TODAY'S TOP STORY: SoundCloud has rewritten the contract that accompanies the monetisation programme it offers DIY artists. Or, officially speaking, it has "clarified [and] removed elements" of the contract it had previously written. This follows criticism of the terms it was offering under its SoundCloud Premier scheme... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES SoundCloud amends its Premier contract following criticism
Music industry comments on UK budget fun times
ENTERTAINMENT RETAIL HMV biggest seller of music discs this summer, though Amazon still leads entertainment retail at large
LIVE BUSINESS Attitude Is Everything expands Outstanding Attitude Awards
GIGS & FESTIVALS Bon Jovi announce 2019 UK tour
Rita Ora announces UK arena tour
ONE LINERS Steve Aoki, Kiss, Deaf Havana, more
AND FINALLY... Beyonce reaches settlement with Feyonce
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SoundCloud amends its Premier contract following criticism
SoundCloud has rewritten the contract that accompanies the monetisation programme it offers DIY artists. Or, officially speaking, it has "clarified [and] removed elements" of the contract it had previously written. This follows criticism of the terms it was offering under its SoundCloud Premier scheme.

Previously, monetisation - ie sharing in advertising and subscription income - was only available to DIY artists on an ad hoc and invite-only basis. But earlier this month the programme was rolled out to all musicians with a SoundCloud Pro account.

Then last week The Verge ran a piece criticising the terms and conditions that accompany that programme. It raised various concerns, particularly in relation to a clause that says that anyone participating in the scheme must give up the right to sue over any previous unlicensed distribution of their content on the SoundCloud platform.

The tech site quoted one entertainment lawyer as saying it was "unusual, at best, for a platform to open their terms and conditions with a provision that requires the artist to entirely release it of all prior violations and infringements committed by that platform".

SoundCloud initially insisted that the deal it was offering DIY artists was fair and in line with - if not better - than industry standards. However, yesterday it announced it had now amended the terms and conditions of its Premier programme to deal with The Verge's specific concerns.

It wrote in a blog post: "We've ... received feedback that some language in the original programme agreement was too broad, and we want to avoid any doubt around your rights and how we run the programme. Our team reviewed the agreement, and we've clarified or removed elements that may be unclear or not relevant to the open service we have now".

The removals include the clause regarding any future legal action over any alleged past copyright infringement, which SoundCloud said was a hangover from earlier agreements on which these terms are based. It confirmed that the review had resulted in the "the removal of the outdated covenant not to sue language that was part of our previous invite-only agreement".

SoundCloud stressed that the amendments to its contract don't actually change the core deal it is offering artists who participate in the Premier programme, in terms of what rights they are granting, how income is shared, and how and when artists are paid.

It then concluded: "SoundCloud is and will always be a creator-first platform. We're committed to building industry-leading products and services for you to share, connect and grow your career. As part of that commitment, we'll always take feedback and respond as quickly as we can to keep improving the platform for you".

For its part, The Verge has been through the revised contract and says that SoundCloud "has revised every major contentious point listed [in our] original report".


Music industry comments on UK budget fun times
UK music industry reps have welcomed some of the initiatives announced by the Chancellor Of The Exchequer Philip Hammond in his budget speech yesterday, including a cash boost for schools, a rates cut for small businesses and a proposed new tax for digital platforms. Though, of course, the devil is very much in the detail.

The state of music education provision in the UK has been quite a talking point in recent years. Music educators - and increasingly the music industry too - have expressed concerns that funding cuts, curriculum priorities and the criteria by which schools are assessed have all resulted in access to decent music education becoming a privilege rather than the norm.

Hammond didn't deal with any of that directly, although he did announce a one-off £400 million cash boost to be spent on "that extra bit of kit" that each school needs. Teaching unions noted that, given the financial pressure many schools are under to deliver just basic services, having an extra bit of cash to buy some new gadgets isn't much of a fix. Although, in theory, some of that extra money could be spent on musical kit.

Michael Dugher, boss of cross-sector music industry trade group UK Music, said yesterday: "UK Music called for a review of music funding in state schools to halt the spiral of decline that is the current worrying situation in state education. The Chancellor's decision to provide schools with new funds could offer much needed short term relief, providing that this can be invested in new music facilities and instruments".

