TODAY'S TOP STORY: Pressure is mounting on Google to stop accepting search advertising from the always controversial secondary ticketing website Viagogo which, campaigners argue, is now flouting the web giant's own rules, in addition to allegedly breaching UK consumer rights law... [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 Spotify finally lists on the New York Stock Exchange, CMU Trends reviews Spotify's business to date, considers what its SEC filing might tell us about its current direction, and speculates what a Spotify of the future might look like. [READ MORE]
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: music education, AI and the Chinese music market. [READ MORE]
Midem recently published 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. CMU Trends presents some highlights. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Pressure mounts on Google to reject Viagogo ads
LEGAL PRS's new live music tariff delayed by direct licensing discussions
South African collecting society in spotlight after gospel star hits out over underpaid royalties
Vimeo not liable for 'unfair competition' over unlicensed music
DEALS Cameron Crowe to produce David Crosby film for BMG
Dubai label Platinum Records partners with Warner's ADA
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Spotify debuts on Wall Street with a $30 billion valuation
RELEASES Melody's Echo Chamber announces second album
ONE LINERS Spice Girls, The Levellers, Anna Burch, more
AND FINALLY... Morrissey christens new blog with attack on The Independent
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Pressure mounts on Google to reject Viagogo ads
Pressure is mounting on Google to stop accepting search advertising from the always controversial secondary ticketing website Viagogo which, campaigners argue, is now flouting the web giant's own rules, in addition to allegedly breaching UK consumer rights law.

Google last year unveiled new rules and a new certification system for ticket resellers wanting to buy advertising on the firm's search engine. Viagogo in particular has been a prolific user of Google ads, so that when people search for tickets for upcoming shows, tickets being resold by unofficial sellers on the secondary ticketing platform appear at the top of the search results list. This makes many consumers - unaware that top spots on a Google search are bought - assume Viagogo is the official seller of tickets.

Aiming to overcome this consumer confusion, while still accepting the Viagogo pound, Google said that secondary ticketing sites looking to advertise on its platform must prominently disclose that they are a resale site and that tickets may therefore be sold at above face value. Sites must also "prominently provide the face value of the tickets being sold in the same currency".

Most of the new regulations came into effect in February, with the latter rule becoming Google law last month. Back in February, Google's Head Of Advertising Communications, Jennifer Kaiser, told the BBC: "We felt like we needed to do more to make sure the advertising of secondary ticketing is clear on our platform. To carry on advertising on Google, secondary sites can't use words like 'official', they can't use the artist or venue name in the website URL, and they'll need to clearly say they are a reseller at the top of their page".

Campaigners argue that Viagogo is not yet compliant with the new Google rules, which apply globally, let alone UK consumer rights regulations and the recent demands made by the Advertising Standards Authority. Face value prices are not being presented prominently and - while it may have stopped the particularly controversial practice of using the phrase "official site" in its advertising - it still doesn't clearly state that it is a resale site in those ads.

When asked by the Daily Mail whether those failings meant Google would now stop accepting advertising from Viagogo, the web giant said it didn't know when it would start enforcing its own rules for ticket resale websites.

Anti-ticket touting campaign group FanFair has long argued that, while it is great that regulators like the ASA and companies like Google are ordering secondary ticketing sites to make their unofficial status and the extra cost of buying touted tickets really clear, those rules are only any use if they are enforced.

With non-compliant Viagogo still appearing at the top of Google searches for many artists' shows, Adam Webb of FanFair told CMU this morning: "The positive impacts of Google's certification system are being undermined by their ongoing acceptance of Viagogo's advertising payments".

He adds: "It's not the only barrier to cleaning up the ticket resale market, but it is enabling Viagogo to continue dominating search results and masquerade as a legitimate seller - despite their apparent ongoing breaches of UK consumer law, their disregard for ASA rulings, and their misleading marketing practices".

"On top of that, and true to form, Viagogo already appear to be flouting Google's own guidelines" he continued. "Surely this is the trigger for action? Rather than profit from Viagogo, it's time for Google to remove this discredited and disreputable company from their ad networks".


PRS's new live music tariff delayed by direct licensing discussions
The implementation of the new live music tariff from PRS has been halted, according to IQ, because the revised system for concert promoters paying royalties doesn't have a provision for direct licensing.

