TODAY'S TOP STORY: Ladies and gentlemen, it is officially Great Escape week, and don't forget that the TGE Conference kicks off at 10am tomorrow morning (ie Wednesday 8 May) with the first of the CMU+TGE Conferences, putting the spotlight on music education. .. [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 Great Escape Conference kicks off tomorrow - CMU to put the spotlight on music education, digital dollars and music marketing
LEGAL Universal Music files motion to dismiss potentially explosive termination rights case
RIAA gets court order to access contact information of piracy sites using Cloudflare
LABELS & PUBLISHERS AIM launches new regional champions initiative around the UK
LIVE BUSINESS Woodstock 50 has until this Friday to secure new financial backing
Islington Council offers protection to The Garage to avoid closure
ARTIST NEWS Don McLean has lifetime achievement award rescinded, hours after being announced
AND FINALLY... New service allows you to select your funeral music while you're still alive
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Great Escape Conference kicks off tomorrow - CMU to put the spotlight on music education, digital dollars and music marketing
Ladies and gentlemen, it is officially Great Escape week, and don't forget that the TGE Conference kicks off at 10am tomorrow morning (ie Wednesday 8 May) with the first of the CMU+TGE Conferences, putting the spotlight on music education.

The full-day Music Education Conference, running from 10am to 5pm at Jurys Inn Waterfront, is open to all TGE delegates and conference pass holders, plus a few standalone tickets are also still available. The day is all about bringing music educators and the music industry together, so that educators, employers and music industry leaders are better aligned.

It will include updates on the Pathways Into Music research work CMU launched last year, which is mapping music education in the UK, to fully explain what music education is - in its widest possible sense - and how it is funded, accessed and delivered. Other debates during the day will look at what music education is for, what should be in the music curriculum in schools and colleges, and how music employers can support the education sector.

The day will then conclude at 4.10pm with an artist perspective, with Chilly Gonzales in conversation. Last year he launched his own ground-breaking music education programme The Gonzervatory. At TGE he will explain why he set The Gonzervatory up and how it all works. And also how we can build bridges between musical disciplines and in doing so ensure music education works for everyone.

On Thursday the CMU+TGE Conference is all about Digital Dollars. The full-day programme brings together all the work CMU Insights has done with the UK Music Managers Forum over the last five years on dissecting the digital dollar, providing a concise and user-friendly guide to how the streaming business actually works from a rights and royalties perspective. Over the day, the mechanics will be explained, the latest trends explored and the key talking points debated.

MMF will also launch the latest of its Digital Dollar guides, explaining the complexities of how songwriters are paid their streaming income, and revealing why some of that money is almost certainly getting stuck in the system. And then, at the end of the day, Downtown Music CEO Justin Kalifowitz will be in conversation, talking about how his company has innovated over the last decade to better meet the needs of artists and songwriters in the streaming age.

The final CMU+TGE Conference on Friday puts the spotlight on music marketing. Sponsored by BPI, it will begin with a speedy overview of all the key elements of the music marketing toolkit. We'll look at the respective roles of radio, the music press, social media, advertising and influencer marketing, and then focus in on playlists, content and data. Then, in the afternoon, the conversation will move to how marketing campaigns are evolving with the shift to streams.

At the conclusion of the day, Cassandra Gracey - who heads up Sony Music's 4th Floor Creative division - will be in conversation, explaining what that division does and why it was created, and discussing why content, data and partnerships are now key in ensuring artists and the albums they release can truly stand out.

All three of the CMU+TGE Conferences take place in the main room at Jurys Inn Waterfront, the new hub of all TGE Conference activity this year. Alongside the CMU conferences there are, of course, a plethora of partner panels, delegate parties and other networking opportunities, all on top of the hundreds of great artists and bands playing in venues all over Brighton from Thursday through to Saturday. Full info on it all here.


Universal Music files motion to dismiss potentially explosive termination rights case
Universal Music last week filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit that many see as an important test case. If it goes ahead, it could decide whether the termination right in US copyright law allows artists to claim ownership, in America at least, of recordings they made under record deals signed more than 35 years ago.

