TODAY'S TOP STORY: A US appeals court has overturned BMG's big $25 million legal win over American internet service provider Cox Communications. Though the same judgement will strengthen BMG's case when the whole matter goes to court for a second time... [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.
For the super busy music business professional, CMU Trends helps you keep up to speed on the most important developments in the music industry in recent weeks with a concise summary of the top three trends of the last month: mechanical rights in the US; agent of change; YouTube and safe harbour. [READ MORE]
It's four years now since CMU Trends last looked in on the sales v licence debate. But a new lawsuit filed by Enrique Iglesias against Universal Music is set to pose the question anew, this time very much from a streaming perspective. With that in mind, CMU Trends reviews the debate to date and what might happen next. [READ MORE]
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]
TOP STORIES Appeals court overturns BMG's safe harbour win, despite strengthening its case
LEGAL Charlie Walk hires Harvey Weinstein's lawyer
Kanye West and Solange Knowles sued over sample
Lawsuit against activists who called on Lorde to cancel Israel show dismissed as "a hoax"
Suge Knight lawyer returns to legal team following arrest
DEALS Talento Uno partners with INgrooves
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Warner Music launches new Middle East branch
LIVE BUSINESS Australia considers nationwide secondary ticketing ban
ONE LINERS Missy Elliott, Kylie Minogue, Julia Holter, more
AND FINALLY... Beef Of The Week #389: Everyone v The Grammys
Check out all the latest job opportunities with CMU Jobs. To advertise your job opportunities here email or call 020 7099 0906.
Finance Manager for a successful artist management company based in Parsons Green. Accounting for artists, in particular touring for multiple active acts. This is a part time role, three days a week, for a nine month maternity cover contract commencing April 2018.

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The Music Royalty Company provides financial and administrative services to many record labels, distributors, publishers and recording artists. We require a dedicated Royalties Assistant eager to progress their career alongside other talented people.

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This is an exciting and broad in-house lawyer role within the music industry. Working within a team of four, you'll share responsibility for all legal areas of the [PIAS] business including: [PIAS]'s own Play It Again Sam and Different labels, [PIAS]'s roster of partner labels and its UK distribution business.

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The University of Manchester Students’ Union and Manchester Academy are looking for an experienced technical manager, with knowledge of everything important to make our events shine. You will be expected to have a keen eye for detail to enable first class delivery that involves working with a wide range of stakeholders.

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Fire Records is seeking an enthusiastic and hard-working entry level warehouse and sales assistant to maintain the smooth running of the warehouse, maintain and build relationships with distributers and customers, prepare stock for tours and events and assist in the increasing of sales.

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[PIAS] is seeking someone to maximise sync and brand partnership income by optimising opportunities to place repertoire and artists in TV show, advertisements, games, film, live brand events, brand partnerships and offering creative input to campaigns.

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Here at BC HQ we are going through a period of growth and are looking to find a highly motivated and passionate person to join the team and to play a key role in our PR work.

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Busy London based artist and producer management company Solar requires an Accounts/Finance Manager.

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Kobalt has a unique opportunity to be an integral part of Kobalt’s quickly growing, London-based sync team, working with a diverse catalogue and a passionate team dedicated to our commitment to bring transparency and the highest possible level of service to our clients.

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Snapper Music is an Accounts Assistant. This role is an ideal position for a school leaver looking for a career in the music industry.

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Live Nation UK's Social and Content Manager is responsible for managing and building the LN UK social channels and LNTV publishing platform. You will also support the shared team goal to grow reach, engagement and first party data.

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To keep abreast with the current business and technological expansion, IDOL is creating this position. The main purpose of this role is to manage, co-ordinate and optimise IDOL’s core activity.

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The Association Of Independent Festivals is looking for a new Membership and Project Co-ordinator to assist the General Manager of AIF with the day-to-day organisation and administration of the association.

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Thrill Jockey Records is seeking an experienced person for Director of Marketing and Promotions for Europe to be based out of our East London office.

