TODAY'S TOP STORY: Australian rock band Gang Of Youths have called on artists, promoters and music fans in the country to get in touch with stories about how Viagogo has negatively impacted on their businesses or their gig-going experiences. The plan is to put together a pack of all the bad experiences reported and hand it over to politicians who have been critical of ticket touting at large and Viagogo in particular... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES Gang Of Youths call for bad tout stories in bid to "stop Viagogo"
LIVE BUSINESS Oxford's Cellar venue secures future with successful crowdfunding campaign
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Tencent Music could still IPO this year
EDUCATION & EVENTS Article thirteen and beyond - get to grips with the Copyright Directive at the next CMU Insights masterclass
ARTIST NEWS Tekashi 6ix9ine album briefly leaks via his own website
RELEASES James Yorkston announces new album and tour dates
ONE LINERS Kelly Rowland, Rudimental, BRIT Awards, more
AND FINALLY... Boyzone's Shane Lynch tells TV host where to shove embarrassing clip
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Gang Of Youths call for bad tout stories in bid to "stop Viagogo"
Australian rock band Gang Of Youths have called on artists, promoters and music fans in the country to get in touch with stories about how Viagogo has negatively impacted on their businesses or their gig-going experiences. The plan is to put together a pack of all the bad experiences reported and hand it over to politicians who have been critical of ticket touting at large and Viagogo in particular.

The most controversial of all the ticket resale websites has been widely criticised in Australia, just as in various other countries where it has a high profile. Meanwhile Australia's Competition & Consumer Commission - like its counterparts in New Zealand and the UK - is currently involved in legal action against Viagogo over allegations it has routinely broken consumer rights rules in a bid to confuse gig-goers into thinking they are buying tickets from approved agents when they are, in fact, buying a ticket from an unofficial tout.

There have also been moves in Australian political circles to more tightly regulate ticket touting in general in the country. Indeed, in New South Wales new rules have already been introduced that mean that touts can only really charge a basic admin fee when reselling tickets for profit. Earlier this year discussions began as to whether similar rules could be expanded across the rest of the country.

The campaign launched by Gang Of Youths on Instagram last night is very much focused on big bad Viagogo. The band, who also hit out at the touts earlier in the year, are currently in the middle of a big tour of Australia and are nominated for the Best Live Act prize at Australia's big ARIA Awards later this week.

Writing on Instagram, the band said: "As many of you have encountered, Viagogo has become one of the most disgraceful and disruptive scams our live industry has faced in recent years. Viagogo impacts promoters, managers, venues, ticket agencies and most importantly artists and their fans".

"A number of different bodies over the past twelve months have been talking to both state and federal government regarding this issue", they go on. "There is an opportunity to help eradicate this business from Australia. We are calling for as many examples of how this fraudulent operation has affected your business, additionally, we are encouraging artists to also post on their socials so fans can reply with real-life examples of how they have been affected by Viagogo".

The band conclude: "We intend to give this documentation to the Opposition Party to form part of their campaign pledge to have this site closed down".

Looking for a speedy turnaround, they are asking for stories to be submitted by email to by Wednesday this week.

It is interesting that Gang Of Youths have called on other artists to share their message to their fans. In the UK, the launch in 2016 of the FanFair campaign - led and backed by managers, agents, promoters and artists - helped to organise and amplify those in the music industry who were opposed to secondary ticketing, and this in turn helped rally support for better regulation within the political community.


Oxford's Cellar venue secures future with successful crowdfunding campaign
Oxford music venue The Cellar has passed its crowdfunding target of £80,000, securing its future. With the money required to build a new fire escape in place, the venue is now raising additional cash for further improvements ahead of the campaign's deadline tomorrow.

Already saved from closure last year after its landlord changed plans to convert the basement space it occupies into a retail unit, the future of the venue was put in doubt again after new fire regulations forced its capacity to be cut from 150 to 60. The venue announced last month that it had just five weeks to get together the money required to build a new fire escape that would increase its capacity to 200 or it would be forced to close permanently.

A tall order from the start, the venue nonetheless managed to reach that £80,000 target on Friday. In a statement, the venue's manager Tim Hopkins said: "Wow, we are awestruck. Through the power of the people, thanks to you we've now got the crowdfunding we need to save The Cellar. Thank you so, so much because without this, The Cellar would definitely close this December".

"It's been an incredible journey and one we hope also communicates to people out there, just how crucial small venues are to our music and arts community", he continued. "This is a live situation and we have been working really hard to get all the other things in place before the building work can commence".

It is hoped that building work will begin in January, provided that planning is approved by the council early in the new year, as is currently expected.

