WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 2020 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber have both responded to 6ix9ine's claims that they fraudulently got their new single 'Stuck With U' to number one in the US. Both deny the rapper's accusations and also question why he focussed his tirade on Grande without mentioning Bieber... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber deny 6ix9ine's claims they bought US number one position
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
LEGAL Sosa Entertainment boss calls Spotify's "fraudster" claims "laughable and blatantly false"
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
DEALS Foxes signs new management and recording deals
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
LIVE BUSINESS Glastonbury Festival urges fans not to visit site
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
MEDIA Online media revenues were already down before COVID-19 struck, new stats show
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
RELEASES Phoebe Bridgers releases new single I See You, announces (virtual) world tour
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
ONE LINERS Kenny Chesney, Tiagz, PPL, more
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
AND FINALLY... Gary Barlow encourages global fans to use VPNs to watch UK-only livestream
READ IN THIS EMAIL | READ ON THE WEBSITE
Check out all the latest job opportunities with CMU Jobs. To advertise your job opportunities here email advertising@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060.
   
KUDOS RECORDS - MARKETING & SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER (LONDON)
Kudos Records is seeking applicants for the position of Marketing & Social Media Manager. Applicants should ideally have a minimum of one year's experience working in a similar role within a commercial setting.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
SENTRIC MUSIC - SENIOR CLIENT MANAGER (LONDON OR LIVERPOOL)
Sentric Music Group is looking for a driven and personable Senior Client Manager with solid music industry knowledge to deliver a first class relationship and reporting service across clients of Sentric Music Group, coordinating all operational stakeholders involved in the delivery of service objectives.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
JUNO RECORDS - MUSIC AND REVIEWS EDITOR (LONDON)
Online vinyl and music equipment retailer Juno is looking for an experienced music and reviews editor to manage and develop its expanding online content.

For more information and to apply click here.
CMU Insights presents a special series of webinars for music people during lockdown providing insightful, easy-to-follow, super-timely guides to music rights, music marketing, the digital market, record deals, and much more.

The webinars are presented by CMU's Chris Cooke, who has trained thousands of artists, songwriters and music industry professionals all over the world. They are perfect for anyone working in or with the music industry who wants a solid understanding of the business of music, and where the industry is heading next.

The webinars will take place each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at:
2.30pm UK TIME | 3.30pm CET | 9.30am EDT


We are currently taking bookings for eight Lockdown Webinars - full information below. Places are available at the special discounted rate of £20 per webinar - with further discounts for premium subscribers and/or if you book into multiple sessions.

CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO AND TO BOOK PLACES
STREAMING EXPLAINED - MUSIC INDUSTRY VS YOUTUBE (AND WHAT EVEN IS THE VALUE GAP?)
Wednesday 20 May | BOOK TICKETS
The music industry went to war with YouTube over safe harbours and the value gap. What does that even mean? And who is winning the battle? We look at 2019's controversial European Copyright Directive and what impact it will - or will not - have, and whether those reforms can - or will - be adopted by the US. Plot twist: maybe YouTube wasn't even the real problem.
WHY MUSIC MEDIA ISNT DEAD - YET
Thursday 21 May | BOOK TICKETS
It took the music business fifteen years to make digital work - and the process was painful. For the music media that pain is still real. In a world where everyone is an influencer and content is free, we look at how music media make money; what influence really means; how media consumption works for the Spotify generation; and what this means for the music industry.
MAKING MONEY FROM MUSIC COPYRIGHT
Tuesday 26 May | BOOK TICKETS
The music rights business makes money by exploiting the controls that come with the copyrights in songs and recordings. Get to grips with all the basic principles of copyright law and how music copyright makes money in this user-friendly easy-to-follow webinar.
STREAMING EXPLAINED - THE DIGITAL MARKET IN 2020
Wednesday 27 May | BOOK TICKETS
Streaming now accounts for more than half of recorded music revenues worldwide - and in many countries it's much bigger than that. Get fully up to speed on all the key trends and developments in the global streaming music market in this super timely webinar.
THE EVOLUTION OF RECORD DEALS
Thursday 28 May | BOOK TICKETS
The artist/label relationship has evolved a lot in the last fifteen years. Today artists have a much wider range of options when choosing a business partner to work on their recordings. This webinar explains that evolution and runs through the key deal types now available.
MUSIC RIGHTS DATA MADE SIMPLE
Tuesday 2 Jun | BOOK TICKETS
Getting songwriters and artists paid when their songs and recordings are played often comes down to whether or not the right data is in the system. But what data? This webinar runs through all the key data points and explains how to get information into the system.
STREAMING EXPLAINED - HOW DIGITAL LICENSING WORKS
Wednesday 3 Jun | BOOK TICKETS
The streaming business is complex in terms of how services are licensed, and how artists and songwriters get paid. Get to grips with it all via our concise user-friendly guide to digital licensing and streaming royalties - explained in full in just ten steps.
MUSIC MARKETING - TOOLKIT & TACTICS
Thursday 4 Jun | BOOK TICKETS
What are the tools, tactics, channels and platforms utilised by the music industry when promoting artists, releases and events in 2020? This webinar provides a speedy overview of the modern music marketing toolkit and the ten main tools inside.
Navigate and understand the music business with guides and reports from CMU...
NEW! The Evolution Of Catalogue Marketing In Ten Steps | CLICK HERE
How record companies market their catalogues in the streaming age
The Evolution Of Record Deals In Ten Steps | CLICK HERE
A ten step guide to changes in the artist/label relationship
Digital Music Market In Ten Steps | CLICK HERE
A ten step guide to the digital music market today
Copyright Jargon In Ten Steps | CLICK HERE
A ten step guide to some key copyright terminology
The Anti-Touting Campaign In Ten Steps | CLICK HERE
A ten step guide to the campaign to regulate online ticket touting
GET FULL ACCESS TO THE CMU LIBRARY by going premium for just £5 a month

Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber deny 6ix9ine's claims they bought US number one position
Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber have both responded to 6ix9ine's claims that they fraudulently got their new single 'Stuck With U' to number one in the US. Both deny the rapper's accusations and also question why he focussed his tirade on Grande without mentioning Bieber.

6ix9ine made his allegations in a video on Instagram prior to this week's Billboard Hot 100 singles chart coming out. As well as citing an unofficial chart prediction spreadsheet, he also claimed to have conducted an investigation that showed that 30,000 last minute sales of Grande and Bieber's collaborative track had been charged to just six credit cards.

The rapper possibly made his claims expecting that he would be at number two when the official chart came out - suggesting that some of his streams had been discounted in order ensure he was below Grande and Bieber in the final tally. However, in the end he was actually at number three, behind Doja Cat's 'Say So', featuring Nicki Minaj.

Billboard issued a strong denial of any manipulation of the figures, giving a detailed explanation of how it calculates chart eligible sales and streams. In the end, it basically came down to two things: Grande and Bieber had put signed CD singles up for sale in the US 24 hours prior to the cut-off for that week's chart, providing a last minute sales surge, and a high proportion of 6ix9ine's video streams had taken place outside the US.

It's probably also worth mentioning that Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber's track has ARIANA GRANDE AND JUSTIN BIEBER on it, plus a video full of celebrity cameos, and was released in aid of the First Responders Children's Foundation charity. All of which would also have helped it get to the top.

"My fans bought the song", says Grande in an Instagram post. "Justin's fans bought the song. Our fans bought this song (never more than four copies each, as the rules state). They are ride or die motherfuckers and I thank God every day that I have them in my life. Not just when they fight for us to win but because they're some of the greatest people I know".

Showing a little chart savvy insight, she went on: "Sales count for more than streams. You cannot discredit this as hard as you try. To anybody that is displeased with their placement on the chart this week or who is spending their time racking their brain thinking of as many ways as they can to discredit hardworking women (and only the women for some reason), I ask you to take a moment to humble yourself".

"Be grateful you're even here", she goes on. "That people want to listen to you at all. It's a blessed position to be in. I've had a lot of 'almost number ones' in my career and I never said a goddamn thing, because I feel grateful to even be here ... to be heard at all. And you should feel that way too. Congratulations to all my talented ass peers in the top ten this week. Even number three".

Bieber, while also not specifically naming 6ix9ine in his response, nevertheless hones in more on the rapper's specific accusations in an Instagram story post. Also showing some savviness of chart rules, Bieber states that 6ix9ine "says his streams don't count. Yes they do, but he is counting his global streams and this is a domestic chart, so only domestic streams count". As for that last minute sales surge, "60,000 units came because we don't disclose our number until end of week. That's called strategy".

