TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK's Entertainment Retailers Association has hit out at the recent Music Consumer Insight Report from the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry for failing to mention physical music product at all... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES ERA hits out at IFPI's disc free music consumption report
LEGAL Israeli court fines activists over Lorde Tel Aviv show cancellation
Lindsey Buckingham sues Fleetwood Mac over firing
DEALS Mixcloud signs direct licensing deal with Universal
MARKETING & PR Listen Up opens Asian office
Emms Publicity relaunches as Measure PR
RELEASES Eku Fantasy release new track for Greenpeace Antarctic campaign
ONE LINERS BTS, St Vincent, Paloma Faith, more
AND FINALLY... Michael Buble not quitting music, reps insist
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ERA hits out at IFPI's disc free music consumption report
The UK's Entertainment Retailers Association has hit out at the recent Music Consumer Insight Report from the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry for failing to mention physical music product at all.

The report, published last week, included various facts and figures about the way people are consuming music in 2018, revealing that 86% of those surveyed used on-demand streaming services of one kind or another to access at least some of their music. Meanwhile, 50% of respondents said that they'd choose streaming if there could only be one kind of music consumption.

But what about all the plastic discs? That's what ERA would like to know. So much so, the trade group's CEO Kim Bayley has written to the IFPI to ask.

"No one is more enthusiastic about the rise of streaming than ERA", she says, noting that Spotify, Deezer, Amazon and Google are among its membership. "However", she goes on, "all of our members are agreed - as outlined in our recent manifesto 'Delivering The Future Of Entertainment' - that the key to a healthy music eco-system is a diverse channel landscape, embracing physical as well as digital formats".

For a while trade groups for both the record companies and the record sellers talked quite a bit about how the recorded music business was now "multi-channelling" - as UK record industry trade group BPI put it - which is to say making music available in multiple formats and allowing consumers to pick whichever one they liked best.

However - while the BPI does still talk up CD sales from time to time - the globally-focused IFPI has more recently tended to focus very much on the streams in its various reports. Even though physical sales (and mainly CD) accounted for 30% of the record industry's global revenues in 2017, about the same percentage as in the UK.

That said, a key role of the IFPI is lobbying on behalf the global record industry. And in that domain, of course, the 'value gap' campaign - and the impact user-upload platforms like YouTube have had on premium streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music - has topped the agenda for a quite while now.

That is possibly why last week's IFPI report focused on things like, well, the impact user-upload platforms like YouTube have on premium streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music.

But Bayley says that by focusing exclusively on the streams the IFPI has a "blinkered view of the world" and that it should acknowledge the continued popularity of physical product when talking about music consumption trends.

Hell, I'm just back from Indonesia where the cassette revival seems to be in full swing. So I propose that all music industry trade bodies commit to make that the focus of all reports in the next twelve months. I mean, I think we all deserve a little break from the bloody value gap. Bring on the tapes!


Israeli court fines activists over Lorde Tel Aviv show cancellation
Two New Zealand-based activists were recently fined just over £9000 by a Magistrates' Court in Jerusalem for their role in the cancellation of a Lorde concert in Israel earlier this year. Those activists - Justine Sachs and Nadia Abu-Shanab - had previously dismissed the case as "a hoax".

After Lorde announced plans earlier this year to play a show in Tel Aviv, Abu-Shanab and Sachs wrote an open letter to the musician asking her to "take a stand" and "join the artistic boycott of Israel". The musician replied to them on Twitter, saying that she had "been speaking [with] many people about this and [was] considering all options". Days later, the show was cancelled.

Shortly after that had happened, Israeli civil rights group Shurat HaDin announced that it had filed a lawsuit in Jerusalem on behalf of three teenage Lorde fans who were demanding compensation for the "moral and emotional injury" caused by the cancelled gig.

According to the Jerusalem Post, last week the case was ruled upon in favour of Shurat HaDin, with judges agreeing that the activists had broken the country's controversial 2011 Anti-Boycott Law. The suit originally demanded 15,000 shekels (£3100) in damages. But the court has now awarded the plaintiffs 45,000 shekels (£9300), as well as ordering Abu-Shanab and Sachs to pay 11,000 (£2300) shekels in legal costs.

Shurat HaDin President Nitsana Darshan-Leitner was buoyant after the win, saying: "This is a precedent-setting ruling according to the Boycott Law. This decision makes it clear that anyone who calls for a boycott against the state of Israel could find themselves liable for damages and need to pay compensation to those hurt by the boycott call, if they're in Israel or outside it".

