TODAY'S TOP STORY: Spotify put yet another new industry-facing service into beta yesterday. This time its a product that seeks to enhance the firm's relationships with those on the songwriting and publishing side of the business, which is where some of its most vocal critics have sat in recent years... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES Spotify launches new analytics tools for music publishers
LIVE BUSINESS Eventbrite launches new music-centric ticketing service
ARTIST NEWS Oxford denies snubbing Stormzy's offer of scholarship for black students
Kanye West updates Ye album, removes uncleared sample
RELEASES These New Puritans release new single, Into The Fire
GIGS & FESTIVALS Elton John announces UK farewell dates
ONE LINERS Deadmau5, Ani DiFranco, Ariana Grande, more
AND FINALLY... Beef Of The Week: Musicians v Donald Trump (Mid-term special)
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Spotify launches new analytics tools for music publishers
Spotify put yet another new industry-facing service into beta yesterday. This time it's a product that seeks to enhance the firm's relationships with those on the songwriting and publishing side of the business, which is where some of its most vocal critics have sat in recent years.

The new service is called Spotify Publishing Analytics, and sets out to make it easier for music publishers to monitor the performance of the songs they control and the songwriters they work with across the streaming platform, including on playlists.

Announcing the new platform, Spotify's Head Of Publishing Relations & Services for EMEA and APAC, Jules Parker, told reporters: "One of our core missions at Spotify is to enable creators the opportunity to live off their art. The publishing community is integral in supporting the songwriters that create the music we love".

He went on: "With more information, publishers are empowered to make the most of the opportunities the global reach of Spotify provides, and the more information we can share with each other, the more opportunities we can help create for songwriters".

Spotify first started providing analytics directly to artists back in 2013, recognising that many artists and managers were reliant on their labels or distributors to pass usage data on, and as a result many weren't getting the information they needed.

That was also part of a wider move by the streaming firm to placate its critics in the artist community, there being a feeling that at least some of the gripes artists were shouting about at the time were actually issues with the way labels and record deals work, rather than with the then still emerging streaming music business model. It was thought that allowing artists and managers to see more data might help communicate that fact.

On the songs side of the business, publishers as well as songwriters are often a step removed from the data, because a lot of the deal-making when it comes to songs rights is handled by the collecting societies. Even where publishers do direct deals over their Anglo-American catalogues, societies often still process the data and administrate the royalties.

Of course, some music publishers have built their own data portals in a bid to overcome this problem, pulling in what data feeds they can, and then presenting that information to the songwriters they represent, and any other publishers they provide administration services to.

But many on the songs side of the business still don't enjoy access to the kind of usage data now routinely utilised by labels and artists. Which is something Spotify is presumably seeking to help address with this new-fangled analytics set-up.

The company says it has been liaising with a number of publishers behind the scenes while developing the new data service, with reps from both Reservoir and BMG confirming their involvement and bigging up what Spotify is going to offer.

Confirming how it will work, the streaming firm said yesterday: "We developed this platform in close collaboration with a range of publishers to offer value to all of the roles that publishers play, from A&R to administration. Spotify Publishing Analytics will give publishers daily streaming statistics for the works and recordings they have identified, including playlist performance, as well as the ability to view data for each of the songwriters on their roster".


Eventbrite launches new music-centric ticketing service
Self-service ticketing platform Eventbrite has announced it is pushing even more into music by launching a new product specifically aimed at independent venues, promoters and festivals called - wait for it! - Eventbrite Music.

The new move follows Eventbrite's past acquisitions of Ticketscript and Ticketfly, both of which boosted the ticketing firm's music client base, in Europe and the US respectively. With those acquisitions in mind, the company says that Eventbrite Music "brings together the world-class expertise and functionality of multiple platforms".

The launch of Eventbrite Music will also see the company ultimately phase out the Ticketfly brand. This was likely the plan all along - it did the same with Ticketscript - although, of course, the Ticketfly brand was on the receiving end of a bunch of band press earlier this year when it experienced a significant data hack that took the whole site offline for a time.

Ticketfly founder Andrew Dreskin is now President of Eventbrite's music division, and he said of the music-skewed product: "The amount of thought and work we've put into addressing these needs has been a herculean effort".

He went on: "I've been doing this a long time and I can say with conviction that Eventbrite Music is the best piece of ticketing software that I've ever worked on. We're excited to put this solution into the hands of independent promoters around the world and help to continue to fuel a thriving independent music ecosystem".


Vigsy's Club Tip: Familia Sixth Birthday at Egg
The sixth birthday of this rather grand techno night is at Egg this Saturday, with headliner Monika Kruse.

Kruse has been busier than ever this year, playing all over the world and keeping her Terminal M label ticking over nicely. Her headline set will be well worth dropping in for, but of course Familia has plenty more names to make it worth your while.

