THURSDAY 22 APRIL 2021 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: An alliance of trade groups representing the copyright industries - including the music business - has called on the European Union to beef up an element of its proposed Digital Services Act that would obligate internet companies to do more to confirm the identify of their business customers... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Copyright groups say European Union's Digital Services Act should do more to stop piracy sites operating anonymously
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DEALS Warner Chappell signs Anderson .Paak
Deezer announces partnership with Brazilian video streaming platform

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LIVE BUSINESS BRITs to take place with live audience of 4000 as part of government pilot programme
The Wasserman Music agency formally opens for business

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GIGS & FESTIVALS More artists added to the online Great Escape
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ONE LINERS Kurt Vile, Little Simz, Weezer, more
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AND FINALLY... System Of A Down nearly split over one word while making Toxicity
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Check out all the latest job opportunities with CMU Jobs. To advertise your job opportunities here email advertising@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060.
   
COLUMBO GROUP - GRAPHIC DESIGNER & VIDEO EDITOR (LONDON)
The Columbo Group is looking for a Graphic Designer & Video Editor to work across some of its music venues; including Jazz Cafe, Phonox and Metropolis.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
SMALL GREEN SHOOTS - MANAGING DIRECTOR (LONDON)
Youth-led charity Small Green Shoots is seeking a Managing Director to lead a staff team of nine, plus ten part-time trainees and a rolling programme of work placements.

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

For more information and to apply click here.
   
KUDOS RECORDS - SALES & LABEL MANAGER (LONDON)
Kudos Records is an independent music distribution company. Due to continued expansion, there now exists an opportunity to join its sales and label management team.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
DOMINO - DIGITAL ACCOUNT MANAGER (LONDON)
Domino is seeking a Digital Account Manager to oversee digital account relationships and strategy, to lead key partnerships and activity with digital music service providers.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
SECRETLY GROUP - MARKETING MANAGER (LONDON)
Secretly Group is seeking a Marketing Director (UK/Europe) to lead artist marketing campaigns.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
KILIMANJARO - WEBSITE ADMINISTRATOR (LONDON)
Kilimanjaro is looking for Website Administrator to update and maintain the Myticket websites .co.uk and .ie and the Kilimanjaro corporate website.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
KILIMANJARO - MARKETING MANAGER, TOURING (LONDON)
Kilimanjaro is seeking an experienced marketeer to join its touring marketing team.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
KILIMANJARO - SENIOR ARTWORKER (LONDON)
Kilimanjaro is looking for an experienced Artworker to join its expanding design team.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
KILIMANJARO - MARKETING MANAGER, SPECIAL PROJECTS & THEATRICAL (LONDON)
Kilimanjaro is seeking an experienced marketeer to join its expanding Special Projects & Theatrical team.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
NINJA TUNE - NTPM AUDIO PRODUCER (LONDON/REMOTE)
Ninja Tune is seeking a reliable and experienced NTPM Audio Producer to join the Ninja Tune Production team in the UK office, on a full-time basis.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
THE JAZZ CAFE - MARKETING MANAGER (LONDON)
The Jazz Cafe is looking for a Marketing Manager to join its team.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
THE COLUMBO GROUP - MARKETING MANAGER (LONDON)
The Columbo Group is looking for a Marketing Manager to work on The Blues Kitchen and The Old Queens Head.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
THE COLUMBO GROUP - LOGISTICS & HOSPITALITY MANAGER (LONDON)
The Columbo Group is looking for a Logistics & Hospitality Manager to work across its XOYO, Jazz Cafe, Phonox & Camden Assembly venues.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
JUNO - MUSIC TECHNOLOGY SERVICE & SUPPORT TEAM LEADER (LONDON)
Juno is one of the world's largest online music and equipment stores. It is looking for an experienced Service & Support Team Leader for its service and returns department.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
!K7 - LABEL MANAGER (BERLIN)
There is an immediate opening for an experienced Label Manager, preferably based in Berlin to handle a roster of !K7 Music's Label Services clients.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
UEA(SU) - ASSISTANT DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL ENTERPRISE, VENUES (NORWICH)
This role will lead the delivery event teams, and devise UEA(SU)'S business plan and strategy for the LCR and Waterfront venues. 

For more information and to apply click here.
Expand your knowledge about the inner workings of the music business, best practice across the music industry, and all the latest trends and developments, with CMU's weekly webinars.

