TODAY'S TOP STORY: It was a Via-no-show at the culture select committee hearing on secondary ticketing yesterday as controversial ticket resale platform Viagogo again pulled out of the proceedings. The chair of the committee said the move "demonstrates the fear that Viagogo feel about [any] scrutiny of their operations", adding that "fans should not trust such an outlet"... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Viagogo a no show at Parliament's latest secondary ticketing hearing
LABELS & PUBLISHERS UK music exports reach highest level since 2000, but Brexit threatens future success
Stacey Tang shifts to MD role at RCA UK
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Alan Price officially becomes Vevo CEO
RELEASES Thom Yorke to release Suspiria soundtrack
GIGS & FESTIVALS Ed Sheeran to play Music 4 Mental Health charity show
ONE LINERS Eminem, Alt-J, SG Lewis, more
AND FINALLY... Vanilla Ice reports from quarantined plane in New York
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Viagogo a no show at Parliament's latest secondary ticketing hearing
It was a Via-no-show at the culture select committee hearing on secondary ticketing yesterday as controversial ticket resale platform Viagogo again pulled out of the proceedings. The chair of the committee said the move "demonstrates the fear that Viagogo feel about [any] scrutiny of their operations", adding that "fans should not trust such an outlet".

The most controversial of all the secondary ticketing platforms also bailed on a session on ticket touting organised by the UK Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media And Sports Select Committee last year. This time Head Of Business Development Cristopher Miller was due to answer questions about the business, but he pulled out on Monday night.

Excusing itself, the company blamed the no show on last week's announcement by the Competition & Markets Authority that it had begun legal proceedings against Viagogo for alleged breaches of UK consumer rights law. It also raised its own litigation against Kilimanjaro Live in relation to the anti-touting strategy the promoter implemented at recent Ed Sheeran shows.

In an email on Tuesday evening, Viagogo wrote: "These developments would require Mr Miller to address matters that are awaiting adjudication in a court of law, therefore in our view contravening the sub-judice rules confirmed by the House Of Commons in 2001".

The term 'sub-judice' simply refers to matters that are under judicial consideration, and Parliament's sub-judice rules restrict MPs and Lords from discussing matters that are actively before the courts of law in a bid to ensure that Parliamentary debate doesn't influence the outcome of any case in anyway.

However, the chair of the culture select committee, Damian Collins MP, insisted that those rules did not apply in this case. "There are no material obstacles to proceeding with the session, from either the CMA's or the House's perspective", he stated in a response letter to Viagogo yesterday morning. "The CMA has told us - in writing - that it has no objections to the committee taking evidence, providing that we exercise care over the information shared and discussed in the session about court proceedings".

He went on: "The session does not fall within the scope of the House's sub-judice resolution. No papers have been served and no date set for a trial or even a case management hearing. Indeed, even the scope of the proceedings is not yet known". And as for the Ed Sheeran litigation, he went on: "The same applies to the Kilimanjaro case which, in any case, is reported to be being taken through the German courts".

Responding to Collins, Viagogo said its legal advice differed to the MP's take on events, before blaming the CMA for forcing it to pull from the hearing. "We have not taken this decision lightly and understand how serious it is not to be present this afternoon", it wrote. "However, we are acting on unequivocal legal advice which makes clear that attendance would jeopardise our position with respect to the ongoing legal proceedings which the CMA has initiated against us".

It said its lawyers had asked the CMA "to assure us that it would not consider any statements made by Viagogo in the hearing to constitute a breach of any of its non-disclosure provisions, or a waiver of its without prejudice privilege in the context of the CMA investigation". But "the CMA categorically rejected this request".

"Indeed, it went further", Viagogo said, "and asserted a positive entitlement to rely on [our] evidence at the DCMS hearing in the litigation. This is in direct contradiction to the guidance on parliamentary privilege given in the 'House Of Commons' Guide For Witnesses Giving Written Or Oral Evidence To A House Of Commons Select Committee' dated February 2016, which we assume the CMA must know".

