TODAY'S TOP STORY: Google says that its ongoing efforts to remove and demote links to unlicensed content within its search engine are working, bragging that when the UK government assessed its achievements in this domain it "passed with flying colours". That claim comes in the web giant's latest piracy report, which also includes a number of timely and suitably bold statements about YouTube... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES Google reckons its anti-piracy efforts are working, while bragging about its YouTube pay-outs
LEGAL Songwriter's lawsuit against session musician royalty fund allowed to proceed
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Song right collections top 8.3 billion euros, says CISAC
LIVE BUSINESS New London venue Magazine announced, as The Bedford prepares to re-open
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Apple Music launches preferred distributor programme
GIGS & FESTIVALS Evian Christ announces tiny, bright and loud shipping container shows
ONE LINERS The Beatles, Wu-Tang Clan, Dave Keuning, more
AND FINALLY... Bobby Gillespie's This Week dance hate captured in new painting
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Google reckons its anti-piracy efforts are working, while bragging about its YouTube pay-outs
Google says that its ongoing efforts to remove and demote links to unlicensed content within its search engine are working, bragging that when the UK government assessed its achievements in this domain it "passed with flying colours". That claim comes in the web giant's latest piracy report, which also includes a number of timely and suitably bold statements about YouTube.

The latest edition of the 'How Google Fights Piracy' report reviews various initiatives that seek to remove and demote copyright infringing material - or links to copyright infringing material - on the tech firm's various platforms. When it comes to Google Search, that means responding to takedown notices issued by rights owners, both by removing specific links to pirated material, and also demoting in its search rankings sites that are subject to repeated takedown requests.

The report mentions various government-led anti-piracy initiatives around the world that it is involved in, and in particular the government-instigated code of practice agreed in the UK between the music and movie industries on one side and Google and Microsoft's Bing on the other. This code, Google says, puts its site demotion activity to the test.

Google writes of the scheme: "The heart of the code is a process for testing whether search engines have met 'targets for reducing the visibility of infringing content in search results'. So far Google Search results have undergone four rounds of testing. Thanks to the demotion signal and our other efforts to surface legitimate results in response to media-related queries, Google Search has passed the test every time with flying colours - scoring considerably under the thresholds agreed with the [UK Intellectual Property Office]".

The report also includes a lengthy section on all things YouTube. This is timely, of course, because the very final version of the European Copyright Directive is being agreed and Google still hopes to water down the safe harbour reform contained within that document. Article thirteen of the directive aims to increase the copyright liabilities of sites like YouTube.

It talks at length about YouTube's Content ID rights management system, which it claims deals with 98% of copyright issues on the site. Google has now spent over $100 million building these tools, it adds, and over 9000 rights holders use them.

The music industry has been most vocal on the need for safe harbour reform, arguing that sites like YouTube exploit the protections the safe harbour provides to strong-arm record companies, music publishers and collecting societies into much less favourable licensing deals. So it's no surprise that in the middle of its piracy report Google finds time to summarise all of the fab things YouTube does for the music community. TL;DR "shut up with all your moaning".

"YouTube has partnerships with every major record label, as well as hundreds of collecting societies, independent labels and music publishers, to help share recorded music and music videos with fans on YouTube", Google writes. "Through licensing agreements with our partners in the music industry as well as the tools we offer, like Content ID, creators and rightsholders are compensated when fans visit YouTube to watch music videos"

"True", the music industry would argue, "but that compensation isn't enough".

"Again, shut up with all your moaning", YouTube would counter, "and prepare yourself for some really big numbers".

"From October 2017 to September 2018, YouTube paid out over $1.8 billion in ad revenue to the music industry", the report claims, despite that brag not really being relevant in a report that's meant to be about piracy.

"The music industry has earned over $6 billion in total ad revenue from YouTube", it goes on, before name-checking the company's new premium music service. "Combined with revenue from our growing subscription service, YouTube Music Premium, and money earned from monetising fan uploads, YouTube is contributing a meaningful and growing revenue stream for the industry while providing a powerful platform to engage with fans around the world".

