TODAY'S TOP STORY: The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has published one of those music consumption reports that are so popular right now. The global trade group's latest Music Consumer Insight Report is packed full of fun stats and statements. Let's have a look at some of them, shall we?... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES Music fans are listening to loads of music, but too many of them are heading to YouTube for it, says IFPI report
LEGAL Sky to introduce three-strikes anti-piracy system in Ireland
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Sentric and Black Rock launch electronic music publishing service
Bucks partners with This Is Music on new publishing company
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES SoundCloud opens up Premier monetisation programme to more artists
Yandex Music expands into Israel
ONE LINERS Decca, Yoko Ono, Lady Gaga, more
AND FINALLY... Ariana Grande bored of the traditional album cycle
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Music fans are listening to loads of music, but too many of them are heading to YouTube for it, says IFPI report
The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has published one of those music consumption reports that are so popular right now. The global trade group's latest Music Consumer Insight Report is packed full of fun stats and statements. Let's have a look at some of them, shall we?

Based on research in eighteen of the world's leading music markets, the topline conclusion of the report is that "music is integral to our lives". What a revelation! It found that people who listen to music do so for 2.5 hours a day on average, racking up 17.8 hours a week, with most of that listening taking place in a car. Of those surveyed, 86% use on-demand streaming services of one kind or another to access at least some of that music, with 50% saying that they'd choose streaming if only one kind of music product was available.

Despite this, the study found that 36% of people are still accessing at least some of their music through unlicensed means, with stream ripping the most popular way for cads and bounders to rip off the poor old music business. Stream ripping reached the top of the music industry's piracy gripe list a couple of years back, although the music community's value gap shouting has tended to drown out any piracy griping in more recent years.

The report also confirmed that music is an important driver in the use of technology. Of those surveyed, 75% use smartphones to listen to music, while smart speakers are also a growing way to access some tunes. Those devices may be smart, but they'd be pretty dull without music, is the argument of course. And those stats will no doubt be utilised the next time that argument is being employed against some safe harbour dwelling tech giant.

Speaking of safe harbour dwelling tech giants and the aforementioned value gap campaign, YouTube gets a whole page to itself for a big kicking. Yes, even though relationships between the Google video site and some in the label community have started to improve of late following the launch of YouTube's premium music service.

The official line seems to still be that YouTube sucks. Because, while that 86% stat up there proves on-demand streaming is very popular indeed, a large proportion of it - 47% - obviously happens on YouTube. By which we mean old fashioned YouTube, not any new fangled YouTube premium nonsense.

And, of course, old fashioned YouTube, the IFPI again points out, hands over pretty much fuck all in royalties. Worse still, says the report, 35% of people who don't pay to stream said that the main reason was because they can get anything they want on YouTube for free. All thanks to that pesky safe harbour.

"This year's Music Consumer Insight Report tells the story of how recorded music is woven into the lives of fans around the world", says IFPI boss Frances Moore. "As it becomes increasingly accessible, it continues to be embraced across formats, genres and technologies. Record companies are working with their partners to sustain and develop these rich and diverse ways in which music is being enjoyed, ensuring that it continues on its exciting journey around the world".

"However", she continues, setting up a classic if optimistic piracy gripe and value gap moan, "this report also shows the challenges the music community continues to face - both in the form of the evolving threat of digital copyright infringement as well as in the failure to achieve fair compensation from some user-upload services. Policymakers around the globe have been scrutinising these issues and increasingly acting to address them".

Download the full report here.


Sky to introduce three-strikes anti-piracy system in Ireland
Remember three-strikes? That was the big talking point ten years ago, wasn't it? Internet service providers would send out increasingly stern letters to copyright infringing customers telling them to stop fucking infringing copyright. The hope was they might stop fucking infringing copyright, illegal file-sharing being very much in fashion at the time.

In the main, ISPs didn't like the idea of sending stern letters to their customers, so usually court orders or new laws were required to force them. That new law was passed in the UK back in 2010, though the internet sector then managed to procrastinate so long that by the time some polite 'don't nick our stuff' emails were finally sent out, the music industry was too busy shouting about YouTube and the value gap for anyone to notice.

However, in Ireland three-strikes is still a talking point, with Sky agreeing to join its competitors in sending out some of those stern notes to any old timers still illegally downloading music rather than just relying on a steady stream of unlicensed tunes on YouTube.

Tel co Eircom voluntarily agreed to start sending out warning letters to suspected file-sharers all the way back in 2010 as part of a legal settlement with the Irish record industry. The labels then spent years trying to force one of Eircom's key competitors, UPC, to do the same. That required a legal battle in the courts, which the record industry finally won in 2015, six months before UPC rebranded as Virgin Media Ireland.

