TODAY'S TOP STORY: Tencent Music Entertainment - the biggest digital music operator in China - announced yesterday that its current CEO Cussion Pang will become the firm's Executive Chairman, while Zhu Liang will take over in the Chief Exec role... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES New CEO at Tencent Music Entertainment
DEALS Rich The Kid signs to Rostrum
LABELS & PUBLISHERS BPI annual report shows rap continues to boom in the UK
Reservoir to list on Nasdaq via merger with SPAC

Warner Music launches new Pan-Asian dance label

DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Triller announces new CEO and latest acquisitions
ONE LINERS Radiocentre, Rina Sawayama & Elton John, Marina, more
AND FINALLY... Arcade Fire release 45 minute instrumental track on Headspace
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The music industry went to war with YouTube over safe harbour and the value gap. What does that even mean? And who is winning the battle? We look at 2019's controversial European Copyright Directive and what impact it will - or will not - have, and whether those reforms can - or will - be adopted by the US. Plot twist: maybe YouTube wasn't even the real problem.
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In a year dominated by the impact of COVID-19, what have been the key developments in the wider music industry over the last twelve months? As the live industry restarts, what will it look like? And what impact will the challenges of the pandemic have long-term on all the other strands of the music industry?
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Navigate and understand the music business with guides and reports from CMU...
Artist And Songwriter Rights In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to the rights artists and songwriters enjoy over their music
Music Rights Data In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to music rights data, data standards and databases
Music Industry Basics In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to all the different strands of the modern music industry
Streaming Challenges In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to the challenges facing the streaming business in 2020
Collective Licensing In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to the collective licensing system
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New CEO at Tencent Music Entertainment
Tencent Music Entertainment - the biggest digital music operator in China - announced yesterday that its current CEO Cussion Pang will become the firm's Executive Chairman, while Zhu Liang will take over in the Chief Exec role.

Chinese web giant Tencent became the dominant force in digital music in China after it merged its own QQ Music and WeSing services with the China Music Corporation back in 2016. It then spun Tencent Music Entertainment off to become a standalone business that listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 2018.

Today TME operates the QQ Music, Kugou Music, Kuwo Music and WeSing platforms within China, as well as having various other interests in music production and distribution in its home country, as well as - often in partnership with the main Tencent parent company - investing in other music businesses around the world, most notably the Universal Music Group.

New CEO Zhu Liang - aka Ross Liang - joins Tencent Music Entertainment from the parent company, where he was most recently Vice President. Earlier in his long career with Tencent he was General Manager of QQ Music, so he has hands on experience with the company's music operations.

With the rejig at the top of the company, current Chairman of the board Tong Tao Sang is departing after five years, him having led that board through the CMC merger and the subsequent IPO.

Commenting on all these changes, Pang says: "I am delighted to have Ross join our team as the CEO. Ross's proven track record in building successful online entertainment platforms and social ecosystems, combined with his breadth of experience delivering strong results through successful expansion into new business areas, makes him ideally suited to accelerate our evolution into an all-in-one online music and audio entertainment destination in China".

Noting his own ongoing role at the company, he adds: "I remain as engaged and committed to the company's long-term success as ever, and I am excited to work with Ross, along with the board and our entire senior management team, to build on our strong momentum to drive the next phase of growth for TME".

Liang, meanwhile, says: "It is a true honour to lead this extraordinary and innovative company as CEO. I believe TME's dedication towards driving a sustainable industry development, outstanding product and technology offerings, and innovative business models, combined with the most talented group of people in the industry, uniquely position the company to capitalise on the exciting opportunities within online music and audio entertainment".

"I look forward to working in close partnership with Cussion, the board and the senior management team", he goes on, "to build on our strong foundation to better serve our users, artists and content creators, provide the best career experiences for our people, and create long-term value for our shareholders".


Rich The Kid signs to Rostrum
Rich The Kid has signed a new record deal with US indie Rostrum. He has previously released three album's through Universal's Interscope and Republic divisions.

"We're very excited to announce that Rich The Kid has joined the Rostrum family", the label says on Twitter. "We look forward to continue breaking barriers and pushing the limits of what it means to be independent. We can't wait to share the incredible music Rich has created".