"He said 30k was bought with six credit cards, but that is a lie", Bieber goes on. "The rules are clear, one credit card can buy max four copies. Anything over that, the entire amount gets thrown out. [The] Nielsen company checks this and found all our sales were legit because our fans are amazing and bought them. Don't discredit our fanbase with false info".

He concludes by also insinuating sexism in 6ix9ine's rant, because he only focused on Grande while moaning about his chart position. Bieber goes on: "This is my song with Ariana Grande and I'm honoured to work with her to help raise money for a great cause. If you're gonna say her name, make sure you say mine [too], because it's our song".

Following his original rant, 6ix9ine did post another video on Instagram claiming that he had no specific quarrel with Grande. "You're a beautiful singer", he said. "You just don't understand my pain". He then posted videos of him discussing his upbringing, contrasting that with clips of her acting on 'The Mickey Mouse Club', seemingly to show why he should have had the number one.

Grande and Bieber's posts, while attempting to defend themselves, do actually highlight something that 6ix9ine could have got legitimately angry about. While whipping up a conspiracy theory, he missed the specifics of the scheme that his chart battle foes employed that was entirely within current Billboard chart rules. What Bieber refers to as "strategy".

As Grande points out in her post, "sales count for more than streams". And - as noted above - 24 hours before the chart cut-off, Grande and Bieber put on sale signed copies of their CD single. As well as being time-limited, the CDs were also sold in the US only and limited to four per customer. All of which ensured that those sales would count towards that week's chart, greatly increasing its chances of going to number one.

6ix9ine also released a limited edition CD single on his website, but didn't offer to sign them and did not place any of the chart position-boosting restrictions on those sales.

So the rapper could have justifiably dissed the rule-compliant tactic his rivals relied upon, while reasonably asking what Grande and Bieber think a few thousand of their fans are going to do with four copies of the same single. Particularly when, chances are, they have no means to play even one of them.

Hell, he could have even gone all eco-warrior and thrown in a "what an unnecessary splurge of pointless plastic" line into the mix. You know, instead of a load of waffling about apples that we are still no closer to understanding despite having had another 24 hours to digest it all.

But the point is, with chart stat boosting tactics like this to employ, Grande and Beiber's management team didn't need to fraudulently buy up their own merch. Both artists have plenty of fans willing to throw cash at them. Which means that it was money that gave 6ix9ine's rivals the edge in this chart battle, even though he was entertaining more people on YouTube. Just not in the way he thinks.

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Sosa Entertainment boss calls Spotify's "fraudster" claims "laughable and blatantly false"
The boss of independent label Sosa Entertainment and start-up collecting society PRO Music Rights has called claims made by Spotify in a legal filing this week "laughable and blatantly false".

Spotify countersued Jake Noch on Monday as part of a long-running dispute between Sosa and the streaming firm. It was actually Noch who went legal first, last year, accusing Spotify of "unfair and deceptive practices" after it removed his label's catalogue from its platform, also causing Sosa to lose its membership of indie label digital rights group Merlin.

The streaming company says it banned Noch's label from its platform based on the belief he was manipulating streams of his own music in order to boost his share of the digital pie at the end of each month.

In its lawsuit, Spotify says there were "blatant signifiers of artificial streaming" linked to tracks in Noch's catalogue, and that a whistleblower provided it with emails between Noch and a so called 'bot-farmer', in which the Sosa boss "directed the creation of millions of fake Spotify accounts" in order to artificially increase the streams of his label's music.

It added: "Starting in 2016, Noch designed a scheme to artificially generate hundreds of millions of fraudulent streams on songs he had seeded on Spotify's online music-streaming service. Noch's objective was plain: to manipulate Spotify's system to extract undeserved royalties at the expense of hardworking artists and songwriters".

Noch had already responded to most of the allegations made by Spotify this week in his original lawsuit last year. In that legal filing he claimed that "Spotify fabricated a reason to remove Sosa's songs from its platform", that it "communicated false statements to Merlin about Sosa", and that the streaming firm had "engaged in a widespread smear campaign" against him and his companies.

