TODAY'S TOP STORY: The back and forth about article thirteen of the European Copyright Directive continues, with the boss of UK collecting society PRS now also responding to an FT article written by YouTube boss Susan Wojcicki. He accuses her of providing no evidence at all to back up her claims that the planned safe harbour reform will negatively impact on the creator community... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES More article thirteen sparring, while Google threatens to bail on news in Europe
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Glassnote signs distribution deal with AWAL
LIVE BUSINESS AEG Europe announces exec promotions
MEDIA Publisher of i goes into administration, while Shortlist and Scuzz TV close
RELEASES Hannah Diamond returns with new single, True
Highasakite announce new album, Uranium Heart
ONE LINERS Anne-Marie & James Arthur, Karen O & Danger Mouse, Gerard Way, more
AND FINALLY... Justin Bieber settles with former neighbours over egg distress
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More article thirteen sparring, while Google threatens to bail on news in Europe
The back and forth about article thirteen of the European Copyright Directive continues, with the boss of UK collecting society PRS now also responding to an FT article written by YouTube boss Susan Wojcicki. He accuses her of providing no evidence at all to back up her claims that the planned safe harbour reform will negatively impact on the creator community.

Article thirteen of the European Copyright Directive, of course, seeks to reform the copyright safe harbour, which says that internet companies cannot be held liable when their users use their servers or networks to distribute content without licence. The proposed reforms will increase the liabilities of user-upload platforms like YouTube.

The music industry argues that Google's YouTube has long exploited the safe harbour to pressure record companies, music publishers and collecting societies into less favourable licensing deals. To that end, the music community hopes article thirteen will force YouTube to pay rates more in line with the other music streaming services. But Google argues that the Copyright Directive will have unintended consequences which will impact on grass roots creators the most. Which was what Wojcicki claimed in her piece for the Financial Times.

However, "Ms Wojcicki does not offer a shred of evidence to support her claims that article thirteen will harm the creative community", PRS boss Robert Ashcroft argues in a letter to the same newspaper. "The music industry on the other hand", he adds, "has laid out ample evidence that current legislation, via its 'safe harbour' regime, favours both YouTube and other platforms to the detriment of the economy as a whole".

Ashcroft then adds that, while it is true that YouTube also delivers great promotional benefits to artists looking to grow their audience and build a brand, that doesn't help those songwriters among the PRS membership who are not also performers. "There is no doubt that YouTube is a valuable promotional platform for performers", Ashcroft writes, "but that does nothing for the songwriter. This is wrong and must be corrected".

Echoing the response of indie label trade group IMPALA in its own letter addressing Wojcicki's article, Ashcroft says the final draft of the copyright directive now being considered in Brussels and Strasbourg will create a "fair and efficient marketplace". He then calls on European law-makers to ignore YouTube's last minute interventions.

"It is imperative", he writes, "that the EU Parliament, Council and Commission resist what I consider to be fake news, untruths and alarmist propaganda being circulated by multi-billion-pound internet companies that have for so long unfairly profited at the expense of our creative industries".

It's not just article thirteen of the Copyright Directive that Google is panicking about, though that's the one of concern to the music industry. Meanwhile, for the newspaper business, it's all about article eleven, and a different division of the web giant wants that overhauling. Article eleven seeks to force news aggregators to pay newspapers when they pull in headlines and extracts from those news providers' websites. That would impact on Google News.

The web giant argues that its news aggregator sends millions of readers over to each newspaper's website, which is an audience the news companies can monetise. But the struggling newspaper sector reckons too many people get much of their news just by scanning down the list of headlines and extracts without ever actually clicking through to the stories, so that Google is the bigger beneficiary when their content is aggregated.

When similar moves were made to generate new income for news providers in Spain, Google responded by shutting down its news aggregator in the country. And last week Google's VP Of News, Richard Gingras, told The Guardian that, while "it's not desirable to shut down services", the web firm was keeping all options open until it saw the final wording of article eleven of the directive.

Employing similar language to that of his YouTube colleagues over article thirteen, Gingras referenced the closure of Google News in Spain and said "we would not like to see that happen in Europe - right now what we want to do is work with stakeholders".


Glassnote signs distribution deal with AWAL
Independent record company Glassnote Music has signed a new distribution deal with Kobalt's AWAL. As well as physical and digital distribution, AWAL will also provide marketing and promotional services.

