TODAY'S TOP STORY: Attention in recent months has returned to accusations of child abuse levelled against Michael Jackson during his lifetime. However, the legal fall out from his business arrangements prior to his death almost a decade ago still continue. Now, legal action brought by Jackson's former manager, Tohme Tohme, is coming closer to trial... [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 Legal action from Michael Jackson's former manager set to reach trial
DEALS Berliner Philharmoniker signs distribution deal with [PIAS]
RELEASES Kelly Lee Owens releases two new tracks
GIGS & FESTIVALS Conor Maynard announces tour dates
Shakespears Sister announce reunion
AWARDS Details announced for 2019 Oram Awards
ONE LINERS Justin Bieber & Ed Sheeran, Madonna, Carley Rae Jepsen, more
AND FINALLY... Glastonbury stage to be built entirely from plastic waste
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Secretly Distribution is seeking a full-time International Project Manager for its growing family of distributed artists and labels. The ideal candidate is a skilled writer and communicator with a minimum of three years professional experience related to product management, artist relations, marketing and/or promotions in the music industry.

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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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Legal action from Michael Jackson's former manager set to reach trial
Attention in recent months has returned to accusations of child abuse levelled against Michael Jackson during his lifetime. However, the legal fall out from his business arrangements prior to his death almost a decade ago still continue. Now, legal action brought by Jackson's former manager, Tohme Tohme, is coming closer to trial.

Tohme began working with Jackson in 2008 and claims that his work turned around public perception of the star significantly, paving the way for him to announce his O2 Arena residency in London. Those were the shows, of course, that never happened because of Jackson's death. In 2010, Tohme launched legal action claiming that the Jackson estate had failed to pay him money he was owed under his contract with the singer.

Over time, that legal action has become more complicated, although at its heart it is still a dispute over allegedly outstanding management fees. The trial, scheduled to begin on Tuesday, is set to delve into Jackson's business arrangements and relationship with Tohme.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tohme argues that he is due a 15% commission on all the money Jackson made in the year before he died, as well as a cut of revenues made from the 'This Is It' film that followed. He also wants a finder's fee for securing a loan that stopped Jackson from being evicted from his Neverland ranch, and says that his contract with the singer promised him a $35,000 monthly services fee on top of any commission.

The Jackson estate counters that Tohme's contract was terminated prior to the musician's death. It also argues that the inclusion of the $35,000 monthly fee in his contract was unethical and meant that Tohme breached his fiduciary duties to Jackson.

At trial, Tohme is expected to argue that it is standard practice for managers to continue to receive commissions on revenues related to work they did with their former clients. This would include any income from the 'This Is It' film, he claims, because it could not have been made without his "advice, guidance and skilful work" to get Jackson into a position where he could announce the O2 shows, rehearsal footage from which featured in the film. Although whether or not he was actually fired is also set to be a point of contention.

Tohme also wants the fees being charged by Jackson estate administrators John Branca and John McClain to be revealed in court. He argues that the work they have done since Jackson's death is comparable to that he did before it. This, he reckons, will show that what he's asking for is justified.

Branca and McClain refute that there are similarities between their own work and Tohme's. Both are scheduled to give evidence at the trial, so it's likely that we'll get some insight into the minutiae of what they have done, and how they have been compensated for it, over the last decade. Other witnesses expected to appear in court include Jackson's mother Katherine and brother Jermaine.

For more on the complex legal fallout after Jackson's death in 2009, check out this edition of CMU's Setlist podcast.


Berliner Philharmoniker signs distribution deal with [PIAS]
The Berliner Philharmoniker's in-house label confirmed it had signed a new global distribution deal with [PIAS] earlier this week.

"The Berliner Philharmoniker have fans all over the world", boasts Robert Zimmermann, MD of the orchestra's media division Berlin Phil Media. "We are delighted to have found a partner in [PIAS] who shares our passion and vision of digital music distribution and who supports us wonderfully in presenting the music of the Berliner Philharmoniker to an international audience in an ambitious, innovative way".

"I speak for the entire [PIAS] team around the globe when I say that we are all incredibly excited to be working with the Berliner Philharmoniker", adds Katie Ferguson of [PIAS]. "Their pedigree is unquestioned, and the quality of repertoire and recordings is spectacular. We look forward to collaborating with their highly innovative team to further expand the orchestra's global digital business".

The first new release under the deal, out today, is a new recording of Tchaikovsky's 'Symphony No. 6' conducted by the orchestra's new Chief Conductor, Kirill Petrenko.