The song rights collecting society announced last September that it had secured the backing of numerous trade bodies representing different strands of the live sector for an overhaul of the way concert and festival promoters pay royalties to the songwriters and music publishers with an interest in the songs performed at their shows. That followed a long review of PRS's live music tariff, which was originally put in place in the 1980s.

Despite all that agreement, the proposed new tariff needs to be approved by the UK copyright tribunal, the specialist court that considers collective licensing issues. As part of that process, any other interested parties had an opportunity to object to the proposal. It now emerges that PACE Rights Management requested 'permission to intervene', with the copyright tribunal subsequently stating that the agency had sufficient interest to do so.

PACE has been working with a number of artists who have chosen to go the direct licensing route with their live activity. This means that, when artists are performing their own songs at their own shows, rather than having the local collecting society provide a licence allowing a public performance of those works, the artist does a direct deal with the concert promoter.

This allows the artist to negotiate a bespoke royalty rate, and also removes the commissions charged and delays in payment that can occur when monies follow through the collective licensing system, especially on a multi-territory basis.

European collecting societies, which in essence take ownership of at least some elements of their member's song copyrights, are obliged to allow those members to opt-out of the society's licences on a category basis. So PRS is obliged to allow a member to switch to direct licensing their songs in the live sector if they so wish. Artists would usually do this while on tour and then switch back to collective licensing when not gigging.

Although this partial opt-out system has been in place for a long time, it's only relatively recently that certain artists have started to go that route when on tour. It has caused various issues where support acts have not gone the direct licensing route or, even more so, when direct licensing acts play festivals, because collecting societies don't usually have a system in place to deduct royalties collected directly from what they charge the promoter.

It seems that PACE's objection was that PRS's review of its live music licensing system was an opportunity to deal with those issues, but that hadn't in fact occurred. According to IQ's sources, reps for PACE and PRS both appeared before the copyright tribunal to present their respective arguments in February. As a result, the court requested that PRS reopen discussions with the other stakeholders that had taken part in its review in order to consider a live music tariff that better takes into account direct licensing.

Those discussions are apparently now underway, with another copyright tribunal hearing on the matter scheduled in for 2 May.


South African collecting society in spotlight after gospel star hits out over underpaid royalties
South African collecting society SAMRO has said that it is aware that some songwriters and music publishers want its policies related to derivative works changed. This follows a report in South African newspaper City Press about an apparent "billion rand scheme" which allegedly sees certain writers lose out on a significant portion of their royalties.

A SAMRO spokesperson disputed the amounts of money being redirected as a result of these policies, while also insisting that other song right collecting societies elsewhere in the world have similar rules relating to reworks of public domain compositions.

City Press's report focuses on gospel star Hlengiwe Mhlaba, who claims that she has been deprived of royalties by both her former producer and manager - another gospel artist called Sipho Makhabane - and her collecting society, ie SAMRO.

Mhlaba and her lawyer Graeme Gilfillan say that SAMRO has been underpaying royalties due to the singer on 24 of her songs, which include most of her biggest hits to date. Those 24 works are new arrangements by Mhlaba of traditional songs, so in copyright terms derivative works of public domain music.

Anyone can adapt or rework music that is no longer protected by copyright. A new copyright then exists in the adaptation which - by default - is usually owned by the adaptor. That person can then monetise, license and assign the new copyright as they see fit.

Gilfillan says that on those 24 songs, Mhlaba was only being paid 16.7% of the royalties that were due to her. According to SAMRO's database, the other 83.3% of royalties were then being allocated to a mysterious entity called 'DP'.

Gilfillan says that 'DP' is short for dominus publicus, ie 'public domain'. Its use in this context seems to relate to a society rule that says where public domain works are adapted, the former owners on the now public domain work should share in any royalties generated by the newly derived piece. Even though this is not what copyright law says should happen.

SAMRO spokesperson Andile Ndlovu told City Press that "this matter relates to a historical or legacy rule applied not only by SAMRO but other similar organisations in other territories", based on a "view" that the original composer would still be a rights holder.