Taking place every Tuesday afternoon at 2.30pm London time, these one hour online training sessions are delivered by CMU's Chris Cooke.

Each webinar presents timely and easy-to-understand insights about a different music business topic, with plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

Attendees can also access online resources - including downloadable slides - and a recording of the webinar available for a month after the live session.

BOOK NOW at special rates - access to each individual webinar is just £25, plus there are additional discounts if you book into multiple sessions.

KEY MUSIC INDUSTRY TRENDS
Tuesday 27 Apr 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKET
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?
KEY STREAMING TRENDS
Tuesday 4 May 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKET
While the streaming boom continues to be led by Spotify-style services, the digital music market is diversifying again. New streaming products and business models present both challenges and opportunities, while lingering questions about Spotify-style streaming increasingly need to be answered.
KEY MUSIC COPYRIGHT TRENDS
Tuesday 11 May 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKET
The music rights business has been more stable during the COVID-19 crisis, though certain revenue streams have taken a hit. Meanwhile copyright law and the music industry's licensing systems continue to evolve. Get a speedy update on all the key developments in music rights with this webinar.
MAKING MONEY FROM MUSIC COPYRIGHT
Tuesday 18 May 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKET
The music rights business makes money by exploiting the controls that come with the copyrights in songs and recordings. Get to grips with all the basic principles of copyright law and how music copyright makes money in this user-friendly easy-to-follow webinar.
COLLECTIVE LICENSING EXPLAINED - GET PLAYED, GET PAID
Tuesday 25 May 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKET
Sometimes the music industry licenses through direct deals, other times it employs the collective licensing approach. Fully understand how collective licensing works - in the UK and around the world - in this user-friendly easy-to-follow webinar.
MUSIC RIGHTS DATA MADE SIMPLE
Tuesday 1 Jun 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKET
Getting songwriters and artists paid when their songs and recordings are played often comes down to whether or not the right data is in the system. But what data? This webinar runs through all the key data points and explains how to get information into the system.
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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Copyright groups say European Union's Digital Services Act should do more to stop piracy sites operating anonymously
An alliance of trade groups representing the copyright industries - including the music business - has called on the European Union to beef up an element of its proposed Digital Services Act that would obligate internet companies to do more to confirm the identify of their business customers.

The DSA only currently proposes introducing new obligations in that domain to online marketplaces. The copyright industries reckon it should also apply to other internet intermediaries who might be providing domain names, server space, advertising or payment services to business customers who could, for example, be operating copyright infringing websites.

The open letter to the European Parliament and EU Council has been organised by a coalition of copyright industry trade groups called Know Your Business Customer.

It argues that, because internet intermediaries often don't properly verify the identity of their customers, rogue operators can then utilise the services of those intermediaries anonymously. Which then makes it much harder for copyright owners or law enforcement agencies to pursue civil litigation or criminal charges against those rogue operators.

Outlining its key campaigning objectives, KYCB states: "Requiring commercial entities to reveal their true identity on the internet would automatically reduce illegal content online and would greatly facilitate consumers' and business customers' efforts to seek redress".

That requirement actually already exists under European law via article five of the 2000 EU E-Commerce Directive, but obviously rogue operators ignore that obligation. So what the KYCB group wants is for otherwise legitimate internet intermediaries to withdraw services from such rogue operators who fail to reveal their true identity online.

The open letter - signed by music industry groups like IFPI, IMPALA, ICMP and BPI - says: "In a responsible and mature economy, businesses should not be able to operate and have access to the modern necessary infrastructure Europe has to offer without accurately identifying themselves".

"This applies equally to the offline and to the online world, which is why in 2000 legislation introduced an obligation on businesses to identify themselves on their websites. Unfortunately - and unsurprisingly - businesses that have the intention of making a profit out of illegal content do not comply with this obligation and do not suffer consequences".

Noting the proposed 'know your business customer' obligation already included in the draft Digital Services Act, the letter says that proposal is a "step forward", but it "only introduces KYBC obligations in the context of online marketplaces".

"Such a limited approach is a missed opportunity to address the broad range of illegal content and counterfeit, unsafe, non-compliant and substandard products online. The DSA represents a real opportunity to rectify a situation that allows bad actors to ignore article five of the ECD with impunity".

"A business cannot go online without a domain name, without being hosted, or without advertisement or payment services", the letter goes on. "These intermediary services, having a direct relationship with the business, are therefore best placed to make sure that only businesses that are willing to comply with the law have access to their services".

