TODAY'S TOP STORY: Sony Corp yesterday confirmed it had completed its deal to take complete ownership of the EMI Music Publishing business. The move follows competition regulators in Europe green lighting the transaction last month... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES Sony completes acquisition of EMI Music Publishing
DEALS Káryyn signs to Mute
LIVE BUSINESS Ed Sheeran's promoter declares AMA award winning anti-tout strategy a success
MEDIA Cardi B, Chance The Rapper and TI to judge Netflix rap contest
ARTIST NEWS Plans to build Black Sabbath bridge and bench in Birmingham unveiled
RELEASES Girlpool announce new album, What Chaos Is Imaginary
ONE LINERS Ole, Mogwai, Little Mix, more
AND FINALLY... Mariah Carey's 2001 album Glitter shining in iTunes charts
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Sony completes acquisition of EMI Music Publishing
Sony Corp yesterday confirmed it had completed its deal to take complete ownership of the EMI Music Publishing business. The move follows competition regulators in Europe green lighting the transaction last month.

Sony, of course, led a consortium of investors to buy the EMI Music Publishing company back in 2012. Sony's own music publishing business, Sony/ATV, was then appointed to administrate the rights of the EMI songs catalogue.

Earlier this year, Sony confirmed that it had agreed to buy most of those investors out of the EMI business. Those investors controlled about 60% of EMI Music Publishing and were led by an entity called the Mubadala Investment Company. The remaining other investor was the Michael Jackson Estate, which then also agreed to sell its shares to Sony.

The deals will allow the entertainment conglom to properly merge the Sony/ATV and EMI publishing companies, creating a true music publishing powerhouse.

The creation of a combined Sony/ATV/EMI wholly owned by Sony was, of course, controversial. Organisations representing songwriters and indies argued that the deal gives Sony way too much power in the song rights business and - because it also owns the second biggest record company in the world - in the music rights sector in general.

Groups like IMPALA, BASCA and the European Composer & Songwriters Alliance called for competition regulators in Europe to block the deal. The former is still considering its options with regard to how it might formally respond to the European Commission's decision. IMPALA boss Helen Smith said last month that the ruling was "perplexing" and "goes against the regulator's own precedents".

However, Sony has nevertheless completed its deal with the Mubadala Investment Company. In a statement to the Securities & Exchange Commission in the US yesterday, Sony said it had "completed the acquisition of the entirety of the approximately 60% equity interest" held by Mubadala and its associates, adding: "As a result of this acquisition, EMI has become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sony".

Running through the figures, Sony's statement went on: "As a result of this acquisition, Sony expects to record additional operating income of approximately 105 billion yen, representing a non-cash step-up gain for the approximately 40% equity interest in EMI that Sony already owned and reflecting costs relating to the acquisition, in the music segment in the third quarter of the fiscal year ending 31 Mar 31, 2019".

"Sony also assumed EMI's existing interest-bearing debt of approximately $1.3 billion as a result of this acquisition", it also confirmed. "Of which $0.96 billion was repaid immediately from Sony's existing cash".

It remains to be seen if the deal has any impact on the day-to-day operations of Sony/ATV/EMI, which has pretty much run as one company anyway since Sony/ATV was appointed to administrate the EMI songs after the 2012 acquisition.

Still, this is the first time since 1995 that Sony has wholly owned its music publishing division, that being the year that Sony Music Publishing merged with Michael Jackson's ATV Music Publishing. The Jackson estate sold its half of Sony/ATV to Sony Corp back in 2016.

Although all the majors tend to run their recorded music and publishing divisions separately, that is more true at Sony than it is at Universal and Warner. With long-time Sony/ATV boss Marty Bandier also standing down next year, this might provide an opportunity for Sony to bring its two global music divisions more closely together.


Káryyn signs to Mute
Káryyn has released two new tracks, marking her signing to Mute. The label will release her debut album next spring.

The two new songs make up the latest in her 'Quanta' series of releases, put out over the last year and a half, which will be compiled together to create that album release.

Of lead track, 'Today, I Read Your Life Story 11:11', she says: "When this song came out of me, it came out in one go. Like a crow flying deep into the forest in order to bring out the jewels, I had to enter that darkness to discover the truth".

Listen to 'Today, I read Your Life Story 11:11' and second track 'Segment And The Line' here.


Ed Sheeran's promoter declares AMA award winning anti-tout strategy a success
Kilimanjaro Live chief Stuart Galbraith thanked both Ticketmaster and StubHub at the Artist & Manager Awards last night - but delivered a big "no thank-you" to Viagogo - while picking up an award for both his company and fellow tour promoter DHP Family for their combined efforts in tackling the touts on Ed Sheeran's last tour.

