TODAY'S TOP STORY: An organisation called the Internet Infrastructure Coalition - or the i2Coalition - has asked the US Trade Representative to clarify what it means by a "notorious piracy market". The trade group argues that the USTR's annual report on intellectual property matters is too vague on this point and, as a result, risks endangering the internet by allowing copyright owners to include legitimate digital businesses alongside obvious rogue operators... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES US net sector criticises inclusion of internet intermediaries in piracy report
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Ben Cook steps down from Atlantic over "offensive" fancy dress costume
Hipgnosis raises a further £231 million
CD Baby expands into India
RELEASES Dutch Uncles' Robin Richards announces debut solo EP
AWARDS Q Awards presented to their chosen winners
ONE LINERS Spice Girls, Katy Perry, JFDR, more
AND FINALLY... Radio 4 presenter apologies after sweary interruption
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The Premium Services Manager will be responsible for initiating the Premium Services branch of AXS Europe Client Services, developing and implementing a pricing strategy in line with client goals for inventory of AXS premium tickets. This is an exciting new role with an excellent scope to develop and make your own.

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US net sector criticises inclusion of internet intermediaries in piracy report
An organisation called the Internet Infrastructure Coalition - or the i2Coalition - has asked the US Trade Representative to clarify what it means by a "notorious piracy market". The trade group argues that the USTR's annual report on intellectual property matters is too vague on this point and, as a result, risks endangering the internet by allowing copyright owners to include legitimate digital businesses alongside obvious rogue operators.

The USTR's notorious markets report is compiled annually with the aim of informing the American government on piracy issues for whenever it's in discussions with foreign governments on IP matters. America's copyright industries, including the music business, each make submissions outlining their main piracy concerns of the moment and listing the websites and companies that they believe are negatively impacting on their IP rights.

While those lists are usually dominated by platforms like The Pirate Bay and all the popular stream-ripping sites, the copyright owners will often also gripe about otherwise legitimate internet companies who sometimes provide services to piracy outfits. One such company that has been on the receiving end of plenty of griping from the record labels in recent years is Cloudflare, which the music industry argues helps piracy sites mask their location.

However, the notorious markets report isn't the right place for that kind of griping, reckons the i2Coalition, which counts Cloudflare as a member.

In a document outlining its concerns, published by Torrentfreak, the i2Coalition states: "Internet infrastructure providers are not publishers, content creators, nor users of generated content. These companies are intermediaries or 'interactive computer services' within the meaning of US law. As interactive computer services, these companies process millions of transactions a day, all at the direction of their users".

"They are not", it adds, "in any sense 'markets' or 'marketplaces'. Notorious markets should not be confused with neutral intermediaries such as internet infrastructure providers".

The USTR should be clearer on what is meant by notorious markets - the i2Coalition then goes on - so that any focus on increasing IP protections in law is on full-on piracy sites, rather than the infrastructure providers those piracy sites may seek to utilise.

It says: "We believe that many of the current submissions [to the notorious markets report] vilify specific technologies, not the marketplaces themselves. We believe that the spirit and letter of the relevant IP laws are better upheld by going after true notorious markets, not throwing the baby out with the bathwater by going after internet infrastructure providers".

"As the voice of the those providing foundational internet technologies", it concludes, "we have stood up for the internet infrastructure industry on this issue through written submissions and advocacy before the USTR".

With the Recording Industry Association Of America's latest notorious markets submission including Cloudflare once again, it will be interesting to see if the i2Coalition's intervention results in companies of that kind being excluding from the USTR's final document.

Though, even if it does, if the copyright industries manage to get safe harbour reform onto the political agenda in the US - seeking to mirror reforms in Europe - expect plenty more debate about the responsibilities, or not, of those platforms passively involved in the distribution of unlicensed content.


Ben Cook steps down from Atlantic over "offensive" fancy dress costume
The President of Warner Music's Atlantic division in the UK, Ben Cook, yesterday announced that he is leaving the company with immediate effect. This follows an internal investigation into rumours that he attended a fancy dress party in 2013 in an "offensive" costume dressed as "a member of Run DMC".

