TODAY'S TOP STORY: The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out 69,000 music industry jobs in the UK - or one in three roles within the sector - according to new stats from trade group UK Music. The economic contribution made by the music industry, meanwhile, slumped 46%. With those stark figures to the fore, UK Music is now seeking government support to help guarantee the industry's post-COVID revival... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES COVID-19 cost the UK music industry 69,000 jobs and caused a 46% slump in economic impact
LEGAL UK competition regulator announces market study into music streaming
Spotify welcomes latest proposals in US Senate to regulate the tech giants

DEALS Emeli Sandé signs new publishing deal with Reservoir
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Australian collecting society revokes honorary award from axed Sony Music chief
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Apple Music unveils mid-price subscription package
ARTIST NEWS Sack Megadeth bassist David Ellefson says he's "perfectly content and happy"
ONE LINERS Kanye West, Oasis, Jack White, more
AND FINALLY... Michael Jackson estate forces Belgian radio show to change name
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COVID-19 cost the UK music industry 69,000 jobs and caused a 46% slump in economic impact
The COVID-19 pandemic wiped out 69,000 music industry jobs in the UK - or one in three roles within the sector - according to new stats from trade group UK Music. The economic contribution made by the music industry, meanwhile, slumped 46%. With those stark figures to the fore, UK Music is now seeking government support to help guarantee the industry's post-COVID revival.

The annual stats pack from UK Music - now known as 'This Is Music' - is usually an opportunity for the wider music sector to boast about its recent growth, and the impressive impact the music business has on the UK economy. However, the edition of that annual report focused on the year that was 2020 was always going to be very different.

With the live side of the music industry pretty much in total shutdown for the majority of 2020 - not to mention the impact the pandemic had on studios, record shops, public performance and sync licensing, music education and so on - we knew this batch of stats was going to make for depressing reading.

According to UK Music's research - which aggregates figures from across the wider music business - the sector's workforce slumped by 35% during the pandemic, from approximately 197,000 people to 128,000. The economic contribution made by the sector - aka its gross value added - fell by 46% from £5.8 billion in 2019 to £3.1 billion in 2020, with the value of music exports dropping 23% from £2.9 billion to £2.3 billion.

While the challenges of COVID are far from over, the music industry is now in revival mode. It's hoped that, ultimately, the losses in workforce, revenues and economic impact can all be reversed, although UK Music says that government support is required to ensure that happens. To that end, alongside its 'This Is Music' report, it has published a 'Music Industry Strategic Recovery Plan'.

The industry's wish list in terms of government support includes tax incentives and a permanent reduction in the VAT rate on live events; more funding and support for music exports; more funding for music education and the industry's all-important community of freelancers; and urgent action to remove the barriers to European touring created by Brexit.

The main justification for all that support, of course, is that with the right interventions from government the music industry can return to its pre-pandemic levels, achieving that £5.8 billion economic impact again, and then getting back to the growth trajectory that UK Music has been tracking with its previous annual reports.

Although the positive impact of music goes beyond the top line gross value added stat, of course. And in a bid to demonstrate that too, the latest report from UK Music also includes the results of a survey of the good old Great British Public about music and the music industry.

According to that survey, 75% of the British public are proud of the UK music industry and its heritage, 59% believe music improves the UK’s reputation overseas, and 74% say music is important to their quality of life. Meanwhile, the study reckons a million people took up playing a musical instrument during lockdown.

Commenting on all this, UK Music boss Jamie Njoku-Goodwin says: "The past eighteen months have been exceptionally challenging for the UK music industry, with billions wiped off the value of the sector - but we are determined to look to the future and focus on recovery".

"Music matters to us all", he adds. "And in a year when we’ve seen just how important music is to all our lives, it's more important than ever that we take the necessary steps to protect, strengthen and grow the industry. In our 'Music Industry Strategic Recovery Plan' we identify the policy interventions required and set out a clear action plan to get the industry back up on its feet.

"With the right support", he goes on, "the UK music industry can help drive the post-pandemic recovery. 'This Is Music' sets out the positive role the music industry can play in our country's future, and the steps that need to be taken to achieve that. Music is a key national asset, part of our history and our heritage. More than that, it's part of our future. And we can't value it highly enough".

