TODAY'S TOP STORY: With the final, final, final draft of the European Copyright Directive being circulated around stakeholders earlier this week, organisations representing independent labels and publishers, and songwriters and their collecting societies, have published a letter calling on the EU Council and European Parliament to now vote through the copyright reforms... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES Final draft in hand, music industry reps call on EU law-makers to pass the European Copyright Directive
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Group bidding to set up new US mechanicals society dispute rival's "overwhelming" support claim
BRANDS & MERCH Smirnoff teams up with Annie Mac for latest phase of its Equalising Music programme
MEDIA New event to stage live recordings of popular podcasts
Trailer circulates for new Michael Jackson documentary
GIGS & FESTIVALS Morrissey announces Canadian tour after abandoning boycott
AWARDS BRIT Awards presented, broadcast and streamed
AND FINALLY... Newhaven to get Eazy-E tribute
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Final draft in hand, music industry reps call on EU law-makers to pass the European Copyright Directive
With the final, final, final draft of the European Copyright Directive being circulated around stakeholders earlier this week, organisations representing independent labels and publishers, and songwriters and their collecting societies, have published a letter calling on the EU Council and European Parliament to now vote through the copyright reforms.

Reps for the European Commission, EU Council and European Parliament agreed a final version of the directive last week via their so called trilogue negotiations. It must now be passed by the full Council and Parliament.

There are still plenty of critics of the proposals, especially within the tech sector. And especially over the music industry backed article thirteen, which will reform the copyright safe harbour and increase the liabilities of user-upload platforms like YouTube.

The music community did a pretty good job of presenting a united front on article thirteen, especially once YouTube's lobbyists went into overdrive late last year.

Though in the very final stages of the negotiations there was a split within the music industry, with groups representing labels and publishers saying they were sufficiently concerned about last minute edits that they wanted the whole directive to be abandoned. Meanwhile artists and songwriters, who will benefit from other elements of the new rules, not just article thirteen, called on law makers to see the project through to completion.

However, indie label repping IMPALA and the Independent Music Publishers International Forum were among the organisations yesterday calling for the directive to now be adopted, the former insisting that - by expressing those late-in-the-day concerns - some further edits were made that improved the final draft from the music industry's perspective. The European Composer And Songwriter Alliance, and collecting society groups CISAC and GESAC, also signed yesterday's statement, as did bodies repping other copyright industries.

The statement reads: "We, the undersigned organisations, representing authors, composers, writers, journalists, photographers and others working in all artistic fields, news agencies, book, press and music publishers, audiovisual and independent music producers, call on the Council Of The European Union and the European Parliament to adopt the Directive On Copyright In The Digital Single Market".

It went on: "This directive has been long sought to create a much-needed level playing field for all actors of the creative sector in the European Digital Single Market, whilst giving citizens better access to a wider array of content. This is a historical opportunity. We need an internet that is fair and sustainable for all. This is why we urge policymakers to adopt the directive quickly, as agreed in trilogue negotiations".

Trade groups speaking for the major record companies and music publishers were not signatories to the letter. Instead global record industry trade group IFPI issued a less committal statement on the final draft of the directive and article thirteen, though it still found some positives in what has been achieved.

The group's CEO Frances Moore said: "We acknowledge the efforts made by lawmakers to try to find a way through such a complex area. Certain of the article thirteen provisions of the copyright directive are notable. This is the first legislation confirming that user-upload content platforms perform an act of communication to the public and must seek authorisation from rightsholders or make sure that there is no unauthorised content available on their platforms. The directive also includes a 'stay down' provision requiring platforms to keep unlicensed content down - another first".

It's thought the EU Council will probably wave the final draft of the directive through, though MEPs will be on the receiving end of another barrage of emails and calls from the tech lobby ahead of the vote in Parliament. So, one more hurdle to go.


