TODAY'S TOP STORY: Getting in quick, the indie community in Europe has already hit out at yesterday's news that Sony Corp has agreed terms on a deal that would see it take control of 90% of EMI Music Publishing... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Indie sector hits out at Sony's bid to control 90% of EMI Music Publishing
DEALS Luis Fonsi sticks with Sony/ATV
Kristen Hersh signs to Fire Records
Stella Donnelly signs Downtown publishing deal
THE GREAT ESCAPE The Education Conference: Mapping music education
RELEASES Keep looking, Alexander Tucker has a new album coming out
GIGS & FESTIVALS Red Bull announces flotilla party
Jane Weaver announces solo A/V tour
ONE LINERS CTS Eventim, The National, Jack White, more
AND FINALLY... Grimes defends Elon Musk's business practices
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Indie sector hits out at Sony's bid to control 90% of EMI Music Publishing
Getting in quick, the indie community in Europe has already hit out at yesterday's news that Sony Corp has agreed terms on a deal that would see it take control of 90% of EMI Music Publishing.

Sony led a consortium to buy the publishing side of the old EMI major music company back in 2012. Involved in that acquisition were Sony's then partners in its own Sony/ATV music publishing business - the Michael Jackson Estate - as well as a bunch of other financial backers led by an entity called Mubadala Investment Co. It's the latter that Sony now proposes to buy out, formally making EMI Music Publishing a Sony subsidiary.

Sony/ATV has administered the EMI Music Publishing catalogue since the 2012 deal, meaning that in practical terms they have basically operated day-to-day as one company for six years now.

However, critics say that the Michael Jackson Estate's interest in Sony/ATV, and the involvement of Mubadala Investment Co and its allies in EMI, nevertheless constrained - a little - the dominance of Sony Corp in the wider music rights sector. The entertainment conglom also owns, of course, the world's second biggest global record company in Sony Music, as well as separate music businesses in home country Japan.

Sony bought the Michael Jackson Estate out of Sony/ATV in 2016. Under the newly proposed deal it would now buy all but the Estate out of EMI. Some reckon that the Jackson Estate may well also be interested in cashing out of the EMI Music Publishing business in the not too distant future, making EMI wholly owned by Sony.

Responding to yesterday's news, IMPALA - the body representing the independent music community in Europe - said the proposed deal would inevitably "face regulatory opposition because it would stifle competition online and offline". The deal is still subject to regulator approval, with European Union competition regulators likely to be most rigorous when investigating the proposals.

IMPALA says that Sony's new bid to buy most of its partners out of EMI "confirms the concerns expressed by IMPALA back in 2012 when the European Commission cleared the acquisition of EMI publishing by a consortium including Sony/ATV, and then again in 2016 when the Commission cleared Sony's move from joint to sole control of Sony/ATV. It shows that ultimately, Sony is taking complete control of EMI publishing, while the initial deal was structured as a consortium to get this bid approved by the regulatory authority".

IMPALA boss Helen Smith added: "Today, Sony is already by far the world's largest music publisher and an indispensable trading partner controlling over 2.3 million copyrights. If this sale was to happen, its market power would be reinforced with serious competition issues, including excessive bargaining power when negotiating with collecting societies and the authors they represent, as well as other actors in the value chains such as labels and online services".

Sony is likely to argue that when it comes to the licensing of song rights, especially in continental Europe, it is often the collecting societies rather than the publishers that have the power, and that its own influence in the collecting society domain is constrained by the way song rights are assigned and societies governed. Though with the all-important Anglo-American repertoire, direct licensing by publishers has increased with the rise of digital.

Meanwhile - on the talent side - songwriters arguably now have more choice than ever when picking business partners, because of the increase in companies focused on rights administration rather than rights acquisition, and the emergence of online platforms that make self-publishing a more viable option. Although the majors still have an advantage in a market where cash advances remain attractive to many writers.

It remains to be seen what kind of attitude Sony finds in the EU - and elsewhere - to its latest bid to strengthen its position in music publishing in particular, and music rights in general. If regulators look concerned about the deal, the customary solution is for the acquisitive music major to propose to sell off a certain portion of repertoire.

If that happened, and if it was older works that ended up on the block as part of some regulator remedy deal, that would put a new focus on a still unresolved dispute in which Sony/ATV has been a key player.

That dispute is whether European songwriters who signed life-of-copyright deals with publishers in the 1970s and 1980s can exercise the so called termination right under US copyright law, regaining access to the rights in their work in the US market. The answer to that question will impact on the value of legacy rights. So, fun times ahead then!


