TODAY'S TOP STORY: ABBA's Bjorn Ulvaeus has been confirmed as the final keynote interviewee for this year's Great Escape Conference, as the full programme for the online edition of the annual music business event goes live... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Bjorn Ulvaeus confirmed as final keynote interviewee for Great Escape 2021
LEGAL Judge mainly sides with Lizzo in ongoing Truth Hurts copyright battle
DEALS Warner Chappell signs Ari Lennox
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Universal UK's Task Force For Meaningful Change launches manifesto
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES London Grammar rework new songs to lull you to sleep
ARTIST NEWS Florence Welch writes lyrics and music for Great Gatsby musical
ONE LINERS Ty Dolla $ign, Rejjie Snow, Garbage, more
AND FINALLY... Daniel Ek says he's "secured the funds" to buy Arsenal as Spotify share price dips
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Bjorn Ulvaeus confirmed as final keynote interviewee for Great Escape 2021
Abba's Bjorn Ulvaeus has been confirmed as the final keynote interviewee for this year's Great Escape Conference, as the full programme for the online edition of the annual music business event goes live.

The legendary singer-songwriter has been increasingly vocal in recent years about the challenges faced by songwriters, and how the industry could and should adapt to better support its music-makers. In 2020 he became President of CISAC, the global grouping for songwriter collecting societies, and earlier this month he published 'Rebalancing The Song Economy', a new report co-produced with music business consultancy MIDiA.

He'll be discussing the findings of that report and his visions for a fairer music business as part of the TGE In-Conversation programme, interviewed by CMU's Chris Cooke.

Ulvaeus is the final of six keynote in-conversations confirmed for this year's TGE. Also being interviewed as part of the programme are the BBC's Lorna Clarke, Hipgnosis Songs Fund's Merck Mercuriadis, CTRL Music's Nadia Khan, TikTok's Ole Obermann and TaP Music's Wendy Ong.

The full TGE conference programme also includes the three CMU+TGE strands that this year put the spotlight on future music talent, future music strategies and the future music world.

There are also six educational webinars from the Arts Council supported TGE Elevate programme, and a series of panels presented by TGE's industry partners, including the launch of a new edition of the MMF's 'Guide To Mental Health', a Q&A with the director of the new film 'Sisters With Transistors', a session from AIM on 'How To Build A Modern Music Business', and Ghostpoet in conversation with Michelle Escoffery.

Delegates will be able to access the TGE Conference platform from Monday 10 May, with some on-demand webinars and bonus panels available straight away, as well as access to the TGE delegate directory. The conference itself takes place on Thursday 13 and Friday 14 May with two livestreams to choose from. Channel One will feature the CMU+TGE programme and the TGE In-Conversation interview, while Channel Two hosts the TGE Elevate webinars and the partner panels.

The full schedule for the Thursday programme is available here.

The full schedule for the Friday programme is available here.

The TGE online festival will kick off at 6pm on the Thursday and Friday, with a number of digital stages to choose from showcasing brilliant artists from all over the world. Music fans can access the showcases for free, though delegates can also stream the music via the conference platform and access extra information about and industry contacts for the artists appearing.

To access all this get yourself a TGE delegate pass here.

And don't forget we are currently putting the spotlight on different CMU+TGE panels and TGE In-Conversations each day in the CMU Daily, so will be revealing even more information about the industry experts taking part this year over the next week.


Judge mainly sides with Lizzo in ongoing Truth Hurts copyright battle
Lizzo has had another win in her ongoing legal battle with some former collaborators who claim that they were co-writers of her hit 'Truth Hurts'. Although those collaborators could still push for a cut of the money generated by that song.

Justin Raisen, Jeremiah Raisen and Yves Rothman all collaborated with Lizzo, real name Melissa Jefferson, back in 2017. During that collaboration, a song called 'Healthy' was written that contained the lyric "I did a DNA test, turns out I'm 100% that bitch". Although the track was never released, that distinctive line subsequently appeared in 'Truth Hurts' when it was released later the same year.

Once 'Truth Hurts' started gaining new popularity in 2019, the Raisens and Rothman claimed - initially on social media - that they had co-written 'Healthy', and that therefore they should also have a co-write credit on 'Truth Hurts', because it lifted from the earlier song.

