|TUESDAY 2 FEBRUARY 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK's Competition & Markets Authority has announced that Viagogo must sell all but StubHub's North American business in order to get approval for the year-old acquisition of its main rival... [READ MORE]|
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CMA forces Viagogo to sell StubHub business outside of North America
Viagogo announced that it was buying StubHub from eBay in 2019, completing the deal in February last year. By that time the CMA was already investigating the transaction. A combined Viagogo/StubHub would totally dominate the for-profit ticket resale business in the UK and elsewhere.
Although Viagogo disputes the regulator's competition concerns, arguing that it also competes with primary ticketing sites and face-value resale platforms, the often controversial secondary ticketing company nevertheless suggested various remedies to allay the CMA's concerns.
Initially it proposed selling off the StubHub business in Europe, before extending that proposal in November to all of StubHub's operations outside of North America. Although a significant concession on Viagogo's part, the $4 billion purchase of StubHub was mainly about securing a dominant position in the North American market where Viagogo has always been a small player.
In a statement this morning, the CMA said that its investigation into the Viagogo/StubHub merger had concluded that the combination of the two companies would "lead to a substantial reduction in competition in the secondary ticketing market in the UK. This could lead to customers who use secondary ticketing platforms facing higher fees or poorer service in future. To address this concern, the CMA is requiring Viagogo to sell StubHub's business outside North America".
"This will mean that the StubHub international business – including in the UK – will be independently owned and run by a separate company, with no input from Viagogo", it added. "The CMA will determine key conditions of the sale, such as the right of the purchaser to use the StubHub brand for the next ten years. The CMA will also need to approve the purchaser of the business before any sale".
Commenting on the decision, Stuart McIntosh, Chair of the CMA inquiry group, said: "The CMA has focused on ensuring competition in this sector works best for UK consumers. After examining all the options, including unwinding the merger in full, the evidence shows that Viagogo selling StubHub's international business will resolve our competition concerns, effectively and proportionately".
"Creating a fully independent StubHub international business will maintain competition in the UK and help ensure that the users of these ticketing platforms don't face higher prices or poorer quality of service", he added.
Sony Music buys Kobalt's AWAL
So yes, Kobalt's recorded music division - consisting of the AWAL distribution and label services business and the separate Kobalt-branded neighbouring rights agency - has been bought by Sony Music in a deal worth around $430 million.
It's the latest land grab by a major in the music distribution and label services domain. All three majors have expanded their distribution operations over the years, especially as an increasing number of artists have looked to set up their own labels and then access label services, rather than signing a more traditional record deal.
Sony has long been the most prolific in this space, mainly via its The Orchard division. Most of the major's distribution acquisitions have ultimately been merged in with The Orchard, which has also directly acquired smaller rivals.
For now, AWAL and the Kobalt neighbouring rights agency will become a standalone division within Sony Music with current CEO Lonny Olinick still in charge. However, it will very much sit alongside The Orchard, with Sony stating that AWAL's offering will be "enhanced by the technology and network" of its existing distribution set-up.
The original AWAL business, like The Orchard, was one of the early players in digital music distribution. It was then acquired by Kobalt in 2011, initially as an entry-level DIY distribution platform that sat alongside Kobalt's then new label services division.
In 2018, all of Kobalt's activities in recorded music, other than neighbouring rights, were relaunched under the AWAL brand, which meant AWAL was working with artists at all levels, in some cases as a simple distributor, and in other cases offering pretty much all the services of a more traditional record label. It also provided B2B distribution services to other record companies.
Ever since it moved into the recordings side of the music industry, and especially around the big 2018 AWAL relaunch, Kobalt and its founder Willard Ahdritz made bold claims about how their approach to working with artists was different to what had gone before. They were particularly keen to distinguish their approach from that of the majors.
That approach isn't expected to change in the short term despite the Sony acquisition. After all, while it's true that working with AWAL is different to signing to a Sony label, it's not that different to artists working with The Orchard.