Rich The Kid himself tweeted: "So you mean he signed a deal but he still independent?"

Rostrum President Benjy Grinberg also tells Billboard: "Rich The Kid is a key voice of this generation, and we're very excited that he chose Rostrum as his new home. We look forward to amplifying his artistic vision and supporting his entrepreneurial ambitions. This is the beginning of a new chapter for us at Rostrum as we continue to break barriers in the independent label landscape".

Rostrum is best known for its longtime partnership with Wiz Khalifa, the output of which has mostly been distributed by Warner's Atlantic label. Rich The Kid's last album, 'Boss Man', was released in 2020.


BPI annual report shows rap continues to boom in the UK
UK record industry trade group BPI publishes its annual 'All About The Music' report today, and among the many stats contained within it, it shows that rap and hip hop continued to boom in the UK in 2020.

Rap and hip hop made up 22% of overall single track consumption last year, and 12% of album consumption - the latter helped by British acts Headie One, Nines and KSI.

That's up from 21.5% for single tracks and 10.8% for albums in 2019. Back in 1999, when the BPI first started crunching numbers for individual genres, rap made up just 3.6% of singles consumption and 2% of albums. Now it is the second best-performing genre, behind the relatively ill-defined pop category.

Music by British acts made up around a third of listening for rap and hip hop singles last year - down quite sharply on 2019, when it was 42.2%. However, 2020 was a year of stiff competition from US acts, particularly the likes of Cardi B, Megan Thee Stallion and Doja Cat.

"A glimpse of this year's BRITs nominees shows the extent to which rap and hip hop now occupies music's centre-ground", says BPI chief exec Geoff Taylor. "The genre has exploded in recent years, propelled by artists such as Stormzy, Dave and Little Simz, who are creating a new narrative for British music and are leading a rising wave of British talent that is harnessing the power of streaming to achieve chart success".

Now, thanks to the good old Official Charts Company, here are the top five rap and hip hop singles and albums in the UK in 2020...


  1. Saint Jhn - Roses
  2. Stormzy/Ed Sheeran/Burna Boy - Own It
  3. Roddy Ricch - The Box
  4. Doja Cat - Say So
  5. S1mba feat DTG - Rover


  1. Stormzy - Heavy Is The Head
  2. Pop Smoke - Shoot For The Stars, Aim For The Moon
  3. Eminem - Music To Be Murdered By
  4. Post Malone - Hollywood's Bleeding
  5. Juice Wrld - Legends Never Die


Reservoir to list on Nasdaq via merger with SPAC
Independent music firm Reservoir has announced plans to list itself on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York via a merger with a so called special purpose acquisition company going by the fun name Roth CH Acquisition II Co. Don't worry, once the deal is done the combined Nasdaq listed company will be known as Reservoir Media Inc.

Originally founded by Golnar Khosrowshahi in 2007 with a focus on music publishing, Reservoir has grown and diversified through a series of acquisitions over the years. Along the way, it grew its songs catalogue via deals with the likes of TVT, Reverb Music and P&P Songs, and also expanded into recordings, not least via its acquisition of the Chrysalis label. It also has interests in artist management and music consultancy via its partnerships with the likes of Big Life, Blue Raincoat and PopArabia.

Special purpose acquisition companies - aka SPACs or blank cheque companies - list themselves on stock exchanges with no active operations, raising money on the markets with the specific aim of then acquiring other businesses. Roth CH Acquisition II Co - a joint venture between Roth Capital and Craig-Hallum Capital Group - did just that last year.

Fans of tedious investment chatter might be interested to know that the merger of Reservoir and Roth CH Acquisition II Co "values the combined company at an enterprise value of $788 million and is expected to provide approximately $246 million in gross proceeds to the company".

Not only that, but the "transaction includes a fully committed [private investment in public equity] of $150 million from institutional investors" and "existing Reservoir shareholders are rolling 100% of their equity as part of the transaction". Consider yourself informed!

Khosrowshahi will continue to head up the publicly listed Reservoir Media Inc which, the music firm reckons, "will be the first independent music company to go public in the United States and also the first female-founded and led music company to be publicly traded in the United States".