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Working as part of the overall Finance and Business Affairs team, reporting to the Head of Department, the successful candidate will oversee royalty processes and reporting for all group companies.

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Warp Records is looking for an energetic and enthusiastic individual to join its international team based in London. Your role will be to help us deliver great campaigns for our artists internationally.

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Owned and managed by global DJ trio Above & Beyond and James Grant, Involved Group is looking for an experienced Royalty & Accounts Assistant Manager to join our busy and growing Finance Team.

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CMU Insights provides training and consultancy to music companies and companies working with music. Find out about our seminars, masterclasses and primers here...
Mondays 5, 12, 19 Feb 2018 at 6.30pm in London
These three CMU Insights seminars together provide a user-friendly guide to how music copyright works and how music rights make money. You can book into each individual session at £49.99 per seminar or you can book a place on all three at the special price of £125. CLICK HERE FOR INFO.
Mondays 26 Feb, 5, 12 Mar 2018 at 6.30pm in London
These three CMU Insights seminars together provide an overview of how to build a fanbase for new artists and new music. They also look at how artists can use these channels to build a direct-fo-fan business. You can book into each individual session at £49.99 per seminar or you can book a place on all three at the special price of £125. CLICK HERE FOR INFO.
These are courses we can run in-house at your company
As we head into 2018, CMU Insights is now offering music companies a special two-hour primer session reviewing five key areas of the music business, summarising important developments from the last twelve months and looking at the challenges that lie ahead in the next year. Including: the streaming business, piracy, safe harbour, ticketing and data. CLICK HERE FOR INFO.

Appeals court overturns BMG's safe harbour win, despite strengthening its case
A US appeals court has overturned BMG's big $25 million legal win over American internet service provider Cox Communications. Though the same judgement will strengthen BMG's case when the whole matter goes to court for a second time.

BMG v Cox is one of the big safe harbour cases in the US. The safe harbour means that an internet service provider cannot be held financially liable when its users distribute copyright material without licence. Though that protection is conditional on the ISP having systems in place to remove infringing material and deal with repeat infringers, if and when it is made aware of infringing activity by a copyright owner.

In this case, Cox was basically accused of paying only lip service to its own repeat infringer policies. BMG argued that that meant the ISP should not be granted safe harbour protection, and should therefore be liable for the infringement of music it controls by Cox customers. In 2015, a jury sided with BMG, resulting in the $25 million damages bill.

Cox subsequently appealed and various legal wrangling has been going on ever since. In its ruling this week, the Court Of Appeals For The Fourth Circuit agreed with one key argument presented by Cox, to the effect that the jury in the original case had been incorrectly briefed by the judge.

The key instruction Cox took issue with was that it could be found liable for so called contributory infringement if it "knew or should have known" of infringing activity on its networks. Cox argued that the "should have known" bit of that instruction was incorrect, and this week the appeals judges basically agreed.

The appeals court said that an internet company could be found liable for contributory infringement if it was shown to be wilfully blind to infringing activity - ie there were factors that suggested piracy was occurring on its networks that the company should have responded to. However, that an ISP merely "should have known" about infringement on its networks is not sufficient to make it liable.

As a result of that bad instruction, the whole case will now have to be heard in court anew. Though BMG will enter that second round hearing with one of Cox's key arguments already dismissed by the higher court.

The dismissed argument relates to the definition of 'repeat infringer', something the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a little vague on. Cox tried to argue that 'repeat infringer' referred to someone who had been found liable for copyright infringement multiple times in court, rather than just someone who had been on the receiving end of multiple takedown notices from copyright owners.

That seemed like an optimistic argument on Cox's side, and the appeals court confirmed that the law uses the latter definition of repeat infringer. Therefore, there were plenty of repeat infringers within Cox's customer base. Given the conclusion that Cox only paid lip service to its repeat infringer policy, that means the ISP did not fulfil its obligations to qualify for safe harbour protection.

All of which seems to suggest that BMG's case against Cox is stronger than ever, even though it now has to go through the rigmarole of another bloody court battle. Unless it can use that stronger case to force the net firm into some sort of settlement.