Confirming the deal yesterday, Sony Music boss Rob Stringer said: "Our investment in AWAL's continued growth gives us another level of service to offer the independent music community. With their flexible solutions to building artist careers, together we will offer creators more exciting choices to connect with their audience worldwide".
Meanwhile, The Orchard's CEO Brad Navin added: "The Orchard's comprehensive offerings, global footprint and technology will contribute to AWAL's continued success. We will give more artists a transparent, global solution and access to multiple touch points to release their music however they choose".
AWAL CEO Olinick chipped in: "The AWAL team has futuristically enabled artists to deliver their creative vision since its inception. Now, as part of the global Sony ecosystem, we can dramatically expand on this vision for them. We are also excited to build on our innovative neighboring rights as well as DIY platforms with extended support from The Orchard".
Back at Kobalt, Ahdritz said that - having sold its recorded music business to Sony - the company would now renew its focus on song rights, via the main Kobalt rights administration business, its AMRA collecting society and the catalogue-acquiring Kobalt Capital fund.
"As Kobalt moves forward under the leadership of our CEO, Laurent Hubert, we are both excited for the big opportunities ahead across music publishing, AMRA and Kobalt Capital", he told reporters. "Our team and capabilities will only grow stronger and play a continued role in making the industry better for creators".
The there mentioned Hubert added: "Kobalt's mission from the start has been to create transparency and fairness for creators. I could not be more excited to focus 100% of our efforts on our incredibly successful music publishing business. Through our world-class creative and sync team's 'one roster, one territory' approach, combined with our global tech infrastructure, Kobalt has become the destination of choice for some of the most successful music talent in the world".
Kobalt's management were also keen to stress yesterday that there'll be no more asset sales for the foreseeable future. Reports circulated last year that the Kobalt group was considering sell offs - including a possible sale of the whole business - as part of plans to raise new finance.
Kobalt Capital then sold off a bunch of catalogues to Hipgnosis in November and, of course, yesterday's AWAL sale is a significant transaction. But, it seems, that's now it, and the rest of Kobalt is no longer up for grabs.
The AWAL deal is subject to "customary regulatory and closing conditions". The independent sector will be following the ins and outs of the deal closely as it progresses. Trade groups like IMPALA have previously raised concerns about Sony's dominance in the marketplace, specifically citing the boost to market share it enjoys as a result of its distribution business when opposing Sony/ATV's complete buy-out of the old EMI songs catalogue.
Commenting on the transaction yesterday, Paul Pacifico of the UK's Association Of Independent Music stated: "AWAL's sale to Sony highlights the incredible value created by the independent music community as well as the continuing appetite of the majors to grow their market shares by acquisition. The value of being independent keeps increasing and will continue to do so as new sources of capital are starting to become available to independent music entrepreneurs, and organisations like AIM deliver ever better knowledge on how to play the music game and win".
PRS backtracks a little on its new licence for small-scale livestreamed shows
PRS has come under fire twice over its plans for licensing ticketed livestreamed shows on behalf of the songwriters and music publishers whose songs are performed.
Its proposals for licensing larger shows were deemed "unworkable" by the Music Managers Forum and the Featured Artists Coalition last year, while a new licence launched last week for smaller livestreams was also criticised for demanding a percentage of ticket money more than double that which would be charged on a real world show.
In both cases, the society was also criticised for not widely consulting artists, songwriters, managers, venues and promoters before deciding on what rates to charge.
With the licence for small-scale shows, PRS is charging £22.50 plus VAT for ticket sales of up to £250, and £45 plus VAT for ticket sales of £251-£500.
Artists who are PRS members who perform their own songs, which they entirely wrote, technically still need to get such a licence even when they stage a livestream themselves. This is because when a songwriter joins PRS, they assign all the performing rights in their songs to the society.
Of course, the monies paid would ultimately be distributed back to the artist as the writer of the songs, but a PRS commission would be charged and further cash could be lost to VAT.