Warner Music launches new Pan-Asian dance label
Warner Music Asia has announced the launch of Whet Records, what it calls "the first Pan-Asian dance label". And that new label already has a first signing in the form of Lizzy Wang.

The major says that the new venture will "work with both emerging talent and established DJs and producers, providing a powerful distribution platform and an array of marketing and management services to help its artists grow their fanbase throughout the region".

The China division of Whet Records will be run by Zoe Yang, who has worked on various dance music events in the region, including Ultra Music China and EDC China. She will report in to the CEO of Warner Music Greater China, Jonathan Serbin, who also has a background in the dance music community, including having previously been CEO of Mixmag Asia.

Commenting on the new label's first signing, Serbin says: "We are proud to announce the signing of Lizzy Wang to Whet Records. We believe her energy and enthusiasm on stage, as well as her skills as a producer, make her a great fit for our new label. She's already proven herself as a major draw in China and Whet Records will help Lizzy expand her following to the rest of Asia and beyond".

Meanwhile, said first signing adds: "I'm so excited to join the team at Whet Records and Warner Music. The region has been in need of a dedicated Pan-Asian dance label, and Whet is the ideal platform. I look forward to working with the team, and sharing my music with the fans".

And finally, also commenting on the new label is Warner's President of International Recorded Music, Simon Robson, who chips in: "Whet will blend the power of Warner Music's network and expertise with the DNA of a true electronic music label. Jonathan has worked quickly to get this off the ground and we're excited to show the world the talent brewing throughout Asia".


Triller announces new CEO and latest acquisitions
Triller has a new CEO. I wonder if anyone is "TRILLED" about it? That new CEO is Mahi de Silva, previously the video-sharing app company's Non-Executive Chair.

The executive rejig coincides with the Triller company - now known as TrillerNet - buying de Silva's business, which apparently "uses artificial intelligence to help brands engage with customers". And why not? Anyone TRILLED yet?

De Silva takes over in the CEO role from Mike Lu, who becomes TrillerNet's President. Meanwhile, the firm's Executive Chairman Bobby Sarnevesht stays in the same job, with him saying that Triller and coming together "clearly establishes Triller as the new paradigm for AI-powered lifestyle and entertainment content". Yeah maybe. But is anyone TRILLED? wasn't the only purchase TrillerNet confirmed yesterday. The increasingly acquisitive company also announced it had bought sports-centric streaming platform FITE.

It's the latest in a flurry of splash-the-cash deals that will annoy those in the music industry who reckon that the main Triller app isn't properly licensing and/or paying for all the songs and recordings that swim around its platform. Though, despite a lawsuit from Wixen and a public telling off from Universal Music, Triller has continued to secure new deals with the music industry.

On the appointment of the new CEO, the aforementioned Sarnevesht added yesterday: "We could not ask for a better CEO than Mahi de Silva. He is one of the brightest minds in business, and his vision and leadership will be invaluable assets to Triller during its explosive growth. Having built and successfully exiting multiple unicorns in tech, social media, ad-tech and eCommerce, there couldn't be a better person for the role".

While de Silva himself said: "The Triller team has built something extraordinary, and I'm excited to take on the role of CEO and join an amazingly talented team that's re-defining the future of content, creators and commerce. Triller has empowered global influencers with unique capabilities to reach and engage millions of users around the world, while delivering innovating ways for partner brands to join this vibrant and flourishing ecosystem. The best is yet to come".

Wait, what, nobody is TRILLED? I set that incredibly weak gag up for nothing? "THRILLED about the acquisition of by Triller and the parallel acquisition of FITE", de Silva added on Twitter. There you go. Thanks Mahi!


Approved: Jinjé
Vessels' Lee Malcolm is back in his latest solo guise, Jinjé. Following a solid run of singles over the last couple of years, he's now gearing up for a new EP in June, which will be the first EP release on Max Cooper's Mesh label.

