FRIDAY 21 MAY 2021 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: If you, like me, have a Music Industry Spat List stuck up on the wall next to your desk, you need to get the Tippex out and remove "Universal Music v Triller". Because the major has made up with the TikTok rivalling video-sharing app and signed a new licensing deal... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Universal Music and Triller make up, enter into new licensing deal
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS LIVE voices its opposition to PRS's new livestream licence
Jackie Alway named new ICMP Chair

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LIVE BUSINESS FKP Scorpio expands UK office with three new hires
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Deezer announces new CEO
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ARTIST NEWS Cher announces biopic
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RELEASES Roxanne de Bastion announces new album
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ONE LINERS Spotify, BTS, Florence And The Machine, more
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AND FINALLY... Duncan Laurence will not reprise winning Eurovision performance following positive COVID test
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Universal Music and Triller make up, enter into new licensing deal
If you, like me, have a Music Industry Spat List stuck up on the wall next to your desk, you need to get the Tippex out and remove "Universal Music v Triller". Because the major has made up with the TikTok rivalling video-sharing app and signed a new licensing deal.

Triller has had deals in place with various labels and publishers for some time now, but has also had some run ins with certain music rights companies in the last year. Most notably the biggest music rights company of them all, ie Universal Music.

Although the mega-major had had a short-term licensing deal with Triller, in February it announced it was bailing on the app because "we will not work with platforms that do not value artists".

Universal added in a statement: "Triller has shamefully withheld payments owed to our artists and refuses to negotiate a licence going forward. We have no alternative except to remove our music from Triller, effective immediately".

The Triller company expressed surprise when Universal put out that statement, conceding that its initial deal with the major had expired, but adding that negotiations for a new deal were ongoing. And then CEO Mike Lu said that he thought his company had a "solid relationship" with the Universal team.

Triller's official statement then somewhat ominously said its efforts to renew its Universal deal were "just a formality and a courtesy" to the major anyway, because it has direct relationships with many of the record company's key artists and therefore had "no use for a licensing deal with UMG".

Except, of course, those artists are unlikely to be in control of any recordings they've released with a Universal label. And to compete with all the other social and video-sharing apps now providing in-built audio libraries of track snippets, Triller really needs access to the UMG catalogue.

But anyway, all that squabbling is over, and Triller and Universal are best buddies again. Well, they're buddies. Well, they're friends. Well, they're acquaintances. Well, they are corporate entities not likely to file litigation against each other any time soon.

"With the new agreements, Triller's users gain access to UMG's full catalogue of music from the company's iconic record labels and recording artists, as well as the songwriters and catalogues represented by Universal Music Publishing Group, for use on Triller", said a new statement yesterday.

That should say "some" of the catalogues represented by UMPG, of course, because song licensing is never that simple. But still, best buds!

"We are pleased to announce our renewed agreement with UMG and our new pact with UMPG", said Triller's Bobby Sarnevesht. "Triller has become one of the most important platforms in music today, and these agreements ensure that artists and songwriters across Universal Music Group have full access to the global Triller ecosystem".

"We're pleased to have a deal with Triller that embraces the importance of compensating our artists, especially given the tremendous value music generates across their platform", added Universal's EVP Digital Business Development & Strategy, Jonathan Dworkin. "With this agreement, UMG continues to expand the universe of licensed social media platforms that allow fans to legitimately create and share content, while also growing an important new source of revenue for our artists".

Meanwhile David Kokakis at UMPG chipped in: "UMPG's mission is to support songwriters. By licensing new platforms like Triller, we ensure writers are fairly compensated and we are strategically delivering growth to the overall publishing business".

So that's good. Now who's going to start a new spat to go on my list?

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LIVE voices its opposition to PRS's new livestream licence
The trade group that represents the UK live music sector, LIVE, has joined the Music Managers Forum and the Featured Artists Coalition in criticising the recently unveiled PRS licence for ticketed livestreamed shows. It argues that the royalty rate PRS is charging will have "a chilling effect" that could make livestreaming unviable in the long term.