Deborah Annetts, CEO of the Incorporated Society Of Musicians, which sits outside the UK Music framework and has many music teachers among its membership, also welcomed the cash boost, presumably also hoping some of it can be spent on music kit. She told reporters: "We welcome the government's decision to invest a much-needed extra £400 million in our schools. It is vital that our children have access to the very best education within both primary and secondary settings so that they can make the most of all of their talents".

However, of course - as the teaching unions said about Hammond's gesture in general - even if some of the £400 million can be spent on music kit, that doesn't deal with the wider issues around music education provision. To that end Dugher added that "ensuring that children from all backgrounds have access to music, including instruments, is not about providing 'little extras'. Music should be a right and an opportunity for children to experience everywhere".

The cut in business rates for small businesses is really about helping the high street and those bricks-and-mortar retailers who continue to lose out to online operators. And that, of course, includes independent entertainment retailers.

But Dugher said that UK Music will seek to ensure that the cut also applies to other small businesses for which business rates can be a killer. He said: "The cut in business rates for small retailers is welcome. The government must ensure that music venues and studios, who have in recent years faced huge hikes in business rates, stand to benefit from this".

Alongside the cut in business rates, Hammond also announced a relaxation of planning rules to make it easy to build new homes on old retail sites that are now sitting empty. Which makes sense, although - Dugher pointed out - also raises concerns about yet more homes being plonked next to existing music venues, potentially posing future licensing problems as new neighbours complain about noise.

With that in mind, UK Music added, the recently adopted agent of change principle, where those building any new homes next to existing venues must anticipate and address future noise issues in their plans, is more important than ever. Said Dugher: "Plans announced to liberalise the planning system in order to turn commercial properties into residential accommodation must also be carried out with full regard to the 'agent of change' principle to protect music venues".

He added: "This must not be an opportunity for developers seeking more residential building to ride roughshod over struggling, pre-existing music businesses. We need measures that make things easier, not harder, to nurture and grow the night-time economy".

And finally, there was Hammond's big announcement of a new 2% tax on the big digital platforms, which he aims to introduce in 2020 following a consultation. Although he didn't name them specifically, that initiative aims to increase the monies paid by the likes of Facebook, Google and Amazon into the UK taxation system, them all being known for employing sneaky tactics to reduce their respective tax liabilities.

On that, Dugher said: "It is absolutely right that tech giants should pay more tax to the UK. We look forward to working with the government in the development of this to ensure it is carefully designed and does not turn into an online sales tax".

Meanwhile Annetts added: "We also hope that the tech tax of 2% will be used by the government to invest in the creative industries, including music, at this critical time as music faces serious challenges in a post-Brexit world. Never has there been a more important time to invest in both the music industry and music education - the key driver of the talent pipeline for one of our most important industries".


HMV biggest seller of music discs this summer, though Amazon still leads entertainment retail at large
Kantar Worldpanel has published its latest report on the UK entertainment retail sector, revealing that while Amazon strengthened its position as the biggest entertainment retailer overall, HMV was the market leader in physical music sales over the summer quarter.

According to Kantar's figures, HMV enjoyed a second consecutive quarter of market share growth in the physical music space, rising to 28% of the market, and allowing it to overtake Amazon to become the biggest seller of musical discs in the UK.

Strong physical sales of the 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' soundtrack helped in no small part, it taking over from the soundtrack to 'The Greatest Showman' as the physical release that keeps on giving. You know, until they release the covers version of 'The Greatest Showman' soundtrack next month.

It's not just soundtracks though. All the buzz around the 100th edition of 'Now That's What I Call Music' helped too, that edition of the legendary compilation series selling twice as many copies as boring old 'Now 99'.

However, Amazon still has the biggest market share for physical entertainment retail at large, ie when DVDs and games are added into the mix. Amazon had a particularly strong quarter in gaming, which helped it to widen the gap between it and HMV when all three strands of entertainment retail are counted. It increased its market share by 1.8% to 23.2%.

Kantar also noted that while the second 'Mamma Mia!' soundtrack has been providing a nice boost to high street retailers in recent months, the DVD release of the movie should also deliver the goods in the all-important fourth quarter. And if the retailers can persuade those DVD buyers to also impulse purchase Cher's recently released Abba covers album, then the disc sellers could have a decent Christmas courtesy of Messrs Andersson and Ulvaeus.


