TODAY'S TOP STORY: So the European Parliament only went and bloody passed the European Copyright Directive. Complete with safe harbour reforming article thirteen. As YouTube warned, this has now killed the internet. Which is why today's CMU Daily is being delivered to you carved on a piece of slate. But don't worry, next week we'll be upgrading to tablets of gold. Because, with the directive passed, music has been saved and the value gap closed, meaning all makers of music will be super flush with cash by next Tuesday. Good news everybody!... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES European Parliament passes the Copyright Directive
Everyone comments on the bloody Copyright Directive
DEALS Banarama ally with Absolute on first album in a decade
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Warner Music UK appoints an inclusion and diversity chief
MEDIA Spotify buys yet another podcast company
AND FINALLY... Spotify's machines to personalise human curated playlists
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European Parliament passes the Copyright Directive
So the European Parliament only went and bloody passed the European Copyright Directive. Complete with safe harbour reforming article thirteen. As YouTube warned, this has now killed the internet. Which is why today's CMU Daily is being delivered to you carved on a piece of slate. But don't worry, next week we'll be upgrading to tablets of gold. Because, with the directive passed, music has been saved and the value gap closed, meaning all makers of music will be super flush with cash by next Tuesday. Good news everybody!

These reforms to copyright law across the European Union have been so long in development, it's hard to remember there even being a time before article thirteen, which seeks to increase the liabilities of user-upload platforms like YouTube so to strengthen the negotiating hand of music companies when agreeing licensing deals with such sites.

Google, of course, argued that the new liabilities would force it to dramatically alter the YouTube business to the detriment of grass roots creators. The music industry countered that that was bollocks. It remains to be seen what now happens, though arguably the very final draft of article thirteen (actually article seventeen in that very final draft) included enough wiggle room to reduce the actual impact on the YouTube platform.

And, of course, this being a directive, each EU country still needs to amend their individual copyright systems to comply with the reforms contained within it.

They have two years to complete that task. That provides another opportunity for campaigners on both sides to beef up or water down the new liabilities. So expect another round of lobbying and shouting in the year ahead. And, of course, there's also the question of what approach Brexity Britain chooses to take.

Some of that lobbying and shouting will likely divide the music community, because while the music industry was more or less united on safe harbour reform, some other articles in the directive seek to increase the rights of artists and songwriters over the record labels and music publishers they work with. It will be equally interesting to see how those measures are implemented and what effect they do or do not have in real terms.

But in the short term, the music industry was jubilant yesterday that MEPs had backed the directive despite the high profile hyperbolic Google-led campaign against it.

Although the EU Council still needs to sign off on the final draft, this was seen as the last real hurdle to cross in order to get the reforms passed before the European Parliament winds down for the EU elections in May. Music industry groups will now focus on how the directive is implemented country by country, while also urging law-makers outside the EU to consider similar safe harbour reforms.

Meanwhile, outside the music industry echo chamber, those in the tech community ramped up the doom and gloom narrative, insisting EU law-makers had made a terrible mistake that will have terrible consequences for how we all use the internet. They almost certainly haven't and it almost certainly won't. Though it's also not certain that the music community will see quite the tangible benefits some are expecting from all this safe harbour reform.

But we will see! Meanwhile, in case you tuned out on all this two years ago, this Setlist special from the start of the year explains the whole music industry v YouTube saga in some detail.


The record industry comments on the bloody Copyright Directive

International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry CEO Frances Moore: "We thank law-makers for their efforts in navigating a complex environment to pass a directive with noteworthy implications for the content community. This world-first legislation confirms that user-upload content platforms perform an act of communication to the public and must either seek authorisation from rightsholders or ensure no unauthorised content is available on their platforms. The directive also includes a 'stay down' provision requiring platforms to keep unlicensed content down - another global first. We now look forward to the implementation stage".

IMPALA Executive Director Helen Smith: "This is a landmark day for Europe's creators and citizens, and a significant step towards a fairer internet. Platforms facilitate a unique relationship between artists and fans and this will be given a boost as a result of this directive. It will [also] have a ripple effect world wide. The fact that the artists spoke [in support of the reforms] amid so much anti-copyright harassment online is impressive. Parliamentarians did not let themselves be intimated and had the courage to vote this text through. Thanks to all who were involved in crafting such a balanced outcome. It is now for member states to reconfirm their approval of the directive".