He also revealed that, as a result of all that work, most touts have chosen not to acquire tickets for Sheeran's next round of shows.

Kilimanjaro Live and DHP Family were the winners of a new prize at the annual awards from the Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition which was linked to the anti-touting FanFair campaign that MMF helped launch two years ago. On the back of that campaign new regulations governing the resale of tickets for profit have been introduced in the UK and, even more importantly, existing regulations have started to be enforced.

Artist manager Brian Message, one of the people who instigated FanFair, presented the award to Kilimanjaro and DHP, noting that they had utilised the regulatory achievements of the campaign to implement a prolific anti-touting strategy on Ed Sheeran's most recent UK tour. This involved cancelling thousands of touted tickets and offering the fans who bought them replacements at face value. Although the new regulations helped with all that, Message acknowledged that anti-touting strategies of this kind are a lot of work to implement.

Galbraith said that he was really grateful to accept the award on behalf of the Kili and DHP teams "in recognition of what we achieved on the Ed Sheehan tour last year and what we will achieve next year". Confirming that a "huge amount of effort" and been involved, he also noted that the support of Sheeran, his manager Stuart Camp and agent Jon Ollier was also key to their success.

Of Sheeran, Camp and Ollier, he went on: "They are vehemently against ticket touting, they are vehemently against their fans being ripped off, and without their support none of what we have achieved would have been possible".

Running through the figures, he added: "Last year on the Ed Sheeran tour we saved the customers in the region of £800,000 and we hurt Viagogo to the extent of nearly £2 million. As a result of that, instead of having to cancel 15,000 tickets as we did on the last tour, on the next tour, next week we will cancel less than 100. We've got the message across: the fans understand, and the touts have decided that they don't want to mess with us".

Among those being thanked were the team behind FanFair and the artist managers who helped fund it, Claire Turnham of the grass roots Victim Of Viagogo campaign, and the two MPs who have been most vocal with their support in Parliament, Nigel Adams and Sharon Hodgson. Galbraith also thanked Reg Walker of Iridium Security who, he said, "single-handled manually went through one million [Sheeran] ticket sales and identified for us the seven touts who had bought 15,000 tickets, and enabled us to cancel those tickets".

And finally came the thanks and the no thanks to the companies that provide - or have provided - the websites where the online touts do their re-selling. Live Nation's Ticketmaster, of course, announced in August that it was closing down its resale sites in Europe. Meanwhile the unrepentant Viagogo announced it was suing Galbraith's company over its anti-touting strategy on the Sheeran shows.

"Thank you to Ticketmaster", the Kili boss said, "for bowing to our relentless pressure, our requests, and our incessant nagging you, thank you for closing your two tout sites, we appreciate it greatly. Thanks also, bizarrely, to StubHub, who are more transparent than the one last bad actor that we have in the industry which is Viagogo".

"No thanks to Viagogo", he concluded. "Thank you for threatening to sue us. Thank you for not following it through. Thank you for not suing us in Germany. Thank you for not suing us in Austria". The resale firm threatened legal action in Germany because that's the home turf of Kili's parent company DEAG, which got the final thanks in Galbraith's speech for standing by its UK subsidiary and its decision to "stand up for what we believe is right".

Not all the awards presented at the AMAs were quite so timely or political, with a long line of artists and managers also being presented with gongs for their recent output and projects or, in some cases, their career-long contributions. Here is a full list of winners...

Artist Of The Year: Dua Lipa
Breakthrough Artist Of The Year: Mabel
Pioneer Award: Kano
Artists' Artist Award: Guy Garvey

Manager Of The Year: Closer Artists
Writer/Producer Manager: Carol Crabtree, Solar Management
Breakthrough Manager Of The Year: Jazz Sherman, Hunger Management
Entrepreneur Award: Jamie Oborne, All On Red
Peter Grant Award For Lifetime Achievement: Modest! Management

Fanfair Alliance Outstanding Contribution To Live Music: Kilimanjaro Live & DHP Family
Unsung Hero Award: Natalie Wade, Small Green Shoots


Cardi B, Chance The Rapper and TI to judge Netflix rap contest
Cardi B, Chance The Rapper and TI are to act as judges on a new hip hop talent contest for Netflix, currently with the working title 'Rhythm And Flow'.

Due to appear on the streaming service next autumn, it will consist of ten hour long episodes, featuring auditions in cities around the US, including the judges' hometowns of Atlanta, Chicago and New York.