Charlie Walk hires Harvey Weinstein's lawyer
I'm not sure the best thing to do when accused of sexual harassment is to immediately ensure your name is associated with that of Harvey Weinstein. Still, according to Variety, Universal Music exec Charlie Walk has hired the disgraced film mogul's lawyer - Patricia Glaser of Glaser Weil Fink Howard Avchen & Shapiro - to represent him, following the various allegations of sexual harassment made against him by former employees.

No legal action has been taken against Walk by his accusers, so this indicates he is planning to make moves himself. This may be a defamation claim against the first woman to accuse him of sexual harassment, Tristan Coopersmith. He may also be looking for Glaser's help in Universal's investigation into other claims against him.

Earlier this week, Coopersmith published a blog post detailing a series of incidents she says took place while they were both working at Sony's Columbia label. He denied the accusations as "untrue". Since then, a number of other anonymous women have come forward with similar claims.

As a result, Walk has now been placed on leave by Universal - where he is President of the Republic Records Group - pending an independent investigation into the claims against him. Although he continues to deny any wrongdoing, he has also said that he will not appear on the finale of the TV singing contest on which he is a judge, 'The Four: Battle For Stardom'.


Kanye West and Solange Knowles sued over sample
A musician is suing both Kanye West and Solange Knowles, accusing them of ripping off his music for their own songs. Leroy Mitchell - aka Prince Phillip Mitchell - says that Knowles's song 'Fuck The Industry' and West's 'Everything I Am' both use samples from his 1970 song 'If We Can't Be Lovers' without permission.

'Fuck The Industry' was released in 2010, but leaked online two years earlier. It was later added to a 2015 deluxe edition of Knowles's 2008 album 'Sol-Angel And The Hadley Street Dreams'. The main sample on which that song is built was lifted from 'Everything I Am', from West's 2007 album 'Graduation'.

Mitchell is listed as a co-writer on both tracks in the BMI database, although he is only now going legal. According to TMZ, he is seeking damages, as well as injunctions to block radio play and live performances of both allegedly infringing songs.


Lawsuit against activists who called on Lorde to cancel Israel show dismissed as "a hoax"
Two New Zealand-based activists have claimed that a lawsuit apparently launched against them for calling on Lorde to cancel a show in Israel is "a hoax".

After Lorde announced plans to play a show in Tel Aviv later this year, Nadia Abu-Shanab and Justine Sachs wrote an open letter to her last month asking her to "take a stand" and "join the artistic boycott of Israel".

The musician replied to them on Twitter: "Noted! Been speaking [with] many people about this and considering all options. Thank you for educating me, I am learning all the time too".

Days later, the show was cancelled. It is that initial exchange which is now apparently the subject of a civil lawsuit in Israel.

On Tuesday, Israeli civil rights group Shurat HaDin announced that it had filed a lawsuit in Jerusalem on behalf of three teenage Lorde fans. The suit demands damages for "moral and emotional injury".

In a statement, the lawyer representing the teenagers, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, said: "These girls are ideologists. They are going into the army next year, and they feel very shamed and hurt by the allegations that the New Zealand activists blamed Israel for. They want to say on a personal and an international level, that those who boycott Israel or make a call to boycott Israel will be responsible and they have to pay".

Abu-Shanab and Sachs have nonetheless dismissed the case as "a hoax".

In a post on Medium, they write: "Yesterday we heard rumours we were allegedly being sued by Israeli law firm Shurat HaDin. We believed this was a hoax, after receiving the news secondhand from a journalist. We have not received any summons or other formal notice. On this basis, as far as we are concerned, this 'case' has no legitimacy".

"Our New Zealand friends and colleagues at work today were incredulous at news of our rumoured legal predicament", they continue. "Still, Shurat HaDin has gone to the media alleging to be suing us on behalf of three ticket holders who are seeking $13,000 in damages, some of which is for the 'moral and emotional injury' they suffered from being denied Lorde's concert. We all loved [Lorde's latest album] 'Melodrama', but really?"

