TODAY'S TOP STORY: Live Nation's Ticketmaster is hoping to get to a class action lawsuit over its secondary ticketing operations in the US dismissed. It's doing so by citing terms and conditions on its website that the plaintiffs almost certainly never read but definitely accepted with a simple click... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES Ticketmaster hopes to have touting cases dismissed because of its terms and conditions
LEGAL 'Dimebag' Darrell estate fights off guitar copyright infringement case
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Universal allies with new label looking to develop future rock talent
MEDIA Line-ups announced for festive Top Of The Pops
ARTIST NEWS R Kelly documentary screening evacuated after gun threat
GIGS & FESTIVALS The Coral announce UK tour dates
ONE LINERS The 1975, Blood Orange, Little Simz, more
AND FINALLY... George Ezra puts success down to burping
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The Philharmonia Orchestra is looking to appoint a Digital Marketing Manager. This is a new role, designed to drive ticket sales and audience growth across the Orchestra’s exciting live programme, utilising digital channels.

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The Philharmonia is looking to develop its online learning profile and offer for young people, students and teachers, building on its significant reputation and existing catalogue in this field. As such, we are recruiting a new role to work across the Digital and Education teams to research, develop and produce content.

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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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Managing a wide range of acts across Believe's new in-house imprint A4Ward and select Label Services projects, this role is tasked with creating, delivering and co-ordinating marketing and promotional campaigns for domestic and international releases.

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Believe has an exciting new opportunity for an eager creative to join as the Digital Content Intern to work across the digital marketing and video team. The candidate will be creating assets to support Believe's artist and label campaigns and also its YouTube channel clients.

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The position of Manager, Digital Accounts at INgrooves is responsible for generating revenue growth at key accounts in the digital music industry outside of the Americas. You will work closely with label representatives, marketing information and various data sources to ensure maximum visibility for our key projects.

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Since 1993, the French music export office, ​Le Bureau Export​​, has supported French rights holders in exporting their repertoire worldwide. The Berlin branch of Le Bureau Export is looking for a trilingual Communications/PR Manager.

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Dispersion PR provides publicity and marketing services within the electronic music and events fields and is seeking an experienced, full time Senior Publicist based out of our SW London office.

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Cooking Vinyl is looking for a Product and Marketing Assistant to join our London office. You will work closely to assist the company’s Product & Marketing Managers as well as the Production Manager to effectively plan releases and implement project roll-out plans, meeting all necessary deadlines.

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Sentric Music is looking for a Synchronisation Executive to join its Music Services Team. Based in the creative area of the Baltic Triangle in Liverpool, the Synchronisation Executive will be part of our growing Sync Team consisting of fifteen creatives in the UK and US.

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The successful applicant for the role of VIP Assistant will be an organised, enthusiastic and hard-working individual. Working as an assistant to the VIP Manager within our VIP department you would be responsible for the day to day administration of our exclusive VIP packages, as well as providing general office admin support.

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Ticketmaster hopes to have touting cases dismissed because of its terms and conditions
Live Nation's Ticketmaster is hoping to get to a class action lawsuit over its secondary ticketing operations in the US dismissed. It's doing so by citing terms and conditions on its website that the plaintiffs almost certainly never read but definitely accepted with a simple click.

American ticket-buyer Allen Lee sued Ticketmaster earlier this year just as the Live Nation company was dealing with the fallout of a Toronto Star and CBC exposé on its ticket resale business in North America. That report showed a rep for Ticketmaster's TradeDesk product - an inventory management platform for ticket resellers - suggesting that the company had deliberately slack policies regarding bulk purchases on its primary ticketing sites so to aid the touts that it did business with via its ticket resale platforms.

While Ticketmaster has bailed on secondary ticketing entirely in Europe, it is still very much operating in the resale business Stateside by providing platforms and services to touts. Nevertheless, since the Toronto Star/CBS report, Ticketmaster's US President Jared Smith has been very busy trying to argue that his company does in fact go above and beyond to stop touts hoovering up large quantities of tickets from its primary sites, while adding that its TradeDesk product has been widely misrepresented in the press.