Gilfillan claims that as much of 1.2 billion rand - nearly £72 million - may have been redirected as a result of this legacy rule since SAMRO was set up in the early 1960s. Ndlovu dubbed that figure a "gross exaggeration", but did add: "SAMRO is aware that a number of members wish for its rules and policies around this matter to be changed. However, it would be impractical to address these concerns on a case-by-case basis".

Gilfillan says that this DP practice affects numerous artists who have created and performed derivative works, including some American acts. It's not clear what happens to the money allocated to DP, but the suspicion is that the system favours the big music publishers because of the way unallocated monies are often shared out by collecting societies.

City Press also asked SAMRO how companies controlled by the aforementioned Makhabane have been claiming the publisher share on Mhlaba's works when no written agreement exists between the two former collaborators.

On that issue, Ndlovu stated: "We will not pick a side in this matter, however, if there was corruption on Makhabane's part, SAMRO will take the appropriate actions to ensure that this matter is resolved, taking into account the interests of both members".


Vimeo not liable for 'unfair competition' over unlicensed music
At least one chapter in the long running dispute between Universal's Capitol Records (an EMI label when all this began) and user-upload site Vimeo is over. A New York judge has ruled on a legal technicality being employed by the record company to try to make the video platform liable for the unlicensed use of its music.

This eight year legal battle had safe harbour at its heart and then the pesky pre-1972 technicality. Though the technicality in this latest stage wasn't actually to do with copyright law at all, instead Vimeo was accused on unfair competition.

US-wide federal copyright law only protects sound recordings released since 1972, with earlier recordings still in copyright relying on state-level protection. This has caused much debate over whether certain elements of federal copyright law can and should still apply to those older pre-1972 tracks.

For example, the obligation in federal law for online and satellite radio stations to pay royalties to artists and labels. Also the often controversial safe harbour, which says that internet companies aren't financially liable for unlicensed content uploaded to their servers by their users, providing they offer copyright owners a system to have that material removed.

Should the safe harbour also apply to pre-1972 recordings or not? When a judge originally ruled that Vimeo was - in the main - safe harbour compliant all the way back in 2013, she also concluded that the safe harbour only applied to post-1972 sound recordings. Which would mean internet companies could be held liable for any golden oldies being shared across their platforms, with or without a takedown system.

That was potentially a major limitation of the safe harbour that internet service providers, search engines, server companies and user-upload sites like YouTube and Vimeo were all busy relying on. However, in 2016 an appeals court ruled that safe harbour should also apply to those older records, because saying otherwise - the judges reckoned - would "defeat the very purpose Congress sought to achieve in passing the statute".

The US Supreme Court later refused to hear the case, meaning the appeals judgement stood and Vimeo was assured safe harbour protection even when pre-1972 tracks were used without permission in videos posted on the site.

So, what next? Well, why not claim that the unauthorised sharing of pre-1972 tracks on Vimeo constituted 'unfair competition' under New York state law? Why not indeed. Although, it turns out, no infringement means no unfair competition.

That's according to judge Ronnie Abrams, the same judge who originally reckoned safe harbour didn't apply to pre-1972 recordings. But, the appeals judges having overturned that judgement, Abrams has now ruled that the 'unfair competition' technicality can't be employed if liability for copyright infringement can't be proved.

According to Law360, she said: "If Vimeo is not legally responsible for the infringement of plaintiff's copyrights, then it has not committed any misappropriation of their property. Without misappropriation, plaintiff's unfair-competition claims fail".

She added that the safe harbour "is designed to preclude liability for third-party users' posts that include infringements of which the service providers were unaware. That purpose applies equally to copyright-infringement claims and to unfair-competition claims that seek liability for the infringement of copyright".

So, that's that. Although this dispute is not yet over. Not least because there remains the question over whether or not Vimeo ignored so called 'red flag knowledge' about infringement on its platform that could deprive it of safe harbour protection entirely.


Cameron Crowe to produce David Crosby film for BMG
BMG has done a deal with filmmaker Cameron Crowe's Vinyl Films to produce a documentary about David Crosby (as in neither Stills nor Nash). The film will be directed by AJ Eaton, with the music company financing the project and acting as executive producer.

Eaton has already been following Crosby for five years as the musician worked on a trio of new albums, including last year's BMG-released 'Sky Trails'. Crowe has also conducted a number of interviews with Crosby covering his 50 year career, during which he has worked solo and as a member of The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash.

