TODAY'S TOP STORY: As expected and feared in equal measure by the live music industry, last night British Prime Minister 'Boris' Johnson announced that the lifting of pandemic restrictions in England will be delayed by a month. It means full capacity shows cannot return next week as has been originally planned... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Live industry laments "catastrophic" delay to lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in England
Other official comments on the new delay in lifting COVID regulations
LEGAL The Jesus And Mary Chain latest artists to sue their former label over US termination right
Pras charged over alleged involvement in foreign-funded lobbying campaign in relation to Malaysian embezzlement scandal

Recording Academy accused of backtracking on promises of transparency in former CEO's arbitration

LABELS & PUBLISHERS IMPALA calls for visas, performing rights and reciprocity to be discussed at EU-US summit
ONE LINERS Hipgnosis, The Edge, Migos, more
AND FINALLY... Netflix's Spotify drama goes into production
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Live industry laments "catastrophic" delay to lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in England
As expected and feared in equal measure by the live music industry, last night British Prime Minister 'Boris' Johnson announced that the lifting of pandemic restrictions in England will be delayed by a month. It means full capacity shows cannot return next week as has been originally planned.

The lifting of rules on social distancing - or 'step four' in the government's previous plan to relax and remove COVID-19 restrictions - was due to take place on 21 Jun. However, Johnson said yesterday that the new delta variant of the coronavirus is causing a new spike in cases. Therefore, he said, the government needs more time to get more people vaccinated before rules are relaxed.

A small number of the COVID rules currently in force will still be lifted next week - such as limits on the number of people who can attend a wedding. However, recent calls to allow live music events to go ahead at full capacity were not answered. The numbers of people allowed at live events will continue to be limited, while nightclubs will remain closed entirely.

"This delay is catastrophic for the live music industry", says UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin. "Not just for the millions of fans who are desperate to get back to gigs and concerts, but for the event organisers, the venues, and the thousands of musicians and support staff whose jobs and livelihoods are now at risk. People across the industry have had 21 Jun circled in their calendar as the date they can finally get back to work after more than a year and make a living again. But that hope has now been crushed and their futures are shrouded in uncertainty at a time when they most need clarity".

Reiterating stats recently announced by live music trade body LIVE, he said that the month-long delay would result in the postponement or cancellation of more than 5000 shows, with 250 grassroots venues now at risk of eviction. Many in the live sector have also argued that the government's own Events Research Programme shows that full capacity live events pose a minute risk of transmission of COVID-19, indicating that there is no reason to impose a further delay on reopening. The government has not yet published the full findings of that research.

"This delay is particularly disappointing because of the lengths to which the music industry has gone to reduce the risk of transmission and develop effective safe working protocols", Njoku-Goodwin goes on. "We worked with the government on the recent pilot events, which were a huge success and saw just a handful of COVID-19 cases among the 58,000 people who attended".

Given the impact more delays to the reopening of the live industry is likely to have, UK Music is calling on the government to provide more financial support to those businesses and individuals effected.

For many people working in live music - particularly freelancers - the last year and a half has been a time without any income at all. And the trade body is now calling for specific new support for freelancers until the live sector can fully reopen.

It has also again called for a government-backed cancellation insurance scheme for festivals to be launched - something that has been resisted by British ministers so far, despite repeated calls from across the industry. It also says that there must be further extensions of the Business Rate Relief scheme, furlough and self-employed income schemes, and the moratorium on evictions for venues.

In its own statement, the Music Venue Trust says that while its position remains that "protection of public health is an over-arching issue which needs to be addressed and has primacy over other considerations", inconsistencies in the current rules unfairly punish the live music business.

"Mass gatherings of people, both indoors and outdoors, are already taking place", it says. "Singing, dancing, close contact, mask free events took place right across England yesterday. The government's position that such activities present a unique and special danger if a live band are playing is neither believable nor supported by the science. If the risk is behavioural, the government should explain how the same behaviours in different events can be either restricted or not restricted based on a government decision, and how such a decision is supported by the science".

"The continued restrictions to culture are a serious blow to the grassroots music venue sector, with potential damage to hundreds of businesses, thousands of staff and tens of thousands of workers", it goes on. "The government should immediately recognise the risk of serious harm being done to people’s lives, business, jobs and livelihoods and respond with swift, decisive action. The clock is ticking. Don't fail now".

