TODAY'S TOP STORY: With May now appearing on the horizon, today we publish full agendas for each of the full-day conferences CMU Insights will present at The Great Escape in Brighton this May. We've also confirmed five of the companies which will showcase their technologies as part of The AI Conference... [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 CMU Insights publishes agendas for each of the conferences that it will present at The Great Escape later this year, CMU Trends outlines the background to each theme being explored: the future of music education in the UK, the AI technologies most likely to kick-start a revolution in music, and challenges and opportunities in the Chinese music market. [READ MORE]
Music business conference Midem this week publishes a brand new white paper from our consultancy unit CMU Insights reviewing the potential impact various AI technologies will have on the music industry in the next decade. As a preview, CMU Trends presents some highlights. [READ MORE]
It's been a while since we've put the spotlight on challenges in the streaming sector. CMU Insights presented a new speed briefing on that very topic at the Output conference in Belfast this week. Based on that, here is a CMU Trends overview of the top five streaming challenges. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Agendas set and tech innovators confirmed for CMU's Great Escape conferences
MEDIA Kendrick Lamar's BRITs performance censored due to sex and drugs references, says ITV
The National's Matt Berninger developing TV show
INDUSTRY PEOPLE More women speak out against Charlie Walk
Quincy Jones apologises for "word vomit"
ARTIST NEWS Government responds to Stormzy's BRITs performance
Chilly Gonzales documentary premieres at the Berlin International Film Festival
RELEASES Stop everything, Janelle Monáe's released two new songs
GIGS & FESTIVALS Kylie Minogue announces arena tour
AND FINALLY... Beef Of The Week #392: Fergie v The USA
Check out all the latest job opportunities with CMU Jobs. To advertise your job opportunities here email or call 020 7099 0906.
Sunday Best is seeking an enthusiastic and creative member of staff to join a small team at a with minimum one year marketing experience in a record label.

For more information and to apply click here.
Believe Sync is looking for a self-motivated individual looking for a unique opportunity in the world of sync.

For more information and to apply click here.
London based independent management company seeks assistant manager for roster of artists, writers and producers.

For more information and to apply click here.
Brownswood is looking for a driven and highly organised social media manager with great design and copywriting skills plus an instinctive understanding of the label's brand.

For more information and to apply click here.
The Music Publishers Association is seeking a highly organised, pro-active, efficient and positive team player to work as its Music Publishing and Sync Co-ordinator Executive.

For more information and to apply click here.
An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Business Affairs Manager to join the fast-growing master rights division of Kobalt’s Business Affairs team in London.

For more information and to apply click here.
The O2 Apollo Manchester is seeking a Box Office Manager to co-ordinate all venue box office and ticketing activities.

For more information and to apply click here.
Involved Group is looking for an experienced Royalty & Accounts Assistant Manager to join its busy and growing Finance Team.

For more information and to apply click here.
Academy Music Group is recruiting for an Assistant General Manager to assist in all aspects of the Operation of the building in relation to events staged at O2 Forum Kentish Town.

For more information and to apply click here.
Kobalt Music Recordings is looking for a flexible, confident and highly organised International Label & Product Manager, based out of our London office.

For more information and to apply click here.
Concord Music Publishing's Royalty Tracking Manager role will focus on maximising client royalties through the tracking of missing revenue. A good understanding of UK, and potentially European, music collection societies and royalty processes is essential.

For more information and to apply click here.
Listen Up is currently recruiting for a highly motivated Senior Press Manager with a passion for electronic music and industry relevant experience to join our rapidly growing team.

For more information and to apply click here.
House of Bestival, the brand activation and creative prop house division of the Bestival group, is recruiting a New Business Project Manager with solid production expertise to bring innovative ideas to life in green fields and beyond.

For more information and to apply click here.
Kobalt Music Recordings (KMR) is looking for a detail-oriented and organised individual to assist with our royalty and accounting responsibilities within our Artist and Label Services department, incorporating the AWAL distribution business.