Collecting societies and music publishers around the world have been busy figuring out how to best license livestreaming over the last year, after the COVID-caused shutdown resulted in new interest in livestreamed shows, among fans and within the industry. That meant that a plethora of livestreamed concerts went ahead with the costs and mechanics of licensing the song rights that would be exploited in those shows still to be confirmed.

One challenge is that the way song rights are licensed for live shows is very different to the way song rights are licensed for streaming services, both in terms of complexities and costs. And it's generally been decided that a livestream is more of a stream than a live show. Which means separate licences may be required for each country the show is accessed in, and from both music publishers and collecting societies. And the rates will be higher than for real world gigs.

In the UK, collecting society PRS has sought to simplify the licensing of livestreamed shows as much as possible, by pulling together a licence which includes the performing rights it directly controls, and the separate reproduction and sync rights in the same songs usually controlled by music publishers, all of which are arguably exploited by live-streaming. It has also sought to make the licence as global as possible.

Artists, managers and promoters who have staged livestreamed shows over the last year have generally welcomed those efforts, however, they are not so happy with the price PRS is charging for its livestream licence.

Late last year PRS floated a proposal that it would charge a royalty rate of between 8% and 17% of each livestreamed concert's revenues, with the lower rate applying to the first £50k of income, and then the rate increasing on revenues beyond £50k. The 17% rate would have applied to income above £450,000. That price range compares to the 10-15% of revenue charged on streams, and the 4% of ticket income charged on real world gigs.

Those proposals resulted in quite a backlash from artists, managers and promoters, who argued those rates were too high, and that PRS had failed to consult with the wider music community before coming up with its rate card. In response to that backlash PRS accepted written submissions form interested parties and staged a number of roundtable discussions.

Based on that feedback it formally launched its livestreaming licence earlier this month with a single percentage rate now being applying to all revenues for shows that bring in more than £1500. What that single rate will be long-term is still to be confirmed, but for shows that take place during the COVID pandemic it will be 10%.

That announcement sparked another backlash. Partly because the rate is two and half times higher than what is charged for real world gigs, which many argue livestreams during COVID have been directly replacing. And partly because it's higher than the 8% rate previously floated for revenues of up to £50,000.

MMF and FAC were quick to hit out at the new licence, stating that it "has the potential to be damaging for many artists who have livestreamed during the pandemic", and that "the high level of backdated tariffs for online shows will be widely viewed as unjustifiable".

Meanwhile, in a new statement, LIVE states: "In a year where we all relied on online connectivity, livestreaming was one of the only ways artists were able to reach out to fans, providing hope and entertainment while also generating some crucial income. PRS For Music's proposed streaming tariff is unacceptable because it is now higher than initially proposed and due to be backdated".

"This leaves people in the potentially bleak position of needing to raise funds for activity that happened some time ago", it goes on. "It unfairly targets those artists who relied on livestreaming as a lifeline throughout the pandemic".

"LIVE fully supports creators being rewarded for their work, be they writers or performers. But the proposed rate will have a chilling effect on live streaming, leading to the perverse outcome of streaming being uneconomical and therefore much less appealing for artists and promoters. That would be a poor outcome for the whole music ecosystem".

PRS insists that the 8% rate on the first £50,000 of revenue was only ever a proposal, and therefore the 10% rate is not an increase, because until earlier this month there was no official rate. It also argues that the 10% figure is competitive when compared to what societies in other countries are charging for livestreams.

It remains to be seen if MMF, FAC and LIVE can force another rethink.

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Jackie Alway named new ICMP Chair
Universal Music Publishing's Jackie Alway has been elected as the new Chair of the International Confederation Of Music Publishers. She is the first women to hold the position and succeed's Wise Music's Chris Butler, who has been in the role since 2017.