Lovely stuff. Despite the coded music business dissing in the middle of the report, earlier on Google commends the music industry's efforts to build a plethora of compelling legal streaming services while also seeking to battle piracy. The implication is that Google wishes other copyright industries would do likewise. The contrast between that section and the YouTube chapter nicely illustrates the complexity of the relationship between big tech and the entertainment industry, ie they are simultaneously enthusiastic business partners and legislative foes.

"Easy access to legitimate music, videos and other media is one of the most effective ways to reduce infringement", Google insists. "The music industry has demonstrated the efficacy of this approach by licensing a variety of music services, including free, advertising-supported streaming services (like YouTube Music, Spotify Free and Pandora), download stores (like Apple's iTunes), and on-demand subscription products (like YouTube Music Premium and Spotify Premium). This ensures that media can reach the largest and most diverse array of fans at every price point". And ain't that the truth. Well done one and all.


Songwriter's lawsuit against session musician royalty fund allowed to proceed
A judge in California has declined to dismiss a lawsuit launched by songwriter and record producer Kevin Risto over the fees American performer unions AFM and SAG-AFTRA charge the royalty distribution fund they set up.

Risto sued over a decision made by the trustees of the Intellectual Property Rights Distribution Fund back in 2013 to start paying both AFM and SAG-AFTRA a 1.5% services fee.

The Fund collects various royalties due to session musicians, the most important of which is the Performer ER royalties due when the performing rights of a sound recording are exploited. In the US this means the session musicians' share of income collected by SoundExchange, though the fund also distributes Performer ER royalties that come in from elsewhere in the world.

The defendants argued that the Fund's governing document gives the trustees wide discretion on how best to run the royalty body and specific permission to pay the two unions who set the Fund up for any services or information they provide. Which means that, although such payments only began in 2013, the right to pay the unions for their input was there from the start.

Based on that argument, the Fund's trustees and the two unions urged the court to throw out Risto's action. However, while judge Christina Snyder has removed some elements of the lawsuit, she ruled on Tuesday that there was enough substance to the songwriter's core allegation - that of breach of fiduciary duty on the trustees' part - for the case to proceed.

Legal reps for Risto welcomed the ruling. According to Law360, attorney Jordanna Thigpen said: "We are very pleased with Judge Snyder's decision as it will allow these claims to proceed so that we may work towards recovery of these funds for artists. It is very important for claims for breach of fiduciary duty to proceed especially when there is no other method of challenging a given trustee's conduct, as is the case here".


Song right collections top 8.3 billion euros, says CISAC
The world's song right collecting societies - like PRS and MCPS in the UK - together collected 8.3 billion euros in 2017, a 6% increase year-on-year. This is according to the latest stats pack from CISAC, which brings together collective management organisations from across the global that represent the rights of songwriters and music publishers, and in some cases other non-music creators as well. But who cares about them? It's all about the music stats round here.

Music collections were up in all regions of the world, with digital income increasing 23.1% so that it topped one billion euros for the first time. Though that's still only 15% of all the monies that flow to songwriters and music publishers through the collective licensing system, the rest coming from things like CD sales, live music, TV, radio and other uses of music in public spaces, plus quirky things like the private copy levy that generated 342 million euros worldwide in 2017.

That said, that 15% figure - which may seem low given the much hyped streaming boom - needs some clarification. First, like with CDs, songwriters and publishers get a relatively small share of monies generated by streaming services, with the majority of the money paid into the music industry being allocated to the recording rights. Whereas with things like radio and TV the song rights and the recording rights usually receive similar payments.

Plus, in the digital space - unlike with things like radio and live - the CISAC figures don't show the complete picture, because not all the monies paid to songwriters and music publishers by streaming services pass through the collective licensing system.

