TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK government has announced that it will add the so called 'agent of change' principle to the National Planning Policy Framework. That's the thing local authorities must follow when considering planning applications by property developers... [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.
The UK government has announced that it will add the so called 'agent of change' principle into the framework which local authorities must follow when considering planning applications by property developers. With that announcement made, CMU Trends reviews what agent of change is all about and how we got to this point. [READ MORE]
A year ago, CMU Trends identified five contenders for enemy number one of the music industry. This week we review what has happened in the subsequent twelve months, and ask whether relations between the music community and its potential enemies improved or worsened in 2017. [READ MORE]
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]
TOP STORIES UK government to put 'agent of change' into planning rules
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Universal Music Publishing allies with Auddly
LIVE BUSINESS Festivals and events commended for environmental sustainability at Eurosonic
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Spotify adds new visual layers to spoken word audio
Def Leppard catalogue finally appears on digital music services
ARTIST NEWS Migos's Offset denies "queers" lyric is homophobic
RELEASES Kylie Minogue announces new album, releases new single
AWARDS European Festival Awards dished out
ONE LINERS Scooter Braun, Beastie Boys, Justin Timberlake, more
AND FINALLY... Beef Of The Week #387: Moby v Donald Trump
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UK government to put 'agent of change' into planning rules
The UK government has announced that it will add the so called 'agent of change' principle to the National Planning Policy Framework. That's the thing local authorities must follow when considering planning applications by property developers.

This should mean that any developer sticking a big fuck off new luxury residential block next to an existing music venue will have to identify and assess future noise issues that may occur when all those rich fuckers move in next door, and make sure that they take measures to mitigate such problems during the initial build.

The aim is to stop that silly scenario where people say "this area of town looks like a cool place to live, what with all the music and cultural shit that's going down, I'm going buy a posh apartment here, and then moan relentlessly about all the music and cultural shit that's going down, until the local council changes all the venues' licensing terms ensuring they go out of business".

To that end, agent of change can be classified under the legal category of "such a fucking obvious thing to do, the only reason it isn't already law is that everyone assumed it was anyway". Except, I guess, the sneaky property developers who got to throw up shoddy new buildings without modifying their designs to suit the local environment, and then sell them on for millions to idiots, before fucking off and letting other people deal with the resulting shitstorm.

So, hurrah for agent of change finally becoming the norm. The music community has been increasingly vocal about needing agent of change incorporated into planning rules in recent years, of course. And that resulted in some serious campaigning by the Music Venue Trust, Musicians' Union and UK Music. Progress was made last year with the principle being discussed in Parliament, government confirming it was investigating the matter, and London mayor Sadiq Khan incorporating it into his plans in the capital.

Then earlier this month Labour MP John Spellar proposed specific legislation to make agent of change law. Bills put forward in Parliament by backbench MPs, rather than government ministers, rarely go through. But it was hoped that, by showing that this common sense proposal had widespread cross-party support and few opponents willing to speak out on the matter, government could be pressured into making some formal commitments on the agent of change point.

And that they did. Yesterday. When the Ministry Of Housing, Communities & Local Government stated: "Housing developers building new homes near music venues should be responsible for addressing noise issues in a move to protect both music venues and their neighbours". To that end, it added, "The National Planning Policy Framework, which local authorities are legally bound to comply with, will now be clarified to include detailed reference to the 'agent of change' principle, and will be consulted on in spring".

Housing Secretary Sajid Javid then chipped in, saying: "Music venues play a vital role in our communities, bringing people together and contributing to the local economy and supporting the country's grass roots music culture. I have always thought it unfair that the burden is on long-standing music venues to solve noise issues when property developers choose to build nearby".

Noting commitments already made by the government in this domain last year, he continued: "That's why I consulted on this in February last year as part of the housing white paper. I am pleased to finally have an opportunity to right this wrong and also give more peace of mind to new residents moving into local properties".

Needless to say, this announcement was welcomed by Spellar and the music community. The former confirmed that he would now put his bill on hold while Javid's department goes about adding agent of change into the National Planning Policy Framework.

Meanwhile UK Music boss Michael Dugher said: "This is a seismic victory for all those who fought so hard to safeguard the future of music venues across the UK - from grassroots community activists to Britain's global music stars who have spent years calling for agent of change and recently supported the Spellar Bill".

He added: "We are delighted the government has thrown its support behind our agent of change plan and is strengthening the rules to protect grassroots music venues. It's a tremendous boost for the live music industry".

