TODAY'S TOP STORY: Arts Council England announced at The Great Escape on Friday that it has ring-fenced £1.5 million of the funding available via its National Lottery project grants scheme to support grassroots music venues. Meanwhile the Music Venue Trust announced a number of developments in its Pipeline Investment Fund initiative, including support from live music giants Live Nation and AEG... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Arts Council, Live Nation and AEG among those providing new support for the UK's grassroots venues
LEGAL Woodstock company sues its former financial backer
MANAGEMENT & FUNDING UK Music calls for government investigation into PledgeMusic collapse
MEDIA Rolling Stone delays launch of music charts
GIGS & FESTIVALS Madonna announces London Palladium residency
The National announce UK arena shows
ONE LINERS Dave Stewart, Demi Lovato, St Vincent, more
AND FINALLY... Threatin's Jered Eames loses legal battle with former bandmates after apparently pretending to move house
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Arts Council, Live Nation and AEG among those providing new support for the UK's grassroots venues
Arts Council England announced at The Great Escape on Friday that it has ring-fenced £1.5 million of the funding available via its National Lottery project grants scheme to support grassroots music venues. Meanwhile the Music Venue Trust announced a number of developments in its Pipeline Investment Fund initiative, including support from live music giants Live Nation and AEG.

MVT will work closely with the Arts Council to help grassroots venues apply for the newly ring-fenced funding. It is hoped that the funds could be used in particular to help such venues improve their tech set-ups and other facilities.

Announcing the new scheme, Arts Council boss Darren Henley said: "Grassroots music venues are essential both for our world-renowned music industry and communities across the country, and there needs to be a collective effort from both the public sector and music industry to support them. With this fund we're ensuring that grassroots venues and promoters working in genres such as rock, pop and hip-hop have the support they need to create the best possible environment for artists and audiences".

MVT announced plans to launch its own Pipeline Investment Fund last year, with the aim of raising money from elsewhere in the music industry to help support schemes to safe-guard the future of grassroots venues. The funding would help said grassroots businesses tackle the assortment of challenges that have pushed many venues out of business in recent years, which include rising rents and business rates, licensing issues caused by nearby property developments, and the tight profit margins of any small show gigging.

Updating everyone on those plans at the same TGE event, MVT said that it had been talking to various major music industry players since the start of the year. It went on: "Major actions agreed so far include use of apprenticeship levy funds to support apprentices in grassroots music venues, guest list donations at major events and venues to support improvements at venues, donation options on ticketing across a huge number of events, and direct donations from major companies to support the MVT Emergency Response service which rescues venues from noise complaints, licensing and planning issues".

Among those supporting the scheme are Live Nation and its ticketing business Ticketmaster. The MD of the latter, Andrew Parsons, said on Friday: "All of today's announcements are a huge step forward for grassroots venues - venues that are the beating heart of the music industry, without them British talent doesn't have a place to grow into the next Lewis Capaldi or Mabel. As a long-time supporter of MVT, we're excited to announce we'll be giving fans the opportunity to add a donation to MVT through our website. With millions of digital users annually, this will also give unparalleled visibility to MVT and the significant work they do to keep grassroots venues alive and well for us all".

Meanwhile, speaking for AEG, Emma Bownes added: "Despite the current boom in UK live music, grassroots music venues in the UK are finding it increasingly hard to survive. The announcements by Music Venue Trust and Arts Council England today, alongside funding initiatives from supporters across the industry, will be an important step in protecting small music venues and supporting the emerging talent that use these spaces to hone their craft".

Welcoming all of these developments - while promising more announcements ahead - MVT's Mark Davyd said: "This is obviously a huge day for grassroots music venues. The real support they need and have been crying out for has arrived. We want to ensure that venues across the UK are able to access the support they need to become real centres of excellence".

He went on: "Britain's artists and audiences deserve a world class, industry leading, grassroots touring circuit. Delivering that circuit is the responsibility of everyone in the music industry, cultural sector and government. That doesn't stop with the live music industry and cultural partners making these fantastic announcements today. Labels, publishers, streaming services, we believe everyone has a stake in getting this right. When our grassroots music venues thrive, the whole industry benefits".


Woodstock company sues its former financial backer
Perhaps recognising that - post-Fyre - the real aim of any music festival today is to inspire a headline-grabbing Netflix documentary down the line, organisers of Woodstock 50 are keeping things interesting by suing their financial backers.

The 50th anniversary celebration of the original Woodstock - due to take place in August - was thrown into doubt last month when its primary financial backer, called Amplifi Live, announced that the event had been cancelled. But the company that actually controls the Woodstock brand then quickly denied any cancellation had taken place and insisted the show would go on without its business partner.