Group bidding to set up new US mechanicals society dispute rival's "overwhelming" support claim
One of the groups bidding to set up the new mechanical royalties collecting society in the US has penned an op-ed piece for Billboard, responding to recent statements made by its rival. The article argues that, while many music industry trade groups may have endorsed the other side, that doesn't mean they represent the majority of the music community, given how many DIY songwriters are now pumping music into the system every week.

It was last year's Music Modernization Act that said that a proper mechanical royalties collecting society should be established in the US for the first time. The aim is to simplify the process of licensing the mechanical rights of songs in the digital space, by setting up an industry-wide framework via which royalties can be paid to music publishers and songwriters that do not have direct deals with the services.

Groups interested in running the new society have until 21 Mar to submit an application to the US Copyright Office, which will then pick a winner based on criteria set out in the MMA. There are two groups interested, which can be more or less classified as the establishment group and the anti-establishment group.

The former is led by the National Music Publishers Association with support from the Nashville Songwriters Association International and the Songwriters Of North America. The latter, which is behind the new Billboard piece, is backed by Tunecore and Audiam founder Jeff Price, Pledge and DotBlockchain founder Benji Rogers, songwriters Stewart Copeland and Rick Carnes, and various other people with a music licensing or publishing background.

The first group recently declared that its proposal was now supported by the "overwhelming majority of copyright owners", before publishing a list of trade bodies, music companies and other collecting societies that have backed its bid. Such support is important because the MMA says that the successful bidders must be "endorsed by, and enjoy substantial support from, musical work copyright owners that together represent the greatest percentage of the licensor market for uses of such works in covered activities".

But in its response, the second group - operating under the name AMLC - argues that the other side's claim depends on how you define "the licensor market". The article points out that "about 90% of the millions of global music copyright creators own and control their own copyrights. Each month alone in the US there are over 500,000 new recordings of new songs from tens of thousands of DIY, self-owning copyright owners being delivered to US music services and made available to stream. In just the last year, hundreds of thousands of DIY copyright owners have created and distributed at least six million works".

"It is this constituency of millions of hard-working individuals, with a rising market share, that represents the majority of musical works copyright owners", the opinion piece goes on. "These global copyright owners, combined with the legacy industry, make up the entire licensor market eligible to be streamed in the US".

And, arguably, the millions of self-published writers are more important because, as the AMLC's article points out, "some of the biggest publishers in the traditional music industry are expected to bypass and not use the [new society] due to their direct licensing deals with the digital streaming services, as compared to the millions of global copyright owners whom will rely on the [society] for licensing and payments".

The piece concludes: "This point further exacerbates the yet-to-be-resolved conflict of interest; that is, board members of the [new society] can recommend other copyright owners' money be liquidated and given to themselves through market share disbursements, all without actually having to use the [society] for their own copyrights. This outcome is most certainly not the intended application of the law".

You can read the full op-ed here. AMLC's bid is outlined on this website here, while the NMPA-backed proposal is here.


Smirnoff teams up with Annie Mac for latest phase of its Equalising Music programme
Smirnoff has announced the latest phase of its 'Equalising Music' programme, which has been supporting initiatives to bring about more gender diversity in the music industry. Fronted by Annie Mac, the latest project is called the 'Equalising Music Pledge', and it challenges everyone working in music to do one significant thing this year to help bring about more gender equality in the business, both on stage and behind the scenes.

Says Mac: "The music industry is still embarrassingly lopsided when it comes to gender parity. We are all acutely aware of the enormous contribution women make to this business, and yet there's still so much work to be done to ensure they're embraced and championed, both in front of and behind the scenes".

"Contributing towards trying to change this is something I personally feel passionately about", she adds, "and I'm genuinely excited to see the future impact women of all ages will have on the unchartered territories of this rapidly changing industry."

Speaking for Smirnoff, the drink brand's Sam Salameh goes on: "This year we're proud to be partnering with Annie Mac, one of the UK's leading music tastemakers and an artist widely known for championing gender-balance, on the 'Equalising Music Pledge'. We all know the statistics so now it's time for action. Together we're asking everyone in the industry to step up and do one significant thing for gender equality in 2019".