Dave Webster, the Musicians' Union's National Organiser For Live Performance, then added: "This is welcome news and we are pleased that the government has listened to the music industry. The pledge to strengthen the National Planning Policy Framework will give Musicians' Union members places to play and audiences to support them, and give venues the protection they so desperately need".

And finally, the Music Venue Trust stated: "Following the huge support for John Spellar MP's private members bill, Music Venue Trust warmly welcomes this move by the government to adopt agent of change. Too many of our music venues have been lost to poor developments that haven't recognised the cultural importance of grassroots music venues".

Of course, while Javid has now made a formal commitment to introduce agent of change, the devil is always in the detail. The music community needs to keep a close eye on how the principle is actually introduced, to ensure it isn't watered down under any possible pressure from the property sector.

Which is something MVT acknowledged. It went on: "We look forward to working with the government to ensure that these new measures provide robust protection, which presents clear guidelines for developers and local authorities".

So, a big step forward, but likely more debate to come. Meanwhile, premium CMU subscribers can check out a new CMU Trends article explaining agent of change in more detail, and reviewing how we got to this point.


Universal Music Publishing allies with Auddly
Universal Music Publishing has announced the launch of a pilot programme with Auddly, the songwriter-led digital start-up that is trying to ensure the music industry gets decent music rights data quickly whenever new songs are written.

Good data means more efficient payment for songwriters. And indeed, bad data can mean no payment at all. Who knew spreadsheets were such an important part of being a successful songwriter? Well, Auddly did. Hence why they've been trying to help songwriters populate those spreadsheets with accurate information, even as they float around the room in excitement over having just completed the next big (possibly, maybe, who knows?) hit.

Through its new alliance with Universal's music publishing business, Auddly hopes to make its tools available to more songwriters. Those tools chiefly help writers track their creative process, and communicate with their creative collaborators, while also ensuring that the data the music industry needs gets logged once works are completed.

Confirming the music publishing major was now collaborating with Auddly on a pilot programme, Universal Music Publishing chief Jody Gerson said yesterday: "As part of our commitment to support songwriters through new and creative technology solutions, UMPG is always looking to improve data management and streamline the song delivery process. Auddly's user-friendly tool is a step forward in that effort and will hopefully set a new standard for the industry".

Speaking for his side, Auddly co-founder Niclas Molinder added: "The key to a functioning music industry is full cooperation around one system for song data collection. Auddly is independent and open for all parties and we hope that UMPG's forward-thinking way will inspire other publishers and rights societies to join us for a sustainable music industry".

Meanwhile, Max Martin, one of the songwriters backing the Auddly business, jumped in to say: "Auddly enables songwriters and producers like me to keep track of all projects from inception to release - and to make sure that those who look after our rights have all the correct information right from the start. So this is a great step forward for music creators all around the world towards a fairer and more transparent music industry".


Festivals and events commended for environmental sustainability at Eurosonic
The A Greener Festival organisation has announced the festivals and other events that have earned themselves one of the group's awards for their 2017 activities.

A Greener Festival assesses participating music festivals - and now other events too - according to a variety of criteria to assess just how environmentally friendly and sustainable they are. Those festivals that meet the standards set out by the A Greener Festival team are then recognised for their work. That recognition occurred during the Eurosonic showcase festival in the Netherlands yesterday.

Commenting on this year's awards, A Greener Festival Co-Founder Claire O'Neill said: "We are extremely proud of the winners of the Greener Festival and Greener Events awards. They have to meet very strict criteria to be awarded, and their actions and passion for sustainability set them aside as the future of festivals and events in the industry. There's always further to go, and these winners are paving the way for the benefit of us all".

And here are those winners...

Outstanding: Green Gathering (UK), ØYA Festival (NO), We Love Green (FR), Wood Festival (UK).

Highly Commended: Cambridge Folk Festival (UK), DGTL festival (NL), Extrema Outdoor (NL), Greenbelt Festival (UK); HebCelt (UK); Ilosaarirock Festival (FI), Paradise City (BE), Roskilde Festival (DK)

Commended: Das Fest (DE), Doolin Folk Festival (IE), Dubcamp Festival (FR), Glastonbury Festival (UK), Hadra Trance Festival (FR), Kew The Music (UK), Liberation Festival Utrecht (NL), Primavera Sound (ES), Spring Festival Utrecht (NL), Welcome To The Village (NL)

Improvers: Arla Food Festival (DK), Bayou Boogaloo (US), Body and Soul (IE), Just So Festival (UK), Mandala Festival (NL), Meadows Festival (UK), Metaldays (SI), Mysteryland (NL), No Logo Festival (FR), Nozstock: The Hidden Valley (UK), Oude Muziek (NL), Uitfeest (NL)


Spotify adds new visual layers to spoken word audio
Spotify has launched what it's claiming is a "new multimedia format", adding visuals to spoken word audio content. It'll never catch on. Visuals? No one likes looking at things.