In this case, the boycott callers were outside Israel. With that in mind, Darshan-Leitner was asked how the fine would be enforced. She insisted that they would chase payment through the New Zealand legal system. "We will enforce this ruling in New Zealand", she said, "and go after their bank accounts until it has been fully realised".

Abu-Shanab and Sachs set up a crowdfunding page to raise the amount they had been fined, but said that instead of handing it over to Shurat HaDin, they would instead give the money raised to a mental health charity.

"In a few short hours [since the ruling] we've been overwhelmed with offers of financial support from New Zealand and around the world", they said. "We will not be paying the court ordered amount. Instead, we would like to redirect the support extended to us back to Palestinians in need of mental health support ... Donations will be sent in their entirety to organisations which are providing vital mental health support to the traumatised families of the Gaza Strip.

So far, they have raised more than double the initially amount they were seeking.


Lindsey Buckingham sues Fleetwood Mac over firing
Lindsey Buckingham last week sued Fleetwood Mac for breach of contract, saying that his former bandmates did him out of up to $14 million by firing him from the outfit earlier this year ahead of a planned tour.

The lawsuit claims that he was fired due to a dispute over his request to take time off so he could undertake a solo tour. Though in an interview with Rolling Stone last week, Buckingham specifically blamed bandmate and former partner Stevie Nicks for his dismissal.

Buckingham was fired earlier this year, the band then announcing in April that he would be replaced by Mike Campbell of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers and Crowded House's Neil Finn.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Buckingham said that he received a call from the band's manager, Irving Azoff, at the end of January, telling him, "Stevie never wants to be on a stage with you again".

Among the reasons for this declaration, he claims, was the fact that he had smirked while Nicks was speaking on stage at a MusiCares benefit show in New York at the start of the year. "The irony is that we have this standing joke that Stevie, when she talks, goes on a long time", he said. "I may or may not have smirked. But I look over and Christine and Mick are doing the waltz behind her as a joke".

At this point, he added, he wasn't even aware that he was being fired, assuming that Azoff's remark meant that Nicks was planning to leave the band. So much so, he wrote an email to the rest of the band's members telling them that the outfit could survive Nicks' departure, and that they should pull together in the meantime. The email is included in the new lawsuit.

It was only days later, when he received no reply to that message, that the penny dropped, and he called Azoff to confirm what was going on. Azoff, he says, told him that he was "getting ousted" after Nicks had given the rest of the band an ultimate that it was either her or him.

The lawsuit states that each member of the group would have earned between $12 million and $14 million from the 50 night tour, which began last week. It also alleges that the band members "intentionally acted to interfere with Buckingham's relationship with [tour promoter] Live Nation and the prospective economic benefit he was to receive as a result of his participation in the tour".

A spokesperson for the remaining members of the band told USA Today last week: "Fleetwood Mac strongly disputes the allegations presented in Mr Buckingham's complaint and looks forward to their day in court".


Mixcloud signs direct licensing deal with Universal
Mixcloud has signed a new direct licensing deal with Universal Music for the use of the major's music. The platform for sharing mixes and radio shows was previously licensed through the collective licensing system on both the song and recordings side, but is moving over to direct deals on the latter. A deal with Warner Music was announced a year ago.

The new deal, which excludes China and Japan, covers Mixcloud's current ad-funded service as well as any future subscription-based service. It also includes a payment for previous use of Universal's music on the platform, presumably where such uses were not covered by one of Mixcloud's previous collecting society licences.

"Our focus has always been on empowering artists and curators alike, and this deal with Universal Music will help us usher in a new era of collaboration in which everyone wins", says Mixcloud co-founder Nico Perez. "Our platform ensures that all rightsholders are paid fairly for the use of their work in long-form audio, and we are excited to work directly with the world's largest record label Universal Music to continue to enhance what we can offer to our curators, their listeners, and to the artists that created the great tracks in the first place".

Universal Music Group's Vice President Of Digital Business, James Healy, adds:
"Mixcloud has developed an innovative platform where audiences can uniquely discover artists and experience music through curated stations, podcasts, DJ sets and other influencer-driven audio formats. Working together, we will expand the programming that's available across Mixcloud and give their passionate fans more choice over how they consume music and interact with their favourite artists".