With Anglo-American repertoire, an increasing number of publishers now do direct deals with the streaming services in many markets. Some of the money generated by those deals - that allocated to the 'performing rights' of the song - still flows through the societies and so is captured in the CISAC figures. But some of the money - that allocated to the 'mechanical rights' - doesn't flow through the collective and so isn't included here.

As more and more publishers start to directly license Anglo-American repertoire to streaming services in more and more territories, the amount of digital income missing from CISAC's annual stats pack will increase.

Still, CISAC would - somewhat unsurprisingly - also like you to note that digital income, while up 23.1% and accompanied by additional royalties not included in these figures, is still not enough because of the big bad value gap and bloody YouTube. Which is something, of course, European collecting societies hope will be dealt with by the new European Copyright Directive, providing Google doesn't get a last minute edit of the safe harbour reforming article thirteen.

With that in mind, CISAC President Jean-Michel Jarre noted on the publication of the report: "CISAC is at the heart of a battle for the future of over four million creators worldwide. I am passionately involved in this struggle. Europe has now recognised that it is time for change: it is not acceptable for the law to shield large tech monopolies and sustain a systemic injustice for creators. There is now a message to get to the rest of the world: it is time for other governments to sit up and follow".


New London venue Magazine announced, as The Bedford prepares to re-open
A new 3000 capacity venue is set to open in Greenwich next summer while, in South London, Clapham's The Bedford is set to re-open following refurbishment next month.

Set to be built by Venue Lab - the company behind London venues Printworks and Landing Forty Two in the Leadenhall Building - Magazine will sit on the Greenwich Peninsula near that pesky O2 dome. The new venue will sit alongside an outdoor space that can also host events for up to 7000 people.

CEO of Venue Lab owner Vibration Group, Simon Tracey, says: "London is still very much at the forefront of live events globally and Magazine, with it's incredible flexibility both indoor and out, is ground breaking".

Meanwhile Vibration Group's Strategy & Creative Director, Simeon Aldred, adds of the new venture: "It's a pivotal moment for Venue Lab and hugely significant for London. Greenwich Peninsula is a flagship global development and one of the single largest regeneration projects in Europe. To be developing a brand new cultural venue here is exciting for us and crucial in placemaking".

So that's all very corporate sounding, isn't it? Construction is due to begin next month, with plans to open next summer. The Bedford, meanwhile, operates more at the grassroots end of the industry, and has a long history of putting on big names early in their careers.

Closed since July, the venue has undergone a multi-million pound refurbishment and it is set to reopen in December. The spruced up pub building will boast five bars, four private rooms, a restaurant and fifteen hotel rooms, as well as its music and comedy venue.

Says its programmer Tony Moore: "Over the last decade and a half that I've been booking and curating music at The Bedford, I am proud of how many incredible artists have taken off since their time with us. From 2019 onwards, I know that we will be able to do even more to help artists achieve even greater success with our brand new world class, stage, lights and audio system".

One of those artists who played early career gigs at the Balham venue, that Ed Sheeran, has commented of the big revamp: "I loved playing The Bedford in Balham - it was such an important venue on the circuit and always had great acts playing every night. It holds fond memories for me and I look forward to coming back one day".

You heard it here first! He's looking forward to coming back! Ed Sheeran to play the opening party!

Just to be clear, that isn't happening.

Really, Ed Sheeran is not playing The Bedford's re-opening party.

All this protesting now sounds like I'm lying. He's really not.


No Ed.

Though maybe he'll do some crucial placemaking over at one of Europe's largest regeneration projects one day.


Apple Music launches preferred distributor programme
Apple Music has properly launched its recently announced Preferred Distribution Programme. This instigates a three-tier system of approved distributors who are pumping tunes into its streaming platform. CD Baby, Sony Music's The Orchard and German company Kontor New Media are handed the top 'Preferred Plus' status at launch.

The three levels in the programme - Preferred Plus, Preferred and Approved - are based on the number of tracks distributed to Apple Music each quarter, the level of service offered to users, and the number of rejections that occur when music is pushed into the system. Content can be rejected based on the quality of metadata, copyright claims and publishing discrepancies.