In each city, established rappers from that area will also sit in as guest judges. Those additional names are set to be announced in due course. Obviously. I didn't really need to tell you that, did I? They will be though. Announced.

A schedule for the auditions hasn't yet been revealed, but you can put yourself forward for inclusion on a website set up to gather interested parties.


Approved: Fofoulah
The sound of afro-dub band Fofoulah's second album 'Daega Rek' developed naturally from the live shows that supported their 2014 debut. At those shows, Gambian sabar drummer Kaw Secka began getting up and rapping over the last song in their set, directing the band into different rhythms. Seeing something in this, they decided to explore it further with their new music, putting Secka up front and heading in a more electronic direction.

The new album's title translates as 'The Truth', and in his lyrics - delivered in sharp bursts of West African language Wolof - Secka explores different elements of truth and reality. Like the world's relationship to the truth at the moment, the music shifts and changes rapidly underneath him. With complex rhythms, pulling in elements of dub, drum n bass and footwork, it's easy to lose track of where you are in it, but it's well worth at least trying to keep up.

The band are set to play an album launch show at The Pickle Factory in London on 28 Nov. More tour dates are set for January and February next year. For now, here's the video for album track 'Seye'.

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

Plans to build Black Sabbath bridge and bench in Birmingham unveiled
A plan is afoot to pay tribute to Black Sabbath in their hometown of Birmingham with a bridge and a bench, plus the addition of one more band member to a nearby Hollywood-style walk of fame that honours local celebs.

According to The Birmingham Mail, the proposals are being put forward by the Westside Business Improvement District organisation in the city. The plans would see a new bridge named for the band built over the canal on Broad Street, with an accompanying metal bench constructed by craftsman in Birmingham's Jewellery District nearby.

The original idea came from Egyptian architect Mohammed Osama, a lifelong fan of the band, and now friend of bassist Geezer Butler. He told the Birmingham Mail: "My vision is to reunite the four original members for the unveiling of the stars and 'Metal Bench' - the crowning jewel of the whole project. I mean just reunite them together at their hometown, no gigs or anything. Just the four of them being celebrated together at their hometown would be the best ending and closure I could possibly think of".

The band already played a farewell concert in Birmingham last year. However, drummer Bill Ward was not involved in the show or the preceding tour, following a dispute over his contract. For many, including Osama, apparently, this left the whole thing feeling somewhat unfinished.

"For them on a personal level and for their fans all around the globe, the 'Metal Bench' aims to be a major tribute to the band and, at the same time, create a major tourist landmark on Broad Street", Osama goes on.

With that in mind, he adds, "the bull statue at [Birmingham's] Bullring [shopping centre] is one of the most photographed sculptures in England. We hope this new bench would rival that". Which is a fine ambition, though, while I'm sure it'll be a very nice bench, calling it a sculpture might be a step too far.

Broad Street already has a Black Sabbath themed tourist attraction, in the form of its Walk Of Stars. Ozzy Osbourne was the first person to receive one of those stars back in 2007, with Butler and guitarist Tony Iommi following. The final proposal for the project is that Ward receive his pavement star too. All four stars would then be relocated so that they were situated in front of the bench.

"If we get approval, all of the stars will be rearranged and the bridge itself will also be named after the band", says Osama. "The band members and their managements have been in the loop as well".

Birmingham City Council has not yet commented, although councillors are currently working on the city's 2019 budget, so we may hear more news soon.


Girlpool announce new album, What Chaos Is Imaginary
Girlpool have announced that they will release their third album, 'What Chaos Is Imaginary', on 1 Feb. They've also released its lead single 'Hire'.

The writing of this album was different to those that have gone before, as the bandmembers found themselves living in different states in the US. "Before, we would build our songs together with four hands, from the ground up", says Cleo Tucker. "Our songs used to be intertwined in a different way. We brought our separate experiences to the songs that we crafted together, we valued understanding that they were multidimensional".

"It's helped me find validity in parts of my writing I found to be unapproachable", adds Harmony Tividad. "I thought my stream-of-consciousness was unsophisticated".

Listen to 'Hire' here.


Ole, Mogwai, Little Mix, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Canadian publishing company Ole has announced Helen Murphy as its new CEO. She replaced Robert Ott. "I am passionate about music", says Murphy. As are we all Helen, as are we all.

