TODAY'S TOP STORY: A number of popular stream-ripping sites stopped ripping YouTube videos yesterday. This was seemingly because of changes made behind the scenes by the Google video site, which meant that the systems employed by stream-rippers to do the ripping just stopped working... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Stream-ripping sites no longer stream-ripping because of YouTube block
LEGAL Ja Rule gets himself removed from Fyre Festival class action
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Japanese music mogul Johnny Kitagawa dies
RELEASES Beyonce curates compilation of Lion King-inspired songs
Anna Meredith tells Fibs
Jenny Hval announces new album, The Practice Of Love
ONE LINERS MMF, Eurovision, Ed Sheeran, more
AND FINALLY... Lady Gaga launches make-up brand with exclusive Amazon deal
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[PIAS] is seeking a Receptionist. You will play a key role in the day to day operation of our London office and provide vital support to all areas of the business.

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Located in the east London office, this is the perfect position for anyone with a passion for independent music. Secretly Group is an independently owned company that that includes the Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar and Secretly Canadian record labels.

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Islington Assembly Hall is seeking an Assistant Venue Manager, Operations. You will be one of the first points of contact for new and current business, proactively responding to enquiries and be able to negotiate rates in order to maximise profits.

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Stones Throw is seeking a Project Manager to work in our London office. The project manager will work closely with the UK & Europe Label Manager to develop and deliver Stones Throw's UK and European campaigns.

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Domino is hiring a Junior Radio Plugger to join its busy in-house promo team. The ideal candidate would have at least one year’s appropriate experience in radio, superb organizational skills and a solid contact list. 

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The role of the Marketing Executive at Fanbytes is to work on our lead generation efforts closely with the CEO and eventually building our lead gen team. You will be working with our social and content to help build the brand of Fanbytes.

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Tru Thoughts is looking to hire a Digital & Marketing Co-ordinator to work in-house at the company's office in Brighton. The candidate should be confident and organized, with a demonstrable passion for the label’s music (and a love of being by the sea).

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bitbird is a record label and creative company spearheaded by San Holo, based in The Netherlands. Your responsibility will be ensuring the commercial success of our releases through the creation and execution of press campaigns, radio campaigns, and overseeing the general day to day marketing tasks.

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Academy Music Group is seeking fixed-term maternity cover for twelve months reporting to the Head of Communications and Public Relations, responsible for supporting the day-to-day running of the press office for AMG, its venues, and its national promoters, Academy Events.

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!K7 is seeking a Head of Digital & Streaming to set and execute global streaming and digital strategy for all !K7 Music repertoire, including in-house labels and across the Label Services division.

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Independent music publisher Bucks Music seeks Copyright Team Member – ideal for somebody with existing copyright experience or alternatively with collection society experience looking to make a transition.

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Islington Assembly Hall is a busy 890 capacity venue with over 220 events per year. As Events Co-ordinator – Marketing & Box Office, you will oversee all ticketing and box office activity, be responsible for all social media posts and work closely with the Assembly Hall team on overall marketing strategy.

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Believe is seeking an International Marketing Manager. Reporting to the Head of Artist Services and working closely with the in-house label and artist services team this role is tasked with managing the roll-out of priority campaigns in key international markets.

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Stream-ripping sites no longer stream-ripping because of YouTube block
A number of popular stream-ripping sites stopped ripping YouTube videos yesterday. This was seemingly because of changes made behind the scenes by the Google video site, which meant that the systems employed by stream-rippers to do the ripping just stopped working.

Stream-ripping, of course, has been at the top of the music industry's piracy gripe list for a number of years. These are the services that allow people to turn a temporary stream into a permanent MP3 download. And although they usually work with streams from a variety of sources, ripping audio off YouTube videos is particularly popular.

The music industry has successfully forced a number of stream-ripping services off the internet, either through actual legal action, or the mere threat of litigation. The first big victory in this domain was against YouTube-MP3 in 2017, while just last month another stream-ripping site, Convert2MP3, agreed to cease operating following label-led legalities.

In addition to all that legal action, the music industry has long argued that sites like YouTube should be doing more on their platforms to hinder the operations of the stream-rippers. However, Google - as whenever it is asked by the music industry to do more to combat piracy - tends to argue that it is doing all it can, and that meeting the music industry's anti-piracy demands isn't quite as easy as the labels seem to think.

In terms of combatting stream-ripping, YouTube has at times talked tough, making its own threats against the stream-rippers, though it hasn't generally taken any steps to stop the ripping in recent years. But it seems like that is what might have happened yesterday.

