TODAY'S TOP STORY: Ahead of being inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame this weekend, Jay-Z was in a New York court on Friday for a tense back and forth with the legal representative of perfume company Parlux. The rapper often provided vague answers to attorney Anthony Viola's questions or responded with questions of his own. However, he was clear in stating his belief that Parlux is "mischaracterising" the facts in this long-running dispute... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Jay-Z takes to the witness stand in ongoing perfume promo dispute
DEALS Utopia Music buys Lyric Financial
LABELS & PUBLISHERS UnitedMasters will spend $50 million in new finance on boosted brand and financial tools for artists
LIVE BUSINESS Music Venue Trust announces revised partnership with Ticketmaster
Rebecca Nichols joins Mother
MEDIA BBC to air documentary marking 30th anniversary of Freddie Mercury's death
ONE LINERS Fugees, Limp Bizkit, Vitalic, more
AND FINALLY... Big Sean leaves GOOD Music "to start getting a bigger cut"
Check out all the latest job opportunities with CMU Jobs. To advertise your job opportunities here email or call 020 7099 9060.
BT Sport is looking for a Music Coordinator to join the BT Sport Music team, which provides music licensing, reporting and creative support to all areas of BT Sport.

For more information and to apply click here.
Digital distributor IDOL is seeking a UK Label Manager. Working closely with the company's international teams but based in the London office, your main role will consist of assisting UK based labels with the planning and day to day management and implementation of their release campaigns.

For more information and to apply click here.
NMC Recordings is seeking a highly organised and personable arts manager with a keen interest in recordings and music production to join its new music record label and charity.

For more information and to apply click here.
Fire Records is looking for a highly motivated individual to fill a newly created role assisting the established press department at its new offices in the heart of Dalston, East London.

For more information and to apply click here.
DEF is seeking a Personal Assistant to support the Director and Founder of a globally renowned music company, managing electronic and pop music artists for 20+ years. You will also ensure the smooth running of the office which is situated in Richmond and forms the hub for a small and dedicated team of twelve working both from the office base and remotely.

For more information and to apply click here.
Baxter PR is a music and entertainment PR agency working with a variety of international stars, new artists and bands, venues and festivals across an array of genres. It is looking for someone to join our team to assist on campaigns across print, online, radio and TV.

For more information and to apply click here.
The SSE Arena, Wembley is one of London's biggest and most iconic venues playing host to some of the best events each year, from sport to music concerts, conferences and award shows and is on the lookout for a Marketing Assistant to join our innovative and creative team.

For more information and to apply click here.
The Columbo Group is looking for a Logistics & Hospitality Manager to work across our Jazz Cafe, Phonox & Metropolis venues. Solely responsible for the management of all artist travel and accommodation requirements, as well as assisting the company's bookers with admin-based tasks, it is essential that this person is extremely well organised with a sharp attention to detail.

For more information and to apply click here.
The CMU Library is our online educational resource for the music industry, full of guides, briefings and reports from CMU Trends, CMU Insights and CMU:DIY. You can browse the Library and access all the resources by using the links below...

Jay-Z takes to the witness stand in ongoing perfume promo dispute
Ahead of being inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame this weekend, Jay-Z was in a New York court on Friday for a tense back and forth with the legal representative of perfume company Parlux. The rapper often provided vague answers to attorney Anthony Viola's questions or responded with questions of his own. However, he was clear in stating his belief that Parlux is "mischaracterising" the facts in this long-running dispute.

Fragrance firm Parlux sued Jay-Z – real name Shawn Carter – back in 2016, accusing the rapper of failing to meet his commitments to plug Gold Jay-Z, a perfume that Parlux and Carter launched together. The case has been slowly progressing through the courts ever since, with various legal squabbles along the way relating to deleted emails, access to Carter's work diary, and whether a deposition involving the rapper should be filmed.

In court on Friday, Carter insisted that he did plenty to help promote Gold Jay-Z around its 2013 launch. And when Viola cited specific promotional activities the perfume company had planned, which the rapper bailed on - including an appearance on 'Good Morning America' - Carter argued that he wasn't contractually obliged to do specific promotional work immediately after the fragrance's launch.

According to Rolling Stone, he stated in court: "I had a year to complete these [obligations], correct?" When Viola continued to push the rapper about his failure to do specific promo, he added: "I don't know if you answered my question - I had a year to complete these right?" To which the lawyer responded: "Actually, you need to answer my questions".

