MONDAY 6 JULY 2020 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK government has announced a £1.57 billion support package to help the creative industries survive the COVID-19 crisis. This comes after countless pleas for help from across the collapsing sector since, uh, well, March... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES UK government announces £1.57 billion support package for creative industries
Music industry responds to UK government's creative industries support package
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LEGAL Swedish appeals court upholds Pirate Bay web-block
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MARKETING & PR Hold Tight! PR rebrands to recognise expanding services
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MEDIA Global Radio confirms downsizing is now required to deal with ongoing COVID challenges
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EDUCATION & EVENTS Wide Days reveals more about its online convention
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ARTIST NEWS Mike Skinner "guilty" about playing Bristol's Colston Hall
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AND FINALLY... Kanye West announces he's running for President
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UK government announces £1.57 billion support package for creative industries
The UK government has announced a £1.57 billion support package to help the creative industries survive the COVID-19 crisis. This comes after countless pleas for help from across the collapsing sector since, uh, well, March.

Warnings that the wider creative and cultural industries - in particular anything involving live performance - would struggle to survive being out of action for a few months, let alone the rest of the year, have come ever since the beginning of lockdown.

Live entertainment was pretty much the first industry to be shut down by COVID-19 and it will be one of the last to return. While many initially hoped that things might only be put on hold for a month or two, it has become increasingly apparent that it's unlikely things will get back to anything like normal this year.

Despite weekly and, as time went by, daily pleas for help from across the creative industries, the government had previously shown very little inclination it would step in. Late last month it did publish a 'roadmap' for getting live entertainment back up and running. But that was widely derided, due to it offering no actual timescales and mainly just telling everyone working in those businesses what they already knew would need to happen.

Now the government has finally acted, offering emergency grants and loans to organisations across all sections of the performing arts.

While non-classical music isn't always included when the government talks about "the arts", this time it is. Or, at least, music venues are definitely included. As are museums, galleries, cinemas and the heritage industry - so historic places and suchlike. Which means that, while £1.57 billion seems like a very big number, there will a lot of organisations seeking their share.

Though, to be fair, the £1.57 billion spend now puts the UK ahead of other countries in terms of its commitment to helping the arts survive COVID. Which is good. Even if, arguably, the same government's shambolic management of the pandemic has probably extended how long the creative industries will be affected by shutdown.

Announcing the support package late last night, Prime Minister 'Boris' Johnson said: "From iconic theatre and musicals, mesmerising exhibitions at our world-class galleries to gigs performed in local basement venues, the UK's cultural industry is the beating heart of this country. This money will help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down".

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden added: "Our arts and culture are the soul of our nation. They make our country great and are the lynchpin of our world-beating and fast growing creative industries. I understand the grave challenges the arts face and we must protect and preserve all we can for future generations. Today we are announcing a huge support package of immediate funding to tackle the funding crisis they face. I said we would not let the arts down, and this massive investment shows our level of commitment".

Meanwhile, the man responsible for actually writing the cheque, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "Our world-renowned galleries, museums, heritage sites, music venues and independent cinemas are not only critical to keeping our economy thriving, employing more than 700,000 people, they're the lifeblood of British culture. That's why we're giving them the vital cash they need to safeguard their survival, helping to protect jobs and ensuring that they can continue to provide the sights and sounds that Britain is famous for".

So, they basically all said the same thing, but it's nice to give them all their moment in the limelight I suppose. What is actually on offer though?

Well, there will be £270 million made available for repayable finance, while £880 million will be handed out as straight-up grants.

In England, £100 million will also be earmarked for national cultural institutions and the English Heritage Trust, and a further £120 million will be invested in culture-related construction and infrastructure projects that were put on hold due to the pandemic.

Elsewhere in the UK, Scotland will receive £97 million to specifically support its creative industries, with Wales getting £59 million and Northern Ireland £33 million.

Quite how much of this will benefit the music industry remains to be seen. As noted, music venues are specifically listed as beneficiaries. The Music Venue Trust has previously said that the country's grassroots venue network needs £50 million to survive the next few months. Whether promoters, festivals, other live music businesses - not to mention artists, managers and crew - will also be able to access support it as yet unclear.

The scheme is set to open for applications "in the coming weeks", and further details of exactly what is on offer and who can apply will be published as we get closer to that time.

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Music industry responds to UK government's creative industries support package The UK government announced its £1.57 billion support package for the creative industries at around 10pm last night. As a result, there was no time to change the intro to this week's Setlist podcast discussing the music industry's criticism of the ongoing lack of support. That's two weeks in a row the government has derailed the show with surprise announcements. Bastards!