The new target date for the lifting of restrictions is 19 Jul, with a review set to take place in two weeks. There are already fears that there could be further delays, although Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday told MPs in the House Of Commons that he did not foresee this being the case.

"Our goal", he said, "is to make sure we get as much vaccination done between now and [19 Jul] - especially those second doses - to make sure we can open up safely, even if there is a rise in cases".

Whether restrictions are lifted on 19 Jul, or the government heeds calls for support in the meantime, remains to be seen.


Other official comments on the new delay in lifting COVID regulations

Paul Reed, CEO of the Association Of Independent Festivals: “AIF understands the rationale for delaying step four of the lockdown roadmap. However, any measures that prevent festivals from operating fully have to be counterbalanced with effective support to ensure businesses can survive. For those festival organisers that still have a chance of staging events after 19 Jul, that support is government-backed insurance, which will give them the confidence to continue planning and commit the significant costs that entails. We also must not forget those festivals that have already been forced to cancel or will do so as a result of the delay - they will need a swift and comprehensive financial package to help them survive until the 2022 sales cycle".

Andy Lenthall, General Manager at the Production Services Association: "The live events sector has worked tirelessly with government to create guidance and run self-funded test events to ensure a safe return to full opening, there has been no data that shows a well organised event is more dangerous than going to a supermarket, a cricket match or singing in the enclosed concourse at Wembley Stadium. It is abundantly clear that current increases in cases are not connected with live events, yet this sector is being harmed further by the delayed return to activity. Our members, the suppliers to well organised, professional live events, have once again been left without any indication of how they will be supported whilst the sectors they serve are shuttered by government".

Jonathan Brown, CEO of the Society of Ticket Agents And Retailers: "STAR's members will once again work tirelessly to help ensure that disappointed fans still get to see the events they have booked for, if they can be rescheduled. However, the consequence of this further delay to full re-opening on all corners of the live entertainment industries needs urgent recognition and government support if there is not to be irrevocable damage to a major employer, accounting for tens of thousands of jobs, a major revenue provider contributing billions of pounds to the Exchequer, and a globally recognised flagship of the UK's cultural and tourism offering".

Greg Marshall, General Manager at the Association For Electronic Music: "The government decision to delay all clubs and live events re-opening at full capacity for another month seems out-of-step with preliminary findings from the Events Research Programme which indicate that events can return safely if the correct safety protocols are in place. This delay will seriously impact the sector and must be accompanied by effective financial support for the businesses and individuals affected".

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association: "This is a hugely devastating blow for the very industries that have been hardest hit by this pandemic; in a very real sense, the Prime Minister has 'switched the lights off' for an entire sector. Many businesses have not survived this pandemic and others are on a financial cliff-edge, unable to operate viably".

"Hundreds of thousands of jobs have already been lost, a huge pool of creative talent has been swept away, and we have been left to suffer extreme financial hardship. This delay will drive confidence in the sector to a new low, culminating in more of our workforce being forced to leave the industry, and customers, who have been starved of social engagement, attending illegal unregulated events in place of businesses that are well-operated, licensed and regulated".

"These businesses are overburdened with debt and so any decision to delay the full reopening of our sector must be paired with a robust financial support package, including additional restriction grants, exclusion from furlough contributions, extension of loan repayment holiday for CBILS/BBS as well as business rates and VAT relief for the next twelve months, not forgetting the £2.6 billion in commercial rent debt left unresolved".

"The government must understand the human impact of this decision, not only considering the public health challenges of the virus but also the people within our sector who are suffering terribly and the real health risks that this represents. This is particularly important given the overwhelming confidence in the vaccination rollout, and the ability for our sector to deliver COVID safe and regulated environments".

"Distressed industries cannot continue to be held in limbo, with thousands of businesses left to fall. This delay, which again offers no clarity on when businesses can open, is leaving many in the industry angry and frustrated, alongside other businesses who have been locked down or restricted from opening through no fault of their own, and at their own cost".


The Jesus And Mary Chain latest artists to sue their former label over US termination right
The Jesus And Mary Chain are the latest artists to test the reach of the termination right under US copyright law by suing their former label Warner Music.