That said, elsewhere during the proceedings Viola was keen to talk about the specifics of Jay-Z's contract with Parlux. The rapper ultimately admitted that he hadn't read said contract before signing it, but added that he was sure his lawyers had "outlined the details". His main priority was retaining creative control over all his projects, he went on, while the lawyers could deal with the contract specifics.

Elsewhere, Viola read out an email Carter sent in 2014 in which he said the "partners" on his perfume brand "suck". But that didn't bother the rapper, who clearly did think Parlux "sucked" once he started clashing on creative decisions with the perfume firm. "I wanted great products and these guys didn't understand", he added. "It was so frustrating working with them".

It was hoped that Carter's testimony would be completed within a day, but that didn't prove to be so. Which means the rapper - freshly inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame by former President Barack Obama and comedian Dave Chappelle - is now due back in court later today.


Utopia Music buys Lyric Financial
Utopia Music – the technology company that is developing a platform to help the music industry better manage its rights and royalties – has announced another acquisition, this time it's buying Nashville-based Lyric Financial, which calls itself "the music world’s leading music financial services company".

The new deal follows the acquisition in September of Musimap, the Quincy Jones-backed music metadata business. Utopia says that these acquisitions will help it to "achieve its vision of becoming the music world's de-facto growth partner, enabling an optimal business ecosystem for the entire industry".

"Lyric Financial's existing operations enable Utopia’s expansion into the United States", it adds of the latest purchase, "widening the combined company’s global reach and market access, and will complement Utopia’s existing industry footprint. Likewise, by joining forces with Utopia, Lyric Financial gains competitive advantage, strength, and optimised market positioning in the rapidly growing music technology market that enables faster payments for creator rights".

Confirming the deal, Utopia Music founder Mattias Hjelmstedt says: "The acquisition of Lyric Financial represents yet another milestone on our journey of becoming the leading financial services provider and growth partner in music. We are supercharging the entire music industry by creating new revenue streams, consolidating data, reducing administration costs, and offering a broad spectrum of diverse and deeply innovative services and effectively removing roadblocks and showstoppers that have slowed the industry down for too long".

Meanwhile Lyric Financial CEO Eli Ball says: "Our team has already made a lasting difference for creators and performers. Yet, by partnering with Utopia, we will supercharge our mission to help creators and performers around the world with revolutionary finance solutions. The Utopia platform and their superlative data asset are putting us miles ahead of the pack. I could not be more excited!"


UnitedMasters will spend $50 million in new finance on boosted brand and financial tools for artists
DIY distributor UnitedMasters last week announced it had closed its latest funding round, raising $50 million with a valuation of $550 million. The company says the new cash will "bolster" its core mission of "empowering artists and creators to maintain full creative ownership over their careers while providing access to economic opportunity and millions of new fans worldwide through streaming, music licensing and brand partnership opportunities". And why the hell not? I guess.

More specifically, UnitedMasters says the new investment - which was led by an existing backer, venture capital outfit Andreessen Horowitz (or a16z if you prefer) - will allow it to grow the brand partnership tools that distinguish it from many of its competitors in the DIY distribution domain, while also providing artists with "more financial tools and resources to help them succeed as independent creators". And why the hell not? I guess.

Says UnitedMasters chief Steve Stoute: "Every day we ask ourselves what more we can be doing to support our artists in finding success in a creator economy that often leaves the actual creators behind. Alongside our partners at a16z, we are going to double down on this mission, empowering artists to create and earn through reach, technology and partnerships". And why the hell not? I guess.

Meanwhile, Andreessen Horowitz partner David George adds: "UnitedMasters' impressive growth over the last year underscores that Steve and the team not only understand what the future of the music business looks like but also how to meet the demands of both independent artists and fans simultaneously. We're THRILLED to continue this partnership alongside UnitedMasters as they empower artists with the tools and opportunities they need to find success". And why the hell not? I guess.


Music Venue Trust announces revised partnership with Ticketmaster
The UK's Music Venue Trust has announced a new partnership with Ticketmaster, which offers new benefits to grassroots venues when tickets are sold for shows at said venues via the Live Nation-owned ticketing company.

MVT and Ticketmaster have had a partnership since 2016, which includes a bespoke ticketing agreement to benefit the grassroots venue network. Previously the partnership included adding a small 'maintain and sustain' fee to tickets sold under the bespoke agreement to help provide important extra funds for grassroots venues taking part in the scheme.