There's also the added complication that some of the monies generated by the livestreaming licence are being allocated to the mechanical rights in the song, which are technically administered by MCPS rather than PRS. And not all self-published DIY artists are members of MCPS.
Plus, the money would be stuck in the system for at least a few months - none of which makes sense, especially for artists performing livestream gigs with incredibly tight profit margins.
With that in mind, PRS announced an amendment to its small-scale livestreaming licence yesterday, stating: "If a member wants to perform an online ticketed live concert exclusively of their own works, where they will receive all the royalties due, they can obtain a licence at no cost to them".
The free licence will only be available to self-published writers because, for any writer tied to a publishing deal, some of the monies due on the licence would be paid to the publisher not the writer. PRS is also only guaranteeing the free licence option "throughout the period the live sector is forced to close due to the COVID-19 crisis".
Nevertheless, MMF and FAC said yesterday that it was "pleased that PRS For Music have listened to calls from artists, managers and others across the industry. It is a welcome step forward that writer-performers playing their own material will be exempted from paying for a licence at small-scale livestream shows".
Subtly acknowledging the criticism PRS has received over its livestreaming proposals in recent months, the society also said yesterday that it was "accelerating its ongoing dialogue with key stakeholders on an interim rate, while the physical live sector is closed, for online concerts in the coming weeks. We are committed to agreeing a discounted rate for larger concerts as soon as possible to make these licences available to the market".
Noting that, the CEOs of the MMF and FAC - Annabella Coldrick and David Martin respectively - said: "We welcome that PRS will now begin a dialogue with artists, managers and other key stakeholders about the licensing of larger livestream events, and commit to agreeing a discounted rate while 'in-person' shows remain closed. Decisions around collection and distribution of revenue impact cross-sections of the music industry and cannot be taken on a unilateral basis. Therefore, we look forward to a full and inclusive consultation on these matters in the days and weeks ahead".
The Music Venue Trust, which was also highly critical of last week's announcement regarding the new licence for small-scale livestreamed shows, also welcome yesterday's slight backtrack.
The organisation's Mark Davyd said: "We warmly welcome this logical revision to the previously announced tariff which has already seen hundreds of live events lost, costing performers and songwriters vital opportunities to generate desperately needed income during this crisis. The announcement of the Online Small Scale Tariff last week, without prior consultation or discussion, was ill-conceived and poorly executed. It is good to see PRS For Music acknowledging their error by immediately removing this charge".
However, he added, "we note that once again the statement is issued to press without consultation or discussion with the sector most impacted by it. A long term solution that ensures that songwriters whose work is performed in the grassroots sector are recognised and rewarded is achievable. It requires PRS For Music to enter into serious discussions in good faith, prepared to listen and prepared to consider evidence that can result in positive, forward-facing solutions for all stakeholders".
"Grassroots music venues want to pay the right songwriters an appropriate fee for the use of their material", he concluded. "The creation of songs is the beating heart of what our sector is about. Let's work together to fix a broken system that recognises and rewards that".
Although livestreaming has been around for two decades, it's only since the COVID shutdown began that livestreamed shows have started to be regularly monetised, which is why questions around licensing the use of songs at such shows is only now being properly considered.
Plenty of questions remain about what elements of the song copyright are actually being exploited by a livestream and also whether collecting societies like PRS are able to offer global licences for livestreamed shows, or whether societies in other countries might claim royalties on tickets sold in their markets.
It's partly because of these complexities - in addition to the debate over what rates are fair - that managers in particular are keen to be part of the debate with organisations like PRS as these new licences are evolved.
Attitude Is Everything and Independent Venue Week collaborate to increase accessibility of venues and shows
Part of AIE's Next Stage initiative, the alliance will begin with a workshop next month in which participating promoters will discuss how they currently engage with disabled artists and where extra support is needed. Collaborative training and resources will then be developed between these promoters and artists from the Next Stage network over the next year, ensuring that Independent Venue Week 2022 is accessible as possible.