As is traditional, the new UK Music stats pack is accompanied by a statement from the government's Culture Secretary, this time the recently appointed Nadine Dorries. She mainly bigs up the government's efforts to support the cultural sector during the pandemic, like the Culture Recovery Fund, the Events Research Programme and the late-in-the-day government-backed cancellation insurance scheme.

Although she does add: "Now the priority is to ensure a strong recovery. The UK music industry is one of our country's great national assets, and I give my commitment that the government will continue to back it every step of the way".


UK competition regulator announces market study into music streaming
The UK's competition regulator, the Competition & Markets Authority, has this morning announced that it plans to launch a market study into music streaming.

Such an investigation was one of the big asks of the Musicians' Union and Ivors Academy during the inquiry into the economics of streaming undertaken by the UK Parliament's culture select committee.

In the context of the inquiry, a CMA investigation was mainly raised in relation to the debate over whether or not the three majors being so dominant in both recorded music and music publishing has skewed the digital music market in any way. And, in particular, whether that fact has impacted on how streaming monies are split between the recording rights and the song rights.

In its final report, the culture select committee recommended that "the government refer a case to the Competition & Markets Authority to undertake a full market study into the economic impact of the majors’ dominance". Responding to that report last month, the government said it had written to the CMA requesting that it consider the committee's proposal.

In its statement this morning, the CMA implied its study into the streaming market could actually go beyond what the select committee recommended. The regulator's CEO Andrea Coscelli said: "The UK has a love affair with music and is home to many of the world's most popular artists. We want to do everything we can to ensure that this sector is competitive, thriving and works in the interests of music lovers".

"Over the past decade, the music industry has evolved almost beyond recognition, with streaming now accounting for more than 80% of all music listened to in this country", he added. "A market study will help us to understand these radical changes and build a view as to whether competition in this sector is working well or whether further action needs to be taken".

The regulator's statement also clarified that its market studies are "a key tool used by the CMA to identify – and, if appropriate, to consider how best to tackle – any competition and consumer issues". Having decided to undertake such a study in relation to music streaming, the CMA added that it "will now carry out work to consider and develop the final scope of the market study, before formally launching it as soon as possible".

In terms of the dominance of the majors specifically, the CMA is already doing some work in that domain via its formal investigation into Sony Music's acquisition of the distribution company AWAL.


Spotify welcomes latest proposals in US Senate to regulate the tech giants
Spotify has welcomed the latest proposals in US Congress that seek to constrain tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook, mainly to stop said companies from exploiting their market dominance to gain competitive advantage over smaller rivals.

The American Innovation And Choice Online Act was formally unveiled in the US Senate yesterday by Democrat Amy Klobuchar and Republican Charles E Grassley. It complements similar proposals discussed and passed by the judiciary committee in the House Of Representatives back in June.

A statement yesterday declared that the Senate proposals "would restore competition online by establishing common sense rules of the road for dominant digital platforms to prevent them from abusing their market power to harm competition, online businesses, and consumers".

Klobuchar added: "American prosperity was built on a foundation of open markets and fair competition, but right now our country faces a monopoly problem, and American consumers, workers, and businesses are paying the price".

"As dominant digital platforms – some of the biggest companies our world has ever seen – increasingly give preference to their own products and services, we must put policies in place to ensure small businesses and entrepreneurs still have the opportunity to succeed in the digital marketplace", she went on. "This bill will do just that, while also providing consumers with the benefit of greater choice online".

Spotify, of course, has been very vocal in its criticism of Apple in particular, which it accuses of anti-competitive conduct. A lot of that relates to the tech giant's App Store rules and the impact they have on Spotify's own iOS app.

For its part, Apple has recently made some concessions regarding those rules, mainly in response to regulatory and legal action in different countries. However, there are still plenty of further reforms that Spotify would like, many of which were contained in the Open App Markets Act, another set of legislative proposals backed by Klobuchar in the US Senate.

The American Innovation And Choice Online Act would complement the proposals in the Open App Markets Act, and actually go further in constraining the big tech companies like Apple. Meaning Spotify's support for these latest proposals is unsurprising.