Thomas Schumacher, Sinisa Tamamovic, Fabio Ferro, Miky J, Knowhat and Lola will all be there to back her up at this venue that goes from strength to strength in the London club scene.

Saturday 10 Nov, 200 York Way, London, N7 9AX, 11pm-7am, £20. More info here.

Oxford denies snubbing Stormzy's offer of scholarship for black students
The University Of Oxford has denied that it rejected an offer by Stormzy to fund scholarships for black British students there.

The rapper recently committed to pay tuition fees for four students at the University Of Cambridge over the next two years, as well as providing them with maintenance grants for up for four years of study. However, speaking at an event to launch his new book 'Rise Up: The #Merky Story So Far' at the Barbican in London this week, he said he first took the idea to Oxford.

According to The Guardian, Stormzy told the audience that his aim was to find "genius and incredible minds" among the "badly behaved kids", adding: "That is something I take personal pride in ... Now I am in this position I want to do something for them".

He said that he wanted young black children to know that "if you're academically brilliant don't think because you come from a certain community that studying at one of the highest education institutions in the world isn't possible".

However, he explained, the idea of the scholarships wasn't as easy to get off the ground as he expected, saying: "We tried Oxford but they didn't want to get involved".

Responding to this, a spokesperson for the University Of Oxford said: "We have not received or turned down any offer or proposal to fund undergraduate scholarships at Oxford. We have contacted Stormzy's representatives today to clarify [that] we would welcome the opportunity to work together on inspiring students from African-Caribbean heritage to study at Oxford".

Both universities have been criticised for their poor diversity among new students. However, last year, Labour MP David Lammy accused Oxford in particular of conducting "social apartheid", after it emerged that ten of the university's 32 colleges had failed to enrol a single black student in 2015. He criticised the institution again this year, when figures showed that this rate of enrolment had worsened between 2015 and 2017.

Launching the Stormzy-backed scholarship in August, the University Of Cambridge's Vice-Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope described the rapper as "an inspiration" whose "scholarships are a beacon for black students who might otherwise have felt they could not come to Cambridge".

He added: "In 2017, 58 new black students arrived to take up their courses at Cambridge, the largest number ever but not nearly as many as we would like. We know we need to work harder to ensure that black students not only apply to study at the university, but that they feel at home here and achieve their full potential".

Stormzy himself added at the time: "There are so many young black kids all over the country who have the level of academic excellence to study at a university such as Cambridge. However, we are still under represented at leading universities".

"We, as a minority, have so many examples of black students who have excelled at every level of education throughout the years" he went on. "I hope this scholarship serves as a small reminder that if young black students wish to study at one of the best universities in the world, then the opportunity is yours for the taking - and if funding is one of the barriers, then we can work towards breaking that barrier down".


Kanye West updates Ye album, removes uncleared sample
After his previous album, 'The Life Of Pablo', received various updates on streaming services before settling on its final version, Kanye West has seemingly now started making changes to his most recent effort, 'Ye'.

Fans began pointing out changes to the seven track record earlier this week. The most noticeable is the removal of a sample in opening track 'I Thought About Killing You'. Then studio engineer Adam Wolpert confirmed that the whole album has been remixed.

Responding to a fan tweet that 'I Thought About Killing You' appeared to have been updated to remove an uncleared sample, Wolpert simply replied "correct". Meanwhile, he posted a link to the album on Apple Music saying "cleaned up mix".

The sample now removed was taken from Kareem Lotfy's 'Fr3sh'. Speaking to Pitchfork in June, the boss of the Pan record label, which originally released that track, Bill Kouligas said: "It's sadly another case of an artist who capitalises on culture without any original ideas and because culture trickles up, this means we are all basically working for him. Everything leads to him, he's the ultimate narcissist".

West has not yet commented on the updated album.


These New Puritans release new single, Into The Fire
These New Puritans have released their first new music for five years. No rush, lads. New single 'Into The Fire' features Current 93's David Tibet and is the first taste of an album they've been working on since 2015.

"The new music is much more primitive", says Jack Barnett. "We want to make our music as direct and as powerful as possible - straight to the nervous system".

His brother George adds: "We wanted this to be about us working together on something really pure and progressive. The melodies and Jack's voice are much more important this time around".

Intriguing, huh? Listen to 'Into The Fire' here.


Elton John announces UK farewell dates
Elton John has announced dates for the UK leg of his much hyped three year farewell tour. You know, the one he's doing before he stops with all that sort of thing.

The tour kicked off in September and will take in five continents before reaching its conclusion in what will then be a less futuristic sounding 2021. By then, 2020 will also be old hat, but right now it seems like ages away. Which is going to be disappointing if you're here in the British Isles and looking forward to seeing John play, because that's when you will have to wait until. Right at the end of 2020 too.

