TUESDAY 13 OCTOBER 2020 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK music industry yesterday responded positively to the number of venues, festivals and other music organisations who will receive support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Arts Council England scheme that is distributing a sizeable chunk of the £1.57 billion in sector-specific COVID support provided by the government to the cultural and heritage industries... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES UK music industry welcomes Culture Recovery Fund support for numerous venues and festivals, though COVID challenges remain
Comments about and responses to the Culture Recovery Fund announcement
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LEGAL Fortnite can remain banned from Apple's App Store until Epic legal battle reaches court next year
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DEALS Warner Music renews licensing deal with Soundtrack Your Brand
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BRANDS & MERCH McDonald's denies Travis Scott partnership aimed to divert attention from racial discrimination lawsuits
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MARKETING & PR Motive Unknown launches new project and label management consultancy
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ONE LINERS Round Hill Music, Angel Olsen, Liam Payne
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AND FINALLY... Kanye West releases first presidential campaign ad
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SENTRIC MUSIC - DIGITAL MARKETING EXECUTIVE (LIVERPOOL)
Sentric Music is looking for a Digital Marketing Executive to optimise Sentric Music Group's digital marketing presence and audience engagement. Through strategic planning, content creation and delivery, the Digital Marketing Executive will be key to shaping the way artists and clients perceive and engage with our business.

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PROPER MUSIC DISTRIBUTION - LABEL MANAGER (LONDON)
Proper Music Distribution is seeking a Label Manager to assist with its growing number of labels and releases. The ideal candidate will be experienced in managing products from creation to delivery, including marketing and promotional campaigns, building new relationships, and maintaining existing ones.

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JUNO RECORDS - DJ & STUDIO EQUIPMENT SERVICE AND SUPPORT ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Juno is looking for an experienced music equipment service and support assistant to assist with product testing, customer support and related administration.

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SENTRIC MUSIC - SYNC ASSISTANT (LIVERPOOL)
Sentric Music is looking for a dedicated and diligent Sync Assistant to provide a first-class service to its clients.

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SENTRIC MUSIC - COPYRIGHT ASSISTANT (LIVERPOOL)
Sentric Music is looking for a Copyright Assistant to support the administration of music copyrights on behalf of its publishing partners and catalogue owners.

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SENTRIC MUSIC - COPYRIGHT ADMINISTRATION, NEIGHBOURING RIGHTS (LIVERPOOL)
Sentric Music is looking for a Copyright Administrator to assist its artists and catalogue owners with the administration of their recording copyrights.

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MUSIC MANAGEMENT COMPANY - ARTIST & MANAGEMENT PA (LONDON)
A London-based established artist management company has a position available for an enthusiastic and organised candidate. Suitable candidates must have a minimum of two years' similar experience in the music or entertainment industry.

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MATERIAL - RECORD LABEL MANAGER (LONDON)
Material is focused on building outstanding artists and music brands, mainly in the electronic space. To aid in the expansion of our growing roster of artists and brands we are seeking an exceptional Record Label Manager to manage the day-to-day activity as well as ongoing strategy of our record labels and associated artists.

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DOUBLE SIX RIGHTS MANAGEMENT - CLIENT REPORTOIRE ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Double Six Rights Management is seeking a self-motivated and driven individual to support with the day-to-day operation of the company and to help maximise revenues for both record label and performer clients.

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UK music industry welcomes Culture Recovery Fund support for numerous venues and festivals, though COVID challenges remain
The UK music industry yesterday responded positively to the number of venues, festivals and other music organisations who will receive support from the Culture Recovery Fund, the Arts Council England scheme that is distributing a sizeable chunk of the £1.57 billion in sector-specific COVID support provided by the government to the cultural and heritage industries.

In recent weeks, of course, the music community has been increasingly vocal in its criticism of the UK government after it emerged that the next round of general COVID support schemes will be of little use to those live music and event businesses that are still in near or actual shutdown as a result of ongoing COVID restrictions.

