TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Chair of the UK Parliament's culture select committee has called for the creation of a government-backed insurance scheme to cover festivals and live music events to help ensure that the live industry is able to kickstart its recovery as COVID rules begin to relax later this year... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES UK culture select committee calls for government-backed insurance scheme for festivals
DEALS Hipgnosis takes 50% stake in Neil Young's publishing catalogue
Warner Chappell expands deal with Aya Nakamura

LABELS & PUBLISHERS Daniel Glass launches Connection Music Publishing
Danish collecting society puts the spotlight on the gender imbalance in songwriter earnings
AWARDS Pa Salieu wins BBC Sound Of 2021
ONE LINERS The Weeknd, Slowthai, Alice Glass, more
AND FINALLY... Miley Cyrus has recorded a Metallica cover with Elton John
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UK culture select committee calls for government-backed insurance scheme for festivals
The Chair of the UK Parliament's culture select committee has called for the creation of a government-backed insurance scheme to cover festivals and live music events to help ensure that the live industry is able to kickstart its recovery as COVID rules begin to relax later this year.

Julian Knight MP has written to Chancellor Of The Exchequer Rishi Sunak following the oral hearing earlier this week as part of the select committee's inquiry into the festival sector.

Live industry reps told the committee that while there remains a real risk that ongoing COVID restrictions could cause festivals and other events due to take place this year to be cancelled, it was impossible to get those events insured. That puts promoters in a really tricky position.

They are already planning their 2021 events, which will require extra logistics because of the COVID restrictions that will definitely still be in place later this year. However, while there remains a chance that more severe COVID restrictions might result in cancellations, and with no insurance available, investing time and money into that planning is very risky.

Many festivals and live music companies cannot afford to take that risk. As a result, those companies might be forced to cancel their 2021 events sooner rather than later, even if it then turns out that COVID restrictions start to relax in the spring meaning those events could have actually gone ahead.

Therefore, Knight says in his letter to Sunak, a government-backed insurance scheme is required for 2021, so that planning for this year's events can continue ensuring that - as soon as COVID rules allow - festivals and other music events can quickly resume. Such a scheme has already been set up for the TV and film industries which have faced similar COVID-caused insurance issues.

A statement from the culture select committee yesterday said: "[We have] written to the Chancellor asking him to extend government-backed insurance schemes to festivals and live music events or face them disappearing from our fields and cities for good".

"At a crucial point in festival planning schedules, MPs warn that organisers and investors are unable to risk repeating losses sustained in 2020 unless events can be insured against cancellation. With the commercial insurance market not expected to offer COVID-related insurance until 2022, a government-backed scheme is required for festivals to start planning their events and signing contracts with artists and suppliers".

Knight himself added: "The government is telling us that life should be getting back to normal by the summer but, unless it can provide a safety net, it will be a summer without festivals. The industry says that without government-backed insurance, many festivals and live music events just won't happen because organisers can't risk getting their fingers burnt for a second year".

"The committee has heard from festival organisers that this is a matter of urgency", he went on. "Insurance must be the first step in unlocking the huge contribution that festivals make to our economy, protecting not only the supply chains, but the musicians who rely on them for work. The government already offers a level of cover to the film and television industries, now is the time to extend support to other creative industries or risk losing some of our best-loved and world-renowned festivals".


Hipgnosis takes 50% stake in Neil Young's publishing catalogue
The Hipgnosis Songs Fund has started the year with a flurry of acquisitions, including a big one that involves taking a 50% stake in the entire global songs catalogue of Neil Young. That's 1180 songs by Young that Hipgnosis now co-owns, via a deal that reportedly set the firm back $150 million.

"I bought my first Neil Young album aged seven", says Hipgnosis founder Merck Mercuriadis. And if you think that sounds like the beginning of a very long story, well done, you are correct. "'Harvest' was my companion and I know every note, every word, every pause and silence intimately", he goes on. "Neil Young, or at least his music, has been my friend and constant ever since".

"Over the last 50 years that friendship took me back to Buffalo Springfield, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, 'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere', 'After The Gold Rush', and guided me forward to 'On The Beach', 'Tonight's The Night', 'Zuma', 'Comes A Time', 'Rust Never Sleeps', 'Trans', 'This Notes For You', 'Freedom', 'Ragged Glory', 'Greendale' and through each successive album and on to last year's 'Colorado'. They're part of who I am. They're in many ways responsible for who I've become and they're most certainly in my DNA".