The group's Jim Reid and William Reid say that the major has refused to comply with termination notices they filed under US law and continues to exploit their 1980s recordings in the American market which, they allege, constitutes copyright infringement.

Under American law, creators who assign their copyrights to another party have a one-off opportunity to terminate that assignment and reclaim their rights - albeit only within the US - after 35 years. With the current termination right originating in 1970s law, it only properly kicked in at the start of the last decade, but now plenty of American songwriters have started terminating old publishing contracts.

However, there remain some debates. While pretty much everyone agrees that the termination right applies to standard publishing contracts, plenty of labels argue that it does not apply to record contracts. That's on the basis that conventional record contracts in the US are work for hire agreements, which makes the label the default owner of each sound recording copyright.

The argument then goes that if the label is the default owner of the copyright, no assignment of rights ever took place and, therefore, there is no assignment to terminate.

Plenty of artists dispute that position, mainly by arguing that record contracts aren't really work for hire agreements, even if the actual written contract claims to be at the top. There are currently ongoing lawsuits involving all three majors in relation to this dispute.

The other big debate is whether non-American songwriters and artists that entered into publishing and record deals with music publishers and record labels outside the US can also reclaim their rights within America. The big test case on that debate to date has been pursued by Duran Duran against Sony Music Publishing in the UK courts.

At first instance the court ruled that Duran Duran didn't have a termination right under their British publishing contract, but that was a controversial ruling that was subsequently appealed.

In the new lawsuit, the Reids - being Scottish artists who signed to a UK-based Warner label in the 1980s - are now involved in both of those debates. But with an added complication. In the UK, if a label organises a recording session, it is the default owner of the sound recording copyright under law unless a record contract says otherwise. The whole 'work for hire' debate isn't relevant in the context of UK record contracts.

Providing the Reids signed a conventional record deal and Warner organised their recordings sessions, no assignment actually took place. And again, Warner will argue, if no assignment took place there is no assignment to terminate, even within the US.

In fact, we know that Warner is arguing all of the above. In the new lawsuit, the Reids report how - when they filed termination notices with Warner in the US - the label responded that the major "is the owner of the copyrights throughout the world in each of the sound recordings comprising the noticed works, and the notice is not effective to terminate WMG's US rights", and that according to UK copyright law the band "never owned any copyrights in the recordings which [they] could terminate".

The major's legal rep also added that by even servicing a termination notice the band may be "in breach of [their] contractual obligations under the 1985 agreement", while adding that any dispute on all this "would need to be decided under the law of the United Kingdom". They then cited the Duran Duran case.

Needless to say, the Reids and their legal team are not impressed with the employment of these technicalities and dispute the major's arguments. They argue that by rejecting the termination notices and continuing to exploit The Jesus And Mary Chain's recordings in the US, Warner should be held liable for copyright infringement.

The lawyer leading on the new lawsuit is LA-based Evan S Cohen, who is also working on the termination right cases involving Sony Music and Universal Music. A statement from Cohen's law firm stresses that - even before the current termination right was incorporated into US copyright law in the 1970s - the same principle was included in earlier US Copyright Acts. And when US Congress enhanced that right in the 1970s, it "intended that songwriters and recording artists must have a 'second chance' to own the US rights in and to their works".

Cohen himself adds: "Our copyright law provides recording artists and songwriters with a valuable, once-in-a-lifetime chance to terminate old deals and regain their creative works after 35 years. This 'second chance' has always been a part of our copyright law. In this case against WMG, the label has refused to acknowledge the validity of any of the notices of termination served by The Jesus And Mary Chain, and has completely disregarded band's ownership rights".

"Despite the law returning the US rights to the band, WMG is continuing to exploit those recordings and thereby wilfully infringing upon our clients' copyrights", he goes on. "This behaviour must stop. The legal issues in this suit are of paramount importance to the music industry".


Pras charged over alleged involvement in foreign-funded lobbying campaign in relation to Malaysian embezzlement scandal
Pras - best known as a member of The Fugees - could face a lengthy prison sentence if found guilty of involvement in an undisclosed foreign-funded lobbying campaign in the US that sought to influence the presidency of Donald Trump in relation to an ongoing investigation into alleged dodgy dealings within a state-owned investment fund in Malaysia. The musician was last week formally charged in relation to allegations he was indeed involved in such a scheme.

