TODAY'S TOP STORY: Record label trade group BPI says that the booming streaming market has created opportunities for more artists, and a more diverse mix of artists, both at home and internationally... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES BPI cautions against radically changing a streaming model that is "working well for so many"
LEGAL RIAA says Yout lawsuit should be dismissed
Iced Earth's Jon Schaffer arrested over Capitol attack

DEALS Blue Raincoat signs Nick Drake catalogue
LIVE BUSINESS FEAT launches guide to tout-proof ticketing
MEDIA Scruff Of The Neck launches live-stream partnership with Twitch tonight
ONE LINERS Collective Soul, Gez O'Connell, Zara Larsson, more
AND FINALLY... Garth Brooks joins performers at Joe Biden inauguration
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BPI cautions against radically changing a streaming model that is "working well for so many"
Record label trade group BPI says that the booming streaming market has created opportunities for more artists, and a more diverse mix of artists, both at home and internationally.

Those claims are based on new stats which have been published ahead of today's select committee hearing in the UK Parliament on the economics of streaming, at which major label bosses will have to defend the streaming business, and respond to allegations that the current streaming model isn't benefiting the people who write and record the music.

The BPI says that 1800 artists achieved more than ten million streams in the UK alone last year. The equivalent of that in terms of old fashioned album sales would be 10,000 units shifted, the BPI argues, and in 2007 that was achieved by 1048 artists. Meanwhile, whereas the top ten artists of the moment accounted for 13% of album sales in 2005, they only accounted for 5% of streams last year, meaning the music market is now less dominated by the superstars.

In terms of global reach, the BPI says "while consumption of British rap and hip hop, along with some rock, remains primarily UK-focused, many British artists are achieving exceptional international success, in particular in genres such as pop, dance and electronica, with 300 British artists now achieving 100 million global streams or more annually".

The new stats are clearly designed to counter a narrative that streaming has made it impossible for artists to make a living out of their music. Of course, many more artists are now releasing tracks, because doing so is much easier in the streaming age. That means, in percentage terms, the number of artists making a living from their releases is down. However, the BPI wants you to know, the total number of artists achieving success is actually increasing.

That said, whether or not scoring millions of streams at home and abroad constitutes making a living for the artist depends on where those streams occur and how much of the money makes it to the artist themselves. A million streams on a premium subscription service in a mature market is likely bringing in a few thousand pounds. Though how much of that reaches the artist will depend on the deal they have with their label or distributor.

That's really the key debate in terms of the culture select committee's streaming inquiry. There continues to be plenty of online chatter criticising the monies paid by the streaming services, and especially Spotify, to the music industry at large. However, the main debate as part of the Parliamentary inquiry has been how that money is shared out between artists, labels, songwriters and publishers.

The BPI acknowledges that fact alongside the new stats, insisting that - while labels may receive the biggest slice of the digital pie - artists are getting more than they did with physical. And also that the share received by labels is justified given the investment they make - financially, creatively and commercially - in new music.

The BPI states: "Artists are receiving a higher share of revenues nowadays than they did in the CD era. As acknowledged by witnesses who have already appeared before the [select] committee, artist royalty rates are typically higher in streaming, commonly ranging between 20-30% – compared to CD era rates more typically at rates of 15%-20% of net Published Price To Dealer (and subject to deductions)".

Breaking down the digital pie in more detail, it goes on: "On average, based on a typical £9.99 subscription to a streaming service, labels receive gross revenues of around £4.33, of which artists receive £1.33. Of the label's remaining share of £3.00, costs represent £2.49 (including investment into artists such as A&R and global marketing) – this leaves a label margin of £0.51. The remaining £5.67 is received by: the exchequer (VAT); the streaming service; and publishers and songwriters".

Of course, plenty of artists and songwriters, and their managers, argue that - while labels may see a smaller share of streaming income compared to physical - the artist and songwriter share on a stream should still be higher. After all, they'd add, significant cost and risk was removed from the label with the shift from pressing and distributing physical product to a primarily digital-based recorded music business.

At the previous select committee hearings it's been proposed that a bigger slice of the pie should be allocated to the song. And, on the artist side, equitable remuneration could be paid on streams, as it is on radio and public performance, meaning all artists would be guaranteed a minimum royalty oblivious of their record deals.

Having presented its stats and maths, the BPI argues against overhauling the model in that way. Its members, it says, "believe strongly that rather than changing a model that is working well for so many, the focus should be on continuing to grow revenues from streaming and music consumption generally for the benefit of the wider music community, including artists and songwriters".