They went on to accuse Shurat HaDin of being "one example of a growing anti-democratic sentiment" in Israel. They also mention other lawsuits launched by the organisation that have proven unsuccessful "because they have no legal means nor jurisdiction to control what people can and cannot say about Israel abroad".

SHurat HaDin has not commented further.


Suge Knight lawyer returns to legal team following arrest
One time hip hop mogul Suge Knight has confirmed a key lawyer will remain on his legal team, despite the attorney's recent arrest on suspicion of being an "accessory after the fact".

Thaddeus Culpepper and Matthew Fletcher, another lawyer who previously worked for Knight, were both arrested last month. However they were later released without charge "pending an evaluation into the complexities of the case", said the LA County Sheriff's Department in a statement.

The arrests followed previous allegations of misconduct against Knight's legal reps, which they were possibly linked to.

Last August Fletcher was accused by prosecutors of tampering with witnesses in his client's ongoing murder case. Court papers claimed to have transcripts of his and Knight discussing fabricating evidence and paying off witnesses.

Meanwhile, Culpepper was accused of agreeing to pay an informant in exchange for "his sworn testimony that he was present at the time of the crime and [witnessed] evidence favourable to the defence".

Culpepper says that he was never actually told why he was arrested recently and that doesn't expect any charges to be filed. Clearly he has convinced Knight of this, because he has waived his right to have a lawyer free of any potential conflicts of interest, in order to keep Culpepper on his team.

"What they were charging me with is impossible", says Culpepper. "I'm charged with defending my client as to this murder and they're charging me with accessory to murder after the fact based on a false confidential informant sham kind of programme".

Meanwhile, Knight said: "I'm not Donald Trump, but [these allegations are] fake news".

Knight is facing murder charges in relation to the death in 2015 of a man called Terry Carter, following an incident that occurred near the set of the NWA biopic 'Straight Outta Compton', which was then in production.


Talento Uno partners with INgrooves
INgrooves has signed a new deal to provide distribution to Talento Uno, the Latin music-focused label services company launched by former Universal exec Gustavo Lopez last year.

"Gustavo and the highly experienced team at Talento Uno have built a next-generation music company perfectly positioned to serve artists in a forward-looking, integrated fashion that contemplates all of the complexities in today's music industry", says INgrooves Executive Vice President Amy Dietz.

"Our team relishes the opportunity to work closely with them to be a true partner for growth for all of the Talento Uno artists in the Latin music community and beyond", she adds.

Lopez says: "INgrooves has the most efficient and effective distribution operations in the world. Their team and the use of their insights and technology available to us will ensure that we have the kind of infrastructure to build artists' brands on a global level".

Based in California, Talento Uno is currently working with artists including, Fuerza De Tijuana, Beto Sierra and Jesus Mendoza.


Warner Music launches new Middle East branch
Warner Music Group has announced that it is launching a new branch in the Middle East. It'll be called Warner Music Middle East, which isn't especially imaginative. Based in Beirut, it'll cover seventeen territories across the Middle East and North Africa.

The new division will be headed up by Moe Hamzeh, who joins from Beirut-based video streaming platform M.Media. He says: "I'm honoured to be joining Warner at this pivotal moment in the expansion of the market in the Middle East and North Africa. We can now reach and draw in a huge number of fans across the region, enabling us to develop careers for local talent, as well as creating new opportunities for our established artists".

Chris Ancliff, WMG's EVP, Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, adds: "Moe has invaluable experience working with local and international artists in the Middle East and North Africa. Under his leadership, we plan to pioneer the growth of the music business in some of the world's most creatively vital and commercially dynamic emerging markets. This launch of a new regional office is part of our commitment to building our local expertise worldwide and delivering maximum global impact for our artists".

The territories covered by WMME will be: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.


Australia considers nationwide secondary ticketing ban
Australia's federal government is considering a nationwide ban on the reselling of tickets. This follows the passing of tough anti-touting laws in the state of New South Wales last year.

According to Australia's Daily Telegraph, the country's government is considering five possible options with regards to the resale of tickets. One of those options is to completely outlaw the selling of tickets by anyone other than primary outlets.

