TODAY'S TOP STORY: Beatport yesterday put a new DJ-centric streaming service into beta. The new product is called Beatport Link and will allow users to stream music from the digital platform's entire catalogue via various DJing software packages, with integrations into Pioneer's performance software systems the priority at launch... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Beatport puts new streaming service for DJs into beta
DEALS The Other Songs allies with Kobalt
LIVE BUSINESS Live Nation Denmark acquires agency and management firm PDH
MEDIA Madonna "cannot perform" at Eurovision if she doesn't hurry up and sign her contract
TalkTalk signs on as sponsor as Heart's breakfast show goes national
RELEASES Hellyeah announce first album since death of Vinnie Paul
ONE LINERS Funnel Music, Flying Lotus, Angel Olsen, more
AND FINALLY... Spotify's Soundtrap launches editing tool for podcasters
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Beatport puts new streaming service for DJs into beta
Beatport yesterday put a new DJ-centric streaming service into beta. The new product is called Beatport Link and will allow users to stream music from the digital platform's entire catalogue via various DJing software packages, with integrations into Pioneer's performance software systems the priority at launch.

The dance music focused digital music service had a go at streaming once before with a consumer-facing offer. But it quickly called off that adventure - in part because then parent company SFX was in the process of falling over - and instead decided to focus on its original download store business.

However, with download sales still in steep decline, it was clear that Beatport would need to innovate in order to stay relevant. Streaming is a very expensive and competitive business to get involved in, of course, but it does feel like there remain opportunities in the B2B streaming domain. And with Beatport's dominance in dance music, some kind of streaming set-up geared towards the DJ community always seemed like an obvious place for the company to go.

Other start-ups have developed tools that allow people to mix tracks off of the streaming services, many such tools plugging into Spotify or SoundCloud to access the music. But most mixing tools to date have not allowed DJs to download tracks they intend to include in the mix, which is obviously vital if anyone is really going to use one of these set ups in a club environment, where you can't afford to be reliant on a wobbly internet connection.

Beatport Link will offer this functionality. The company's CEO Robb McDaniels said yesterday: "We are particularly excited to introduce the upcoming 'offline performance mode', which firmly sets Beatport Link apart from its competitors in the DJ market".

Confirming that the company will initially focus on making the streaming-for-DJs service available via Pioneer systems, McDaniels then said that "Beatport Link exhibits our commitment to creating the best possible experience for our expanding ecosystem of DJs, and we can think of no better partner than Pioneer DJ for the service's first software integration".


The Other Songs allies with Kobalt
The Other Songs - the London-based music company spun off from a series of regular songwriter showcases that focus on unreleased tracks - has allied with Kobalt to expand the publishing side of its operations. Kobalt will provide admin, creative and sync services to The Other Songs, which also has label and management divisions.

Alastair Webber, one of the people behind The Other Songs, said yesterday that - when he and co-founders Billy Webber and Sophia Humphreys set up the business - "we made a promise to only partner with people who really understand our vision and our values within the songwriting community. We are passionate, if not slightly obsessed, with great songs, wherever they may come from, and we are incredibly excited to partner with the Kobalt team who share the same beliefs".

Confirming the tie-up from the Kobalt side, the firm's UK Head Of Creative Alison Donald added: "Whenever our creative team at Kobalt looks at partnering with outside A&R sources, it has to be with people who bring something unique to what we already have. Billy, Alastair and Sophia have a great passion for song craft and songwriters that is reflected in the diverse talent that is associated with The Other Songs - both as a live showcase and label and now as a publisher".


Live Nation Denmark acquires agency and management firm PDH
And now time for the Live Nation acquisition of the week. The world's biggest touring, ticketing, venues and management group has acquired Danish booking agency and artist management outfit PDH Music.

"This deal extends the already successful relationship PDH Music has had with Live Nation over the past several years", reckons the agency's MD Henrik Seifert. "Live Nation has the global reach and infrastructure to further strengthen PDH Music, and PDH Music has a roster of local artists that Live Nation is committed to investing in and developing. It is a match made in heaven and we are excited about our future together".

Confirming the divine tie-up on the Live Nation side is Jesper Christensen, MD of the company in Denmark. He says: "I have known PDH Music's founders Micky Pramming and Henrik Seifert for many years. They are great people who share a profound love of live music and I'm excited about the energy they will bring to Live Nation Denmark".


Madonna "cannot perform" at Eurovision if she doesn't hurry up and sign her contract
It was the first semi-final of this year's Eurovision Song Contest last night. I forgot and watched the last episode of 'The Line Of Duty' instead. Ultimately, I feel like I failed to use my time wisely. Whatever, I didn't watch it. And I'll tell you another thing that didn't happen yesterday. Madonna didn't sign her contract to perform at the Eurovision final on Saturday.

