TODAY'S TOP STORY: The British music industry is growing, with export particularly on the rise, according to UK Music's annual stats-packed 'Measuring Music' report. In fact, everything was up in 2017 and it looks like it will be again in 2018. Though it could all be fucked up in 2019 if the government doesn't pull its finger out... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES UK music is booming says UK Music - but it still needs help
LEGAL No one's sure why The Pirate Bay is experiencing downtime
DEALS Rudimental sign Ella Henderson to Major Toms label
LIVE BUSINESS Artists line up to back crowdfunding campaign to save Oxford venue
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Spotify gives away Google Home Minis in the US
ARTIST NEWS Hookworms split follow allegations of abuse against frontman
ONE LINERS Super!, IMPEL, Channel 4, more
AND FINALLY... Ozzy Osbourne says fun was banned at Black Sabbath farewell shows
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UK music is booming says UK Music - but it still needs help
The British music industry is growing, with export particularly on the rise, according to UK Music's annual stats-packed 'Measuring Music' report. In fact, everything was up in 2017 and it looks like it will be again in 2018. Though it could all be fucked up in 2019 if the government doesn't pull its finger out.

According to the report, music's contribution to the UK economy last year - aka the 'gross value added' - was £4.5 billion, up 2%, or £100 million, from 2016. Exports, meanwhile, were up 7% to £2.6 billion, thanks to the likes of Ed Sheeran, Stormzy, Dua Lipa, Rag N Bone Man, Harry Styles and Depeche Mode.

Breaking the figures down, the bulk of that economic contribution - £2 billion - came from the businesses and projects of musicians, composers, songwriters and lyricists, an increase of 1%.

Although the recent return to growth of the record industry meant the highest increases in the report were in music rights, with the contribution of record companies up 9% to £700 million and music publishing up 7% to £505 million. Both music rights sectors also saw exports increase by 11%. Live music, meanwhile, accounted for just under £1 billion.

Employment in the music sector was up too, with a 3% increase in the number of people working in music. There are now 145,815 of you bastards.

"British music brings enjoyment to millions and makes a massive contribution to the UK plc", says UK Music chief executive Michael Dugher. "I'm really proud of the fact that these figures show once again that when it comes to music, we in the UK are very, very good at what we do. We are a global leader in music and we continue to grow faster than other parts of the British economy and to punch well above our weight".

He continues: "Music exports are a particular British success story and organisations like PRS For Music and PPL, that help ensure creators and investors see a return for their work, have also performed particularly strongly in 2017. These figures show what can be achieved when we choose to back the British music industry".

Yeah, did you feel a 'but' looming in all that too? The but in this case is the lack of government support for young people who might want to work in music in some capacity at some point in the future. Which brings us back to the debate around music education, which has seen massive cuts in recent years, meaning its kids whose parents can afford to pay for private lessons who have the best opportunities.

As well as all that, Dugher stressed the need for creators to be able to earn a proper living from their work - nudging the government to ensure that the increased protections for music makers that it's hoped might be provided by the new European Copyright Directive will be implemented by the UK government. Even if we leave the European Union before we are obliged to implement that directive into British law.

"Every child from every background should have the opportunity to access music, to experience its transformative power and to try out a career in the industry if they want to - regardless of whether or not they have access to the Bank of Mum and Dad", Says Dugher. "That's why we need further government support to help us ensure we produce the next generation of world-leading British talent by backing music in education, protecting grassroots music venues and making sure that creators are properly rewarded for their work. If we do that, we can be even more successful in the future".

Providing the usual token nod to the latest figures, Minister For Digital And The Creative Industries, Margot James, says: "We need to build on these achievements and as the minister responsible for the creative industries I am firmly committed to doing just that".

Given most ministers in the UK government don't actually seem to be all that committed to doing much about anything at the moment - apart from flapping their arms and panicking about the impending disaster of Brexit, which they're all still obliged to pretend they think is a good idea because, you know, will of people - we'll just have to wait and see what James's 'firm commitment' really means.


No one's sure why The Pirate Bay is experiencing downtime
So, "what the fuck is happening with The Pirate Bay?" none of you have been wondering in recent weeks because you've never even thought about tapping some BitTorrent goodness to download all the latest copyright infringing nonsense. But now you bring it up, what the fuck is happening with The Pirate Bay?

The famously litigation-resistant file-sharing website has been experiencing high levels of downtime in recent weeks. Though seemingly some people can access the Bay just fine and get busy illegally downloading some telly shows and pop tunes, while others are seeing a tedious Cloudflare error page instead.

