TODAY'S TOP STORY: YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has said that she still hopes to derail the safe harbour reform section of the European Copyright Directive as it is implemented at a national level by each EU member state... [READ MORE]
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Wednesday 8 - Friday 10 May 2019
This year's CMU+TGE conferences put the spotlight on music education, digital dollars and music marketing, and are packed with research, case studies, interviews and debates. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES YouTube CEO says battle against European safe harbour reforms is not over
LEGAL Big Hit Entertainment launches legal action over bootleg BTS merch ahead of US tour
DEALS Downtown signs new deal for George Gershwin catalogue
LABELS & PUBLISHERS MMF criticises "sudden and dramatic" increases to PRS fees
Primary Wave hires Jane Reisman as CFO
GIGS & FESTIVALS Sepultura comment on Lebanon ban, announce livestream of Dubai show
ONE LINERS The National, Danny Brown, SAY Award, more
AND FINALLY... Billie Eilish asks fans to stop groping her
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The Music Publishers Association is seeking a General Manager to implement a clear strategy which will deliver the best possible results on matters of music copyright protection and industry related policies.

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YouTube CEO says battle against European safe harbour reforms is not over
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has said that she still hopes to derail the safe harbour reform section of the European Copyright Directive as it is implemented at a national level by each EU member state.

The EU Council - which is made up of a representative from each EU country - gave final approval to the European Copyright Directive last month, the most final of several 'final' stages it had already been through. For the music industry, the most important bit is article seventeen (previously known as 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.

YouTube owner Google led a massive campaign against the legislation, hoping to have it removed entirely from the Directive before it was passed into law.

Google argued that the new liabilities would force it to dramatically alter the YouTube business to the detriment of grassroots creators. Other critics argued that this and other parts of the directive would kill the internet entirely. But the music industry said it was just about ensuring that copyright holders are properly compensated for their work, and the internet will be just fine.

With the legislation now official, EU member states have two years to implement it at a national level - France has already indicated that it could have it live as early as this summer by adding it to a new anti-piracy law already in the works.

However, in her quarterly update to YouTube creators, the video platform's CEO Susan Wojcicki now says that she is hoping to affect how each state enacts the law.

"We are still very concerned about article thirteen (now renamed article seventeen) - a part of the Copyright Directive that recently passed in the EU", she writes. "While we support the rights of copyright holders - YouTube has deals with almost all the music companies and TV broadcasters today - we are concerned about the vague, untested requirements of the new directive".

She goes on: "It could create serious limitations for what YouTube creators can upload. This risks lowering the revenue to traditional media and music companies from YouTube and potentially devastating the many European creators who have built their businesses on YouTube".

Noting the remaining opportunities to shape the law, she goes on: "While the Directive has passed, there is still time to affect the final implementation to avoid some of the worst unintended consequences. Each EU member state now has two years to introduce national laws that are in line with the new rules, which means that the powerful collective voice of creators can still make a major impact".

Google's initial strategy to try to get article thirteen voted down was to get creators to put its views across to politicians. This backfired somewhat, when MEPs took exception to being flooded by automated calls which may or may not have come from concerned citizens they are elected to represent.

After that, YouTube began bombarding users with its concerns - somewhat late in the day. Campaigners in favour of safe harbour reform then argued that YouTube should stand by its claim to be a lover of free speech and put their arguments across too.

Concluding with a rallying call, Wojcicki says: "We must continue to stand up and speak out for open creativity. Your actions have already led to the most popular petition in history and encouraged people to reach across borders. This is not the end of our movement but only the beginning".

That petition has over five million signatures - so that would suggest the entire world wants to "save the internet" a bit less than people in the UK want to stay in the EU.

Still, it's clear that Wojcicki and Google still see this as an ongoing battle, so perhaps all that celebrating the music industry did a few weeks ago was a little premature.


Big Hit Entertainment launches legal action over bootleg BTS merch ahead of US tour
The South Korean music company behind boyband phenomenon BTS has launched legal action in the US, attempting to stop bootleggers from selling knock-off merch outside shows. The group are set to begin a tour of the States this weekend.

In a complaint filed in California, reports The Blast, Big Hit is calling on US authorities to crack down on bootleg merch sellers who it says are infringing its trademarks. It says that unofficial tour programmes, clothing, badges, posters and more are "likely to injure the reputation" of the company due to "inferior" quality.

People selling fake merch outside live shows is a feature of concerts that for the most part the industry turns a blind eye to, recognising how difficult it is to clamp down upon. It's also unclear how many, if any, punters would think they were getting official merch from some guy set up on the pavement. I bought a knock-off Faith No More t-shirt on the street once because I was cold. It was shit, but I don't blame the band. Maybe they could have toured at a warmer time, I guess.

Anyway, Big Hit is requesting that the United States Marshals Service patrol venues and seize any unofficial merch it sees on sale. The company also wants to be granted undisclosed damages from dodgy sellers.

