TODAY'S TOP STORY: Music distributor and artist services business Believe has confirmed that it has now completed the first step towards its long-expected Initial Public Offering in its home country of France. The French securities regulator AMF has approved a registration document which, the independent music company says, "constitutes the first step of a contemplated IPO on the regulated market of Euronext Paris"... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Believe confirms first step completed towards IPO on Paris stock exchange
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Better Noise announces new hires and promotions
LIVE BUSINESS Yourope relocates to Bonn, as Holger Jan Schmidt becomes General Secretary
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Twitter adds Tip Jar for creators
AWARDS BRITs revives Global Icon Award for first time in five years for Taylor Swift
ONE LINERS Audoo, Pink, Imanbek & Cher Lloyd, more
AND FINALLY... Radio 4 announces programmes to mark Bob Dylan's 80th birthday
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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.

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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.

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

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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.
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.
Tuesday 25 May 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKET
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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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Believe confirms first step completed towards IPO on Paris stock exchange
Music distributor and artist services business Believe has confirmed that it has now completed the first step towards its long-expected Initial Public Offering in its home country of France. The French securities regulator AMF has approved a registration document which, the independent music company says, "constitutes the first step of a contemplated IPO on the regulated market of Euronext Paris".

Originally founded in 2005, Believe has become a significant player in digital music distribution. Like many distributors, it has also diversified its offering and client base over the years, working with both labels and artists, in some cases offering basic distribution and in other cases pretty much all the services of a traditional label. It also has some labels within the group.

It also became a significant player on the DIY distribution side when it acquired US-based TuneCore in 2015. With TuneCore as part of the businesses, the company now works with artists at pretty much every level, from simple DIY distribution through to something more like a conventional label relationship.

In a statement this morning, Believe said that it intends to raise around 500 million euros through the contemplated IPO, using the new cash to finance a growth strategy that involves building "the leading global artist digital development platform, by continuing to invest to broaden its global footprint, pursue its disciplined external growth strategy and enhance and expand existing capabilities through investments in its technological platform".

Founder and CEO Denis Ladegaillerie added: "In the last decade, streaming has changed how people discover music, paving the way for the rise of independent artists and labels. Believe is ideally positioned at the core of this transformation with a unique model to provide solutions best adapted to meet the evolving needs of each independent artist and label, at all levels of development, in the digital world. Believe has the technological platform, the global reach and the people on the ground to be at the forefront of this new cycle".

"Believe's corporate social responsibility strategy centred around respectful, fair and transparent talent development is at the heart of our ambition to become the best and most value-added partner for artists and labels in the digital world", he went on. "This IPO project would enable us to accelerate our development and continue to pursue our profitable growth trajectory while achieving our mission to help build a better, more diverse, more respectful, more transparent and fairer future for all artists".

The completion of the IPO, Believe also added in its statement this morning, is now "subject to the approval of the prospectus relating to the offering by the AMF, as well as favourable market conditions".


Better Noise announces new hires and promotions
Better Noise Music has announced a whole load of new hires and promotions, including the recruitment of Sean Maxson for the role of VP Marketing. He joins from distribution firm IDOL, where he was General Manager, and will lead marketing campaigns for Better Noise's music, film and TV projects.

Other recent hires confirmed by the company include Saleem Khan as Accounts Payable Coordinator; Anne Wall as Director, Business Affairs, Licensing, And Royalties; Jimmy Harney, as Head Of Public Relations; Jonathan Janis as Director Of Marketing; and Michael Filippone as Income Tracking Manager.

Meanwhile, internal promotions include Harris Masood becoming SVP Finance; Chekesha McCalla becoming Director Of Financial Operations; Alex Hock becoming SVP Business & Legal Affairs; Melanie Rodriguez becoming Senior Director Of Marketing; Amy O’Connor becoming Senior Director Of Global Streaming; and Claudia Mancino becoming UK & Europe Promotions Manager.

Oh, but that's not it. Autumn Myers becomes Label Key Partners Manager; Tim McLean Smith becomes Director Of Catalogue Marketing & Label Director For Australia And New Zealand; Henry Tongue becomes Director Of International Streaming Strategy; Victor Lang becomes Director Of Marketing GSA; and Daniel Sears becomes Production Manager. I told you there was a lot.

Commenting on all this, Better Noise President Dan Waite says: "We are a strategic, forward-thinking company, and I am pleased to have a team with a wealth of knowledge and diverse set of skills to help drive that. This new and existing group of top-notch professionals are building on top of successful engagement via our international offices, data science department, social media, and Steve Kline’s streaming and radio teams, so we are building the infrastructure across all our teams".

"These new additions", he adds, "bring another level of creativity and experience to move us through our exciting projects ahead while still keeping us focused on Better Noise Music's founder Allen Kovac's primary mission: artist development via data driven engagement".

Meanwhile, the aforementioned Maxson says: "I'm THRILLED to be joining the Better Noise team, whose independent spirit, passion and energy are unmatched. I want to thank founder Allen Kovac, President Dan Waite, COO Steve Kline and GM Rose Slanic for welcoming me into the company, where I look forward to finding new ways to connect artists and fans through new strategic, creative, and data-driven activations. And it's an exciting time to be at this label as we approach our fifteen year anniversary".