Luis Fonsi sticks with Sony/ATV
More Sony/ATV news? Yes, more Sony/ATV news. The all-consuming music publishing vortex has extended its worldwide publishing deal with Bieber-booster Luis Fonsi. He's worked with the company since 2005 and apparently sees no reason to stop now.

"I'm happy to continue to work with the amazing Sony/ATV family led by my longtime friend Jorge Mejia", says Fonsi. "We've shared some amazing moments together and I can't wait to celebrate more".

The there mentioned Meija, who as well as being damn friendly is also Sony/ATV's President for Latin America and US Latin music, adds: "In my career and perhaps in the annals of Latin music, there is certainly a 'before Despacito' and an 'after Despacito'. I am honoured to extend our long-standing relationship with Luis Fonsi, a history-making artist, songwriter and friend".

Fonsi's 2017 track 'Despacito' is, of course, the most-streamed song of all time. Until something else gets streamed more.


Kristen Hersh signs to Fire Records
Kristen Hersh has signed a deal with Fire Records to release her new album, 'Possible Dust Clouds', in the UK. The news comes as she prepares to tour these shores next month.

"I'm THRILLED to find some likeminded teammates in the shifting paradigm of the recording industry", says Hersh of her new label. "Together, we can do a lot more damage than we could ever pull off alone, and damage is what's called for when an old guard is falling. This is gonna be a swell party".

She's right, Fire Records would really struggle to do any damage at all if it didn't sign any artists. Though maybe a don't-sign-any-artists-and-still-try-to-do-some-damage approach is the sort of out-of-the-box thinking this new paradigm needs.

Anyway, from the album, this is 'LAX'.


Stella Donnelly signs Downtown publishing deal
More deals? Yes, more deals. Stella Donnelly, you may be surprised to learn, has become the first artist signed to Downtown Music Publishing's new Australian division. You may also not be surprised. Or you could be somewhere in the middle. Such is life's rich tapestry.

"I'm so pleased to be signing a world deal with Downtown Publishing and also to be the first of many artists that represent the Australian base that the amazing Rachel Kelly has opened with her great world team around her", says Donnelly. "It's been a pleasure meeting everyone already, exciting times ahead!"

The there mentioned Kelly, who - you may have guessed - is quite senior at Downtown down-under, adds: "Stella Donnelly is a culturally important artist and part of the next wave of storytellers. I'm incredibly honoured to be supporting Stella in this phase of her career. Being our first signing in Australia, this moment is particularly special. I look forward to working with our team on this debut album and watching her star rise on the global stage".

But what does it sound like when Stella Donnelly sings? Well, my friend, it sounds roughly like this.


The Education Conference: Mapping music education
Over the coming weeks, we will be summarising all the key conversations that occurred during the CMU Insights conferences at The Great Escape this year, starting with The Education Conference.

CMU Insights MD Chris Cooke kickstarted The Education Conference at The Great Escape by providing some context for both the event itself and the major research project it was launching: 'Redefining Music Education'.

Acknowledging that there had been plenty of research on music education already, Cooke said that the starting point of this new project - a partnership between CMU Insights, Urban Development and BIMM - was to gather and assess what had gone before, and only then embark on new work specifically focused on the link - or not - between music education and a career in music.

In his opening address, Cooke declared: "Even though as a music business journalist I write a lot about conflict and decline and all the challenges, actually, the 21st century is a great time to be a creator. In fact, it is probably the greatest time in human history to be of a creative inclination - to want to create music, songs, recordings or - indeed - any form of creativity. Because creative tools and a potential global audience are now sitting online to be grabbed by all".

He went on: "I'm a great believer that creativity isn't just about creating. It's about creating something, and then sharing that something, and responding to the people who consume and listen to and enjoy your something. What the internet and the web and all the digital tools have enabled is for young creators to not only create, but also to share their creativity and respond to an audience around the world".

"All of that said", he continued, "we know that building a business around creativity and building a career around creativity is as challenging as it ever was. And while the tools and the potential audience are out there for everybody, do all young people have equal access to the skills and knowledge they will need in order to actually build a business or an audience or a career around their creative work?"

"Which brings us to this question", he said. "Is music education - in whatever manifestation - preparing and enabling young people who are interested in pursuing a career in music? Is that even what music education is for? Should it be? Could it be?"