Obviously there have been countless efforts by the music and movie industries over the years to take The Pirate Bay down, with numerous web-blocks in place around the world, where internet service providers try to block their customers from accessing the site. And there was that period where copyright owners went after the piracy site's domains, forcing it to jump from domain registry to domain registry.

But the site's current domains are definitely working OK and the random nature of the Bay's downtime - which is affecting users in many different countries - suggests it has nothing to do with any full-on web-blocking funtimes.

The fact that people are seeing a Cloudflare error message has led some to think that it is doing the blocking, the internet services firm having been under much pressure from copyright owners to stop piracy outfits from using its platform. Though again, the random nature of the downtime suggests Cloudflare - which has to date resisted most of those demands to block piracy operations - isn't involved.

With all that in mind, Torrentfreak asked the people currently running the Bay what's going on, and it seems that they don't know either, as everything is working their end.

Torrentfreak writes: "The Pirate Bay is aware of the issues but it doesn't have a definite answer either. This means that, like many others, we can only speculate. One option ... is that an internet backbone network is somehow causing trouble".

The site then explains: "These are the providers which make sure that traffic is routed from your ISP connection, through their infrastructure, to The Pirate Bay. If one of these networks is not passing on traffic to The Pirate Bay, Cloudflare can't connect to it, at least not everywhere. This could also explain why the site is unreachable in some locations while working just fine in others".

So maybe that's it. Torrentfreak also notes that there are various workarounds for those people currently seeing the Cloudflare error page, but you don't want to know about any of that do you? A Spotify or Apple Music subscription, and signing up to Netflix and Amazon Prime, there you go, that's your workaround. Over and out.


Rudimental sign Ella Henderson to Major Toms label
Rudimental have signed Ella Henderson to their label, Major Toms. The singer is the second signing to the imprint of Warner Music's Asylum Records, following Anne-Marie.

"We're proud to welcome the amazing Ella Henderson to the family", say the band. "She's an exceptional talent and we're so excited for what's to come."

Henderson herself adds: "I'm so happy and excited to have signed with an amazing group of artists, musicians, producers and friends. I have been so welcomed over recent months and I am so excited to become a new member of the Major Toms/Asylum family!"

She goes on: "Rudimental are such a fun loving group continuously producing exciting new music. They have huge hearts and care about the wider community, people and their fans. Having the boys involved in this next chapter of my musical journey makes me so excited for what's to come!"

After coming sixth in the 2012 series of 'The X Factor', Henderson released her debut album, 'Chapter One', through Syco in 2014. It was announced that she was no longer signed to the 'X Factor' owning Sony label in February, and she then confirmed that she had completed work on her second album in May.

She has also been performing in Rudimental's live band in recent months and will be working on new material with the outfit over the next few months, presumably meaning that second album - as completed in May - will not actually see the light of day.

Rudimental, meanwhile, are set to release their new album, 'Toast To Our Differences', on 25 Jan.


Artists line up to back crowdfunding campaign to save Oxford venue
Oxford independent music venue The Cellar is nearly a quarter of the way to raising the £80,000 it needs to avoid closure after launching a crowdfunding campaign earlier this week. It needs the money because of new fire regulations that have forced the venue to cut its capacity from 150 to 60, which stops it from being a commercially viable operation.

The popular venue was saved from closure last year after its landlords changed plans to convert the cellar it occupies into a retail unit. Thousands of people - including numerous artists - signed a petition calling on the landlord to allow the venue to continue operating.

Having won that battle, The Cellar now faces a new threat because of the new fire regulations. Launching its crowd-funding campaign, the venue explained that: "The Cellar is on the verge of closure because new stringent fire regulations have cut our capacity from 150 to 60 people. We need to raise £80,000 over the next five weeks to build a new fire exit, or we'll be closing our doors in December 2018 forever".

It's no secret that grassroots venues like The Cellar - while often being important hubs for a town or city's local music scene and playing a key role in nurturing new talent - operate on incredibly tight profit margins. Sudden unforeseen expenditure like this one can frequently put an otherwise viable grassroots venue out of business.

The venue goes on: "In our fight to save The Cellar, we have been placed under huge financial strain, incurring large legal costs. Worse still, since our capacity has been cut, we have lost many of our most popular nights and our promoters have understandably had to go elsewhere with their larger shows".

But there is a solution. The venue says: "The good news is that it is possible to increase our capacity by building a new fire exit from The Cellar into Frewin Court. It is major structural work but if we can raise the money, the renovations will improve the space, enabling The Cellar to thrive, not just survive".

The £80,000 renovation would actually increase the capacity of the venue to 200. To that end a one month crowdfunding campaign is now in full swing, with an assortment of goodies on offer to supporters, who can also just make a simple donation.