With that in mind, it then says, MPs should prioritise things like safe harbour reform, strengthening the negotiating hand of copyright owners when dealing with new digital platforms, ensuring that user-upload and social media services don't get away with paying much lower royalties to the music community.

None of the arguments presented by BPI today are a surprise, and when the UK bosses of Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music are grilled by MPs this morning they are expected to say very similar things.

Campaigners in the artist and songwriter communities calling for an overhaul of the streaming model know all these arguments well, and have plenty of counter-arguments to throw back in return. But it remains to be seen how MPs respond to the label position when presented at the inquiry.

That's all going to be happening as this edition of CMU Daily is published. We'll have a report on what is discussed in tomorrow's edition. You can follow our coverage of the inquiry and access other useful resources providing background and insights on the whole streaming business debate on this CMU Timeline here.


RIAA says Yout lawsuit should be dismissed
The Recording Industry Association Of America has called for a lawsuit filed against it by stream-ripping service Yout.com to be dismissed. The record label trade group says that Yout has misrepresented the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act twice in its lawsuit, which argues that the RIAA acted illegally when it urged Google to de-list the stream-ripping site from its search engine.

The RIAA requested the Google de-listing on the basis that Yout had violated the DMCA by circumventing "YouTube's rolling cipher, a technical protection measure, that protects our members' works on YouTube from unauthorised copying [and] downloading". Such circumvention breached a provision in the DMCA that "prohibits circumventing a technological protection measure put in place by a copyright owner to control access to a copyrighted work".

However, in its lawsuit Yout stated: "Contrary to defendants' allegations, Yout's software platform is not designed to descramble, decrypt, avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair the YouTube rolling cypher technology. In fact, any digital mechanism in place designed as anti-circumvention technology stops Yout users from recording and saving that protected work, thereby demonstrating Yout's compliance with any anti-circumvention protections in place".

The stream-ripping site then went further and alleged that it was, in fact, the RIAA that had violated the DMCA by misrepresenting the nature of its service to Google, causing Yout tangible harm, including cancelled subscriptions and the closure of its Paypal account.

In its response, the RIAA says that Yout definitely is circumventing a technological protection measure that has been put in place by YouTube to protect the content of the copyright owners it has licensing deals with.

Yout's claims otherwise, the labels say, are based on an incorrect definition of "technological projection measure", in which basically the stream-ripping site claims that - because it's possible to circumvent YouTube's technological projection measure - it can't be a technological protection measure.

RIAA states in its new legal filing: "Plaintiff contends that the DMCA does not proscribe bypassing the YouTube rolling cipher because the rolling cipher is not effective at restricting access to the sound recording files".

"But the law is clear", it adds, "that a technological measure's effectiveness is judged from the perspective of an ordinary consumer, and plaintiff tacitly admits that the rolling cipher is effective because without it, the ordinary consumer would only be able to listen to, and not 'record' and 'store on the user's computer in the form of an MP3 file' - ie copy - 'the audio of a streamed video' on YouTube".

Therefore, what the RIAA told Google - ie that Yout is violating the DMCA - was, in fact, correct. And even if it wasn't, the RIAA then says, it still wouldn't be in breach of the DMCA itself.

Because while the DMCA does prevent a copyright owner from issuing a bogus takedown notice against content that is not infringing, or which it does not own, those rules do not cover statements about the general legality of a service.

The RIAA's legal filing goes on: "Plaintiff does not allege that RIAA reported copyright infringement to Google. Instead, plaintiff alleges that RIAA reported that the Yout service circumvents YouTube's rolling cipher, which is a distinct legal issue. This allegation does not and cannot constitute a [DMCA] violation, because the statute does not proscribe alleged misrepresentations regarding circumvention".

With all that in mind, the RIAA concludes, the court should dismiss Yout's lawsuit. We await to see how Yout responds.


Iced Earth's Jon Schaffer arrested over Capitol attack
Iced Earth guitarist Jon Schaffer is in FBI custody after being charged with various crimes related to the 6 Jan attack on the US Capitol building. The musician reportedly handed himself in on Sunday.

The various charges relate to forced entry into the Capitol building, use of physical violence and disrupting government business. The FBI also said on Twitter that Schaffer is suspected of attacking police officers with 'bear spray'.

Among various pieces of evidence in the case against Schaffer is an interview he gave to a reporter while on the pro-Trump protest march prior to the attack on the Capitol building. In that interview, he said that he was there to protest the election result, and that he and others were willing to do so violently if necessary.