For more information and to apply click here.
The Orchard is looking for a savvy, seasoned International Artist & Label Marketing Co-ordinator to promote The Orchard’s artists and labels in Europe and beyond.

For more information and to apply click here.
The Orchard has an immediate opening for a label manager in our London office. Managing key relationships you will be the first point of contact for a number of labels, artists and managers.

For more information and to apply click here.
Fire Records is seeking a Production And Distribution Administrator, experienced in all areas of record production and manufacturing.

For more information and to apply click here.
Shogun Audio Group is looking to hire an experienced, highly motivated, passionate Product and Distribution Manager to join our growing team.

For more information and to apply click here.
Academy Events is seeking a Tour Marketing Co-ordinator to co-ordinate the sales and marketing function for tours, liaising with promoters, agencies, marketing depts and PR, seeking creative marketing opportunities, maximising ticket sales and other such revenues by developing and managing key marketing campaigns.

For more information and to apply click here.
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.

For more information and to apply click here.
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.

For more information and to apply click here.
CMU Insights provides training and consultancy to music companies and companies working with music. Find out about our seminars, masterclasses and primers here...
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.

Agendas set and tech innovators confirmed for CMU's Great Escape conferences
With May now appearing on the horizon, today we publish full agendas for each of the full-day conferences CMU Insights will present at The Great Escape in Brighton this May. We've also confirmed five of the companies which will showcase their technologies as part of The AI Conference.

CMU Insights presents three full-day conferences as part of the TGE:CONVENTION. Unlike other music industry events, these conferences present a whole day of discussions around one aspect of the music business, allowing delegates to dig much deeper and better understand the challenges and opportunities out there. Each conference combines talks, case studies, interviews and panel discussions, plus training elements from the CMU Insights seminars and masterclasses.

This year's conferences are The Education Conference on 16 May, The AI Conference on 17 May and The China Conference on 18 May. Full agendas for each are now available online by following the respective links. Initial speakers were announced last month, and more will be added in early March.

Meanwhile, today we also reveal five of the innovative companies which will be taking part in The AI Conference: WARM, POP, Jukedeck, Rotor and Ents24.

As part of our focus on audio-recognition technology, we'll meet WARM, which tracks the music being played on 25,000 radio stations, making radio monitoring more affordable for independent artists and labels. Then we'll put the spotlight on automated messaging platforms like POP, which is helping artists, labels and festivals take the fan conversation onto Facebook Messenger, where fans increasingly want to engage.

The final session of The AI Conference will look at automated creation tools. That includes Jukedeck, an AI system that composes and produces original music. And Rotor, which aims to simplify the video creation process by enabling musicians, labels and services to create promotional video content in minutes.

And finally, what about the live space? That will part of the conversation too. We'll find out how live entertainment guide Ents24 has been busy building tools that utilise years of historical user data to recommend shows and events, including a 'smart gift finder'.

To get into all three of the CMU Insights conferences, you should get yourself a TGE delegates pass, that also gets you into the convention's conversations and networking programmes, as well as priority access into the TGE festival venues.

Premium subscribers of CMU can also access this CMU Trends article which explains the background to each of the three conferences. Additional CMU Trends pieces accompanying this year's CMU@TGE programme will appear in the coming months.


Kendrick Lamar's BRITs performance censored due to sex and drugs references, says ITV
Kendrick Lamar's BRITs performance was censored on the award show's broadcast by ITV due to drugs and sex references in his lyrics, rather than swearing.

According to the BBC, Lamar actually self-censored the swearing in 'Feel' and 'New Freezer' in a bid to avoid the broadcast of his performance being interrupted. However, large sections of 'New Freezer' were cut due to references to oral sex and drugs. As a result, TV audiences were left to mostly watch Lamar collaborator Rich The Kid smash up a car in silence.