That's because the new support schemes are designed for those people and businesses that are starting to return to normal following the lifting of some earlier COVID lockdown measures.

In response to that criticism - and other claims that ministers had pretty much written off the cultural and events industries as it became clear that at least some COVID restrictions are going to be in place well into 2021 - the government repeatedly pointed to its sector-specific funding commitment, and in particular the Culture Recovery Fund.

However, while £1.57 billion is a significant investment, it was also known that a lot of culture and heritage companies and organisations would be seeking a share of that money. And many feared that more mainstream venues, festivals and other music businesses - which often don't benefit from arts funding in more normal times - wouldn't get the support they need.

Given those concerns, there was a noticeable sigh of relief in the music community yesterday when it became clear a significant number of those venues, festivals and music businesses that had sought a grant from the CRF had received funding.

The Association Of Independent Festivals reported that 71% of the applications made to round one of the CRF scheme by its members had been successful, with £4,461,976 being allocated to AIF-allied independent music festivals in total. Meanwhile, the Music Venue Trust said that 90% of its members who put in an application received funding.

In total 1385 theatres, venues, galleries, festivals, museums and other cultural organisations were told they would receive CRF grants yesterday, with £257 million being distributed in this round. For most of those receiving grants, the funding should allow said businesses and organisations to weather the ongoing COVID storm through to March or April next year.

All that said, despite the sigh of relief - and many in the music industry pausing their criticism of the UK government for the day and praising these interventions - concerns remain high for many in the music community.

First, there are those companies and organisations whose bids were unsuccessful. For many, not receiving a grant at this time may require them winding down their operations. Secondly, even those who have received funding won't necessarily be able to keep their full current workforce in place as the previous COVID furlough funding scheme winds down later this month.

It also remains to be seen to what extent musicians and freelancers - who couldn't directly apply to the CRF - will benefit from this funding.

Many recipients will use their grants to pursue COVID-compliant projects and events that will involve artists and freelance music industry practitioners, but quite how many will benefit is unclear. And given that the amount of general COVID funding for self-employed people unable to work is about to drop significantly, those musicians and freelancers not involved in any CRF-enabled projects will be facing significant challenges.

On top of that, at the more corporate end of the live music industry, redundancies continue as promoters, agencies and other live music businesses have to make difficult decisions as shutdown extends and the priorities of general COVID support shifts.

All in all, further support for the music industry will definitely be needed. And while not all of the £1.57 billion has yet been allocated, the government is likely to find itself on the receiving end of continued pressure and criticism from the music and wider cultural industries even once it has been.

However, at least yesterday politicians and officials at the UK government's Department Of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport could enjoy 24 hours of praise instead of yet more anger and criticism. Or they could have done, had the big announcement regarding the CRF grants not coincided with a flood of social media outrage over an advert for a government-backed scheme encouraging people to consider a career in cyber-security.

The specific advert that caused particular controversy featured a picture of a dancer with the strapline: "Fatima's next job could be in cyber (she just doesn't know it yet)".

Given the aforementioned chatter to the effect that UK ministers had written off the cultural industries - and Chancellor Of The Exchequer Rishi Sunak's not entirely convincing insistence last week that he had been misquoted when ITV News reported he'd said COVID-hit musicians should just re-train - the advert did not go down well at all among the creative community.

Aware Fatima outrage was drowning out the CRF announcement, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden stated on Twitter: "To those tweeting re #Fatima, this is not something from DCMS and I agree it was crass. This was a partner campaign encouraging people from all walks of life to think about a career in cyber-security. I want to save jobs in the arts, which is why we are investing £1.57 billion".

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Comments about and responses to the Culture Recovery Fund announcement

Oliver Dowden, UK Culture Secretary: "The government is here for culture and we have worked around the clock to get this record investment out to the frontline. It will allow our wonderful theatres, museums, music venues and cultural organisations to survive this crisis and start putting on performances again - protecting jobs and creating new work for freelancers. This is just the start - with hundreds of millions pounds more on the way for cultural organisations of all sizes that still need our help".

Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England: "Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This is a difficult time for us all, but this first round of funding from the Culture Recovery Fund will help sustain hundreds of cultural spaces and organisations that are loved and admired by local communities and international audiences. Further funding will be announced later in the month and we are working hard to support creative organisations and individuals during these challenging times".

Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, CEO of UK Music: "This funding is fantastic news and will be a lifeline for so many music venues that have been struggling to survive since they first felt the impact of COVID-19 in March. It is a huge vote of confidence in the £5.2 billion UK music industry, and recognises that our industry will be a key part of the post-pandemic recovery".

"The music industry has worked hard to help itself and all those who depend on it to make a living, and shown incredible ingenuity in its fight to get back on its feet. This crucial government investment in our cultural infrastructure will reap major dividends in the years ahead as we emerge from the pandemic".

"While the music industry will still need support to help it recover, particularly for the 72% of our sector who are self-employed, today is a hugely welcome first step. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden and the government should be congratulated for these vital steps to preserve our world-leading music industry. This funding will help pave the way for music to become one of the great British success stories of the next decade".

Greg Parmley, Chair of the UK Live Music Group: "Today's announcement throws a substantial lifeline to many organisations across the commercial live music sector, which has never needed government support before. This huge cash injection is so welcome at this time and DCMS, Arts Council England and the Treasury should be applauded for it. We look forward to continuing to work closely with colleagues at DCMS in the coming weeks and months to ensure the UK live music sector is able to regain its place at the forefront of the world".

Music Venue Trust: "Since March, MVT has been working closely with colleagues at the Department Of Digital, Culture, Media And Sport and Arts Council England to ensure that the needs of grassroots music venues across England, and the potential threat this crisis presents to them, were fully understood. The work of DCMS and ACE in creating and delivering this fund has been extraordinary. We want to recognise the efforts of the government, particularly the Secretary Of State and the Chancellor, to understand what was required by grassroots music venues, develop a solution, and make it happen".

"Saving our grassroots venue sector requires a massive jigsaw puzzle of efforts, from the smallest local fundraiser by a community desperate to keep its cherished local venue, to the enormous scope of the government's Culture Recovery Fund, one of the largest such funds in the world. MVT, through the hard work, passion and dedication of our regional coordinators, has worked closely with our grassroots music venue community to ensure a clear and coordinated approach to this crisis. We are proud of the resilience, strength and solidarity shown by everyone involved".

"This intervention today helps enormously, giving MVT, our sector and our communities, an achievable opportunity to complete the English section of the jigsaw. We keenly await results from funding applications in Wales, and of round two of this fund. Our work with the governments of Scotland and Northern Ireland will continue to seek further support for venues there".

"Our immediate focus now will be to work with every venue that was ineligible for funding, and any venue that was unsuccessful in their application to this fund, to ensure that at the end of this crisis communities right across the country have a thriving and healthy live music scene to return to. Our continued mission remains to reopen every venue safely, an aim that with this support from the government we are confident is now achievable".

Paul Reed, CEO of Association Of Independent Festivals: "We warmly welcome this intervention from government and the results of the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund. 71% of AIF members who applied for a CRF grant in round one have been offered funding and it's nothing short of a lifeline for those who have been successful. We thank DCMS and Arts Council England for this support, which amounts to almost £4.5m into the independent festival sector across our membership".

"This will have a hugely positive impact on the survival of these businesses. We are pleased that we were able to work positively with DCMS officials to ensure that festival organisers were eligible for the fund and they should be praised for their diligence in supporting the sector. We're also aware that not all independent festivals had good news today and not all received funding. We'll continue to support, represent and fight for our membership throughout this crisis".

Geoff Taylor, CEO of BPI: "We applaud this investment by government into the future of music and arts. We are delighted to see a wide range of different organisations, from famous venues to orchestras, local pubs and nightclubs, receive funding. This will not only help sustain our cultural life, it will make it easier for music to bounce back as a major driver of economic growth".