"I am delighted to be able to represent music publishers, both majors and independents, at a global level", says Alway. "I look forward to working with our colleagues around the world, standing together to defend the rights of creators, rights holders and our sector".

Currently Universal Music Publishing's EVP International Legal & Industry Affairs, Alway is also Chair of UK mechanical rights collecting society MCPS and was previously Chair of the UK's Music Publishers Association. She also serves on the boards of a number of other societies and trade bodies: PMLL, PRS For Music, MPA Ireland and MCPS Ireland.

Commenting on Alway's latest appointment, CEO of MCPS and the MPA, Paul Clements, says: "On behalf of the MPA Group and the music, print publishers and the composers we represent, we are proud and delighted that Jackie has secured this prestigious position. During her four years as MPA Chair, and as the current serving MCPS Chair, Jackie has always provided her utmost passion, energy and support. We also warmly thank Chris Butler for his tenure as ICMP Chair".

Alway will officially take up her new role on 3 Jun.

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FKP Scorpio expands UK office with three new hires
Live music business FKP Scorpio has announced a number of new appointments to expand its UK team, with Julie Morgan, Lou Champion and Rebecca Nichols all joining the company.

Joining from SJM Concerts, Morgan becomes Head of Marketing - UK & European Touring. Champion, who was previously at Live Nation, is now Head Of Ticketing. And former CAA agent Nichols joins as Head Of Live Co-ordination.

"I am massively excited to be part of the team in the UK and Europe", says Morgan. "FKP Scorpio is a company whose ethos I totally believe in. I love live music and can't wait to drive the company's marketing forward with exciting plans for the future".

Champion says: "I am THRILLED to be joining the FKP family and at a defining moment for UK ticketing". And Nichols adds: "I'm excited to be part of the FKP Scorpio team and working with such a dynamic and talented group of people on many special projects and exciting artists".

Meanwhile, joint MDs of live music at FKP Scorpio UK, Daniel Ealam and Scott O'Neill, say in a statement: "We feel like we have assembled a dream team of the best talents our industry has to offer, and we very much look forward to driving the UK business with a group of like-minded music fans".

In addition to these new appointments, FKP Scorpio has also announced a partnership with promoter Sam Laurence, who works under the Dollop brand.

FKP Scorpio's UK office was launched last year, with Ealam and Scott added to the team in September.

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Deezer announces new CEO
Deezer has announced Jeronimo Folgueira as its new CEO. Taking over from Hans-Holger Albrecht - who will remain on the company's board - Folgueira joins from German dating app firm Spark Networks.

"I couldn't be more excited to join Deezer", says Folgueira. "I'm passionate about music and podcasts. They hold a unique place in our hearts and Deezer's team has built a service that is the perfect companion to people's daily lives".

"Deezer is a key player and contributor to the fast growth of music streaming around the world", he goes on. "We have a highly competitive platform with unique features that listeners love. That means we're in a great place to accelerate our growth and capture many new opportunities, which will benefit both artists and music fans. I look forward to getting to know the team and writing the next chapter in the company's history together".

Albrecht adds: "My years as the CEO of Deezer have allowed me to lead a fantastic team on a growth journey. With the support of all shareholders and partners, a passionate team of 600 people have built the fourth largest global audio streaming service in the world. Our revenues have grown over 300% in the last five years and our platform averages more than 600 monthly streams per active user".

"We have a clear strategy in place to deliver long term, sustainable growth and value for shareholders, artists and users. The recent investment in Dreamstage will also allow us to continue innovating the relationship between artists and fans".

Deezer is backed by Access Industries, of course, which also controls Warner Music, and Albrecht also bigs up the boss of that key shareholder in his exit statement.

He continues: "My special thanks go to Len Blavatnik, who has been an amazing supporter and shareholder during these years, and to my Chairman, Guillaume d’Hauteville. He's been a perfect wingman and creative partner and I look forward to working with him and the rest of the Deezer board as an advisor and board member. I will also continue to be an investor in Deezer going forward".