"If somebody wants to bring violence, I think there's a lot of us here that are ready for it", he said at one point. "We don't want that, but if they bring it we're going to respond to that, trust me".

He was later photographed several times inside the Capitol building, which made him a key "person of interest" in the FBI's investigation into the attack.

After Schaffer was identified in those photographs earlier this month, Iced Earth released a statement distancing themselves from him, saying: "We absolutely DO NOT condone nor do we support riots or the acts of violence that the rioters were involved in on 6 Jan at the US Capitol building. We hope that all those involved that day are brought to justice to be investigated and answer for their actions".

Schaffer is now one of 78 people charged over the 6 Jan incident, with more expected to join that list. Several have called on Donald Trump to pardon them before he leaves office, arguing that they were acting on his instructions.

Trump is expected to pardon up to 100 people later today, although it's not clear exactly who will be on that list. It seems likely that even he realises that pardoning the rioters he insists he didn't incite might not be a good look. Who knows though?

One person thought to be on the pardon list, however, is rapper Lil Wayne. He was charged with federal gun offences in December after being found with a gun and ammunition on a private jet. Receiving a pardon would mean he would not have to face those charges and - more importantly - a potential ten year prison sentence.


Blue Raincoat signs Nick Drake catalogue
Blue Raincoat Music Publishing - with its partner Reservoir - has signed a deal to represent the entire publishing catalogue of Nick Drake.

Drake died in 1974, aged 26, after recordings three albums: 'Five Leaves Left', 'Bryter Later' and 'Pink Moon'. Although not widely recognised during his lifetime, his popularity has grown steadily in the intervening years. He has been highly influential for many other musicians, including REM, Paul Weller, Elbow, Beck and more.

"Nick's career has so often swum against the tide", says Cally Callomon, manager of Bryter Music, The Estate Of Nick Drake. "Working with Nick's songs has always demanded and rewarded close attention and focus, so it was a relief to find that there are still a clutch of song publishers who have the time and dedication to concentrate on the subtleties and details that these songs deserve".

"Blue Raincoat is one such, along with their American partners, Reservoir", he goes on. "The fact that the company also owns the newly reformed Chrysalis is an added bonus. Chrysalis were once bed partners with [Drake's label] Island Records and so this move will be like a return to the fold".

Jeremy Lascelles, CEO Blue Raincoat Music, adds: "There are very, very few song collections that have meant more to me over the years, and my sentiments are clearly widely shared both within and without the artistic community. It is no mean feat to have written songs that are era defining but remain utterly timeless, but that is what Nick has left behind for us all".

"His body of work has been so skilfully and lovingly curated by Cally and [Drake's sister] Gabrielle over the years", he continues, "and it is an unbelievable honour that Blue Raincoat Music have been chosen to continue that work alongside them into the future".


FEAT launches guide to tout-proof ticketing
Pan-European anti-ticket-touting group FEAT - or the Face-value European Alliance For Ticketing - has published a new guide for agents and promoters to stop their concert tickets from being bought up by people intending to sell them on for profit.

'Stop Touting: A Guide To Personalised Tickets In Europe' was launched during a keynote address by FEAT Director and CEO of MCT-Agentur, Scumeck Sabottka, at the Eurosonic music industry conference on Friday. It is now available to download for free from the organisation's website.

Ahead of live shows resuming post-COVID, the guide offers a step-by-step guide for setting up a ticket personalisation scheme that will make it harder for touts to buy and sell tickets.

"This guide uses our experience of ticket personalisation, gleaned from multiple tours and arena shows, to show it can be done straightforwardly and successfully", says Sabottka. "My hope is that the live business will use this pandemic-induced standstill to improve the way we sell tickets, and protect artists, fans and our own businesses from these ticket touting vampires".

Download the guide here.


Scruff Of The Neck launches live-stream partnership with Twitch tonight
Manchester-based independent music company Scruff Of The Neck will tonight launch a new content partnership with Twitch which will see the label and promoter livestream a series of programmes featuring live performances and interviews with the likes of Bad Boy Chiller Crew, Bamily, Corella, Dan D'Lion, Devon, Ellysse Mason, Lottery Winners, Low Island, Lucy Deakin and The Rills.

The company says that its COVID shutdown prompted move into livestreaming with Amazon's Twitch platform aims to provide "an effective and sustainable outlet for hundreds of artists - with the power to tap into Twitch's enormous global audience - as well as vital work for the industry around them, at a time when it's needed most".