A spokesperson for ITV said that the BRITs show is viewed by "a wide audience" and therefore the broadcaster has to err on the side of caution. "We have always used a short time delay and audio muting to deal with language viewers may consider unsuitable", they said.

When it was originally assumed that the censoring was due to swearing, many questioned why Lamar had even been booked to perform on what is, after all, basically as an ITV programme. It's not like they couldn't check for lyrical swearing beforehand.

Despite ITV's defence that it was cutting other references that might upset people at 10pm on a Wednesday night, the question remains why there wasn't a conversation about Lamar's lyrics before the broadcast.

Outside Lamar's performance, this year's BRITs was relatively censorship free. One "fuck" from Rag N Bone Man was cut early on in the show. Stormzy also apparently used some offensive Jamaican slang, which was missed at the time, but ITV said would be cut out of repeats of the awards programme.

Ironically, despite the heavy censoring of Lamar's performance, Ofcom still received 74 complaints about it. Many of those people were seemingly offended by the smashing up of a Lamborghini while the rapper was on stage. It's not clear how many people complained about Ed Sheeran's offensively boring ballad.


The National's Matt Berninger developing TV show
The National's Matt Berninger is developing a new TV show with his brother Tom. The siblings starred in 2013 semi-documentary 'Mistaken For Stars'. The new project will be "more scripted", said the musician.

"I'm in a band [in the show]", Berninger told Australian radio station Double J. "It's a bunch of guys from different bands that we've known and been friends with for a long time who play the band. And Aaron [Dessner, National guitarist] kind of is in it as a producer, sort of as himself but not really. We're hoping it's a comedy. It's something we've been cooking for a while".

He added that his brother will play himself, because he "can't play anybody else".

As for when the show is likely to air, they were unclear, except that it wouldn't be this year.


More women speak out against Charlie Walk
Rolling Stone says it has spoken to fifteen people who have alleged sexual misconduct by American record label exec Charlie Walk. Five of those have spoken on record about their experiences for a newly published article, widening the allegations against him.

Among the new women to come forward, Pam Kaye says that during a seven year period working for Walk at Sony's Columbia label, she had to fend off many unwanted advances from him. On one occasion in 2004, she says, he forced his hand into her underwear while they were travelling in a car together.

"He took his hand and put it down the front of my pants", she says. "I had to subtly try to get his hand away. It's like a game. He would test the limits as much as he could. There were other people in the car and all I was thinking was, 'Are they seeing this?' I just felt so much shame. I always thought that people thought that I wanted something from him ... which obviously I never, ever did. I always thought that people thought that I was asking for it".

Another woman quoted in the article, a former assistant to Walk, Kate Harold, describes working with him as "torture".

"Every day was a day of fear", she says. "It was really scary and depressing and probably the worst time of my professional life. Early on in my job, he sat uncomfortably close to me and told me that he could lift my career to extraordinary heights but that I had to be ready to do 'whatever it takes'. He was clearly implying that I needed to be willing to sleep with him. As he was saying this, he got up close to my face and winked in a very flirty manner. I completely froze up. I was afraid of him. It made me feel horrible".

The initial allegations of misconduct were made against Walk by former Sony/Columbia exec Tristan Coopersmith last month. She said that in the year she worked for Walk at Sony Music, he regularly made sexual comments to her, grabbed her thigh at business dinners, and - on one occasion - attempted to force her into a bedroom.

Walk quickly denied the accusations, calling them "upsetting" and "untrue". Meanwhile, his currently employers - major label Universal and broadcaster Fox - said that they were "reviewing the matter". Universal has since launched an independent investigation. Walk also decided not to take part in the finale of the Fox TV talent show 'The Four', on which he was a judge.

Further allegations arose from unnamed women who approached industry commentator Bob Lefsetz, who published them in his Lefsetz Letter email. This resulted in threats of legal action against Lefsetz by Walk's lawyers.