Marketing in the spotlight with CMU+TGE today
The final of this year's three CMU+TGE Conferences continues at The Great Escape in Brighton today with a full day focus on music marketing, sponsored by the BPI.

As you read this, we'll be talking about the ever-expanding music marketing toolkit, and where press, radio, TV, social, playlists, influencers and advertising fit into the mix. Plus how do you create the mountain of marketing content you now need and what do you do with all the data?

This afternoon the conversation will turn to how label-led marketing campaigns - both frontline and catalogue - are evolving. We'll look at how all of an artist's business partners need to work more closely together to get the most out of marketing campaigns. And then, bringing the proceedings to close, Cassandra Gracey of Sony's 4th Floor Creative will be in conversation.

Saturday sees O2 Presents: DIY Academy take over the TGE Conference programme, with panels galore for those at the start of their music careers. That includes six Elevate Seminars presented by CMU:DIY offering concise insights and lots of practical advice on social, streaming, direct-to-fan, gigging and music rights.

Also tomorrow, CMU will present the traditional Heroes & Villains session in conference room two at Jurys Inn Waterfront at 5pm. Back for its eighth year, H&V sees leading music industry executives talk through the highs and lows of their careers to date - and reveal the heroes and villains they met along the way. It's the perfect way to wrap up the TGE Conference for another year.

Kelly Lee Owens releases two new tracks
Still working on her second album, Kelly Lee Owens has announced a standalone twelve-inch release for July. The two new tracks on it, 'Let It Go' and 'Omen', have been premiered via the Adult Swim Singles Series.

"While working on my second album, I had my Room 1 Fabric DJ set coming up, so I decided to make a track for fun, to play out", explains Owens. "There's no better way of testing out new stuff than on that legendary sound system".

And now you'll be able to play both tracks at home on whatever shitty set up you've got. Ahead of various festival performances coming up this summer, Owens' new twelve-inch will be out on 5 Jul. Listen to 'Let It Go' and 'Omen' now.


Conor Maynard announces tour dates
Having completed a three month run in the musical version of 'Kinky Boots' on Broadway, Conor Maynard has decided that travelling around and singing his own songs would be a welcome change. Yes, he's going on tour.

A tour of the UK. And Ireland. And the rest of Europe, but I'm only going to list dates for the first two though. Europe is great though. Thumbs up all round.

Anyway, Maynard is about to announce his new album, so I guess these dates in October will follow the release of that. Even if they don't, I bet he'll sing some new songs. What a treat. I wonder if he'll sing about boots. Or wear boots. We just don't know.

Here are the UK & Ireland dates:

20 Oct: Glasgow, SWG3
21 Oct: Manchester, Ritz
23 Oct: Birmingham, Institute
24 Oct: London, Shepherds Bush Empire
26 Oct: Dublin, The Academy


Shakespears Sister announce reunion
You'd better hope and pray that you wake one day in your own world, because Shakespears Sister have announced their reunion. Did that sentence make any sense? Maybe 47%. To 33% of our readers. I regret nothing. Anyway, it was confirmed earlier this week that they're going to release new music and go on one of those tour things.

The duo made up of former Bananarama vocalist Siobhan Fahey and singer-songwriter Marcella Detroit originally formed in 1989, before splitting acrimoniously in 1993. Fahey has kept the project alive on and off since, but Detroit has never returned... until now.

"Neither of us wanted to go into it if there was anything apart from friendship and unity", says Fahey. "We did not want a repeat of 1992. Life's too short. So I think we just explored it slowly. I realised what a perfect writing partner [Marcella Detroit] is for me - there's some sort of weird fusion of energies that feels fated. It's like this third entity exists that is neither me nor her, it's the two of us".

Detroit adds: "There was no stopping this. It was like this snowball that just kept on gathering more and more speed. I think we've come to a point where we respect and understand each other more than we ever could have back then. That's the simplest way to put it. We've come to a mutual understanding of and respect for who each other are. It's just about acceptance - acceptance of who we both are, for each other and to each other".

A singles collection, 'Singles Party', featuring new music, is set for release on 19 Jul. New single, 'All The Queen's Horses', will be out on 15 May.