Sky only entered the Irish broadband market in 2013. In the UK, where it has been an ISP much longer, it has generally been more amenable to demands by the entertainment industry to take steps to combat piracy of its network. Because it is in the entertainment industry itself via its broadcast division and therefore has a vested interest in tackling infringement.

Nevertheless, it has taken a while for Sky to commit to operating a three-strikes system in Ireland akin to those run by Eircom and Virgin. The matter has now reached the country's Commercial Court, though Sky isn't actually fighting the music industry's efforts to force three-strikes upon it.

Rather, according to reports, the broadband provider has told the music industry that it needs a court order instructing it to introduce the anti-piracy system. Presumably because some have claimed in the past that three-strikes raises privacy and data protection issues, but if a three strikes system is court ordered it can't be sued over those concerns.

The Irish Recorded Music Association initiated legal proceedings to that effect earlier this year and has now told the court that Sky has formally agreed to introduce a system for sending warning letters to suspected copyright infringers. To that end Sky itself did not attend the court hearing, saying it was happy for a court order to be issued.

According to the Irish Examiner, the record industry's legal rep, Jonathan Newman, insisted that three-strikes - what the industry tends to call 'graduated response' - had so far proven successful. Systems of this kind usually involve some sort of threat being made in later letters, commonly involving the suspension or termination of internet access, or the handing over of contact information to copyright owners so that they can sue for such a sanction.

However, Newman told the court, letter receivers tend to comply once they know their piracy activity has been seen and that - as a result - no disconnections have ever actually been sought. Judge Robert Haughton responded by providing the record labels with the court order Sky said it required, adding that "the big stick does the job".


Sentric and Black Rock launch electronic music publishing service
Sentric Music and Black Rock Publishing have launched a new music publishing service for electronic music makers, called Sentric Electronic.

The new venture aims to make more electronic producers, artists and songwriters aware of the publishing royalties they could be earning from the music they have created. While most are aware of recording royalties, the company reckons many do not know that there are songwriting royalties out there for them too.

"Millions of tracks in the electronic genre remain unpublished since release", says Black Rock founder Mark Lawrence. "With Sentric's platform and infrastructure, and Black Rock's reputation and expertise in the genre, this is a really unique opportunity for electronic music creators everywhere. Now, anyone looking for a publishing deal can sign up online in minutes and begin registering tracks and collecting royalties".

Sentric Music CEO Chris Meehan adds: "Since day one, Sentric Music has been about making music publishing fairer, easier and clearer. Over the course of our history, we've helped thousands of songwriters recover the revenue they deserve and earn significant extra income to enhance their careers and their music. We're really excited about continuing that mission with a tailor-made service for the electronic music genre".


Bucks partners with This Is Music on new publishing company
Bucks Music Group has signed a deal to administrate artist management firm This Is Music's new publishing set up, These Are Songs.

"Historically, we have not signed a lot of artists for management because we believe in taking time to develop projects from the ground up", says TIM MD Oli Isaacs of his new venture. "But we wanted to find a flexible way to work dynamically with more of the exciting new writers and producers we come across. We want to be involved in making music at the highest level, and publishing is another great way to do that".

On the Bucks tie up specifically, he continued: "When we were introduced to the team at Bucks, we immediately felt that they were the right people to partner with in order to build something truly excellent. We are very much looking forward to working with them".

Bucks Music Group MD Simon Platz adds: "Oli, Lisa [Marzxen] and Simon [Gold] have a great reputation and track record when it comes to finding and developing exciting new talent as managers. We're sure they'll be equally successful in publishing. They share the same approach and philosophy to service and creative A&R as we do here at Bucks, so we're happy to bolster their efforts with this agreement".


SoundCloud opens up Premier monetisation programme to more artists
SoundCloud has announced that is opening up its Premier programme - where creators can opt-in to share any advertising and subscription revenue the firm generates around their content - more widely.

SoundCloud, of course, placated an increasingly angry music community a few years back by introducing advertising and subscriptions on its platform and then entering into licensing deals with the record labels, music publishers and collecting societies, so the music industry could share in that income.

However, for more grassroots creators, that option was initially only available on an ad hoc and invite-only basis, unlike YouTube, which makes monetisation available to any creator once they pass certain subscriber numbers and viewing hours.

SoundCloud did open up its Premier programme to some DJs and producers last year. And with this latest development, Premier will become available to any music creators on SoundCloud's Pro and Pro Unlimited tiers - ie all the people who pay to publish music content on the platform. The new option to tap some of that ad and subscription money will be included in those creator's existing pro subscription packages.