Cameron, of course, has a long association with music, having worked as a music journalist as well as making fiction and non-fiction music films, such as 'Almost Famous' and 'Pearl Jam 20'.

"It's just such a compelling story", says Crowe of the Crosby project. "David Crosby has been near the forefront of music and social change for the last four decades. Now 76, he's forging a new path by seeking out younger musicians and trying to make a mark in a world now so different from the generation he came to define in the 60s. It's a raw and moving portrait, rough edges and all. We're also so proud of the work being done by our wonderful director AJ Eaton who's been filming Croz for the last several years".

BMG SVP Justus Haerder has been leading a push towards film and television content for the company since 2014. BMG's first music film, Joan Jett documentary 'Bad Reputation', was premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

A number of other documentaries are currently in production, including films about T Rex and Trojan Records. However, the Crowe deal makes the Crosby production BMG's most high profile film project to date.

"Cameron is the perfect complement to Crosby, AJ, and our entire team", says Haerder. "There's an incredible story to be told here and we are THRILLED to have him on board helping bring such an insightful film to life".


Dubai label Platinum Records partners with Warner's ADA
Warner's services division ADA has signed up Dubai-based record label Platinum Records. ADA will distribute the label's releases physically and digitally on a worldwide basis.

"We are delighted to announce that Platinum Records has signed a global distribution deal with ADA", says label boss Taymoor Marmarchi. "Our hugely popular artists and growing catalogue of music and videos will now be discoverable by new audiences and Platinum Records content will be made available to every leading global and local digital retailer, reaching music fans around the world".

ADA President Eliah Seton adds: "Taymoor and his team have built an impressive roster and brand and we're incredibly excited to welcome Platinum Records into the ADA family. Platinum represents an important milestone for ADA, as we grow in all markets around the world and in our effort to provide a global solution for independent labels".

Although formally announced this week, the two companies have actually been working together since December. Through the deal, they have already released the debut single by US-based Iraqi artist Julian. Their next release together will be the debut album from Moroccan act Jamilia, 'Bint Hadidiya', on 10 Apr.


Spotify debuts on Wall Street with a $30 billion valuation
So, Spotify is now SPOT on the New York Stock Exchange, having finally listed. And while the streaming firm's boss Daniel Ek was keen to play down the significance of the listing, investors and music execs were nevertheless yesterday fully focused on how the firm faired during its first day on Wall Street.

Shares began trading at $165.90 each, considerably up on the pre-debut price of $132 per share. That valued the business in terms of market capitalisation at about $30 billion. The share price then moved up to $169, before spending the rest of the day slowly slipping so that it closed at $149.95.

While keeping at least one eye on how the streaming music shares trade over the week ahead, Wall Street types will also be debating whether Spotify's unusual route to the stock exchange, via a so called direct listing rather than a traditional Initial Public Offering, was a clever approach or not.

Though in music circles, more attention will focus on if and when the record companies decide to sell the equity they acquired in Spotify as part of their original licensing deals. And if and when they do cash in, quite how the record labels will make good on past commitments to share the profits of that share sale with their artists.

Meanwhile, CMU's investment wing also decided to get in on the action yesterday by buying up some stock. A whole share! We're currently $5.22 down on the deal. What fun to be part of the streaming music adventure!


Approved: Mellah
Mellah has announced that he will release his latest EP, 'Middle England', on 25 May. The follow-up to last year's 'Liminality', which was a more introspective collection of songs written around the time of his father's death, this new release sees him looking out at the world again.

"I can't help but feel that as an artist now, with the divide rising between people and the amount of hate being thrown around, that to not react would be a little absurd", he tells The Fader. "One thing I've never wanted to do as a songwriter is take sides, I don't think it's black and white, left and right, good and evil, it's much more complex".

He continues: "People aren't inherently good or bad, they're just products of the environment they grew up in. All I've ever tried to do is observe and comment. My drive is to say something that's real. Whatever I'm singing about I want it to ring true".

The striking video for the EP's lead single 'Paseo' explores some of these ideas. Largely, with a dark humour, it questions the arbitrary lines we draw between animals as food and animals as pets.

Watch the 'Paseo' video here.