Admitting that he wore the costume, Cook said in a statement: "Seven years ago, at a birthday party where guests were asked to come dressed as their favourite musical icon, I came as a member of Run DMC. Late last year rumours began to circulate about my appearance at that event, many of which are simply untrue. While my intention was to honour a musical hero, I recognise my appearance was offensive and I made a terrible mistake".

He went on to confirm that last year he was subject to "disciplinary actions" by his employer in relation to that event. Since them, it seems, further allegations have been made against him. "Moreover, they have been used against a wonderful company and the label I love", he said. "I have therefore come to the conclusion that I should make this statement and step down, with immediate effect".

"I am devastated that this mistake has caused upset and has called into question my commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion, values which I have championed throughout my career", he added. "I have learned a great deal from this event and will resolutely continue to champion these values moving forward".

Working first at Universal's Island Records, Cook found success at Ministry Of Sound, before moving to Warner Music to head up a revived Asylum label. Later he was put in charge of Atlantic and on his watch the division signed artists including Ed Sheeran, Rudimental and Stormzy, as well as putting out the massively successful 'Greatest Showman' soundtrack.

Until a permanent replacement can be found, Cook's position will be overseen by Parlophone co-President Mark Mitchell.


Hipgnosis raises a further £231 million
Following the news yesterday that it has acquired the publishing catalogue of Timbaland, acquisitive music-centric investment outfit Hipgnosis Songs Fund has announced new financing of £231 million. This follows £51.1 million in August, meaning the music rights venture has raised over £625 million since its IPO last year.

The new funds have been raised by offering 231,000,000 shares to new and existing investors at £1 each. With applications made for all of them, they are expected to be added to the London Stock Exchange on 22 Oct.

"I am delighted by the strong response to this issue both from our existing shareholders and new investors", says Hipgnosis founder Merck Mercuriadis. "Having raised £231 million today and over £625 million since our IPO a little over a year ago, Hipgnosis has been one of the biggest fund launches on the London market in recent times, with more capital raised over the last six months than any other London listed fund".

He goes on: "This is a demonstration of the financial community recognising the true value of music and proven songs. They are the currency that makes the world go round. They are predictable and reliable and they are better than gold or oil. We have lined up the finest available song catalogues and will be deploying immediately".

Hipgnosis aims to persuade investors to put their money into song rights, rather than more traditional investment portfolios. The company reckons that it can provide reliable and significant returns, while bringing in a new source of revenue to the music industry. Catalogues it currently owns include those of The-Dream, Benny Blanco, The Chainsmokers, Dave Stewart and Bernard Edwards.


CD Baby expands into India
DIY distribution firm CD Baby has announced its expansion into India by engaging the services of two veteran music execs in the country, Ritnika Nayan of music consultancy Music Gets Me High and entertainment lawyer Priyanka Khimani.

"The entry of entities like CD Baby into the Indian music industry marks the coming of a truly exciting time", says Khimani. "The country's music space today boasts of a glittering range of music creators and artists - across genres - particularly in the independent music space. With organisations dedicated to ensuring that such creators successfully communicate their works and monetise them effectively, I look forward to everything that is in store!"

Nayan adds: "I have always been passionate about the independent music scene and music education has been my focus in the last few years. I feel CD Baby is one of the few companies that genuinely shares the same vision of empowering artists. CD Baby is for the artists and it helps artists take control of their music, not just through digital releases, but also through education. I feel truly blessed to be able to help the indie scene in India through CD Baby, this is exactly what our country needs right now".

CD Baby is now actively operating in 25 countries around the world, and reckons it's the first large distribution and artist services company of its kind to set up shop in India.


Approved: Malcolm McLean - Freak Like Me: Confessions Of A 90s Pop Groupie
Trying to get inside the mind of pop music fans is a key focus for many in the music industry, and as online fandom splits into sub-groups of sub-groups of sub-groups it can seem increasingly perplexing. Malcolm McLean's new memoir of his time as a teenage superfan around the turn of the millennium offers a fascinating, funny and often unexpected journey through several shifts in pop, as he views the changing world through a life of pop fandom.