Commenting on the new venture, Scruff Of The Neck CEO Mark Lippmann says: "This partnership has revolutionised our business at a time when being adaptive and forward thinking is crucial. We've converted both floors of our Manchester office into a broadcast ready space with a stage, podcast area and recording studio".

The company's Head Of Live, Chris Brearley, adds: "It's no secret that working in live music over the past year has been tough, both for artists and their teams. Partnering with Twitch, we're excited to be able to create new opportunities for artists to reconnect with their fans by offering high-quality, free-to-access live performances and programming".

"We hope that we can develop a space for new music discovery", he continues, "while at the same time building an online community for those looking to immerse themselves in a gig experience and become part of the conversation around some of the most exciting talent on offer".

The first Scruff Of The Neck TV live stream takes place tonight on Twitch at 7.30pm.



Round Hill Music has acquired the publishing catalogue of rock band Collective Soul and primary songwriter Ed Roland. "Collective Soul are staples of American radio", says Round Hill CEO Josh Gruss. "I dare someone to travel the US for a week with ears perked up and NOT hear one of their songs". I'm game. What's the prize?

Concord Music Publishing has re-signed songwriter Gez O'Connell for a deal covering all past and future works. "Gez is a seamless songwriter with the Midas touch", says A&R Director Harri Davies. "We are absolutely delighted to further our brilliant relationship together and look forward to an exciting future".



Michelle Escoffery has been appointed to the newly created role of President of the PRS Members' Council. "As President, I will work to solidify relationships between our membership and the Members' Council, bring more relevance to younger writers and further develop a rich culture of diversity on all levels, reflecting our membership from the top down", she says.



Zara Larsson has announced that she will release new album, 'Poster Girl', on 5 Mar. Here's new single, 'Talk About Love', featuring Young Thug.

Weezer are set to release their delayed album, 'Van Weezer', in May. But before that, they've just announced, they will release another new album, 'OK Human', on 29 Jan. The first track from it, 'All My Favourite Songs', will be released this Friday.

Griff has released new single 'Black Hole'.

Chip has released a new diss track, aimed at Stormzy, accusing his fellow rapper of pretending to be Christian. Here's 'Ten Commandments'. Chip put out another Stormzy 'send' last October, called 'Flowers', but so far Stormzy has not taken the bait.

AFI have released two new tracks, 'Twisted Tongues' and 'Escape From Los Angeles'. Both will be released on limited edition seven-inch on 19 Mar.

Octo Octa will release new EP 'She's Calling' on 5 Feb. From it, this is 'Find Your Way Home'.

Yard Act have released new single 'Dark Days'.

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


Garth Brooks joins performers at Joe Biden inauguration
Garth Brooks has announced that he will perform at the inauguration of Joe Biden tomorrow, joining Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez as the entertainment for the presidential swearing-in ceremony.

The country musician was quick to state that the decision to accept the invitation had no political motivation, as he has performed for every US president since Jimmy Carter in the late 70s, with the exception of Ronald Reagan.

The first time he actually performed at an inauguration, however, was Barack Obama's in 2009. He noted that he had also been invited to play Donald Trump's inauguration in 2016, but had been unable to do so due to prior commitments. Ah well.

"This is not a political statement", he said of performing for Biden. "This is a statement of unity. I'm excited, nervous - all the good things, because this is history and it's an honour to get to serve".

He also dropped in a mention that he's actually a Republican voter, if you were wondering about his ability to talk about unity. Which sort of sounds like a political statement. But whatever,

He goes on: "The main thing [the Biden administration is] pushing now is unity, and that's right down my alley. I would say we're more divided than ever, so that bridge that brings us together [is key]. I might be the only Republican at this place. But ... I want us to offer a differing opinion and hug each other at the same football game ... Because I want to spend the next ten years of my life not divided. I'm so tired of being divided".

Meanwhile, Donald Trump, in the final days of his presidency, is attempting to give himself some sort of legacy beyond being that guy who incited a riot. His big plan is to build a "garden of American heroes" - a collection of more than 250 statues that will serve as "America's answer" to the "reckless" vandalism of monuments to people connected to the slave trade last year.

The list of "American heroes" set to be commemorated in the park, which Trump announced yesterday with an executive order, seems almost entirely random. Not least because a number of them aren't American. Of those that are though, there are a lot of musicians, including Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Whitney Houston, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday.

"The National Garden will be built to reflect the awesome splendour of our country's timeless exceptionalism", says Trump.


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.
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.
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