Under the new deal, Ticketmaster will provide a 50% rebate on any booking fees it charges on tickets sold for shows at participating venues, providing a bigger financial boost for the grassroots community.

Announcing the new partnership, Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd says this revised alliance will help venues as they recover from the COVID-19 shutdown. "As we emerge from this crisis", he states, "we are delighted to have worked with the Ticketmaster team to further improve the Grassroots Venues Ticket offer. This new deal puts even more money back into venues where it belongs. We will continue to work with Ticketmaster to develop this partnership so that it supports our whole network".

Ticketmaster UK MD Andrew Parsons adds: "Now is a more critical time than ever for the industry to support grassroots venues. Through our long-standing partnership with Music Venue Trust, more than £150K has already been contributed to our 'maintain and sustain' fund. To build on this we are evolving our ticketing partnership to donate even more from our fee to these treasured venues, and we’re proud to play our part".


Rebecca Nichols joins Mother
Artist management firm and booking agency Mother Artists has hired Rebecca Nichols as an agent. She joins from the UK office of tour promoter FKP Scorpio, where she was Head Of Live Coordination, though she previously worked as a booking agent at CAA.

"It's amazing and humbling that Rebecca is joining us", says Mother co-founder Natasha Gregory. "She is quite simply a wonderful woman; kind, smart, personable, universally liked and respected and is just going to fit into the Mother Artists ethos and culture perfectly. I have personally wanted to work with Rebecca for a while and we are all just excited to learn from her and continue building Mother Artists as a team. Let's go!"

Nichols adds: "I'm really grateful to FKP Scorpio for the fantastic year I've spent with them but very excited to be returning to the agency side where my passion for working with artists and being a part of building their careers can flourish".

"I have huge respect for what Natasha and Mark [Bent] are building at Mother Artists, their commitment to the artists is at the heart of everything they do alongside a strong company ethos of integrity, inclusivity and empowerment, which really connects with me", she goes on.

"They care and they want to make a difference whilst creating a supportive and empathetic environment which is mirrored in the culture at Mother Artists. These values are important to me and how I connect with people and are what I will offer to the artists that I work with too".


BBC to air documentary marking 30th anniversary of Freddie Mercury's death
The BBC last week announced that it will mark the 30th anniversary of the death of Freddie Mercury later this month with a new documentary called 'Freddie Mercury: The Final Act'.

The film tells the story from the final and biggest show on Queen's 1986 'Magic Tour' at Knebworth, through Mercury's battle with HIV and AIDS, to his death in November 1991 and the 'Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert' that took place at Wembley in April 1992. It features interviews with Brian May and Roger Taylor, friends of Mercury, and artists who performed at the tribute show.

According to the BBC, the documentary also "hears from those who saw the impact of HIV/AIDS first hand, either as medical practitioners, survivors, or human rights campaigners, including Peter Tatchell".

The director of the film is James Rogan, who says: "Making 'Freddie Mercury: The Final Act' has been an extraordinary journey into the final chapter of one of rock music's greatest icons. Working with Queen and getting to see behind-the-scenes of some of their greatest performances and the legendary 'Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert' was a rare privilege".

"Equally important was speaking to the people who had lived through the eye of the storm of the global pandemic of HIV/AIDS, with all its resonances with COVID today", he goes on. "Freddie's death and the tribute that Queen organised for him helped to change global awareness of this terrible disease at a critical time".

The Head Of Commissioning at BBC Music TV, Jan Younghusband, adds: "James Rogan's film 'Freddie Mercury: The Final Act' is a poignant story of one of music’s most popular and talented musicians, and the legacy he left".

"Not only does it shine new light on Freddie Mercury's brave journey through those final five years of his life, it also tells a wider – and hugely important - story of the emergence of AIDS at the time and how the incredible tribute concert after his death helped to change for the better public opinion about the crisis", she adds. "The artists of Queen, and others who were there, speak candidly for the first time".

The programme will air later this month alongside 'Queen At The BBC', a one-hour special featuring many of the band's performances for the broadcaster.


Setlist: Covid wipes nearly $1 billion off song royalties
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including the 10.7% (or 775 million euros) drop in royalties collected by the song right collecting societies across the world as a result of COVID-19 in 2020, and the leaked UK government report that suggests that COVID passports might be counterproductive.