It'll be worth the wait though, says John: "The 'Farewell Yellow Brick Road' tour will take us to many places that have meant a lot to me over the last 50 years, but these UK shows will be incredibly special. The UK is home and where my heart will always be. To celebrate some of the incredible moments we've shared with my British fans over the years will be wonderful. These homecoming shows will be very emotional, and a lot of fun".

Tickets for the UK run will go on sale on 16 Nov. Here are the dates:

6 Nov 2020: London, O2 Arena
7 Nov 2020: London, O2 Arena
9 Nov 2020: Birmingham Arena
11 Nov 2020: Birmingham, Resorts World Arena
13 Nov 2020: Liverpool, Echo Arena
14 Nov 2020: Liverpool, Echo Arena
17 Nov 2020: Manchester Arena
20 Nov 2020: Aberdeen, The Events Complex
21 Nov 2020: Aberdeen, The Events Complex
24 Nov 2020: Glasgow, Hydro
25 Nov 2020: Glasgow, Hydro
28 Nov 2020: Manchester Arena
30 Nov 2020: Belfast, SSE Arena
7 Dec 2020: Leeds, First Direct Arena


Deadmau5, Ani DiFranco, Ariana Grande, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Deadmau5 is opening a pop-up store in Soho from tomorrow until 16 Nov. There will be stuff to buy, plus DJ sets from the man himself and other collaborators. So that's nice. It coincides with his imminent UK tour.

• Ani DiFranco will publish her memoir, 'No Walls And The Recurring Dream', on 9 May next year.

• Ariana Grande has released the videos for 'Breathin' - that one featuring her pig that she shot on her phone wasn't the proper one, remember? - and new single 'Thank U, Next'.

• Ahead of a sold out UK tour later this month, Anne-Marie has released new single, 'Perfect To Me', a reworked version of her song, 'Perfect'. She's also announced more tour dates for May and June next year, finishing up at the Hammersmith Apollo on 12 Jun.

• Rich The Kid has announced that he will release new album, 'The World Is Yours 2', on 18 Jan.

• Christine And The Queens has released the video for 'The Walker', the latest single from her recent album, 'Chris'.

• Sufjan Stevens has released new track, 'Lonely Man Of Winter'. Proceeds will go to Brooklyn not-for-profit venue Jack. Check it out here.

• Earl Sweatshirt has released new single, 'Nowhere2go'.

• Panda Bear has announced that he will release his sixth solo album, 'Buoys', on 8 Feb. Here's first single 'Dolphin'.

• Elohim has released new single, 'Connect', which she co-produced with Skrillex. The track is also released via his Owsla label.

• Methyl Ethyl have announced that they will release their third album, 'Triage', on 15 Feb. Here's new single, 'Real Tight'.

• Yves Tumor has announced that he will play his first ever show in Europe at Hoxton Hall in London on 22 Nov.

• Boy Azooga won the Welsh Music Prize earlier this week, with their debut album, 'One, Two, Kung Fu!' Accepting the prize, frontman Davey Newington said: "This is a proper honour, with all the other amazing people nominated. Just to be part of Welsh music at the moment is exciting".

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


Beef Of The Week: Musicians v Donald Trump (Mid-term special)
Say what you like about Donald Trump. Oh wait, that wasn't supposed to be the end of that sentence. Say what you like about Trump, but when it comes to successes, he's had plenty. For example, he is definitely the US president that CMU has written the most about in all of its 20 year history. And he's only two years into his first term.

It's not just us, the music press as a whole, and the wider entertainment media too, has published endless stories in which he features. In part, I think this is because Trump is so much part of the entertainment industry, rather than the world of politics. But also, his special ability to rub more liberal-minded people up the wrong way means he clashes with the generally more left-leaning people of the music world a lot more often than most.

There's been a renewed focus in recent weeks thanks to the US mid-term elections. Those were quite something, huh? The Republicans both won and lost, thanks to US politics being almost as confusing as our own in the UK.

Anyway, elections mean rallies, and Trump has been on the campaign trail for the mid-terms since March. Although as election day loomed, those events gained more scrutiny. Not least because he started making some alarming claims. Like that a piece of legislation actually passed by Barack Obama in 2014 was "the greatest idea I think I've ever had" and that he is a proud "nationalist".

That's not music news though, Andy. Not music news. OK, sorry. I got distracted. But it is the rallies that I brought you all here to talk about today. Because, as with the rallies for his original election campaign, Trump has been playing music at these events. And a lot of the people who made that music have not been too happy about it.

Pharrell Williams got the ball rolling last week when he sent the president a cease-and-desist letter, after Trump used his song 'Happy' at a rally in Indiana. Williams was particularly angry that this had happened just hours after the mass shooting at a Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

"On the day of the mass murder of eleven human beings at the hands of a deranged 'nationalist', you played his song 'Happy' to a crowd at a political event in Indiana", Williams' attorney Howard E King wrote in the letter. "There was nothing 'happy' about the tragedy inflicted upon our country on Saturday and no permission was granted for your use of this song for this purpose".