It concluded: "We are sincerely disappointed by the CMA's stance in this regard. It is particularly disappointing that the CMA appears to have sought a litigation advantage at the expense of the work and efforts of the DCMS Committee. We wish to maintain a dialogue with you and will be submitting written evidence following the hearing today".

Despite all the legal wrangling, Collins said he felt Viagogo's decision to not attend his committee's hearing showed disrespect to Parliament and to the company's customers. In a statement on the committee's website he said: "Consumers deserve answers to the huge volume of concerns about secondary ticketing abuse. It is hard not to view this eleventh hour withdrawal cynically. Viagogo's non-attendance is a gross discourtesy, the more so given the company's failure to attend last year".

Whatever the legalities, Viagogo has for years now adopted a wall of silence strategy refusing to engage with its critics, seemingly on the assumption they'd eventually just go away. The exception being when a critic has the power to stop the company from buying its way to the top of Google search lists for upcoming events, in which case it usually acts.

The firm re-opened a channel of communication to the press this week on Twitter, its first formal PR activity in years. But only to issue an angry statement about Kilimanjaro and its boss Stuart Galbraith and to confirm that it was going legal over the promoter's efforts to stop Sheeran tickets from being touted.

With government regulators now suing Viagogo in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, it will presumably have to formally respond to the long list of criticisms about its anti-consumer practices in due course. Whether it now intends to also respond to critics and criticisms through the new Twitter account on a regular basis remains to be seen.


UK music exports reach highest level since 2000, but Brexit threatens future success
The combined export income of the UK recorded music business has reached its highest level since record industry trade body the BPI started totting up the numbers in the year 2000. But Brexit might be about to fuck it all. So that's good.

The BPI this morning published its annual figures on UK recorded music export revenues, ahead of its AGM later today. It found that earnings reached £408.4 million in 2017, the highest since its exports survey began and a 12% increase on the previous year. The rapid rise in revenues from overseas - following an 11% increase in 2016 - means export income alone has brought in £5 billion for UK labels over the last eighteen years.

"British music is riding high once again around the world, boosted by the talent of our artists and songwriters and the innovation and investment of record labels", says BPI boss Geoff Taylor. "Our music not only enriches the lives of fans around the world, it makes a major contribution to the UK economy through overseas sales and by attracting numerous visitors to the UK".

This latest boost was aided in no small part by Ed Sheeran, whose 'Divide' album sold 6.1 million physical and download copies worldwide, making it 2017's best selling album by any artist anywhere. In terms of physical and digital sales (ie no streams), Rag N Bone Man's 'Human' was the forth best-selling album in the world, while Sam Smith's 'The Thrill Of It All' was at number five.

The increase in revenues was also helped along by boosts for British recordings - sales and especially streams - in various countries. The highest percentage increase came from China, which was up 432%, which is pretty impressive, even if it was starting from a fairly low base. India also saw an increase of 12%, while Brazil was up 57%.

By far the biggest market for British recorded music remains Europe though, and there were significant increases in European Union member states too. In France, income for UK labels was up 57% last year, while there were rises of 33% in Spain, 22% in Italy and 9% in German. Overall European income was up by 29% year-on-year, and it now accounts for 42% of all UK recorded music exports.

Despite rises in income outside Europe, the continuing significance of our nearest neighbours when it comes to export monies will be of concern to UK labels. With the UK due to leave the EU next year - very possibly without any deal being reached with the Union - the BPI has again expressed concern that British music's success could be scuppered.

Says Taylor: "With Brexit approaching, music can help to showcase what is exciting about the UK as we forge new trading relationships, but only if our government supports us by ensuring a strong Brexit deal that enables artists to tour freely, robustly protects music rights, and prevents physical music products being impeded in transit".

Existing government-backed initiatives - such as the Music Export Growth Scheme and various BPI trade missions - have played a major part in boosting UK successes, said the trade body, and that work will continue. But if the right deals are not done with the EU now, these will simply be helping to fight the tide.

Of course, the UK music industry is not the only sector currently lobbying government to work out special deals with the EU in its favour. And many of the others - such as food and pharmaceuticals - are both more pressing and bring in a lot more money overall than that £5 billion every couple of decades.

