TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK's Competition & Markets Authority yesterday secured an injunction that will force the always controversial secondary ticketing website Viagogo to fall in line with British consumer rights law. The court order should result in an overhaul of the way tickets are advertised and listed on the resale platform... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES Court order gives Viagogo two months to comply with UK consumer rights law
DEALS Matt Sheeran signs to BMG
MEDIA Magic to go Christmas-only for December
RELEASES Mark Ronson preparing "melancholy" new album
Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers update generative music app
Stealing Sheep announce new album Big Wows
ONE LINERS Decca, PPL, Years & Years & Jax Jones, more
AND FINALLY... Mysterious new band Los Unidades (who are definitely Coldplay) announce charity EP
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Court order gives Viagogo two months to comply with UK consumer rights law
The UK's Competition & Markets Authority yesterday secured an injunction that will force the always controversial secondary ticketing website Viagogo to fall in line with British consumer rights law. The court order should result in an overhaul of the way tickets are advertised and listed on the resale platform.

The CMA began legal proceedings against Viagogo back in August. The regulator claimed that the company was breaking consumer protection laws and, unlike its competitors, had failed to voluntarily comply with the rules. With that case about to arrive in the high court, Viagogo yesterday committed to make a series of changes to its website to deal with the CMA's concerns. The court order makes those commitments legally binding.

Under those legally binding commitments, Viagogo's site will have to ensure that consumers are told the seat number linked to any ticket they are buying and that there is a risk touted tickets could be cancelled by the promoter (published seat numbers, of course, make it easier for anti-touting promoters to cancel tickets in that way).

It will also have to stop giving misleading information about ticket availability which pressures consumers into making a quick purchase without investigating other options; it will make it much easier for people to get a refund under the firm's frequently bragged about money-back guarantee; and it will ensure that sellers don't list tickets they don't actually have yet.

On top of all that, Viagogo will be compelled to provide more information about who is selling any one ticket. This is important because it will enable buyers to distinguish between music fans looking to offload a ticket for a show they can no longer attend from the industrial-level touts that account for a majority of the tickets available on the resale sites. Where people tout tickets as a business the buyer has additional consumer rights.

Publishing seller information should bring some much needed transparency to the resale market. Defenders of the secondary ticketing business have traditionally downplayed the significance of industrial-level touting on the resale platforms and/or accused at least some in the music industry of being complicit by secretly touting their own tickets.

The former claim hasn't seemed credible for a long time, though there has been some merit to the latter argument at various points. Either way, having more information about the sellers published on the resale sites will provide some clarity over the level of commercial touting, and possibly also on how those touts source their tickets.

Those who oppose industrial-level ticket touting have been calling for all the resale sites to implement measures like these for years. Forcing change required some new laws to be passed and, more importantly, a willingness to enforce existing laws. In the UK, the CMA has led the way in enforcing the law when it comes to the resale sites, while National Trading Standards has taken action against individual touts who have allegedly broken the rules.

Welcoming Viagogo's new commitments and the court order that makes them legally binding, CMA boss Andrea Coscelli said yesterday: "This court order is a victory for anyone who decides to buy a ticket through Viagogo. We have been clear throughout our investigation that people who use these resale websites must know key facts before parting with their hard-earned money, including what seat they will get and whether there is a risk they might not actually get into the event at all".

He went on: "Viagogo has agreed to a comprehensive overhaul of its site to ensure it respects the law, just like the other resale sites who have already signed commitments to improve the information they offer and give people a fair deal".

"Today's court order must be complied with by mid-January", he then explained. "The same deadline set for other resale sites that have already agreed to change their practices. It has been secured after Viagogo agreed to address all of the CMA's concerns, without the need for a trial. The order is legally binding and enforceable by the court".

For its part Viagogo played up the fact it had reached a settlement with the CMA, without acknowledging just how much effort was needed to get these commitments, nor that a court order was required to ensure the company falls in line. Instead its statement basically said that the changes were part of the firm's own strategy to become more consumer friendly, rather than a legal obligation to end long-held deliberately anti-consumer policies.

Calling the settlement "ground breaking", Viagogo insisted that the commitments "reflect a desire to ensure that the consumer has as much information as possible before making their purchase decision". Meanwhile a spokesperson was quoted as saying "we are pleased that we have been able to work closely with the CMA to come to an agreement that provides even greater transparency to consumers".

Adam Webb of the anti-touting FanFair Campaign was more frank about what the CMA settlement really meant. "While the UK's ticket resale market undergoes a long-awaited transformation, Viagogo has effectively become a rogue operator", he said. "That it's required a court order to force their compliance with existing legislation is nothing short of extraordinary. Effectively, it means Viagogo have been given until mid-January to overhaul their bad practices. If they fail to do that, they should feel the full force of the law".

Another long-term campaigner for better regulation of the secondary ticketing market, Sharon Hodgson MP, shared Webb's perspective. She told reporters: "It's shocking that it has taken a court order following action taken by the CMA for Viagogo to comply with legislation that they should have been complying with for many years".

