TODAY'S TOP STORY: You can stop speculating about who Taylor Swift is going to sign her new record deal with, because she's signed it. With Universal. How boring. Although there is an interesting thing about this deal. It not only benefits her, but all artists at the major label... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES Taylor Swift includes demands on Spotify equity in new deal with Universal
LIVE BUSINESS Field Day finds new North London home
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Tidal gets fit with Barry
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Keychange gender diversity campaign launches manifesto at European Parliament
GIGS & FESTIVALS Mumford & Sons postpone shows due to "ambitious" stage design
Gaz Coombes pulls shows after breaking leg
ONE LINERS Chemical Brothers, Andy Burrows, Troye Sivan, more
AND FINALLY... Rare Threatin t-shirt goes up for sale on eBay
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Taylor Swift includes demands on Spotify equity in new deal with Universal
You can stop speculating about who Taylor Swift is going to sign her new record deal with, because she's signed it. With Universal. How boring. Although there is an interesting thing about this deal. It not only benefits her, but all artists at the major label.

A clause in the musician's new deal states that Universal must commit to sharing any money it makes from its shares in Spotify with artists on the label. The money will be non-recoupable, and she reckons it will be paid out on better terms than those of Warner and Sony to their own artists.

"It's really important to me to see eye to eye with a label regarding the future of our industry", says Swift, in a statement on Instagram. "I feel so motivated by using new opportunities created by the streaming world and the ever changing landscape of our industry. I also feel strongly that streaming was founded on and continues to thrive based on the magic created by artists, writers and producers".

She continues: "There was one condition that meant more to me than any other deal point. As part of my new contract with Universal Music Group, I asked that any sale of Spotify shares result in a distribution of money to their artists, non-recoupable. They have generously agreed to this, at what they believe will be much better terms than paid out previously by other major labels".

"I see this as a positive change for creators - a goal I'm never going to stop trying to help achieve, in whatever ways I can", she goes on. "I'm so happy to have Sir Lucian Grainge as a partner in these efforts".

What happens to the Spotify equity all of the majors, and larger indies through Merlin, received in the past once they were able to cash it in has been a widely discussed issue in recent years.

The indie labels committed to share any income from offloading shares in Spotify with their artists back in 2014, through their Fair Deals Declaration. Sony and Warner then made similar commitments in 2016. Then in March this year, after staying tight-lipped on the matter, Universal said that it would also share any money earned from selling that equity.

So it seems that Swift is talking up getting Universal to agree to something it was already committed to doing anyway. Although, there have always been questions over how exactly the money would be paid out - and to whom. What is the percentage split between the label and the artists? Does the money go only to artists currently signed to the company, or those who were signed when the equity was received? What about independent labels using major label distributors and their artists?

Swift's statement doesn't make it clear how she actually nailed down a better deal for other Universal artists. Another question has always been over what money artists who haven't recouped would receive, so it's possible she cleared that up. It could also be that - like when she 'changed' Apple Music's mind on artist payments during its free trial - the company saw an easy PR win and just went with it, actually giving up very little.

Universal Music CEO Lucian Grainge was certainly keen to talk up how artist-friendly Universal is, although Universal's announcement of the deal did not specifically mention Swift's equity clause.

"Few artists in history approach Taylor Swift's combination of massive global hits and creative brilliance", he says. "She is so multi-talented, she can achieve anything. I have such enormous respect for Taylor, in particular for her use of her hard-earned influence to promote positive change".

He goes on: "Because of her commitment to her fellow artists, not only did she want to partner with a company that understood her creative vision and had the resources and expertise to execute globally on her behalf, she also sought a partner whose approach to artists was aligned with hers. With these shared beliefs, there is so much we can accomplish together, and all of us at UMG are enormously proud to be embarking on the next chapter of her career alongside her".

As well as all the selfless stuff, Swift also gets to keep her master recordings for anything she records under her new deal. So that's nice too.

Swift signed her initial deal with Nashville-based independent country label Big Machine in 2006, aged sixteen, having first met label founder Scott Borchetta two years earlier. Building her initial audience as a country artist, she started a pivot to pop on 2012's 'Red', leaving country behind entirely on the 2014 follow-up, '1989'. Releasing her sixth album, 'Reputation', last year, she completed her obligations to Big Machine.

Although it has been reported that Big Machine fought hard to keep her, with one of the world's biggest pop stars out of contract for the first time, there are always going to be significant offers on the table from elsewhere. And from Swift's point of view, seemingly the ability to do good for other artists was a big draw. The move to Universal also makes sense, in that the major has distributed her work internationally for some years, via an alliance with Big Machine.

Recognising Borchetta's influence in getting her were she is today, Swift said in her statement: "I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Scott Borchetta for believing in me as a fourteen year old and for guiding my through over a decade of work that I will always be so proud of. I'm extremely grateful to get to do what I love, especially with the people I've been fortunate enough to work with".