If you want to listen to something on Mixcloud that contains no music at all from Universal's catalogue (or any other catalogue, far that matter), check out CMU's Setlist podcast over there.


Listen Up opens Asian office
Music PR firm Listen Up has announced a new Asian division. The company is opening offices in Hong Kong and Shanghai, in addition to its existing bases in London and the US.

The new Asian business will be headed up by Ryan Wilson, previously Director Of Electronic Music in the Asia-Pacific region for Sony Music.

"[We] are really excited to be partnering up with Ryan in Asia, and for him to be leading Listen Up's endeavours in that market", says co-founder James Mack. "We have worked closely with Ryan on many projects over the years and feel that the services we will initially provide in Asia will help build both our current clients and new clients profile in the continent even further".

Wilson adds: "Listen Up is regarded and respected worldwide as an industry leader, so it makes perfect sense to partner with Luke and James and the team. Asia has been an exciting and progressive music and cultural hotspot for a long time now, particularly South Korea and Japan. With the undeniable sleeping dragon of China now waking, we are looking at one of the fastest growing music markets in the world. My experience has proven first hand that dance music is right there at the front of it - and the appetite is fierce!"


Emms Publicity relaunches as Measure PR
Music PR firm Emms Publicity has rebranded as Measure PR, following the departure of its founder Stephen Emms earlier this year. The company is now led by Steve Rose.

"I've loved working at Emms and am proud of everything we've achieved", says Rose. "Since taking ownership in June, I've been keen to move forward and start a new chapter. We're committed to only working on projects we truly believe in and we're extremely passionate about our roster. We have some amazing talent and loads of exciting releases in the pipeline. I can't wait to build the company and take it forward as Measure PR".

Rose is joined by Paul Barker, who looks after the company's roster of DJs and electronic artists. Emms, meanwhile, left the company he founded to focus on his other business, London Belongs To Me, a media company that publishes cultural guides in several London boroughs.


Approved: Kirkis
Pop experimentalist Kirkis returns later this month with his second album, 'Kirkis 2'. As with his 2017 debut, 'Vide', it is set to contain a series of confusing but alluring tracks that are sure to delight you in many different ways.

As a precursor to the album, Kirkis has made a short film titled 'Who's Bad?' that features clips of three of the album's tracks. Of the video, he explains: "A simple story of a killer on the run who hallucinates a series of unrelated events, 'Who's Bad? provokes the aesthetic objects it needs to know itself".

This is done, he goes on, "in one final attempt to preserve our humanity by somehow finding meaning in the hallucinatory, cybernetic, hyperreal spectacles that is post humanism: the connectivity that transgresses the limitations of how an individual occupies space and time. We are everywhere at once. Simultaneously and instantaneously. A duality".

So there you go. I think we're now all fully up to speed with what's going on here. The album is out on 26 Oct. Watch 'Who's Bad? here.

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

Eku Fantasy release new track for Greenpeace Antarctic campaign
Eku Fantasy have released a new track in support of Greenpeace's 'Protect The Antarctic' campaign called 'January Is The Cruelest Month'. It's the first new track from the duo - comprising Metronomy's Olugbenga Adelekan and producer Gareth Jones, aka Jumping Back Slash - since the release of their debut EP in April.

The song was actually the first they collaborated on, and they hope that its release will help raise awareness of and support for a new Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary, for which Greenpeace will be campaigning at an upcoming meeting of the Antarctic Ocean Commission.

"'January Is The Cruelest Month' was the first thing we wrote together when I came over to South Africa to work on the first Eku Fantasy EP with Gareth", says Adelekan. "It's a track we never finished. Then a few weeks ago Greenpeace got in touch about joining the #ProtectAntarctic campaign and making a video with footage they took in the Antarctic".

He goes on: "Nigeria and South Africa - not to mention Brighton, where I now live - will be in the front line of the devastation if we don't do something to stop rising sea levels. So it was a no-brainer for us to get involved. We quickly finished off 'January', Gareth got to work on a video... and here we are".

A number of other artists will be releasing music in support of the same campaign, including Penguin Café, Alison Sudol and Kutiman.

Watch the video for 'January Is The Cruelest Month' here.


BTS, St Vincent, Paloma Faith, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• K-pop phenomenon BTS will release a documentary charting their rise to fame next month. There will be limited cinema screenings on 15 Nov. Sign up to attend here.

• St Vincent has released the video for the piano version of 'Saviour'. The piano version of her 'Masseduction' album is out now and is great.