This all relates to what is known as the 1MDB scandal in Malaysia. Back in 2015, Malaysia's then President Najib Razak was accused of involvement in a scam to siphon off $3.5 billion from a state-owned investment fund called 1Malaysia Development Berhad - or 1MDB.

It was alleged that the scam was orchestrated by a Malaysian businessman called Taek Jho Low – generally known as Jho Low - who, as it happens, also headed up an investment fund involved in the 2012 Sony-led acquisition of EMI Music Publishing.

Despite denying any wrong-doing, Low faces criminal charges in both Malaysia and the US in relation to the alleged scam. Investigations are ongoing in America, which is seemingly why he was keen for the Trump government to be lobbied on the issue. Low, backed by the Chinese government, allegedly sought to persuade Trump and the US Department Of Justice to "drop the investigation of Jho Low and others in connection with the international strategic and development company known as 1MDB".

Pras, real name Prakazrel Michel, seemingly helped Low to pursue this lobbying campaign. According to a statement from the Department Of Justice, a grand jury in Washington last week charged Pras and Low over allegations they together orchestrated "an unregistered, back-channel campaign beginning in or about 2017 to influence the then-administration of the President of the United States and the Department Of Justice".

The two men are "alleged to have conspired with ... others to engage in undisclosed lobbying campaigns at the direction of Low and the Vice Minister Of Public Security for the People's Republic Of China, respectively, both to have the 1MDB embezzlement investigation and forfeiture proceedings involving Low and others dropped and to have a Chinese dissident sent back to China".

"Michel and Low are also charged with conspiring to commit money laundering related to the foreign influence campaigns", the DoJ's statement adds. "Michel is also charged with witness tampering and conspiracy to make false statements to banks".

If found guilty of the crimes they have been charged over, Low could face maximum penalties of five to ten years in prison per count, while Michel could face five to 20 years per count.

It's not the first time Michel has faced criminal charges in relation to allegations he support Low in efforts to influence US politicians. In 2019 the two men were charged over allegations Michel helped Low to funnel foreign monies into political donations, specifically made to Barack Obama's presidential election campaign in 2012, seemingly with the aim of influencing the then US presidency.

So that's all full of intrigue, isn't it? What do reckon, will this story make a good movie or a middling Netflix mini-series?


Recording Academy accused of backtracking on promises of transparency in former CEO's arbitration
It feels like ages since we've had a good Grammy Awards related dispute. Luckily, there's a brand new dispute over an old dispute. The arbitration hearing in relation to the dismissal, by Grammys owner the Recording Academy, of its former CEO Deborah Dugan is set to take place next month. Her lawyers are now accusing the organisation of trying to renege on a promise to hold those proceedings in public.

The hearing is set to begin on 12 Jul, examining exactly what led to Dugan to be fired just months into the CEO role. The Recording Academy has now requested that the hearing take place behind closed doors, although it has said that it is happy for the findings of the investigation to be made public.

Dugan was hired by the Academy in late 2019 with a brief to shake things up at the organisation and its annual Grammy Awards, in particular dealing with the diversity issues that had dogged the latter part of her predecessor Neil Portnow's tenure.

But just before the 2020 Grammys, Dugan was put on administrative leave by the Academy's board. They said that they were responding to a complaint of bullying by a staff member against Dugan. She said that she was being pushed out because the Academy didn't actually want to be shaken up.

She then filed an explosive legal document with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in LA. In it she set out a long list of allegations against the Academy, its board, its committees and its legal advisors, who were variously accused of corruption, misogyny, financial self-serving, sexual harassment and vote fixing.

Since then, the Academy has made various efforts to counteract accusations about corruption and a lack of fairness in the awards - including changing how elements of the nominations process work. This hasn't convinced everyone though, not least The Weeknd, who boycotted this year's Grammys ceremony after failing to receive any nominations - something he claimed was a punishment for performing at the Super Bowl half time show just before this year's awards event.

In February 2020, as the formal legal process got underway, then Chair - now CEO - of the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason Jr, sent a letter to Dugan saying that the organisation was agreeing to waive the confidentiality provision in the arbitration clause in her employment contract.

