TODAY'S TOP STORY: The main opposition party in Australia is proposing a new law that would extend restrictions on secondary ticketing already introduced in New South Wales to the whole country... [READ MORE]
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This three part CMU Trends guide provides a beginner's guide to music copyright and the music rights business. In it, we cover ownership, controls and licensing, and review key trends in streaming, physical, sync and public performance. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Australia's Labor Party proposes country-wide 10% cap on ticket resale
LEGAL Australian web-blocking system amended to copyright owners' advantage
DEALS Joel Little extends Sony/ATV deal
INDUSTRY PEOPLE PRS For Music CEO Robert Ashcroft to step down next year
ARTIST NEWS Reggae added to UN's protected cultural heritage list
GIGS & FESTIVALS Hugh Jackman to perform Greatest Showman songs on tour
ONE LINERS Joel Little, Downtown, Mark Ronson, more
AND FINALLY... Beef Of The Week #432: Richard Ashcroft v ABKCO
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The role of Events Marketing Manager is a pivotal and crucial role to the success of Dreamland Margate. This is a really exciting opportunity for an event marketer to join a growing business.

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Australia's Labor Party proposes country-wide 10% cap on ticket resale
The main opposition party in Australia is proposing a new law that would extend restrictions on secondary ticketing already introduced in New South Wales to the whole country.

The Labor Party says that if it was in government it would introduce a new rule that says that tickets resold online can only be marked up by 10%, which would basically cover the administration of the resale. As part of that system, promoters would then be forbidden from cancelling resold tickets. This mirrors measures introduced at a state level in New South Wales.

The Labor Party's proposals also include the customary bots ban, outlawing the use of special software to hoover up large numbers of tickets from primary sites. The party's leader, Bill Shorten, said: "Big events should not be out of reach of everyday Aussie fans. I know how frustrating it is for people to wake up early, log on to a computer and find they've missed out on tickets before they can even enter their details".

"I don't want ordinary Australians to have to compete with sophisticated computers set up to gouge the system", he added. "I want families to have real chance of getting tickets to sports games and events they love. Australians love their sport and these changes will mean fans get a fair go on accessing tickets to the big events".

As elsewhere, while politicians in Australia are critical about the secondary ticketing market in general, they are most scathing about big bad Viagogo, which is currently being sued by the country's Competition & Consumer Commission. According to, the Labor Party says that their proposals would "cut the business model" of companies like Viagogo which "often leave consumers stranded with useless tickets" even after paying a premium price to access said tickets.

The Party added that ticket touting "is a growing scourge. Instead of sales going to our footy clubs and local businesses, artists and the music industry, fraudsters are building profit models and forcing consumers to pay exorbitant prices for tickets, or missing out completely".

The Labor Party's unveiling of its proposals on secondary ticketing followed the call by Australian band Gang Of Youths earlier this week for artists and music fans to come forward with reports on how they had been negatively impacted by Viagogo. The band said that they intended "to give this documentation to the Opposition Party to form part of their campaign pledge to have this site closed down".

Elsewhere in Viagogo news, back here in the UK anti-ticket-touting campaign FanFair has been reviewing in more detail the injunction secured against the rogue resale site by the Competition & Markets Authority earlier this week. That injunction ordered Viagogo to comply with the CMA's various demands to bring its operations in line with UK consumer rights law. Responding, the resale site said "we are pleased that we have been able to work closely with the CMA to come to an agreement".

However, in its commentary FanFair notes how "non-compliance [with the injunction] might result in fines, seizure of assets or for Viagogo's directors to be imprisoned", adding that "it is certainly not an 'agreement', as Viagogo suggested in a press release published on Tuesday morning".

In addition to the measures already outlined by the CMA in its announcement earlier in the week, FanFair also notes demands in the injunction regarding Viagogo's complaints and refund procedures, including "a review of historic unpaid claims under its guarantee".

You can read the full injunction here and FanFair's commentary here.


Australian web-blocking system amended to copyright owners' advantage
The Australian Parliament has passed a new law that will beef up web-blocking rules in the country. The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2018 was passed by the House Of Representatives last month and then by the Senate this week.