"This does not mean monitoring their business customers' behaviour, but merely asking them to identify themselves and applying simple due diligence checks on the basis of publicly available data", it adds. "Should the information provided prove to be manifestly wrong, or the intermediary be notified that the business customer isn't who it claims to be, the intermediary should stop providing services until the business customer remedies the situation".

The campaign group notes that rogue operators exploiting their online anonymity has an impact beyond conventional piracy, although obviously making it easier to tackle online infringement is a key aim. But, it says, this anonymity has been exploited by the "operators of scam websites and operators of online services distributing illegal content, including but not limited to substandard or falsified medicines, sexual abuse material, counterfeits, malware, illegal gambling, piracy and more"

"These illegal activities can cause serious harm to EU citizens' physical, psychological and financial wellbeing", the letter concludes. "In some cases, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, they can even pose a threat to life. All of these operators and all intermediary service providers enabling them to operate should be subject to KYBC provisions".

"The Digital Services Act is an opportunity for the [European Parliament and EU Council] to address these shortcomings of the ECD. We therefore urge you to ensure that all intermediaries - not just online marketplaces - know who their business customers really are".

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Warner Chappell signs Anderson .Paak
Warner Chappell has signed Anderson .Paak to a worldwide publishing administration agreement, in partnership with Dr Dre's Hard Workin Black Folks. The deal comes ahead of the release of the debut album from .Paak's new project with Bruno Mars, Silk Sonic.

"Anderson .Paak is a true music man who's bringing back funk and soul with style and originality, earning him a massive global following", say Warner Chappell co-Chairs Guy Moot and Carianne Marshall. "He's been wildly successful as a songwriter, producer, and performer, and his incredible versatility has landed him collaborations with a diverse range of top artists as well as a raft of awards for his solo work. We're THRILLED to welcome him to the Warner Chappell family and proud to represent him and his phenomenal repertoire of songs".

Warner Chappell's President of US A&R, Ryan Press adds: "Anderson .Paak is already at the top of his game, and yet he continues to reach higher and higher. He effortlessly brings an optimistic and feel-good vibe to every song he releases, and his latest hit with Bruno Mars ['Leave The Door Open'] is well on its way to becoming one of the top songs of the summer. He truly exemplifies everything a great songwriter can be, and it's an absolute honour to get to be a part of his journey".

A release date is yet to be announced for the Silk Sonic album, but you can watch the video for 'Leave The Door Open' here.

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Deezer announces partnership with Brazilian video streaming platform
Deezer has announced one of those "strategic partnerships" with Brazilian video streaming platform Globoplay, the video-on-demand service operated by Rio-based media conglom Grupo Globo. As part of the deal Globoplay subscribers will get a year's access to the Deezer music service for free.

The two companies say that the "get some Deezer action for free" scheme is "the first step in a broader strategic partnership that will cover marketing, content and technology. The next steps of the partnership will bring Brazilian viewers a number of new exclusive original content initiatives. The two companies are also exploring plans for deeper integration between video and audio entertainment". Lovely stuff.

Says Director Of Digital Products And Services at Globo, Erick Brêtas: "We admire Deezer for their innovative spirit, ability to build and support music communities around the world and for their simple and user-friendly state of the art platform. We're pleased to have Deezer as one of our selected partners and we are convinced that users will see the incredible value in twelve free months of premium music".

Adds CCO at Deezer, Laurence Miall-d'Aout: "Globoplay is the leading video entertainment brand in Brazil and millions of people enjoy video content on its platform every day. Deezer and Globoplay's brands and ethos are closely aligned and [we] look forward to bringing Brazilian consumers a diverse and powerful entertainment experience".

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BRITs to take place with live audience of 4000 as part of government pilot programme
This year's BRIT Awards will take place with a live audience as part of the UK government's Events Research Programme. And more than half of the 4000 tickets being made available for the awards show will be given to key workers.

Set to take place at the O2 Arena in London in May - the first show in the venue for over a year - attendees will not have to adhere to social-distancing rules or wear masks while inside the complex.

They will have to stick to regulations while travelling to the event, however, and possibly other rules set out by organisers. Proof of a recent negative lateral flow test for COVID-19 will also be required before entry is granted.

Once inside though, everyone will be free to party like it's 2019. Albeit under the watchful eye of government scientists. But what's a scientist or two between friends?

Of the 4000 tickets available, 2500 will be given away to key workers via a free ballot on the BRIT Awards website, which is set to open at midday today.