Responding specifically to this week's countersuit, Noch says in a statement to CMU: "Spotify's claims are laughable and blatantly false. Furthermore, if, as they allege, someone who has ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia and was sixteen at the time [of the alleged stream manipulation] could jeopardise their business operations, then I hope that every one of their shareholders has a very diversified portfolio".

Spotify included a number of bold claims in its legal filing this week, including that "Noch touts himself as a 'musical prodigy' who started a 'record label' when he was sixteen - in actuality, he has become notorious for unscrupulous dealings and illegal business practices throughout the music industry". The Sosa boss was, simply, said Spotify, "a fraudster".

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Noch's response includes similarly bold statements. "A company such as Spotify, that is built on the theft of intellectual property, puts every single one of its shareholders at risk", he says. "I foresee Spotify becoming the next Enron".

As for the ongoing legal battle, he adds: "I also greatly look forward to the day we get to go to court and I hope that all of Spotify's shareholders will pay close attention to these cases. These cases will show them that Spotify is just a house of cards and that a small breeze will cause the house to collapse".

"This is clearly evidenced by Spotify pouring so many resources into a smear campaign against someone who is only 21", he concludes. "Time will prove that we are right. Until then, I remain confident and joyful, knowing that Spotify will be the next Enron".

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Foxes signs new management and recording deals
Pop musician Foxes - aka Louisa Allen - has announced her return with a new record deal at [PIAS] and a management agreement with VDM Music. Alongside the announcements comes her new single, 'Love Not Loving You'.

"We're delighted to have signed Louisa to our [PIAS] Recordings label", says the record company's Head Of A&R Russell Crank. "She's a unique talent with a singular creative vision, and amongst the finest of British songwriters. It's great to be part of an exciting new team working on the next phase of her career".

Vicky Dowdall, CEO of management firm VDM Music, adds: "We are absolutely THRILLED to add Foxes to our VDM roster. The new music is amazing and we are very much looking forward to working with [PIAS] on the next exciting chapter of her career".

Switching attention to the new song, Foxes says of 'Love Not Loving You': "This song is about finally falling in love with myself, about not depending on anyone else for my own happiness, and being able to stand on my own two feet. I hope the message in this song can inspire others to do the same".

Watch the video for the single here

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Glastonbury Festival urges fans not to visit site
Glastonbury Festival organisers have pleaded with fans of the event not to visit its Somerset home for some lockdown larks.

Despite COVID-19 lockdown rules prohibiting non-essential travel, the event says that people have been attempting to visit both Worthy Farm and the surrounding farms that make up the site of the festival.

"Worthy Farm and its surrounding farms are private property and, given the current circumstances, the land used by Glastonbury Festival is closed to the public", says a statement on the Glastonbury website. "Despite this, we have seen increasing numbers of visitors attempting to access the site used by the festival".

"For the sake of those who continue to work and live on the site, we would ask that you please do not consider visiting", it continues. "Those who do attempt to access the site will be asked to leave".

For those still desperate to get a peek of what farm life is like, here is a picture of a cow.

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Online media revenues were already down before COVID-19 struck, new stats show
With several music magazines now facing an uncertain future as they deal with the impact of the COVID-19 shutdown, new stats from the Association Of Online Publishers have confirmed that the media industry in general was already facing a challenging 2020. They also show that those publications able to grow a subscriptions business are in the best position to meet that challenge.

Bauer Media this week confirmed that Q and Planet Rock magazines were among ten publications that faced closure, sale or merger as the company seeks to streamline its portfolio of titles. Meanwhile, independent music mag Loud & Quiet has launched a campaign calling on readers to sign up to a subscription package to help it stay in business.

While those three print titles have all been specifically hit by the distribution challenges and advertising slump caused by COVID-19, they were all already tackling the general challenge facing many newspapers and magazines today: that their print revenues are in decline, but it's hard to shift everything online in a world where "content is free" and most internet advertising spend goes to the likes of Google and Facebook.

And, of course, we know that those media that are primarily or exclusively online operations - some of which raised loads of investment and went through periods of rapid growth in the early 2010s - are facing the same challenges. Both the general challenge and the COVID-19 challenge. Resulting in layoffs at an assortment of media companies in recent weeks, including Vice and Buzzfeed.