New event to stage live recordings of popular podcasts
Want to watch some of your favourite podcasts being recorded live? Of course you do. So good news, a team of radio industry veterans are launching a new series of events called Podcast Live, in which leading podcasters will record editions in front of an audience.

One of the organisers, Matt Deegan, explained to Radio Today: "We know the most successful podcasters want to do more for their audiences. Podcast Live will be an easy way for them to put on live shows up and down the country. As well as meeting their own fans, it will expose them to new audiences and provide creatives with an additional revenue stream".

The first edition will take place in London on 7 Apr and feature various political podcasters. Future editions will take place elsewhere in the country and cover different topics. Though they will be mainly spoken word centric, not least because speech programmes dominate the podcast world, partly because of the licensing issues faced by musical podcasters.


Trailer circulates for new Michael Jackson documentary
The first trailer for HBO's controversial new Michael Jackson documentary has been doing the rounds this week, with a UK airing of the full programme on Channel 4 now set for 6 and 7 Mar.

The Michael Jackson estate has hit out at 'Surviving Neverland', which premiered at the recent Sundance film festival, and which will be broadcast by HBO stateside. It features two men who accuse the late king of pop of abusing them as children.

Commenting on the film, its director, Dan Reed, said: "This is not a movie about Michael Jackson abusing little boys. It's a movie about two families and how two families came to terms with what their sons revealed to them many years after Jackson died".

The estate has called on HBO to abandon the documentary, arguing that the two alleged victims who appear in the programme are not credible, and that Reed failed to interview anyone who would have defended Jackson against their allegations. But, after receiving a letter from the estate's lawyers, HBO insisted it would still air the film.

You can watch the trailer here.


Approved: Doomsquad
Sibling trio Doomsquad have announced that they will release their third album, 'Let Yourself Be Seen', through Bella Union in May. Drawing on a wide range of music, from acid house to art rock, the record sees the band channel their weary thoughts on the modern world through infectious dance beats.

That approach is not entirely new. However, the band say they felt that much of the "message and meaning" of their last album - 2016's 'Total Time' - was lost among those beats. So, this time around they started out attempting to "crystallise what Doomsquad is and what it means to us".

"What we always knew but put at the forefront of this record is that Doomsquad is a project of protest, catharsis and emotional and spiritual reconnection through music and, especially, through dance-music culture", they say. "It's about activating the body on the most fundamental level, into states of change, release and reunion".

The result sees them more energised both lyrically and musically. All of which is apparent in lead single 'General Hum'. You can catch the band live at The Victoria in London on 23 May or at SXSW if that's your thing. Meanwhile, watch the video for 'General Hum' here.

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

Morrissey announces Canadian tour after abandoning boycott
Morrissey has announced a Canadian tour, his first shows in the country in fifteen years. He previously vowed to never play in Canada ever again in protest over the seal clubbing that still occurs there. But last year he said that he felt that boycott had not achieved much and that he'd rather play in the country and then donate money to Canadian animal rights charities.

In a post on MorrisseyCentral last September he wrote: "My decision to return to Canada after almost fifteen years of protest against its savage and Neanderthal annual baby seal kill is entirely because my stance was ultimately of no use and helped no one".

"My voice was drowned out by the merciless swing of spiked axes crushing the heads of babies", he went on. "On my return to Canada I feel that I can be of more use by making sizeable donations to animal protection groups in each city that I play. Thankfully there are many such organisations in Canada".

With that decision made, shows have now been announced for April taking in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto and Montreal.


BRIT Awards presented, broadcast and streamed
So, last year CMU Editor Andy Malt controversially broke the long tradition of CMU publishing nonsense-filled write-ups of the UK record industry's biggest night of orchestrated back-slapping and actually watched the 2018 BRIT Awards from beginning to end. And then he documented it in his subsequent report. Having raised the bar, he then booked BRITS Week 2019 off, leaving someone else to rise to the challenge.