Presumably recognising pop tunes may not be a top priority, the BPI again talked up how UK music could be an "international calling card" after Brexit. If we do actually leave the EU, we may indeed benefit from regularly sending out bright, young, happy people to sing to the wider world. Although if there's no food or medicine, it might prove difficult to find any.


Stacey Tang shifts to MD role at RCA UK
Sony Music has named Stacey Tang as the new Managing Director of its RCA UK label. She moves over from another Sony division, Columbia UK, where she shared the MD role with Neil Hughes, who is leaving the company.

"Stacey is one of the most respected and creative executives in the business", says RCA UK President David Dollimore. "Her love of great music, her passion for artist development and her steely determination are totally infectious".

He goes on: "She has delivered time and again with both domestic and international artists, and her business acumen and leadership skills will make RCA the ideal home for exceptional artists. She shares my vision and ambition for the label and I'm very excited about what we can achieve together".

Dollimore also bid farewell to Hughes, saying: "I wish Neil continued success in the future and would like to thank him for his hard work and contribution".

Tang and Hughes will be replaced at Columbia by Manish Arora.


Alan Price officially becomes Vevo CEO
Music video platform Vevo has announced Alan Price as its new CEO. He has been interim CEO since his predecessor Erik Huggers stepped down in December.

"It's an honour to be named CEO of Vevo", says Price. "Having worked at Vevo since launch, I feel privileged to lead the entire team as we continue to amplify our unique offerings; allowing artists to creatively tell their stories while growing an advertising-based revenue stream that benefits artists, and our label and brand partners".

For their part, Vevo owners Universal Music and Sony Music said in a statement: "Alan Price is a seasoned music executive and proven leader who has played a key role in Vevo's growth and development for almost a decade".

They went on: "His deep understanding of Vevo's mission, and his long track record of success, make him the ideal choice to lead the company forward as we continue to support and invest in providing fans with the best premium music video programming".

As noted in those statements, Price has been with Vevo since it was founded in 2009, initially as Chief Financial Officer. Prior to that, he had held a number of financial positions at Sony Music.


Approved: David Allred
David Allred released a collaborative album with Peter Broderick, called 'Find The Ways', last year. Now he returns with his latest solo outing, 'The Transition', set for release through Erased Tapes later this year. The first single from it, an a capella track titled 'The Garden', is out now.

Of the song, Allred says: "'The Garden' represents my mental health as I strive to develop a better relationship with the way we live, learn and communicate through the internet. The process of accepting and contributing to the way that we are expected to represent ourselves online is inherently at odds with our ability to connect and understand each other on a personal level".

"We live in a time where technology assertively taps into our biological need to feel human connection", he adds, "and it is in our best interest to adapt as well as possible to this ideological paradigm, in spite of all the illusions we encounter along the way".

Discussing the inspiration for the album as a whole, he goes on: "At 26 years old, I found myself back in the town where I grew up, feeling a bit like a failure for not 'making it' out there in the years I spent living and working on my own".

"I picked up a job working in a retirement home", he explains, "surrounded by those who are at the very end of their lives, and they kept saying the same thing: that they had no idea life would happen that fast".

"So I decided to make an album", he concludes, "inspired by my recent experiences and stories I heard through working with them".

'The Transition' is due out on 2 Nov. Listen to 'The Garden' here.

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

Thom Yorke to release Suspiria soundtrack
Thom Yorke has announced that he will release his score for horror movie remake 'Suspiria' through XL next month.

The album consists of 25 original compositions created for the remake, a Luca Guadagnino-directed reimagining of Dario Argento's 1977 film. Produced by Yorke and Sam Petts-Davies, it features the London Contemporary Orchestra and Choir, Noah Yorke and Pasha Mansurov.

Ahead of the release, there will be several playback sessions around the world, including one in London on 12 Sep. To be in with a chance of attending it, you need to fill out the form here by 4pm today.

The album is set for release on 26 Oct. From it, this is 'Suspirium'.