"This year's BRIT Awards with Mastercard is one of the most significant in the show's history", says CEO of BRIT organisers the BPI, Geoff Taylor. "Not only will we be celebrating the brilliant music and artists that have helped us through the pandemic, but we hope it will provide a path for the return of live music that fans and artists have so sorely missed".

"And", he adds, "as a thank you to the key workers who have kept our country going through the difficult times, we are inviting them to be our audience for the first live performances at The O2 in over a year. We're buzzing about the show and working closely with government, The O2 and all our partners to ensure all safety measures and guidelines are adhered to".

The Events Research Programme aims to test different approaches that should allow a wider opening up of fuller capacity events without social distancing as COVID restrictions in the UK slowly lift.

Various pilot events have already been announced, although until this week none involved live music. However, earlier this week a specially organised mini music festival, the Sefton Park Pilot in Liverpool, was announced as an addition to the programme.

The addition of the BRITs show to the research scheme isn't a complete surprise. In an interview in March, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said that the awards event was being considered for inclusion in the programme.

At the time, BRITs organisers said that nothing had been agreed as it wasn't clear that the research initiative was compatible with "the complex production requirements of the BRITs". Clearly those concerns have now been overcome.

Exact plans for the set up of the show are not clear, but you'll be able to check for yourself on 11 May, as this one is going to be televised on ITV.

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The Wasserman Music agency formally opens for business
LA-based sports marketing and talent management firm Wasserman yesterday formally launched its new music-focused booking agency, which has been created via the acquisition of the music division of the Paradigm agency.

The sports and media business of Casey Wasserman confirmed it was acquiring the music side of Paradigm last month, although rumours that that deal was being considered had been circulating since at least last May.

Like all talent agencies, Paradigm was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting shutdown of studios and live entertainment. Though Paradigm more than most was criticised with the cost-saving decisions it made - and the way those decisions were communicated - as the COVID shutdown got underway early last year.

Although most established in the sports sector, the Wasserman company has been expanded its interests into other areas of the media and entertainment sectors in more recent years, meaning its interest in Paradigm's music division wasn't entirely surprising. Wasserman is obviously banking on the live music sector reviving quickly once COVID restrictions finally start to lift in many countries later this year.

Having completed the Paradigm deal yesterday, Wasserman formally unveiled his new music division, to be known as - simply - Wasserman Music. With a team of about 130 people, the new standalone music unit of the Wasserman group will be headed up by Marty Diamond, Jonathan Levine, Jackie Nalpant, Sam Hunt, Corrie Martin, Lee Anderson and Matt Rodriguez, with Tom Windish, Joe Rosenberg and Lori Feldman providing business development, marketing and operational support.

Confirming all this, Wasserman said: "I have worked side-by-side with this remarkable group of people to build a blueprint for success and I am continually impressed with their tenacity and care for both their clients and the business".

"But most important", he added, "is our shared commitment to cultivating a culture of forward progress so this new business appropriately reflects the artists and fans we serve. This is a dynamic opportunity to create new collaborations between the family of brands and talent that Wasserman currently represents in a meaningful and impactful way, and I am excited to get started".

Artists on the Wasserman Music roster at launch include Kenny Chesney, Coldplay, Billie Eilish, Imagine Dragons, The Lumineers, Dave Matthews Band, Janelle Monáe, Kacey Musgraves, Old Dominion, Phish, Ed Sheeran, Lorde, Sturgill Simpson, Black Pumas, Brandi Carlile, Kaytranada, Diplo, DJ Snake, Jack Harlow and Skrillex.

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CMU+TGE 2021 Panel: Getting Rights Data Right
The Great Escape Online is taking place on 13 and 14 May, with a packed conference programme of interviews, webinars, briefings and debates, both on-demand and live, as well as networking opportunities galore within a bespoke online conference platform.

CMU is presenting three strands of panels and briefings this year. That includes Future Music Strategies, supported by BPI, and looking at the latest trends in streaming, fanbase building and the direct-to-fan relationship, and investigating what the touring and festival markets will look like in the post-COVID, post-Brexit world.

What technologies, data, influencers, partnerships and strategies will be essential for success in the years ahead? Look out for this panel as part of the Future Music Strategies strand...

In a streaming dominated music industry built on billions of tiny micro-payments paid for every stream, accurate and consistent music rights data has never been more important. Meanwhile, advances in data management and standards - and audio ID technology - can also enhance the music experience, and result in the more efficient payment of royalties from other revenue streams like radio and public performance.