"I would question whether a company that has created thousands of victims and now requires independent monitoring to ensure it complies with UK legislation should be allowed to continue to operate given the risk to consumers", she went on. "If Viagogo fails to comply with this court order, or breaches any further legislation, I expect immediate court action to be taken against them".

We will see in the new year if it comes to that.


Matt Sheeran signs to BMG
Ed's classical composer older brother Matt Sheeran has signed a new global publishing deal with BMG. The new partnership will also see him contribute music to the BMG Production Music catalogue, you know, just for giggles.

"I saw three different publishing companies that were all really good, but BMG was really exceptional", says Sheeran of his new business partner. "It wasn't a difficult decision. It definitely felt like the right place to go".

BMG A&R exec Hugo Turquet adds: "We are extremely honoured that Matt Sheeran picked BMG as his publishing partner for his words and compositions. BMG is able to give him the environment where he can explore his creativity across production music and commercial music under one roof. There's no doubt that he will find a great home here".

Among the compositions BMG will look after for Sheeran will be his collaborations with his brother and Andrea Bocelli. The first is 'Perfect Symphony', a reworking of Ed's song 'Perfect'. The more recent, the song 'Amo Soltano Te', appears on Bocelli's latest album 'Si'.


Magic to go Christmas-only for December
Bauer's Magic Radio has announced plans to relaunch as a station that plays only Christmas songs. From this Friday you will hear nothing but festive music on the station. Although, showing a shocking lack of commitment to their grand idea, the station's bosses have already said that they will ditch the bold new format come the new year.

Group Content Director Tony Moorey says: "Our listeners come to Magic Radio to lift their mood and with Christmas music being the number one reason for putting the UK in that festive spirit, we decided to embrace the season and turn the station 100% Christmas all of December".

The switch will be made during Ronan Keating and Harriet Scott's breakfast show on Friday. Keating, of course, boasts the admirable achievement of having recorded the worst Christmas song ever. Of his station's new music policy, he says: "We've had this under wraps for three months and I am so excited that the news is out there. I can't wait to kick Christmas off this Friday at 9am".

The Magic Christmas playlist will feature tracks from the last 50 years, with a particular focus on the 80s and 90s.


Approved: Charlotte Adigéry
Charlotte Adigéry released her debut EP last year through Deewee, the label of Soulwax brothers David and Stephen Dewaele. Produced by the duo, her second EP - 'Zandoli' - will be out on 8 Feb next year. Beginning the trek towards that date, she's just released opening track 'Paténipat'.

"If in life you feel tired and hopeless, throw out all the stuff that don't matter in the end", she says of the track. "Dance until you're dizzy. Be your naked and uncompromising self".

That message is condensed down into the chorus line of "zandoli pa té ni pat", a Creole saying that translates as "the gecko didn't have any legs", describing the rhythms of the gwo-ka music and dance style from the Guadeloupe islands.

The official lead single from the EP, 'High Lights', is set to arrive shortly, as are UK tour dates. For now though, jump into 'Paténipat' here.

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

Mark Ronson preparing "melancholy" new album
Markie Mark Ronson will be back with another funky bunch of tunes in the near future. But you shouldn't expect another 'Uptown Funk', these songs will all be sad.

That's a result of the people who he decided to collaborate with this time, he tells the BBC. "More so than choosing a person for a musical style", he explains, "they were all like-minded people, or people who were going through some traumatic personal stuff".

It wasn't that he didn't try to make some more chirpy tracks, he adds: "I tried doing some other music ... but the only stuff that started to stick was the stuff that moved me and made me feel melancholy. Once I had two or three of those, I started to see all this as an album".

The album's first single, Miley Cyrus collaboration 'Nothing Breaks Like A Heart', is set to come out tomorrow.


Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers update generative music app
Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers have announced that they are updating their generative music smartphone app 'Bloom' to mark its tenth anniversary.

Launched in 2008, 'Bloom' allows anyone to make music simply by touching the screen of their device. The new version, 'Bloom: Ten Worlds', updates and expands the original app, and will be available for Android devices, as well as iOS, for the first time.

"Bloom is an endless music machine, a music box for the 21st century", says Eno. "You can play it, or you can watch it play itself".

The new app will be available from 7 Dec. Find out more here.


Stealing Sheep announced new album Big Wows
Stealing Sheep have announced that they will release their third album, 'Big Wows', on 19 Apr.

"We hit upon this conversational-style between the vocals and have alternating lead melodies", says the band's Rebecca Hawley of the new record. "There's a sarcastic tone to some of the music but there is always a strong wilfulness to incorporate honest integrity, which is hard to do but refreshing when it finally comes out".

"We wanted sounds to represent TVs, computers and everyday glitches", she continues. "We started to have this feeling that life is like a game and how you can malfunction when you're blasted with too much information".