Called Spotlight, the feature will allow providers of podcasts, audiobooks, news and other talky stuff to layer photos, video and text over their chat. At launch, partners include BuzzFeed News, Lenny Letter, Gimlet Media, Genius and Refinery29. Spotify will also add additional visual bits to some of its own original programming too.

Says Spotify's Head Of Studios And Video, Courtney Holt: "We are excited to launch Spotlight, a new format that merges great storytelling, news, information and opinion with visual elements all delivered in playlist form across a number of content categories. Playlists play an important role in the daily lives of our users bringing them closer to the creators they love".

Buzzfeed News Editor-In-Chief Ben Smith adds: "It feels like a generation ago that MTV News delivered the latest to a whole generation of music fans, but it's not hard to imagine BuzzFeed News and Spotify doing the same in 2018. We're incredibly excited to bring together our award-winning audio team, world-class journalism, and Spotify's massive, dynamic platform to get listeners up to speed every morning. I can't wait to see this project get off the ground next week and grow along with the future of news".

If you like your audio completely audio-based, you can - of course - listen to CMU's Setlist podcast on Spotify. And you should. It's guaranteed visuals fee.


Def Leppard catalogue finally appears on digital music services
Def Leppard's entire catalogue of recordings, as of today, is now available on digital music services. Up until now, the group had been holdouts from download stores and streaming services - the latter in particular due to apprehension about the business model.

Speaking to USA Today, frontman Joe Elliott explains: "We just had to get our heads around it. [We had the] same suspicion anyone has about anything new. The promise of what it can be, and what it is, is sometimes massively different".

Actually having a sit down and giving it all a proper think was delayed, says Elliott, because the band "were doing OK" and felt they "weren't really missing anything", thanks to steady sales of concert tickets and physical records.

He goes on: "You start reading all these stories about [Lady] Gaga and Taylor [Swift] and ten trillion listens and then they get a cheque for 50 bucks or something, and you think, 'Well, it's not really that big a deal'. [However] given a bit of time to sit down and think about it and read and do the research and listen to the right people, things just fell into place".

With the band's collective heads now around the business of streaming, they decided that releasing their catalogue digitally today made sense. The announcement coincides with the confirmation of dates for a 58 show US tour co-headlining with Journey, starting in May, plus UK and Ireland live shows that will see them through to the end of the year.

Also, Elliott adds, they were keen for everything to arrive at once because "it's just more of an event". Which, to be fair, he's right about. "We didn't want it coming out in dribs and drabs", he says.

Def Leppard's slow conversion to the world of digital music has an interesting history. In 2012, locked in a stand off with Universal Music over download royalties - and aided by a contract that gave them a veto over where their music was placed - the band began recording "forgeries" of old hits. Returning to the studio, they aimed to record cover versions that sounded as similar to the originals as possible, which they could then self-release online.

This proved quite a painstaking process, so didn't get very far. Also, it seemed more like an exercise in point proving than anything else. But that done, just over five years later, the deadlock has been lifted.

In a statement, lead guitarist Phil Collen says: "We felt we'd been left out of the digital party but it's a thrill to us to finally accept the invitation and to be able to say 'yeah, you can stream us, download us and get us great on all of these digital outlets'".

So, hey, why not go and download all of Def Leppard's records while downloads are still a thing. If you want to get the lowdown on how digital services are licensed and royalties flow through, you can buy the newly published 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar' book - published by the UK Music Managers Forum and written by CMU's Chris Cooke - on Amazon here.


Vigsy's Club Tip: Forms at Fabric
Fridays at Fabric are changing with the launch of Forms. The new night will alternate with the existing Fabric Live night.

For the first edition of Forms tonight, Skream will headline. He'll be joined by Keinemuzik boss &me and Greg Venezia. Despite being nudged out of the way, Fabric Live still gets a look in - Skream's appearance coincides with the release of his new Fabric Live compilation, on which Venezia also features.