Attitude Is Everything expands Outstanding Attitude Awards
Music charity Attitude Is Everything has announced that it is expanding its Outstanding Attitude Awards, which recognise music venues, festivals and other live music operators that best serve deaf and disabled audience members.

The awards programme will have its own ceremony for the first time, due to take place next March, with the number of awards handed out increased to ten.

"Having trialled the concept in 2016, I am delighted Attitude Is Everything can now present a standalone event that celebrates the best in UK live music access innovation", says AIE CEO Suzanne Bull. "From DIY events to companies at the cutting edge of ticketing technology, we want to bring the live music world together to shine a light on all of the ways live music can be made more inclusive for deaf and disabled music fans".

She continues: "By recognising what is possible at every level, we will demonstrate how the UK is a global leader when it comes to live music accessibility, and hope to encourage the industry to take further positive action. If you are working to break down barriers and include deaf and disabled music fans, this is your chance to shout about it!"

Indeed it is, because nominations for this year's awards are now open. You have until 21 Dec to put forward artists, promoters, venues, ticketing companies and others who have gone above and beyond to improve accessibility.

You can apply for the awards, or nominate others, here. The awards ceremony is set to take place at Islington Assembly Hall on 12 Mar.


Approved: Unloved
Unloved - aka vocalist and songwriter Jade Vincent with producers Keefus Ciancia and David Holmes (yes, that one) - have announced that they will unleash their second album, 'Heartbreak', on 1 Feb next year. Following the release of the title track last month, now comes new single 'Crash Boom Bang'.

"It's about the devastation of a kind of struggle that brings you to your knees", says Vincent of the single. "Feeling the waves crashing, the tide of emotional distress pulling, pulling you under to the point where you think you'll drown, against the will, against all reason - but I didn't".

"I felt a little more confident in my stride with this album", she goes on. "I let myself completely go lyrically - and vocally as well. I would sometimes laugh at myself, about where I would go. I'd go high into the world of opera and come back in low. I just threw myself into it and felt uninhibited".

"It was freeing", she adds. "And I kept layering, to get to as many emotions as possible. It was like painting: I was layering to add to the immense, vastly wild landscape of music given me from Keefus and David".

Holmes adds: "There's a maturity to Jade's voice and a maturity to the songs that sounds like this is someone who's lived, and properly had her heart broken, and is full of love".

The band are set to play two live shows premiering tracks from the new album at Hoxton Hall in London on 3 and 5 Dec. Tickets are available now. Meanwhile, listen to 'Crash Boom Bang' here.

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

Bon Jovi announce 2019 UK tour
Bon Jovi have announced that they will tour the UK for the first time since 2013 next year. They'll play three whole dates in June. "Those huge shows, tens of thousands of people all together as one, that's what we do", says Jon Bon Jovi of the three British stadium dates now in the 2019 calendar.

The tour includes a show at Wembley Stadium, with which Bon Jovi have a history. They were meant to be the first band to play the all new Wembley Stadium in 2006, them having been the last band to play the old stadium on that site before it was demolished. But delays in building the new venue meant that didn't happen and George Michael was then the first artist to play there the following year.

"We've got a few things to put right by playing Wembley Stadium", Jon Bon Jovi goes on. "We were so excited to be the first band to play that new stadium, I would have helped build it myself to make it happen. So we have a new history to write there".

Namechecking the other shows, he goes on: "We've had some great nights at the Ricoh too. Throw in Anfield as a new venue - OK that's just us showing off! We're honoured to play there and the first thing I'm doing is getting that iconic picture under the 'This Is Anfield' sign". Look at all that local knowledge he has there. Say what you like about JBJ, but he sure can ask an assistant to look some stuff up on Google when it's needed.

The band will be supported at all dates by the Manic Street Preachers. Tickets will go on general sale this Friday. Here are the actual dates:

19 Jun: Liverpool, Anfield Stadium
21 Jun: London, Wembley Stadium
23 Jun: Coventry, Ricoh Arena


Rita Ora announces UK arena tour
Rita Ora has announced a UK arena tour for next year. The dates come in support of upcoming new album, 'Phoenix', which is due out on 23 Nov.

