TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Jackson family have uploaded a new half hour documentary to YouTube responding to the allegations contained in HBO's 'Leaving Neverland' programme, which focused on two men who claim they were abused by Michael Jackson as children... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES Jackson family post response doc to Leaving Neverland on YouTube
BRANDS & MERCH Liam Gallagher's Pretty Green acquired by JD Sports
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES African streaming service Boomplay raises another $20 million
Apple Music now two million premium users ahead of Spotify in the US
RELEASES Avicii family to release posthumous album in June
Aurora announces new album, A Different Kind Of Human
ONE LINERS IFPI, Deezer, Sounds Magazine, more
AND FINALLY... Sophie Ellis-Bextor recalls offending 8000 Take That fans
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SJM Concerts is seeking a PR Assistant. This is a junior role which an ideal candidate will embrace and make their own to become a key member of an extremely busy and efficient marketing department.

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Kobalt is looking for an experienced Digital Supply Chain Manager to join AWAL’s Global Digital Operations team. Based in our New York office, this role will be responsible for ensuring the quality and success of AWAL’s release deliveries.

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Kobalt is hiring a Release Manager in New York to work with its global AWAL team. You will work closely with external, key partners as well as internal teams across the business, and will be responsible for all aspects of product build, release set up and scheduling to ensure all US Kobalt Music Recordings meet release dates.

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VMS Live is recruiting for a full time Venue Manager who will be responsible for taking an active role in delivering and programming the live music and club business from sourcing, programming and through to event delivery.

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Cherry Red is looking for a full-time Digital Content Creator to join its team. The Digital Content Creator will work with the marketing and digital teams to produce digital marketing assets for use in our release campaigns, social media channels and website.

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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 or our London office in Soho, the Synchronisation Executive will be part of our growing Sync Team consisting of fifteen creatives in the UK and US.

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NEKO Trust was founded to help build a sustainable future for the live events industry by supporting the next generation of talent. The charity is now seeking to appoint three high calibre trustees to join their board and add the vital capacity and expertise needed to deliver NEKO’s charitable programmes.

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nonclassical is looking for a new Executive Director with a passion for new music and a belief in developing artists, alongside the experience to develop the organisation strategically, artistically and financially. This is an exciting time to join a dynamic organisation that punches way above its weight with a cutting-edge artistic programme.

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The Orchard is looking for an experienced and passionate Head of Sales & Marketing to join us in the UK, you will be responsible for managing The Orchard’s local and global repertoire in the UK market; as well as driving a talented team of local account managers.

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Mothership Group is looking for an energetic ​Digital Marketing Manager w​ith a passion for the latest social media trends, music, events and nightlife, to join its forward thinking Creative Team.

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13 Artists is looking to recruit an Agents Assistant for its Brighton Office with a minimum two years live music industry experience, preferably agency.

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Academy Music Group is seeking a Venue Assistant/Duty Manager to assist in all aspects of the operation of the building in relation to events staged at O2 Forum Kentish Town.

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Jackson family post response doc to Leaving Neverland on YouTube
The Jackson family have uploaded a new half hour documentary to YouTube responding to the allegations contained in HBO's 'Leaving Neverland' programme, which focused on two men who claim they were abused by Michael Jackson as children.

The HBO programme has put a new spotlight on abuse allegations against Jackson just as the tenth anniversary of his death approaches. The Jackson family and estate have been highly critical of 'Leaving Neverland' since before it even aired, in particular hitting out at its director Dan Reed who - they say - failed to get the input of any people who would dispute the allegations made in the programme by Wade Robson and James Safechuck.

The YouTube upload presumably aims to provide that input. It includes interviews with Jackson's nephew Taj, his niece Brandi and a former employee of the pop star, Brad Sundberg, who spent some time working at the musician's Neverland ranch home, where the abuse is alleged to have taken place.

The latter says in the video: "Not in a million years did I ever see a child around Michael Jackson that looked like they had been distressed, hurt, abused. [Neverland] was such a peaceful, safe, fun place".

Meanwhile, Brandi Jackson claims that she dated Robson for seven years when they were younger. She adds: "He has always been a bit of an opportunist. He knows how to position himself into different situations that will benefit him in a financial way".

Those allegations link into the Michael Jackson estate's long running claim that Robson and Safechuck are financially motivated and opted to participate in the HBO programme only after legal action against the estate ran into complications.

Legal reps for the two accusers dispute those claims, while an attorney working for Robson has told reporters that Brandi Jackson's claims are not relevant because she "was not with Wade and Michael Jackson when the sexual abuse occurred, and as such, she has nothing relevant to say about the topic".

You can watch the Jackson family's video here.


