TODAY'S TOP STORY: UK Music has joined the Music Venue Trust in criticising the government's main money man - Chancellor Philip Hammond - over a decision to exclude music venues from a cut in business rates being offered to small businesses. The only way venues could qualify, the two trade groups argue, is if they "turn off the music"... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES Music industry hits out after grassroots venues are denied small business rates cut
LEGAL No criminal charges for R Kelly in Dallas, as Lady Gaga announces withdrawal of 2013 collaboration from digital music services
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Guy Moot to replace Jon Platt at Warner/Chappell
RELEASES Former Bullet For My Valentine drummer Moose reveals new band, Kill The Lights
Slow Club's Rebecca Taylor announces debut album as Self Esteem
Stella Donnelly announces debut album, releases #MeToo inspired new single
ONE LINERS Lana Del Rey, Zayn Malik, Busted, more
AND FINALLY... Woodstock to return for 50th anniversary
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Standon Calling is looking for a Marketing & Event Manager to join our London office as part of a small team in the lead up to the 2019 festival, taking place 25-28 July, and during the festival on site. You’ll report to the Festival Director to deliver the overarching 2019 marketing campaign.

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The Wire is looking to recruit a full time advertising sales & marketing person. The job will involve working as part of a three strong team selling advertising space in the monthly print edition of The Wire, and on, and in its editorial newsletters. The job will be based at The Wire office in Hackney Central, London E9.

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Music specialist communications agency The Rest Is Noise is looking for an experienced Events PR to join our tight knit events team in London, delivering high impact PR campaigns with some management responsibilities.

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Two left of centre record labels seek an assistant to co-ordinate all aspects of the record release cycle across five sub labels. Training will be provided but twelve months' prior experience in a music company necessary.

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Music industry hits out after grassroots venues are denied small business rates cut
UK Music has joined the Music Venue Trust in criticising the government's main money man - Chancellor Philip Hammond - over a decision to exclude music venues from a cut in business rates being offered to small businesses. The only way venues could qualify, the two trade groups argue, is if they "turn off the music".

Hammond announced the scheme to reduce the business rates paid by small businesses on the high street last October. At the time UK Music welcomed the announcement but sought clarity, stating that "the government must ensure that music venues and studios, who have in recent years faced huge hikes in business rates, stand to benefit from this".

UK Music had already been calling for action on the business rates paid by venues and studios, arguing that the most recent review of what rates any one business should pay - based on the so called 'rateable value' of their property - had disproportionately hit small music businesses.

One example often cited is how North London venue The Lexington saw its rateable value rise by 118% in that review, while Arsenal FC's nearby 60,000-capacity Emirates Stadium enjoyed a 7% cut.

Late last year the Music Venue Trust asked the government to confirm whether or not music venues would indeed benefit from the promised cuts to rates paid by small businesses on the high street. A representative of HM Treasury duly wrote back with a big fat "no".

In the letter, published by IQ, the Treasury rep writes: "The retail discount will be available to occupied properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000 that are wholly or mainly being used as shops, restaurants and drinking establishments ... The government does not consider music venues to be eligible for the retail discount, unless they are considered by local authorities to be similar in nature to those properties listed in the guidance".

In a joint letter responding to that clarification, UK Music and MVT argue that that final point ultimately passing the buck to local authorities doesn't stand because of the government's own guidance on the business rates discount. They write: "Any local discretion in the implementation of the business rates policy is made impossible by paragraph fifteen of the guidance which explicitly states that music venues are not similar in nature to pubs and bars and so are outside the scope of the scheme".

The letter also re-summarises the impact the most recent business rates review has had on the grassroots music sector, noting the recent news that "the Buffalo Bar in Cardiff - at which Adele, among many others, launched her career - is closing with immediate effect because it cannot meet the demands of the huge increase in business rates. We fear that if the government continues to fail to address this issue many more closures may follow".

To that end, the two trade groups urge the Chancellor to intervene and change the government's position and guidance on how the small business rate cuts apply to music venues. They state: "We kindly ask that you change the guidance by stating that music venues are similar in nature to pubs and bars for the purposes of the scheme".