• Mogwai and Signature Brew have created a new pale ale named 'Mogwai Beer Satan' - a play on their 1997 track 'Mogwai Fear Satan'. Described as the brewery's "first concept beer", it is apparently "built around the properties" of that track. There's a launch night for the beer at the Signature Brew Taproom & Venue in East London tonight.

• There's a Little Mix Alexa skill to promote their new album. Enable Little Mix Triple A on your Amazon device to transport yourself into the studio or go backstage with the band. They recorded 400 separate audio tracks for the app, so there's a lot to delve into. Not like the CBeebies skill, where you have to listen to Mr fucking Tumble say the same thing over and over again. Little Monster's in the bathroom, shut up!

• Ellie Goulding and that Diplo have released the video for their recent single 'Close To Me', featuring Swae Lee. It's not a Cure cover.

• The Chemical Brothers have released a video for their last single 'Free Yourself'. It took eight months to make, apparently. The duo say of the video: "Why would artificial intelligence behave any different to humans discovering music and dance for the first time? We've all seen humans dancing brilliantly like robots, we've also seen robots dancing brilliantly like robots but you've never seen robots dancing badly like humans. That's new..." It sure is.

• Hozier has released a new single, which I think might be a thing some people vaguely care about. It's called 'Movement'. He's going on a sold out tour of the UK in December, which would confirm my earlier statement.

• The Vaccines have released new single 'All My Friends Are Falling In Love'. They've also announced tour dates for January and February, finishing up with two nights at The Roundhouse in London.

• Lafawndah has released her new mixtape 'Honey Colony Vol 2'. She's also announced the full line-up of artists joining her for her 'Honey Colony' show at London Queen Elizabeth Hall next month. As well as herself, Tirzah, Kelsey Lu, Nìdia, Bonnie Banane and Elheist will all be pitching in and helping out.

• Popcaan has released the video for 'Wine For Me', from his recent album 'Forever'.

• Easy Life have released the video for their latest single 'Nightmare'.

• Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has announced that she will release a new album, titled 'Tides: Music For Yoga And Meditation', on 11 Jan. Here's a short excerpt.

• Yaeji has released the video for relatively recent single 'One More'. "For the music video 'One More' I wanted to create a speculative reality in which our daily loops of banal existence become a prison for our creative expression and forward progression", she says. "Too often people are trapped by their self-imposed ritual routines, and do not have the agency to break free and take control of their own destiny".

• Balthzar will release new album, 'Fever', on 25 Jan. From it, this is 'Entertainment'.

• Rina Mushongo has announced the she will release her second album, 'In A Galaxy', on 15 Feb. Here's new single, 'Hey Coach'.

• Azealia Banks has announced two UK shows in January next year. She will play The Ritz in Manchester on 24 Jan and Koko in London on 25 Jan. Probably.

• Blood Red Shoes have announced a run of live shows in December and January, kicking off at the Assembly in Camden on 7 Dec. The duo's new album, 'Get Tragic', is out on 25 Jan.

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


Mariah Carey's 2001 album Glitter shining in iTunes charts
Mariah Carey's 2001 album 'Glitter' is riding high in iTunes charts around the world. This follows a campaign by fans to get the singer's soundtrack to her film of the same name the recognition they believe it deserves.

The album is currently at number one in the US iTunes album chart, while it sits at number six in the UK. Fans behind the #JusticeForGlitter campaign see this as just that - justice for an album that never got its dues.

'Glitter' was seen as a commercial flop when it was originally released, its lack of success hindered not just by lukewarm reviews and the film it soundtracked being universally panned, but also because it was released on 11 Sep 2001. That said, it entered the Billboard chart at number seven with first week sales of 116,000. Not great at the time, but very respectable now. It's unlikely its current chart success is matching those sales.

It's not about matching or exceeding the past though, it's about perceived success right now. So fans are buying the album up as fast as they can and sharing their stories about how, actually, they think it's really good.

Carey herself has been keeping a close eye on all these goings on. As the album broke into the US iTunes top ten yesterday, she tweeted: "Not sure what's happening but I love it! The Lambily is amazing at getting #JusticeForGlitter".

She calls her fans The Lambily, by the way. When the album reached number two last night, she tweeted loudly, "I CAN'T EVEN KNOW WHAT TO SAY". And the weirdness of that sentence suggests that she really can't. Or doesn't. Whatever.

It remains to be seen how all these iTunes sales translate into actual official chart positions. Her new album, 'Caution', is out tomorrow, so presumably the 'Glitter' campaign will stop to make way for that. Still, it would be quite funny if 'Glitter' ended up being more successful than her latest effort. That would pa the way for a #JusticeForCaution campaign in 2034.


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