"Pharrell has not, and will not, grant you permission to publicly perform or otherwise broadcast or disseminate any of his music", he continued. "The use of 'Happy' without permission constitutes copyright infringement".

Next up were Guns N Roses, who objected to their music being used on less specific grounds. Axl Rose tweeted: "Just so ya know, GNR - like a lot of artists opposed to the unauthorised use of their music at political events - has formally requested [our] music not [be] used at Trump rallies or Trump associated events".

"Personally, I kinda liked the irony of Trump supporters listening to a bunch of anti-Trump music at his rallies, but I don't imagine a lot of em really get that or care", he went on. "And when [your] phone's blowin up cuz peeps [are] seein/hearin 'Sweet Child' on the news at a rally, as a band we felt we should clarify [our] position".

Explaining to fans how the band's music came to be used, he said: "Unfortunately, the Trump campaign is using loopholes in the various venues' blanket performance licenses which were not intended for such craven political purposes, without the songwriters' consent. Can [you] say 'shitbags'?!"

It is true that - every time we report on things like this (in the UK too, where complaints about tracks being played at political events are also quite common) - we have to note that use of music in this way is usually covered by blanket licences provided by the collective licensing system.

Venues or event organisers get blanket licences from collecting societies - PRS in the UK, ASCAP or BMI in the US - and then any music controlled by those societies is covered for use. Which means that, under copyright law, when an artist gets pissed off that their music is being used for political purposes, it's not as simple as filing a standard infringment lawsuit against Trump, or whoever.

This is why Neil Young is still complaining about the use by Trump of his song, 'Rockin In The Free World', three years after he first did so. "DT does not have my permission to use the song 'Rockin' In The Free World' at his appearances", Young wrote on his website yet again this week.

He then explained: "Legally, he has the right to, however it goes against my wishes ... I asked him [in 2015], in a widely shared, public letter to cease and desist. However, he chose not to listen to my request, just as he chooses not to listen to the many American voices who ask him to stop his constant lies, to stop his petty, nasty name calling and bullying, to stop pushing his dangerous, vilifying and hateful rhetoric".

The question of legality is one raised again and again in this debate. Although filing a straightforward lawsuit for copyright infringement probably isn't an option, some lawyers reckon there might be another way to force politicians to stop using tracks without an artist's specific permission.

Also in 2015, working for Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, lawyer Dina LaPolt felt she had come up with grounds to block the use of Aerosmith's 'Dream On'. Those grounds included false endorsement under the Lanham Act and the infringement of Tyler's publicity and privacy rights.

Sadly, this was never tested in court, because Trump promptly agreed to drop the song from his rally playlist, saying that he had "a better one to take its place" anyway.

However, it turns out there might be another way. Because there is one more high profile artist to talk about in this latest Trump-esque beef. That being Rihanna.

A latecomer to the party, Rihanna tweeted "Not for much longer" on Sunday, after a journalist alerted her to the fact that her song 'Don't Stop The Music' was being played at Trump rallies.

A cease-and-desist followed the next day, her legal reps writing: "It has come to our attention that President Trump has utilised [Rihanna's] musical compositions and master recordings, including her hit track 'Don't Stop The Music,' in connection with a number of political events held across the United States. As you are or should be aware, Ms Fenty has not provided her consent to Mr Trump to use her music. Such use is therefore improper".

So far, so normal. However, what is more interesting is the letter that then followed it. Another cease-and-desist, but this time from collecting society BMI.

In its letter, the rights organisation says that it has received a complaint from Rihanna about the use of her music at Trump political events, and has therefore removed her from the blanket licence it holds directly with the Trump campaign - the 'Donald J Trump for President, Inc Political Entities License Agreement'.

"BMI has received a communication from Robyn Fenty, professionally known as 'Rihanna', objecting to the Trump Campaign's use of Rihanna's musical works", the letter reads, according to Rolling Stone. "As such ... this letter serves as notice that Rihanna's musical works are excluded from [the Trump-specific blanket licence], and any performance of Rihanna's musical works by the Trump campaign from this date forward is not authorised by BMI".

So that's an interesting development. Quite how easy it is for the societies to just take artists out of their blanket licences with specific politicians isn't clear - we've asked both BMI and ASCAP for clarification.

If he felt like it, Trump could read the consent decrees that regulate the two American societies and see whether they limit their options in this domain. But that would be quite a lot of reading to do. And Trump has just sacked his government's top lawyer.

So maybe this is a solution. Though if it is, we suspect there'll be lots of artists requesting removal from Trump's licence in the months ahead.


ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
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CHRIS COOKE | MD & Business Editor
Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
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Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
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