In the second room, you'll find Krystal Klear, Elrow resident Melé, plus Kincaid & Sinàl.

Friday 19 Jan, Fabric, 77a Charterhouse Street, Clerkenwell, London, EC1M 3HN, 10pm-7am, £20+. More info here.

Migos's Offset denies "queers" lyric is homophobic
Migos member Offset has issued an apology, following accusations of homophobia in relation to a set of new lyrics. Although he denies that he was referring to gay people when he rapped that he "cannot vibe with queers".

The offending lyrics appear in a line on YFN Lucci's new single 'Boss Life', on which Migos guests. Although the track was originally released in December, it came under closer scrutiny this week with the release of the track's video. On the record, Offset raps: "Pinky ring crystal clear, 40k spent on a private Lear/60k solitaire/I cannot vibe with queers".

In a post on Instagram, the rapper said: "I didn't write the line about gay people. I have said before since these issues before that I got love for all people. My passion for fashion has lead me to a lot of gay people around me who I have mad respect for and we are very cool so I'm not in a place where I'm hating like that".

Explaining how he happened upon the word 'queer' when writing his rap, he went on: "When I wrote that I was thinking of words that could rhyme with the others (here, Lear, solitaire, bear) and I saw this definition about [someone] having a queer feeling [that they were] being watched and it fit what I was thinking about a stalker creepy paparazzi situation. To me that 'queer', I don't mean someone who's gay. I mean lame people who film you, post it and stalk you. Lingo that means strange or odd".

He added that he was "offended I offended anybody".

Debate online surrounding Offset's use of the word "queers" has been fierce, and continues to be so subsequent to his statement. Many have pointed out that this is not the first time members of Migos have been accused of homophobia.


Kylie Minogue announces new album, releases new single
Kylie Minogue has announced that she will release new album, 'Golden Drops', on 6 Apr.

Recorded largely in Nashville, the album saw Minogue work with songwriters Steve McEwan and Amy Wadge, plus producer Sky Adams. A list of other collaborators includes Jesse Frasure, Eg White, Jon Green, Biff Stannard, Samuel Dixon, Danny Shah and Lindsay Rimes, and Jack Savoretti.

The first single from the album is 'Dancing', of which Minogue says: "You've got the lyrical edge, that country feel, mixed with some sampling of the voice and electronic elements, so it does what it says on the label. And I love that it's called 'Dancing', it's immediately accessible and seemingly so obvious, but there's depth within the song".

Listen to 'Dancing' here.


European Festival Awards dished out
With the Eurosonic Noorderslag showcase festival in full swing (despite no one seemingly able to get there yesterday, due to the windy weather), it was again time for the European Festival Awards to be handed out last night.

Exit Festival took home the Best Major Festival award for the second time, having been nominated every year since the awards launched in 2010. Exit founder Dusan Kovačević said in a statement: "It is a truly remarkable success to win the most important festival award in the world again after only four years, let alone in the most important category, among the greatest European and world festivals with budgets ten times greater than ours".

Here's a list of all the winners:

Best Major Festival: Exit Festival
Best Medium-Sized Festival: Down The Rabbit Hole
Best Small Festival: Ment Ljubljana
Best New Festival: Wacken Winter Nights
Best Indoor Festival: Ment Ljubljana

Line-up Of The Year: Sziget Festival
The Brand Activation Award: The Miele Powerwash at Lowlands Festival
The Green Operations Award: Pohoda Festival
The Health And Safety Innovation Award: Paléo Festival Nyon & Roskilde Festival
The Take A Stand Award: Roskilde Festival

Newcomer Of The Year: Rag N Bone Man
Agent Of The Year: Alex Bruford (ATC Live)
Promoter Of The Year: Goodlive

The Award For Excellence & Passion: Fruzsina Szép
The Lifetime Achievement Award: Daniel Rossellat


Scooter Braun, Beastie Boys, Justin Timberlake, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Scooter Braun will be doing one of those keynote things at Midem this year. He'll receive a Midem Hall Of Fame Award too, whatever that is. I'm sure it'll look lovely on his shelf. His Midem Hall Of Fame Award shelf.

• Beastie Boys' Mike D and Ad-Rock will release a memoir later this year, which will be "unlike any other music book", Mike D told Beats 1 earlier this week.

• Justin Timberlake's released another new single, called 'Supplies'. It has a video.

• St Vincent has enlisted the brilliant Kelly Lee Owens to remix her song, 'New York'.