Paul Pacifico, CEO of the Association Of Independent Music: "It's fantastic to see the first tranche of funding from the Culture Recovery Fund announced. While there is still a long way to go, this is a great start and we are grateful to see £257 million distributed to such a broad range of applicants, who are being supported across so many art forms and music genres, and in so many different parts of the country".

"We will continue to engage with our colleagues at DCMS and the Arts Council to help wherever we can to optimise each round of funding as it becomes available, making sure it is invested broadly but also strategically so that our sector can bounce back as rapidly and holistically as possible".

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Fortnite can remain banned from Apple's App Store until Epic legal battle reaches court next year
The judge overseeing the big bust up between 'Fortnite' maker Epic Games and Apple last week pretty much kept in place a previous decision regarding what sanctions the latter can instigate against the former while their legal battle goes through the motions.

Epic is suing Apple, of course, over the tech giant's App Store rules based on the argument they breach competition laws. Like Spotify, the games firm doesn't like the fact that when you make an app for iOS devices you are obliged to use Apple's payment platform and pay the tech giant a 15-30% commission on any transactions. App Store rules even ban you from signposting alternative payment options elsewhere on the internet from within the app.

Before going legal over those rules, Epic added an alternative payment option to the iOS version of 'Fortnite', resulting in the game being banned from the App Store. Once Epic had filed its competition lawsuit, Apple also went legal – arguing in a countersuit that the addition of the alternative payment option on 'Fortnite' constituted breach of contract and unjust enrichment.

The whole matter will now get some proper court time next year, with judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers repeatedly stating that the dispute involves some big competition law questions, the answers to which could impact significantly on the wider tech sector - including Google's App Store and other gaming platforms.

On top of all that, there is a side dispute to all this regarding Apple's decision to ban 'Fortnite' from its App Store, and the tech giant's threat of other sanctions against Epic, including declining it access to Apple's developer tools. That would also affect Epic's Unreal Engine, which is turn used by a plethora of third party developers.

Shortly after filing its main lawsuit, Epic also sought an injunction banning Apple from instigating any sanctions against it while the main litigation was working its way through the courts. In August, Gonzalez Rogers declined to force Apple to reinstate 'Fortnite' to its App Store, concluding that Epic had brought that ban upon itself by adding the alternative payment option. It could, after all, have gone legal but continued to comply with Apple's rules in the meantime.

However, in a temporary injunction in August, Gonzalez Rogers did rule that Apple should not instigate wider sanctions against Epic and its Unreal Engine. And on Friday last week - with a full court hearing on the wider dispute now scheduled for next May - the judge kept that earlier judgement in place. Which means the 'Fortnite' ban remains, but Apple can't cut off Epic's access to its developer tools and screw up the Unreal Engine.

On the former part of that decision, Gonzalez Rogers said that - while she realised it was annoying for 'Fortnite' players that the game was not currently in the App Store - Epic had breached its contract with Apple, and it's in the public interest for the courts to respect and uphold contractual agreements.

She wrote in her latest order on the case: "The court has empathy for 'Fortnite' players regarding the continued unavailability of the game on the iOS platform. This is especially so during these continued difficult times that is the COVID-19 pandemic era, where gaming and virtual worlds are both social and safe".

"However", she went on, "there is significant public interest in requiring parties to adhere to their contractual agreements or in resolving business disputes through the normal course. Thus, the public interest factor weighs in favour of Apple as to 'Fortnite'".

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Warner Music renews licensing deal with Soundtrack Your Brand
Warner Music has renewed its licensing deal with B2B streaming platform Soundtrack Your Brand. The deal comes as Soundtrack Your Brand launches a new service called Soundtrack Unlimited, offering business customers more of the on-demand functionality available via Spotify type platforms.

Spotify was actually an early backer of Soundtrack Your Brand and powered the B2B service during a pilot period in key Nordic markets. However, since 2018 Soundtrack Your Brand has operated its own catalogue of music secured via licensing deals with the music industry. Warner was among the music companies to sign up back in 2018.