Asked to comment on the latest allegations, Walk again denied any wrongdoing. In a statement, he said: "I did not do these things and this is not who I am. Throughout my career I have always sought to conduct myself professionally and appropriately. It is upsetting to be presented with false claims from long ago that I know to be untrue and were never reported. I support the national discussion taking place right now because I believe fully in the importance in treating everyone with respect and dignity at all times".

Read the full Rolling Stone article here.


Quincy Jones apologises for "word vomit"
Quincy Jones has apologised for derogatory comments he made about various people in recent interviews and said he won't do it again. Which I think we can safely say is disappointing for everyone. He wasn't drunk when he was dissing all those pop stars, though, just so you know.

In a lengthy statement on Twitter, Jones said that his daughters had launched a "surprise family intervention because of some silly things I've said in two recent interviews".

"I am an imperfect human and I'm not afraid to say it", he went on. "And I'm sorry and I'm not afraid to say it".

Among the recent comments made by Jones were that Taylor Swift is a bad songwriter because she's lazy, Elvis "couldn't sing", The Beatles were "the worst musicians in the world", and that Michael Jackson "stole a lot of songs".

That latter comment, about the legendary producer's most famous collaborator, was not well-received by the Jackson family. Commenting on Jones's claims that Michael Jackson lifted parts of 'Billie Jean' from Donna Summer's 'State Of Independence', the late pop star's father Joe Jackson said: "He says my son stole it, but he was the producer on both [tracks], so if anybody is [in the] wrong it would be Quincy".

Continuing his apology, Jones said: "When you've been fortunate enough to have lived such a long and crazy life (and you've recently stopped drinking - three years ago!), certain details about specific events (which do NOT paint the full picture of my intentions or experiences) come flooding back all at once".

These recollections then came out as "word vomit", he said. Seemingly unfiltered, as interview questions reminded him of events in his life.

"Bad-mouthing is inexcusable", he continued. "One of the hardest things about this situation is that this bad-mouthing has contradicted the very real messages I tried to relay about racism, inequality, homophobia, poverty... you name it".

He concluded that he is "sorry to anyone whom my words offended, and I'm especially sorry to my friends who are still with me and those who aren't".

Worried that Quincy Jones interviews from here on in might be a bit boring, I just went back and checked if he can be entertaining and positive at the same time. Turns out he can. Asked by Vulture what his greatest musical innovation has been, he replied: "Everything I've done".


Vigsy's Club Tip: Mr Scruff + Colleen 'Cosmo' Murphy All Night Long at Corsica Studios
Mr Scuff kicks off a two night residency at Corsica Studios tonight, going back to back with Colleen 'Cosmo' Murphy.

Murphy is a well-respected DJ and radio presenter, and the founder of the long-running Classic Album Sunday night. A worthy opponent to spar with the king of endurance DJing, Mr Scruff.

Guest DJs are being announced on the day of the event, so we don't know who will be joining Mr Scruff tomorrow. You can attempt to guess from the cartoon depiction of them on the flyer though.

For those who like a craft ale, there's a special edition Beavertown Neck Oil IPA being sold at the event's ale bar too.

Friday 23 Feb, Corsica Studios, 5 Farrell Court, Elephant & Castle, London, SE17 1LB, 10pm-4am, £15. More info here.

Government responds to Stormzy's BRITs performance
Stormzy's performance at the BRITs this week was certainly the highlight of the show. And in particular, his rapped attack on Theresa May for her continued poor response to the Grenfell Tower disaster. Amazingly, yesterday this received a response from the government - although it was to deny his accusations of inaction.

Guardian political correspondent Jessica Golt tweeted yesterday: "In response to Stormzy's BRITs comments, Number 10 says £58.29m has [already] been committed to Grenfell survivors, rehousing and community. If there are concerns about distributing of funds, [the government] will listen, [spokesperson] says, but has accepted initial response to fire was too slow".