The American termination right says that 'authors' who assign their copyrights to another entity have a one-time opportunity to terminate that assignment and reclaim their rights after 35 years. This particular termination right comes from a piece of 1970s copyright law Stateside, so only really kicked in earlier this decade.

On the songs side of the business, songwriters reclaiming their US rights in this way has become routine. There was some initial debate over a few technicalities, and the Duran Duran case here in the UK testing the termination rights (or not) of British artists is still ongoing. But American writers reclaiming their copyrights after 35 years is not generally controversial any more.

On the recordings side, however, many corporate rights owners have resisted efforts by artists to reclaim assigned rights, putting forward various arguments as to why the termination right should not apply to record contracts. In February, a bunch of artists decided to put those arguments to the test, filing class action lawsuits against both Sony and Universal.

Those lawsuits involve artists who signed to one of the two majors (or, rather, to labels subsequently acquired by Sony or Universal) back in the day and who have been trying to reclaim ownership of recordings released under those deals.

They are seeking court confirmation that the termination notices they have issued - which the labels have so far rejected - are in fact valid. And, with that in mind, they also want the court to rule that Sony and Universal have been infringing their copyrights by continuing to exploit their works despite having received the termination paperwork.

Seeking to have the case against it dismissed, Universal says that there are four key problems with the arguments put forward by the artists behind the litigation. First, because those artists actually signed deals with their record labels via their own corporate entities (what are commonly known as loan-out companies in the US), they are not in a position to now terminate those agreements in a personal capacity.

Secondly, there were problems with the termination notices the artists submitted. Thirdly, if the artists had an issue with what their old deals said about the ownership of their recordings, they should have disputed it at the time of release, because copyright law has a three year statute of limitations. And finally, one of the artists signed his record deal before 1978, when the termination right that is being enforced here first came into being.

The argument usually put forward by those labels which argue that the termination right doesn't apply to artists is that record contracts are first and foremost work for hire agreements. Which, under US copyright law, means the label - not the artist - is the default owner of any copyrights created under the deal. So there isn't actually any assignment of copyright from artist to label, and therefore no assignment to terminate.

Universal's motion to dismiss doesn't present this among the key four issues presented at the top of the legal filing, though it does start talking about work-for-hire once it begins picking holes into the claims of individual plaintiffs. The original lawsuit filed back in February deals with this issue in quite some detail, insisting that record contracts are not, in fact, work-for-hire agreements, even if they claim to be so in the actual contracts themselves.

It remains to be seen how the court responds to Universal's filing. Between the original lawsuit and the major's response, there are plenty of legal technicalities to be explored if this case gets properly to court. Which would probably make for a long drawn out legal battle. Though if the artists were to win, this case could have big ramifications for all heritage acts and all record companies, and especially the catalogue-rich majors. So, however many technicalities maybe raised, however long drawn out the legal battle proves to be, this is definitely one to watch.


RIAA gets court order to access contact information of piracy sites using Cloudflare
The Recording Industry Association Of America has got itself a subpoena from a US court ordering Cloudflare to reveal any contact information it has on file relating to a bunch of websites accused of distributing music without licence.

Internet services company Cloudflare has been on the record industry's gripe list for a while now. It's an entirely legitimate company offering entirely legitimate services to website operators, but record labels reckon it could do more to restrict the operations of those sites among its client base that primarily exist to facilitate copyright infringement. Particularly because some of Cloudflare's services make it easier for piracy sites to obscure their actual location.

Cloudflare has always pushed back on the idea that it should police its client list for potential infringers, arguing that it is in no position to identify what is and isn't infringement. To that end, it has always said that aggrieved copyright owners should take their grievances to court, because it will generally respect any obligations contained within a court order (although, of course, it could always appeal said order before respecting it).

Hence the subpoena. According to Torrentfreak, the RIAA's Mark McDevitt wrote in a letter to Cloudflare: "We have determined that users of your system or network have infringed our member record companies' copyrighted sound recordings. Enclosed is a subpoena compliant with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. As is stated in the attached subpoena, you are required to disclose to the RIAA information sufficient to identify the infringers. This would include the individuals' names, physical addresses, IP addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses, payment information, account updates and account history".