Off the back of that social media chatter, Jefferson went legal, seeking court confirmation that the Raisens and Rothman had no copyright claim over her late-in-the-day hit. They then countersued seeking court confirmation to the contrary.

In August last year, the judge hearing the case made a summary judgement that mainly favoured Jefferson. The judge concluded that - even if you accepted that the Raisens and Rothman co-wrote 'Healthy' and that 'Truth Hurts' was a derivation of that song (both things that the Jefferson side dispute) - it did not automatically follow that the Raisens and Rothman were co-writers and co-owners of Jefferson's hit.

However, the Raisens and Rothman were allowed to resubmit their complaint and - as expected - when they did, rather than talking about 'Truth Hurts' being a derivation of 'Healthy', they focused on the idea that the sessions that resulted in the latter song were actually part of the creative process for the former. Therefore they co-wrote 'Truth Hurts'.

However, the judge has now rejected the amended complaint. She wrote: "Although the [amended complaint] is stripped of all statements that 'Truth Hurts' copied or was derived from 'Healthy', counterclaimants continue to allege the same underlying facts that indicate 'Healthy' was a standalone song and not an incomplete, partial contribution".

"Specifically", she went on, "counterclaimants allege that, after Lizzo recorded 'Healthy', Justin Raisen 'stayed up all night' polishing the song before soliciting feedback on it from the group. Raisen and Lizzo also held a second recording session to further fine-tune the song before suggesting that her management team include it on her upcoming EP".

Referencing the producer who was also involved in the 'Healthy' sessions, Ricky Reed, she continued: "A representative from Reed's company stated that, at the time, 'Healthy' 'had a shot' of being included on Lizzo's upcoming EP. These allegations suggest that 'Healthy' was, and was intended to be, a final product".

Although that's another win for Jefferson, the case is not yet over. Most of the things the Raisens and Rothman asked for in their amended complaint have been dismissed, but one claim still stands - that being the demand for "an accounting of revenues from the use of 'Healthy' in 'Truth Hurts'", based back on the idea that the latter track was a derivation of or borrowed from the former.

A legal rep for Jefferson's collaborators honed in on that fact, telling Law360 that "our clients will get paid". He added: "The facts are simple: 'Truth Hurts' would not exist without the substantial musical contributions of our clients. Judge Gee's dismissal ... does not change this fact. Nor does the ruling prevent our clients from receiving their fair share of Lizzo's profits from the song, which is their explicit right under the Copyright Act".


Warner Chappell signs Ari Lennox
Warner Chappell has signed Ari Lennox to a publishing administration deal that will cover her full catalogue.

"Ari and I have known each other for a while now, and it's been incredible to see her progress as both a songwriter and a performer", says Warner Chappell Music VP Of A&R Wallace Joseph. "Her unique sound has captivated fans around the world, and I personally couldn't be prouder to welcome her to our Warner Chappell family".

Also commenting, Lennox says: "The Warner Chappell team has always supported me. I've known Wallace and [the publisher's US President Of A&R] Ryan Press for some time now and I am so THRILLED to be a part of the family".

Lennox released her debut album, 'Shea Butter Baby', in 2019. Most recently, she featured on Queen Niaja's single 'Set Him Up', which you can listen to here.


Universal UK's Task Force For Meaningful Change launches manifesto
The UK branch of Universal Music's Task Force For Meaningful Change has launched a manifesto, detailing its goals for bringing about social change.

Laying out five key aims, the manifesto says that it will boost outreach work to attract more black candidates to a wider variety of roles within Universal Music; drive change within the company through mentorships, an internal audit and an existing mental health initiative in partnership with Black Minds Now; celebrate black culture with the launch of Universal's Black Calendar; support education initiatives across the UK; and build an infrastructure of support for Universal Music UK's black artists.

"I'm incredibly proud of the UK Task Force and the collective leadership they have shown", says Universal Music UK CEO David Joseph. "While we are clear that there is still much to do, I am confident that this manifesto will help bring about meaningful and lasting change and I look forward to working closely with the Task Force to implement the recommendations and actions in their entirety".