Liam Gallagher's Pretty Green acquired by JD Sports
Liam Gallagher's Pretty Green fashion brand has been acquired by JD Sports, bringing the company out of administration.

The fashion firm brought in advisors from accountancy outfit Moorfields Advisory last month to undertake what it called a "strategic review". Those advisors subsequently became administrators for the business, charged with the task of finding a buyer.

Pretty Green faced many of the same challenges as other high street retailers, but there were some specific issues as well. Although it has its own stores, the company also relied on a sizable partnership with House Of Fraser.

When that department store chain went into administration last year, Gallagher's company was negatively impacted. While House Of Fraser was subsequently bought by Sports Direct, Pretty Green still lost £500,000 in the process.

"We are pleased to have completed the acquisition of the highly regarded Pretty Green brand", says JD Sports Executive Chair Peter Cowgill. "We look forward to working with the team on future positive developments".

Moorfields' Simon Thomas adds: "Pretty Green is a popular brand and received a considerable amount of interest. We are confident that JD Sports is the right fit for the business and will help to grow its online and wholesale channels".

As part of the JD Sports deal, eleven Pretty Green stores and 33 House Of Fraser concessions will be closed. But it has been confirmed that the flagship store in Manchester will be saved.


African streaming service Boomplay raises another $20 million
Boomplay, the streaming service that seems to be gaining the most momentum in some key African markets, last week announced that it had raised $20 million in finance from the likes of Maison Capital and Seas Capital. The new cash pile will be used to fund continued expansion of the service and to sign new licensing deals with the music industry.

Boomplay, with its freemium and premium packages, says it now has 42 million users. Having initially focused on signing up domestic repertoire in its priority markets, in the last year the company has also signed licensing deals with Universal and Warner.

Confirming the new investment money, the firm's CEO Joe He said: "We are extremely grateful to Boomplay's new and past investors for their continued faith and support which has enabled Boomplay to reach this landmark milestone. Music has no borders, and we're committed to providing a rich and high-quality music experience for all users - not just in Africa, but around the world. This investment will help us do just that, by fostering cultural interchange and helping people communicate through the universal language of music".

The Boomplay business is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chinese tech firms Transsion Holdings and NetEase, the latter best known in music circles for its own China-based streaming service NetEast Cloud Music. The lead investor on the new finance round, Maison Capital, is also based out of China.

It's MD, Tony Li, said: "Africa is full of opportunity, from its young demographics to its vibrant culture, and Boomplay sits in the middle of all of that greatness. Boomplay has incorporated NetEase's experience in the music streaming business with Transsion's expertise in local operations, and in doing so Boomplay became the dominant player in the region in a very short period of time. As more of Africa comes online, we are confident that Boomplay will continue to be a major force in business and culture".


Apple Music now two million premium users ahead of Spotify in the US
Apple Music now has two million more paying subscribers in the US than Spotify, according to sources cited by Reuters. So, get out your streaming stats blackboard and update that why don't you?

Here are the specifics you need to chalk up. As of the end of February, 28 million Americans were paying to stream via Apple's music platform, while a mere 26 million were paying to use Spotify. However, Spotify still has a bigger reach in the US overall thanks to its freemium level. Though Apple could also include the nine people who tune in to the Beats radio station in its stats brag, I suppose.

The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Apple Music was starting to out-perform Spotify Premium in its home market, three years after its launch. Worldwide, of course, Spotify has a significantly bigger premium subscriber base on top of its 110 million plus freebie users.

Although Spotify now publishes user number updates as part of its quarterly financial reports, it doesn't give a country-by-country breakdown. Apple occasionally reveals approximate user number stats, usually casually dropped into interviews, though it hasn't done so for nearly a year now.


Setlist: IFPI stats, iHeart, The Weeknd
CMU’s Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last seven days, including the latest IFPI stats which confirmed that the record industry had a fourth year of growth in 2018, iHeart’s plan to come out of bankruptcy and straight into an IPO, and the new song-theft lawsuit against The Weeknd. Setlist is sponsored by 7digital.

Listen to this week's episode of Setlist here, and sign up to receive new episodes for free automatically each week through any of these services...

Acast | Apple Podcasts | audioBoom | CastBox | Deezer | Google Play | iHeart | Mixcloud | RSS | SoundCloud | Spotify | Spreaker | Stitcher | TuneIn

Avicii family to release posthumous album in June
Avicii's posthumous final album is set for release in June, it has been announced. Titled 'Tim' - Avicii's real name being Tim Bergling - the album has been completed by producers and songwriters Carl Falk, Albin Nedler and Kristoffer Fogelmark.

"I was trying to produce through someone else's eyes and ears - someone who's not here", Falk tells the New York Times. "It was really hard not to criticise yourself the whole time. Would he like this? What would he have done?"