As for what the RIAA intends to do with that information, the record industry trade group is somewhat ambiguous. The letter adds: "The purpose for which this subpoena is sought is to obtain the identities of the individuals assigned to these websites who have reproduced and have offered for distribution our members' copyrighted sound recordings without their authorisation. This information will only be used for the purposes of protecting the rights granted to our members, the sound recording copyright owner, under Title II of the DMCA".

Sites covered by the subpoena include RapGodFathers and Plus Premieres.


AIM launches new regional champions initiative around the UK
The Association Of Independent Music has launched a new regional champions initiative that seeks to ensure its resources and expertise are available to independent music firms across the UK. This includes setting up three regional hubs - for the north of England, Northern Ireland and Scotland - with more to follow in due course.

Each of those hubs will have an 'ambassador' and a 'champion' who will be, says AIM, be "tasked with creating strong local networks among the independent music companies in their areas and providing support, expertise and access to resources".

Those people are as follows: for the north of England it's Tony Morley of the Leaf Label (ambassador) and Sam 'Whiskas' Nicholls from Music:Leeds (champion); for Northern Ireland it's Lyndon Stephens of Champion Sound Music (ambassador) and Francesca O'Connor of Quiet Arch (champion); and for Scotland Michael Lambert of A Modern Way and Wide Days is the champion, with an ambassador TBC.

Says AIM's Membership Manager Jude McArdle: "This is not just lip service. AIM is not simply parachuting into Leeds, Edinburgh or Belfast and then heading straight back to London, we want to help cultivate local scenes. Our new regional ambassadors and champions have been chosen because they are acknowledged experts in their local areas and we're delighted they're joining the AIM team. They will allow us to benefit from their local knowledge and excellent reputations while contributing their experience to help build strong networks, which in turn will help music makers turn their creativity into a career and independent music businesses grow".


Woodstock 50 has until this Friday to secure new financial backing
Ever since it was announced by an investor last week that the 50th anniversary edition of Woodstock had been cancelled, its chief organiser Michael Lang has been very busy insisting that this is not the case. However, Billboard now reports that if further financing is not found by Friday this week, it definitely will be.

Amplifi Live, a division of marketing group the Dentsu Aegis Network, announced last week that it was pulling its financial backing of Woodstock 50, meaning the festival would not be able to go ahead. But Lang quickly insisted that it would still happen, just without Amplifi Live's involvement.

However, Lang reportedly needs to raise $30 million this week to keep the event afloat. Live Nation and AEG have already both turned down requests to take over production of the festival, and some booking agents have said that Dentsu withdrawing its backing has voided the event's contracts with their artists.

An attorney for Lang said last week that he disagreed with the line that those contracts no longer stand. And it does seem that most agents are now waiting to see if the festival can be saved before officially withdrawing their artists from the bill.


Islington Council offers protection to The Garage to avoid closure
North London music venue The Garage has secured support from Islington Council in its ongoing battle to avoid closure due to nearby redevelopment. The council has proposed providing protection for any music venue operating at The Garage's current location as part of its draft new Local Plan.

"We've listened carefully to all views, and the draft Local Plan - which will guide development for the next fifteen years - proposes strong protection for a music venue to continue operation on the Garage site", an Islington Council spokesperson said last week. "Islington Council wants to support local small music venues through its planning and licensing policies".

Having taken over The Garage in 2016, DHP Family announced last year that the venue was under threat due to plans by TFL to redevelop the tube station opposite and the surrounding area. Rising business rates and a short rolling lease also put the venue at risk. However, in addition to support from the local council, TFL has also committed to keep a music venue on the site, and the London Mayor's office is also backing The Garage's continued operation.

Though challenges remain. Noting the ever increasing difficulties all small venues are facing, DHP Family's Managing Director George Akins says: "For small, independently owned venues, it is becoming extremely difficult to survive in London. Business rate increases, rent increases and redevelopment plans are all hitting grassroots venues and although the support of the council, TFL and the Mayor's office is very important and significant there is still plenty of work to do. We all need to pull together to try and save as many of these venues as possible before it's too late".