The government's Assistant Minister To The Treasurer, Michael Sukkar, told the newspaper that the aim of any proposed legislation would be to benefit consumers, saying: "I expect consumers should always get a fair deal when purchasing tickets for events and to access all available tickets on the market. While we are still working to properly address these problems, Australians can be assured that we will do all that is necessary to protect them from any unfair or unscrupulous practices".

In October last year, the New South Wales government passed an amendment to its Fair Trading Act, banning the selling of tickets at anything more than 10% of their face value. Large fines were put in place for anyone breaking the rules. However, there were questions about how effective a localised ban could be, with secondary ticketing sites in general sitting outside the state's jurisdiction.

Also last year, Australia's Competition & Consumer Commission announced plans to take secondary ticketing site Viagogo to court over allegations that it had made false or misleading representations, and has engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct.


Vigsy's Club Tip: Mark Grusane at The BBE Store
The latest in-store event at BBE's record store in London Fields sees Mark Grusane stepping in to mix some tunes. He'll be there to promote his new compilation 'The Real Sound Of Mark Grusane', which leans heavily on the lush grooves of late 70s Chicago music.

Following on from his previous compilations - 'The Real Sound Of Chicago' and 'The Real Sound Of Chicago And Beyond' - this latest release takes a more personal journey through Grusane's influences. Tracks on the record have been edited, chopped up and extended so to present the sounds Grusane grew up with in his own distinct style.

Copies of the LP (and the previous compilations) will be available on the day, as well as vinyl goodies from BBE, R2 Records and more.

Saturday, 3 Feb, BBE Store, Institute Of Light, Arch 376, 10 Helmsley Place, E8 3SB, 3pm-8pm, free. More info here.

Missy Elliott, Kylie Minogue, Julia Holter, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Missy Elliott, Busta Rhymes and Kelly Rowland have released a new single, 'Get It'.

• Kylie Minogue has released the video for new single 'Dancing'.

• Julia Holter has released a new track as part of the Adult Swim Singles Program, called 'So Humble The Afternoon'.

• A Place To Bury Strangers have announced that they will release a new album, 'Pinned', on 13 Apr. Here's first single 'Never Coming Back'.

• Urbangarde have announced that they will release a new album coinciding with their tenth anniversary, 'Shoujo Fiction', on 4 Apr. From it, this is 'Akumade Akuma'.

• Deerhunter will play three UK shows in May, starting with Koko in London on 25 May. They'll then head to Manchester and Brighton. Tickets on sale now.

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


Beef Of The Week #389: Everyone v The Grammys
Major entertainment award ceremonies have come in for much scrutiny and criticism for their diversity - or a lack thereof - in recent years. None more so than the Grammy Awards.

Growing anger about the lack of racial diversity at the ceremony reached wider attention in 2016, when Frank Ocean revealed that he'd refused to submit the two albums he'd released that year in protest. It was too late in the day to completely overhaul that year's bash, but little, if anything, was seemingly done to stave off the controversy that then exploded on the night of the ceremony, centred on the #GrammysSoWhite hashtag.

Recording Academy President Neil Portnow, and the man in charge of the Grammys, responded to that year's criticism by saying that the ceremony did not have "a race problem at all". After all, the winners of the awards are voted for by the 14,000 members of the Academy, and not chosen by some shady group in a back room somewhere. These are all people who work in music, know music, love music. Race doesn't come into it. Plus, he added, there are loads of categories at the Grammys which recognise a huge range of different types of music and musicians.

That all ignored a number of things. First, it didn't take into account the diversity of the voters themselves (or lack of). Secondly, while there are lots of categories at the Grammys, only a fraction of them are actually handed out during the televised ceremony. If people realise that there are other categories at all, they're unlikely to actually see who won them. And finally, if a fucking army of people are telling you there's a problem, it's quite likely that there is one.