While announcing the new deal with Warner and the launch of Soundtrack Unlimited, the B2B streaming firm again points out that plenty of opportunities are still to be tapped in the business streaming domain.

Many companies still use personal Spotify or Apple Music accounts to stream music into their premises, but doing so actually breaches the terms and conditions of those consumer-facing services. The challenge for businesses like Soundtrack Your Brand and their music industry partners is persuading those companies to go legit and sign up to a B2B service, which charges a higher monthly subscription.

In addition to the extra revenue B2B streaming can generate, Soundtrack Your Brand also talks up the useful data it can provide to the music industry. "Soundtrack also provides invaluable data to Warner", it states, "enabling the music company to see where and when its individual artists' music is being played worldwide".

Commenting on his new deal with Warner Music, Soundtrack Your Brand boss Ola Sars says: "Soundtrack is committed to increasing value in music streaming overall by fixing the broken and outdated background music market. Together with Warner Music we're at the forefront of this change, driving innovation together in order to unlock value for music creators".

"We're increasing pricing by five to ten times and therefore significantly increasing royalties paid out to labels and artists", he goes on, "all this enabled by a superior product offering throughout 74 markets. Now the whole industry needs to join forces and make sure that compliance is ensured across the B2B music market, as it's our collective responsibility to help those trying to make a living from their art".

Speaking for Warner, John Rees, the major's SVP Global Business Development, adds: "Soundtrack Your Brand has created a first-class streaming service that's tailored to deliver music and data insights to businesses across the world. Warner continues to support them during this exciting new chapter, so that we can work to ensure that fair value from the commercial sector is being returned to artists and creators. With the launch of the new on-demand product, businesses around the globe can now access Warner's incredible catalogue in new ways".

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McDonald's denies Travis Scott partnership aimed to divert attention from racial discrimination lawsuits
McDonald's has denied that partnerships with Travis Scott and now J Balvin are an attempt to distract public attention away from two racial discrimination lawsuits that have been filed against the company.

Last month, the fast food chain announced that it was launching a month-long partnership with Scott, which would see its US restaurants sell a meal designed by the rapper, as well as various pieces of merchandise. At the time, Chief Marketing Officer Morgan Flatley said that the firm had decided to team up with Scott because people under the age of 34 are "becoming more and more challenging for brands to reach" and "he just has an incredible audience".

However, as a second partnership with Latin star J Balvin was announced, Vice published an article suggesting that these deals were designed cynically to divert attention away from recent accusations of corporate racism made against the McDonald's business.

The first such lawsuit was filed in January by two black executives at the company, who said that - under the leadership of former CEO Steve Easterbrook - McDonald's had intentionally reduced the number of black people in leadership roles, forced out black franchisees, and lost African America customers.

Easterbrook replaced the company's first black CEO, Don Thompson, in 2015, after which, the lawsuit claimed, black people in senior roles at the company dropped from 42 to seven over the course of his time at the top. He was then replaced as CEO in December last year by Chris Kempczinski, who is also named as a defendant.

The second lawsuit, filed in September, just as the Scott partnership was announced, is related to the first, listing 52 black McDonald's franchisees as plaintiffs. They claim that the company intentionally pushed them to open restaurants in economically depressed and high-crime areas where they incurred higher operating costs, frequent employee turnover and lower sales than in other locations. The aim, it is claimed, was to set them up to fail, so that they would leave the business.

Those who refused to open restaurants in less desirable locations, the lawsuit then alleges, were refused financial support and subjected to harsher internal reviews than their white counterparts, and therefore pushed out that way.

McDonald's denies all the accusations in both lawsuits, and in a statement to Vice yesterday said: "Any claim that McDonald's collaboration with Travis Scott was launched in response to recent litigation is completely false. We teamed up with Travis - and our newest celebrity partner, J Balvin - because of their love for the McDonald's brand, their widespread appeal and their loyal following among our younger customers and our crew".