"If we think about music education", Cooke then mused, "obviously when we are teaching music to young people there are various aims, various things we are trying to achieve. Part of it is about music participation. Part of it is about music appreciation. But is part of it about music careers? Is part of it about exposing creative young people to the business and industry side of music - both onstage and behind the scenes - and to the entrepreneurial side of music creation?"

Cooke reaffirmed that the key focus of the 'Redefining Music Education' project was to consider the link between music education and careers in music. This, he admitted, posed two questions. What do we mean by music education? And what do we mean by music careers? The Education Conference was split into two, the first half tackling the first question, the second half the latter. To inform those conversations, CMU Insights has started to map both music education and music careers, the former mapping being the focus on the initial session.

Showing a chart that split music education into its constituent parts, Cooke said: "When it comes to music education, obviously teaching develops as students work there way through the education system, through primary, secondary, FE, HE and formal education beyond".

"Here we are interested in everything that happens in the classroom and extra-curricular activity. Then we go through GCSEs and A-Levels, and into the colleges and universities, with their production courses, performance courses and music business courses, and so on".

"But that is by no means music education in its entirety", Cooke continued. "For starters, throughout that entire process we have individuals learning the craft of playing an instrument, of performing and being a musician. There are then an assortment of fantastic educational programmes that happen outside the classroom".

"For those who go to college or university, there is the extra-curricular activity that happens there. For many people of my generation working in music today, those were the key moments. It wasn't what they were taught, it wasn't what they did in the classroom - it was what else happened when they were at college - when they had the time and the freedom to experiment - that enabled them to pursue a career in music".

"In addition to all that", he added, "we have industry events like The Great Escape, and an assortment of other activities run by trade bodies, music companies and festivals like this. And then, of course, we have the good internship programmes and the apprenticeships schemes that have emerged in recent years".

Referencing the chart that displayed all these various kinds of music education, Cooke said: "This is a basic initial sketch of all the different aspects of music education. We are interested in everything on this chart, and anything else we forgot to include!"

He added: "We are especially interested in how all these different segments impact - or not - on the careers that people pursue in music. And we are interested in ensuring that every young creator with a passion for music has access to the knowledge and skills they need through one or more of these segments".

The main aim of the first half of The Education Conference, Cooke concluded, was to flesh out the basic map he had put together, and find out more about what the different segments did, how they worked, how they were funded, and the issues faced by the people doing the teaching. To that end a series of short conversations with music educators followed - more on which in the next few editions of the CMU Daily.

You can download the CMU Insights slides presented at The Education Conference here. For more information on the Redefining Music Education research project click here.


Approved: Aro Vana
Newcomer Aro Vana has made a bold entrance with her debut EP, 'Origin'. Her dark, densely-layered pop is tightly produced, with vocals sung with the flow of a rapper.

"An origin is the beginning of everything, and so it is with this", she says of the release. "Each song represents a piece of the basis of why I write; for the love, for the mind, for the experiences, be they dark of light - the acceptance of both within us is what makes us human. It's okay to have dark thoughts".

The EP is led by the single 'XVII', the video for which you can watch here.

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

Keep looking, Alexander Tucker has a new album coming out
Alexander Tucker has announced that he will release his seventh solo album later this year. Titled 'Don't Look Away', it'll be out on 24 Aug.

The album is the final part of a thematic trilogy, alongside previous LPs 'Dortwych' and 'Third Mouth', as Tucker explains: "The composition across these three albums feels like a move away from my earlier records towards something clearer and traditional but still maintaining my love of manipulating source material into new shapes and forms".

Expanding on the nature of that creative process, he goes on: "There has always been a relationship between my music and visual practice. Subject matter crosses between each medium depending on where my current obsessions lie. There is a melancholia and sadness about the transitory aspects of our earthly lives, alongside a fascination with the beauty and inexplicable nature of existence".

Listen to new single, 'Object', encased right in this very YouTube video.


Red Bull announces flotilla party
Our resident club tipper, Vigsy, has at fairly regular intervals over the last fifteen years or so attempted to float the idea of a CMU boat party. We've never done it, and now just sending one boat out on the water with a few DJs on it seems pretty boring. Because Red Bull has spoiled boat parties for everyone by putting together an event featuring six boats, each one captained by some of the UK's finest underground electronic artists.

The Red Bull Music Odyssey will set sail down the Thames on 30 Jun, starting from Tower Bridge near the fizzy drink brand's own Red Bull Studios. The boats will be captained - and more importantly curated - by Denis Sulta, Steel Banglez, Julie Adenuga, Henry Wu & Moses Boyd, Kyrist and Jubilee.