In the rap, in which Stromzy also called out the Daily Mail, he said: "Yo, Theresa May, where's the money for Grenfell? What, you thought we just forgot about Grenfell? You're criminals, and you got the cheek to call us savages. You should do some jail time, you should pay some damages. You should burn your house down and see if you can manage this".

In a further statement, a Downing Street spokesperson said: "The PM has been clear that what happened at Grenfell was an unimaginable tragedy, which should never be allowed to happen again. She is determined the public inquiry will discover not just what went wrong but why the voices of the people of Grenfell had been ignored for so many years. If there are any concerns being raised about that, we will of course look at those. Wherever there is more that can be done, we will look at that too".

"The prime minister did say that the initial response was too slow and that is something for the public inquiry to look at", they went on. "I'm not getting into responding to individual comments - I'm pointing out the gravity with which the PM is taking this".


Chilly Gonzales documentary premieres at the Berlin International Film Festival
A new documentary about self-proclaimed musical genius Chilly Gonzales is being screened at the Berlin International Film Festival this week. Directed by Philipp Jedicke, 'Shut Up And Play The Piano' features interviews with Gonzales as well as some of his collaborators, including Leslie Feist, Jarvis Cocker, Peaches and more.

"An extended conversation between him and writer Sibylle Berg is the thread that runs through the film", says the blurb. "No holds are barred as they get down to the business of question and answer, and each of them gives as good as they get. In his directing debut, Philipp Jedicke displays a lightness of touch as he blends archive material with playfully dramatised scenes and interviews".

The final screening of the film at the festival will take place on Sunday 25 Feb at 3pm. You can see a clip of the film here.


Stop everything, Janelle Monáe's released two new songs
Right, clear the decks. Janelle Monáe's just released two new singles, so all other music today is cancelled. Sorry, that'll teach you to accidentally release new music at the same time as Janelle Monáe. Maybe next time you'll be more careful.

She's also announced that her third album, 'Dirty Computer', will be out on 27 Apr. While there has been a narrative running through her last two albums, this one will come accompanied by what she is calling "an emotion picture". She's also calling it "a narrative film", but I've already said narrative once in this paragraph, so I can't use it again. What was wrong with calling these things visual albums, like they did in the old days?

"I actually had this title and this concept before my first album 'The ArchAndroid'", Monáe told Zane Lowe on Beats 1. "It scared me because a lot of the things that I knew that I needed to say were very deep, very personal, from the heart. You know, this is an extremely vulnerable album and it took me a while to make it because I'm a self editor".

Anyway, these new songs. Both add new layers to what might be thought of as 'her sound', while also remaining firmly within her universe. The first is 'Make Me Feel', on which she channels former collaborator and mentor Prince.

Speaking about his continued influence on her in a new interview with The Guardian, she says: "It's difficult for me to even speak about this because Prince was helping me with the album, before he passed on to another frequency. [His death was] a stab in the stomach. The last time I saw him was New Year's Day. I performed a private party in St Bart's with him, and after we sat and just talked for five hours. He was one of the people I would talk to about things, him and Stevie Wonder".

She adds: "I dedicate a lot of my music to Prince, for everything he's done for music and black people and women and men, for those who have something to say and also at the same time will not allow society to take the dirt off of them. It's about that dirt, and not getting rid of that dirt".

Song number two is 'Django Jane', a very different piece of work that sees Monáe rapping part manifesto, part rallying call. Firmly feminist, at one point she deadpans, "Hit the mute button, let the vagina have a monologue".

She describes the song as "a response to me feeling the sting of the threats being made to my rights as a woman, as a black woman, as a sexually liberated woman, even just as a daughter with parents who have been oppressed for many decades. Black women and those who have been the 'other', and the marginalised in society - that's who I wanted to support, and that was more important than my discomfort about speaking out".