Addressing the litigation specifically, the statement goes on: "These allegations fly in the face of everything we stand for as an organisation and as a partner to communities and small business owners around the world. Not only do we categorically deny the allegations, but we are confident that the facts will show how committed we are to the diversity and equal opportunity of the McDonald's System, including across our franchisees, suppliers and employees".

In case you wondered, Scott's signature meal was a beef quarter pounder with cheese, bacon and lettuce; medium fries with BBQ sauce; and a Sprite.

Obviously there's not much room for creativity in a McDonald's order, but Balvin's is even less imaginative. If you want to eat like him, you'll get a standard Big Mac, medium fries and an Oreo McFlurry. Not even a drink. You could order a drink to go with it, but then you wouldn't be able to feel like you're dining like J Balvin. Balvin only drinks water from the Krusty Krab.

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Motive Unknown launches new project and label management consultancy
Digital marketing agency Motive Unknown has announced the launch of a new sister company called Positive Subversion, which will provide project and label management consultancy and services to artists, artist managers and record labels.

The new venture is a partnership between Motive Unknown and Siofra McComb, formerly Head Of International Sales And Marketing at !K7. Although it aims to work with artists and labels as well, the new business is in part launching in response to a trend in the artist management domain, where many management firms are now much more actively involved than in the past in the releases and marketing of their client's recorded music.

Motive Unknown MD Darren Hemmings says: "Managers are taking on more and more, but often lack the hands-on resource to manage the minutiae of a release campaign. We have also seen that taking on permanent staff in this space doesn't make good sense due to the cyclical nature of campaigns".

That creates a need for a consultancy that management firms can rely on when necessary, he reckons, adding: "Positive Subversion seeks to fill that gap".

McComb comments: "As the market evolves, managers and labels need modular solutions to make the most out of arising opportunities. Positive Subversion offers them maximum flexibility to build the teams they need, making it possible for them to stay agile in an industry that changes at breakneck speed. We want to help them maintain independence and keep control over their creative output".

The new business launches with Run The Jewels and LA label Innovative Leisure as clients.

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Approved: La Favi & Dinamarca
Having collaborated with various vocalists on his 2019 EP 'Sol De Mi Vida: Vocalized', producer Dinamarca has worked exclusively with US-based singer La Favi on his latest release, 'Is It Real'. The collaboration, it turns out, came after he unwittingly appeared on earlier La Favi tracks.

"I bootlegged and sang a few cuts from his early mixtapes", she explains. "[He] was kind enough to not get too mad I did it without permission, and he invited me to come to Sweden to record and work together with him and his partner Ghazal. We can relate in some ways coming from an immigrant background, although our societies are very different we can communicate and relate on many basic levels".

"As international travel is now very difficult I don't know when and how we will see each other again, so this project is even more significant to me as I think it represents a lot", she goes on. "We didn't know it at the time but I think we could feel it, something big was happening, we were feeling happy, and the party, but also a lot of grief and anger at what was happening and I think that comes through in the records. It's mostly [sung in] Spanish but [is] still a bilingual project, so we hope a lot of people can listen to it and even if they don't speak it - it's in the emotions and the music".

Watch the video for 'No Contestaste' here.

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

LABELS & PUBLISHERS

Round Hill Music has confirmed that it will IPO on the London Stock Exchange, seeking to raise in the region of £287 million to further boost its catalogue of music rights through a series of acquisitions. According to The Times, founder Josh Gruss has admitted that he is seeking to capitalise on renewed interest in investment circles in music rights, in part boosted by the efforts of Merck Mercuriadis and his Hipgnosis Songs Fund, which has been busy hyping up the value of music IP to City types in recent years.

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RELEASES

Angel Olsen has posted a performance of a new eleven minute song, called 'Time Bandits',

Having originally released it as part of the Adult Swim Singles Club two years ago, Julia Holter has now made her song 'So Humble The Afternoon' available across all the digital platforms. "In 'So Humble The Afternoon', recorded a few years back, I was immersing myself in the woozy warmth of the synth and mellotron timbres", she says.