In his lawsuit, Lee alleges that Ticketmaster exploits consumers by being involved in both the primary and secondary ticketing business. His lawsuit claims that the ticketing company "accepts kickbacks for secretly facilitating a shortage of its product and then a sale by a third party at a higher price. Ticketmaster does this in order to receive a second cut on tickets that is even more than the original cut Ticketmaster receives".

A lawyer working for Lee said at the time the lawsuit was filed: "We believe that Ticketmaster's highly controlled black market scheme to receive kickbacks from illicit secondary ticket sales violating its own terms of use constitutes unjust enrichment, and we intend to fight for the rights of anyone who has overpaid for tickets originally sold by Ticketmaster through a secondary ticket resale site involved in its scheme".

All of which Smith and his Ticketmaster team would presumably deny. Though in the short term, the ticketing firm is trying to get Lee's case - and another filed by a ticket-buyer called Mahmoud Ameri - dismissed, or at least stayed, on a technicality.

The ticketing firm argues that the terms and conditions on its website clearly state that "any dispute or claim relating in any way to your use of the site, or to products or services sold or distributed by us or through us, will be resolved by binding arbitration rather than in court".

That means that aggrieved customers must take their grievances to Ticketmaster's chosen independent arbitrator - a company called JAMS - rather than a court of law. Once in arbitration - a process designed to be cheaper, quicker and more private than a court case - any dispute would follow the procedure set out in America's Federal Arbitration Act.

In a legal filing last week, Ticketmaster went to great lengths to show just how many times Smith and Ameri would have been alerted of the company's terms and conditions as they set up an account, browsed the site and bought their tickets. And while neither buyer might have ever clicked through to read said terms, they were prompted to do so on multiple occasions, and in bold light blue text too.

Having pasted in various screengrabs showing all the bold light blue links to Ticketmaster's ts+cs, the legal filing then includes the full term regarding arbitration, which concludes with the line "you agree to waive any right to a jury trial or to participate in a class action".

Ticketmaster then states that legislation and precedent both "require that federal courts 'rigorously enforce agreements to arbitrate'". To that end it wants the court to dismiss both the touting cases, or at least put them on hold until any arbitration process has been completed.

It remains to be seen if the courts do indeed enforce an arbitration term that few Ticketmaster customers will have ever read but which is definitely there.


'Dimebag' Darrell estate fights off guitar copyright infringement case
The estate of late Pantera guitarist 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott has fought off a copyright infringement lawsuit over his signature guitar. The judge told designer Buddy 'Blaze' Webster that the time period for him to bring his case to court had now passed.

Webster filed his lawsuit in April last year, saying that the estate and its business partner Dean Guitars had infringed his copyright by selling replicas of Abbott's guitar - named Dean From Hell - with its distinctive lightning design.

The designer customised the 'Dean From Hell' guitar for Abbott in the 1980s and the musician used it throughout his career, until he was shot and killed on stage in 2004. Since Abbot's death, Dean Guitars has sold various versions of the instrument.

According to Law360, Webster's litigation failed because of the so called statute of limitations on copyright actions in the US.

Although the allowable time period for filing copyright actions usually begins with the most recent infringement - which means the last time a Dean From Hell replica guitar was sold - the judge said that Webster's dispute was actually about copyright ownership. Therefore, the three year window in which he could go legal had now long passed.

Countering this, Webster said that the delay was due to stalled negotiations with Dean Guitars. He also said that he had waited to file his case out of respect for the musician's mourning family and due to personal issues of his own. While the judge said that some of these reasons were "admirable", they did not warrant allowing the delayed case to proceed.

Following the ruling, an attorney for the defendants said in a statement that they were happy with the outcome, and that it would allow them to "continue to commemorate Darrell's legacy through the 'Dean From Hell' guitar".

Meanwhile, a legal rep for Webster told Law360 that the designer was disappointed, but "happy that the record is set straight that he did not authorise the reissues and has made no money from them ... Buddy brought the suit out of love and respect for his friend 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott - whom he recognised as a phenomenal talent at the age of fifteen - in protest to what he believed to be the continued exploitation of Darrell's legacy".