Daniel Glass, founder of Glassnote, is very excited about it all. "It is truly a landmark day in the music industry and for the future of Glassnote as this progressive alliance and relationship with Kobalt becomes a reality", he says. "For our artists, it's the same team and family they have always been a part of, with exciting new additions from a company on the cutting edge of music's future".

Also rather excited is Kobalt CEO Willard Ahdritz, who adds: "We're writing an important new chapter in the history of the music industry - proving together that it's possible to break global superstars outside the old system. When [we] looked at the current landscape of relevant independent labels, Glassnote stood out as an ideal partner, as we both put talent at the centre of our business. I'm looking forward to working with Daniel, a real music man, and the Glassnote team".

Calm down, everyone.


AEG Europe announces exec promotions
Live music giant AEG Europe has promoted not one, not two, not even three people... oh, wait, it is three. AEG Europe has promoted three people: John Langford, Emma Bownes and Paul Reeve.

Langford and Reeve both move up from AEG-operated venues to take on group level roles. Langford - who is currently Vice President of The O2 - will become Chief Operating Officer, while Reeve - who is Finance Director of The O2 and Wembley Arena - is the new Chief Financial Officer.

Bownes is currently Programming Director for the main AEG Europe company and is moving up into the newly created role of VP Programming across all of AEG's European venues.

Alex Hill, who is set to officially become AEG Europe's new President in the new year, says: "I'm looking forward to working closely with John, Paul and Emma in continuing our vision of excellence across our portfolio of European venues and other live entertainment and sports properties".

But what do the newly promoted execs all have to say for themselves? Well, I happen to have some quotes right here:

Reeve: "I'm hugely excited by this opportunity to shape the business priorities and commercial growth of AEG Europe alongside Alex and the talented European management team".

Bownes: "It's an honour to be recognised in this way by AEG and I'm looking forward to focussing on programming across all of our venues in Europe. With the way European touring is developing this is a brilliant opportunity for us to be joining forces and make planning simpler for our promoters".

Langford: "We've got amazing venues and superb people across the AEG global family, and I'm really proud that I can continue to play a key part in delivering on our vision to give the world a reason to cheer".

You hear that, world? Start cheering.


Publisher of i goes into administration, while Shortlist and Scuzz TV close
Newspaper company the Johnston Press - which owns the national title i and regional dailies The Scotsman and The Yorkshire Post, plus a shed load of local papers - went into administration on Friday. The company has been struggling to service a £200 million debt and had been looking for a buyer since last month.

There had been interest in buying the company outright - or key assets like the i newspaper - but seemingly none of those offers were good enough financially speaking. The plan now is to transfer ownership of the business to a new company controlled by the Johnston Press's money-lenders.

The company's CEO David King - who took over after long-time chief Ashley Highfield stepped down in May - said in a memo to staff on Friday: "The newspapers and websites will continue to be published as usual. As I have stressed on several occasions, our business is profitable with good margins. Our debt has constrained us".

Despite that optimism, it's no secret that it remains a challenging time to be in the media business, where audiences are increasingly online, but making money through online channels remains very tricky, with Google and Facebook taking the lion's share of ad income, and subscription models still being worked out.

Elsewhere in 'the media industry is fucked' news last week, the publisher of free weekly mens mag Shortlist announced the title was closing its print edition. The magazine shook up the mens mag market when it launched in 2007 by being free and having more short-form and list-based content, reflecting what was becoming popular online. Distributed in various UK cities, it was very successful for a time, but has ultimately been hit by the industry-wide decline in print advertising sales.

When NME announced it was going free and would be distributed in shops, colleges and train stations, some said the music weekly was "doing a Shortlist". But now Shortlist is "doing an NME", by shutting down the print version and hoping that the brand can live on as online-only publication. Meanwhile publisher Shortlist Media - a subsidiary of DC Thomson since 2015 - will become Stylist Media, reflecting the fact that its more successful female-focused free weekly Stylist will live on in print form.

Meanwhile, in the world of music media, last week rock and metal focused telly channel Scuzz went off air. Launched by Sky back in 2003, it was taken over by CSC Media Group in 2006, which in turn became a subsidiary of Sony's TV business in 2014.

Confirming it was turning Scuzz off for good last Thursday, Sony Pictures Television said: "After much consideration, the decision was made to close Scuzz on 15 Nov. We'd like to thank our loyal Scuzz viewers for their support over the years".


Approved: Flavien Berger
French synth-pop musician Flavien Berger recently released his second album - 'Contre-Temps' - a worthy addition to his 2015 debut, 'Leviathan', various short and feature-length film soundtracks, and other collaborations. Taking steps to build a name for himself in the UK, he has just released the video for the new album's latest single, 'Castelmaure', ahead of a London show next month.