"The UK is one of the world's great sources of forward-thinking music but we are in great danger of throwing away that heritage", he goes on. "Small venues showcasing grassroots contemporary music are a breeding ground for many of the bands that will become the superstars and stadium fillers of tomorrow".

The various challenges mentioned by Akins have, of course, been much discussed in the music community in recent years. And in recent months UK Music and the Music Venue Trust have been particularly vocal in opposing the current status of business rates for music venues. The government recently introduced rates relief for some small businesses on the high street, but excluded music venues from that scheme.


Approved: Babii
One time member of the excellent pop duo Us Baby Bear Bones, Daisy Warne returned in her solo guise as Babii last year with her debut single 'Phantom'. She's now announced the release of her debut album, 'Hiide', in July.

"When writing [the album], I was still trying to keep a dying relationship alive, but it was falling apart because of secrets being kept", she tells DIY. "I was also his secret and there was a lot of things hidden between us. All of the tracks are fragments of the same theme and capture the album as a whole. It's such a diverse set of emotions that all bleed into one another, and also reflect each other, and at times can even contradict each other".

Speaking to Paper, she adds of new single 'Carniivore': "This was one of the first songs I wrote for 'Hiide'. It continues the theme of a few songs I wrote before it, that used animal predators as metaphors for how I was feeling like prey, in full survival mode, but kinda up for the battle. The song is about falling in love with someone even though you know they are gonna hurt you, like a prey animal falling in love with its predator".

With this deeply personal theme running throughout the album's lyrics, Warne has built a warm and detailed electronic world around it in her music. The album is out on 5 Jul, and she has three shows booked in at this week's Great Escape Festival in Brighton.

Listen to 'Carniivore' here.

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

Don McLean has lifetime achievement award rescinded, hours after being announced
Don McLean has had a lifetime achievement award rescinded just hours after it was announced he was going to receive it, because organisers learned that he pleaded guilty to domestic violence charges three years ago.

The musician was announced as this year's recipient of the George And Ira Gershwin Award For Lifetime Musical Achievement yesterday. The prize is presented annually by the Student Alumni Association of the University Of California, Los Angeles. A ceremony was scheduled for 17 May.

In a statement, the SAA said: "The decision to rescind the award was made by SAA's Spring Sing Executive Committee upon learning that Mr McLean had previously been convicted of domestic violence charges. SAA rejects any behaviour - including violence and the threat of violence in all its forms - that does not uphold [our college's values]. We extend our support to survivors of domestic violence".

A rep for Don McLean said in an email to the SAA, also provided to the Press Herald, that it is "publicly disrespectful and grossly humiliating" to offer and then withdraw an award "based on the supposition of any violent criminal history". They added that there had been ample time to vet potential award winners for anything in their recent past, especially "something as public" as McLean's domestic violence case, before announcing the award.

McLean was arrested and charged with several crimes relating to domestic violence against his wife, Patrisha McLean, in 2016. He later pleaded guilty as part of a plea deal, which saw a number of the charges dismissed. The couple divorced after the arrest, with Patricia citing decades of abuse, which Don denies.


New service allows you to select your funeral music while you're still alive
Last week we learned that hymns are becoming less popular at funerals, with pop songs now making up the entire top ten of tracks routinely played at such occasions. Now a new service has launched allowing you to make your own funeral playlist, to ensure your relatives don't just stick on Ed Sheeran in the hope you'd be OK with that.

Last List allows you to create a ten track playlist of your favourite songs, then select up to five people who you trust (though not enough to just pick one) to log in to this service once you're gone and get your up-to-that-point secret list of music you want playing out at your funeral. For this, you will pay just one shiny dollar.

"The concept is very simple", says Michael Beneville, the company's chief strategist. "Music is a powerful way to evoke memories and emotions, and everyone wants to be remembered. We turn music into a gift for loved ones".

Of course, you could just set up a playlist on your streaming service of choice and share that with friends. Or just send the list to five friends in an email. Or maybe even just write it down on a piece of paper. But the beauty of this is that you get to spend a dollar on doing it. And you might as well try and get rid of all your money before you die, you know, to stop your pesky family from getting hold of it all.

Find out more 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 andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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.
Email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
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.
Email sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
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.
Email caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
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