With Swift now installed at Universal, other artists on the label now just have to sit back and wait for that Spotify money to roll in. There are, of course, a lot of artists signed to Universal, so it might not end up being very much. And Universal has to be convinced to sell off those shares too. While Warner and Merlin have dumped all of their Spotify shares, and Sony has offloaded around half of what it owned, Universal is still to sell even one.


Field Day finds new North London home
Having bailed on South London just a year after being turfed out of East London, the Field Day festival has announced it's going to give North London a go. The 2019 edition of the event will take place in Enfield this year.

It will use a ten-acre space within Enfield Council's in development regeneration area, which goes by the name Meridian Water. The new permanent site is operated by the venues side of Field Day owner Broadwick Live. This arrangement, the promoter reckons, will allow it to overcome some of the issues that are routinely faced by city-based outdoor events, and especially all the customary noise-based issues. It says that the new site will allow Field Day to build better stages, improve sound quality and schedule performances later into the night.

Festival Director Luke Huxham says: "2019 will mark the start of a new chapter for Field Day and a completely new type of festival for London. This new site will allow us to break down the restrictions that London festivals are normally faced with and deliver an unrivalled experience. It's hugely exciting to be working with such a pioneering council, who support our ideas and are focused on creating a new cultural hub for London. We can't wait to unveil more of our plans in the coming weeks".

Field Day, of course, took place in East London's Victoria Park for a decade, before AEG swanned in and took over that patch last year with its All Points East activity. This left several events looking for new homes, and while Brockwell in South London seemed like a good fit to some, there was opposition from local residents. Field Day did get to stage itself there once, but two other former Victoria Park festivals - Citadel and Lovebox - gave up on that plan and went West instead for their 2018 editions.

Field Day 2019 is set to take place on 7-8 Jun. Tickets go on sale later this week.


Tidal gets fit with Barry
You remember Tidal right? Streams, Jay-Z, Jay-Z's mates, gonna change the world? Yeah, that.

Well it's still going and to celebrate it's announced a tie-up with Barry's - a leading, global, boutique "fitness brand", apparently - which will, and I quote, "bring consumers an elevated fitness and music experience". And there was me thinking Barry's made tea.

The deal basically means putting together some Barry's branded playlists. But not just any old playlists. Oh no. "Special playlists to take on-the-go that include heart-rate pumping tracks to keep you motivated in and out of the gym". Good times.

It's not just super fit playlists though. There'll be some groovy events down the line, and the customary three month freebie subscriptions for Barry's customers.

"Music plays an integral role in any fitness workout and we've seen the uplifting energy it creates in every Barry's class", says Tidal COO Lior Tibon. "Tidal is THRILLED to partner with the boutique fitness brand to amplify that feeling for its members both in and out of class".

How exciting. I need a sit down and a cup of tea after all that.


Keychange gender diversity campaign launches manifesto at European Parliament
PRS Foundation CEO Vanessa Reed will today present a manifesto for the organisation's Keychange initiative at the European Parliament in Brussels. The document lays out plans to increase and sustain the number of women in the music industry, with the ultimate aim of reaching a 50/50 gender balance across the board.

The two year project was launched in September last year, with 200,000 euros of EU funding as part of the Creative Europe programme. Among its activities is encouraging festivals to pledge that they will achieve an equal gender balance on their line-ups by 2022, something 140 events have now signed up.

Today's manifesto launch lays out plans and recommendations for the second year of the project, and beyond. There are four core areas which the project believes need addressing, in order to truly improve gender diversity in the music industry.

The manifesto says that there need to be improvements in working conditions for women, as well as more women in senior positions. It also calls for more investment for targeted programmes to improve female participation both at an artist and a business level. Plus, it says that there should be independent research conducted into the current gender gap, and education to tackle gender stereotypes in schools.

"Launching this manifesto at an event which brings together Keychange participants, MEPs, the European Commission and music industry bodies is an important way of demonstrating how far we've come since we launched Keychange in September 2017", says Reed.

She goes on: "Alongside the overwhelming interest in the Keychange festival pledge, the manifesto highlights the valuable contributions Keychange artists and innovators are making to the wider reaching debate about what needs to change in the industry. Collaborative action and a wholesale look at how we can nurture and sustain a broader range of talent in our workforce underpins their proposals. I hope this first set of recommendations provides a powerful starting point for further debate about the best practical steps towards tangible and lasting improvements which will benefit everyone".

Read the full manifesto here.


Approved: Balatron
A couple of years on from his debut EP, Icelandic bass producer Balatron is gearing up for the release of his first album, 'Iðavöllur'. Over the last six months he's revealed four tracks from the record - not to mention an entirely separate EP, 'Dat Shii' - with the latest, 'Huginn' and 'Munnin', released last week.

With his halftime drum n bass and hip hop-influenced sound, Balatron's tracks are stomping, cavernous pieces of music. The slower BPM gives them a powerful and ominous atmosphere with plenty of room to step into and explore.

'Iðavöllur' is due out early next year, but you should get on this right now. Check out 'Munnin' here.