In his letter, he said: "The Recording Academy has absolutely nothing to hide, and, in fact, welcomes the opportunity to tell its story so that the entire music community and the world can hear the truth - and nothing but the truth - about what you did to this proud institution during your brief tenure as president/CEO. In short, we welcome a full public airing of your allegations against the Academy as well as the Academy's many claims and defences against you".

Dugan always wanted any proceedings to be public, and her legal team is now claiming that the Academy's efforts to have the arbitration take place in private backtracks on commitments made in Mason's letter.

According to the New York Times, one of Dugan's attorneys, Michael J Willemin, wrote to arbitrator Sara Adler last week calling for the hearing to remain open. He wrote: "The simple, undeniable fact is that the parties agreed to open this proceeding to the public, and, therefore, it must be open to the public unless Ms Dugan agrees otherwise".

The Academy's lawyers disagree, saying that no commitment regarding the entire arbitration process was ever made. Representing its legal team, Anthony J Oncidi says that Mason's letter merely agreed to make public "the existence, content or result of any arbitration" and that the organisation "was and is willing to make public the results of this arbitration, and the reasoning for those results, and nothing more".

Making the whole hearing public, he went on, would reveal other confidential information and cause "further emotional distress" to witnesses.

A decision on whether to close the hearing to the public is yet to be made, although this seems like yet another own goal for the Academy, allowing Dugan to gain more ground in the PR war between her and her former employer. Whether she can win the actual legal battle remains to be seen.


IMPALA calls for visas, performing rights and reciprocity to be discussed at EU-US summit
After a few days in sunny England bumping elbows with G7 leaders and politely smiling at Britain's Bullshitter In Chief 'Boris' Johnson, US President Joe Biden is in Brussels today for a big old summit with the European Union.

Ahead of that, the pan-European trade group for the independent music sector, IMPALA, has called on EU chiefs to include two key music industry related talking points in its discussions with Biden's team: the current limitations on the sound recording copyright Stateside and the continued visa issues European artists face when trying to perform in the US.

IMPALA is one of a plethora of creative industry organisations that recently signed a letter to EU and US leaders noting the impact that visa issues - both for European artists touring America and vice versa - have on cross Atlantic cultural exchange, which everyone hopes will restart again as soon as possible as COVID restrictions on performances and international travel start to lift.

The letter criticised the "difficulties that artists, crew and cultural professionals encounter which relate to cumbersome and costly visa processing when travelling to the USA for the purpose of work, and the great variety of conditions US artists face to obtain work permits in the different countries of the EU".

"Reducing the obstacles to visas and work permits is therefore an essential instrument to bring hope, future and a new start of cultural exchange between the two continents", it added. And to help achieve that, "experts in the EU and US would be glad to jointly prepare recommendations, and we welcome the chance to provide you with these recommendations".

"Whilst the US and EU can be proud of a thriving cultural exchange, we, the artist communities on both sides of the Atlantic call upon you for a solution-oriented approach as regards artist mobility", it went on. "Artist mobility produces a backbone of additional trade - flights, hotels, catering, hire of local services, road haulage, local taxes, etc - and thus generate income for many other side industries".

The big copyright issue relates to the fact that, under US law, there is no general performing right for sound recordings. This means that, unlike in Europe, AM/FM radio stations and public premises playing recorded music do not need to secure licences from or to pay royalties to artists and labels.

This deficiency in US copyright law is a cause for concern for both the US and European music industries, both of which have long called on American law-makers to bring the country's copyright rules in line with Europe and most other mature music markets when it comes to performing rights. Although a related legal technicality has caused some disagreement between the music communities on each side of the Atlantic.

Performing rights income - often called neighbouring rights income these days - is generally managed by the record industry's collecting societies. Those societies collect royalties from broadcasters and businesses playing recorded music in public and pass the money back to artists and labels whose music was used. If those artists and labels are based in other countries, the money often flows via reciprocal deals to societies in said artists and labels' home country.

However, what happens if the foreign artist or label is based in a country with no performing right - like the US - which means no royalties are flowing in the other direction? That depends, but in some countries a so called "reciprocity" approach is in force, meaning monies only flow to artists and labels in other countries where performing rights exist. Which is most countries, but, crucially, not the US. This reciprocity rule sometimes applies to both artists and labels, or sometimes just to artists.