With the final cut off for donations set for 10.30pm on Tuesday, the venue has said that it will spend any money raised over its original target on renovating its toilets, improving air conditioning, and upgrading its soundsystem.

Many artists who performed at The Cellar early in their careers have backed the campaign to save the venue, including Radiohead's Phil Selway, Foals' Yannis Philippakis, Nadine Shah, Gaz Coombes, and more.

Check out the crowdfunding campaign here.


Tencent Music could still IPO this year
Despite speculation last week that Tencent might push back the IPO of its music division into the new year, sources have told the Financial Times that the company still hopes to go through with the listing this side of Christmas.

The Chinese web giant confirmed back in July that it intended to spin off its music assets into a standalone company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. That division includes China's market-leading streaming service QQ Music plus other digital, distribution and label operations.

There was talk of that IPO happening in October, but then things got pushed back, in no small part because other tech firms listed in the US were seeing their share prices dip. Some then speculated over whether or not Tencent's main rival in the Chinese streaming market - NetEase Cloud Music - raising $600 million in new financing might further delay the flotation.

Last week a Reuters report said that Tencent bosses had now discussed pushing their musical IPO back into 2019. But, according to the FT's sources, a final decision on whether to float sooner rather than later will depend on the outcome of the G20 summit taking place later this week in Buenos Aires and how the investment markets react to all that. Particular attention will be focused on whether the latest meeting of the 20 major economic powers has any impact on Donald Trump's ongoing trade war with China.

If market reaction to the summit is good, Tencent could immediately start roadshowing its IPO to potential investors with a view to start trading its shares on 12 Dec. A more negative response probably will push things back in 2019.

Which could mean, yet again, that the random whims and words of President Trump constitute music news.


Article thirteen and beyond - get to grips with the Copyright Directive at the next CMU Insights masterclass
YouTube going into overdrive in its bid to influence the very final draft of the European Copyright Directive has ensured millions more people are aware that said directive contains something called article thirteen. Said article is very bad news that will leave grassroots creators worse off, says the Google company. Except it's actually a sensible bit of copyright reform that will make the digital market much fairer for creators operating at all levels, counters the music industry.

If you are still getting to grips with what the safe harbour, the value gap and article thirteen is all about, everything will be explained at the next CMU Insights masterclass 'Key Developments In Music Rights'. The session will also talk through the other elements of the Copyright Directive relevant to the music industry, as well as the Music Modernization Act in the US, termination rights, key copyright court cases, anti-piracy initiatives and the ongoing music rights data problem.

"It was really interesting that YouTube's music boss Lyor Cohen brought up transparency issues in his blog post on article thirteen last week", says CMU MD Chris Cooke, who will lead the masterclass.

"He was basically saying 'the problem is the artists don't have all the facts because the labels aren't transparent enough'", Cooke goes on. "It seemed to be a 'divide and conquer' strategy aiming to split the artists and songwriters off from the labels and publishers, the music community having been unusually united in its campaign for safe harbour reform in Europe. Given artist and songwriter groups have played a key role in that campaign, I don't think it's going to work".

"However", he goes on, "while article thirteen has had all the press around the European Copyright Directive, it's important to remember there are other music relevant articles in there too. And that includes article fourteen, which seeks to provide artists and songwriters with more transparency about the way their music is exploited online. Ongoing transparency issues may not be particularly relevant to whether or not the safe harbour needs reforming, but addressing those issues is just as important, and we'll explain what article fourteen says at the masterclass".

Cohen and his boss - YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki - have also both brought up the music industry's big data problem in their last minute arguments against article thirteen. "Again, this might be distraction tactic in the context of the safe harbour debate", Cooke says. "But they are right that this remains a big issue in the music industry that is negatively impacting on the efficient payment of royalties. We'll also review the music data debate and the various attempts to solve this problem in the masterclass".

You can find more information about the masterclass here. Tickets are just £79.99 and are on sale now.


Approved: Ama
R&B newcomer Ama has just released her debut single, 'Monochrome', through Dirty Hit. And that label's seal of approval is something she more than lives up to with the song.

"It was basically written instead of sending a really lame text message to a crush I had", she tells i-D of the track. "I was just romanticising the whole situation in my head and hoping it was mutual".

I've already described her sound as R&B, although she's not keen to be pinned down on such things. Asked about genre, she says: "It's a question that I never really enjoy answering. I think labelling things only really limits you, but my auto response is alternative R&B or pop. Ultimately good music is good music. I just want to make music that makes people feel good".

Her debut EP is set for release early next year. For now, here's the video for 'Monochrome'.

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

Tekashi 6ix9ine album briefly leaks via his own website
The debut album from controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine - 'Dummy Boy' - briefly appeared for sale on his website over the weekend. Its official release was cancelled last week after the rapper was arrested on firearm and racketeering charges.