The Cellar's manager Tim Hopkins, whose father founded the longstanding music venue, told reporters: "It was people power that saved The Cellar in 2017, and that showed me how much the community care about this place and how important it is to keep it alive. Running a small venue these days is definitely challenging to make it work, and sadly, with the extent of the renovations we've been asked to make, we simply don't have the money to pay for them. Which is why we're calling on people power again with this crowdfunding campaign".

Among those artists supporting the bid to save the Oxford venue are Gaz Coombes, Phil Selway, Mark Gardener, Glass Animals, Nils Lofgren, Lovely Eggs, Nadine Shah, Ghostpoet, Jon Otway, David Gedge and Kiran Leonard.

Find out more and donate to the crowdfunding campaign here.


Spotify gives away Google Home Minis in the US
Spotify is now offering subscribers a free Google Home Mini so that they can have some voice-activated Spotify goodness in their lovely mini homes. I say subscribers, the free gift is only available to those who sign up for the Spotify Premium Family plan in the US over the next two months. So, a mini promo for a mini group of Spotify users. But voice-activated.

The Mini is the economy line version of the Google Home device, the web giant's voice-activated internet-connected blob that competes with the Amazon Echo and Apple's HomePod, among a plethora of other smart speaker type gadgets on the market.

The tie-up is interesting because Google is in the streaming music business itself, of course, and more so than ever since the launch of the YouTube Premium music set-up. Meanwhile Spotify has been considering its own move into the smart speaker domain.

Despite this, the partnership presumably works based on the "my enemy's enemy is my friend" maxim, with both Spotify and Google likely seeing Apple and Amazon as the bigger foes in the streaming and smart speaker domains.

Spotify also previously announced a relationship with another Apple/Amazon competitor, Samsung, to make it easier to use the streaming service on that firm's smart speaker product, the Galaxy Home.

While Amazon has worked with competitors to make its voice-activated assistant Alexa more widespread and its Echo devices more adaptable - more so now that it's made its Music Skill API publicly available - Alexa still chooses Amazon Music by default and Apple has made its HomePod much less receptive to rival music services.


Approved: Yama Warashi
Psych-rock septet Yama Warashi are set to release their second album - the follow-up to 2016's 'Moon Egg' - next month. Led by former Zun Zun Egui member Yoshino Shigihara, the band's sound mixes experimental rock with Japanese folklore to create a mesmeric sound.

Titled 'Boiled Moon', the new album is out on 18 Nov and, with that date drawing nearer, the band have released the video for the record's second single, 'Jyomon Doki Doki'. That video brings to life the Japanese influence in their music, as Shigihara explains.

"It's quite a cheeky, fun song - about the idea of two ancient Japanese clay figures meeting", she says. "I wanted the atmosphere to be like a fun children's song that people can dance around to. It was also incredibly enjoyable to make, because I love performing and improvising, and so do my bandmates, so for all of us it came together naturally".

The band have various UK live dates coming up around the album's release date, including a performance at The Scala in London on the day itself. Get yourself along to that on 18 Nov, and right now watch the video for 'Jyomon Doki Doki' here.

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

Hookworms split follow allegations of abuse against frontman
Hookworms have abruptly announced that they are splitting up, with immediate effect, following abuse allegations against frontman Matthew 'MJ' Johnson. He denies the claims.

Yesterday afternoon, the band said in a statement on Twitter that they are "deeply shocked by the allegations" and "take them very seriously", saying that "as a result, we can no longer continue as a band".

They then added: "This is a matter for MJ as an individual, external to the band ... the other members of Hookworms, their collaborators, various agents and record label had no prior knowledge of the allegation ... and are still coming to terms with the news".

The allegations against Johnson were made by former Joanna Gruesome frontwoman Alanna McArdle, on behalf of another woman, whom she identified on as 'L'.

"L is a survivor of sexual and physical abuse, something she made Matt aware of", she wrote. "Over the course of numerous interactions he made jokes about the specific details of L's past experience, joking about raping her, mutilating her body, and punching her in the face. He sexually assaulted her, triggered her PTSD, and at the time remained unapologetic for his actions".

McArdle said that Johnson had defended those actions over the last two years and had attempted to "reframe" them. However, she added that she has now "seen evidence of Matt texting L a few weeks ago admitting to these sexually and emotionally abusive actions".

Following the band's statement yesterday, Johnson issued his own response on Twitter, saying: "It feels impossible to address this comprehensively so soon and especially given subsequent developments and decisions that have been made by others. To be clear, I deny, and will always deny, the allegations".