"Now, when I listen, I hear a lonely person with a lot of big emotions that he didn't have enough people to talk to about", Falk continues. "I feel this music was his way of getting some of that out. That makes this a really important record. Whatever Tim wanted to say is here".

In a statement, Avicii's family says: "When Tim Bergling passed away on 20 Apr 2018, he was close to completing a new album. He left behind a collection of nearly finished songs, along with notes, email conversations and text messages about the music. The songwriters that Tim was collaborating with on this album have continued the process to get as close to his vision as possible".

They go on: "Since Tim's passing, the family decided not to keep the music locked away - instead they wanted to share it with his fans all around the world".

Profits from the album will be donated to the Tim Bergling Foundation for its work on mental health awareness and suicide prevention. The first single, 'SOS', is set for release this Wednesday, 10 Apr.

Watch a video going behind the scenes of the making of 'Tim' here.


Aurora announces new album, A Different Kind Of Human
Aurora has announced that she will release her third album, 'A Different Kind Of Human (Step II)', in June.

The recording of last record 'Infections Of A Different Kind (Step I)', she says, "was very elaborate - the location [a French chateau] was huge and beautiful and dreamy, I was far away and you can hear it. For this record I wanted to make it in a very tiny room with a purple floor and dark blue walls, and it was just me and my drummers".

"People say 'live like you don't care' or 'party like you don't care', but I like to care", she goes on. "I think people do, too, now more than ever, for example when Trump was elected people became more involved politically because they were frustrated. It's a time of open ears and open eyes. The music is supposed to be fuel. Not against people but for the fire inside us".

The album is out on 7 Jun. Listen to new single, 'The Seed', here.


IFPI, Deezer, Sounds Magazine, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Global record industry trade group IFPI last week announced Jenny Wong as its new Asia Regional Director. She joins from Universal Pictures, where she was VP Legal Affairs for Greater China. "Jenny's experience, qualifications and skill set make her very well placed to lead this important work in the region", says IFPI CEO Frances Moore.

• Nigel Harding has joined Deezer as VP Artist Marketing. He joins from Sony Music's Nothing Else Matters label, having previously done time at Apple Music and Radio 1. "Nigel", says Deezer's Chief Content And Product Officer Alexander Holland.

• Sounds Magazine is relaunching, 28 years after it shut down in 1991. It will, reckon its publishers, "be the future proof music magazine to spearhead the music press revival". Issue one features a cover interview with photographer Ian Tilton about his time working with Nirvana. It will be available in independent record shops next month.

• Marshmello has released the video for new Chvrches collaboration, 'Here With Me'.

• Naytronix - aka Nate Brenner from Tune-Yards - has released new track 'Come Back'. His album, 'Air', is set for release on 7 Jun.

• Team Me are back with new single, 'The Future In Your Eyes'. "Set in a distant post-apocalyptic future", explains frontman Marius Drogås Hagen, "'The Future In Your Eyes' tells the story of two cyborgs. They're fighting to hold on to their love, a love they can never have".

• Amnesia Scanner and Bill Kouligas have released collaborative album 'Lexachast'. From it, this is 'Lexachast IV'.

• Orla Gartland has released new single, 'Flatline'. It is, she says, "a song about giving everything to a friendship and getting nothing back".

• Rose Elinor Dougall has announced tour dates in May and June. She'll kick off at Oslo in London on 28 May.

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


Sophie Ellis-Bextor recalls offending 8000 Take That fans
What's it like to offend an arena full of people who you're supposed to be entertaining, before you've even started? Sophie Ellis-Bextor knows. She once turned an arena full of Take That fans against her with a quip about Mark Owen's height.

Speaking to the Scummy Mummies podcast, Ellis-Bextor recalls that she thought she was going to get fired at the start of a 34 date tour supporting Take That in 2007. "Night two, I came out on stage and the microphone had been set at a really low [position on the stand]", she says. "I got to the microphone, adjusted it and said, 'I was gonna... no I will tell you, I was gonna say maybe it had been set for Mark'. And they all booed me. It was horrible".

Her attempts to diffuse the situation didn't help either. "I was like, 'No, no, my step-dad's quite short...'", she cringes. "It was awful, it was properly awful. I thought I might get fired. It was, like, date two, and I thought we're not going to see the other 32".

Luckily for her, the rest of the tour went ahead as planned, but to this day she doesn't know if the incident ever got back to Owen himself. "I don't know, but he's such a nice guy he's probably way too polite to ever say to me if he did", she adds. Which possibly makes it worse. Although she does remember that "Take That were incredibly friendly and shared lots with us".

Ellis-Bextor will be playing headline dates in June and November this year, where she'll be free to joke about anyone she wants.


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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