According to Billboard, Spotify's Head Of Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer Horacio Gutierrez said of the latest proposals: "Gatekeeper platforms use their power to distort markets by manufacturing self-serving advantages at the expense of American consumers and competitors. They offer users fewer, less innovative choices and insulate themselves from competition, which leads to higher prices for consumers".

To that end, he added, Spotify "looks forward to Congress bringing an end to these discriminatory practices for the sake of consumer choice and the digital economy".

Of course, the tech giants will fight the proposed new regulations fiercely in Washington, so it's by no means assured that any of these new laws will get all the way through Congress. But while the big wins may be someway off, companies like Spotify will be getting some more flexibility when providing services through other companies' operating systems sooner rather than later.


Emeli Sandé signs new publishing deal with Reservoir
Reservoir has signed Emeli Sandé to a new publishing deal covering her upcoming new album and future works.

"I'm very excited to have signed with Reservoir", says Sandé. "It feels great to join their impressive roster. I'm looking forward to all the music ahead and working with their fantastic team".

Reservoir's UK MD Annette Barrett adds: "I am beyond THRILLED to be able to sign Emeli Sandé, who is such a great addition to our roster. She is an amazing talent; I have admired her songwriting and artist career over the years and am so excited for the release of her new work".

No release date has yet been announced for Sandé's new album, but it is expected in 2022. She released her latest single, 'Family', last month.


Australian collecting society revokes honorary award from axed Sony Music chief
Another honorary award has been revoked from the former boss of Sony Music Australia in the wake of the TV exposé on the toxic corporate culture at the major's Australian division. This time it's the Ted Albert Award presented by collecting society APRA AMCOS.

Sony Music's long-term Australian chief Denis Handlin suddenly stood down in June as The Guardian published a report in which more than 20 former employees of the major discussed the toxic environment at its Australian division, an environment that in turn resulted in "sexual harassment at work events, intimidating behaviour, alcohol abuse and the unfair treatment of women in the workplace".

Pressure has been building on both Handlin and Sony Music ever since, though things escalated last week when Australian TV programme 'Four Corners' ran a report on what it was like working at the major.

Both summarising and expanding on the allegations in the earlier Guardian report, the programme confirmed that the issues with Handlin's management style went back decades, having been previously investigated by Sony Music's top guard in the US as far back as the 1990s.

Following the programme's airing, Queensland-based music organisation QMusic revoked an honorary award it presented Handlin in 2020. Attention then fell on the similar awards previously presented to the disgraced Sony chief by trade body ARIA and collecting society APRA AMCOS.

ARIA then revoked the Icon Award it presented Handlin in 2014. And yesterday APRA AMCOS withdrew the Ted Albert Award it handed to the former Sony boss for outstanding services to Australian music in 2009.

The collecting society said in a statement: "Today, the APRA board unanimously resolved to revoke the Ted Albert Award that was presented to Denis Handlin at the APRA Music Awards 2009. APRA AMCOS is committed to fostering a music industry that upholds a high level of professional respect and conduct, and does not condone any form of bullying".

"Every single participant in our music industry has a responsibility to act safely and respect others", it added. "We recognise and accept there's still much work to do in this space. We are committed to making the decisions that need to be made and to working with the broader industry so that we can collectively bring about this shift in culture".

Although Handlin's critics will be pleased that all of these various honorary awards have now been revoked, these moves are - of course - pretty simple gestures. The bigger challenges relate to how Sony Music will rebuild its Australian business, and how the wider music industry can ensure that bad working practices are completely eradicated from the sector.


Apple Music unveils mid-price subscription package
Apple Music has announced a new mid-price subscription package built around its Siri virtual assistant. The new Apple Music Voice Plan package will cost $4.99 a month.

Although the general consensus in the music community is that the standard $9.99 a month subscription price for premium streaming is not enough - and slowly but surely price rises are being implemented - at the same time there is a sizeable number of consumers who will never spend $120 a year to access recorded music. And while the free streaming services satisfy those consumers to an extent, ad-funded streams never generate as much revenue as subscription sales.