According to the Press Gazette, AOP figures show that digital publishing revenues in the UK were down in the final quarter of 2019, even before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

According to a survey of its members - which includes both consumer-facing and business media - AOP says that the digital revenues of British publishers were down 6.2% year-on-year in that quarter, the slump being caused by a 22% dip in display advertising and 20% slide in job ads. Subscription income and sponsorship monies were both up in the same quarter, 24% and 10% respectively.

Dan Ison at Deloitte, who helped compile the figures, tells the Gazette that that "subscriptions spike" was the highest in a year-and-a-half. He also reckons that subscriptions will become an ever more important part of online media.

He says: "As households and business leaders remain cautious of discretionary spending during COVID-19, communicating the value of subscriptions will be fundamental in ensuring revenue growth in the year ahead. In the longer term, subscription revenue will grow in importance as a solid bedrock for publishers looking to diversify their business models".

It took a long time for media firms to persuade readers to pay for written journalism online, and even now it's really only business media and broadsheet newspapers that have launched subscription products that are gaining momentum. If subscriptions are the future of online media, that poses the interesting question of whether people can be persuaded to pay to access music and entertainment journalism.

Very few music media have even dabbled with the subscription approach online, although obviously some print magazines have had a mail-order side to their operations for some time. It will be interesting to see if, as many music mags are taken to the brink by COVID-19, a successful subscriptions model does take hold.

In that domain, independent magazines like Loud & Quiet - with much lower overheads, a loyal following and no corporate parent company grabbing any profits - may find themselves in a better position.

And, in a weird way, COVID-19 could help, in that it provides a crisis around which that loyal following might rally. And if independent titles can rally that audience now, covering their overheads upfront through subscriptions, they might come out of the COVID-19 period with a more future proof business model. We will see, I guess.

Meanwhile, for the more mainstream music press - owned by corporate media firms - it remains to be seen if they too can use the crisis to rally support in this way. If not, how else can these titles generate income? Or will we start to see a flurry of closures in the year ahead?

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CMU Insights: Sign up for the Lockdown Webinars
There's just over two more weeks to go of CMU's Lockdown Webinars, our series of popular online training courses that have been attended by hundreds of music industry people from all over the world.

The final two weeks of the series will see us re-run some of the early sessions for those people who discovered the programme once it was already up and running. They cover things like music copyright, record deals, music rights data and the streaming market.

The Lockdown Webinars happen each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 2.30pm London time, though attendees also get access to a recording, so those who can't make that timeslot can tune in on demand at a later time.

There are brand new webinars today and tomorrow - on safe harbours and the state of the music media respectively - then the re-run sessions are as follows...

Making Money From Music Copyright
Tuesday 26 May

Streaming Explained - The Digital Market In 2020
Wednesday 27 May

The Evolution Of Record Deals
Thursday 28 May

Music Rights Data Made Simple
Tuesday 2 Jun

Streaming Explained - How Digital Licensing Works
Wednesday 3 Jun

Music Marketing - Toolkit & Tactics
Thursday 4 Jun

You can still book into individual sessions at the special rate of £20, with further discounts if you book into multiple webinars. Click here for all the info.

Phoebe Bridgers releases new single I See You, announces (virtual) world tour
Phoebe Bridgers has released new single 'I See You'. It's the latest track to be taken from her second album, 'Punisher', which is out next month.

The song was originally titled 'ICU', but - what with everything going on at the moment - Bridgers decided it was probably for the best that she changed it. Lyrically she's fine, as the song isn't actually about intensive care units.

"It's about my breakup with my drummer", she says. "We dated for a few years, made music every day, and were extremely co-dependent. We became like family to each other, so our breakup was extremely tough. But if this tells you anything about our relationship, we wrote this song together, just like everything else".

She's also announced plans for a world tour, starting later this month. Sure, yes, she had been due to support The 1975 around the US this summer. But now that's all been cancelled, she's free to go truly global.

By this, of course, she means performing as part of various different virtual festivals around the world. She will be changing venues though, moving around different rooms in her house for each show.

Here are the dates:

26 May: Kitchen (as part of Hooligan Magazine's #HooliganHangouts)
28 May: Bathroom (as part of Noisey's Noisey Night In)
4 Jun: Bedroom (as part of DIY Mag's DIYsolation)
6 Jun: Bedroom (details TBA)

Anyway, that's all happening, and then 'Punisher' will be out on 19 Jun through Dead Oceans. Watch the lyric video for 'I See You' here.