Top level distributors must deliver 40,000 songs per quarter, have a low rejection rate, and offer advanced customer features and analytics. They are rewarded with early access to new Apple Music features.

"Since the launch of iTunes - and before - CD Baby has been collecting robust metadata from the artists we distribute", CD Baby said in a statement responding to its Preferred Plus status. "That helps us ensure the music we deliver to our partners has a low 'rejection rate'. It added that being one of Apple fave distros "will open up new possibilities for the artists we serve".

Apple has always scored distributors over the way they provide content to iTunes, though this scheme seems more public. Apple Music's main rival Spotify also has a similar preferred distributor scheme already in place. It recently announced, of course, a closer alliance with one DIY distributor in particular, DistroKid. But it also has three 'Preferred' distributors in the form of CD Baby, The Orchard and FUGA.

Aside from the competitive advantage being preferred by any one service may or may not provide, CD Baby and The Orchard have bragging rights to being the only two distributors to be top ranked by both Spotify and Apple Music.

There are 20 distributors to achieve Apple's 'Preferred' status - distributing 10,000 songs per quarter - including the aforementioned DistroKid and Kobalt's AWAL, Believe Digital, IDOL, Tunecore and FUGA. A further nineteen have been marked 'Approved'. See the full list here.


Approved: Ben Crosland
Composer and sound designer Ben Crosland's new album of (mostly) solo piano pieces, 'Songs From Rainbow Hill', is set for release through Bigo & Twigetti later this month.

Inspired by Worcester and its surrounding countryside, where Crosland lives and works, it's a beautifully optimistic record, impressively conjuring up images of melting ice, summer rain and rolling hills. Crosland's style successfully achieves a careful balance that remains engaging and gentle throughout, without ever slipping into the background, as so many solo piano albums do.

The album's title, and the piece 'Rainbow Hill', take their names and inspiration from the hill which overlooks the road where Crosland lives.

"Due to the location and height of the hill, rainbows are a common occurrence here, especially in the late afternoon and early evening", he says. "Almost always, they radiate against a backdrop of the dark grey clouds that have just passed over, resulting in a spellbinding atmosphere of petrichor, soft golden light, and darkness defeated by triumphant colour".

"I think, in essence, 'Songs From Rainbow Hill' is an album about optimism and fond reminiscence", he continues. "I see each piece as a different way to centre myself - to appreciate what I have in that moment. To me, it just feels like home".

Listen to 'Rainbow Hill' here.

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

Evian Christ announces tiny, bright and loud shipping container shows
Producer Evian Christ and live visual artist Emmanuel Biard have announced that they will play three shows in a shipping container in Liverpool over the space of a month, starting next week.

The repurposed shipping container will fit just 50 people inside and will sit at an as yet undisclosed location in Liverpool's Baltic Triangle. Tickets are only available via text message and those able to get hold of them will only be told where to go 24 hours before the show. The event is presented by

"Myself and Emmanuel started off with humble intentions", says Evian Christ. "But our touring career has basically descended into an obsessive voyage of discovery to see how many strobe lights and arena-appropriate smoke machines someone could successfully fit inside Europe's smallest, loudest clubs. Once that's been settled, I play the music and Emmanuel plays the lights".

Turning to this event, he goes on: "In this particular case, we'll have four 3000kw strobes servicing 50 people, which as a ratio is basically unheard of - very extreme. Please come in expectation of experiencing something akin to the final scene of Danny Boyle's 'Sunshine', in which the protagonist - you - becomes consumed by the sun, but with the promise of a better soundtrack and a less fanciful plot".

"For me, the story of this event is the history of containerised global sea-freight", he continues. "The story of a country with an unsustainable and ever-widening trade deficit; of a city whose industrial sites were replaced with monuments honouring the speculations of international financiers; and of a culture which services this ongoing state of affairs by holding itself accountable to an unsolvable set of moral values".