To that end there has been much debate over the years regarding the need for mid-price subscription packages, which offer more than something like Spotify's free tier, but less than what people are getting for $9.99.

Although Spotify confirmed it was investigating a possible new mid-price package earlier this year, the company that has done the most in this space is Amazon, which offers a discount on its $9.99 package for Prime members, plus a $3.99 a month version of its streaming service that can only be accessed via its Echo and Fire devices.

Voice Plan is basically Apple's competitor to that latter Amazon package. Although the blurb bigs up how super modern and exciting a streaming music experience entirely built around Siri and voice control is, in reality the aim of Voice Plan is to offer a cheaper entry point into Apple Music - which doesn't have a free version, of course. That will expand Apple Music's potential consumer base and will also provide a new audience to whom the tech giant can try and upsell its $9.99 package

"The Apple Music Voice Plan", says the official blurb, "offers subscribers access to the service's catalogue of 90 million songs; tens of thousands of playlists, including hundreds of brand new mood and activity playlists, personalised mixes, and genre stations; as well as the award-winning Apple Music Radio - all through Siri for just $4.99 per month".

Meanwhile, Apple Music boss Oliver Schusser adds: "Apple Music and Siri are natural partners and already work seamlessly together. With Siri actively used on hundreds of millions of devices worldwide, we are THRILLED to add this new plan that delivers an effortless music experience just by using your voice and makes Apple Music accessible to even more people around the world".

Voice Plan will work on any Siri-enabled Apple device, and will be available later this autumn in seventeen markets: Australia, Austria, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, the UK and the USA.


Approved: Danielle Lewis
Set to release her debut album, 'Dreaming In Slow Motion', next month, Danielle Lewis has released the video for her latest single, 'Slow, Sad And Real'.

With the track focussed on her effected voice, the instrumentation highlights her vocal performance, accenting the drama and tension she builds throughout the song.

"'Slow, Sad And Real' brings to light the array of emotions, thoughts and dreams I've felt that have sometimes conflicted within", she says of the single. "It's the desire to resist suppression and embrace every part of the human emotional state. The lyrics play between conflicting states, eventually resolving to a place of strength and realness in embracing feeling deeply".

Of the album as a whole, she goes on: "'Dreaming In Slow Motion' captures a sequence of my thoughts and emotions floating through my mind, particularly from my early 20s. It holds moments of growth and awareness. The album was written across a crucial part of growth for me, so it feels very retrospective but present at the same time. It's helped me capture the radiance in those reflections".

'Dreaming In Slow Motion' is out on 19 Nov. Watch the video for 'Slow, Sad And Real' here.

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

Sack Megadeth bassist David Ellefson says he's "perfectly content and happy"
Former Megadeth bassist David Ellefson has given his first interview since being fired from the band earlier this year, saying that he is "perfectly content and happy where I am right now".

Where he is right now - or at least where he was when he said that - was on a Zoom call with the members of his new band The Lucid, speaking to YouTube show Aftershocks TV. The band, which also features members of Fear Factory and Sponge, released their debut album last week. A pretty quick turnaround, given that Ellefson was only turfed out of Megadeth five months ago.

"When you're young and your back's against the wall and you don't have any other options, that's a great motivator to really lock in and kick ass", Ellefson said. "And I think we all needed that when we were younger. I think now to be able to do it because we like doing it, and to maybe be a little bit more selective of the things that we do, is kind of the freedom that you're allowed because you spent those earlier years nose to the grindstone".

"It's fun to create for creation's sake and not because it has to be motivated from anything else", he went on. "So I guess I'm kind of glad to just be right where I'm at. To be honest, I'm perfectly content and happy where I am right now. I'm not gonna lie - it's perfectly fine. So I'm all good".

Ellefson was fired by Megadeth in late May following allegations that he groomed an underage girl into taking part in sexual activity on a video call – allegations he denies. In a statement at the time, the band said: "While we do not know every detail of what occurred, with an already strained relationship, what has already been revealed now is enough to make working together impossible moving forward".

Sexually explicit text messages and video clips featuring Ellefson and an unnamed woman, whom some claimed to be underage, had emerged online earlier in May. The musician admitted that they were real, but denied that the woman had been underage and insisted that everything that happened was consensual.