Specific laws were introduced to allow web-blocking in Australia back in 2015, so that copyright owners could seek injunctions forcing internet service providers to block customers from accessing copyright infringing websites. The new amendments are designed to deal with common bugbears in the copyright industries with the web-blocking process.

That includes allowing rights owners to more easily block mirror and proxy sites that are set up to circumvent existing web-blocks and new obligations forcing search engines to remove blocked sites and subsequent proxies from their search lists. Meanwhile the definition of sites that can be blocked will be altered so to include web platforms whose 'primary effect' is copyright infringement, whereas previously it was 'primary purpose'.

Welcoming the passing of the amendments, Australia's Minister For Communications, Mitch Fifield, told reporters: "The government has zero tolerance for online piracy. It is theft and damaging to our creative economy and local creators. We are committed to protecting Australia's creative industries and the world-class content we produce every year. The passage of our legislation today sends a strong message to online pirates that Australia does not tolerate online theft".

As with any new anti-piracy measures, there were critics of the amendments to the country's web-blocking rules, in particular from the tech sector. The Australian Digital Alliance, which represents web giants Google and Facebook among other entities, criticised in particular the expansion of the scope of web-blocking.

Its Executive Director Jessica Coates is quoted by Forbes as saying: "[The] 'primary effect' test significantly broadens its scope far beyond the piracy sites that were originally envisioned, and runs the risk of enabling the blocking of a large range of innocent and commonly used websites, such as meme-generators, auto-translation services and even VPNs. This is a significant departure from the stated intent of the scheme when it passed in 2015, which was to capture only 'the worst of the worst' websites".

The government has said it will review the impact of the new amendments in two years time.


Joel Little extends Sony/ATV deal
Sony/ATV has extended its worldwide publishing deal with songwriter and producer Joel Little. And why not, I say, why the hell not?

Best known for his work with Lorde - particularly her debut album 'Pure Heroine', which he co-wrote and produced in its entirety - Little has also worked with artists including Sam Smith, Khalid, Imagine Dragons and Amy Shark.

"It has been an honour and a pleasure for all of us at Sony/ATV to work with Joel, and we couldn't be happier for his ongoing success", chirps the company's US Co-President Rick Krim. "We are THRILLED to be continuing with him and are excited about what the future will bring".

Little himself adds: "Sony/ATV have been taking care of me for ten years now and at this point it just feels like home. The extended family there have put in so much hard work for me over the years and I can't wait to see where we take things with this next chapter".

Recently, Little has been working with OneRepublic on a their fifth album. And why not, I say, why the hell not?


PRS For Music CEO Robert Ashcroft to step down next year
Robert Ashcroft will step down as the Chief Executive of UK song rights collecting society PRS For Music at the end of next year, it has been announced.

"Working for PRS has been by far the most compelling and worthwhile thing I have ever done", says Ashcroft. "It has been a privilege to work on behalf of our members and I would like to thank them, our board, and above all my colleagues, for their support over the years".

The society's chair, Nigel Elderton adds: "Robert has given the organisation a decade of stability and growth, making it the considerable success it is today. He should be rightly proud of his legacy and the health in which he leaves PRS For Music. On behalf of all our members, staff and industry partners I would like to thank Robert for his service and the positive impact he has had. We wish him every success in the future".

Ashcroft originally joined PRS For Music in January 2010, so the long lead up to his departure next year will take him to his tenth anniversary with the company.


Vigsy's Club Tip: Trojan Sound System at The Garage
With reggae just added to the UN's list of protected cultural heritage, why not celebrate with this great night tomorrow? The Trojan Sound System reaches the grand finale of its tour marking the 50th anniversary of the legendary reggae label, this weekend hitting The Garage in London.

Celebrating the label's rich back catalogue, the Sound System itself has been in operation for nearly fifteen years now, developing an amazing show with selector Daddy Ad and MCs Supa4 Creation, Chucky Bantan and Jah Buck.

Also on the bill is the brilliant Don Letts and Mistah Brown. Should be quite a celebration.

Saturday 1 Dec, The Garage, 20-22 Highbury Corner, Highbury, N5 1RD, 8pm-2am, £15. More info here.

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

Reggae added to UN's protected cultural heritage list
The UN has added reggae to its list of protected cultural heritage, alongside the Irish field sport of hurling, Swiss avalanche management and more.