BTS are due to hit the UK next month for a two night stand at Wembley Stadium. It remains to be seen if Big Hit attempts to launch similar legal action here.


Downtown signs new deal for George Gershwin catalogue
Downtown Music Publishing has signed a new deal to represent a large chunk of the George Gershwin catalogue. And just as the composer's opera 'Porgy And Bess' is about to be performed at the New York Metropolitan Opera for the first time in nearly 30 years. Top deal doing, guys!

"The George Gershwin catalogue, including his work on 'Porgy And Bess' with DuBose and Dorthy Heyward, features not only some of the most iconic songs in the Great American Songbook, but represents the building blocks of popular music", says Downtown CEO Justin Kalifowitz. "To be entrusted with these legendary works - which remain as culturally relevant today as ever - is a true honour and a testament to our team".

Jonathan Keidan of the Gershwin/Godowsky Trust adds: "In thinking about the next home for these celebrated works, we wanted a focused, creative and energetic music publisher. Downtown understands both the importance of nurturing these American classics - ensuring that they remain beloved and relevant today while also finding new ways to bring them to the next generation of Gershwin fans".

The catalogue was previously signed over to Songs Publishing in 2014. As mentioned above, this new deal comes ahead of the New York Metropolitan Opera's revival of 'Porgy And Bess', set to open in September. It's hoped that this will drive renewed interest in Gershwin's compositions in the US.

Although Gershwin died in 1937, meaning his standalone compositions are now out of copyright in Europe, in the US music from his era still has copyright protection because of the way copyright terms worked back then. Plus his collaborations with lyricists who died later may also enjoy copyright protection elsewhere too.


MMF criticises "sudden and dramatic" increases to PRS fees
The Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition have called for an open discussion with PRS following the news that the UK song rights collecting society is increasing its admin fees on some income streams, including that flowing in from overseas.

The society alerted its members to the fee increases last week as it published its annual report and stats pack. Of course, PRS is a not-for-profit organisation owned by its members and would always argue that the fees it charges on the royalties that it processes are simply what is required to run the collective licensing system. But artists and managers have criticised last week's "sudden and dramatic" increases and the lack of consultation before the fees went up.

The MMF says in a statement: "Apparently implemented to compensate for historic failures within PRS's own distribution systems and pensions commitments, [the increases] will result in yet another levy on creators' earnings - and at the very moment when, thanks to the monumental demand for audio streaming, their royalties should be increasing. New and upcoming writers will be penalised for the past business mistakes of others".

In most cases PRS doesn't directly license users of its members' music beyond the UK, instead allowing its counterparts in other countries to collect monies from local licensees. This is then passed back to PRS which passes it on to its songwriter members, minus the fees that have just increased. The foreign society will also usually deduct fees from that income before passing it on.

This system also applies to digital, even though PRS directly licenses streaming services in multiple territories, and a lot of the society's repertoire is actually bundled in to deals negotiating by the big music publishers. However, there are plenty of markets where streaming income still passes through local societies first, including some key emerging markets where streaming monies are starting to really boom.

Next week MMF will launch the latest guide in its 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar' series at the CMU+TGE Digital Dollars Conference at The Great Escape in Brighton. This explains the extra complexities that occur on the songs side of the streaming business, and how those complexities can result in songwriter royalties from Spotify et al getting delayed, reduced and lost as they flow through the system. The fees charged by societies, both at home and abroad, also impact on what monies the songwriters see.

MMF's statement goes on: "In direct contrast to the artists who perform on recordings, who are increasingly compensated in a transparent and time-efficient fashion, those who write the songs frequently find their royalties shuttled through a network of overseas collecting societies and publishers. Such inefficiencies result in less and less money finding its way to songwriters' pockets".

"As a result", it adds, "MMF is calling on PRS to provide greater clarification about this announcement. Alongside the Featured Artists Coalition, we would like to know the rationale for writers having to pay more in admin fees on both live and overseas income. We would also like more information as to how these decisions were reached, and confirmation that the raised period will be limited?"


Primary Wave hires Jane Reisman as CFO
American music rights firm Primary Wave Music Publishing has hired Jane Reisman as its new CFO. She takes on the role from Ramon Villa, who will continue to be the company's COO.

"I am THRILLED to be joining this impressive team of innovators to help expand the reach and influence of the music of so many iconic artists and songwriters", say Reisman. "I will draw upon years of experience to advance PW's use of technology to maximise its efforts and support its rapid growth, while maintaining the high bar that has been set by Ramon and the team. To be able to work with this company that values creativity, excellence and diversity is truly an honour".

"Ramon has been a tremendous partner over the last thirteen years", says Primary Wave CEO Lawrence Mestel. "I'm THRILLED to see him stepping into his role as Chief Operating Officer full time where he will continue to be an asset to Primary Wave. Both Ramon and I are extremely pleased to have Jane join the Primary Wave family as our new CFO. She has been a long-time friend to the team here at Primary Wave and her vast industry experience will be an immense asset to our company".