Universal allies with new label looking to develop future rock talent
Universal Music in the US earlier this week announced an alliance with a new record company called Edgeout Records which is aiming to sign and develop new rock talent by getting involved in said artists' live as well as recording activity.

The new label, which will be run out of Universal's West Coast HQ, is headed up by Tony Guanci who says: "More than any other genre of music, successful rock bands have historically built their fanbase through touring and live performances. At Edgeout, I plan to use my 30 years of experience and connections in touring and promotion to ensure our artists have access to the most coveted tours and festivals, which will allow them to organically reach new audiences and promote their latest tracks".

As part of the new venture's artist development activities, Edgeout will run an LA-based programme called Studio Edge, which will see the company work with new artists on three recording sessions over six months, setting goals and deadlines after each session. The label is looking for industry contacts to put bands forward for the programme, which may result in participating artists being signed.

The label's other founder, Cheryl Benson-Guanci, adds: "At Edgeout, we're passionate about ensuring that all aspects of an artist's career are positioned for success. Often, all a band requires is the proper direction, guidance and help to connect with audiences already eager for the next great band to come along. We have the experience and connections to make sure those first songs lead to long-lasting careers in writing, recording and touring".

Under its partnership, Universal will provide both label services and publishing admin to the Edgeout business.


Line-ups announced for festive Top Of The Pops
The BBC has once again dug deep into the dirty dustbin of long defunct telly formats to bring you, your mum, your loved ones, your neighbours, your colleagues, your friends, your foes, and the little baby Jesus some Christmas joy in the form of the 'Top Of The Pops' festive specials.

There'll be both Christmas Day and New Year special editions of 'TOTP' again this year fronted by that Fearne Cotton and that Clara Amfo. Cotton "can't wait" and Amfo is "so very happy". Meanwhile George Ezra reckons it will be "an honour and a pleasure", while Rita Ora says "I'm so excited to be part of your Christmas Day".

And if you're wondering why Ezra and Ora felt the need to push their way to the front of the quoting queue, well, they will both appear on the Christmas Day edition. Actually, Ezra will pop up on the New Year edition too. Quite why he gets to perform twice is anyone's guess. I mean, it hasn't been that shit a year for music, has it?

If you want to know the full line-up of all the artists you'll not actually get to see when you forget to turn off Netflix and Prime to tune yourself in to a long forgotten show on a redundant linear telly channel, here are the lists!

Christmas TOTP: Anne-Marie, Clean Bandit, Freya Ridings, George Ezra, Jax Jones & Ina Wroldson, Jess Glynne, Jonas Blue with Liam Payne & Lennon Stella, Rita Ora, Rudimental with Jess Glynne & Dan, Caplen, Sigrid, Tom Walker and Zara Larsson.

New Year TOTP: Anne-Marie, B Young, Christine and the Queens, Clean Bandit, George Ezra, Jess Glynne, Jonas Blue and Jack & Jack, Lewis Capaldi, Mabel, Tom Grennan, Tom Odell & Rae Morris and Years & Years.


Approved: Holly Herndon & Jlin - Godmother
Holly Herndon has been relatively quiet since the release of her last album, 'Platform', in 2015. There have been various live performances and installations, but on the recordings front there has been very little on offer. Not that she hasn't been busy though. Busy, busy, busy.

New track 'Godmother' is the result of experimentations with AI-created music and a system dubbed 'Spawn'. That AI actually created the music itself by listening to the voice of its 'godmother' - Planet Mu-signed producer Jlin - whose 2017 album 'Black Origami' Herndon featured on. Spawn has then been re-interpreting Jlin's music in the voice of her 'mother', ie Herndon.

"For the past two years, we have been building an ensemble in Berlin", says Herndon. "One member is a nascent machine intelligence we have named Spawn. She is being raised by listening to and learning from her parents, and those people close to us who come through our home or participate at our performances".

"Spawn can already do quite a few wonderful things", she goes on. "'Godmother' was generated from her listening to the artworks of her godmother Jlin, and attempting to re-imagine them in her mother's voice".

"This piece of music was generated from silence with no samples, edits, or overdubs, and trained with the guidance of Spawn's godfather Jules LaPlace. In nurturing collaboration with the enhanced capacities of Spawn, I am able to create music with my voice that far surpass the physical limitations of my body".