More details about the album, and the accompanying film, are expected in the coming weeks. For now, you can try to glean some information about the wider themes of the record (and whether this new, more personal approach means we won't be delving back into the dystopian fantasy that has run through all of her other releases) by watching this trailer.


Kylie Minogue announces arena tour
Kylie Minogue has announced a UK and Ireland arena tour to take place this autumn. Her new album, 'Golden Drops', is set for release on 6 Apr.

The first single from the new record, 'Dancing', is out now, of which she 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".

Tickets for the tour dates will go on general sale on 2 Mar, which a pre-sale opening on 28 Feb. Here are all the dates:

18 Sep: Newcastle, Metro Radio Arena
20 Sep: Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena
21 Sep: Birmingham, Genting Arena
22 Sep: Bournemouth International Centre
24 Sep: Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
26 Sep: London, O2 Arena
27 Sep: London, O2 Arena
30 Sep: Glasgow, SSE Hydro
1 Oct: Manchester Arena
3 Oct: Liverpool Echo Arena
4 Oct: Leeds, First Direct Arena
7 Oct: Dublin, 3 Arena
8 Oct: Belfast, SSE Arena


Beef Of The Week #392: Fergie v The USA
I don't really know much about sport, other than that it's a thing some people take part in, mainly in an attempt to overcome inadequacies in their respective personalities. But I do know that standing for the national anthem is a thing that happens at sporting events the world over. And that in the USA they have, of course, taken this to extreme levels.

I don't know who the first celebrity to sing 'The Star-Spangled Banner' at a sporting event in the States was, but they have a lot to answer for. There began a process of one-upmanship that has grown into a sprawling nightmare.

As such, when Fergie, formerly of the Black Eyed Peas (not the Duchess, although she does confusingly refer to herself as The Duchess), was asked to perform the national anthem before the NBA All-Star Game last Sunday, she couldn't just sing it, she had to come up with some sort of concept.

The concept seems to have been 'jazz club', which is fine. But Fergie is not a jazz singer. And jazz singing is an actual skill that people work quite hard to develop.

Let us analyse exactly what happened. She is first introduced by someone who has a lisp and sounds like they're holding their nose, which doesn't exactly set the tone for a Serious Musical Performance.

A brush hits the snare drum. Fergie confidently steps forward, even though she's had plenty of time to stand in the correct position behind the microphone already. She manages to hit five different and unrelated notes within the first two words, like she's not quite sure which one she's supposed to start with.

There's then a second or two when she appears to have settled on a melody. It's at this point she starts messing around with the rhythm, delivering the next few words like a particularly self-assured cat. She continues to the end of the next line, where she finds herself without enough words left to bring the bar to a satisfactory close. We are 29 seconds in.

She continues in this mode. The camera pans around to basketball players attempting to sway in time with a performance that seems to be losing its grip on time, and perhaps space. Some notes are held for too long. Others are far too short. At one point she delivers an "oh" like something just bit her leg. Eventually each audience member realises that everyone else wants to laugh at it all too, and so they all let out a little chuckle.

Then she changes tack. She's coming toward the end. She starts to go for a big finish. The crowd compose themselves. They applaud. It's the national anthem, after all. Then it all goes weird for a moment, before the final blast of "brrrraaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAVE" to win everyone back over.

"Let's play some basketball", she shouts, quickly taking everyone's minds off what just happened and putting the focus back on what they're actually there for.

Except people did keep thinking about it. And then they started to question what had happened. "Was it good?" people momentarily pondered. The consensus was quickly reached: No.

So overwhelming was the view that it hadn't been good, that Fergie ended up apologising the next day. She told TMZ: "I've always been honoured and proud to perform the national anthem and last night I wanted to try something special for the NBA. I'm a risk taker artistically, but clearly this rendition didn't strike the intended tone. I love this country and honestly tried my best".

I've never really seen Fergie as a risk taker, but I guess you can't argue with fact that performance was quite risky. Of course, a true risk taker would know that you should never apologise for your art. If people don't get it, that's their problem. Although, I suppose, the US national anthem isn't her art, it belongs to every American citizen.