US collecting society SoundExchange has started to hit out at countries that apply this approach in recent years, calling on the US Trade Representative to put pressure on countries like the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Japan and the Netherlands - which employ some kind of "reciprocity" approach - to abandon that practice in favour of a so called "national treatment" system, which would mean American artists having the same rights as local artists, oblivious of the limitations of US copyright law.

This came to a head in Europe last year because of a ruling in the European Union courts in relation to a dispute in Ireland between the label and performer collecting societies there - PPI and RAAP respectively. A "reciprocity" approach applies to artists in Ireland, meaning American performers are not due royalties when their recordings are broadcast or played in public in the country.

However, the EU courts ruled that the current Irish approach is not in line with European law and the way the EU has chosen to interpret the global copyright treaties.

The court basically said that because the specific European directive relevant to the Irish case didn't mention the "reciprocity" approach, EU member states couldn't apply it. The previous assumption - actually backed by the European Council - was that because the relevant directive was silent on "reciprocity", EU member states could apply it.

Noting that this was now a pressing issue for the European record industry, IMPALA said yesterday: "The European Commission is currently reviewing the disastrous impact of a decision of the European Court Of Justice of September 2020 on thousands of recording artists and smaller labels in Europe".

"The court flagged that the principle of reciprocity now needs to be specific in legislation and the EC is looking at this issue. Without fixing that, European collecting societies for producers and performers would have to pay to countries who don’t provide for reciprocal rights for their own territory. For the USA alone, the amount at stake exceeds 125 million euros annually".

"At a time when revenues from broadcasting and public performance have plummeted and performers have been unable to play live for such a long time as a result of COVID", it went on, "this will have a devastating effect on many European performers and labels. IMPALA looks to the EU to fix this situation urgently so that EU member states can continue to decide individually for themselves whether they want to apply this principle, as they have been able to for decades".

Of course, while in the short term the record industry wants the EC to amend the relevant directive to confirm that the "reciprocity" approach is allowed in the European Union, if member states choose to adopt it, a better solution would be for American law-makers to introduce a full performing right for sound recordings in the US. Both the issues around "reciprocity" and the deficiencies in US copyright law should also be discussed during the EU-US summit, IMPALA argues.

The organisation's Executive Chair, Helen Smith, said yesterday: "The EU-US summit is an excellent opportunity to reinforce the vital principle of reciprocity, and for the new US President to take the lead and bring American copyright laws into line with European and international rules. This is ultimately about maximum protection for all. We need to urgently reinforce reciprocity of treatment otherwise huge sums will now have to be paid across the Atlantic for US sound recordings with little in return in respect of EU recordings played or performed in the USA. Now is not the time to lose 125 million euros per year. European parliamentarians have also flagged the importance of this issue".

Meanwhile, IMPALA President Kees van Weijen - also chair of STOMP, the indie label organisation in the Netherlands, a country affected by last September's ruling - added: "The European Union has a long history of strong protection of producers and performers in the music industry. Its approach has been an example for many to follow. The United States is unique in the world as the only major music market not providing performers and labels with income from the playing of music on terrestrial radio and in public places".

"Reciprocity remains an important tool to convince the US to bring their legislation up to the level of the European Union and create a true level playing field for the European and American music industry", he added. "In the Netherlands alone, we can already see the impact of this case on Dutch labels and performers in a big way, especially independent labels and artists".


Approved: Julie-Sophie
Formerly a member of Little Fish and Candy Says, Julia-Sophie Walker launched her solo project last year with the EP 'y?' Returning after a break from music, her new electronic sound - coupled with the most personal lyrics of her career - quickly found an audience.

Given Walker seemingly started out with no particular expectations, that bit of early success might have convinced her that she'd hit upon a formula she should stick with. But instead it buoyed her to experiment further. A second EP - '</3' - arrived in April this year, taking the first release as a blueprint while making tracks longer and giving them more space in which to develop.

If these two EPs set a benchmark for the rate of development for this project, then things look nothing but positive as more releases arrive. She's already planning a third EP, with hopes to follow that with an album

Julia-Sophie is set to headline the Windmill in Brixton on 12 Jul. You can listen to 'CCTV' from '</3' here.