• Paloma Faith has announced that she will release an expanded version of her last album, 'The Architect', on 16 Nov. It will feature six new tracks, including new single 'Loyal'.

• Loyle Carner has released new single 'Ottolenghi'.

• Slaves have released the video for new single 'Magnolia', which is fine if you like that sort of thing.

• Soap&Skin has released new single 'Surrounded'. "It's about collective desire, being surrounded and consumed by the unreleased", she says. "It's about deadlocked patterns being released into the consciousness".

• Ahead of upcoming UK tour dates, Haiku Hands have released new single 'Squat', a collaboration with True Vibenation.

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


Michael Buble not quitting music, reps insist
Representatives for Michael Buble have denied that he's retiring from the music business. This despite him saying in an interview published at the weekend, "I'm retiring from the business".

In the interview with the Daily Mail, Buble discusses his return to music with new album 'Love' after the two year break that followed his son Noah's diagnosis with cancer. But despite that focus on the comeback, the interview includes the retirement claim.

In the piece, Buble reveals that he was falling out of love with music even before family circumstances necessitated the hiatus. This was mainly due to fears that he wasn't actually very good, and that his career could all be taken away from him at some point.

"I woke up and thought, 'After ten years of trying to get here and five years of being scared it would go away, I think I can't enjoy it'". He didn't "have the stomach for it anymore", he explains, "the celebrity narcissism - I started to crumble". This made him wonder why he'd got into the performing lark in the first place. "I'd forgotten that it's about souls connecting", he says, "because I'd become so anxious".

He goes on: "There were people in my business life saying, 'If you hadn't done this or that, or you'd written a better song, tickets might be selling quicker'. I started to take all that on board. No one wanted to take any responsibility. It was much easier for people to pass the buck to me because I was insecure enough already. I would digest it and say, 'It's my fault. I'm absolutely rubbish'. It affected me and I started to think, 'It's all going to go. I'm going to lose everything'".

However, the break from music and the accompanying focus on his family has allowed him to leave all those things behind, he then said. So much so, his return now had been his decision, not something he was pressured into by label or management. Instead the decision to start making music again - leading to the new album - came about more naturally after his son had recovered.

"The two are inextricably linked, yet it wasn't as straightforward as, 'My son's recovered, I should make an album'", he says. "I'd told my manager I wanted to take a ten-year sabbatical, so I could hang out and be bad. But I missed the guys in my band. So ... I said to them, 'Come over to the house, let's drink, order pizza, play video games and jam'. They came over, we partied and we said, 'Let's play some music' I thought, 'Wow! This is fun'".

Later in the interview, he discusses the name of the album that came from that realisation, 'Love'. He says: "There are three reasons I wanted to do this album. One, because I felt a debt of gratitude, deeper than I can explain, to the millions of people all over the world who prayed for us and showed us compassion. That gave me faith in humanity. Two, because I love music and feel I can continue the legacy of my idols. And three, because if the world was ending - not just my own personal hell but watching the political turmoil in America and watching Europe break up - there's never a better time for music".

Despite explaining how he'd grown to resent his career, but had then rediscovered his passion for performing following the two year break, he then adds: "This is my last interview. I'm retiring from the business. I've made the perfect record and now I can leave at the very top".

Even the interviewer notes that this doesn't seem likely. But that didn't stop the story that Michael Buble is retiring - with some of the above quotes conflated for extra impact - from travelling around the world. Although, to be fair, he did say that he was retiring and that he'd now given his last interview.

Nonetheless, his PR people have gone into overdrive, denying that he's doing any such thing. In a statement to Us Weekly, a spokesperson said: "He is absolutely not retiring. He is not going anywhere. He was talking about the emotions he was feeling during his son's illness".

As we have seen, he did very much talk about his emotions before and during his son's illness. Though that doesn't seem to be what he was doing in the section of the interview where the retirement statement is made. Unless that quote was moved or altered to make it seem otherwise. Which would obviously never happen. Not in a reputable paper like the Daily Mail.

Either way, another statement was then issued by the PR machine to a popular Michael Buble fan group on Facebook, saying: "The rumours and reports that Michael is quitting is completely false. We ask everyone to not share any of these tabloid stories and delete any posts already shared to the Buble Insider and personal pages".

So there you go. Although, I'm still a bit confused about how the retirement line ended up in the Mail's article. I guess we'll have to wait for Buble's next interview to find out what 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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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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