Afryea Henry-Fontaine, Fay Hoyte and Jade Richardson, co-chairs of the UK Task Force, add: "We'd like to say a massive thank you to each member of the Task Force for their work informing this manifesto and to all our colleagues across the Universal Music family who have offered their support, wisdom and advice along the way. This is just the beginning. We know there is no quick fix but believe this manifesto and a collective effort across the company will help bring about real change".

Universal's global and UK task forces were launched last year, in response to the Black Lives Matter protests. A number of projects have already been undertaken over the last nine months, but the publication of the new manifesto sets out goals for its long term plans.

Read the manifesto in full here.


London Grammar rework new songs to lull you to sleep
London Grammar have released three relaxing and lengthy remixes of tracks from their latest album 'Californian Soil'. All three are available exclusively within the Calm meditation app.

The reworked versions of 'All My Love', 'Californian Soil' and 'Lord It's A Feeling' clock in at fifteen, 30 and 60 minutes respectively. The aim being for you to choose a track based on the amount of time you want to meditate or just relax. Although the band suggest that they're particularly good for helping you to nod off.

"I was always a bad sleeper when I was young", says guitarist Dan Rothman. "I was scared of the dark, and constantly had nightmares. My anxiety around sleep lasted until my mid-20s. When I learnt about meditation and mindfulness it really helped me understand sleep and how to deal with those difficult moments when it evades me".

Keyboardist and drummer Dot Major, who produced the remixes, adds: "I've been a perennial sufferer of sleepless nights since I can remember. As a child I would listen to Chopin and later on Thomas Newman to help me sleep. There was always a song in 'Road To Perdition' by Thomas Newman that would wake me up abruptly and, as it was before the days of playlisting, I would suffer the same fate often. Here is something to help you sleep, I've made sure there's nothing jarring in there. Just cyclical rhythms and harmony that hopefully appeals to your senses in the most soporific way".

You heard the man, get yourself to bed and put on some London Grammar now.


CMU+TGE 2021: Friday's Keynote In Conversations
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.

As well as curating three strands of briefings and panel discussions, CMU is also presenting a number of keynote in conversations this year.

These are in-depth 25 minute interviews with industry leaders, talking through their respective careers to date, getting the lowdown on their current roles and projects, and discussing some of the key challenges and opportunities in music and media in 2021.

There will be three keynote in conversations on the second day of TGE Online, Friday 14 May.

First up at midday, we'll be talking to Nadia Khan, the leading artist manager and label owner who heads up CTRL Management and the labels DENCH Records and CTRL Records. She is also founder of Women In CTRL, an organisation that seeks to empower women in the music and creative industries, breaking down barriers to career progression. Among other things, we'll be discussing the series of impactful reports she has recently published putting the spotlight on the need for more diversity in the music and media sectors.

Next, at 12.30pm, we'll be in conversation with legendary songwriter and CISAC President Björn Ulvaeus from Abba, who - among other things - will be discussing 'Rebalancing The Song Economy', the new report he co-produced with music business consultancy MIDiA that puts the spotlight on the challenges faced by songwriters in the streaming age and the how the industry can address those issues.

And finally, at 5pm, we'll hear from TikTok's Global Head Of Music Ole Obermann, who will talk through his career to date, the phenomenal rise of TikTok, and how artists and labels are utilising the platform to expand fanbases and drive more streams. Along the way we'll learn how TikTok and the music community are collaborating to create great content and to excite the app's massive global audience.

To access all the In Conversation sessions, all the CMU+TGE panels, and all the other content and events happening as part of TGE Online this year, get yourself a delegate pass here.

Florence Welch writes lyrics and music for Great Gatsby musical
What's Florence Welch been doing in lockdown? That's what we're all wondering, isn't it? Well, turns out she's been writing a musical. Adapting F Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel 'The Great Gatsby' into a big sing-song. That sounds good, doesn't it? Does it? I don't know.

Welch is responsible for all the lyrics in the show, while she co-wrote the music with composer and producer Thomas Bartlett. The story itself has been adapted by Martyna Majok, the show is being directed by Rebecca Frecknall, and the producers are good old Len Blavatnik and Amanda Ghost.

