that he's about to leave Apple. "I am in the band", he said, seemingly confused about what Apple even is.

Claims that Iovine planned to leave Apple, where he has worked since the company acquired his Beats Electronics company in 2014, originated in Hits Daily Double. Various sources then confirmed the news to Billboard, with August mooted as a departure date.

Sources or not, Iovine says there's no truth in the story. He's staying put. He has unfinished business at Apple that he doesn't foresee being done by August. So let's all just stop talking him out of a job, eh?

"I am almost 65, have been with Apple for four years, and in two and a half years the [Apple Music] service has gotten to well over 30 million subscribers and Beats has continued its successful run", he told a small audience assembled for a Q&A and screening of documentary 'The Defiant Ones' this week, according to Variety.

Referencing Apple boss Tim Cook and SVP Eddy Cue, he went on: "But there's still a lot more we'd like to do. I am committed to doing whatever Eddy, Tim and Apple need me to do, to help wherever and however I can, to take this all the way. I am in the band".

Noting speculation that Iovine's commitment to Apple was linked to his stock options in the company, he added: "All this stuff you're seeing in the newspapers, let me tell you, my stock vested a long time ago. We need Donald Trump here to call it 'fake news'. There is a tiny portion of stock that vests in August, but that's not what I think about".

"My contract is up in August", he conceded, "but the funny thing is, I don't have a contract. I have a deal, and certain things happen along that deal. The bottom line is I'm loyal to the guys at Apple. I love Apple, and I really love musicians. That's why those articles annoyed me, because it had nothing to do with reality. It made it out to be all about money".

So, to recap: His stock is vested, but will vest in August. His contract is up in August, but he doesn't have a contract. I hope that's all clear.

As for how the music streaming business will reach its required scale, making itself profitable and reducing the risk that the whole thing will collapse, taking a now reliant record industry with it, he said that the labels have to do a lot more themselves.

"The record industry right now is expecting technology to fix their problems, like they always have", he said. "I'm not sure technology is going to fix their problems this time. It will make music better, it will make it sound better, and improve access and delivery, but I'm not sure that benefits the labels unless the labels do something to make the proposition more interesting. Everybody's talking about the great oil gusher, but it's not going to scale unless streaming gets more interesting".

Quite what he means by "do something to make the proposition more interesting" isn't clear. The push for artists and labels to provide streaming platforms with exclusive content, a push led by Apple, proved something of a failure. Maybe he's just saying that modern music is shit.


Radio 2 unveils new schedules, puts its organ into storage
Radio 2 yesterday announced a schedule revamp that will see Jo Whiley join Simon Mayo in the drive time slot and Sara Cox host a new daily late night show. Bosses will be hoping those changes in particular might placate critics who have often pointed out just how male-dominated the BBC station's schedule can be. Even though it still is.

Elsewhere in the revamp, which kicks in later this year, former Radio 1 DJ Gary Davies will take over from Cox as host of the station's 'Sound Of The 80s' programme. And existing specialist shows focused on blues, jazz, folk and country will shift into a new 8-9pm slot, with Cerys Matthews joining the station to host the weekly blues hour.

Meanwhile, it's bad news for fans of organs and brass bands, because current shows 'The Organist Entertains' and 'Listen To The Band' will not feature in the new schedule.

The former has been a fixture on the station since 1969, so probably best to get it out of the way before anyone feels the need to celebrate its 50th birthday. I'm sure organ fans are all locked into 'The World's Greatest Organs' playlist on Spotify these days anyway. If not, the Beeb reassured the Radio Times that they occasionally let organs play on Radio 3, so everyone should shut up.

"These changes herald another stage of the evolution of Radio 2", said the station's head Lewis Carnie yesterday. "Simon and Jo are two of the network's most popular presenters, and I'm delighted that they will unite in this exciting partnership to present a new show. Sara's new evening show will provide the network, for the first time in many years, with a truly interactive show to end the day".

Truly interactive hey, that sounds like fun. Perhaps Cox could interact with her listeners by playing them a few tunes on the organ.


Approved: Park Jiha
South Korean composer Jiha Park is set to release her debut album, 'Communion', on 2 Mar. Originally released in her home country in 2016, its international release brings her fusion of traditional Korean and contemporary classical music to a deservedly wider audience.

Created with John Bell on vibraphone, and Kim Oki on bass clarinet and saxophone, the record brings these and a range of other traditional instruments into modern, minimalist structures.

"I play a traditional Korean instrument called piri, which is like an oboe", she explains. "Piri is a double reed bamboo flute so it can be quite loud. Another traditional instrument I use is a saenghwang. A saenghwang is an instrument made of bamboo which has many pipes. It is similar to a mouth organ. It's an instrument where the sound is made from inhaling and exhaling the air".

She continues: "My main instrument is piri. But I choose saenghwang, yanggeum - a hammered dulcimer - percussion or vocal according to the type of music I'm composing. Picking an instrument has to do with the voice in which I choose to talk".