It was Torrentfreak which noticed that several popular stream-ripping sites - including, MP3-Youtube.Download and - were now currently displaying error messages when people attempted to rip audio from YouTube videos. The operators of two of those services have confirmed that their servers are now being blocked by YouTube's platform.

As of this morning, all three of those sites were still unable to rip audio from YouTube. However, not all stream-ripping sites have been affected, and at least one that was has found a way around the blockade. Which is always the problem with tactics of this kind, in that people can often find a way to circumvent anti-piracy blocks that are instigated by internet companies. A fact that some internet firms use as an excuse for not even bothering.

The music industry's anti-piracy teams recognise that no one tactic is a panacea. But for a long time now the strategy with tackling online copyright infringement has been to try and make the illegal distribution of music as tricky as possible, for both users and those operating the piracy-enabling platforms, so to push more people to legitimate digital set-ups.

It remains to be seen whether this latest development has any effect in that domain.


Ja Rule gets himself removed from Fyre Festival class action
Ja Rule has pretty much succeeded in having himself removed from one of the big class action lawsuits that came off the back of the disaster that was 2017's Fyre Festival.

The rapper, real name Jeffrey Atkins, was very much presented as a co-founder of the luxury music event in the Bahamas, and its accompanying talent business. Until, that is, the festival fell apart just as it was getting started, when it became clear that organisers hadn't put in place the infrastructure required for even a bargain basement party, let alone the luxurious celeb-packed millennial music extravaganza that had been promised.

A plethora of lawsuits followed the collapse of the Fyre Festival. The Fyre company and its boss man Billy McFarland were the main targets, but when that company collapsed and its chief was jailed for fraud, the lawyers needed other people to go after for damages.

Atkins was an obvious candidate and he was duly named as a defendant on a $100 million class action lawsuit being pursued by Fyre Festival ticket-buyers. The rapper then filed papers with the New York courts last September seeking to have the case against him dismissed. And, in the main, the judge overseeing the litigation has done just that.

Judge P Kevin Castel ruled that Atkins and Fyre's CMO Grant Margolin - who was also listed as a defendant on the class action - couldn't be held liable for the big Fyre fuck-up.

Castel concluded that, while Atkins and Margolin were in part responsible for building hype around the failed event - and may have been aware months before it was due to begin that key infrastructure wasn't in place - there was no proof that they knew the promises they were making about the festival would never be met.

According to Law 360, the judge said: "The complaint states that defendants were aware for 'months' that there were no showers, electricity, bathrooms, medical services, or activities on the island. This, without more, does not plausibly allege that defendants, months before the event, intended not to hire or contract for such services".

While the case against Margolin has been dismissed in its entirety, the judge has given the ticket-buyers involved in the lawsuit the opportunity to submit new papers in relation to one specific allegation against Atkins.

That relates to a tweet he posted the day before Fyre Festival was due to kick off, in which he wrote: "The stage is set!!! In less than 24 hours, the first annual Fyre Festival begins. #festivallife". That statement, made when it was already clear that the festival site was simply not ready to stage the event, could have been relied upon by ticket buyers when making their final preparations to leave home for the Bahamas.

However, Castel stated, there was no evidence that any of the ticket-buyers involved the class action had actually relied on that tweet in that way.

But, he added, "plaintiffs may move to amend to set forth in a proposed pleading allegations of reasonable reliance and causation as to each plaintiff". Which means they can resubmit claims against Atkins, but only in relation to that tweet, and they'll need to show ticket-buyers made a decision to travel to the Bahamas for the failed event on the basis of that message.

Following the ruling, a legal rep for Atkins said that his client "is thankful for today's ruling and for the court's time and attention. Justice was done today".

The class action will proceed with the defunct Fyre company, the incarcerated McFarland and various unspecified investors still listed as defendants.


Japanese music mogul Johnny Kitagawa dies
Japanese music mogul Johnny Kitagawa has died, aged 87, following a stroke last month. The controversial figure had spent decades as one of the country's dominant artist managers, working exclusively with male artists in a genre where management tends to be in control.

Kitagawa founded his company - Johnny & Associates - in 1962 with his first boy band, Johnnys. However, his first successful group was Four Leaves, who emerged closer to the end of that decade, after Johnnys had disbanded. After that, Kitagawa's business went on to control many - if not most - of Japan's most successful boy bands, including SMAP, Arashi, Kat-Tun and Hey! Say! Jump.