Last month it was announced that Madonna would appear as the interval act at this year's big contest, performing two songs. The booking proved controversial, as protesters who oppose the competition being held in Israel this year turned their attentions to trying to get the singer to withdraw from the event. There have also apparently been issues with the political content of a new song she is planning to perform during her set.

Nevertheless, everything seems to be going ahead as planned, with Madonna set to arrive in Tel Aviv to begin rehearsals today. Though, that said, European Broadcasting Union boss Jon Ola Sand said earlier this week that the organisation that oversees the contest "has never confirmed Madonna as an act" - her performance having been announced by Madonna's own publicists.

But surely that's just an admin glitch that will prove insignificant, no? No. Madge has not signed her contract with the contest's producers and that just won't do. "If we do not have a signed contract she cannot perform on our stage", says Sand.

See, I think the story in 'The Line Of Duty' is good. And compelling. But it has some of the worst written dialogue I've ever seen on TV. Some of the acting's pretty ropey too, but I think that might be a result of the dialogue being so dreadful. The 'Star Wars' effect, you might call it.

Anyway, Eurovision. I was meant to be watching Eurovision. Sand continues: "We are in a situation now that is a bit strange. We have an artist who would like to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest, and who we would love to welcome on that stage. But for that we need to have the framework secured. We are negotiating now, in the final stage of that - but if there is no signed contract this week, she will not be on the stage".

This is all starting to sound a bit like some other negotiations that have been happening in Europe of late. Except with someone trying to get in, rather than out. Everyone's geared up to see Madonna do a little sing-song now though, so I'm sure it will all pan out and no deadlines will be missed. Or maybe we'll have to push back the half-time show to October.

Of course, there are those protesters who would relish the whole deal falling apart and it not happening at all. Madonna's performance, I mean. In their efforts to get the star to stand down in solidarity with the people of Palestine, those protesters have pointed out that Madonna has previously expressed solidarity with those very people, specifically in a 2014 Instagram post in which the musician said "I love Palestinians" and that she "wanted peace" in the region.

But Madonna has not been swayed by those arguments as yet. Ahead of the (possible) performance at Eurovision, she told Reuters that she would not allow her music to be used as someone else's political tool. "I'll never stop playing music [in order] to suit someone's political agenda", she said. "Nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be".

She continued: "My heart breaks every time I hear about the innocent lives that are lost in this region and the violence that is so often perpetuated to suit the political goals of people who benefit from this ancient conflict. I hope and pray that we will soon break free from this terrible cycle of destruction and create a new path towards peace".

So, whatever else may be occurring, it seems that Madonna is not holding back on signing any contract due to a last minute change of heart, having been won round by the cultural boycott of Israel movement. Still, her signing the contract and therefore performing is still not guaranteed either. Fun times.

The second Eurovision semi-final will be on tomorrow night, which means I can fit in the next episode of 'Game Of Thrones' this evening without another embarrassing clash. I mean, come on, what was going on with those postscript screen captions in 'Line Of Duty'? I thought we'd all agreed that was a lazy storytelling mechanic that shouldn't be allowed. The final of Eurovision will then take place on Saturday. I'm going to be at a fucking wedding.


TalkTalk signs on as sponsor as Heart's breakfast show goes national
Following the news earlier this year that Global was set to exploit newly relaxed radio regulations and drop local programming at breakfast time on its national networks, a new national breakfast show will start airing across the Heart network next month. And TalkTalk has been confirmed as a sponsor for the show.

Although Global long ago rebranded loads of its local FM stations under the Heart brand and has ever since pumped out the same programmes on all of them, each regional Heart outlet still had its own local breakfast and drive time shows. But from next month, local programming will only apply late afternoon.

The now national breakfast show will see that Jamie Theakston - currently London breakfast DJ for the Heart network - talk talking to newly appointed co-host Amanda Holden and "TV personality" Ashley Roberts, who will be in charge of celebrity gossip.

Supporting the talk talking will be new sponsor TalkTalk, whose Group Marketing Director David Parslow says: "Finding ways to help people connect to their friends, family and communities is a huge part of TalkTalk's DNA. Heart's unique relationship with its listeners makes this partnership a natural fit for TalkTalk and we're delighted to be sponsoring its new breakfast show".

Presumably having decided he couldn't rival Parslow's nonsense speak, Global's CCO Mike Gordon decided to confirm the tie-up with a much more factual statement.

He said: "As we prepare for exciting changes at Heart, we are delighted to welcome TalkTalk on board as the official sponsor for the brand-new breakfast show with Jamie Theakston and Amanda Holden. With the nationwide launch of the largest show in commercial radio, our partnership will reach millions of listeners across the entire nation on air, online and via Global Player".


Have some CMU Insights from The Great Escape
Thank you one and all to everyone who joined us at the CMU+TGE conferences at The Great Escape last week. We unveiled our ten step music career tracker and put the spotlight on our pilot music education and career mapping projects. We teamed up with MMF to launch their latest Digital Dollar guide explaining the complexities of song royalty chains. And we joined with BPI to discuss all the ways in which music marketing is evolving.