The #GrammysSoWhite hashtag did re-emerge this time round. However, the growing #MeToo movement should have been an indication of the wave that was about to hit this year's event. Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal last year, more and more women are coming forward with stories of being harassed, assaulted and devalued by their male counterparts, in the music industry and far beyond. And for the first time it feels like the world is actually starting to listen. Although perhaps not in the offices of the Recording Academy.

It seems obvious that such a big event in the music industry should reflect everything that's happened in the last year. If you don't draw attention to it yourself, then there are plenty of people out there who will, by which point you've lost control of how the talking points of the moment are presented. You'd have though that the team behind an award ceremony with a 60 year history would have known this.

I just had a look back through as much of the coverage of this year's Grammy Awards as I could find. Hundreds of articles. Scanning the headlines, it was very difficult to find any overall positive coverage. Sure, there were matter of fact reports on things that happened during the actual proceedings on the night, and others highlighting upbeat things that performers had said on or off stage. However, as time went on even some of the elements of the show that had initially been deemed good were being re-assessed otherwise.

As stars began walking up the red carpet, it was clear what a hot topic gender diversity would be this time. Many women walked up that red carpet carrying white roses in honour of survivors of sexual assault - a quiet protest organised by the newly formed Voices In Entertainment group. Meanwhile Lorde arrived with what she called her "version of a white rose" - an excerpt from feminist artist Jenny Holzer's 'Inflammatory Essay' sewn into the back of her dress.

Lorde became a particular focus for those wishing to highlight the Grammys' poor gender diversity. The only woman nominated for the Album Of The Year prize, she was also apparently the only nominee in the category not asked to perform solo. Instead, she was offered a place in a group tribute to Tom Petty, which she refused.

Asked about this, Grammys producer Ken Ehrlich suggested to Variety that it was merely an issue of space, saying: "These shows are a matter of choices. We have a box and it gets full. [Lorde] had a great album. There's no way we can really deal with everybody".

However, they did manage to find space for U2, who despite not being nominated for anything this year appeared on stage twice - once with Kendrick Lamar and once for their own performance.

Ehrlich suggested that the overall diversity of the ceremony might have been better if Taylor Swift had been there. Her latest album wasn't eligible for any prizes (being released after 30 Sep 2017), and she's not U2, so she was off doing something else last weekend. Maybe next year she'll win a few prizes, pushing up the number of women who get to go up on stage by as many as one.

If Swift is a winner next year, that means the 2019 ceremony will definitely do at least as well as this year in terms of the number of women presented awards during its broadcast. By which we mean one woman.

The only woman to be handed a trophy on TV on Sunday night was Alessia Cara. Among the 9% of total nominees overall who were female, she took the gong for Best New Artist. She was then forced to defend herself against people who thought SZA should have taken that particular prize. Perhaps she should, but it now seems like we're pitting women against each other to fight over the scraps tossed out to them.

Neil Portnow could have fallen back on his previous line of blaming the Grammy voters for the lack of diversity during the night. After all, they were due some blame given they'd just handed pretty much all the awards to Bruno Mars. Instead, he spat an incredibly poorly chosen collection of words in the general direction of Variety.

"It has to begin with women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level", he began. "[They need] to step up because I think they would be welcome".

Having suggested the lack of women at the Grammys was mainly due to inactivity on the part of female musicians, he did then concede: "I don't have personal experience of those kinds of brick walls that you face but I think it's upon us - us as an industry - to make the welcome mat very obvious, breeding opportunities for all people who want to be creative and paying it forward and creating that next generation of artists".

Portnow later told Billboard that he regretted saying that women needed to "step up", because "when taken out of context" those two words look bad. He's right, those were the two words that people mainly focussed on, and they did look pretty bad out of context. Of course, they also look pretty shitty in context.

After all, take in its entirety, his Variety statement read like he reckoned women hadn't yet begun to do very much in music, but if a few of them started trying a bit harder, then in a few years more women might win some awards. If only women would at least make a little effort, then us guys would happily welcome you into our club, he seemed to say.