BPI CEO Geoff Taylor: "This is the first legislation anywhere in the world that recognises there needs to be a better balance in the relationship between user-upload platforms and the creative community, whose content turbocharges those services. The value gap distorts the music ecosystem and holds back the growth of the UK's creative industries. The priority now must be to ensure the UK implementation of the directive achieves the goal of closing that gap, and we look forward to working with government and all parties to that end."

The UK's Association Of Independent Music: "The passing of the copyright directive into EU law represents a momentous opportunity for music and culture across Europe. Artists and the creative community made their voices heard, and MEPs listened and acted courageously. We are now a step closer to achieving real balance in the online space for artists and the businesses that support them with those who run the platforms and profit from creative content and we look forward to building this system together".


The music publishing sector comments on the bloody Copyright Directive

The Association Of Independent Music Publishers: "[This directive finally grants] independent publishers, songwriters, and other rights-holders the ability to demand fair payment from digital services that have previously been shielded by safe harbour laws. Now, these services will be required to police their own content to ensure they are not hosting copyrighted works, ending the days of endless takedown letters and putting the burden of responsibility back where it belongs. We strongly encourage the US government to look to this law as a guide for future legislation, and look forward to the day when independent publishers and songwriters throughout the entire world will be granted the rights now established by the EU".

CISAC Director-General Gadi Oron: "The European Union has laid the foundation for a better and fairer digital environment - one in which creators will be in a stronger position to negotiate fair licence fees when their works are used by big online platforms. This is a hugely important achievement not just for Europe, but for the millions of creators which CISAC represents across the world. We are grateful to all those in the European institutions who have tirelessly worked on this directive and hope that it will lead the way for countries outside the EU to follow".

PRS CEO Robert Ashcroft: "This is about creating a fair and functioning market for creative works of all kinds on the internet. It's about making sure that ordinary people can upload videos and music to platforms like YouTube without being held liable for copyright – that responsibility will henceforth be transferred to the platforms. This is about modernising the internet and it's a massive step forward for consumers and creators alike".


Artist, songwriters and managers comment on the bloody Copyright Directive

The UK Council Of Music Makers: "This is a historic turning point in the evolution of the digital era as outdated laws are modernised to balance the value gap between tech platforms that host creative works, whilst adequately remunerating and protecting the rights of those who create those works, as well as fans who wish to share the joy that such creative works bring. Music makers are significant contributors to culture, as well as providing considerable growth in the economy. The full package of the copyright directive enables positive progress towards a digital future that is up to date with consumers and supportive of our creative community. Modernising the industry, it encourages a healthier market with real fairness and transparency. It promotes a sustainable, innovative, balanced music business with music makers at its heart".

Music Managers' Forum CEO Annabella Coldrick: "This is really positive news. The MMF has stood with the rest of the music industry, and alongside our colleagues in the European Music Managers Alliance and the Council Of Music Makers, to push for these vital updates to copyright law. This is a once in a generation opportunity to recalibrate Europe's digital economy to ensure artists are fairly remunerated. Alongside article thirteen, today's directive also offers a raft of changes that will empower artists and creators, ensuring they have greater transparency and leverage in their licensing and contractual partnerships. For the creative community, these amendments in articles fourteen to sixteen are also of the utmost importance. It is now crucial that UK legislators act constructively to make good on their promises and implement these changes in full, and at the earliest opportunity".


Banarama ally with Absolute on first album in a decade
You all remember Bananarama right? Yes, of course you do. Well, they - as in Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward - have an eleventh studio album to share, their first in a decade. And they've only signed up with Absolute Label Services to get the damn thing out there.

Says Absolute Label Manager Fraser Ealey: "Absolute has a strong track record when it comes to empowering pop icons who want to regain their independence with fresh impetus in the modern music business. We're pleased to be able to do just that for Bananarama, who remain an important part of the UK's pop tapestry".

Add Bananarama in perfect unison: "We are delighted to be working with Absolute. It's a new experience for us and we've found it incredibly easy. It's great to have their support whilst keeping full control over the campaign and ownership of our new album".

That new album is called 'In Stereo' and will be released on 19 Apr.


Warner Music UK appoints an inclusion and diversity chief
Warner Music UK yesterday announced it had appointed a Head Of Inclusion & Diversity. In the newly created role, Nina Bhagwat will be charged with the task of "developing the group's inclusion and diversity strategy as well as overseeing policies and initiatives that will help drive attraction, progression, and engagement of talent from under-represented groups".