In a statement following his dismissal, Ellefson said: "Recently, a very private video was illegally posted on the internet and false allegations were made against me. The actions in the video were between two consenting adults and were recorded without my knowledge".

"I am working with Scottsdale Police Department in their investigation into charges regarding revenge pornography to be filed against the person who posted this video", he added. "Also, my lawyers are preparing a defamation lawsuit to be filed against this person. This person will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law".

Watch the full interview with Ellefson and The Lucid here.



Kanye West has officially changed his name to Ye, following court approval in LA. So I should probably say that Ye has changed his name to Ye. Not Ye West. Just Ye. He filed legal papers to have his name changed in August. And now his name is Ye.



Oasis have released a performance of 'Some Might Say' from their upcoming Knebworth 1996 DVD/Blu-ray release. The concert film and accompanying live album will be out on 19 Nov.

Jack White is back with new single 'Taking Me Back'. You may also have heard it in the trailer for 'Call Of Duty: Vanguard'. Well, anyway, the lyric video for the track has been created with clips of that game too.

Melt Yourself Down will release their new album 'Pray For Me I Don't Fit In' on 18 Feb. Here's the title track.

Stereolab's Lætitia Sadier has released new solo single 'New Moon'. The track is taken from her as-yet-untitled upcoming solo album, which is due out at some point in 2022.



Will Joseph Cook has announced UK tour dates in March next year, finishing up at Lafayette in London on 27 Feb. Tickets go on sale on Friday.

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


Michael Jackson estate forces Belgian radio show to change name
The estate of Michael Jackson has threatened legal action against Belgian broadcaster VRT over one of the programmes on its Studio Brussel radio station, pop quiz show 'King Of Pop'.

The show, which has already run for three series, sees celebrities and members of the public answer questions about pop music. Whoever wins is crowned the 'king of pop'. Or at least they were.

That phrase, you see, is a trademark of Triumph International Inc, the California-based company that manages the many phrases and logos owned by the Michael Jackson estate. And it's really not happy about any this. That unhappiness has now been set out in a formal legal letter.

According to The Brussels Times, presenter Stijn Van de Voorde says that the letter sent to VRT was "signed by a lot of lawyers" and "says that we are not allowed to use that name just like that. We did not even know that 'King Of Pop' was a protected trademark".

"It is pretty cool that these people know we exist, but it is kind of stupid that they are making such a fuss about it", he adds. "Funny that they have only just discovered this now. I think they spend all day looking for ways to sue people and make money. It's all very American".

As for whether he plans to fight this in the courts, well, no. "'King Of Pop' is a very cheap programme", he says. "I make it all by myself. I make the questions, choose the music and present it. It would be stupid if we had to pay money for it now. There is no budget for that. We would rather have a new name".

A trademark is a trademark, of course. Although it does seem unlikely that anyone would think that a pop quiz on a radio station aimed at Dutch-speaking Belgians had any official connection to Michael Jackson. I'm not sure if past winners of the show will have to stop referring to themselves as the King Of Pop too.

When deciding on a new name, it would probably be a good idea for Van de Voorde and his team to run through and avoid the other trademarks owned by Triumph International. 'Michaelfest' is out. So is 'Michael Jackson Fan Fest'. Don't go thinking you can call it 'This Is It' either. Oh, and pretty much any wording related to 'Neverland Ranch' you can think of should be disregarded.

The name 'Thriller The World's Biggest Selling Album' is a no-no. One I would have thought would be alright, but apparently isn't, is 'Michael's Pets'. The estate would almost certainly take exception to 'Dangerous' too. Another wordy one, 'The World Of Michael Jackson An International Club', is going to have to be crossed off the list straight away.

'Bad' would probably be alright, so long as the official logo from the Michael Jackson album of the same name isn't used. Although, I don't know, some people might not think that was a great name for a radio show. Honestly, it's a minefield. You can't even just call it 'Michael Jackson'!

Maybe the new title will just have to not be related to Michael Jackson at all. I don't know, how many contestants are there? Could you call it 'The Fab Four'?


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.
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