After seeking solace from school bullying in pop music, that fandom tipped into obsession as a young teenager when Eternal's Kelle Bryan called him at home to say thank you for a fan letter. This led to the first of many trips to the 'Top Of The Pops' studio, seeking (and often finding) further interactions with pop stars.

While for many it was the advent of social media that broke down the barriers between stars and fans, McLean and an enterprising community of like-minded friends found themselves on first name terms with many of their favourite music makers pre the digital revolution.

Hanging out outside rehearsal studios, in airport terminals and by stage doors, they became familiar faces to those people who would have seemed untouchable to most. Perhaps most impressive is that McLean and co managed to blag their way into the BRIT Awards not once but three times, using fake passes created in Microsoft Paint.

As their confidence in connecting with pop stars grew, they found themselves tracking down said stars' homes and, perhaps most unexpectedly, being welcomed when they got there. Or at least chatted to outside. In some cases the benefits certainly became two-way, with stars whose careers were somewhat on the wane being more than happy to give up their time in order to ensure eager fans would still be in attendance at live and TV appearances.

And there are plenty of stars on the wane as this book proceeds. Although McLean's story only covers a few years, he still witnesses first-hand the rise and fall of several groups, including Eternal, B*Witched and The Spice Girls. He also sees the rise-to-fall cycle shorten as the new era of TV talent shows arrives, starting with ITV's 'Popstars', which spawned Hear'Say, an outfit that found themselves on the way down before they'd even had a chance to get used to being on the way up.

As well as a plentiful amount of 90s nostalgia, McLean's story is one of self-discovery, as he finds a place to develop away from the rigours of school, grappling with his sexuality throughout. As he reaches his late teens and begins to enter adulthood, things begin to change again. Where once he and his friends seemed like a bunch of cheeky kids seeking to connect with their pop idols, as they grew older both they and the stars they followed began to notice something less comfortable about their interactions.

By the time McLean realises it's time to move on he's a more confident and self-assured person all round. Although few reach the level of obsession he did, his story does highlight some important aspects of childhood fandom and how it helps people develop a sense of who they really are. And while certain aspects of that process may be different today, as things have moved ever more online, there are many parts of this story that remain relevant in 2019.

Read an expert from 'Freak Like Me' here, and buy the book on Amazon here.

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

Dutch Uncles' Robin Richards announces debut solo EP
Dutch Uncles Robin Richards frontman has announced that he will release his debut EP, 'Castel', later this year. Following on from his 2016 soundtrack to Chernobyl disaster documentary 'Birdsong: Stories From Pripyat', the release again sees him working in classical-influenced mostly instrumental music.

The first single from the EP, 'Toompea', was released this morning. Of the track, Richards says: "'Toompea' is set during the Estonian fight for independence, and is an exploration of the impact that Soviet oppression in the Baltics had on native artists in the 70s and 80s. It's written in three movements, and named after the ancient castle which houses the parliament of Estonia".

In the video for the single we see director Nick Middleton travelling to Orkney with a documentary film crew filming a stone circle. As the tension builds in the music, flashes from his imagination take over the imagery on screen.

Middleton explains: "I think stone circles show us how much we don't know about where we've come from. Experts talk about portals and extra-dimensional gates and, whilst I don't necessarily agree with them, I like the idea that our imaginations can take us to those places. I definitely feel an atmosphere around those places, maybe it is just that link with the past, the shadows of forgotten ancestors".

The EP is out on 6 Dec on PRAH Recordings. Watch the video for 'Toompea' here.


Q Awards presented to their chosen winners
The Q Awards happened yesterday. Were there winners? There sure were. Eighteen by my count. It was even decided who released the greatest song of the decade. Wanna have a guess? Yes, you're right, it was Lana Del Rey with her song 'Video Games'. This is fun!

Anyway, before I reveal all the other names, let's go to Q Editor Ted Kessler to let him attempt to justify the whole event.