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DEALS

Kenny Chesney has signed an exclusive global publishing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group. Like Taylor Swift before him, he has jumped over from Sony/ATV, following Troy Tomlinson, who left the Sony publisher last year to become CEO of UMPG Nashville. Chesney says that reconnecting with Tomlinson "inspires" him. Tomlinson is "grateful" to be able to continue working with the country music star.

Sony/ATV has signed TikTok star Tiagz to a global co-publishing deal. "I'm hyped to join the Sony/ATV", says the rapper. "I remember walking into Sony/ATV for the first time, and I felt like I was at my friend's house - super awesome". His friends must have weird houses.

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APPOINTMENTS

UK record industry collecting society PPL has announced the promotion of Camilla Waite to the role of Deputy General Counsel. Her boss, General Counsel David Harmsworth, says that PPL looks to its legal and business affairs team to "facilitate commercial solutions whilst being legally robust and managing risk appropriately" and "Camilla has epitomised this approach during her time at PPL [and her] now becoming Deputy General Counsel is deserved recognition of this".

--------------------------------------------------

RELEASES

Lianne La Havas has released new single 'Can't Fight', co-written and produced by Mura Masa. "I first worked with him a few years ago, around the time of my second album coming out, and I just love his music", she says. Her new album is out on 17 Jul.

Idles have released new single 'Mr Motivator', the first taken from their third album which will be released later this year. "We want to start this journey with a means to not only encapsulate the album's sentiment, but to encourage our audience to dance like no one is watching and plough through these dark times with a two tonne machete of a song and the most beautiful community of scumbags ever assembled", says frontman Joe Talbot. "Let's go. All is love".

Aluna has released the lyric video for her debut solo single 'Body Pump'.

Park Hye Jin has announced that she will release new EP 'How Can I' through Ninja Tune on 26 Jun. It'll feature tracks like this, 'Like This'.

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

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Gary Barlow encourages global fans to use VPNs to watch UK-only livestream
Gary Barlow has urged fans to skirt location restrictions that have been placed on an upcoming UK-only online Take That event. Obviously fans do this sort of thing all the time, but it's interesting that an artist who presumably knows (or at least could find out) why those restrictions are in place would overtly encourage them to do so.

For the online event, sponsored by Compare The Market, Take That will reunite with Robbie Williams (but not Jason Orange) for what is being billed as "their only performance of the year". Given ongoing lockdown restrictions, exactly what that will entail isn't clear. Four people singing on a Zoom call isn't that great, no matter who you are. Gary Barlow has been referring to it as a "gig" though. Whatever, people are excited about it. And not just in the UK.

The problem is, the livestream on YouTube and Facebook Live will only be available to those connecting to said sites from a UK internet connection, even though Take That, of course, have fans all over the world. As those fans have been keen to point out. "Please help", wailed one on the Facebook event page. "It's only available for people in the UK. We cannot even watch the promo video! Take That belongs to everyone!"

Unfortunately, while the spirit of Take That may belong to everyone, very little else does, thanks to deals bands do with different companies. It's not clear if the geographic restrictions on the streamed event are in place due to issues around licensing the band's music or as a result of their sponsorship deal with the UK-focussed Compare The Market. However, what is certain is that they are in place and fans don't like it.

It's alright though, Gary Barlow is here. While not laying out options himself, he has been retweeting fan accounts offering different ways to circumvent the geo-blocking through the use of VPNs. He then also called on "the army" (his fans I think, not the actual army) to spread the word about this.

The retweets haven't been taken down as yet, so presumably whoever is in charge of next week's big stream hasn't noticed or is just turning a blind eye. But still, Barlow is definitely breaking the rules and has just recommended at least one VPN to fans which is generally not considered safe to use in privacy and security terms.

Elsewhere on Barlow's Twitter account, he's also implied being fine with people illegally downloading a live performance that was shown on Sky One. So maybe he's just a fan of breaking content rules and restrictions in general.

Anyway, fans in the UK (and the world over, just don't tell anyone official) can watch this livestream at 8pm UK time on 29 May. Here's a trailer.

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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.
andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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.
chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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.
sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk 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.
caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
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