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

Melody's Echo Chamber announces second album
Melody's Echo Chamber, aka Melody Prochet, is back. She will release her second album, 'Bon Voyage', on 15 Jun.

A collaboration with Dungen's Reine Fiske and The Amazing's Fredrik Swahn, the record was recorded in Swedish woodland. The sessions also saw Prochet directing Pond's Nicholas Allbrook and Fiske's Dungen bandmates Gustav Esjtes and Johan Holmegaard.

"Swedish nature helped me to breathe and soothed me in times of anxiety", says Prochet of the recording. "I had a majestic forest with a lake three minutes' walk from my home. Recording sessions were a break in our lives, an escape from our frustrations as young adults, parents, musicians and embittered life jugglers".

"What transpired", she adds, "was a kind of modern fairytale full of duality: beautiful and disenchanted, happy and painful, internal and external, childish and mature, but also violent and measured. We had no structure and no limits and we stepped out of our comfort zones".

The first single, 'Breathe In, Breathe Out', is out now. Watch the video here.


Spice Girls, The Levellers, Anna Burch, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• You can now get a daily CMU news summary via our Messenger bot. Click here to get started.

• A new exhibition of stuff from the Spice Girls archive will go on display at the Business Design Centre in Islington from 28 Jul to 20 Aug. There's also a two hour bus tour. TWO HOURS! Anyway, this should fill the hole when that promised reunion collapses.

• The Levellers have released the video for 'Liberty Song' from their latest album, 'We The Collective'.

• Anna Burch has released the video for 'With You Every Day'. The track is taken from her really good debut album, 'Quit The Curse'.

• Joan As Police Woman has released the title track from her new album, 'Damned Devotion', which is due out on 11 May. She'll also be touring the UK later this month.

• The Body have released new single, 'Can Carry No Weight', featuring Kristin Hayter. Their new album, 'I Have Fought Against It, But I Can't Any Longer'.

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


Morrissey christens new blog with attack on The Independent
Morrissey is yet again peeved about people having opinions about him having opinions. Just let him have his opinions, OK? And stop assuming that those opinions mean that he has opinions on anything.

With his former mouthpiece, fansite True-To-You, seemingly now defunct, the musician has launched a new website, separate from various other official channels, upon which to pump out information. And last week, he published a blog post on it attacking a nearly two week old piece in the Independent, which likened being a Morrissey fan today to "a drawn-out divorce".

In his response, Morrissey denies claims that he thinks Brexit is a good thing or that he doesn't like Nicola Sturgeon. He also adds that a reply to an email sent by his manager to the newspaper's editor Christian Broughton asking why the opinion piece had been published had just revealed "The Independent's dog-yapping will to destroy anyone with a view that doesn't match their own".

"I believe I have mentioned Brexit twice in my entire life, and neither comment expressed love", writes Morrissey. He did call it "a victory for democracy" in that Der Spiegel interview though. But that's doesn't count. He goes on: "I had explained how Brexit had been a strike for democracy because of the disgust that the political elite had shown towards the people who did not vote the way that they were warned to by media bullies".

He does, however, admit that rebuttals such as this don't always come across so well. "I confess that my life in music has been stunted by shyness, and this remains", he says. "I am too interior, and this can often seem like bone splitting arrogance. But it is not. I do not want to be like anyone else in music because there is no point. I want to bring something different into view. When I attempt to clarify, I will admit that it often sounds like an attack".

"I am neither loony left nor far right", he adds. "I am a humanitarian. I have not ever once voted in a British election because I have not ever discovered a party that represents my views. My main social concern is the abolition of the abattoir, the continued existence of which in modern times is beyond sane belief".

Still, you can bring on the criticism all you like, it doesn't both him in the slightest, as regular rants such as this will attest.

"I have been criticised in the UK for so long (nowhere else!) that anything said about me no longer strikes me as a threat because I am still, after all, here", he concludes. "We should, I think, be striving for something more morally useful than whatever The Independent vomits out by way of spite".

Elsewhere on the new website, it is revealed that Morrissey has recorded a cover of The Pretenders' 'Back On The Chain Gang' for a summer single release. No word yet on what The Independent makes of that.


ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
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CHRIS COOKE | MD & Business Editor
Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
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SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
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CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of 3CM UnLimited she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
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