"I knew I would never be a singer or songwriter myself so my love for Neil also extended to his manager Elliot Roberts, who is sadly no longer with us", he continues. "Elliot was the template for who I wanted to be. He and Neil were partners in crime and Elliot made sure the art was never compromised and the commerce always maximised. He complemented Neil's integrity perfectly and together they protected the songs so fiercely that they became important to millions of people all over the world".

This is probably the bit where he talks about this deal he's just done, right? No. There's more of this story to share, everybody! "This was personal conduct that you could aspire to, something you could believe in. Somewhere along the way Elliot became a mentor to me, and my friend. This allowed me to collide with Neil from time to time and Frank Gironda as well. We had a mutual respect as people whose lives were changed forever by music and particularly by this magical music".

"With Elliot's passing last year it was only natural that Frank, who had so ably worked alongside him, would step into his shoes and also, as it now turns out, logical for Hipgnosis to partner with Neil to ensure his incredible songs reach all corners of the earth", he continues.

That was a mention of the deal there. I don't know if you noticed. But this isn't just any deal for Mercuriadis. It's a particularly significant one that justifies (almost certainly) this incredibly long story. "I built Hipgnosis to be a company Neil would want to be a part of", he reveals. "We have a common integrity, ethos and passion born out of a belief in music and these important songs".

"There will never be a 'Burger Of Gold', but we will work together to make sure everyone gets to hear them on Neil's terms", he concludes. "There's a good chance their life will be changed just like mine was. This is a deal that changes Hipgnosis forever and it's a dream to welcome Neil, Frank, Bonnie [Levitan] and the team to the Hipgnosis family".

Sadly there's now no time to hear from Young or any of his management team. Not least because there are still two other Hipgnosis deals that were announced earlier this week which I should probably tell you about.

On Monday, it was announced that Hipgnosis had acquired the catalogue of producer and industry veteran Jimmy Iovine, which covers his work on 259 songs by acts including John Lennon, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks, Simple Minds and more. The company has also bought Iovine's film production royalties for '8 Mile' and 'Get Rich Or Die Tryin'.

"While barely in my teens I noticed that so many of my favourite albums had one name in common", says Mercuriadis. Strap in. "The best albums by John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith all had Jimmy Iovine on them. This continued through the 80s with Stevie Nicks, Dire Straits, U2, Simple Minds, The Pretenders, and more from Tom and Patti, and I have been glued to everything Jimmy does ever since".

Noting some of Iovine's business ventures - and also how the profits from this deal will be spent - Mercuriadis goes on: "His incomparable success with Interscope and Beats means that he would never have to make a deal for money again, but leave it to Jimmy to figure out the most efficient way possible to use his producer royalties to build a best in class high school in the inner city and once again make a massive difference, as he has throughout his life. It's an honour to now be a custodian of his incredible work on these iconic albums and I'm very happy to welcome him to the Hipgnosis family".

Explaining more about the project this deal will support, Iovine adds: "I'm happy that my work as a producer with so many great artists has found the right home with Merck and Hipgnosis. I am going to use the proceeds from the deal to help Iovine Young Academy's initiative to build a high school in South LA as part of the Iovine Young Academy at USC and continue our efforts to support education".

On Tuesday, it was former Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham's turn to announce a Hipgnosis deal. "Didn't he already sell his publishing catalogue to Hipgnosis?" you might be thinking. And, yes, you are right. 25% right. Because Buckingham did indeed sell 25% of his catalogue to the firm back in September. Now he's decided he might as well get shot of the rest of it. Hipgnosis now owns 100% of Buckingham's 161 released songs, as well as 50% of his unreleased compositions.

"Lindsey Buckingham is one of the greatest guitarists, songwriters and producers of all time yet is still so underrated", says Mercuriadis, failing to mention his own childhood this time. "His work with Fleetwood Mac has brought the world unparalleled joy over the last 45 years and he belongs in any discussion featuring Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney. It's wonderful to welcome him and his iconic songs, both as a solo artist and with Fleetwood Mac, to the Hipgnosis family".

Buckingham adds: "Prior to arriving at an agreement with Hipgnosis, I had wonderful long conversations with Merck Mercuriadis". No kidding.