Research undertaken by AIE in 2019 demonstrated that there was work to be done to make the UK's network of venues and festivals as accessible as possible. That includes promoters simply understanding what kinds of support music-makers may need, and then communicating that they are ready and able to provide that support.
According to AIE's 2019 survey "70% of artists with access requirements had withheld details of a health condition or impairment due to being worried that doing so would cause problems and impact a relationship with a promoter, venue or festival. As a result, two in three have compromised their health or wellbeing to perform live".
Announcing the latest tie up with Independent Venue Week, AIE's Rich Legate says: "This campaign is going to be a hugely positive and beneficial collaboration between promoters and artists, and aims to enrich our future live music landscape. Following the results of our 2019 Next Stage survey we know that many artists with access requirements face challenges disclosing their health condition or impairment. We want to take the burden away and it's really exciting to be tackling this in partnership with Independent Venue Week".
Meanwhile, Independent Venue Week's Chloe Ward adds: "We have worked with Attitude Is Everything for a number of years across their different projects and initiatives and are really chuffed to be working with them on the Next Stage project. We are lucky to work with a fantastic network of in-house and external promoters who are going to be integral in shaping the new guidelines and resources for other promoters, ultimately resulting in a more supportive and inclusive experience for all in the live music community".
Dissecting The Streaming Inquiry #07: Music Rights Data
Based on the five years of research CMU Insights has undertaken with the Music Managers Forum as part of the 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar' project, we explain the background to the key debates, helping you navigate and understand each issue and the proposed solutions.
Beyond the recording/song element of the digital pie debate - ie should a higher portion of streaming income be allocated to the song rights? - there are other issues that impact on how much money songwriters make from streams: in particular music rights data and complex royalty chains.
Once a streaming service has done all its deals with the music industry, it then needs to calculate what monies each licensing partner is due each month. On the recordings side, the service assumes that whichever label or distributor uploaded a track must control the copyright in that recording. So whenever that track is streamed, that label or distributor needs to be paid.
But also contained in the track is a song, and the label and distributor does not usually control the song rights. So who does the service pay the song royalties to? This is a problem because the service doesn't know who controls the copyright in the song. In fact, it doesn't even know what the song is. It knows what the track is called, but lots of songs have the same title.
In most cases, the streaming services outsource this problem to their licensing partners on the songs side, ie music publishers and collecting societies.
They are sent a report of every track streamed in the previous month, with each track identified by the unique identifier provided by the label or distributor, that being an ISRC. The publisher or society then needs to work out what song is contained in the track. Songs are uniquely identified by an ISWC, so basically each ISRC needs to be matched to an ISWC.
Publishers and societies - or royalty processing agencies they employ - have databases that match recordings with songs to help with this process. But, of course, every month an ever increasing number of new tracks are uploading, meaning publishers and societies are constantly having to match new ISRCs to ISWCs.
Once a track has been matched to a song, each publisher and society then has to work out if it controls that song.
Song copyrights are often co-owned, of course, and actual control may be different from country to country, or for the so called mechanical rights versus the so called performing rights, both of which are exploited by a stream. As a result, multiple publishers and societies may be claiming a portion of any monies due to any song that has been streamed.
Ownership of song copyrights can also change over time, and rights change ownership much more frequently these days.
Crucially, because there isn't a global, authoritative, publicly accessible, real time, music industry-owned database that matches all ISRCs to an ISWC - and then states who controls each song copyright and ownership splits - the services themselves can't work out who is due what.
That means publishers and songwriters incur additional royalty processing costs. And also, that the processing of those royalties can take quite a bit of time, and there's plenty of room for error, where any one publisher or society over or under claims monies.
And some monies are never properly allocated to specific songs at all, ending up in the black box, which either sits with a service or gets distributed to the industry based on total market share.
None of this is ideal. Various publishers, societies and start-ups have invested in and developed systems to increase efficiency and accuracy, but there remains plenty of room for improvement.