Yourope relocates to Bonn, as Holger Jan Schmidt becomes General Secretary
European festival association Yourope has announced Holger Jan Schmidt as its new General Secretary. He takes over from Christof Huber, who moves to the position of Chair. The changes will also see Yourope shift its offices to Bonn in Germany, where Schmidt is based.

"The importance of our organisation became more obvious than ever last year, because especially in times when major events are impossible due to the pandemic, the need of the actors in this cultural field for exchange, international cooperation and speaking with a common voice grew once again", says Huber.

"Despite these challenging times we succeeded in restructuring our organisation, expanding the network and securing even closer relationships with valued associates", he goes on. "I look forward to continuing to use my strength and experience for this purpose – together with our members and the new Yourope team".

Schmidt adds: "I have identified with this institution from the beginning and travelled all over Europe with and for Yourope. To talk about festivals, to give festivals the opportunity to exchange, and above all to get to know and experience festivals and their philosophy. I couldn't be prouder and happier to be trusted to take on this new role for Yourope and to continue to work on those issues that are close to my heart. And to do so from my hometown, which means a lot to me".


Twitter adds Tip Jar for creators
With app-based donations an increasingly important revenue stream for online creators - including some music-makers - Twitter last week added a Tip Jar, making it easier for people to donate to their favourite personalities and creators posting on the platform.

Twitter is following the lead of rivals like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, which have now all added donation tools of one form or another, though most often linked to their respective livestreaming services. However, unlike its rivals, Twitter isn't getting directly involved in the transaction process, instead just making it easier for people on its platform to direct people to their accounts on other services like PayPal, Venmo, Bandcamp and Patreon.

In a blog post last week Twitter stated: "Tip Jar is an easy way to support the incredible voices that make up the conversation on Twitter. This is a first step in our work to create new ways for people to receive and show support on Twitter – with money".

"Starting today", it added, "everyone using Twitter in English can send tips to applicable accounts on Twitter for iOS and Android. For now, a limited group of people around the world who use Twitter in English can add Tip Jar to their profile and accept tips. This group includes creators, journalists, experts, and nonprofits. Soon, more people will be able to add Tip Jar to their profile and we’ll expand to more languages".

The inclusion of Bandcamp as a service that Tip Jar eligible Tweeters can link to shows that musicians are among those creators Twitter plans to target. And, of course, Patreon too has a sizeable number of music-makers among its userbase.

An increasing number of grassroots and independent artists have started utilising tools of this kind during the COVID shutdown. For any of those artists who regularly use Twitter, the addition of the Tip Jar may be of value. Although within the music industry at large, which is increasingly vocal about Twitter's lack of music licences, artists getting some donations from fans is unlikely to placate the most vocal critics.


Great Escape Conference this week
It's Great Escape week everybody! Although this year's online edition of TGE takes place on Thursday and Friday, delegates will get access to the conference platform from later today, allowing them to plan their personal schedules and get busy networking with other attendees.

Some bonus CMU panels and webinars will also be popping up during the week ahead of the livestreamed sessions, with these three panel discussions set to appear later today...

FUTURE MUSIC TALENT: Explaining Music Copyright
What are the top ten key copyright facts that all early-career music-makers should know about - and how can the music industry and music educators better get that information out there? We compile some top tips with Ali Condon from PRS For Music; Lucie Caswell from the Music Publishers Association; Niclas Molinder from Session; and artist and FAC board member Roxanne de Bastion. Chris Cooke from CMU moderates.

FUTURE MUSIC STRATEGIES: The Diversifying Digital Market
Although premium services generate by far the most streaming revenues today, the market is diversifying - what services and kinds of services will drive the next phase of growth? Find out with Craig May at FUGA; Henry Prince at Believe; Sophie Goossens at Reed Smith; and CMU's Sam Taylor. Chris Cooke from CMU moderates.

FUTURE MUSIC WORLD: Connecting The Music World
Leading music industry practitioners from Lebanon, Ukraine, Nigeria and Indonesia discuss how musicians in their countries make money from their music-making, as well as the impact of digital in recent years - and COVID in the last twelve months - on the business of music within each of their regions. Hear from Anthony Semaan at Beirut Jam Sessions; Dartsya Tarkovka at Music Export Ukraine; Godwin Tom at iManage Africa; and Rizky Sasono from the National Coalition Of Arts in Indonesia. Chris Cooke from CMU moderates.

To access the full TGE Conference get your delegate pass here.

BRITs revives Global Icon Award for first time in five years for Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift will receive the Global Icon Award at the BRITs tomorrow, it has been announced. The prize is being given "in recognition of her immense impact on music across the world and incredible repertoire and achievements to date". Because being popular is not recognition enough.