The letter, signed by UK Music's Michael Dugher and Music Venue Trust's Mark Davyd, then concludes: "If HM Treasury do not revisit this policy, your message to grassroots music venues is that if they wish to obtain similar tax advantages to other similar licensed premises, or even relief from additional taxes, they should turn off the music or close down".


No criminal charges for R Kelly in Dallas, as Lady Gaga announces withdrawal of 2013 collaboration from digital music services
Police in Dallas will not bring charges against R Kelly in relation to various allegations that were made against him by a woman last year. Those allegations included that he intentionally infected her with a sexually transmitted disease. However, the accuser's lawyer says that the criminal case has now been transferred to New York, where her client is already pursuing civil action.

Faith Rodgers filed a complaint with the Dallas Police Department last April, accusing Kelly of unlawful restraint, furnishing alcohol and illegal drugs to a minor, and aggravated assault. She said that she broke ties with the musician after realising she was being "groomed to join [his] sex cult".

Launching a civil case in New York the following month, Rodgers gave further details. She said that she had been in a year long relationship with Kelly, initially over the phone. However, she later flew to New York to meet him, where he "initiated unwanted sexual contact" in a hotel room. It was there, she says, that she unknowingly contracted herpes from the star.

According to The Dallas Morning News, the city's police department has now concluded its investigation into the case, saying that it found no evidence that a crime had been committed within its jurisdiction. Rodgers' attorney Lee Merritt said that they would now seek criminal charges in New York instead, where, as in Texas, it is also a criminal offence to knowingly expose someone to an STD without telling them.

Meanwhile, Lady Gaga has become the latest celebrity to speak out against Kelly, following the airing of the documentary series 'Surviving R Kelly' on US TV earlier this month. She has now said that she will withdraw her 2013 collaboration with him, 'Do What U Want' from digital music services.

Gaga was heavily criticised at the time for working with Kelly on the track, which appeared on her 'Artpop' album, and an accompanying video directed by Terry Richardson - also accused by numerous women of sexual misconduct - was never released.

"What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible", she has now said in a post on Twitter. "I stand behind these women 1000%, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously".

"As a victim of sexual assault myself, I made [that] song and video at a dark time in my life", she continues. "My intention was to create something extremely dark and provocative because I was angry and still hadn't processed the trauma that had occurred in my own life ... I think it's explicitly clear how twisted my thinking was at the time".

"I can't go back, but I can go forward", she concludes. "I intend to remove this song off of iTunes and other streaming platforms and will not be working with [Kelly] again. I'm sorry, both for my poor judgement when I was young and for not speaking out sooner".

The song is currently still available on digital music platforms.


Guy Moot to replace Jon Platt at Warner/Chappell
One in, one out, and around we go. Warner Music has confirmed that it is recruiting Sony/ATV's Guy Moot to take over as boss of its publishing business Warner/Chappell, filling the role left vacant by Jon Platt after he was recruited to take over running Sony/ATV, which is a job some had thought Moot might get. Keep up everybody!

Platt announced he was departing Warner/Chappell, where he'd been CEO since 2015, back in September. Given that meant Platt wasn't seeing through his current contract with Warner to completion, it was immediately speculated that he was leaving early to take over running the biggest music publisher of them all, that being Sony/ATV. Within days incumbent Sony/ATV chief Marty Bandier diligently announced his planned retirement, and then a week later overall Sony Corp boss Kenichiro Yoshida confirmed Platt had been hired.

While all that was happening, there were rumours that Bandier wasn't especially pleased that Platt was his replacement, even though Bandier had previously mentored Platt back in the day when they both worked at EMI Music Publishing. Gossipers gossiped that Bandier would have preferred an internal promotion to fill the role he was departing, with the company's UK chief and Worldwide President Of Creative Moot having long been seen as the most likely internal candidate.

So anyway, Moot will now get Platt's old job at Warner/Chappell. There he will work very much in partnership with Carianne Marshall, who joined the Warner publisher as COO last year, having previously been at indie music firm Songs before its sale to Kobalt. She was actually also seen as a contender to take over from Platt. However, the plan is that both Moot and Marshall will have the job title Co-Chair of Warner/Chappell, while the former will also be CEO and the latter will keep COO as a second designation on her business card.