Soho Rezanejad has released new single 'Half The Shore'. Her new album, 'Perform and Surrender', is out on 4 Dec.

Bleached have released new single 'Stupid Boys'. "This started out as a jokey song, something light-hearted, meant to be danced to... or so I thought", says the band's Jennifer Clavin. "After the most recent flood of 'me too' call-outs around men in the music scene, I returned to this song and felt somewhat surprised, because the lyrics actually aren't so light-hearted, and they directly refer back to experiences related to the reckoning we just saw go down".

Attawalpa has released new single 'Done Hanging On'. The song, he says, "is simply a track about letting go. I wrote the song on my dad's piano. It was quite emotional as I was listening to a lot of Elliot Smith's 'XO' at the time. I then took it to my sonic confidants Matt Allchin [co-producer] and Henry Danowski [drummer] and we made it pop".

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GIGS & TOURS

Liam Payne has announced that he will play a Halloween themed livestream show on 31 Oct. "I'm loving being able to continue to connect with all of my fans during this time, wherever they may be", he says. "I'm a huge fan of Halloween, so can't wait to party with you all in a few weeks". Details here.

Rina Sawayama has announced a show at the Roundhouse in London on 17 Nov 2021. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.

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Kanye West releases first presidential campaign ad
With three weeks to go until the US presidential election, Kanye West has released his first campaign advert. Yeah, you thought he'd forgotten about all that, didn't you? What with his focus in recent weeks being mainly on that grand plan to overhaul every record contract ever written.

Who knows, maybe he did forget about his political ambitions for a while. But apparently he's now back to pretending that he has even a minute chance of being named the new President of the USA next month.

In the minute-long video, West talks about fulfilling "America's destiny" and building community with a plan to "revive our nation's commitment to faith". Though beyond that, the message is pretty light on policy. There's a bit where it cuts to a shot of a spacecraft as he says that Americans "are called to a greater purpose than ourselves", so I guess he maybe wants to colonise other planets. He doesn't actually say that though. He doesn't really say anything.

"America", he begins. "What is America's destiny? What is best for our nation, our people, what is just, true justice? We have to think about all these things together as a people, to contemplate our future, to live up to our dream, we must have vision. We as a people will revive our nation's commitment to faith, to what our constitution calls the 'free exercise of religion', including of course prayer".

"Through prayer, faith can be restored. We as a people are called to a greater purpose than ourselves. We are not only a beacon to the world but we should be servants to each other, to encourage each other, to help each other, to lift up each other, our fellow Americans, that we may all prosper together".

"We have to act on faith, with the sure knowledge that we are pursuing the right goals and doing the right things. We will build a stronger country by building stronger families. Families are the building blocks of a society, of a nation. By turning to faith we will be the kind of nation, the kind of people God intends us to be".

So that's all nice. Though, three weeks away from polling closing, and with many people already sending off their postal votes, you kind of want to know a bit more about what a new leader would actually do in office. Still, as there is zero chance of West becoming President - not least because he's only on the ballot in a handful of states - it doesn't really matter.

Still, West's campaign website does go into a bit more detail about some policies. Although you have to scroll past quite a lot of expensive merch before you get to that bit. That the merch flogging comes first perhaps tells you more about West's campaign bid than reading any actual policies would.

There is the conspiracy theory, of course, that West is in cahoots with Donald Trump to try to capture votes that would otherwise have gone to Joe Biden. And West's ambiguous message of community and being nice to people isn't going to dissuade anyway from that opinion.

I mean, it seems unlikely such chatter is going to grab the votes of those drawn to Trump's campaign mantra of insults, division and claiming to be impervious to disease. West denies that he has any intention of aiding the Trump campaign though, insisting his only aim is to take up his seat in the White House.

On the plus side, with the US election now very close indeed, we will soon know for certain whether the world is facing another four years of President Trump based on a clear election triumph, or another four years of President Trump just because he refuses to leave the building.

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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 consultancy unit 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 Insights and CMU:DIY.
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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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