Bhagwat joins the mini-major from Channel 4 where she worked in the broadcaster's diversity team. Commenting on her new job, she said yesterday: "It's exciting and noteworthy that a company with the impact, influence and relevance of Warner Music is placing the inclusion and diversity agenda front and centre of who they are as a company. The team's commitment to building an inclusive culture where all talent can flourish is clear, and I feel THRILLED to be able to join Warner on their journey".

The new role will report into both Warner's Chief Human Resources Officer Masha Osherova and its Chief Transformation Officer Mel Fox. The latter said of the need for a Head Of Inclusion & Diversity: "It's vital our company reflects the diverse world we live in, and that means ensuring this is an environment where people with different backgrounds, experiences, perspectives and ideas feel valued, supported and championed. The creation of this important new role underscores our commitment to that promise and strengthens our ability to deliver on it".


Spotify buys yet another podcast company
Spotify continues in its bid to own every podcast in the world by buying up yet another podcast company. This time Parcast, which the streaming firm says is "a premiere storytelling-driven podcast studio". Parcast's past podcast series include 'Serial Killers', 'Unsolved Murders', 'Cults' and 'Conspiracy Theories'. Maybe they could make a podcast about how the cult of Spotify is murdering music by killing the songwriter's revenue stream in the Copyright Royalty Board. Though I hear that's just a conspiracy theory.

"The addition of Parcast to our growing roster of podcast content will advance our goal of becoming the world's leading audio platform", says Spotify's Chief Content Officer Dawn Ostroff. "Crime and mystery podcasts are a top genre for our users and Parcast has had significant success creating hit series while building a loyal and growing fan base. We're excited to welcome the Parcast team to Spotify and we look forward to supercharging their growth".

Adds Parcast founder Max Cutler: "In three years, we have created a production house that has grown exponentially and hit a chord with mystery and true-crime fans, especially women, across all 50 states and around the world. We are proud to join the world's most popular audio subscription streaming service and gain access to one of the largest audiences around the world. Alongside Spotify, our ability to scale, grow and amplify the unique and tailored brand of content we create is full of fantastic possibilities".


Let CMU Insights bring you fully up to speed on the Copyright Directive
So, the European Copyright Directive has passed its final big hurdle and copyright reforms in Europe are now set to begin. Meanwhile implementation of last year's Music Modernization Act is already underway. But do you and your team really understand what all this is about and what impact it will have on the music rights business?

CMU Insights helps people to navigate and understand all this with our annual Key Developments In Music Rights masterclass, which takes place once a year. But for all the people not able to make this, we have now launched this session as one of our in-house training courses, that we can run for your team at your office.

The in-house courses are a great way to get your whole team up to speed with all the latest developments, while also encouraging team members to share ideas and insight, and ask questions of both CMU and their own colleagues.

For more information about this and other music copyright courses we can run for you and your team at your offices, click here.

Spotify's machines to personalise human curated playlists
Some Spotify playlists are personalised for each individual user by machines. Some Spotify playlists are put together for all by human beings. But now some will be put together for all by human beings and then personalised for each individual user by machines. These are crazy times in which to live. And a machine chose that statement just for you.

"Some playlists will now be personalised for each listener based on their particular taste", the streaming firm said yesterday. "This means that for those specific playlists, no two will be the same".

"But why mess with a playlisting system that we've all just got our heads around?" asks you, the famous Luddite. "We know that everyone's taste is different", Spotify went on, "and songs that one person may want to sing in the shower just might not make sense for everyone else. That's why we've punched up our playlist ecosystem to make sure every listener is able to find the perfect song for each moment".

Yeah, yeah, whatever. Spotify says that when it tested the more personalised playlists, users tended to stay tuned in for longer. And more artists can be featured on each playlist overall, even if only a portion of the people subscribed to said playlist actually hears each artist's music.

Though if artists want to ensure their playlisted track actually gets streamed, if they send their fans to the Spotify playlist on which they feature by using a sneaky smart link, the fan will definitely hear that artist's track. Of course, if you've got to do all the leg work to secure a play, that kind of reduces the benefit of being on the playlist to start with but, you know, that's the price you pay for living in these crazy times. Says the machine.


ANDY MALT | Editor
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