"I was pleased to find a kindred spirit, someone who's a big fan of my work in Fleetwood Mac, and an even bigger fan of my solo efforts", he goes on. "I look forward to working with Merck and the whole Hipgnosis team going into the future, and am confident that my body of work will be curated with great heart and insight".

And here ends today's Hipgnosis essay.


Warner Chappell expands deal with Aya Nakamura
Warner Chappell has expanded its deal with French musician Aya Nakamura, making the company her exclusive publishing rep worldwide. This follows the release of her latest album, 'Aya', which includes a collaboration with Stormzy.

"I'm so glad that Aya has placed her faith in us again at Warner Chappell", says Matthieu Tessier, Managing Director of Warner Chappell Music France. "We were among the very first partners to believe in her songwriting, and we continue to have a very close publisher-writer relationship. It's not always so easy for a French songwriter and artist to connect with fans internationally, but her powerful songwriting has enabled her to cross boundaries".

Nakamura signed her first agreement with Warner Chappell in 2017, it covering her first two albums 'Journal Intime' and 'Nakamura'. New album 'Aya' was released in November and includes 'Plus Jamais', featuring Stormzy, which topped the French singles charts. Another single from the album, 'Jolie Nana', was number one in France for four consecutive weeks, the longest run for a female artist since 2015.

Watch the video for 'Plus Jamais' here.


Daniel Glass launches Connection Music Publishing
Glassnote founder Daniel Glass and the label's CFO Chris Scully have announced the launch of new company Connection Music Publishing. Their first hire is Jackie Post, as Head Of Publishing.

"We are excited to build a high quality publishing company that will be a nurturing home for songwriters", says Glass. "With Jackie's experience, relationships and respect for songwriters, our writers will get the personalised and focused attention that is so crucial to their craft".

Most recently at Kobalt, and with previous roles at BMG and Sony/ATV, Post adds: "I am so excited to join Daniel and Chris on this publishing venture. They have a great energy and passion for success. I am looking forward to an amazing future with them".

No roster for the new publishing company has yet been announced. Glassnote Records works with artists including Mumford & Sons, Chvrches, Two Door Cinema Club, Taylor Janzen and Jade Bird.

Glass's previous music publishing company, Insieme Music Publishing, was founded in 2011 and sold to Kobalt in 2018.


Danish collecting society puts the spotlight on the gender imbalance in songwriter earnings
Danish collecting society Koda published a new report just before Christmas that puts the spotlight on the imbalance in earnings between male and female songwriters and composers. Female creators make up 19% of the society's membership, but collectively receive just 10% of the monies it distributes.

Koda said that it decided to crunch the figures around its membership and the link between gender and earnings in order to inform the debate around equality issues in the music industry.

Because, with collective licensing, everyone earns the same royalties for any one usage of a song, the disparity in earnings between male and female members will be down what music is being played and performed, and possibly how the copyright in co-written works is split between collaborating songwriters.

The percentage of Koda-collected monies going to the society's female members has actually declined in recent years from a peak of 12.4% in 2012. That's despite the productivity of male and female members being more or less the same, in that the average female member has registered 23 works with Koda, while the average male member has 25 works in the system.

Koda also broke down the gender split of royalty distributions by type of usage. When it comes to royalties generated by live performance, 14% goes to female writers, while with royalties generated by the use of music on TV it's only 4%.

The disparity is actually less significant among the society's newer members. When only monies paid out to those members is taken into account, 22% of live income and 18% of TV income is going to female members. However, the society's highest earners tend to be older members and among that group the gender imbalance is worse.

Commenting on the stats in the new report, Koda's Deputy Chair Anna Lidell said the figures were "worrying, but also unsurprising". She added: "We have long known that gender equality was way off within this field, and that is also why gender equality is one of the four strategic focus areas in Koda's new cultural strategy".

The society's Chair, Niels Rønsholdt, added that "these figures in no way reflect society at large, and we are missing out on immense potential and a lot of talent which could benefit the development and competitiveness of the entire Danish music industry".

The number-crunching, of course, doesn't identify the reasons for the imbalance, which Rønsholdt also noted. "But", he added, publishing these stats "can highlight the need to get those reasons uncovered. If we as an industry are to solve the problem, we must know the root cause".

The new report from Koda has been welcomed by Vick Bain, the British researcher and campaigner whose current PhD research is documenting the careers of women in the music industry and the extra barriers female music-makers and industry execs routinely have to tackle. Her work is focused on identifying those root causes and ways to tackle discrimination.