Still, it seems that America has a desire and an expectation that celebrities will perform that national anthem for them, rather than just having it piped in and gotten over with as soon as possible like in any other country. And that makes it harder for said celebs to make their performances stand out.

To be fair to Fergie, she's not the first person to try something different and have it fall flat. She's not even the worst. At least she remembered the words. It's amazing how many people go out there and fail to remember what is not the lengthiest of musical works.

Avoiding that problem a couple of years ago was Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who did a noodley solo bass version before an LA Lakers game. It was met with the sort of reception any bass solo should receive. Did he apologise though? No, when he was quizzed about it by TMZ, and asked what he thought about all the people who said it was shit, he replied: "I don't care, man".

"I really don't have any concern for little small minds that get frustrated when they get blown", he added. "I like the big minds".

See? That's how you respond to people questioning your art. You tell them to fuck off. Although, other than not saying sorry, Flea's response there was actually quite similar to Fergie's. Oh, you can't handle all the risks I'm taking? Sorry if I overloaded your brain. That'll teach you to let your mind be blown in the first place.

By going out there and trying something different (aka rubbish), Fergie - and Flea - both possibly get themselves on the list of memorable celebrity national anthem performances.
And, I mean, how many people are remembered for good performances of the US national anthem? There's Marvin Gaye and Whitney Houston, as far as I can tell.

But if you fuck up - that's a much better way to make sure people remember your version. Shall we do a list of other memorable national anthem moments to prove that is so? Yes, I know, it's what you've been hoping for this whole time.

Roseanne Barr at a 1990 San Diego Padres game
Roseanne Barr is not known for her singing ability. Mainly because what people generally know of her singing ability is this performance. She seemed to be enjoying herself though.

Carl Lewis at a 1993 New Jersey Nets game
Olympic sprinter Carl Lewis is also not known for his singing ability. Although it does turn out he released an album in 1987, so perhaps he should have faired better than Barr. He did not. He also broke the no apologising rule. In the middle of the song.

Steven Tyler at the 2001 Indianapolis 500
Like many artists, Aerosmith's Steven Tyler has been booked to sing the national anthem multiple times. Which is impressive, because he's rarely been thanked for it afterwards. This 2001 performance is particularly notable because it starts with a harmonica solo, incorporates scat singing, and sees him change the final line.

Metallica at every fucking opportunity
This isn't bad, I just don't understand why it's happening. If anything shows that this whole celeb national anthem thing has got out of hand, it's this. Before I lost the will to live, I found four instances of James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett rocking their way through the 'Star-Spangled Banner'. Why is this so in demand?

Michael Bolton at the 2003 American League Championship Series
Other than it being Michael Bolton, there's nothing massively wrong with this. However, he does forget the words at one point. Luckily, he has them written on his hand. Pro tip. There's a beautiful moment where he thinks he got away with it, but then realises the entire crowd has clocked what he just did.

Christina Aguilera at the 2011 Super Bowl
This is the big one. The Super Bowl. The biggest TV audience you're ever likely to get. Definitely the one where you don't want to mess up. Luckily, Christina Aguilera has been performing the national anthem at sporting events since she was a small child. But then, disaster struck. She repeated a line she'd already sung. People lost their shit.

"I got so lost in the moment of the song that I lost my place", she said later. "I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through". Which is a much better response than, "Sorry, I'm just a risk taker".

Fergie, who was performing the Superbowl half time show with the Black Eyed Peas that year, later came to Aguilera's defence. Ever the star-spangled apologist.


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.

© UnLimited Media, a division of 3CM Enterprises Ltd

UnLimited Media, Kemp House, 152 City Road, London EC1V 2NX
t: 020 7099 9050 (editorial) 020 7099 9060 (sales)

Send press releases to

Email advertising queries to

Email training and consultancy queries to |