"Just like human voice" she adds, "every instrument has its own charm. Piri, which has the simplest structure - yet holds so many variations in playing - is for me the most attractive of all. The shape of the instrument is humble but it can express sensitive yet deep energy. I feel most like myself when I play piri".

Her work certainly conveys intense emotions at times, and the use of instruments not generally heard in contemporary music - or indeed Western music at all - allows for a different type of exploration.

Listen to 'Sounds From The Moon' from 'Communion' here.

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

Jimmy Nail sails out of Sting's shipbuilding musical
Jimmy Nail has been cast adrift by producers of Sting's musical 'The Last Ship', and will not reprise his starring role when it receives its UK premiere in Newcastle in March.

Set in Newcastle, the show sees a group of shipbuilders take over a factory to build one last ship before it closes. Originally staged in Chicago in 2014, the show docked on Broadway the following year, where it quickly sank after five months due to poor ticket sales. Towards the end of that run, Sting jibed in to replace Nail in an attempt to float more ticket sales, but the ship had sailed by that point.

Nevertheless, the plan was to have Nail back on board for the show's UK voyage. But not now. "After protracted negotiations carried out in good faith, we regret to announce the production's offer of employment to Jimmy Nail has been withdrawn", said producer Karl Sydow. "All at 'The Last Ship' thank him for his generosity and enormous contribution during what has been an eight-year journey".

Nail added: "I was very much looking forward to appearing in Sting's 'The Last Ship', particularly here in my home city. Sadly that's not to be. To anyone who has purchased a ticket, please go see the show and give this vessel the launch it so deserves. You'll hear some of the finest musical works ever composed for the stage".

Having headed leeward, Joe McGann hops aboard to replace Nail. After opening at the Northern Stage theatre on 12 Mar, the show will set sail around the UK and Ireland until July. Boats, hey?


AVL Digital, Matador Records, Gaz Goombes, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• CD Baby's parent company AVL Digital Group has acquired LA-based AudioMicro, a deal with adds YouTube monetisation platform AdRev, music distributor DashGo and sync licensing service to the business. It's part of AVL's bid to widen the range of services it offers independent artist and labels.

• Matador Records' New York office has made a number of promotions and hires. Rian Fossett becomes Director Of Marketing, with Malcolm Donaldson coming over from Captured Tracks to replace her as Label Co-ordinator. Meanwhile, Ruby Hoffman and Emma Buchanan join as A&R Co-ordinators.

• What's that? There's stuff going on at Matador's London office too? Yes, that's right. Josh Turner, hired early last year as Label Co-ordinator, is now Product Manager/Label Co-ordinator.

• Chilly Gonzalez has selected the seven participants in his Gonservatory performance workshop. They are Aitua, Dadalu, Dalebi, Fat Tony, Frida Split, Natalia Spiner, Raphael Meinhart. Check them all out here.

• Gaz Coombes will release a new solo album, 'World's Strongest Man', on 4 May. Here's new single 'Deep Pockets'. He'll also play ULU in London on 28 Feb.

• Tove Styrke has released a video for her cover of Lorde's 'Liability'.

• There's a new Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly single, 'VHS Forever'. New album, 'Young Adult', is out on 19 Jan.

• Hookworms have released new single, 'Static Resistance'. Their new album, 'Microshift', is out on 2 Feb. They'll also be touring February and March.

• Appleblim will release his first solo album, 'Life In A Laser', in March. From it, this is 'NCI'.

• Charlotte Gainsbourg will play Village Underground in London on 29 Mar. Tickets on sale this Friday.

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


"Brexit is the dumbest thing Britain has ever done in my lifetime", says Brian May
Last time we quoted a British musician from an interview in a German newspaper, it resulted in that whole tedious thing with Morrissey. Although Brian May telling Welt Am Sonntag that Brexit is a "tragedy" and a "disaster" I think is going to prove less controversial. At least with 48% of the population.

Asked for his opinion on the British government's continued attempts to leave the EU for no obvious reason, he said: "It's a disaster, because the losses that are caused by it will be huge for us. Brexit is the dumbest thing Britain has ever done in my lifetime".

"For me and for many other Britons, this is an absolute tragedy, because the story is going in the wrong direction", he added. "It was always important to identify commonalities and to work together. Brexit destroys the work of a generation that has brought Europe together".

As for the woman ultimately in charge of the whole thing on the UK side, May said he has little time for Prime Minister Theresa May, telling the paper: "She is, like Cameron before her, driven by vanity and thirst for power. It was wrong from the start to ask the British to vote on Brexit, most of whom had no idea [about the consequences]. I'm upset that a few politicians have managed to push us into this ditch. I sincerely hope that we can work it out again".

Maybe he could release a rousing anthem for staying in the EU, akin to the classic 'Badger Badger Badger'.


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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