'Dummy Boy' was due to be released on Friday, but on Wednesday a statement on Tekashi 6ix9ine's Instagram profile said that "due to circumstances beyond our control" the release had been postponed "until further notice".

This came shortly after the rapper was told that he faces 32 years to life in prison if found guilty of the charges now on the table, which have seemingly resulted from a five-year investigation into the Nine Trey Bloods street gang, with which Hernandez has alleged links.

Despite the record being pulled, tracks from it reportedly started to appear online over the weekend, before the full album popped up on Tekashi 6ix9ine's official website.

It was speculated that the latter move was an attempt to counteract the earlier leaks, although the album was then removed from the official site hours later. So it's also possible that the album was released in error, although no official comment has yet been made.


James Yorkston announces new album and tour dates
James Yorkston has announced that he will release his new album, 'The Route To The Harmonium', in February. He's also announced his 2019 touring plans, which will follow its release.

"I guess, as a musician and writer, I find myself reacting to what goes on around", says Yorkston of the inspiration for his first solo record since 2014's 'Cellardyke Recording And Wassailing Society'. "So, this album is about life, the life that carries on around me"

He goes on: "There's family, place, and the being away from family that the life of a touring musician brings. But there's also reference to friends departed - the hows, the whys - when a friend jumps ship it's always a haymaker to the gut, you know? And this album is about them, but it's more about us, us who are left behind".

The first single from the LP is 'My Mouth Ain't No Bible', the video for which you can watch here.

Tour dates are set for April and May. Here's the schedule:

1 Apr: Perth Theatre
2 May: Edinburgh, Summerhall
3 May: Glasgow, Oran Mor
4 May: Irvine, Harbour Arts Centre
5 May: Eaglescliffe, Waiting Room
6 May: Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
7 May: London, Islington Assembly Hall
8 May: Reading Arts Centre
9 May: Milton Keynes, Gallery
10 May: Lancaster, Dukes
11 May: Durham, Launderette
13 May: Bristol, Louisiana
14 May: Cardiff, The Moon
15 May: Manchester, The King's Arms
16 May: Hebden Bridge, Trades Hall
24 May: Stirling, Tolbooth

Yorkston also has a handful of solo shows coming up in December, plus a tour with Yorkston/Thorne/Khan in January.


Kelly Rowland, Rudimental, BRIT Awards, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Kelly Rowland has released new single 'Kelly'. Her first solo album for five years is set to be released in 2019.

• Rudimental have released new track 'Summer Love' featuring that Rita Ora. Their new album, 'Toast To Our Differences', is still, amazingly, two months away.

• Eckoes is back with new single 'Without Prejudice'. "As I untangle myself more and more from what people think, I can really feel myself blossom", she says. "This is the first one of my videos that I appear in, so it's a landmark for me. It's courage, it's expression, it's faith in my creation and the audience to come on this journey with me".

• Snapped Ankles' new album, 'Stunning Luxury', is set for release on 1 Mar. They'll be touring the UK around the release date, including a show at Oslo in London on 28 Feb.

• Jack Whitehall is returning as host of The BRIT Awards in February. "Let's see who I can upset this year", he says. Just today's announcement that he's returning will have upset most people, I'd imagine.

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


Boyzone's Shane Lynch tells TV host where to shove embarrassing clip
After 25 years of being asked about something you once did that made you look a bit silly, you might start to get a little techy. Which is how Boyzone's Shane Lynch last week came to tell Irish TV host Ryan Tubridy to shove a video clip up his "fucking hole".

Boyzone are in the process of bringing their career together to an end, with a farewell album just out and final tour dates on the way. They've done a lot during their 25 years as a group, but a clip of them appearing on Ireland's 'The Late Late Show' shortly (like, hours) after forming and making fools of themselves is one of their most enduring achievements.

Appearing on the same show on Friday night, current host Tubridy presented them with that clip and asked if it bothered them that people found it funny. Lynch - who had arrived late to the interview, due to travel issues - seethed: "Listen, here's the story behind that clip. I've busted my bollocks to get here. See that clip, you can shove it up your fucking hole. That's what you can do with that clip".

Then answering the original question, he added "no, I don't give a fuck", and flipped his middle finger at the camera.

Offering a somewhat more level-headed view, Keith Duffy explained: "Obviously, in the earlier years, we cringed, we were mortified ... Louis Walsh had literally put us together the night before [and] he said, 'the first thing you're going to do as a band is to go on 'The Late Late Show'. [At the time] we were honoured to be on it".

I miss the days when anyone would allow that sort of thing to happen.


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
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