Along the way we heard from a plethora of insightful music industry people who offered differing perspectives on the challenges and opportunities that abound in the worlds of music education, music streaming and music marketing. Plus we got to sit down for keynote in-conversations with three very brilliant people: Cassandra Gracey from 4th Floor Creative, Justin Kalifowitz from Downtown Music and the musical genius that is Chilly Gonzales.

This year also saw CMU team up with TGE and Arts Council England to launch the new Elevate programme. 30 early-career music industry people enjoyed an enhanced, subsidised and curated TGE experience, expanding their knowledge and networks along the way. CMU's Chris Cooke ran daily debriefs with these 30 inspiring future leaders of the music industry, while CMU:DIY delivered a series of Elevate Seminars for all TGE attendees on Saturday.

So, lots of great people, informative conversations and lively debates. And there were lots of CMU Insights as well. If you came along you can now access the CMU Insights and CMU:DIY slides that we presented this year here.

Hellyeah announce first album since death of Vinnie Paul
Hellyeah have announced that they will release their first album since the death of drummer Vinnie Paul, titled 'Welcome Home', in September.

Paul died last summer while the band were still in the process of recording the album, which his bandmates subsequently completed. They announced its release after a show to pay tribute to the late drummer, also formerly of Pantera, last weekend. The show saw Stone Sour's Roy Mayorga step in to take the place of Paul in the band's line-up.

The outfit is now set to head out on a US tour later this summer to promote the new record. Bassist Kyle Sanders explains: "While Vinnie Paul is obviously irreplaceable, one thing we can't not do is tour. As easy as it would be to say we're not going on the road, we have to. Vinnie would be extremely disappointed in us if we didn't promote this record properly. He'd be pissed off at all of us for putting all this work into finishing the record and then just letting it sit there on the shelf while we put a couple of songs to radio and whatever and we know that".

'Welcome Home' is set for release on 27 Sep. Watch the video for the first track to be released from it, '333', here.


Funnel Music, Flying Lotus, Angel Olsen, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Funnel Music - a new-fangled music company that, and I quote, "addresses the many issues of artist development by focusing on the resource gap that plagues the artist development process through technology and the unique community it is building" - has appointed Tim Delaney as its CEO. He's previously worked in labels, live, ticketing and management, so I guess if anyone should know about the full artist development process, it's Tim.

• Flying Lotus has released the video for new single 'More', featuring Anderson Paak.

• WSTRN have released new single 'Medusa', featuring Unknown T.

• Sebastian has released his first single for eight years, 'Run For Me', featuring Gallant. "We made it in one day, in one take without stopping", says Sebastian. "The melody evolved wherever it seemed to want to go all by itself. I tracked Gallant down for the vocals because he shared the same emotions as the song and I wasn't disappointed. The song really came into its own when the vocals were laid down on the track".

• Black Midi have announced that they will release their debut album, 'Schlagenheim', on 21 Jun.

• Angel Olsen has announced that she will play the Hammersmith Apollo on 11 Feb next year. Tickets go on sale on Friday.

• P Money is set to headline the Islington Academy on 20 Jun. His new album, 'Money Over Everyone III', is set for release on 31 May.

• Richard Hawley is set to tour the UK in October, in support of new album 'Further', including a show at London's Roundhouse on 17 Oct. Tickets go on general sale this Friday.

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


Spotify's Soundtrap launches editing tool for podcasters
Soundtrap - the music-editing tool acquired by Spotify in 2017 - has launched a new product that will make it easier to edit podcasts. Because, as we all know, in 2019 it's all about the podcasts. Sorry music makers, you had a good run. We liked your rhyming observations about love and the human condition. For a time. Your funky beats and catchy raps about cars and girls kept us interested. For a while. But now we're losing interest. Now that we have access to so much badly-edited overly-long inane waffle about football, Brexit and crazy science facts.

But badly-edited no more! Because Spotify - now the app for music AND podcasts, remember (and soon to be the app for podcasts and music, I'm sure) - has launched Soundtrap For Storytellers. What's that? Well, it's only "a comprehensive podcast creation tool that offers recording, remote multi-track interviewing with video chat, smart editing of audio as a text document, full audio production, direct-to-Spotify publishing of the podcast, and transcript publishing to optimise SEO all in one service".

How lovely. And you know what podcasters - sorry, I mean, "storytellers" - will do? They'll pay £3.50 more a month than musicians to access these wonderful online editing tools. And they won't constantly moan on about how you're fucking them over and devaluing their artform and driving them out of business from your gold-plated ivory tower. Hence this exciting new development from Spotify, the app for podcasts (and more podcasts (and yet more podcasts (and maybe the occasional bit of music (but only if made by a podcaster)))).


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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