Titled 'Open Unity', that EP features more of the world-building techno that longtime fans will have come to expect from Malcolm. Never merely a beat and hook to keep a DJ set ticking over, his work also never drifts into being so cerebral that it becomes detached from the dancefloor. It's a fine balance that can be easily misjudged, but one he seems endlessly adept at.

The first track from the EP, 'Cinetique', is out now, perfectly typifying the above and providing an entry point that will inhale you into his world. 'Open Unity' is out on 3 Jun. Listen to 'Cinetique' here.

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


The trade body for the UK's commercial radio sector, Radiocentre, has announced that Ian Moss, who previously headed up public affairs at record industry organisation BPI, will become its new CEO later this year. He takes over from Siobhan Kenny, who will stand down at the end of June. Since leaving the BPI he has been CEO of the trade body for academic and professional publishers.



Rina Sawayama has released a new version of her song 'Chosen Family' as a duet with Elton John. "Elton has been such a huge supporter from before the album, and when we finally met to record this song we clicked from the get-go", she says.

Marina has announced that she will release her new album, 'Ancient Dreams In A Modern Land', on 11 Jun. Here's new single 'Purge The Poison'.

Exit Kid - aka former keyboard player of Years & Years Emre Türkmen and drummer Dylan Bell - have released new single 'Munny'. The track, says Türkmen, is "an exhausted rant about the continued blurring of the lines between truth and lies. I felt compelled to vomit the words whilst watching the US election and the storming of the Capitol building".

Jose Gonzalez has announced his first album for five years, 'Local Valley', which is set for release on 17 Sep. Here's new single 'Visions'. "The lyrics came to me in early February 2020 just as there were more and more tweets about the possible pandemic", he says of the song. "The topic of the song felt very timely. You can hear the birds and ambient sounds from the veranda, along with a layer of synth loops in the background".

Girl In Red has released new single 'You Stupid Bitch'. "The core essence of this track is like, I'm obviously here for you, and I want to be with you, but you keep messing around with other people, and you keep getting broken", she says. "It's this really direct, straightforward track". Her debut album, 'If I Could Make It Go Quiet', is out on 30 Apr.

Easy Life have released new single 'Skeletons'.

Tirzah has released new single 'Send Me'.

Charlotte O has release two new tracks: 'Bad Bitch' and 'Forest'. Both are taken from her new album 'Here Comes Trouble', which is out in October.

Chai have released new single 'Let's Love', which serves as the theme tune for Japanese anime TV show 'Dinosaur Biyori'.

Kučka has released new single 'Eternity'. Her debut album, 'Wrestling', is out on 30 Apr.

Tramp Stamps have released new single 'I'd Rather Die' through their own Make Tampons Free label. Of the song, vocalist Marisa Maino says: "We were talking about how [guitarist] Caro and [drummer] Paige had both lost their virginity to a Rob and I'd taken a Rob's virginity, so we went through all the guys' names we had in common and threw them into the song".

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


Arcade Fire release 45 minute instrumental track on Headspace
Arcade Fire have released a new 45 minute instrumental track - titled 'Memories Of The Age Of Anxiety' - exclusively to users of meditation app Headspace.

Headspace has been attempting to boost its music credentials in recent months - it trailing its main rival Calm in that domain, which has become known for a variety of exclusive releases from artists including Moby, Kygo and Above & Beyond (not to mention a bedtime story read by Harry Styles).

Although it has had a partnership with Spotify since 2016, last August Headspace brought music into its own app when it hired John Legend as Chief Music Officer.

His job is to bring in artists to create playlists of music to help listeners focus. Contributors so far include St Vincent, Murda Beatz, Aluna and Kindness. And now Arcade Fire, who have created their own music instead of choosing other people's.

"Happy to share 'Memories Of The Age Of Anxiety', created in partnership with Headspace and John Legend", say the band on Instagram. "Meditative vibes to help you focus and feel inspired".

This is likely not the only new music from Arcade Fire incoming. Last year, the band's Win Butler said on Rick Rubin's 'Broken Record' podcast that they had written "two or three" albums worth of new material during lockdown.

Now then seems like the perfect time to revisit this explanation of Win Butler's songwriting process which he made for Clickhole back in 2017. Respect those big boy hips.


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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