Here are all the tour dates:

31 Oct: Nottingham, Royal Concert Hall
1 Nov: Oxford, New Theatre
2 Nov: Liverpool, Empire
4 Nov: Sheffield, City Hall
5 Nov: London, Palladium
8 Nov: Glasgow, Royal Concert Hall
10 Nov: Manchester, Bridgewater Hall
13 Nov: Bournemouth, Pavilion Theatre
14 Nov: Bath, The Forum
15 Nov: Ipswich, Regent Theatre
17 Nov: Southend, Cliffs Pavilion
19 Nov: Birmingham, Symphony Hall
20 Nov: Brighton, Dome Concert Hall


Details announced for 2019 Oram Awards
The Oram Awards, recognising female music creators innovating in music, sound and related technologies, will take place for the third time next month. Being held this year at Kings Place in London, the ceremony will follow a day of workshops and talks. There will also be live performances by former winners Klein, Loraine James and Sally Golding.

Six winners will be selected from the nominations. Two will each receive development bursaries of £1500 from the PRS Foundation, while the remaining four will each receive £500.

Matthew Herbert, Director of The New Radiophonic Workshop, which presents the awards alongside the PRS Foundation, says: "It's great to be in our third year, and I'm particularly pleased this year that we have expanded the awards event itself to include workshops and exhibitions from BBC R&D, Goldsmiths, and previous winners. After being in Margate and Cheshire for the last two editions, I'm looking forward to a London ceremony and hearing music from this year's nominees".

PRS Foundation chief exec Vanessa Reed adds: "We're delighted to be celebrating the third Oram Awards with an expanded programme at King's Place this year. I'm looking forward to seeing who will be shortlisted this year as well as hearing from some of the brilliant and innovative Orams alumni at this first gathering of everyone involved over the past two years. The Oram Awards is a brilliant way of recognising and supporting new work and promoting role models for the next generation. I'm glad that this year's event will add to that by enabling these female music creators to workshop, collaborate and share knowledge".

Taking place as part of Kings Place's Venus Unwrapped series of events, the Oram Awards will be presented on 15 Jun. More details here.


Justin Bieber & Ed Sheeran, Madonna, Carley Rae Jepsen, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran have released their collaboration, 'I Don't Care'. "It's out now", says Bieber.

• Madonna has released another new track, 'Crave', featuring Rae Sremmurd's Swae Lee.

• Carly Rae Jepsen has released new single 'Too Much'. Her new album, 'Dedicated', is out next week.

• Skepta has released two new tracks 'Bullet From A Gun' and 'Greaze Mode', featuring Nafe Smallz, taken from his upcoming album, 'Ignorance Is Bliss'.

• Emma Bunton has released new single, 'You're All I Need To Get By', featuring her partner Jade Jones. "We loved being in the studio together, it was quite romantic after all these years. It was a lovely moment of us as a couple", she says.

• Stella Donnelly has released the video for 'Die', from her album 'Beware Of The Dogs'.

• Oliver Coates has released his interpretation of composer John Luther Adams' 2007 composition 'Canticles Of The Sky'. From it, this is 'Sky With Nameless Colours'.

• G Flip has released the video for new single 'I Am Not Afraid'. Her debut album is set for release this summer.

• Aīsha Devi has released new single 'I'm Not Always Where My Body Is'. It's taken from her new EP, 'SLF', out on 5 Jul.

• Helm has released new track 'Body Rushes', taken from his upcoming new album, 'Chemical Flowers'.

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


Glastonbury stage to be built entirely from plastic waste
The Glastonbury festival's ban on the sale of plastic bottles at the event should hopefully mean that there is much less plastic waste strewn around the site. However, on one stage at least there will be a great deal of it, because that's exactly what it is going to be built with.

The Gas Tower dance arena in the Shangri-La area is set to be built entirely from discarded plastic. Organisers plan to start collecting the ten tonnes of plastic waste needed to build the installation with a beach clean in Cornwall this Saturday.

"This ground-breaking project will see tonnes of plastic removed from our environment - where it has such devastating consequences on our wildlife and marine life - and put to good use", says Allison Ogden-Newton, CEO of Keep Britain Tidy, which is partnering on the project. "By working together, we are showing the world that the plastic we no longer want or need can be recycled and turned into something that is both exciting and useful".

The Orca Sound Project, which is behind the idea, adds: "We are pioneering a global first, not only in terms of stage production and festival experience, but also community-building, strategy and awareness for a global issue - thanks to Shangri-La and Keep Britain Tidy. We're so excited for Orca Sound Project to be given this unbelievable global platform to raise awareness".

First plastic collections are planned in Devon and Somerset in the coming weeks, before being processed by Exeter City Council to turn it into usable material. Further details on the project and how to volunteer 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.
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CHRIS COOKE | MD & Business Editor
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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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