Songwriter group The Ivors Academy goes into these data issue in quite some detail in its submission to the select committee.
Among other things, it calls for better education of songwriters around music rights data to ensure good data enters the system. It also calls on the industry to create "a single registration portal for writers and publishers that can reconcile and propagate accurate copyright data around the world". The UK government, it adds, "could fund a research project to establish this in the UK".
The Academy also proposes that copyright law be changed to introduce a 'minimum viable data standard' on the streaming services, in terms of the data it passes on to publishers and societies. That might in turn put more responsibility onto the labels and distributors to identify what songs are contained in any recordings they upload, ie so that they provide an ISWC as well as an ISRC.
While not fixing everything by any means, having the ISWC included with the recording as it is uploaded would definitely help. Though labels and distributors would probably argue that it's not currently easy for them to access ISWC information either, not least because with new songs an ISWC may not have been issued at the point a track is released. Some publishers also probably wouldn't trust the labels to provide accurate data about their songs.
Nevertheless, the Ivors Academy is right to put the spotlight on music right data. Because bad or inconsistent or conflicting or inaccessible data routinely negatively impacts on songwriters, in terms of the speed and accuracy with which payments are made, whether or not money even gets through to the right music-maker, and in terms of the way song rights are valued to start with.
There's also the issue of that black box, of course, ie the monies not matched to any specific songs. Arguably, with digital, there shouldn't be a black box, in that a song should be identified for every single stream. Another proposal made by the Ivors Academy is that, rather than black box monies being distributed to the industry based on market share - which usually means big publishers and superstar writers get extra cash - that money should be used to address the data problem.
"Streaming black box royalties should be paid to creator organisations to run projects that will improve the awareness, understanding and timely registration of music metadata", it states. "This will reduce the amount of unattributable streams being generated and deliver a more efficient operation for [streaming services] and collecting societies. Increased efficiency equals increased value to songwriters and composers".
Interestingly, another submission that talks about bad music rights data is the one made by YouTube. It uses the data problem as one reason why UK lawmakers should be cautious of following the European Union in reforming the copyright safe harbour that user-upload platforms like YouTube currently rely on to avoid liability for their users' copyright infringement.
It writes: "In the music industry in particular, data regarding ownership of rights is often unclear. Platforms do not always have access to the complete information that they need about the content they are licensing. For example, to properly account to and pay a music publisher, a licensee needs to know what songs the music publisher owns, which sound recordings those songs correspond to, and the fractional share of interest controlled by the publisher".
"That information also needs to be updated in real-time", it adds, "as writers switch publishers and take their rights with them, and also should be provided prior to usage of the applicable works. Historically, it has been very difficult for platforms like YouTube to obtain all of this data".
Shoddy data combined with the safe harbour reforms contained in the 2019 European Copyright Directive could result in platforms like YouTube having to "over-block" content containing music, it then argues. Meaning videos are blocked out of caution - to avoid the risk of liability for infringement - rather than because of known copyright issues.
And that would negatively impact YouTube's own community of creators, as well user-experience, and - it also argues - the music-makers and music companies that might otherwise earn royalties from videos that were previously monetised but instead start to be blocked.
The Ivors Academy, of course, very much supports safe harbour reform and would almost certainly reject YouTube's arguments regarding why those elements of the European Copyright Directive shouldn't be adopted in the UK too. Though, in the need to sort out the music rights data problem, Ivors and YouTube are unlikely allies.
YouTube concludes: "We encourage the committee to explore the development of a comprehensive musical works and sound recording ownership database that would have beneficial applications across all areas of music licensing".
"The committee", it says, "could take advantage of this rare and important opportunity to facilitate collaboration among the music industry to solve the data problems that plague music licensing; poor and missing ownership data cause unnecessary risk and expense for music services, and prevent timely, accurate royalty payments to songwriters and publishers".
Tomorrow we'll deal with the complex royalty chains.
You can follow all our coverage of the Parliamentary inquiry into the economics of streaming via this CMU timeline here.