At the time the Woodstock company said it had been a "complete surprise" when Amplifi Live - a division of marketing group the Dentsu Aegis Network - issued its statement announcing the event's cancellation. Team Woodstock then added that their financial backer had no right to unilaterally call the festival off, and that its decision to do so could result in legal action.

That legal action was filed last week in the New York courts, with the Woodstock company accusing its former partner of bad conduct in the way it announced the supposed cancellation of the festival. It also takes issue with emails that Amplifi Live sent to the agents of some of the booked acts at around about the same time, and then accuses its backer of dodgy dealings in the way it took monies out of a bank account that'd been set up especially for their joint project.

It remains to be seen how Dentsu and the judge respond to the legal complaint. But whatever happens at Woodstock 50 - or, indeed, if the festival doesn't even now occur - it feels like there'll still be plenty of entertainment to be had in that inevitable future Netflix documentary film.


UK Music calls for government investigation into PledgeMusic collapse
UK Music has called for PledgeMusic to be investigated by the Competition And Markets Authority. This follows the news that the fan-funding and pre-order company is heading into administration, potentially leaving artists who raised money via the platform collectively out of pocket to the tune of millions.

In a letter to the government's Minister For Small Business, Consumers And Corporate Responsibility - that's Kelly Tolhurst - UK Music CEO Michael Dugher writes: "These artists were already enduring long delays in receiving payments. As a consequence, creators who used PledgeMusic's services are likely to lose money if it goes into administration without resolving its outstanding debts".

"Musicians should be able to trust crowdfunding platforms to fulfil their obligation of delivering money pledged by fans and supporters", he goes on. "I would therefore ask that you refer PledgeMusic to the CMA to ensure that this matter is properly investigated".

PledgeMusic co-founder Benji Rogers announced last week that the company was heading into administration, after an acquisition fell through. Rogers returned to the company on a voluntary basis in January - having left his position as CEO in 2017 - to attempt to overcome the firm's ongoing financial issues, which led to artists not receiving the money that they had raised via the platform.

All artist payments were then suspended, pending a deal to save the company. Last month it was reported that a potential agreement to sell the business was still in the works, but last week Rogers announced that that acquisition had fallen through. This leaves artists who have not been paid the money they raised through Pledge unsure if they will ever see any of it. Outstanding artist payments are estimated at between one and three million dollars.


Rolling Stone delays launch of music charts
Following a big announcement from Rolling Stone last week that it would today launch a new set of American music charts to rival those of industry trade mag Billboard, another statement followed over the weekend to say that it wouldn't. At least, not yet. For now, the new charts will remain in testing mode, shared with a select few.

Rolling Stone parent company Penske Media Corporation plans to offer a number of charts through its music media brand, including direct rivals to the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and the Billboard 200 albums countdown. Created with data company Buzz Angle, the charts will be updated daily and will offer, PMC reckons, a deeper analysis of streaming data than Billboard and its data cruncher Nielsen.

PMC also says that the methodologies behind its charts will be fully transparent, which may account for the last minute decision not to go public just yet, as it ensures that everything stands up to scrutiny.

Saying that the Rolling Stone charts are "unprecedented for a consumer magazine", in its new statement the company adds: "While we had initially targeted a public beta launch of 13 May, we are instead going to remain in private beta to optimise with our industry partners and fully ensure the smoothness of our presentation".

No new launch date has yet been announced.


Setlist: 20 years of CMU – The saga of MegaUpload and Kim Dotcom
This week’s episode of Setlist is another marking CMU’s 20th birthday, the sixteenth in a series of special editions reviewing the 20 biggest stories CMU has covered over the last two decades. This time we go all the way back to the dramatic takedown of MegaUpload in 2012 and run through everything that has happened in the subsequent seven years.

Listen to Setlist here when it goes live later today, 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

Madonna announces London Palladium residency
Madonna has announced a six night residency at the London Palladium for early next year. This will follow the release of her new album, 'Madame X', which is due out in June.

The Palladium shows will also follow a run of multiple night performances at theatres in the US this autumn, and will be her first UK concerts since her 2015 arena tour.

"The chance for fans to see Madonna at these venues is incredibly special", says Live Nation's Arthur Fogel of the various theatre residencies. "We are proud and excited to be able to deliver this ultimate opportunity for her fans".