We know all this for certain because Warner Music CEO Stephen Cooper has confirmed it in a memo to staff. And, in case you wondered, Coop would like you to know that "this leadership duo will be unlike any other in music publishing", which will "give us real creative and commercial advantages" and "help us emphasise our unique approach". Which is good news. I'm always saying unique approaches should be more heavily emphasised.

"I want to thank the entire team at Warner/Chappell for doing an outstanding job during this transition", Coop's memo meanders on, "continuing to work tirelessly to provide unparalleled service to songwriters across the globe. I know that Guy and Carianne will be fantastic partners in continuing to transform the company and pioneer the future of music".


Approved: Mira Calix
Although she has far from left music behind over the last decade, Mira Calix has perhaps become better known for her mixed media installation work, incorporating sound and music. However, she has just announced a new EP, 'Utopia', her first release on Warp for a decade, which sees her return to making more straightforward electronic music.

"The past few years I've been making mostly installation, which I find thrilling", says Calix. "But the nature of my practice means I tend to work with many hands, many speakers, many materials, many musicians, over long periods. It was really refreshing to make this EP, to give myself a time limit, a strict set of rules, a tight sonic palette, and be fully autonomous as a writer, producer and musician".

"In a way it's going back to my roots", she adds. "But it also felt completely fresh, playful, to just build some tracks around a cinematic scene - something for friends to move to in the early hours of a louche house party!"

Although a standalone project, the EP's genesis does lie with another media. An alternate version of lead track 'Rightclick' soundtracks Adam Thirlwell short film 'Utopia', with was released last month. The EP version very much occupies its own world though, and provides a contained view into Calix's complex and intriguing creative universe.

Watch the video for 'Rightclick' here.

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

Former Bullet For My Valentine drummer Moose reveals new band, Kill The Lights
Former Bullet For My Valentine drummer Michael 'Moose' Thomas is back with a new band called Kill The Lights.

Having parted ways with BFMV in 2016, Thomas has recruited vocalist James Clark of Throw The Fight, guitarists Jordan Whelan from Still Remains and Travis Montgomery of Threat Signal, and Glamour Of The Kill bassist Davey Richmond for this new project.

"I'm super grateful and excited to be back", says Thomas. "I can't wait for everyone to hear this. When I parted company with the old band, musically I was just sitting around doing fuck all and realised I had worked too hard and come too far to turn around. I thought I'd get in touch with Jordan and sent him a text asking, 'got any riffs or what?!' Before I knew it, he had sent me 30 or 40 songs. I was like, 'erm, OK!' I couldn't believe it".

Explaining how he came to have quite so much unused music knocking around, Whelan says: "I'm a hobby songwriter, which means I'm writing every day, whether it's for a band or not. I've known Moose since I was a nineteen year old kid. Funnily enough, his first tour in the States was opening up for my band, then he said we should jump on a tour with them through the UK - which ended up being the Kerrang! Tour of 2006".

"The chemistry was there right off the bat", he adds of his new bandmate, "and I knew right away this could be something that takes over the world".

Kill The Lights have various plans for 2019, but for now they're simply announcing their arrival with a debut single, 'The Faceless'. Check out the video here.


Slow Club's Rebecca Taylor announces debut album as Self Esteem
Slow Club's Rebecca Taylor has announced the release of a debut album in her solo guise, Self Esteem. Titled 'Compliments Please', it will be released through Fiction Records on 1 Mar.

"I am overwhelmingly proud to have finally made the record that's been sitting in my guts since I was a child", she says. "It has been challenging and incredibly frightening but so much more satisfying because of this. I wanted to make pop music for my fellow flawed, squashed and disgusting humans having a go at life. I feel I've succeeded. And if I haven't, I'm hoping to make a fair few more".

Marking the album announcement, she has also released new single 'The Best'.