"I always say that music is not a competition", he says. "But someone has to win these Q Awards. And, even though the shortlists in the voted-for categories were extremely tight, this year I think our readers have captured the eclectic current tastes of the most music-hungry in the nation, from Stormzy to The 1975, Lewis Capaldi to Foals".

Wait, I said I was going to reveal the names, Ted. Say something generic about awards and prizes and celebrating great music.

"It's also a great privilege to be able to honour the lifetime achievements of artists like Kim Gordon, Tricky, Madness and Kevin Rowland, those who've not just soundtracked our lives going back generations, but have also changed our wardrobes many times over between them. I'm glad, too, that Lana Del Rey's 'Video Games' answered the question that's been bugging us for months, too: what is the best song of the decade?"

Fuck's sake, Ted. I was really looking forward to surprising everyone with this list I've got here. Oh well, you might as well look at it all, even though bloody Ted's gone and spoiled most of it. Thanks a lot, Ted.

Best Breakthrough Act: Pale Waves
Best Track: Lewis Capaldi - Someone You Loved
Best Album: Foals - Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost (Part 1)
Best Live Performance: Michael Kiwanuka - End Of The Road Festival
Best Vocal Performance: Little Simz
Best Solo Act: Stormzy
Best Act In The World Today: The 1975

Best Festival/Event: All Points East

Innovation In Sound: Dizzie Rascal
Classic Album: Tricky - Maxinquaye
Song Of The Decade: Lana Del Rey - Video Games

Maverick: Edwyn Collins
Fender Play Award: Anna Calvi
Outstanding Contribution To Music: Kano
Classic Songwriter: Kevin Rowland
Inspiration: Madness
Icon: Christine And The Queens
Hero: Kim Gordon



After four months signed to booking agency UTA, the Spice Girls have decided that they actually liked it better at CAA and have gone back there for bookings. The company will represent the group in all areas worldwide. So that means they're definitely going to be doing something else somewhere sometime. Strike up the speculation machine!



I'm sure that you, like me, often lie awake worrying about the lack of songs about riding motorbikes around the 43rd state of America. Well, friends, it seems that Katy Perry is one of us. She's just released new single, 'Harleys In Hawaii'.

JFDR has released new track 'Taking A Part Of Me', taken from her second album, which will be released next year. You'll be able to catch her live in London at St Pancras Old Church on 31 Jan.

Pictish Trail has released another new track, 'Turning Back', taken from new album 'Thumb World', which is out on 21 Feb.

The Speedy Wunderground label has announced the release of its latest compilation, rounding up all of its limited edition singles put out this year. Among the artists on the record are Alex Kapranos, Black Midi and Squid. It's out on 6 Dec, here's a video thing.

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


Radio 4 presenter apologies after sweary interruption
The BBC has apologised after an announcer was accidentally heard swearing over the top of yesterday's edition of consumer affairs programme 'You And Yours' on good old Radio 4.

With a mic apparently put live by accident in a studio other than that being used by 'You And Yours' itself, a voice is heard speaking over the programme saying, "Testing, testing, testing, testing, it's so fucking cold in here". Then, in a ropey accent that manages to wind its way through Spanish, Polish and Welsh in just a few words, the voice adds: "Jesus Christ, it's so cold".

For another minute and a half the voice is then heard practicing a script, before finally being cut off.

Later in the programme, 'You And Yours' presenter Winifred Robinson acknowledged the earlier technical issue, saying: "I'm told that there were some crossed lines at the start of the programme today and that you could hear someone swearing. I'm really, really sorry about that".

Quite how the interruption happened and how it was possible for it to go on for so long without anyone stopping it isn't clear. The BBC is yet to give an official comment.

Listen to the whole glorious thing here.


ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU Daily, website and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column. (except press releases, see below)
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Founder & MD
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and CMU Trends. He also leads the CMU Insights and CMU Pathways consultancy units and the CMU:DIY future talent programme, as well as heading up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited. (except press releases, see below)
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and also heads up business development at CMU InsightsCMU Pathways and CMU:DIY. or call 020 7099 9060
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media as a Director of 3CM UnLimited, as well as heading up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supporting other parts of the business.
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