Listen to this episode of Setlist here, and sign up to receive new episodes for free automatically each week through any of these services...

Acast | Amazon Music | Apple Podcasts | audioBoom | CastBox | Deezer | Google Podcasts | iHeart | Mixcloud | RSS | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn


Fugees have announced that they are postponing their upcoming reunion tour to next year in order to ensure "the best chance that all cities on the tour will be fully open". New dates have not yet been confirmed.



Jay Byrd has been named Global Tour Promoter at Live Nation in the US. He joins from CAA where, as an agent, he worked with artists including Lil Wayne, Jason Derulo and Corinne Bailey Rae. "Throughout his career, Jay has proven that he can't be stopped", says Live Nation's VP Touring Al-joulani. "He has an incredible drive and passion that we are excited to continue to foster at Live Nation".

Nashville-based agent Scott Clayton - who works with artists including Kings Of Leon and John Mayer - has left WME to take up a new role at UTA, according to Billboard.



Limp Bizkit released their new album 'Still Sucks' yesterday. That title will either be an amusing in joke for you or just a statement of fact. No opinions will be changed. Here's opening track 'Out Of Style'.



Vitalic has announced a 20th anniversary show at Brixton Academy on 1 Apr, with support from Digitalism plus more to be announced. Register for access to tickets here.

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


Big Sean leaves GOOD Music "to start getting a bigger cut"
Big Sean has confirmed that he has left Kanye West's GOOD Music label in order to secure "a bigger cut" of the income generated by his recorded music.

Last week, the rapper released a new collaborative EP with producer Hit Boy, 'What You Expect'. Fans noted that it was put out via another Universal Music imprint, Def Jam, rather the one he has been signed to for the last fourteen years, that being GOOD Music.

"That's a forever brotherhood", Big Sean said of GOOD Music on Twitter. "But business-wise, I had to start getting a bigger cut! I worked my way out that deal".

Actually, there is another label to which the EP is credited, FF To Def. It's thought that that is Big Sean's own sub-label under Universal's Def Jam division.

When Kanye West went on his big anti-label rant last year, Big Sean was one of the artists who publicly welcomed West's claim that he planned to return the master recording rights in all the records released by GOOD Music to the artists who made them. Sean tweeted at the time: "Thank you! This would help so much".

Shortly after that, Charlamagne Tha God claimed that West actually owed Big Sean $3 million, while adding that Big Sean's GOOD contract was far from good. It fact, he said, the terms of said contract were "very terrible". So maybe you can read a little more into Sean's "help" comment last year and his more recent departure from GOOD Music.

"I hope one day Big Sean tells his story, but just know Kanye West owes Big Sean a whole lot of money", Chalamagne Tha God claimed in September 2020. "And he got Big Sean in a very terrible contract to be out here screaming about giving folks their masters back and all types of other things".

So there's a story we may or may not ever get to the bottom of. Big Sean's not signed to GOOD Music anymore, though. He joins the long list of artists who have left the label in recent years, including John Legend, Mos Def, Twenty88 and Kid Cudi.

Now, here's the video for 'What A Life' from 'What You Expect'.


ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU Daily, website and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column. (except press releases, see below)
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Founder & MD
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and CMU Trends. He also leads the CMU Insights consultancy unit and the CMU:DIY future talent programme, as well as heading up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited. (except press releases, see below)
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and also heads up business development at CMU Insights and CMU:DIY. or call 020 7099 9060
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media as a Director of 3CM UnLimited, as well as heading up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supporting other parts of the business.
CMU helps people to navigate and understand the music business.

We do this through our media, our training and our research, and at a range of music industry events.

CMU Daily covers all the latest news and developments direct by email.

Setlist is a weekly podcast dissecting the biggest music business stories.

CMU Premium gives you access to the CMU Digest and CMU Trends.

CMU Insights is our music business consultancy: supporting the industry.

CMU:DIY is our future talent programme: supporting new music talent.

Pathways Into Music is our foundation supporting music educators.

© UnLimited Media, a division of 3CM Enterprises Ltd

UnLimited Media, Kemp House, 152 City Road, London EC1V 2NX
t: 020 7099 9050 (editorial) 020 7099 9060 (sales)

Send press releases to

Email advertising queries to

Email training and consultancy queries to

You can read our Privacy & Data Policy here |