What do artists, songwriters, labels, publishers and digital services need to know to get rights data right? We ask the experts: music licensing consultant Becky Brook; Head Of Repertoire at PPL, David Goggin; Head Of International Relations at The MLC, Indi Chawla: and CEO at RightsHub, Lee Morrison.

To access the CMU strands and all the other content available as part of TGE Online this year get yourself a delegate pass here.
 

More artists added to the online Great Escape
More details have been announced about the line-up for the online edition of The Great Escape that is taking place next month. More than 150 acts will feature across a series of online showcases on 13 and 14 May.

Spotlight artists among the line-up include Alfie Templeman, Bad Boy Chiller Crew, Genesis Owusu, Remi Wolf and Priya Ragu, while Alexander 23, Jensen Mcrae, Robert Grace, Sir Chloe, Tayo Sound, Teeks, The Lottery Winners and Peach Tree Rascals have all also been added to the bill. Check out the full line up here.

Access to the online TGE showcases will be free, with seven channels of music available between 6 and 8pm on both 13 and 14 May.

Music industry delegates will also have access to the TGE Conference throughout the day, with a packed programme of interviews, webinars, briefings and debates, both on-demand and live, as well as networking opportunities galore within a bespoke online conference platform.

Keynote interviewees this year include TikTok's Global Head Of Music Ole Obermann, the BBC's Controller Of Pop Lorna Clarke, Hipgnosis Songs Fund's Merck Mercuriadis, Women In CTRL's Nadia Khan and TaP Management's Wendy Ong. Plus this year's artist in conversation will see Ghostpoet talking to Michelle Escoffery.

There will also be three strands of CMU+TGE panels: Future Music Talent, Future Music Strategies and Future Music World. We are currently putting the spotlight on a different panel each day in the CMU Daily - check them all out here.

To access the full TGE Conference get yourself a delegate pass here.

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DEALS

Kurt Vile has signed a new record deal with Universal's Verve label, after previously working with indies Matador and Mexican Summer. "Simply put, he's one of my favourite artists and songwriters of any era and he makes timeless records", says Verve EVP Jamie Krents. "Verve Records has always been a home for unique artists of integrity and creativity, and we couldn't be happier to welcome Kurt to the Verve family".

Music marketing and distribution platform Beatchain has announced a partnership with record label Better Noise Music. "We couldn't be more pleased to partner with Beatchain", says Better Noise CEO Allen Kovac. "Their platform and capabilities as a forward-thinking data and marketing company have already allowed us to create successful fan-building partnerships using metrics for artists such as Bad Wolves, Cory Marks and Dirty Heads".

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EDUCATION & EVENTS

DIY music distributor TuneCore has announced a new education programme for young people hoping to get into the music industry, in partnership with Point Blank Music School and The Prince's Trust. Get Started In The Music Industry will run from 24-28 May with mentoring, artist conversations and more than 25 hours of live virtual sessions. Free and open to open to young people not in education, employment or training aged 18-30, the application deadline is 7 May. Email melanie.phillips@princes-trust.org.uk for more info.

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RELEASES

Little Simz will release new album 'Sometimes I Might Be Introvert' on 3 Sep. Here's first single, 'Introvert'.

Weezer have released new single 'I Need Some Of That', from upcoming new album 'Van Weezer'. The album is out on 7 May.

Deftones have released the video for 'Ceremony', from their latest album, 'Ohms', overseen by movie director Leigh Whannel. "When Leigh tweeted that he was a fan, we immediately thought it would be cool to collaborate with him given the chance", says vocalist Chino Moreno. "We're fans of his as well, so it made sense that we should reach out. One moment we're DMing each other on Twitter, and the next we're on set making 'Ceremony'".

Cheer up, Wolf Alice have released new single 'Smile'.

Killers guitarist Dave Keuning has announced that he will release his second solo album, 'A Mild Case Of Everything', on 25 Jun. He's also released three songs from it: 'Bad Instincts', 'Ends Of The Earth', and 'No One Is Calling You A Liar'.

Kero Kero Bonito have released new single '21/04/20'. Say they: "'21/04/20' recounts a typical day in the early COVID lockdown in Bromley (South London), complete with a late leftover pasta breakfast, enthusiastic joggers and friendship conducted over video call". Their new EP, 'Civilisations II', is also out now.