He went on: "I understood that L and I were both unhappy with parts of our short relationship, but we had not been in contact for some time. She contacted me recently and in our exchanges - we did not meet - she asked me to characterise some of my actions against her as abusive to assist her, she said, with her ongoing recovery from historic sexual abuse that occurred prior to us knowing each other. I regret now accepting any blame".

"I felt pressured into disbelieving myself and believed I was helping here", he continued. "I offered her support in other ways, so to read what she has told someone else about me is confusing and upsetting. More importantly, the picture and image painted of me yesterday is untrue".

Hookworms released their third album, 'Microshift', in February, and were due to perform shows in Birmingham, Manchester and London this month.


Super!, IMPEL, Channel 4, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• The Corida Group - the live music side of French independent label Because - has acquired a 50% stake in another French live music firm called Super! Which is, well, super. Super! founder Julien Catala is both "delighted" and "proud". Among other things, Super! promotes the Paris edition of the Pitchfork Music Festival, which is happening right now.

• The all new IMPEL - the digital licensing grouping for independent publishers - yesterday held its first AGM and added four more members to its board: Ryan Farley from Cooking Vinyl Publishing, Simon Harris from Minds On Fire, Mary Jo Mannella from Music Asset Management and Paul Tunkin from Blow Up Songs. They join the organisation's founding board members who respectively come from Beggars Music, Bucks Music, Kassner Music, Truelove Music, Reservoir Music, Legs Music and CTM.

• Channel 4 will set up a new HQ in Leeds, part of a bid to have the state-owned broadcaster do more of its broadcasting gubbins outside of London. It'll still have a base in the capital though. Plus two lovely new creative hubs in Bristol and Glasgow. And who doesn't love a creative hub? Well done Bristol and Glasgow. And Leeds, of course.

• Slipknot have released their first new song for four years, 'All Out Of Life'. Says frontman Corey Taylor: "'All Out Life' is a song that is trying to do two things: bring everyone together, but also remind everyone that the past is not something to be discarded with disdain ... 'All Out Life' is the anthem that reminds people that it's not the date on the music - it's the staying power".

• Ice Cube has announced that he will release a new album, titled 'Everythang's Corrupt', on 7 Dec.

• Shabazz Palaces have released the video for 'Dèesse Du Sang', from 2017 album 'Quazarz: Born On A Gangster Star'. The duo will be in the UK supporting Lauryn Hill on tour in November and December, and will headline The Jazz Café in London on 7 Feb.

• Matthew Dear has released the video for 'Bunny's Dream', from new album 'Bunny'.

• Low have released the video for 'Always Trying To Work It Out', from their new album 'Double Negative'.

• Theophilus London has released the video for Tame Impala collaboration 'Only You'.

• Bali Baby has released the video for 'Resurrection Intro', from her new mixtape, 'Resurrection'.

• Richard Ashcroft cancelled last night's show in Manchester and will also not play in London on Friday, due to illness. "It has really been hard to make this call but everyone deserves to hear me at my best", he said on Instagram. The shows will be rescheduled.

• Professor Green, Louis Berry, Nothing But Thieves and Hussain Manawer have been added to the bill for the Ed Sheeran-headlined Music 4 Mental Health show at London's Roundhouse on 18 Nov. Also performing will be Anne-Marie, Olly Murs, Ella Eyre and James Arthur.

• Apparat has announced two UK shows for next spring. He will play the Attenborough Centre in Brighton on 26, followed by The Barbican in London on 27 Apr.

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


Ozzy Osbourne says fun was banned at Black Sabbath farewell shows
Ozzy Osbourne says he's enjoying his farewell tour as a solo artist a lot more than the one with Black Sabbath. Mainly because there's no one to tell him to stop messing about.

"[I wasn't] allowed to have fucking fun with Sabbath", he tells Rolling Stone. "It [was] too serious. Tony [Iommi] was trying to have a go at me, saying, 'Don't fucking talk over my solos'. I go, 'OK, are you sure? Cos most of the fucking song is solos. The intro to the song is fuckin five minutes and then I sing for about two seconds and then it's another one'".

"With my own thing", he went on, "I'm looking to have fun, and that's what music's about for me. I'm not a serious fucking singer. I'm just a frontman who's trying to get the crowd going in front".

Keeping the crowd down there in front of him at a safe distance is preferable now too. Osbourne was recently forced to postpone shows while he had surgery on his hand for a staph infection. This apparently reveals the dangers of meet-and-greets.

After receiving the diagnosis, Osbourne recalls: "The doctor said to me, 'Can you remember talking to someone and shaking hands?' Well, I do that meet-and-greet at the gig and I must shake fucking 200 hands a day. He said, 'That explains it'".

Maybe Avril Lavigne had the right idea, after all.


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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