The Icon prize is only handed out occasionally, for reasons that are often somewhat opaque. It was first handed to Elton John in 2013, seemingly in an effort to launch a spin-off event to the main BRITs ceremony. It was then revived in 2016 as part of a hastily thrown together tribute to David Bowie, who had died weeks earlier. Then later the same year it was given to Robbie Williams because he had an album to promote.

Now Taylor Swift is to become the first woman to win the occasional prize. She is also nominated for Best International Female Solo Artist. A cynic might suggest that the re-emergence of the Icon award indicates that she's not won that, and in a year where she was so successful organisers feel she should still get something. Or maybe that the overall winners list was likely to be heavily dominated by male artists.

That's cynics for you though. We'll find out if those cynics - whoever they may be - are right tomorrow night. Because that's when the ceremony is, don't forget.

And assuming you're not one of the 4000 people actually being let into the room, you will of course be able to watch it all on TV and through the event's social channels. In fact, this year BRITs organisers are promising that social media will "bring those at home the ultimate viewpoint of this year's ceremony". So, bad luck live audience members. Sucks to be you.

There will be red carpet footage shown on TikTok, Twitter and YouTube. Then, once the show is up and running, there will be "dedicated photography and social capture points feeding into live commentary that won't skip a beat". A load of social media influencers will also be encouraging people to get dressed up to watch the show through a series of 'Get Ready With Me' videos.

For those outside the UK, without access to a TV playing ITV1, the show will be livestreamed on YouTube too. And for those wanting to tweet along, a partnership with Giphy will see highlights of the show made available as gifs as they happen.

"This has been a year like no other and whilst we have faced unprecedented challenges in the journey to The BRITs, it has allowed us to reinvigorate and evolve how we engage artists and most importantly fans along the way", says Kate Wyn-Jones, Co-Chair of the BRITs Digital Committee. "The tenacity and creativity of the entire team has meant that we have delivered some incredibly impactful moments ahead of the show and we are so excited to continue to do so".

If you are wondering what some of those pre-show moments involved, well, headline sponsor Mastercard has been running a #BRITsMOVER dance challenge on TikTok in recent weeks. And some of the best submissions to that will be shown either side of the ad breaks during the big show itself.



Audoo has hired Steve Robbins as Chief Technology Officer, joining from speaker manufacture Bowers & Wilkins. He will oversee the rollout of the company's Audio Meter technology, which tracks music played in public places. "This is an important role for the company as we are currently rolling out Audio Meters around the world", says CEO Ryan Edwards. "Steve brings a wealth of experience and understands both the nuances of the music and technology industries with the level of accuracy Audoo is committed to delivering to all our partners".



Pink has released new single 'All I Know So Far'. The track will feature in a new documentary of the same name, documenting the singer's 2019 world tour, which is out on Amazon Prime on 21 May.

Imanbek and Cher Lloyd have released new single 'Baddest'.

Boys Noize has released new single 'All I Want', featuring Jake Shears.

Fable has released the video for her latest single 'Womb'.

Murcof has released new single 'Fire Thief'. It has, he says, "two main protagonists - an old school analogue synth arpeggio, driving the tempo and dynamics of the track, and a violin in charge of a main slow-moving melody that comes and goes, and not much else". The track is taken from his new album, 'The Alias Sessions', which is out on 21 May.

Zoee has released new single 'Host'. The track is taken from her upcoming debut album, 'Flaw Flower', which is out on 25 Jun. "'Host' describes the disconcertingly replicant-like nature of a once starry-eyed lover who becomes increasingly detached", she says.

Lionel Boy will release his debut album this week. From it, here's new single 'Mango Michelada'.

Japanese band One Eye Closed will release their debut album 'Adam & Eve' in the UK on 28 May. From it, this is 'NCH'.

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


Radio 4 announces programmes to mark Bob Dylan's 80th birthday
BBC Radio 4 has announced a load of programming to mark the 80th birthday of Bob Dylan, including documentaries and a new radio play.

"Earlier this year we brought listeners some brilliant programming on the life and legacy of David Bowie - an artist close to so many of our audience's hearts", says Radio 4 Controller Mohit Bakaya. "I'm delighted to announce that the station is now looking at another musical genius who has loomed large in our culture for many decades: Bob Dylan".

"The impact and influence of Dylan and his music is unique, and, likewise, we hope to mark the great man's 80th birthday in a way that only Radio 4 can", he adds, "through a beguiling mix of drama, close reading essays and music documentaries".

Kicking things off on Monday next week will be 'It Ain't Me You're Looking For: Bob Dylan At 80', a five-part series presented by Professor Sean Latham, Director of the Institute For Bob Dylan Studies at the University of Tulsa (no, really!).

Then on 22 May, there'll be 'Dinner With Dylan', a new radio play based on the true story of some people who like Bob Dylan having dinner together (no, really!).

Also on 22 May, 'Bob Dylan: Verbatim' will explore the musician in his own words, with rare interviews and studio outtakes. And finally, over on Radio 4 Extra on 24 May, 'What’s So Great About… Bob Dylan?' will see Lenny Henry (not a fan) asking that question of people who actually think that Dylan is good. Yes, really!

Dylan's actual birthday is 24 May, if you want to get a cake.


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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