She adds: "The big challenge is making machines sound organic, emotional, finding their flaws. That's why [BBC Radiophonic Workshop pioneer] Delia Derbyshire is so important to us. All the effects that she uses serve to humanise the machines".

The first single from the album, 'Jokin Me', is out now. Watch the video here.

There will be tour dates too. Look:

25 Apr: Glasgow, Broadcast
27 Apr: Manchester, Yes
28 Apr: Bristol, Thekla
30 Apr: London, Hackney Arts Centre
2 May: Birmingham, Horse & Hounds
3 May: Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach


Decca, PPL, Years & Years & Jax Jones, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Universal's Decca label has promoted Tom Lewis to the role of Vice President of A&R and Artist Strategy. "I am THRILLED that Tom's role will further expand into the heart of the label", says label boss Rebecca Allen.

• Robin Firman has been elected and Horace Trubridge re-elected as PPL Performer Directors at the collecting society's Annual Performer Meeting. They will sit on both the Performer Board and the main PPL Board.

• The question of what's going on with Tekashi 6ix9ine's 'Dummy Boy' album has been answered. After having its release postponed last week, it was put out yesterday. The album had already leaked, a situation not helped by it being briefly put up for sale on the rapper's own website last weekend.

• Jax Jones has released a new single with Years & Years frontman Olly Alexander, called 'Play'. "Working with Jax was really fun", says Alexander, "we just giggled the whole time and danced around".

• Robbie Williams is going to release his third album of studio off-cuts, 'Under The Radar Vol 3', on 14 Feb. As with the other releases in the series, it will only be available direct through his website. Here's a video of him announcing it.

• Clean Bandit have released new track, 'Playboy Style', featuring Charli XCX and Bhad Bhabie. Their new album, 'What Is Love?', is out this week.

• Cardi B has released an anime-inspired video for her track 'I Like It'.

• Mike Posner has announced that he will release his new album, 'A Real Good Kid', on 18 Jan. Here's new single 'Stuck In The Middle'.

• Alessia Cara has released the video for new single 'Not Today'. Her new album, 'The Pains Of Growing', is out this week.

• William Shatner's Christmas album remains a thing you can't stop from happening. Here's a new track from it, 'Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer'. It features Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top.

• Jeff Tweedy's released a new solo track, 'I Know What It's Like'. His new solo album, 'Warm', is out later this week.

• Sharon Van Etten has released the video for new track 'Jupiter 4'. It's taken from new album, 'Remind Me Tomorrow', out on 18 Jan.

• Rina Sawayama has released new single 'Flicker'.

• Lafawndah has released the video for 'Bye Bye' from her 'Honey Colony Vol 2' mixtape.

• Lenny Kravitz has announced a one off show in London to mark the 30th anniversary of his debut album, 'Let Love Rule'. He'll play the O2 Arena on 1 Jun next year, with support from Corinne Bailey Rae and Brass Against.

• George Ezra has announced his second (making it annual) show at Union Chapel in London in aid of mental health charity Mind on 18 Dec.

• Weezer have announced that they will play a one-off UK show at Brixton Academy in London on 29 Jun. Their new album, 'The Black Album', is out on 1 Mar.

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


Mysterious new band Los Unidades (who are definitely Coldplay) announce charity EP
"Parlophone Records are delighted to present new signing Los Unidades", tweeted Warner label Parlophone yesterday. Along with it they tweeted an image which bore a striking resemblance to a distorted version of an old Coldplay press shot. Then Los Unidades released their first single and any doubt about who this actually was disappeared in approximately 0.3 milliseconds.

Los Unidades actually have three tracks to share via a new EP released by the Global Citizen charity. The blurb admits that the EP, which marks what would have been the year of Nelson Mandela's hundredth birthday, has been curated by Chris Martin.

"It was a real honour to help further the Global Citizen movement by putting together this release alongside Chris and Parlophone", says Coldplay's manager David Holmes. "We've ended up with so many incredible performers, and we're all extremely proud of the finished EP. May it be the first of many".

Most of those incredible performers guest on the three tracks by Los Unidades, although there is a standalone contribution by Stargate too. Other guests on the record include Pharrell Willliams, David Guetta and Wizkid. The first track released from the EP is 'E-Lo', which features Williams and rapper Jozzy. It sounds like a remix of a Coldplay track.

Anyway, I don't think there's any question of who Los Unidades actually are. The question is, why has this been released under a different name?

It could be that the band felt that the more dance music orientated sound felt separate from their main output - although the collaborative element of the release would account for that. The other possibility is that this is something Martin hinted at four years ago coming to pass, and Coldplay are now a thing of the past.

Back in 2014, Martin told Zane Lowe on Radio 1 of the band's then in production 'A Head Full Of Dreams' album: "It's our seventh [album] and the way we look at it is like the last Harry Potter book or something. Not to say there might not be another thing one day but this is the completion of something".

So maybe Coldplay is over and Los Unidades is the new thing. Even though Los Unidades is a terrible name. We'll see, I guess. For now, 'Global Citizen EP 1' is out this Friday.


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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