Acts joining them to splash out some tunes will include Goldie, Larry Heard, Jocelyn Brown, Mostack, Ms Banks, DJ Semtex, AJ Tracey, Slimzee, Flohio, Peven Everett, Bugz In the Attic and more.

Tickets go on sale this Friday for £25. For an extra tenner you can get into an afterparty on dry land. More details here.


Jane Weaver announces solo A/V tour
Jane Weaver has announced details of an audio-visual tour later this year. The 'Loops In The Secret Society' tour will feature new solo versions of songs from her 'The Silver Globe' and 'Modern Kosmology' albums.

Tickets for all the shows, except Leeds, will go on sale on Friday. All the dates are as follows:

17 Oct: Edinburgh, Pleasance
18 Oct: Liverpool, Leaf
21 Oct: Manchester, Royal Exchange Theatre
30 Oct: Leeds, City Varieties
6 Nov: London, Hackney Arts Centre
7 Nov: Bristol, Trinity Centre
8 Nov: Brighton, Komedia
9 Nov: Nottingham, Arts Theatre


CTS Eventim, The National, Jack White, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Get a daily news summary, our latest job ads and more via our Messenger bot. Click here to get started.

• Expansive ticketing and live music firm CTS Eventim has acquired a majority stake in Spanish promoter Doctor Music, making its first entry into the country's live music market. "The Spanish market has shown encouraging growth in recent years and is one of the most important destinations for artists from across the world", says CTS Eventim CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg.

• Universal Music Publishing Scandinavia has signed Soleima. A&R Director Jessica Brandt comments: "Soleima is like this extraordinary musical force of nature. Brave, hard working and very talented. Beyond excited to be a part of her musical journey".

• O2 has partnered with the FanFair Alliance in a bid to ensure that as many tickets as possible sold through its Priority Tickets programme go to fans rather than touts. "We recognise the increasing concerns from our customers, artists and the wider industry about the scale of abuse in the secondary ticket market", says O2 CMO Nina Bibby. "We are looking forward to working with FanFair even further to help drive the agenda and ultimately clamp down on touts".

• To mark the tenth anniversary of their 'Boxer' album, The National will release a new live recording of it on 13 Jul. Here's opening track, 'Fake Empire'.

• Stefflon Don is back with new single 'Senseless'.

• Princess Nokia has released the video for 'Look Up Kid' from her 'A Girl Cried Red' mixtape.

• Tove Styrke has released the video for recent single 'Sway'.

• Zombie- Chang will release her second album, 'Petit Petit Petit', on 4 July. From it, this is 'We Should Kiss'.

• Sam Evian will release new album 'You, Forever' on 1 Jun. From it, this is 'Country'.

• Jack White has announced new UK tour dates for October. Tickets go on general sale on Friday.

• Assuming you can still stomach him, Morrissey is playing two shows in Manchester in July. He'll perform at Castlefield Bowl on 7-8 Jul.

• If you were thinking about entering this year's Mercury Prize, you have until 6pm on Friday to do it. Email for the details.

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


Grimes defends Elon Musk's business practices
Grimes has addressed fan concerns over her fledgling relationship with entrepreneur and Tesla boss Elon Musk. Some simply think their differing views on economics make them incompatible, while others have specific issues with his business practices.

"I can respect a capitalist when they throw the phuck down on creating cheaper safer public transit, taking humans to space, movin the world into clean energy, fightin for [universal basic income] etc", she said in one of a number of now deleted tweets. "Humans with differing views on economics often hang out".

Over claims that Musk refuses to allow his factory staff to join unions, she added: "He has never prevented them from unionising. It's quite literally fake news. Trust me, I've investigated this heavily and even visited factories".

She added that she didn't mind people raising issues, saying: "I respect yall's commitment to social justice. We all gotta work to make the world better. I'll stay on my game too". Although she then cut off the conversation there, saying that she didn't want to "answer more questions cuz who I'm dating is irrelevant to my music".

Subsequently she said that she was deleting all of her tweets on the matter because "this is way too nuanced of a convo to have over Twitter". Which I think is a good rule of thumb for all conversations on Twitter.

In other Grimes news, she's also said that she's changing her birth name - Claire - to C. Except you'll have to write it lower case and in italics to be 'on brand'. Although she's already run into issues with that styling on Twitter, before even filing any paperwork.


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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