Reisman was previously Head Of Finance at Sony Music, and has more recently been heading up her own company, JPR Consulting.


CMU+TGE Conference takes place next week
This year's CMU+TGE Conference is now just one week away, with the Music Education Conference kicking off all of the Great Escape proceedings next Wednesday, 8 May, at 10am.

CMU is presenting three full-day conferences for TGE delegates this year, putting the spotlight respectively on music education, the streaming market and music marketing. CMU's Chris Cooke has provided some context behind each of these conferences, explaining why we decided to focus on these themes in 2019, and revealing the key debates that are set to take place.

Get the low down on the Music Education Conference here, the Digital Dollars Conference here and the Music Marketing Conference here.

CMU Insights will also unveil a number of pieces of new research during The Great Escape this year. Among other things we'll report back on the music education mapping that we have been doing as part of our Pathways Into Music project, plus the Music Managers Forum will launch the latest of its 'Digital Dollar' guides, this one focused on song royalties.

CMU has also been investigating trends in music marketing in recent months and will report back on that work at the Music Marketing Conference. As part of that project, we're interested in getting some final very timely input from people working on album campaigns right now, to get some added context from the frontline.

We have set up a speedy survey to do just that and would love to have the input from anyone working on current album campaigns at labels, distributors or management companies. If you work in music marketing and would be willing to fill out that survey in the next couple of days, email and he'll send you the link.

Meanwhile, we are looking forward to welcoming you all to Brighton from next Wednesday. Access to all the CMU+TGE conferences is open to anyone with a TGE delegate or conference pass, plus standalone tickets are also available for the Music Education Conference.

Sepultura comment on Lebanon ban, announce livestream of Dubai show
Sepultura have responded to the recent cancellation of a show in Lebanon, after authorities accused the metal band of devil worship.

Saying that their "intention has always been to promote unity and freedom of expression through music", they announced that they will now livestream a show in Dubai "to try to compensate" fans in Beirut who have missed out.

Last month, it was announced that the Lebanese General Security department had decided to block Sepultura from entering the country. Among the reasons for that decision were claims that the band's members are Satanists, which the band's manager denied, pointing out that most of them are in fact Catholic.

In a new statement on Facebook, the band said: "In 35 years of history, it was the first time we had our entry blocked in a country by a false interpretation of our purposes and values since our intention has always been to promote unity and freedom of expression through music, without making any political, racial or religious distinction".

The band will broadcast their upcoming show in Dubai on 2 May live on YouTube, starting at 10pm Lebanese time (8pm in the UK).


The National, Danny Brown, SAY Award, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• The National have announced that they will screen their companion film to new album 'I Am Easy To Find' at the Glasgow, Liverpool, Leeds and London Everyman cinemas on 12 May. Top news for people who like looking at stuff.

• Danny Brown has announced - in an interview with High Snobiety - that his new album, 'U Know What I'm Sayin?', will be out this year. No release date, but we do know that Q-Tip executive produced. So there.

• Travis will release a recording of their 1999 Glastonbury set plus an expanded edition of their 'The Man Who' album on 21 Jun. Here's the Glastonbury version of 'Why Does It Always Rain On Me?'

• Tom Delonge of banging on about aliens fame has taken a moment off banging on about aliens to release the first new music from his Angels & Airwaves project for seven years, 'Rebel Girl'. "As some of you might've heard, I recently took a brief minute to start up an aerospace company, so you never know - I may play this song from a satellite deep in space, beamed toward everyone's house viciously on repeat". Yes, and I may shoot lasers out of my toes.

• Kindness has released new single 'Lost Without', featuring Seinabo Sey and co-written by Kelela.

• Yizzy has released the video for new single, 'Freeze', featuring Devilman. His new EP, 'Welcome to Grime Street', is out on 7 Jun. He will also play London's Islington Academy 2 on 17 May.

• Submissions are now open for this year's Scottish Album Of The Year Award. They will remain open until 31 May. The ceremony itself will take place on 6 Sep at Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms. More info here.

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


Billie Eilish asks fans to stop groping her
Just because you've handed over money to meet Billie Eilish backstage doesn't mean you no longer have to adhere to societal norms, OK? She'd quite like people to stop groping her at meet-and-greets.

"Please don't grab my boobs in the meet-and-greet", she wrote in an Instagram Story post. "[I] keep playing the shit cool but it is very much not".

Eilish is currently on tour in Australia and an incident that prompted the post apparently took place at a show in Sydney. She added: "I think what happened last night was just an accident so I acted like I didn't notice cuz I didn't want to make her feel bad if she didn't mean to do it".

Still, it's clearly something that happens enough that Eilish feels it's worth mentioning. I mean, at least ask first. Assuming you like paid photo opps with pop stars to be awkward and unpleasant. Otherwise, maybe just imagine you're meeting an actual human and don't even think about doing such a thing in the first place.


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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