Ed Sheeran to play Music 4 Mental Health charity show
Ed Sheeran will serve as the opening act for charity event Music 4 Mental Health at London's Roundhouse in November. Also performing will be Olly Murs, Anne-Marie, Ella Eyre and James Arthur.

"I'm so excited to be taking part in the first ever Music 4 Mental Health event at the Roundhouse in November", says Sheeran. "Music is such an amazing way of taking the mental health conversation to a new level".

The event will be compered by Rizzle Kicks' Jordan Stephens, who says: "Music is a language that everyone understands and has the power to unite people from all walks and thoughts of life. I can already feel the conversation opening up in regards to mental health so now it's time to take action and really help people. With these great charities and the support of the music industry, we have a chance at doing something amazing".

Tickets go on sale on Friday, via the Roundhouse website here.


Eminem, Alt-J, SG Lewis, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Eminem has released the video for 'Fall', the most controversial track on new album, 'Kamikaze'. The track has already been denounced by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, who sings the song's hook, for the rapper's use of a homophobic slur. The word in question is entirely removed from the video version, although the line in which it is contained otherwise remains.

• Alt-J have released the video for the Alchemist and Trooko remix of their track 'Deadcrush'. The track features vocals from Danny Brown, who also appears in the video.

• SG Lewis has released new single 'Hurting', featuring AlunaGeorge. "Aluna has been a part of so many dance records that I love, so I knew I wanted to make a club track with her", says Lewis. "After we ate burritos and hung out, we made 'Hurting' super quickly - the whole process was super natural between the two of us, and she has such an amazing ear for production".

• Metric have released new track 'Now Or Never Now'. Their new album, 'Art Of Doubt', is out later this month.

• Andrew WK has released the video for 'You're Not Alone', the title track from his latest album, which was released in March.

• Will Oldham will release a new album under his own name, titled 'Songs Of Love And Horror', on 19 Oct. Earlier the same month, he will release a new book of lyrics under the same title.

• Throwing Snow has released new single 'Vulpine'.

• Bill Ryder-Jones has released another new song, 'And Then There's You'. His new album, 'Yawn', is out on 2 Nov.

• Yves Tumor has released another new track, 'Economy Of Freedom', featuring Croatian Amor.

• Chilly Gonzales has announced listening parties in various locations around the world for his new album 'Solo Piano III'. If you're in London, get yourself down to Markson Pianos in London today, where the record will be performed for you by a self-playing piano.

• Tom Morello will bring 'The Atlas Underground Experience' to London on 24 Sep. Coming ahead of the release of his new solo album, 'The Atlas Underground', on 12 Oct, Morello will chat about the making of the record, play music from it, and show off a bit of his trademark guitar bashing.

• Low have announced a new run of UK shows for early 2019, which will conclude with a performance at the Barbican in London on 1 Feb.

• Yo La Tengo have announced two UK shows. They will play EartH in London on 18-19 Feb.

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


Vanilla Ice reports from quarantined plane in New York
A flight from Dubai to the US was quarantined for a time at New York's John F Kennedy Airport yesterday after a number of passengers and crew were taken ill with similar symptoms. All of which was documented for the watching world by everyone's favourite intrepid reporter, Mr Vanilla Ice.

"So I just landed from Dubai and now there is like tons of ambulances and fire trucks and police all over the place", he announced on Facebook yesterday, posting a video live from the scene. "This is crazy", he added on Twitter. "Apparently there is over 100 people sick on the bottom floor".

"So happy I'm up top", he noted, before confirming that "it's a double-decker plane 380". Look at that, he's even dropping aviation insights into the reportage!

Although around a hundred people were showing similar symptoms during the flight - including coughing, headaches, sore throat and a fever - only around ten people were subsequently taken to a local hospital for tests.

Officials say they think the cause of the symptoms was "probably influenza". Some passengers who spoke to journalists reckoned that at least some of the affected people were already displaying the symptoms at the airport back in Dubai.

By this point rapper-come-telly-host Ice had left the scene, so we're relying on CNN for those last bits and pieces of information, which Donald Trump always assures me is 'fake news'. Nothing fake about Vanilla Ice Reports though, so the first bit definitely happened.


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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