To announce the tour, Madonna and Diplo made a comedy skit. So that's fun. If you're not into watching videos, I've transcribed Madonna's half of the conversation as if it was just a straight quote. It almost works too: "I'm going on tour. I'm going on a special tour. I'm going on a theatre tour. People didn't believe in Einstein either, they thought he was a quack. He discovered the Theory Of Relativity. Have you experienced the magic of a theatre? The intimacy of a theatre? I want to have an intimate experience with my fans".

Aaaaaaaaayway, 'Madame X' is out on 14 Jun and the London Palladium residency will run from 26 Jan to 2 Feb (with 28 and 31 Jan off). If you want tickets, you can sign up to Ticketmaster's Verified Fan thing between now and Thursday. Tickets will then go on sale to those registered on 24 May. Standard tickets will cost between £60 and FOUR HUNDRED AND FUCKING EIGHTY POUNDS. Although there will be ten tickets for each performance made available for just £10 through Madonna's website.


The National announce UK arena shows
The National have announced a four date UK arena tour for December, following a handful of summer outdoor shows.

The band are already set to support Florence And The Machine at the British Summer Time festival in London's Hyde Park on 13 Jul, as well as headlining two nights at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Park in August. The new winter arena shows will take them to Brighton, Leeds, Cardiff and Nottingham.

Tickets for the new shows go on general sale on 17 May, the same day as their eighth album, 'I Am Easy To Find', is released.

Here are the dates:

7 Dec: Brighton Centre
8 Dec: Leeds, First Direct Arena
9 Dec: Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
10 Dec: Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena


Dave Stewart, Demi Lovato, St Vincent, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• That Hipgnosis Songs Fund has acquired the publishing catalogue of Dave Stewart - a cache of over 1000 songs. Stewart also joins the company's advisory board. "I'm not generally one for puns but sweet dreams are literally made of this", says Hipgnosis founder Merck Mercuriadis. Is that strictly a pun?

• Demi Lovato has signed a new management deal with Scooter Braun. She says she "couldn't be happier, [or more] inspired and excited to begin this next chapter".

• St Vincent marked the tenth anniversary of her second album, 'Actor', last week with an essay on her memories of making and releasing it.

• New Avicii track, 'Tough Love', has been released. It's taken from his upcoming posthumous album 'Tim'.

• Aurora has released new single 'The River'. Her new album, 'A Different Kind of Human (Step II), is out on 7 Jun.

• Babymetal have released new single 'Elevator Girl'.

• P Money has released new single 'When & Where', featuring Giggs.

• Open Eagle Mike has released a new collaboration with Lizzo, titled 'Extra Consent'.

• Kyary Pamyu Pamyu has released new single 'Kimi Ga Ii Ne Kuretara' ('If You Look Good'). The track serves as the theme song for Japanese drama series 'Mukai No Bazuru Kazoku' - or 'My Family Goes Viral'.

• Tolliver has released new single 'Keep It Wet'.

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


Threatin's Jered Eames loses legal battle with former bandmates after apparently pretending to move house
Threatin frontman Jered Eames and his wife Kelsey have lost lawsuits launched by session musicians hired for the band's failed European tour. Default judgements were made after the couple failed to appear to defend themselves in court.

Guitarist Joe Prunera and drummer Dane Davis both filed legal action in December last year to recoup money for flights, living expenses and lost earnings after the Threatin tour collapsed in November. Court documents, first reported by Metal Sucks, show that Prunera was awarded the maximum $10,000 allowed in the small claims court, plus $250 court fees, while Davis recovered $3975.29. Davis's mother Debra was also awarded $4,035.66 for money she loaned her son to book flights back to the US.

As you all surely remember, California-based Eames faked an online fanbase, news coverage, and record label, management company and PR agency for his Threatin project, enabling him to book a run of European shows. However, things unravelled after the tour began and the band played to a series of empty rooms. As venues began publicly commented on the scam - revealing that they'd been told the shows had nearly sold out through direct-to-fan sales - Prunera and Davis pulled out of the tour and the final tour dates were cancelled.

Court documents also show that two pieces of correspondence sent to the Eames relating to the cases against them were returned unopened, marked to say that the addressees were not known at that address. However, Kelsey was later served a court summons in person at the same location. Neither she nor her husband has responded to the claims, and they did not appear in court.

Prunera and Davis say they now plan to launch further action to secure their damages. Of course, if they want to track Eames and his wife down, they could always book tickets for Threatin's upcoming show at The Underworld in Camden on 1 Nov - marking the first anniversary of the night that the band played to two people at the venue.

Eames is currently seeking a guitarist to join him for that show. His job posting stipulates that no vegans, people with large foreheads, residents of Montana or people who don't understand how hilarious this all is are allowed to apply.


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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