Confirming reggae's addition to the United Nations Educational, Scientific And Cultural Organization's Representative List Of The Intangible Cultural Heritage Of Humanity, the group said in a statement: "While in its embryonic state reggae music was the voice of the marginalised, the music is now played and embraced by a wide cross-section of society, including various genders, ethnic and religious groups. Its contribution to international discourse on issues of injustice, resistance, love and humanity underscores the dynamics of the element as being at once cerebral, socio-political, sensual and spiritual".

"The basic social functions of the music - as a vehicle for social commentary, a cathartic practice, and a means of praising God - have not changed, and the music continues to act as a voice for all", it continues. "Students are taught how to play the music in schools from early childhood to the tertiary level, and reggae festivals and concerts such as Reggae Sumfest and Reggae Salute provide annual outlets, as well as an opportunity for understudy and transmission for upcoming artists, musicians and other practitioners".

The aim of including items on the Intangible Cultural Heritage list - like its counterpart the World Heritage list - is to improve the protection afforded to the listed cultural activities and boost awareness of their significance. In that spirit, I'll tell you now, if you've never watched a hurling match then you're really missing out.

It was announced last month that the Jamaican government had submitted reggae for consideration to be added to the list. The country's Minister of Sports, Culture, Entertainment And Gender Affairs, Olivia Grange, said that it would be a "major achievement" if the application was successful.

Now welcoming the decision - which had initially been recommended by the evaluating panel to be deferred for two years - she added: "It shows the popularity of reggae music across the world and the captivating influence of the Jamaican art form".

She added that reggae's listing would also be beneficial for the lesser known of UNESCO's heritage lists, saying: "Jamaicans have long recognised that reggae music means so much to so many across the world. This inscription will invariably bring even more visibility to UNESCO'S Representative List Of The Intangible Cultural Heritage Of Humanity and intangible cultural heritage as a whole, and it demonstrates reggae's global impact".

Reggae is actually Jamaica's second addition to the intangible culture list. The Maroon heritage of Moore Town in Eastern Jamaica was added in 2008.


Hugh Jackman to perform Greatest Showman songs on tour
Having dominated both the film and recorded music industries this year, where left is there for 'The Greatest Showman' to go? That's right, the live music industry. Hugh Jackman is coming for your market share in 2019.

Despite reviews that were not exactly glowing, 'The Greatest Showman' became a huge hit in cinemas. Its spin-off soundtrack album is the year's biggest seller - to the point that a second version featuring various pop stars covering its songs was released earlier this month.

Now the film's star, Hugh Jackman, is going on tour to perform songs from the film with a live orchestra. To bulk it out a bit, he will also perform songs from 'Les Miserables' and other Broadway shows he's been in.

The tour is set to wind its way around North America and Europe next year, with four dates in the UK, which are as follows:

24 May: Manchester Arena
27 May: Birmingham, Resorts World Arena
2 Jun: London, O2 Arena
3 Jun: London, O2 Arena

Tickets go on sale on 7 Dec.


Joel Little, Downtown, Mark Ronson, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Downtown has appointed Delmar Powell as Vice President of A&R. "Delmar possesses an incredible passion for great artistry and songs", says the company's Senior Vice President, Andrew Gould. "We are very excited and fortunate to welcome him to the team".

• Mark Ronson's new single with Miley Cyrus, 'Nothing Breaks Like A Heart', is out right now.

• Migos' Offset has released 'Red Room', the title track of his upcoming debut solo album of the same name.

• Nicki Minaj and Lil Wayne have released the video for 'Good Form', the closing track from her latest album 'Queen'.

• Lily Allen and Stamina MC feature on the new single from ShyFX, 'Roll The Dice'.

• Dido has released the video for new single 'Hurricanes'.

• John Legend has released the video for his version of 'Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas'. His Christmas album, 'A Legendary Christmas', is out now.

• Rotting Christ have released their new single, 'Fire, God And Fear'. Their new album, 'The Heretics', is out on 15 Feb.

• Sasha is back with new single 'Ouch'. "It's about knowing deep down that a situation is eventually going to hurt you, but seeing things through rose-tinted glasses at the time", she says. "And then kicking yourself when everything goes to shit because you saw it coming from the start. Tragic!"