"In short", he concludes, "I share [Sevenstore's] ambition to put 50 people inside a repurposed Chinese shipping container and have them stare directly into four strobe lights while I play the original mix of 'Xpander' at 150db".

So, if the thought of being pummelled by dangerous levels of light and sound in a small space packed with other people sounds appealing, send a text to 0777 677 0707 saying so.

The shows will take place on 16 Nov, 30 Nov and 15 Dec. Here's a trailer.


The Beatles, Wu-Tang Clan, Dave Keuning, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• In their continued efforts to get fans to part with money for music they already own several times over, The Beatles will release a 50th anniversary edition of 'The White Album' on Friday. From it, here's a new mix of 'Back In The USSR'.

• Wu-Tang Clan have announced a documentary, 'For The Children', marking the 25th anniversary of their debut album, 'Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)'. Here's the trailer.

• The Killers' Dave Keuning has released the title track from his upcoming debut solo album, 'Prismism'. The album is out on 25 Jan.

• Ibibio Sound Machine have released new song 'Basquiat'.

• CID RIM has released a new collaboration with Denai Moore, 'Control'.

• Tommy Genesis has released new track 'Bad Boy'. It features on her debut album, which is set for release this Friday. She's also announced that she will play a show at Oslo in Hackney on 20 Feb.

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


Bobby Gillespie's This Week dance hate captured in new painting
Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie's recent car crash appearance on BBC One's late night political programme 'This Week' has been captured in painting form.

Gillespie appeared on the Andrew Neill-fronted programme to argue that Britain is slipping backwards in terms of social inequality and faced a worsening of this trend if we enter into a hard Brexit and another Conservative government. Neill argued that in a global sense, there has been great progress, with an increasing number of people worldwide no longer fitting the UN's definition of "abject poverty". Co-host Michael Portillo briefly agreed, saying that this was the great success of capitalism. Then they all danced around a sour faced Gillespie.

The dancing was an attempt at the 'Skibidi dance challenge' - the viral dance thing that originates from the video for 'Skibidi' by Russian band Little Big. It was one of the 'fun' bits they insist on including in 'This Week', which have long helped make it one of the most painful things to watch on British TV.

Gillespie later said that he'd been asked to take part in the dance off before the show aired, but refused. This provided the show's producers the opportunity to close the programme on a shot of his stony faced glare.

Critiquing the whole situation on Instagram, alongside a video of it all going down, Gillespie said that after being asked about his views on 'progress' - or lack of it - he "was immediately cut off by Andrew Neil who quickly handed the question over to Michael Portillo. I never got to say what I fully wanted, my impression was that Andrew Neil sensed an alternative opinion that he didn't want to hear and closed me down".

To be fair, Gillespie was given more than two minutes of a three minute segment to get his point across. He just did it very slowly, without ever hitting his key argument hard enough. Still, we're here to talk about the dancing thing now, not the political debate.

"I found [Neill] to be arrogant, rude and smug", Gillespie continued. "When I arrived before the show, the producers asked me if I would take part in this 'dance' idea at the end of the show. I refused [and] after that their attitude towards me changed".

"After [the programme] finished, the Labour MP Caroline Flint joined Michael Portillo, Andrew Neil and the producer/crew as they cracked open the champagne - or wine? - and toasted each other. It was a sickening sight. [The clip of the dancing] sums up the attitude of the political class of our country, and the media who support/serve/enable them".

Oh, look at that, we're back into the politics. Anyway, the whole event has now been immortalised by Instagram artist Wefail, who paints monstrous political portraits. In the picture, Gillespie's anger and sadness following his interview is captured perfectly, as googly-eyed Neill dances behind him menacingly.

So happy with the artwork was Gillespie that he shared it on the Primal Scream Instagram profile. Prints of the image are now available for sale, although I think it might be a little too painful for Gillespie himself to have it hung up on his wall.


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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