Whether or not it would have come across better if he'd not used the words "step" and "up" is slightly irrelevant now anyway. By the time Portnow reflected on what he'd said, a long list of people had already pulled his words apart. Pink, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, Sheryl Crow, Charli XCX, Halsey and Iggy Azalea were among those to respond angrily.

Crow actually advocated a return to gendered awards to ensure that women get something, though that seems like a backwards step to me. Best Male/Best Female category splits at awards ceremonies already look like organisers don't believe women are as good as men. And to split categories specifically to boost female nominations now - regardless of how well-meaning that might be - would appear to be confirmation of that. It's clear that something needs to change at awards ceremonies, but I don't think that's it.

Pink meanwhile wrote: "Women in music don't need to 'step up'. Women have been stepping up since the beginning of time. Stepping up, and also stepping aside. Women OWNED music this year. They've been KILLING IT. And every year before this. When we celebrate and honour the talent and accomplishments of women, and how much women step up every year, against all odds, we show the next generation of women and girls and boys and men what it means to be equal".

An obvious change for the Grammys would be to start at the top, with Neil Portnow stepping down. He's been in charge since 2002, in which time the music industry and the world have changed hugely. While it's true that the make up of the voting academy is the major issue in terms of who does or doesn't win prizes at the event, Portnow's unwillingness to date to implement any sort of change is at best embarrassing for the Recording Academy.

There's already a petition calling for his resignation, and the case for ousting him (aside from all of the above) is arguably increasingly strong on a simple commercial basis. Despite vast (albeit largely negative) coverage of the big TV broadcast, the number of people actually tuning in to watch the Grammys is falling.

This year, according to CBS, which broadcasts it, viewers were down by more than six million on the previous year. A total of 19.8 million Americans tuned in. Close to the all time low of seventeen million (also on Portnow's watch) in 2006.

Some blamed the controversy surrounding the show, and various politically charged moments, for the poor ratings. Although it seems a lot of people simply weren't tuning in to begin with.

Presumably in response to those calls for his resignation, Portnow yesterday announced a new Grammys taskforce to review "every aspect of what we do as an organisation and identify where we can do more to overcome the explicit barriers and unconscious biases that impede female advancement in the music community". Which, OK, is a step in the right direction. Though let's hope a radical change at the top of the Recording Academy is one of the things the review will consider.

Personally, I find awards ceremonies to be pretty tedious affairs at the best of times. I think my preference would be to not have them at all. Though they often make money for whoever owns them, and provide a decent marketing platform for those who win. Assuming they're here to stay, maybe now would be a good time to totally rethink what award shows do and how they work. Especially for the big televised ones that put the wider music industry on show to the wider world.

With the Grammys out of the way, attention next turns to the BRIT Awards here in the UK. At least there attempts have been made in recent years to actively improve diversity. In 2016, conscious efforts were made to increase the diversity of the voters, with more women and industry representatives from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds invited to take part. While no panacea, at least the BRITs actively acknowledged the problems and took some initial steps to deal with them.

However, just fixing your voting academy isn't enough. Next, there's who you choose to play. And it has to be said, the current BRITs line-up isn't looking especially great in that regard, given the focus this year is on gender diversity in particular.

Justin Timberlake will be flying in, following his big Super Bowl show this weekend. And Ed Sheeran will be there on stage, of course. So too will Rag N Bone Man, Jorja Smith, Stormzy, Dua Lipa, Sam Smith, Foo Fighters and Rita Ora. Three women out of nine acts. And the nominations, despite being split along gender lines in some groups, are not looking great either.

Just as #BRITsSoWhite followed #GrammysSoWhite, it's looking like #BRITsSoMale may well be trending later this month too.


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.
Email (except press releases, see below)
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.
Email (except press releases, see below)
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.
Email or call 020 7099 9060
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.
CMU supports the music community by providing news, business intelligence, training and education.

CMU Daily covers all the latest news and developments direct by email.

Setlist is a weekly podcast dissecting the biggest music business stories.

CMU Premium gives you access to the weekly CMU Digest and CMU Trends.

CMU Insights provides training and consultancy for music companies.

CMU:DIY provides workshops and resources for future music talent.

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