What to do, what to do, what to do? See, I wasn't in London last night. And I wasn't anywhere near a telly either. How was I meant to monitor what occurred under that Millennium Dome of ours as the big BRITs bash went through its various magnificent motions? Oh, hang on, didn't I get a press release about all the exciting "social activations" happening as part of the BRITs this year? And didn't that talk about there being a very official live stream of the proceedings on YouTube?

Yay, hurrah for YouTube! I have a phone. I have a wifi connection. The BRITs will come to my hand courtesy of the good guys at Google. And so, I picked up my phone, connected to the wifi, opened up the YouTube app, closed the tab telling me that article thirteen is going to kill the internet and that the fucking music industry can just fuck off with its fucking moaning and all of its fucking fucked up fuck fuck, and there it was: the official BRIT Awards stream.

Glorious! I duly tapped play. The stream began streaming. Here it was, the show was about to begin. Though, hang on just one moment, article thirteen, what's that about again? Isn't that about fucking YouTube fucking up the fucking streaming revolution for everyone? I remember now. Save music! Down with Google's lies! Stand up to big tech bulling! YouTube can just fuck off with its fucking moaning and all of its fucking fucked up fuck fuck.

With the music community's bold chanting now echoing around my head once more - and having left by cognitive dissonance pills back home - I soon found myself in a ferocious rage and promptly threw my phone out the window.

So I'm really sorry, I have no idea what happened at the BRIT Awards last night. I'm sure some singers sang their songs. And I'm sure they sang them real good. I'm sure there were speeches. And I'm sure the speeches were spoken real good. And host Jack Whitehall, I'm sure, was suitably irritating each time he took to the stage.

I did hear on the grapevine that Bros were in the tent. I assume they were picking up some kind of icon award and then wrapped up the show with a six hour greatest hits set that forced ITV to cancel the news.

And there must have been some winners. I thought really hard before submitting my BRIT votes this year, so there better have been some winners. Actually, I know there were some winners. I have the official winners list and everything. Though there's no mention of Bros's icon award, so I'm slightly suspicious. But this is what I have…

British Male Solo Artist: George Ezra
British Female Solo Artist: Jorja Smith
British Group: The 1975
British Breakthrough Act: Tom Walker
Best British Producer: Calvin Harris
Critics' Choice: Sam Fender
BRITs Global Success Award: Ed Sheeran

International Male Solo Artist: Drake
International Female Solo Artist: Ariana Grande
International Group: The Carters

British Single: Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa - One Kiss
British Album of The Year: The 1975 - A Brief Inquiry into Online Relationships
British Video Award: Little Mix ft Nicki Minaj - Woman Like Me

Outstanding Contribution to Music: P!nk


Newhaven to get Eazy-E tribute
The Sussex town of Newhaven will erect a memorial bench in honour of Eazy-E, even though the town's council has admitted it has never heard of the NWA rapper and doesn't think much of his music either.

This all began with Newport resident Guy Stevens demanding that the town erect a statue in honour of the late NWA member, who died in 1995 one month after being diagnosed with AIDS. The Eazy-E fan told his local authority: "You just wasted money on a bandstand on Denton island no one cares about, so why not an Eazy-E memorial?"

After Stevens set up an online poll in a bid to find other supporters for this south coast Eazy-E tribute, the local council said it would be happy for him to build a bench in the rapper's honour, providing he could pay for it. This was despite council officials having to Google who the hip hop pioneer was and then admitting that they were "not a fan" of his oeuvre.

Stevens welcomed the news, telling local newspaper The Argus that the Eazy-E honouring bench was "better than nothing, which is pretty much all Newhaven has". He then added: "It's a great day not just for myself but for the future of Newhaven. I might push for someone to fly over from America for the ceremony".

Of course he first needs to find the cash to pay for the bench. A gofundme page has been set up which is close to raising half of the £2000 that is required. You can chip in here.


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.
Email (except press releases, see below)
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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