"SoundCloud is the world's largest open audio platform, with content from more than 20 million creators", says CEO Kerry Trainor. "Expanding SoundCloud Premier's direct monetisation offering from thousands, to hundreds of thousands of eligible creators is an exciting step in our commitment to empowering as many creators as possible to grow their careers first on SoundCloud".

To be eligible to join the Premier party, Pro or Pro Unlimited users on SoundCloud need to be over eighteen, be posting original music, and have no copyright strikes on their accounts. Here's a little video explainer.

Elsewhere in SoundCloud news, the company recently updating its ad sales contracts. In the UK, it will continue to use DAX to serve up advertising, while in the US Pandora has won the contract, via its recently acquired AdsWizz company. SoundCloud was already working with AdsWizz, so it's not that big a change.


Yandex Music expands into Israel
Russian streaming set-up Yandex Music has launched in Israel, its first territory outside the former Soviet Union. The music service from Russian web giant Yandex will be available to Israeli consumers for the equivalent of $5.50 a month, with a half price offer for people who sign up in the first 30 days.

Announcing the expansion into Israel, Yandex Music's Amir Biktimirov told reporters: "As one of the largest tech companies in Europe with over two decades of experience in machine learning and building user-friendly products, we have been able to build the top music streaming service in Russia, popularised by a great music catalogue and its best-in-class smart playlist feature".

"We are excited to expand our service to Israel", he added, "where we expect listeners will enjoy discovering new Israeli, Russian, and international music".

Yandex Music is also live in four other countries, all formerly states within the Soviet Union, those being Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Belarus.


Approved: Penelope Trappes
The Golden Filter's Penelope Trappes returns with her second solo album, 'Penelope Two' - the follow-up to last year's 'Penelope One' - through Houndstooth on 26 Oct.

The album's sound is often cinematic and always economical with its carefully layered sounds - nothing is overdone - giving space for the themes of death and life that run through the songs.

"'Penelope Two' was built around field recordings, mantras and meditations", she explains. "Emptying my mind of clutter, I explored writing with guitars and synth drones, along with piano and reverb, to create depth and texture".

She goes on: "I spent 2017 being an empath with two dear friends, who lost very close loved ones. One lost nearly her whole family in an accident and the other lost his partner of 23 years, after she gave birth to their third child. Echoing distance, pain, love and infinity - this album is dedicated to them".

"Deep in the core of our selves there's a knowingness, almost an out-of-body sensation when a hidden message becomes clear and glorious", she says of the ultimate outlook of the record. "Love is the only sign telling us which way to go, in a chaotic and sometimes painful world".

Listen to latest single, 'Connector', here.

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

Decca, Yoko Ono, Lady Gaga, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Laura Monks has been named the new General Manager of Universal Music UK's Decca Records. "Laura is without doubt one of the most exciting executives in the industry", says Decca President Rebecca Allen. "Her drive, leadership and passion for this business has strengthened Decca as a music company".

• Yoko Ono has released a new version of 'Imagine', marking what would have been John Lennon's 78th birthday. The track is taken from Ono's new album of reworked versions of songs from throughout her career, 'Warzone', which is out next week.

• Lady Gaga has released the video for 'Look What I Found' from that film thing she's in.

• Barbara Streisand has released politically charged new single 'Don't Lie To Me'. It's the first track taken from her new album, 'Walls', her first album of original songs since 2005. That's out on 2 Nov.

• Chvrches have released the video for 'Graffiti', the third single from their latest album, 'Love Is Dead'.

• Lubomyr Melnyk has announced that he will release new album, 'Fallen Trees', on 7 Dec. The release date will coincide with the musician's 70th birthday. Here's new track, 'Son Of Parasol'.

• The nominations for the Scottish Alternative Music Awards are out. The prizes will be distributed at St Luke's in Glasgow on 25 Oct, at a ceremony featuring performances from Blanck Mass and The Vegan Leather. Find out who's up for the prizes here.

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


Ariana Grande bored of the traditional album cycle
Ariana Grande has said that she's not interested in being enslaved to the traditional album cycle anymore. Rather, she wants to share her music "when it's freshhh".

Responding to a fan comment on Twitter, Grande said: "I just wanna make music and drop it whenever and perform it. I don't want to conform to the 'routine' or 'formula' anymore. I love music, I ain't waiting another two years to drop it. I want to share it with you when it's freshhh".

So we'll see how that works out. There are still plans for her to tour in support of latest album 'Sweetener' in 2019 though. You know, old school style.


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 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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