The transition will officially take place next month.

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CMU Insights at Folk Talk Academy, Ja Ja Ja and AES Show
CMU's Chris Cooke will be popping up at a number of music industry events next week.

On Monday he will be delivering the 'Music Copyright Explained' webinar as part of English Folk Expo's Folk Talk Academy. Based on the 'Music Copyright Explained' guide CMU produced for the UK's Intellectual Property Office earlier this year, the session runs through all the basics music-makers need to know about copyright. Info here.

On Thursday he will be providing an overview of all things livestreaming - and the debate around how livestreams should be licensed by the music industry - as part of the Ja Ja Ja Nordic: WIRED event. Info here.

And on Wednesday and Friday he'll be appearing at the online edition of the AES Show that is taking place next week, joining a panel discussion on NFTs and presenting a speed briefing on digital licensing. Info here.
 

Cher announces biopic
Cher marked her 75th birthday yesterday by announcing that a biopic is being made about her. She will co-produce it alongside 'Mamma Mia!' and 'Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again' producers Judy Craymer and Gary Goetzman - the latter of those two films, of course, starred Cher.

"Gary and I are THRILLED to be working with Cher again and this time bringing her empowering and true-life odyssey to the big screen", says Craymer.

"One cannot help but be drawn to and inspired by Cher's larger than life talent, fortitude, unique wit, warmth and vision", she continues. "Her unparalleled success in music, film and TV has inspired generations. We could not be happier to tell her story to cinema audiences".

In a tweet announcing the movie project, Cher said that the film will be made by Universal Studios, with Eric Roth - writer of 'Forrest Gump' and the most recent version of 'A Star Is Born' - penning the screenplay.

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Roxanne de Bastion announces new album
Singer-songwriter Roxanne de Bastion has announced that she will release her second album, 'You & Me, We Are The Same', later this year.

De Bastion's father died during the making of the Bernard Butler-produced album. However, she says it's not a sad album, with joy, fun and falling in love all covered in the songs. "All those things still happen, even in our darkest chapters", she says.

Butler adds: "Roxanne sings great modern pop songs about being Roxanne in 2019. I really enjoyed making this album, I think we created something emotional and special".

New single 'Molecules' is out today and sees de Bastion getting philosophical, saying of the song: "You can shout at molecules and see them react - that might be God. They might have mislabelled that. What if we got it wrong? If there is such a thing as divinity, maybe it's more on a modular level".

'You & Me, We Are The Same' is out on 3 Sep. De Bastion will also play a headline show at The Moth Club in London on 12 Oct.

Watch the video for 'Molecules' here.

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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES

Spotify has launched a new resource via its Spotify For Artists platform called Fan Study which, and I quote, is a microsite that "offers a collection of fifteen high-level data-driven insights, from global listening trends to merch buying habits. Alongside each insight, we provide artists and their teams with actionable recommendations for how to leverage this information to achieve their goals - not just on Spotify, but beyond". Lovely stuff.

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RELEASES

After teasing it for what seems like about seventeen years, BTS have finally released new single 'Butter'.

Florence And The Machine have released 'Call Me Cruella', from new '101 Dalmations' spin-off 'Call Me Cruella'.

Lil Nas X is back with new single 'Sun Goes Down'.

Bono has released a new solo song 'Eden (To Find Love)'. Co-written with Linda Perry, the song plays over the credits of a new documentary about Sean Penn's earthquake relief efforts, 'Citizen Penn'.

Lana Del Rey has released three tracks from her upcoming 'Blue Bannisters' album: the title track, 'Text Book' and 'Wildflower Wildfire'.

A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie has teamed up with Lil Durk for new track '24 Hours'.

Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen have teamed up for new track 'Like I Used To'. "Even though we weren't super close, I always felt supported by Angel and considered her a peer in this weird world of touring", says Van Etten. "I finally got the courage in June of 2020 to reach out to see if she would want to sing together. I got greedy and quickly sent her a track I had been working on".

Burial has released new track 'Dolphinz' on his Bandcamp page, the b-side to last year's 'Chemz'. Both tracks where released on sold out vinyl last week.

City Girls have officially put out their track 'Twerkulator', which gained popularity on TikTok last year.

Kate Nash has released new single 'Misery'.

Black Midi have released new single 'Chondromalacia Patella'.

Tirzah has released new single 'Sink In'.

Sons Of Raphael have released new single 'Yeah Yeah Yeah'. Their new album, 'Full Throated Messianic Homage', is also out today.

Sir Was has released new single 'Spend A Lifetime'.

Kojaque has released new single 'Wickid Tongues'. His new album 'Town's Dead' is out on 25 and he will be touring in November.

Lawrence have released new single 'Don't Lose Sight'.

Litany has released new single 'Cream'. She's also confirmed a headline show at The Scala in London on 30 Sep.

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

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Duncan Laurence will not reprise winning Eurovision performance following positive COVID test
Winner of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, Duncan Laurence, will not be able to hit the stage for a victory lap tomorrow night, following a last minute positive COVID test. Laurence had been due to reprise his winning performance of the song 'Arcade' after a two year wait as part of the grand final of this year's competition on Saturday.

In a statement, organisers said that Laurence was only displaying "mild symptoms" of the coronavirus but, due to a minimum seven day isolation requirement, he would not be able to take part in the show as planned. However, he "will still feature in the show in a different form".

"We are of course disappointed, first of all for Duncan, who deserves a live performance on our very own Eurovision stage after his 2019 victory and the worldwide success of 'Arcade'", said Sietse Bakker, Executive Producer of the show. "We couldn't be more proud of his opening act for the first semi-final. Of course we wish Duncan a speedy recovery!"

Laurence's management added: "Duncan is very disappointed, he has been looking forward to this for two years. We are very happy that he will still be seen in the final".

This year's contest in Rotterdam is going ahead, of course, under strict COVID restrictions, which includes regular testing of performers. Most performers have been able to take part in the semi-finals, despite a number of positive tests in the run up to the event.

Australia's Montaigne had to use a pre-recorded performance due to being unable to travel to the Netherlands - after failing to go through to the grand final, she said that this put her at a "severe disadvantage". Meanwhile, after a member of Icelandic band Daði og Gagnamagnið tested positive, a performance filmed in rehearsals last week was used in place of a live set in last night's second semi-final.

Any fears that this would put them at a disadvantage proved unfounded, as they comfortably went through to Saturday's final. The band will also not be able to perform live there, with a pre-recorded performance being used again.

Also going through with a hefty share of the public vote last night was San Marino's Senhit, with her song 'Adrenalina'. Was this due to the song's quality or because she'd managed to get Flo Rida to come over from the US to perform his guest verse?

Maybe a bit of both. Who knows? It's definitely San Marino's strongest chance of winning in all their attempts since first taking part in the contest in 2008. And not just because it's one of the few time's they've actually qualified for the final.

At a press conference last night, Executive Supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest, Martin Österdahl - who is in charge of the live event for the first time this year - commented on the effort put in to making the show happen.

"We're incredibly happy with where we are in terms of the entire project, which is arguably the most complex television production in the world, as well as the largest music event", he said. "It's been a long journey to get here, but when I saw the first semi-final on Tuesday evening - seeing people in the audience enjoying the show was a great, great feeling".

"So many people have worked so hard to get us here", he went on. "We knew that the Dutch broadcasters are excellent producers of television, but we also learned how incredibly resilient and adaptable they are. We are all super grateful to the city of Rotterdam and [broadcasters] NPO, NOS [and] AVROTROS".

The grand final will take place tomorrow night, starting at 8pm on BBC One in the UK.

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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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