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


The Hipgnosis Songs Fund has signed - no, not another big bucks catalogue deal - but whatever it is you sign when you appoint a new non-executive director to your board. A letter of appointment? Anyway, it has appointed Atwater Capital founder Vania Schlogel as its new Non-Executive Director. "Hipgnosis has done an incredible job in creating such an innovative and attractive proposition to investors while at the same time supporting some of music's most important figures", she says. "I could not be happier to be joining the board at this exciting stage in the company's development".



U2 guitarist The Edge has launched a new guitar strap to support refugee women in partnership with the Love Welcomes charity. "I am proud to be part of their initiative to provide opportunities and employment for migrant and refugee women", he says. Pre-order yours here.



Migos have released the video for 'Modern Day', taken from their new album 'Culture III'.

Little Simz has released new single 'Rollin Stone'. Her new album, 'Sometimes I Might Be Introvert', is out on 2 Sep.

Kurupt FM have collaborated with Craig David on new single 'Summertime'. "The track is pure summer vibes so we decided to do a proper Miami video shoot on the beach with a convertible and models in bikinis and all that", say the UK garage crew. "In the end Miami was too expensive and we had to do it in Crystal Palace but it still looks sick".

Yann Tiersen has released new single 'Poull Bojer'. His new album, 'Kerber', is out on 27 Aug.

Jodie Harsh has released new single 'No Sleep'. "I wanted 'No Sleep' to be reminiscent of those nights you never wanted the party to end, those 'all back to mine' moments", she says. "I want this to be the anthem of the summer when the world opens up again, post-pandemic". I guess you've now got more time to learn the words while you wait.

James BKS has released new single 'Kusema'. "This one is truly special because it's me rapping and singing for the first time", he says. "This song is about willpower and taking control. If you have people doubting your vision that's fine, they not supposed to believe, but you do".

Susanna and David Wallumrød have announced that they will release an album together, titled 'Live', on 13 Aug. It will feature original tracks and covers of songs by artists including AC/DC and Dolly Parton. Here's first single 'For No One'.

Sandunes has released new track 'Shadow', featuring Half Waif. It is taken from her new EP, 'Nowhere To Stand', which is out on 25 Jun.

Wargasm have released new single 'Pyro Pyro'. They are set to play the Underworld in Camden on 10 Sep.



Belle & Sebastian have announced UK tour dates in February next year. Tickets go on general sale on Friday.

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


Netflix's Spotify drama goes into production
Production has begun on a new Netflix drama series all about Spotify, based on the book 'Spotify Untold'. The six part programme will tell the story - somewhat fictionalised - of how the streaming service came into being. Which might not sound that interesting, but they made a film about Facebook, didn't they?

The show will star Edvin Endre as Spotify founder and boss man Daniel Ek, with Christian Hillborg as co-founder Martin Lorentzon. Ulf Stenberg will play former MD of Universal Music Sweden, Per Sundin; Gizem Erdogan will play former Spotify General Counsel, Petra Hansson; and Joel Lützow will play the streaming service's first employee and former CTO Andreas Ehn.

There's one person involved in both the Facebook and the Spotify stories of course, that being Napster co-founder Sean Parker, who - after his stint at Facebook - became an investor in and board member at Spotify as the company started to gain momentum. Surely if Parker appears in the series at any point they've got to cast Justin Timberlake in the role?

Anyway, more facts. Directed by Per-Olav Sørensen and written by Christian Spurrier, the Spotify drama is being made for Netflix by Yellow Bird UK, which acquired the telly rights to 'Spotify Untold' in 2019.

The book tells the story of Spotify's inception and its battles to get the company's original licences from record labels. It also claims that for a period Daniel Ek believed that then Apple CEO Steve Jobs was making prank calls to him, breathing heavily down the phoneline before hanging up.

The writers of the book - Swedish journalists Sven Carlsson and Jonas Leijonhufvud - admitted that they were unable to absolutely confirm that this happened, but I think it's probably worth focussing a whole episode of the TV show on it anyway.

As yet untitled, the series is set to premiere on Netflix next year. Not sure when Spotify will get round to making an audio drama retelling the story of Netflix.


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)
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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.
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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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