• In the ongoing dance of London-based music festivals around the city's parks, some stability has emerged. Lovebox and Citadel will remain at Gunnersbury park in West London next year. They moved there from East London's Victoria Park (via an abandoned deal with South London Brockwell Park) this year.

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


Beef Of The Week #432: Richard Ashcroft v ABKCO
It's only a month since Richard Ashcroft last featured in this column. Who would have thought the promotional cycle for his latest solo album, 'Natural Rebel', would prove so fruitful? And whereas the presence of an actual proper 'beef' was debatable last time, this time it's very real, long-running and extremely bitter.

Appearing on the podcast of US radio presenter and journalist Kyle Meredith this week, Ashcroft let rip into ABKCO, the company that grabbed the publishing rights in The Verve's biggest hit, 'Bitter Sweet Symphony', in 1997. Delivering a message direct to the company's current boss, Jody Klein, he says: "I'm coming for my money, man".

The story of what happened to 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' and the copyright in the song is complicated and the various different accounts of what occurred behind the scenes don't entirely line up. However, the outcome is that ABKCO ended up with all the money generated by the publishing rights in the song, due to the distinctive strings sampled on its recorded version.

Those strings were taken from an instrumental version of 'The Last Time' by The Rolling Stone, recorded by the Andrew Loog Oldham Orchestra. Former Stones manager and ABKCO founder Allen Klein owned the publishing rights for all of the Stones' early songs, of which this was one.

With a licence already in place on the recording side, ABKCO was approached to clear the publishing rights. However, Klein, who was vehemently against sampling, was not in a mood to play ball. Eventually, he agreed to grant a licence if Ashcroft sold his company his portion of the publishing rights in 'Bitter Sweet Symphony', which he'd already had to split with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

The song, of course, became The Verve's biggest hit and ABKCO reaped the benefits, licensing use of the track as much as possible. When the band felt the song had become overused and stopped granting licences for the recording rights, ABKCO recorded its own version and licensed that instead. Ashcroft reckons this has earned the company tens of millions of dollars and now he wants what he sees as rightfully his.

That, by the way, is a fairly simplified version of the whole 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' copyright story from the song's original creation up to the present day, which I hope was pretty clear and easy to understand. Because Ashcroft's interview with Meredith is not so easy to follow.

Throughout the 20 minute chat, Ashcroft speaks at speed, in extremely long sentences, answering questions that haven't been asked, changing topic mid-flow and rarely giving much context for what he's talking about. When Meredith does manage to get a word in, he rarely gets as far as actually asking a question before Ashcroft tears off again. Transcribing all this gave me a massive headache and left me feeling quite nauseous, so you'd better enjoy it.

The rant about Klein comes midway through a response to Meredith asking about a line in the closing track on the new record - called 'Money Money' - which goes: "Your riffs do nothing at all".

For several minutes, Ashcroft goes on a tirade about modern rock acts, proclaiming them to have nothing to say and no knowledge of rock history, explaining that the song is "a direct message ... that you're fucking fantastically boring, you are pale imitations, you don't even deserve to be given that mantel".

"I can't even be arsed starting with an acoustic guitar sometimes", he adds, because all the mediocre modern music makers have set such a terrible precedent.

"It's like, fucking hell man", he says, "I'm just another guy starting a tune with acoustic guitar. I might come and shoot myself if I'm not careful, because the other ones have done it so boringly that they've made it tough for me to do it, because they've done it so bad. I know I'm going to do it well, I know I'm better than everyone, I know all that crap, but you've done such a bad job I'm semi-ashamed".

Anyway, that's fun, but it's not what we were here to talk about. It's relevant though, because Ashcroft says he does know his own place in the world of music. He knows where his influences come from and, with 'Bitter Sweet Symphony', he was trying to push rock somewhere new.

"I was saying to myself, 'look, rock n roll is a spirit, and if I want to sample something and make it into a hip hop/rock n roll anthem, it's still rock n roll", he says of the song. "And it's even more rock n roll because it's another white English kid, influenced by hip hop, sampling some fucking white English guys, influenced by black blues guys, and it goes on and on and on. But sonically what I'm saying at the end with 'Money Money' is that you lot are just a Xerox of a Xerox of a Xerox of a Xerox of Xerox of a Xerox".