Simon Mayo to present drivetime show on Greatest Hits Radio
"Returning to drivetime is so very exciting for me", says Mayo, announcing the show. "It's a show I loved so much and now on Greatest Hits Radio we intend to make it even better. The message of the show is the same - enjoy yourself, it's later than you think!"
Mayo left BBC Radio 2 in 2018, a few months after his drivetime show there was revamped to include Jo Whiley as a co-host. Although the official line at the time was that the DJ planned to focus on other projects outside of radio, three months later he was announced among the presenter line-up on Bauer's new classical station, Scala.
Last August it was then announced that he would be taking up an weekend slot on Greatest Hits Radio too.
Mayo's new weekday show on Greatest Hits will see him bring an end to his morning show on Scala - although he will remain on the classical station with a new weekend show, which is still to be officially announced.
Commenting on all this show juggling, Hits RadioGroup Programme Director Gary Stein says: "We're so excited to have one of the UK's most loved radio presenters hosting an all new drivetime show on Greatest Hits Radio. With Simon playing the amazing music that the nation grew up with from the 70s, 80s and 90s, along with his warmth and personality, I know audiences will love his new show".
The really important thing to note in all of this, of course, is that Mayo will continue to present 'Kermode And Mayo's Film Review' on BBC Radio 5 Live every Friday.
Mayo's Greatest Hits drivetime show will begin airing on 15 Mar.
Marilyn Manson dropped by label following abuse allegations
Wood has spoken about abuse by an unnamed former partner for a number of years, but only yesterday named Manson as the perpetrator. In a post on Instagram, she said: "The name of my abuser is Brian Warner, also known to the world as Marilyn Manson".
"He started grooming me when I was a teenager and horrifically abused me for years", she went on. "I was brainwashed and manipulated into submission. I am done living in fear of retaliation, slander, or blackmail. I am here to expose this dangerous man and call out the many industries that have enabled him, before he ruins any more lives. I stand with the many victims who will no longer be silent".
Following this post, four other women also made allegations, catalogued by Vanity Fair.
Wood and Manson's relationship became public in 2007, when she was nineteen and he was 36. They were briefly engaged in 2010, before splitting up the same year. Wood began speaking about being a survivor of physical and mental abuse in 2016, and it has long been believed that she was referring to Manson as her abuser.
In response to the accusations made against him yesterday, Manson posted on Instagram: "Obviously, my art and my life have long been magnets for controversy, but these recent claims about me are horrible distortions of reality. My intimate relationships have always been entirely consensual with like-minded partners. Regardless of how - and why - others are now choosing to misrepresent the past, that is the truth".
Yesterday, Loma Vista Recordings announced that it was cutting ties with Manson as a result of the accusations of abuse, saying in a statement to Variety: "In light of today's disturbing allegations by Evan Rachel Wood and other women naming Marilyn Manson as their abuser, Loma Vista will cease to further promote his current album, effective immediately. Due to these concerning developments, we have also decided not to work with Marilyn Manson on any future projects".
Manson is no longer listed on the label's website and his products are no longer available in its online store.
EDUCATION & EVENTS
Brexit has turned out to be an almighty disaster. If only someone had given some kind of warning. Later this month, record industry trade group BPI will begin a series of webinars to help music companies try to navigate the whole sorry situation. There will be talks on movement of people (11 Feb), movement of goods (18 Feb), VAT (24 Feb) and data (3 Mar). Click the links to register.
Fraser T Smith has appointed Three Six Zero as his new management team, with Phil Sales his direct manager. Smith co-wrote Adele's 'Set Fire To The Rain' and produced Stormzy's 'Gang Signs & Prayer', among many others, and released his own Future Utopia artist album last year.
Dead Can Dance's Lisa Gerrard and Jules Maxwell will release a new album together, titled 'Burn', on 7 May, having recently signed to Atlantic Curve. "It is with great pleasure that I share this collaboration with Jules Maxwell", says Gerrard. "Jules and I began our creative journey with Dead Can Dance. We realised that we could connect through improvisation and that musical exploration continues to evolve with this present work".