"It's very good to see another collecting society being transparent and publishing their gender gap data", she tells CMU. "Of course collecting societies pay out the same rates to their members regardless of gender, but what this data shows is that usage is much lower for women".

"This situation demonstrates a pattern revealed by prior research by other collecting societies across the globe, including APRA/AMCOS in Australia in 2017 - with women constituting 21% of membership and 15% of income received - and SOCAN in Canada in 2018, which showed that female screen composers received only 30% of the royalties distributed to men".

The reasons for this disparity "are many and complicated", she goes on, "but research demonstrates women do not receive the same professional support in their careers - such as being signed by publishing companies - and in exploiting those works, such as receiving radio airplay or getting festival slots".

"Let's hope that situation improves over the next few years so women can sustain their music careers for longer. And it would be great to see similar research from other societies, including PRS For Music here in the UK".

Bain recently launched an online directory of female musicians in the UK as part of a campaign to encourage and enable more festivals and commissioners to book and work with more female music-makers. You can access that directory here. And you can download Koda's report here.


CMU Insights: Book into our upcoming streaming webinars
Start the new year by expanding your knowledge of the music business - and getting fully up to speed with all the latest trends and development - with the CMU Insights webinars.

In February we are presenting our Streaming Explained series - three one-hour webinars taking place over three Tuesdays. This series provides an introduction to the digital music market in 2021, how streaming services are licensed by the music industry, and how streaming income is shared out across the music community each month.

This series consists of the following three sessions:
The Digital Market In 2021 | 2 Feb
How Digital Licensing Works | 9 Feb
How Digital Money Gets Shared | 16 Feb

Each webinar is delivered live at 2.30pm London time, with a recording available for a month after the live session. A place on the full series costs just £60 per person including VAT and booking fee - click here for info. You can also book into individual webinars - and a whole host of other upcoming training sessions - via this page here.

Pa Salieu wins BBC Sound Of 2021
Pa Salieu has been announced as the winner of the BBC Sound Of 2021 poll. The Coventry rapper says that he was spurred on to make music after surviving being shot in the head in 2019.

Speaking to the BBC, he says he hopes to give a voice to friends and others who have died, changing public and political perceptions of victims of street violence. "If I actually died [when I was shot], in their eyes I would be a criminal", he says. "'Gang-related'. 'Drive-by shooting'. Trust me, the whole perception would be different right now. You would have never heard of me. If you did hear of me, [it would be], 'That's that kid that died'. 'Gun crime'. 'These foolish youths'. No".

"Police used to say I'm in a gang", he goes on. "I wasn't in a gang. I was never in a gang. Because I used to try to survive? I got caught with a knife when I was seventeen? What, because I'm paranoid of the streets? I got shot in the head. People get killed every day for no reason where I'm from".

"The thing that matters is what you're going to do with it - let it eat you up or rise above it", he goes on. "Getting shot is the same as getting fired from your job. What are you going to do with it? Rise up, or what? That's life. Everything is a lesson".

Commenting on topping the Sound Of poll - which is voted for by a panel of music industry experts - the rapper says: "I was just really happy to even be included on the list alongside some amazing artists, a few of who I know personally. They're all crazy talented, so to be the winner of something like this so early in my journey just feels mad".

Pa Salieu's debut mixtape, 'Send Them To Coventry', was released in November, including a track featuring Sound Of 2019 nominee Mahalia, 'Energy'.

The five finalists of this year's Sound Of poll are:

1. Pa Salieu
2. Holly Humberstone
3. Berwyn
4. Greentea Peng
5. Griff



Perfect Havoc has added singer-songwriter Cally Rhodes to its artist management roster. "We aim to support her in her pursuit to become both a huge dance artist and a top songwriter in her own right", says the company's Adam Griffin. "We know Cally has the talent and drive to achieve these goals and look forward to working with her".



Rob McGee has joined booking agency FMLY. "Rob has unfaltering dedication to his artists, a rare commodity as an agent and will complement our existing team", says FMLY Director Amber Brzeski. "Working closely alongside founder Darren [James-Thomas] on the live side of the agency, we look forward to seeing what 2021 brings, and we are very excited to see our FMLY grow".

Warner Music Eastern Europe has appointed Bartosz Szwoch as its new Chief Financial Officer. He joins the company from Polish music industry body ZPAV, where he held the same position. "He's a strategically and commercially focused CFO with extensive operational expertise and a deep understanding of the music industry", say Kinga Siennicka, Managing Director of Warner Music Poland, and Vladimir Kočandrle, Managing Director of Warner Music Czech Republic.