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

Mumford & Sons postpone shows due to "ambitious" stage design
Mumford & Sons have announced that they are postponing four shows on their UK tour, because of the "ambitious" stage design they have put together. Two shows on the tour have already gone ahead, in Dublin and Belfast. However, the band say, it was after the second date on Monday that they realised that they weren't really ready.

"It is with a really heavy heart that we have been forced to postpone four shows on this UK tour due to unforeseen technical and logistical challenges", the band say in a statement. "As you may know, the 'Delta Tour' is by far the most ambitious show we've put together and we have had to free up some space in the schedule to be able to execute it, given some obstacles that have come up in production".

They continue: "As we also hope you know by now, we never postpone shows lightly, in fact it's something we try to avoid at all costs - so this decision has been incredibly difficult to make but in this case we have no other choice. The truth is that it is simply not humanly possible to play these particular shows at this time and we are sorry the reality of that only truly landed after we completed [the] Belfast [show]".

Most dates on the tour will still go ahead as planned, including tonight's show at The Hydro in Glasgow. However, shows in Manchester, Sheffield, Cardiff and Liverpool will now take place next year. New dates have not yet been announced. All tickets will remain valid, or can be returned for a full refund.


Gaz Coombes pulls shows after breaking leg
Gaz Coombes has been forced to cancel a number of European shows and postpone UK dates after his daughter kung fu kicked his leg in half.

"I've only gone and broken my leg", tweeted Coombes. "Larking around with the kids I got Bruce Lee'd by my fifteen year old, and let's just say she connected too well. I'm going in for surgery today [at the John Radcliffe hospital in] Oxford, where everyone has been completely amazing".

All European shows to the end of the year are now off. Meanwhile, four UK shows in Guildford, Frome, Wolverhampton and Worthing, originally set for January, have now been moved back to May.


Chemical Brothers, Andy Burrows, Troye Sivan, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• The Chemical Brothers have announced that they will release new album, 'No Geography', next spring. There are also UK tour dates set for November next year.

• Musician Andy Burrows and author Matt Haig will release an album together, titled 'Reasons To Stay Alive', on 1 Feb. Here's first single, 'Barcelona'. Burrows will tour the UK in February too.

• Radwimps return with new album, 'Anti Anti Generation', on 12 Dec. Here's the video for new single, 'Sokkenai'.

• Tkay Maidza has released the video for 'White Rose', from her 'Last Year Was Weird Vol 1' EP.

• Lorelle Meets The Obselete are set to release new album, 'De Facto', on 11 Jan. Here's new single 'Ana'. They'll also be touring the UK in January, finishing up at The Moth Club in London on 17 Jan.

• Troye Sivan has announced that he will play a handful of UK shows next February, hitting Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham, before finishing up at the Hammersmith Apollo in London. Tickets on sale this Friday.

• Men At Work will play their first UK shows since 1983 next summer. To think, we've been denied hearing about chunder and thunder in person for so long. They'll play Manchester Academy on 20 Jun and Shepherds Bush Empire in London on 21 Jun.

• Andreya Triana will play EartH in Hackney on 21 Mar, it has been announced. Her new album, 'Life In Colour', is out on 22 Feb.

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


Rare Threatin t-shirt goes up for sale on eBay
The chance to own a piece of rock history has emerged. A t-shirt sold (possibly the only t-shirt sold) on Threatin's recent UK tour is up for sale on eBay. And it's all for a good cause.

For those of you who somehow missed this story, here's a quick recap: US band came on tour in the UK, claiming decent ticket sales from their large online fanbase. Turned out they hadn't actually sold any tickets and their fanbase was all bots. Band played several dates to no one, before word got out. Tour collapsed. Frontman (and sole permanent member of the band) Jered Eames claimed that this was all part of the "illusion" he had created.

When video footage emerged of a show in Manchester, two people were seen watching Threatin play. It emerged that this was Mel Adams and Tim Hall of the band Aonia, who had been sent free tickets. After the video circulated, Adams identified herself and her bandmate, saying that she'd "bought a t-shirt because I felt bad they'd come so far to play to two people" and "didn't know about all the fake stuff till the next day".

You'd think that anyone in possession of such a rare item would want to keep hold of it, but Adams has instead decided to sell it in aid of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, which aims to promote understanding for subcultures and reduce hate crimes in the UK.

Explaining further how she came to be in possession of the t-shirt, Adams writes in the eBay listing: "[Threatin] actually put on quite a good show and I really enjoyed them. At the end, I approached their TM to buy a t-shirt because I felt bad that they'd come all the way from LA to play to an (almost) empty room, and also I felt guilty that we hadn't paid to get in. They had a SHEDLOAD of merch. Like, at least two suitcases full".

So, you had the chance to get hold of one of those t-shirts earlier this month, but you missed it. However now the opportunity has arisen again! At the time of writing, the top bid on the auction is just £132, which means you still have a chance to grab an absolute bargain. Put in your bids here.


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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