• Tinashe has released the video for new single, 'No Drama'.

• Jorja Smith has released the video for her Stormzy-featuring new single 'Let Me Down'.

• The Vaccines have put out a video for recent single 'I Can't Quit'. They're touring in April too. It's almost as if they're releasing a new album called 'Combat Sports' on 30 Mar.

• XL boss Richard Russell's will release the debut album from his Everything Is Recorded project on 16 Feb. It will feature guests including Damon Albarn, Peter Gabriel, Sampha, Giggs, Syd, Owen Pallett, Ibeyi, Wiki and more. Here's new single, 'Bloodshot Red Eyes'.

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


Beef Of The Week #387: Moby v Donald Trump
Donald Trump gave out some Fake News Awards this week, for reasons I'm not sure he's even entirely clear on. The criteria for the prizes are difficult to get a handle on. One thing's for sure, in the year he's been in charge of the fucking United States Of America, the world has been a pretty weird place. One where Moby - MOBY - has been accused of being recruited by the CIA to destabilise Trump's authority. Once again, please note, that's an actual thing Moby has actually been accused of.

The origins of this story date back almost a year to February 2017, when Moby claimed on Facebook that he had insider information on Trump. This was shortly after Buzzfeed published that unverified dossier of information making various claims about the new US president's connections to Russia. Buzzfeed may not have been able to verify it, but Moby was apparently in a position to confirm that it was all "100% real".

"He's being blackmailed by the Russian government", wrote Moby. "Not just for being peed on by Russian hookers, but for much more nefarious things. The Trump administration is in collusion with the Russian government, and has been since day one".

He added that Trump was looking to shore up public opinion by starting a war. "Probably with Iran", he said at the time, although I suppose North Korea will do. Iran is an ally of Russia, after all.

Anyway, Moby discussed that whole thing in an interview earlier this month, in which he said that he'd been given the lowdown on Trump and Russia by a number of "active and former CIA members" over dinner. They then encouraged him to share this information online because he had a bigger social media following than them.

"I've made a few friends in the intelligence community", he said. "I guess about a year ago, we were having dinner and they were really concerned ... [that] we have a Russian agent as the president of the United States. So they passed on some information to me and they said, look you have more of a social media following than any of us do, can you please post some of these things".

He added that when he posted that information, he was fairly optimistic that something would happen to address everyone's concerns. However, since then his feelings have changed.

"You have so much evidence pointing to the fact that the Trump administration is really in bed with the Russians in a very pernicious way", he said. "Unfortunately I just don't see people in Congress holding the administration accountable. It's really disturbing, and it's going to get quite a lot darker".

I'm not really sure what sort of political influence Moby has these days. Or ever had. But the interview nevertheless rang alarm bells for some Trump supporters - not least shouty conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. His YouTube channel published a report, tying Moby's claims about having dinner with CIA agents to an alleged long-term programme in which sinister figures in the security services use the media and celebrities to spread "fake news".

Moby responded to this on Facebook by saying that his comments in the interview had been misconstrued, and that "the CIA didn't ask me to post about Trump and Russia, as much fun as that would be".

However, he added: "For what it's worth, I do have some friends at other intelligence agencies who have told me that there is genuine concern, globally, that Trump is desperate for a war, either with North Korea or Iran. He needs a distraction as the Russia probe gets closer to home".

He added that the "broad consensus" is that the dossier published by Buzzfeed last year is "quite accurate".

"Trump is a dirty foreign agent", he concluded. "One way or another the depths of his, and his campaigns, collusion (and treason) will be revealed. Just watch".

I'm not sure Moby is really handing out much in the way of information that people couldn't come up with themselves, but it would be fun if it did turn out that he was - in fact - a font of insider knowledge on the future fate of Donald Trump. In fact, I haven't been this excited since there was an outside possibility that Courtney Love had discovered the location of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Trump's Fake News Awards claimed that reports of collusion between the current president's administration and Russia is "perhaps the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people". "THERE IS NO COLLUSION", emphasised an article on the Republican Party website unveiling Trump's awards.

This does not mean the Russia story is going away though. Yesterday, the House Intelligence Committee in US Congress released a transcript of an interview with Glenn Simpson, co-founder of Fusion GPS, the company behind the dossier published by Buzzfeed last year. There were plenty of allegations in there to ensure that this story will stay in the headlines for some time to come, whatever Moby may do, say, know or believe.


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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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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