Similarly caught off guard were representatives of those creative industries, who were forced to get out of bed and/or switch off the latest episode of 'Tiger King' (I've been very busy, I haven't had time to update my mental list of what people are watching right now) to write quotes in response. Here are just some of the many, many things people have said so far:

Tom Kiehl, UK Music: "A £1.57 billion support package for the arts is a huge step forward and should be a lifesaver for many music venues. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, Chancellor Rishi Sunak and DCMS [Digital, Culture, Media And Sport] Minister Caroline Dinenage are to be warmly congratulated".

"The music industry was one of the first sectors to be hit by measures to tackle COVID-19. UK Music has long called for sector specific support to ensure live music can recover".

"Eligibility for grants and loans must be as broad as possible to ensure maximum take up from across the industry from those in desperate need of help. Those that don't have a track record of public funding must also not be put at a disadvantage. We are seeking urgent talks with Arts Council England to discuss further".

Mark Davyd, Music Venue Trust: "Music Venue Trust warmly welcomes this unprecedented intervention into Britain's world-class live music scene. We'd like to thank the Secretary Of State and the team at DCMS for the opportunity to work closely together throughout this crisis to develop genuine solutions to the challenges faced by grassroots music venues. This fund provides the opportunity to stabilise and protect our vibrant and vital network of venues and gives us the time we need to create a plan to safely re-open live music".

Geoff Taylor, BPI: "We are delighted that the government has recognised the special importance of the arts and creativity - including music - to our national life. We warmly welcome specific mention of our cherished music venues, and to support for the arts, which should also assist our classical music sector".

"The live music industry, and the artist community that it supports, has felt the full, devastating force of the COVID-19 emergency and grassroots venues urgently require support if the UK is to retain its exceptional local music scene and continue to produce world-beating artists. We look forward to further discussing how the funds will be allocated".

Annabella Coldrick, Music Managers Forum: "After months of discussions, meetings and advocacy, culminating in the Let The Music Play campaign last Thursday, it feels that government has accepted the importance of art and culture to our society and economy. Obviously £1.57 billion is a substantial sum of money, but we still need to see the full details of this package and how it will be allocated to reach those most in need".

"It is absolutely essential that funding stretches beyond cultural institutions and can equally benefit artists and their teams around the UK, many of whom have fallen through gaps in support despite seeing a complete collapse in their live income".

Mark Pemberton, Association Of British Orchestras: "The ABO hugely welcomes the announcement of the government's significant additional investment in the arts. Orchestras and their musicians have been hard-hit by the COVID-19 crisis, from the cancellation of tours to Asia in January, followed by the enforced shutdown of concert halls across the UK in March".

"With a year of lost income in prospect, this much-needed investment, and the guidance for re-opening, will help get orchestras back to work, starting behind closed doors this summer, and on to the point when we can welcome audiences both here and abroad, we hope, later this year".

Nicholas Serota, Arts Council England: "We greatly welcome this very significant investment by the government in the future of arts and culture in this country and look forward to working with them on next steps. I know our amazing artists and creative organisations will repay the faith that the government has shown by demonstrating the range of their creativity, by serving their communities and by helping the nation recover as we emerge from the pandemic".

Michael Kill, Night Time Industries Association: "The announcement this evening by the Department Of Digital, Culture, Media And Sport and HM Treasury to invest £1.57 billion in our world-class cultural, arts and heritage institutions, including live and recorded music venues, has been commended by the NTIA and the wider creative sector. This is an unprecedented commitment from the government and long-awaited financial support which reflects the importance of the sector to the UK and internationally".

"We will await further details of the announcement in the coming days to gain a greater understanding of the businesses which will benefit from this investment. We hope it will also include the vital supply chain businesses which are fundamental to the creative and cultural sector, of which the night-time economy businesses are very much a big part of. We also look forward to receiving updated guidance with regard to the phased return of the night-time economy sectors".

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Swedish appeals court upholds Pirate Bay web-block
An appeals court in Sweden has upheld a web-blocking injunction against the pesky Pirate Bay, rejecting internet service provider Telia's arguments that the anti-piracy measure is ineffective and open to abuse.

Web-blocking, of course, is the tactic where ISPs are ordered to stop their customers from accessing copyright infringing websites. Net firms generally don't like being forced to police the internet so often oppose web-blocking when it is first proposed in any one country. But then, once it's up and running they generally fall in line.