Amelia-Eve Warden has announced that she is now co-manager of Lucy Spraggan, alongside Grizzly Management founder Andrew Viitalahde-Pountain. "I am THRILLED to be a part of the management team looking after Lucy Spraggan", she says. "I am committed to bringing fresh new branding, comms, PR and marketing to the development planning, and alongside Andrew's wealthy remit as a manager and live agent, together we are a great tag team of music experts to kickstart 2021".

Sony/ATV in the US has promoted Brad Levin to SVP Finance. "Brad is an integral part of our team, and this promotion recognises his many contributions", says CFO Tom Kelly. "I look forward to working more closely with him as he takes on this newly expanded role".



Chinese web giant Alibaba will close down its music service Xiami Music next month. Although initially enjoying some success in the Chinese digital music market after its launch in 2008, Xiami is now dwarfed by its main rivals, ie the streaming platforms of Tencent and NetEase. So much so, in 2019 Alibaba itself invested in NetEase Cloud Music.



UK trade media Music Week has confirmed that it is revamping its output, with the title's flagship weekly magazine ceasing publication. It will be replaced by a monthly print magazine and increased online content. As part of the revamp Editor Mark Sutherland and Senior Staff Writer James Hanley are also departing.

Four local radio stations in the UK will start broadcasting a new syndicated chart show later this month called The UK Hot 40, based on airplay data provided by Radio Monitor. Many commercial stations in the UK used to share a weekly chart show, but that practice ended after major players Global and Bauer decided to broadcast their own proprietary chart programmes across their respective pop networks. At launch, The UK Hot 40 will be aired by Radio Essex, YorkMix Radio, MKFM in Milton Keynes and Energy FM on the Isle Of Man.



The Weeknd has released the video for 'Save Your Tears'.

Slowthai has released new single 'Mazza', featuring A$AP Rocky.

Alice Glass has released new single 'Suffer And Swallow'. Glass is set to release her debut solo album this year.

The Horrors' Faris Badwan has released a new two track single with Spiritualized's John Coxon, featuring new songs 'Boiling Point' and Promise Land'. "The new songs we ended up working on were largely spontaneous and cut together from early takes with minimal overdubbing", says Badwan. "There are hooks and repetitive sections but fewer traditional structures".

A Winged Victory For The Sullen have released new single 'So That The City Can Begin To Exist'. Their new album, 'Invisible Cities', is set for release on 26 Feb.

Daniel Knox has released new single 'Look At Me'. The song, he says, "is a story exploring liminal space in life and in dreams". His new album, 'Won't You Take Me With You', is out on 15 Jan.



The shortlist for this year's Choice Music Prize - the Irish version of the Mercury (which, of course, also includes Irish artists in its remit) - has been announced. On it are 2019 albums by Bitch Falcon, Denise Chaila, Fontaines DC, JyellowL, Roisin Murphy, Nealo, Pillow Queens, Alibhe Reddy, Niamh Regan and Silverbacks. The winner, who will receive 10,000 euros, will be announced on 4 Mar.

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


Miley Cyrus has recorded a Metallica cover with Elton John
Miley Cyrus has revealed that Elton John, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith are among the guests set to appear on her upcoming Metallica covers album.

"I did a Metallica cover of 'Nothing Else Matters' featuring Elton John on piano, I've got Yo-Yo Ma, Chad Smith... just so many all-stars in this band", she tells Capital FM. "I'm so excited about this collaboration".

"Andrew Watt produced it, and I'm really stoked. I mean, having Elton John and Metallica and me - I love it when ingredients don't quite fit. Or it seems like a concoction that no one would ever put together, and you gotta have someone wild enough like Watt that will take that risk".

Cyrus put out numerous covers of songs by different artists last year and previously performed Metallica's 1991 song 'Nothing Else Matters' during her 2019 Glastonbury set. She then revealed that she was working on a full album of Metallica covers while speaking to Interview magazine in October last year.

Meanwhile, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich revealed in November, in an interview with Phoebe Bridgers for Rolling Stone, that the band have begun work on their eleventh studio album - the follow-up to 2016's 'Hardwired... To Self-Destruct'. No word yet on whether it will include any covers of Miley Cyrus songs.


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