The video provides the perfect route into Berger's surreal visual world, as well as his versatile songwriting. The track's smoky atmosphere provides a link between the softer 'Brutalisme' and acid house inflected '999999999'.

"Castelmaure is the name of the wine I used to drink while working on this song", says Berger. "The bottle would slowly empty like an hourglass, as night fell outside the small window of my room in the attic. This song is about change, time travel, contre forme communication, all while picturing a castle on the horizon".

Berger will play Village Underground in London on 3 Dec. Watch the video for 'Castelmaure' here.

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Hannah Diamond returns with new single, True
Hannah Diamond is back with her first single for two years, 'True'. She's also announced that she will release her debut album, 'Reflections', early next year.

"'True' is like the ultimate emo HD power ballad", says the PC Music artist of the new single. "It's really about the fantasy of my last single 'Make Believe' crumbling before my eyes and the realisation that this thing that I thought was true love really wasn't what I was projecting it to be in my mind".

She goes on: "It's about being disappointed in someone else's actions, but also disappointed in yourself for not seeing things for what they truly were. It's about being able to look at the 'Make Believe' era from a distance - I'm in a different place and I'm looking back at it like I'm a different person to who I was back then".

Of the long wait for her debut LP, she adds: "I really wanted to put 'Reflections' out this year, but for a bunch of reasons it wasn't going to be possible. I've been working on music videos which I have directed and produced myself and have been designing and making my merch as well as all the visual accompaniments - which I feel is such an integral part of what I do. The only downside is it's a bit like being a one-man band, [and] everything takes just that little bit longer".

Listen to 'True' here.


Highasakite announce new album, Uranium Heart
Highasakite have announced that they will release their third album, 'Uranium Heart', early next year.

"We started to record 'Uranium Heart' early in 2017", says vocalist Ingrid Håvik. "The songwriting is a continuous process with some old songs and some brand new. It has been a long process of trying to find songs I am truly happy with, and to write them without trying to fulfil every criteria on how to make a good pop record".

She goes on: "The aim was to be able to write without other people's wishes in the back of my mind and daring to follow your own vision and taste. It's a hard process when so many people are relating to music as some sort of a commission".

Alongside the announcement, the band have released new two-part track 'Mexico', which you can listen to here.

You can catch the band live in London this week at Omeara on 20 Nov. And they'll be back again following the album's 1 Feb release date, playing Heaven in London on 28 Feb and Band On The Wall in Manchester on 1 Mar.


Anne-Marie & James Arthur, Karen O & Danger Mouse, Gerard Way, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Anne-Marie and James Arthur have released the video for their version of 'Rewrite The Stars' from the new 'Greatest Showman' covers album.

• Karen O and Danger Mouse have released new collaboration 'Lux Prima'. It's the first track from an album due out next year.

• Gerard Way has released new single, 'Getting Down With The Germs'. "I had really been wanting a song that featured the flute prominently for quite some time", says Way. "The whole song reminds me of wiggling squiggling wormy germs".

• Swervedriver have released new single 'Drone Lover'. Their new album, 'Future Ruins', is out on 25 Jan.

• Liz has released new garage track 'Last Call'. "I was craving to make some more garage and house again, which is a flavour I played a lot with in my first few releases", she says.

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


Justin Bieber settles with former neighbours over egg distress
A hangover from Justin Bieber's stint as the bad boy of pop has been brought to an end. The pop star has settled a lawsuit brought against him by his former neighbours over the 2013 egging of their house.

Bieber's own house was raided by police five years ago, after eggs were thrown at the home of his neighbours Jeffrey and Suzanne Schwartz. Criminal charges were brought against the pop star, with initial threats of prison time. In the end, after Bieber pleaded no contest, he was ordered to pay $80,000 in damages to the Schwartz family.

The Schwartzes then launched civil action in 2015, demanding a further $25,000 for the emotional distress of living next door to the then out of control Bieber. Also accusing the singer of assault and trespassing, they said that Bieber had spat in Jeffrey Schwartz's face, kept them awake with loud parties and drug use, and driven around their gated community dangerously.

Bieber's legal team has long argued that the $80,000 their client had already handed over was quite enough and at a hearing in August this year the judge in the case said she was sceptical about the Schwartzes' claims of significant emotional distress.

But documents were filed on Friday to say that the matter has now been resolved, bringing an end to the legal action. Details of the settlement have not been announced.


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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