If you want to read between the lines there - and, hey, you might as well - it does seem like he's saying that no one should have been able to take the publishing rights in his biggest hit away from him, because the earlier artists' work was already influenced by someone else.

This gets us - in a far more direct route than in the actual interview - to ABKCO. Allen Klein died in 2009 and the company had already been run by his son Jody for a number of years prior to that. Still, Ashcroft sees Jody as a soft touch compared to his dad, and reckons that he can get him to hand over all the money his company earned from 'Bitter Sweet Symphony'.

"Fucking Mr Junior now has taken over that company", he tells Meredith. "And I'm saying man, I'm coming for that money. Someone stole god knows how many million dollars off me in 1997, and they've still got it. In terms, in normal basic terms, I don't care where you come from, that's a serious matter. So I'm telling him, I'm telling Allen Klein Jr, I'm coming for my money, man".

He then goes on to imply that Klein Snr used dubious methods to grab the song's publishing rights two decades ago, saying: "When his dad was around, people could intimidate people by being a gangster in the music industry. But basically, we're now living in a world where anyone can be a gangster. Anyone could be a virtual gangster. You could be a gangster in whatever way you want. You could phone two phone calls and find a gangster. Everyone's a gangster. So ... there's no fear with this shit with some big figure".

He rambles on: "You know, you're making me laugh when I hear about these big managers from the 70s and stuff, and it's like get out of here, you wouldn't last five minutes ... Because it's a different world now, and anyone who would work for that company would know that, that obviously once this thing starts resolving or doesn't, this is what ['Money Money is] about".

Like I said, this was a real struggle to transcribe. And if you thought that bit there was tough, try this actual thing that he said: "It's part of my life story. Good. Because it's part of this epic story, which starts with The Staple Singers, which starts with the story of music, and the story of manipulations, and the story of outright diluting of the spirit, the capturing of the spirit, the marketing of the spirit, the death of the spirit, the reawakening of the spirit - not only personally but as a genre, as a community, that we are no longer going to be used as little pawns in some pathetic little political bullshit game, because we hold the keys to something way more powerful, it's just if you don't realise you've got the keys, you don't realise you've got the keys, you know what I mean?" And now breathe.

Anyway, back to ABKCO. Ashcroft thinks that the company's reckoning is coming and that the people who work there know it. "You don't even put the song on your website you're so damn ashamed of it", he says at one point. And he's right, 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' is not mentioned on the company's website - except in an aside in an article about a dance track that uses the same sample and was granted a licence. Although, the website only lists its signed songwriters, rather than all the songs it controls, so that's probably the reason.

He still remembers the day he had to give up his copyright, though. He goes on: "Anyone, unless you are mentally ill, would always remember the day when $50 million was stolen off them. It doesn't matter if it was 20 years later, or five, or 50. It's the concept of 'gangster'. I had something of mine which was worth 50 million ... it'll go on forever. It was taken from me by a guy from New York, that's all I know".

It's all going to kick off soon though, make no mistake. And Ashcroft has an idea for how the company can make one last bit of money from his song before he swoops in: "Basically, if I was them, I would sign for a real life TV show at ABKCO over the next few years, because it's going to be so funny - some of their internal meetings on how they're gonna handle this shit. Because at the end of the day they're just people going to work, ultimately. Most of the people they work with are dead anyway".

Summarising, he says: "I filtered it down to what happened back in 97, I filtered it down to its raw essence - a gangster stole 50% of something that's worth at least a hundred million dollars already, at least. So, you know, I'm never going to forget that".

This isn't actually the first time this has come up recently. Ashcroft also mentioned his big plan regarding the 'Bitter Sweet' rights on Soccer AM back in September, but we were all distracted by whatever it was he dropped on the floor.

Asked on that show about supporting the Rolling Stones in Manchester back in June, he said: "The Rolling Stones will live forever. It was an honour for me to play with them no matter what went on with 'Bitter Sweet'. ABKCO Music out there I'm coming for you. What's his name? Allen Klein Jr, I know you live in New York. I'm going to disturb one of your yoga sessions and ask for that 50 million back you owe me. But apart from that, no sweat with The Stones".

So, good news for Mick and Keith, I guess.


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
Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
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