"This book has haunted me for a large part of my life", says Welch. "It contains some of my favourite lines in literature. Musicals were my first love, and I feel a deep connection to Fitzgerald's broken romanticism. It is an honour to have been offered the chance to recreate this book in song".

Ghost adds: "Florence's passion for Gatsby and exceptional musical storytelling will bring this iconic love story to life in ways we have never experienced before. Martyna and Rebecca are two of the most exciting theatre artists of their generation and, together, this extraordinary team brings a thrilling new perspective to one of the most culturally significant books of all time. It's been 100 years since 'The Great Gatsby' was published and there could be no better time for a new musical adaptation of the greatest party America ever threw".

A date for the show's premiere is yet to be announced. The original cast recording of Welch's songs is also set to be released on Warner Music.



Jordan Jay has left his position as Senior A&R Manager at EMI Records to focus on his management and publishing companies Karma Artists and Karma Songs. He will also be re-launching the Karma A&R consultancy division.

Warner Music has appointed London-based Anton Partridge as Director Of Global Strategy, Electronic Music. "I'm very much looking forward to making the most of this new role", he says. "I've had a long history with both the label and the team, and it's exciting to now be part of shaping the strategic approach to dance music moving forward. We want to supercharge the way that Warner Music approaches the genre on a global level, and there's never been a better time than now".



Ty Dolla $ign has released the video for 'By Yourself', from his 'Featuring Ty Dolla $ign' album.

Rejjie Snow has announced that he will release new album 'Baw Baw Black Sheep' on 9 Jul. "I approached [the album] light heartedly from the point of view of making a short film through music", he says. "I always loved 'Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory'. I watch it all the time. I thought of 'Baw Baw Black Sheep' like a soundtrack to it. I put the movie on with my album, and they synced up perfectly. I tried to tap into all of these feelings. The music is really colourful, and the lyrics are often happy, because that was my state of mind". Here's new single 'Relax'.

Garbage have released new single 'No Gods No Masters'.

Dappy has released new single 'Wounds'. He's also announced UK tour dates in October and November.

Chai have released new single 'Ping Pong', featuring YMCK. "We're channelling our inner playful selves, challenging ourselves to fun, and bringing you that nostalgic feel with this song", say the band. "There's just something about old video games that's super cute, a little tacky, yet at the same time fancy. Something that you think is 'old school' but at the same time super refreshing. YMCK collaborated with us on this and created the ultimate 8-bit world of Chai!"

HMLTD have released a new single 'Don't Leave Me', featuring three versions of their song 'Leaving'. The tracks are three of 6400 possible versions of the song, which can be created using an app built by The band have also announced an immersive show, based on the Stanford Prison Experiment, at Heaven in London on 16 Nov. More info on that here.



Andy C has announced his second Wembley arena all-nighter on 23 Oct, returning after playing the venue's first ever all night event in 2018. Sign up for pre-sale here.

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


Daniel Ek says he's "secured the funds" to buy Arsenal as Spotify share price dips
Spotify CEO Daniel Ek is continuing with his attempts to buy Arsenal football club, despite its current owners insisting it's not for sale - saying that he has "secured the funds" to do so. He announced last week that he intended to make a £1.8 billion bid for the club.

Speaking to CNBC yesterday, Ek said: "I am very serious. I have secured the funds for it. I want to bring what I think is a very compelling offer to the owners, and I hope they hear me out".

Arsenal is currently owned by US-based Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, which many fans see as being responsible for a dip in the club's success, finishing eighth in last year's Premier League. It was also the target of protests by fans last week over its involvement in the failed attempt to set up a European Super League.

In a statement earlier this week, the Kroene family said that they are "100% committed to Arsenal and are not selling any stake in the club" and would therefore "not entertain any offer" to buy it.

Still, Ek says that he sees "a tremendous opportunity to set a real vision for the club, to bring it back to its glory". It's not entirely clear where he has secured funding from, and how much of his own money he will be putting in.

Ek's continued enthusiasm for becoming a football club owner coincides with the latest quarterly financial results from Spotify. The announcement resulted in a slight dip in the company's share price, seemingly as a result of a lower than expected forecast for user growth.

Watch Ek's CNBC interview here.


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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)
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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)
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