"I'm so happy to be on tour again", says Ora. "Nothing makes me happier than performing and travelling to see all my fans. It will be first time performing new songs from 'Phoenix' and I can't wait for you to hear them! I'm looking forward to this tour so much".

That's not all she has to say though. She also says this: "One of the most liberating feelings for me is performing and creating music. This album is a true labour of love, and it was important for me to do it my way. I'm so appreciative of the love and support from those who worked with me on the record and allowed me create something I'm really proud of".

"They gave me the space and freedom to create something from my heart" she waffles on. "Both challenging and euphoric at times. I am really proud of and grateful for the journey that the making of 'Phoenix' has taken me on. To my fans, thank you for your patience and thank you always for listening".

Tickets for the shows go on general sale this Friday. Here are the dates:

21 May: Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
22 May: Bournemouth International Centre
24 May: London, The O2
25 May: Birmingham Arena
27 May: Liverpool Echo Arena
28 May: Leeds, First Direct Arena
29 May: Glasgow, The Hydro


Steve Aoki, Kiss, Deaf Havana, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Deaf Havana have released the video for latest single 'Worship'. The band are set to play a one-of UK show at Brixton Academy in London on 7 Dec.

• Another new Beirut track has arrived. Here's 'Corfu'.

• Almost a decade after releasing the first volume of his 'Harbour Boat Trips' compilation series, Trentemøller has announced that he will release the second next month. It'll feature a new track from the man himself, 'Transformer Man'.

• Swervedriver have signed to Mogwai's Rock Action record label and will release a new album, 'Future Ruins', on 25 Jan. Here's new single, 'Mary Winter'.

• Connie Constance has released new single 'Fast Cars'. She's also announced that she will play the Courtyard Theatre in London on 29 Nov.

• Snapped Ankles have released new single 'Drink And Glide'. New album, 'Snaps II', is due out early next year. The band begin a UK tour this week.

• Griz-O has put out the second video for a track on his new 'Out Of Bounds' mixtape. Watch 'The One' here.

• Kiss have announced dates for their farewell tour, including five shows in the UK. The shows will include a night at London's O2 Arena on 11 Jul. Tickets go on sale this Friday.

• Having announced his new album, 'Neon Future III', last week, Steve Aoki has now confirmed UK tour dates for next year. He'll play various shows in February, including a night at London's Brixton Academy on 22 Feb, before closing the run at Manchester's Victoria Warehouse on 23 Feb.

• Gogo Penguin will tour the UK next month, including a show at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 12 Dec.

• Pete Spiby has announced a run of headline shows to promote his debut solo album, 'Failed Magician', in December. Here's a new video featuring Spiby's version of Dean Martin's 'If You Were The Only Girl In The World'.

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


Beyonce reaches settlement with Feyonce
Beyonce has reportedly reached a settlement deal that brings to an end one of the more fun cases that has been rumbling its way through the pop courts of late.

The settlement is with novelty merch company Feyonce, which sells t-shirts and other items aimed at recently engaged Beyonce fans who can't spell. The reported deal comes ahead of a court hearing that was due to take place later this week.

According to The Blast, Beyonce's legal team have requested that the hearing scheduled for Thursday be adjourned. In a court submission, they said: "The parties have met and conferred regarding settlement and are currently involved in advanced negotiations that the parties anticipate will resolve this matter shortly".

The singer sued the company back in 2016, claiming that Feyonce Inc was infringing her trademarks and confusing consumers, all the more so with the Feyonce products that also contain the line "he put a ring on it". The plucky merch peddlers were involved in conduct that was "intentional, fraudulent, malicious, wilful and wanton", her lawsuit declared.

Earlier this month, judge Alison Nathan refused to issue a permanent injunction stopping Feyonce Inc from selling Feyonce products. Nathan said that while Beyonce's side had made some compelling arguments, she felt that the core dispute required proper consideration in court before a jury, and therefore a summary judgement in the pop star's favour was not appropriate. She then urged both sides to meet to consider a possible settlement.

That has seemingly now happened, pending a final agreement. The two sides have said that they will inform the court of their plans by 15 Nov.


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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