Tour dates will follow the album release in March. Here are all of the dates:

9 Mar: Ramsgate Music Hall
10 Mar: Nottingham, Bodega
12 Mar: Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
13 Mar: Newcastle, The Think Tank
14 Mar: Manchester, Yes
15 Mar: Glasgow, Stereo
16 Mar: Sheffield, The Plug
18 Mar: Southampton, The Joiners
20 Mar: London, Village Underground
21 Mar: Bristol, Thekla
22 Mar: Leeds, Belgrave Music Hall


Stella Donnelly announces debut album, releases #MeToo inspired new single
Stella Donnelly has announced the release of her debut album, 'Beware Of The Dogs', alongside the release of new single 'Old Man'.

"I came up with the chords and chorus to this song in 2017 around the time when Woody Allen called the #MeToo movement a witch hunt", says Donnelly of the new single. "It was a very strange feeling for me watching the world change right before my eyes and to see that these men who had exploited their power for so long were actually being held accountable for their actions".

"It made me look back on my experiences as a young woman doing music and certain powerful men who tried to manipulate me and exploit other young women", she continues. "I needed to write this song for myself because if I hadn't I would still feel quite angry about things that I probably let slide in my younger, more naive days".

She then concludes: "I have no intentions of publicly calling out these people but it's a nice feeling to me knowing that they may hear this song one day and feel perhaps an inch of the humiliation and powerlessness that they inflicted on me back then".

Watch the video for 'Old Man' here.

Donnelly will be touring the UK and Ireland as part of a wider European tour in April and May, finishing up at The Scala in London. Here are the dates:

23 Apr: Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
24 Apr: Britol, Thekla
25 Apr: Southampton, The Joiners
27 Apr: Brighton, The Haunt
28 Apr: Manchester, Yes
29 Apr: Dublin, Grand Social
1 May: Glasgow, Blue Arrow
2 May: Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
5 May: Nottingham, Bodega
7 May, London, The Scala


Lana Del Rey, Zayn Malik, Busted, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Lana Del Rey has released lengthily-titled new track 'Hope Is A Dangerous Thing For A Woman Like Me To Have - But I Have It'.

• Zayn Malik has released the video for 'Satisfaction', from his latest album, 'Icarus Falls'.

• Busted have released new single 'Radio' from their upcoming new album, 'Half Way There'. "It's talking about the memories that you used to share with someone when listening to the radio", says a nostalgic James Bourne.

• Foals have announced that they will release a new album, titled 'Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost', in two parts this year.

• Deerhunter release new album 'Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared?' next week. Here's new single 'Plains'.

• Former Cherry Glazerr member Sasami will release her debut solo album on 8 Mar. Here's new single 'Jealousy'.

• Nick Waterhouse has released new track 'Song For Winners'. He's going to be slapping out a new album on 8 Mar and will be playing a couple of UK shows in London and Manchester the same month.

• Composer Nitin Sawhney will premiere new commission 'Brexit - A Rational Anthem For A National Tantrum' at the Barbican on 23 Feb. He will also perform other music from his solo back catalogue at the event. More info here.

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


Woodstock to return for 50th anniversary
The Woodstock music festival is set to return to mark its 50th anniversary, one of the men behind the original 1969 event has told the New York Times.

Michael Lang told the newspaper that he hopes the festival, set to take place in August in Watkins Glen, New York State, will be about politics as much as music. "Coachella's got its thing, as does Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza", he says. "But I think they're all missing an opportunity to make a difference in the world. They're all perfect places for social engagement and for fostering ideas, and I think that's lost".

He continues: "We want this to be more than just coming to a concert. And hopefully a lot of the bands will become part of this effort to get people to stand up and make themselves heard, to get and out vote. And if they don't have a candidate that represents their feelings, to find one - or to run themselves".

While it's 50 years since the original event, it's also 20 years since the name was last used. Woodstock 99 - the second time a full-on festival was staged re-using the moniker, after a previous event in 1994 - is largely remembered for reports of violence, sexual assault and fires.

Asked if this had tarnished the original event's legacy, Lang says: "It's not tainted. That was more like an MTV event than a Woodstock event, really. I take some responsibility for that. It was also kind of an angry time in music".

Now, he says, "just seems like it's a perfect time for a Woodstock kind of reminder".


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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SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
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CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of 3CM UnLimited she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
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