Heidi Jacob has joined Universal Music's all-new 0207 Def Jam as Promotions Director. "I grew up listening to Def Jam compilation CDs, so this really is a dream come true", she says. "I'm absolutely THRILLED to be part of the 0207 Def Jam team, heading up and building the promotions team".
LABELS & PUBLISHERS
Australian label services company Remote Control has launched a new joint venture publishing company with Beggars Music, called Remote Control Music. "We are excited to expand Remote Control into the publishing space", say co-founders Steve Cross and Harvey Saward. "We have worked with the Beggars Group for 20 years, representing their catalogue of recorded music in Australia and New Zealand. It makes perfect sense to expand on that successful partnership and work with the publishing company".
System Of A Down have released the video for one of two recently released new tracks, 'Genocidal Humanoidz'.
Every Time I Die have released new single 'AWOL'. The track was previously made available to people who bought tickets for the band's fundraising live stream - 'Every Time I Die's online telethon extravaganza to raise $69 for the members of Every Time I Die' - in December.
Skullcrusher has released new single 'For Nick Drake'. The song, she says, "is about my relationship to the music of Nick Drake. It recalls moments in my life that are viscerally intertwined with his music, specifically times spent walking and taking the train. The song is really my homage to music and the times I felt most immersed in it".
Victoria Monét has released new single 'F.U.C.K'. It is, she says, "a nod to the millennial and gen Z mindset. We do not have to be confined to traditional commitment ideals, and instead, embody the freedom to be intimate when and with whom we mutually please. I wanted to give that non-binding friendship intimacy an official name - the way we see it, if you're never in a relationship, you technically can never break up. It's forever fun, it's playful, it happens. So... F.U.C.K. it!"
Pinty has released new single 'Comfort Me', featuring Emma-Jane Thackray. It "was written while I was going through therapy and coming to terms with strife in my life - I lost three friends in the last year", he says. "These lyrics are about me summoning my omens and calling out for some nurture, desperately in need of some comfort".
Sibille Attar has released new single 'Somebody's Watching'. "There was a time when I felt like I couldn't trust the business, and it was draining me of my love for the music", she says of the inspiration for the song. "Eventually, I realised you can't live your life trying to fit into somebody else's mould all the time". Her new album, 'A Hand Of Silence', is out on 26 Feb through PNKSLM.
Ragz Originale has released new single 'Nightcap', featuring John Glacier.
Kesh has released new single 'Jadine's Escape'.
GIGS & TOURS
Celeste has announced UK tour dates to promote her newly released debut album, 'Not Your Muse'. She will play six dates in March and April 2022, including one at The Roundhouse in London on 21 Apr. Again, that's 2022.
Tom Grennan has announced that he will play an interactive livestreamed show this Friday at 5pm UK time. "I've missed performing live so much and am buzzing to get back on stage again", he says. "I've got something super special planned and cannot wait to see you all singing along with me at home!" Tickets are available to anyone willing to pre-order his new album, 'Evering Road', via his website.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Lego releases album of brick sounds
Lego's new 'Lego White Noise' album features seven 30 minute tracks made up of "nothing but the iconic sounds that the Lego brick makes, sounds that are recognised by generations all over the world".
The aim, says Lego, is to "help listeners find a moment of zen in their day, making it the perfect audio accompaniment for falling asleep, unwinding, or relaxing through Lego building".
Listening to sounds of Lego bricks while also playing with Lego bricks might be overdoing it a bit, but whatever helps, I guess.
"Each Lego element makes a unique noise, which is why designers experimented with over 10,000 in their quest for the perfect soothing sounds", adds the company. "The result is a soundscape that includes tracks such as 'It All Clicks', which perfectly captures the joyous sound of two Lego elements joining together, and 'The Waterfall', created by pouring thousands of Lego bricks on top of each other".