Though not Telia. It hit out at web-blocking all the way back in 2017 when a web-block injunction was issued against rival ISP Bredbandsbolaget. On the back of that case, the movie industry sought to get a similar injunction against Telia and the courts complied the following year issuing an interim order telling the ISP to block The Pirate Bay and some other piracy sites.

Not willing to give up at that point, Telia appealed. Like most anti-web-blocking ISPs, it argued that it's really easy to circumvent web-blocks, so their impact in terms of stopping piracy is limited. It also raised concerns that the precedent set in cases like this could lead to "overblocking".

However, last week the Swedish Patent And Market Court Of Appeal upheld the web-block, concluding that such a blockade would have some impact in terms of combatting piracy, and that it was a proportional measure to force onto the net firm.

It's one of those dynamic web-blocks, which means that any new proxies or URLs that pop up that help people access the blocked sites - Dreamfilm, FMovies and NyaFilmer as well as the Bay - can be added to the court order in due course. Though it's the responsibility fo the copyright owners to identify those new proxies and URLs.

It's not clear if Telia plans any further appeal on this issue.

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Hold Tight! PR rebrands to recognise expanding services
Hold Tight! PR has announced that it is rebranding as Hold Tight, to take into account the broader range of music marketing services it has added since it originally launched in 2010. It is also, says the company, "part of a strategic overhaul of the business and representative of where the company is today".

"The music industry was already evolving before the COVID-19 crisis", says company director Lisa Coverdale. "However, the pandemic propelled many areas of the industry to adapt more rapidly and we've tried to predict those changes and stay one step ahead as they happen".

"Our digital marketing offerings have enabled our bands to instantly monetise revenue streams across their digital and social platforms, helping to pick up the shortfall created by an inability to tour and play live where a huge portion of their yearly revenue is made", she goes on.

"For us as a business it was a case of choosing between turning the page and moving towards a new chapter or just closing the book on it all. We chose to turn the page and the results so far have been incredibly positive".

"We have evolved into an all-encompassing music marketing agency with digital and PR strengths, putting us amongst the forefront of such agencies in this fast-growing part of the industry", she concludes.

Meanwhile, fellow director James Monteith adds: "The music industry is constantly facing new challenges and evolving, so at Hold Tight we have always made a concerted effort to adapt with the changing landscape and stay ahead of the curve".

"We are all highly passionate about music and strive to give our clients the most effective and meaningful service, and with the new digital marketing offering, we can further enable them to reach new audiences and clearly get their messages across", he adds.

"I feel truly privileged to work with the team at Hold Tight, they are some of the most hardworking, determined, and creative thinking people in the business. Team Hold Tight is ready for communication in the 2020s".

With a rock and metal focus, Hold Tight clients include labels such as Universal's Spinefarm, SPV, Holy Roar and Big Scary Monsters, and artists including Billy Talent, Zakk Wylde, August Burns Red, Darkthrone and CKY.

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Global Radio confirms downsizing is now required to deal with ongoing COVID challenges
Radio giant Global has told staff that it will have to restructure and downsize the business because of the ongoing impact of COVID-19. It's not clear how many employees will be affected, though a consultation is underway.

The entire commercial radio sector has faced a challenging few months since the COVID-19 shutdown began, even though - somewhat ironically - listening stats went up as everyone went into lockdown. But ad sales slumped, as brands put their marketing campaigns on hold and many more local advertisers paused their operations entirely.

According to Radio Today, Global chiefs Ashley Tabor and Stephen Miron told staff in an email last week: "I'm afraid that as a result of the ongoing revenue challenges we face, and the longer and deeper nature of them, we have, reluctantly, concluded that we do now need to make further cost savings in the business".

They added that, while to date their priority had been trying to "protect the company and the wellbeing and job security of Globallers during this unprecedented time", as the impact of shutdown extends "we are genuinely sorry to say this will mean taking some tough decisions and saying goodbye to some highly valued and talented colleagues".

Radio Today reckons that the cutbacks are likely to have a minimal impact on-air and are more likely to affect behind the scenes roles.

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Wide Days reveals more about its online convention
More details about this year's Wide Days music convention have been announced, including the two sessions being presented by CMU Insights this year.

As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 shutdown, Wide Days 2020 will be happening online from 23-25 Jul. There will be a packed programme of panels, though the social and networking elements of the event will also still take place, even though the whole thing is happening virtually.

Organisers have announced a partnership with a new digital event platform launched by Catalan company Meetmaps which will help with that process. "Guests will be able to pre-book one-to-one meetings, hang out in themed social rooms, take part in international match-making sessions and participate in roundtables hosted by event partners", they say.