Remaining the head of the company until his death, Kitagawa was known as a controlling figure with significant influence across the whole Japanese music industry. At times he pushed that industry in new directions, although in recent years he was better known as a long-term hold out from digital music services, both downloads and later streaming.

There were also allegations of harassment and sexual assault, including against some of his acts. In 1999, Shukan Bunshun magazine published various accusations against him. He successfully sued for libel, although the judgement was partially overturned on appeal. There were other allegations too, although he was never charged with any crime.

Johnny & Associates last made international headlines in 2016 when the company's most successful group, SMAP, split after 25 years together. The split came after a rumoured dispute with the company, after their direct manager was forced to resign.

Kitagawa died in hospital in Tokyo on Tuesday where he had been since 18 Jun. He was reportedly surrounded by senior staff and trainees. What his death means for the future of Johnny & Associates is currently unclear.


Approved: Zooni
Zooni released their debut single 'Pany' in April this year, a gentle but gripping waltz that danced them into the hearts of many early fans. They followed it up last month with 'Haze', which added a new texture to their sound, revealing more of their warm sonic palette. And now with latest single 'Cotton Blue', they've done it again.

The new track is a departure from their first two singles in some senses, although it remains distinctly their own. All three songs have a floaty feeling to them, but the latest track heads out on to choppier waters, in large part due to being in 7/8. It's a time signature that's not easy to make work in the context of a pop song, but they pull off with apparent ease.

"Cotton Blue is an introspective song about giving up on a broken relationship", say the band. "It was written and demoed on a retreat to the Welsh countryside with the producer Jay Pocknell".

The band played their debut London show earlier this month, and are now set to play the Kendal Calling and Moseley Folk & Arts festivals this summer.

Listen to 'Cotton Blue' here.

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

Beyonce curates compilation of Lion King-inspired songs
With Disney's current programme of remaking all of its classic animations with live action and CGI nonsense - like it thinks doing proper hand-drawn cartoons for all those years was a big mistake - it's now the turn of 'The Lion King' to be ruined. Although we are getting a compilation put together by Beyonce out of the project, so that's something.

Beyonce stars in the new remake and has curated the album 'The Lion King: The Gift', which features new songs recorded by a collection of still-to-be-announced US and African artists. It also includes a new song performed by Beyonce in the film called 'Spirit'.

"I wanted to do more than find a collection of songs that were inspired by the film", says Beyonce. "It is a mixture of genres and collaborations that isn't one sound. It is influenced by everything from R&B, pop, hip hop and Afro Beat".

"I wanted to put everyone on their own journey to link the storyline", she goes on. "Each song was written to reflect the film's storytelling that gives the listener a chance to imagine their own imagery, while listening to a new contemporary interpretation. It was important that the music was not only performed by the most interesting and talented artists but also produced by the best African producers. Authenticity and heart were important to me".

Listen to 'Spirit' here.


Anna Meredith tells Fibs
Anna Meredith has announced her new album. It's true! Even though the album is called 'Fibs'.

The record is named, she claims, after "lies - but nice friendly lies, little stories and constructions and daydreams and narratives that you make for yourself or you tell yourself". A likely story.

The album is supposedly out on 25 Oct and it's alleged that the first single is called 'Paramour'. One thing's for sure though, the video for it is brilliant.

There will be tour dates in February next year too, if any of this is to be believed. Here are the purported dates:

3 Feb: Leeds, Belgrave Music Hall
4 Feb: Manchester, Gorilla
5 Feb: London, EartH
6 Feb: Bristol, Trinity
8 Feb: Glasgow Art School
9 Feb: Coventry Arts Centre
10 Feb: Brighton, Old Market


Jenny Hval announces new album, The Practice Of Love
Jenny Hval has announced that she will release new album 'The Practice Of Love' later this year. Partly inspired by Valie Export's 1985 film of the same name, the album features collaborations with Vivian Wang, Félicia Atkinson and Laura Jean.

"This all sounds very clichéd, like a standard greeting card expression", says Hval. "But, for me, love, and the practice of love, has been deeply tied to the feeling of otherness. Love as a theme in art has been the domain of the canonised, big artists, and I have always seen myself as a minor character, a voice that speaks of other things".

She continues: "In the last few years I have wanted to take a closer look at the practice of otherness, this fragile performance, and how it can express love, intimacy, empathy and desire. I have wanted to ask bigger, wider, kind of idiotic questions like: What is our job as a member of the human race? Do we have to accept this job, and if we don't, does the pressure to be normal ever stop?"

The album is out on 13 Sep, and you can listen to first single, 'Ashes To Ashes', here. Hval is also set to play London's Milton Court on 29 Sep.