Creating music in this way, she says, raises many questions about the future of the medium. "The advent of sampling raised many concerns about the ethical use of material created by others", she notes, "but the era of machine legible culture accelerates and abstracts that conversation".

"Simply through witnessing music, Spawn is already pretty good at learning to recreate signature composition styles or vocal characters, and will only get better, sufficient that anyone collaborating with her might be able to mimic the work of, or communicate through the voice of, another".

However, she says, there is still a long way to go: "I find something hopeful about the roughness of this piece of music. Amidst a lot of misleading AI hype, it communicates something honest about the state of this technology; it is still a baby. It is important to be cautious that we are not raising a monster".

Listen to 'Godmother' here.

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

R Kelly documentary screening evacuated after gun threat
A preview screening of new documentary series 'Surviving R Kelly' was cancelled at the last minute yesterday following a threat to the venue. The show, made for US TV network Lifetime, was due to be screened at an event at New York's NeueHouse Madison Square.

Following the evacuation, a spokesperson for Lifetime told The Hollywood Reporter that a decision about whether or not to reschedule the event would be made today. "As a precaution, we evacuated", they said. "Tonight's all about the safety of everyone - we're not even thinking of what to do next yet".

The rep also said that the call, threatening a gun attack on the venue, had originated from Kelly's hometown of Chicago.

Due to be broadcast in January, 'Surviving R Kelly' tells the stories of various women who accuse the musician of abuse. Several of those women were in attendance last night, including Kitti Jones, Jerhonda Pace, Lisa Van Allen, Asante McGee and Lizzette Martinez. Among the other invited guests were #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and #OscarsSoWhite founder April Reign.

Watch the trailer for the show here.


The Coral announce UK tour dates
The Coral have announced that they will tour the UK next spring, in support of latest album 'Move Through The Dawn'. Support on all dates will come from Cut Glass Kings and Marvin Powell, who are both signed to the band's own Skelton Key label.

Tickets go on sale this Friday. Here are the dates:

27 Feb: Brighton, Concorde
1 Mar: Norwich, Waterfront
2 Mar: Oxford, Academy
7 Mar: Glasgow, Oran Mor
8 Mar: Middlesbrough, Empire
9 Mar: Stoke, Sugarmill
16 Mar: Warrington, Parr Hall


The 1975, Blood Orange, Little Simz, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• With their new album now out, The 1975 have just released a new video for another track from it, 'It's Not Living (If It's It Not With You)'.

• Blood Orange has released the video for 'Dagenham Dream' from his new album, 'Negro Swan'.

• Little Simz has released new single '101FM'.

• Cid Rim and Denai Moore have released the video for recently released collaboration, 'Control'.

• Bis are back and have announced that they will release new album, 'Slight Disconnects', on 15 Feb. They will play three launch shows in venues around Glasgow on 15-17 Feb.

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


George Ezra puts success down to burping
Although many proclaim to know, there's still no real indicator of what is going to make a song successful before it happens. Some will tell you that it's toiling over your craft, others that it's merely sticking to tried and tested formulas. In the case of his number one hit 'Shotgun', George Ezra reckons it was a burp. And not even a real burp.

About a minute into the song, Ezra makes a noise, which sounds like a burp. He insists it's not, but lots of people noticed and decided it was. He tells the Daily Star: "I got this email saying: 'Look there's this meme going around saying that you burped'. But it's just me saying the word 'well'. Within about a week [the track] got back to number one as everyone was checking out to see if I burp".

The fake burp was so successful that it got the song to number one for two whole weeks at the end of August, after five weeks stalled at number two, following its initial two week run at the top in July.

'Shotgun' fell off the top of the singles chart first time around during a collective delusion, everyone in the country decided that England were going to win the World Cup. In celebration of this looming triumph, a campaign was launched to get Frank Skinner and David Baddiel's 'Three Lions' into the top spot - a successful campaign, which Ezra backed.

Of course, England promptly crashed out of the World Cup, leading to a record breaking chart fall for 'Three Lions' the following week. Perhaps if all the England players had pretended to burp they would have done a bit better.


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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