Wide Days founder Olaf Furniss adds: "Over the past three months we have hosted a series of online seminars and social evenings, as well as taking part in many other online events, and right across the music industry spectrum there is a strong desire to connect and learn. At Wide Days we also want our guests to be entertained and have fun, so we will aim to translate everything we do in the physical space to the virtual environment - including the tour and whisky tasting".

Panels-wise, many of the sessions planned pre-COVID that would have taken place back in April had Wide Days been able to go ahead as normal will feature, alongside a number of conversations specifically focused on how the music industry has been adapting in the wake of shutdown.

CMU will present two in-depth sessions, each in two parts. The first will put the spotlight on music data, both the rights data artists, songwriters, labels and publishers have to put into the system to get credited and paid when their music is played, and the fan data that bounces back, allowing artists and their business partners to better plan and target marketing, and to enhance and monetise the direct-to-fan relationship.

The second will be all about video content, from the classic pop promo to all the other videos now required for a music marketing campaign. Experts will discuss the different kinds of videos now required, how to go about creating that content on super tight budgets, and how the various video platforms fit into the mix. You'll find more information about both the CMU sessions here.

On all that, CMU's Chris Cooke says: "It's great to be able to team up with Wide Days once again. The big up side of everything shifting online is that people from all over the world will be able to join the conversation. COVID-19, of course, poses lots of challenges for the music community, with lots of things in flux. But we know for certain that, whatever happens, getting data and video content right is now absolutely vital for running a successful artist business. And those are the topics CMU will be exploring at Wide Days this year".

Alongside all the panels, there'll also be some great new music, including 20 minute online sets from six great new Scottish artists, including Billy Got Waves x Joell, Kapil Seshasayee, Magpie Blue, Memes, One Nine and Swim School.

More details about all the panels, music and other delights are at widedays.com, where you can also grab tickets at just £30.

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Setlis: Music magazines stay off the shelves
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including the announcements that Mixmag and Kerrang! will keep their print editions on hiatus for the foreseeable future, and the Rolling Stones' threat to sue Donald Trump if he plays their music at another campaign rally.

Listen to this episode of Setlist here, and sign up to receive new episodes for free automatically each week through any of these services...

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Mike Skinner "guilty" about playing Bristol's Colston Hall
Mike Skinner says that he regrets not boycotting Bristol's Colston Hall over the link between its name and the slave trade. The venue, of course, is now planning to change that name when it re-opens following renovations.

"I feel a bit guilty", he says in an interview with The Independent. "I shouldn't have played at Bristol Colston Hall. Massive Attack haven't been playing there for years. At the time, I just thought it was just a name".

The venue takes its name from slave owner Edward Colston, whose past philanthropy in Bristol means there are lots of streets and institutions containing the 'Colston' word across the city. There was also, until recently, of course, a Grade II listed statue of him in the city centre. That was pulled down and dumped in the harbour during the Black Lives Matter protests last month.

"It was a fantastic moment pulling the statue down", says Skinner. "It was driven as much by white guilt as black power. Even Piers Morgan backs it. If he backs it, I'm pretty confident that we're good to go".

As for the wider resurgence of the BLM protests, Skinner says: "It's been incredibly moving. It's easy for me to say, but I don't think racist people are the problem, even though they are being quite vocal on Twitter. I think racist systems are by orders of magnitude more damaging. I think what's going on at the moment is people are starting to understand the difference between racist people and racist systems".

Speaking of Twitter, The Independent also wonders how some off Skinner's older work might be taken on social media if it were released today. Skinner concedes that tracks like 'Fit But You Know It' could see him "cancelled". But, he goes on: "It could be a lot worse. I could have made much more problematic music. I don't worry about it".

"I think social media is going to have to find a way of addressing the context thing", he continues. "I think context exists in the real world, what someone looks like is quite important to what they're saying. And on Twitter you don't get that to any sort of satisfactory level. And it also works when you're looking back at stuff. So probably at best 'Fit But You Know It' can just be seen as something cheeky that's maybe of its time. In context of FHM culture and Nuts magazine, it's probably a bit more woke than that, but definitely less woke than now".

Skinner will release his first Streets record for nearly a decade this week, which he describes as "a rap duets album". It features collaborations with Tame Impala, Idles, Jesse James Solomon and more.

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Kanye West announces he's running for President
Kanye West has announced that he will run for President in this year's US elections. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Of course there's a slight chance he actually means it. Fuck.

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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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