Music publisher Bucks has signed Zand to an exclusive worldwide deal. "Zand is one of those rare people that simply embodies art and creativity", says the firm's Director Creative A&R, Sarah Liversedge Platz.



Members of the UK's Music Managers Forum voted in five new board members at their AGM yesterday, in the form of Jill Hollywood (Echo Beach Management), Merck Mercuriadis (Hipgnosis Songs Ltd), Rebekah Tayler (ie: music), Sammy Andrews (Deviate Digital) and Liza Buddy (Chaos & Bedlam Management). They take over from departing directors Andy Edwards, Claire Southwick (Primitive Management), Diane Wagg (Deluxxe Management), Stephen Budd (Stephen Budd Management) and Tom Burris (ie:music).



Rotterdam city council has voted down a motion barring Madonna from performing at next year's Eurovision Song Contest. The ban was proposed as a reaction to her use of the Palestinian flag during her performance at this year's grand final in Israel. As far as we know, Madonna has no plans to perform at the 2020 edition of Eurovision anyway, and the Contest might not even happen in Rotterdam. Five Dutch cities are currently bidding to host the big show after the Netherlands won Eurovision 2019.



Ed Sheeran has released a live performance video for his Yebba collaboration 'Best Part Of Me', recorded at Abbey Road studios.

Mark Ronson and Camila Cabello have released the video for their ode to the game of hide and seek, 'Find U Again'.

Frightened Rabbit have released Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard's cover of their song 'Keep Yourself Warm'. The track is taken from their 'Midnight Organ Fight' covers album.

Gruff Rhys has released new single 'Pang!' from his new solo album 'Pang!' It's all about pangs. Pang!

SebastiAn has released new single 'Beograd'. "I wrote the track while I was in Belgrade for a few days", says the producer. "I was inspired by the idea of making a festive clubbing track, somehow empowered by the Slavic intensity". His new album, 'Thirst', is out on 25 Oct.

Burna Boy has announced that he will release new album, 'African Giant', on 26 July. He's also set to play Wembley Arena on 3 Nov.

Alexander Tucker has released new single 'Energy Alphas'. The track is taken from his new album, 'Guild Of The Asbestos Weaver", which is out on 23 Aug.

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have released the video for 'Hymn For A Droid', from their latest album, 'And Now For The Whatchamacallit'.

Pip Blom have released the video for 'Tired', taken from their new album 'Boat'.

Aldo have released new single 'Papermaze'. Their EP, 'Trembling Eyelids', is out on 30 Aug.



Rammstein have announced that they will play Coventry's Ricoh Arena on 20 Jun 2020. How's that for a heads up? Tickets go on sale tomorrow.

Dragonforce have announced UK tour dates in November this year, including a show at The Forum in London on 8 Nov.

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


Lady Gaga launches make-up brand with exclusive Amazon deal
Lady Gaga has gone into marketing nonsense overdrive while announcing the launch of her new make-up line, which is to be sold exclusively through Amazon.

She launched the new Haus Laboratories range yesterday with a video in which Gaga proclaims: "The last thing the world needs is another beauty brand. But that's too bad".

Having acknowledged that there is absolutely no need for her to do this, she then adds: "They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But at Haus Labratories we say beauty is how you see yourself".

Could you not behold yourself? Well, whatever, Haus Laboratories will start selling make-up kits through Amazon - and only Amazon - in September. They will be available in nine countries at launch, including the UK. Although initially limited, it's expected that a larger collection will follow, presumably if this initial offering proves successful.

But why Amazon? Well, because Amazon didn't mess the Gaga around. She tells The Business Of Fashion: "There are companies that see me and what I stand for and the way that I view the world, and if it's not perfectly in line with what they do they'll be like, 'Can you just change half of the equation?' The answer is no. No deal. No message of self-acceptance, no deal".

However, "this [deal with Amazon] was so wonderful because this was like, 'Let's make a deal, let's make a deal to change the world with their beauty'".

I don't know if that's exactly what Amazon said in the meeting. Maybe changing the world with beauty was second on the agenda after the big plan for total liberation.

Because, as for why she wants to get into flogging some make-up, Gaga explains: "I have a platform in the world. God gave me this voice for a reason, I don't know why, I ask myself that question all the time, but I'm sure as hell not going to put out a beauty brand that is going to drive insecurity and fear into people. This is about liberation".

Well, that's all that cleared up then. It's nice that no one seems to have got into this make-up malarkey just to make money. So I'm sure they'll all be delighted if it's a financial flop.


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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