Gruff Rhys has released new single 'Can't Carry On', about "when reality catches up with delusion and the search for a guiding hand out of a heavy situation".

Illuminati Hotties - aka Sarah Tudzin - has released new single 'MMMOOOAAAAAYAYA'. "Somebody told me my music is too 'cute' to take seriously", she says. "So I wrote them a love letter. I hope they're laughing their patoots off". It's the first track on her new label Snack Shack Tracks, an imprint of Hopeless Records.

A Place To Bury Strangers will release a new EP called 'Hologram' on 16 Jul. Here's new single 'End Of The Night'. They've also announced a show at Lafayette in London on 2 Apr.

Andrew Hung has released new single 'Promises'. His new album, 'Devastations', is out on 18 Jun.

Falle Nioke and Sir Was have released new single 'Wonama Yo Ema'. Says Nioke: "'Wonama Yo Ema' means 'do not look down on people'. If you help someone who is poor or in need, don't judge them or spoil their name in the community".

Mentrix has released new single '99 Names Of God', her first new track since last year's 'My Enemy, My Love' album.

Ishmael Ensemble have announced that they will release new album 'Visions Of Light' on 6 Aug. New single 'Wax Werk' is out now.

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GIGS & TOURS

Django Django have announced UK tour dates in October, upon which they will be supported by Pictish Trail. Meanwhile, here's the video for 'Waking Up' from their 'Glowing In The Dark' album.

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

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System Of A Down nearly split over one word while making Toxicity
Where should a tapeworm be removed from? Or perhaps, from whom. System Of A Down's Serj Tankian has revealed how a single pronoun in the lyrics of one song almost caused the band to split up.

Appearing on Rick Rubin's 'Broken Record' podcast, among other thing's Tankian discusses the making of System Of A Down's 2001 album 'Toxicity', which was produced by Rubin. Part of that discussion centres on a disagreement that occurred over one word in the lyrics of the second track on the album, 'Needles'.

"Originally, the chorus was 'pull the tapeworm out of my ass'", recalls Tankian. "Daron [Malakian, guitar] and Shavo [Odadjian, bass] didn't like 'my ass'".

He then expands: "They were like, 'No, no, no, that doesn't sound cool, that sounds bad, that sounds vulnerable', or whatever it was. Whatever word you want to use as an adjective. I'm like, 'What I'm trying to say is philosophical. Take this negativity out of me', or whatever at the time I was trying to portray".

"All we had to do was change it to 'your'", he goes on. "'Pull the tapeworm our of YOUR ass' ... and then in the middle part, where I'm singing nicely, 'pull the tapeworm out of me', they were OK with that".

The way Tankian explains those discussions, it seems like there was a relatively quick and simple resolution, but from Rubin's telling, it was an almighty row that went on for some time.

"It seemed like, the band could have broken up over the lyric", says Rubin. "It was so extreme, but it speaks to the passion in the band. There's real passion, that's amazing. The fact that a lyric - one word and arguably [a] comical line - is enough to potentially break up a band or discard a great song".

"It wasn't [initially] obvious that it was one word", the producer recollects of watching the argument unfold. "[Eventually] we realised that it wasn't [a] 'pull the tapeworm/ass' problem, it was [a] 'pull the tapeworm out of MY ass' problem, and that when you said 'my ass' it represented everybody in the band's ass, and everybody wasn't comfortable with that".

In the final version of the song, he notes, "you could potentially be saying 'pull the tapeworm out of your ass' to the rest of the band, and they're OK with it. It's fascinating".

"It's funny", agrees Tankian. "With 'Prison Song', with all that stuff that's written in very, kind of, essay form, we didn't have any arguments about that. But that one word. I think it's the metal attitude versus the non-metal attitude, as well".

"For me, I like showing vulnerability in our music. I don't mind showing it, because I think, as an artist, you're vulnerable either way. You either show it or you don't. But the metal attitude is, 'No way, dude. No way, we're metal, you can't show vulnerability'. I think that's what it was more than anything else".

The rest of the interview doesn't go into such forensic detail about every word on 'Toxicity', but it is a fun conversation about the early years of the band, as well as other aspects of the making of their most successful album. Listen here.

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ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU Daily, website and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column.
andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Founder & MD
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and CMU Trends. He also leads the CMU Insights consultancy unit and the CMU:DIY future talent programme, as well as heading up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and also heads up business development at CMU Insights and CMU:DIY.
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.
caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
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