TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK's Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition have called on Domino Records to reconsider its decision to remove three Four Tet albums from streaming services as part of an ongoing legal dispute between the label and the musician, dubbing that move "misguided and self-defeating"... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES MMF and FAC criticise Domino over Four Tet dispute, call for an end to life of copyright record deals
LEGAL Astroworld security guards criticise total lack of training as they sue the festival's promoters
Music sharing community loses Discord presence after pre-release leak of Adele's '30'
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Levantine Music allies with IMPEL
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES NetEase music IPO is back on
AWARDS BRITs drops gendered awards
ONE LINERS Yard Act, Insanity Group, Los Bitchos, more
AND FINALLY... Australian journalist "mortified" after Adele interview pulled
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MMF and FAC criticise Domino over Four Tet dispute, call for an end to life of copyright record deals
The UK's Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition have called on Domino Records to reconsider its decision to remove three Four Tet albums from streaming services as part of an ongoing legal dispute between the label and the musician, dubbing that move "misguided and self-defeating".

MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick and FAC CEO David Martin say in a joint statement: "The removal of Four Tet's first three albums 'Pause', 'Rounds' and 'Everything Ecstatic' from streaming services by Domino raises all kinds of moral and legal questions about rights assignment and the power of labels over an artist's work. Regardless of the legal dispute between the two parties this is a misguided and self-defeating move, and we urge them to reconsider".

"The FAC and MMF continue to press the government to instigate changes to the law to end 'life of copyright' deals and return rights ownership to artists and songwriters after a set period of time", they add, focusing on the bigger picture. "Alongside other industry-led reforms, this would be an effective way to ensure legacy contracts are made fit for purpose in the streaming era, and that the fair treatment of artists, songwriters and musicians can be guaranteed in the future".

It emerged in August that Four Tet - real name Kieran Hebden - had sued Domino in a dispute over digital royalties. Hebden argues that, under the terms of his 2001 record contract, Domino should be paying him a 50% royalty on all or most of the streaming income that stems from the albums he released with the label. But Domino says that's an incorrect interpretation of the contract, and that the 18% royalty it is paying Hebden is compliant with the terms of the 20 year old record deal.

This weekend, Hebden told fans on Twitter that - with the legal battle still going through the motions - Domino had now removed three of his albums from streaming services. He wrote: "I'm so upset to see that Domino Records have removed the three albums of mine they own from digital and streaming services. This is heartbreaking to me. People are reaching out asking why they can't stream the music and I'm sad to have to say that it's out of my control".

"I have an ongoing legal dispute with Domino over the rate they pay me for streaming that is due to be heard in court on 18 Jan", he went on. "Earlier this week, Domino's legal representative said they would remove my music from all digital services in order to stop the case progressing. I did not agree to them taking this action and I'm truly shocked that it has come to this".

The Four Tet v Domino dispute comes amid heightened debate in the UK around the economics of streaming and the nature of record deals. A key part of that debate is how labels interpret old record deals when music consumption trends change, given that most labels traditionally own the rights in recordings they release for life of copyright - which is currently 70 years in Europe - meaning many artists are reliant on old labels and old deals to pay them their fair share of future income.

During the UK Parliament's inquiry into the economics of streaming, it was proposed that copyright law be reformed in a way that would allow artists to force labels to renegotiate old deals to take into account changing trends and new industry standards - or even to allow artists to take ownership of the rights in their recordings after a period of time.

Both of those copyright reforms were proposed by the MMF and FAC in their joint submission to the inquiry - and were again summarised in a white paper they published in September.

The government is currently commissioning research into the potential impact of those proposed reforms - and also the proposal that so called performer equitable remuneration be applied to streams, so that artists would receive at least some of their digital royalties through the collective licensing system at industry standard rates, rather than subject to the terms of a record contract.

Meanwhile, Labour MP Kevin Brennan is proposing various copyright law reforms in that domain via a private members bill that will be discussed in Parliament next month.


Astroworld security guards criticise total lack of training as they sue the festival's promoters
One of the latest lawsuits in relation to the Astroworld tragedy has been filed by two men who worked as security guards at the event, with the plaintiffs' lawyer hitting out at how the festival and its security provider recruited personnel.

Ten people died and hundreds more were injured after a crowd surge occurred during Travis Scott’s headline set at the latest edition of the Astroworld event that he founded, which was staged at Houston's NRG Park on 5 Nov. A criminal investigation is currently underway in relation to the tragedy, while hundreds of those who attended the event have now filed lawsuits against Scott, the festival's promoters Live Nation and Scoremore, and others.

In the wake of the tragedy there were various media reports criticising the security arrangements at the festival, with claims that the company leading on security at the event failed to vet, train or even properly brief the people they hired.

Some have speculated that that may in part be due to wider issues the live industry is facing in recruiting security personnel following the COVID-caused shutdowns, with many of those who previously worked in event security having moved into new jobs during lockdown.

The two men behind the latest Astroworld lawsuit have made similar allegations regarding security at the festival. And with that in mind, Samuel and Jackson Bush are suing the security firm that hired them to work at the event - AJ Melino & Associates - as well as the other people and companies involved in the festival.

Their lawsuit alleges that, after hiring them to work at Astroworld, AJ Melino & Associates failed to provide a safe workplace or even basic training. The two men - an uncle and nephew - have also spoken about how they and other security personnel were quickly overwhelmed as the crowd surge got out of control once Scott was on stage.

Samuel says that he broke his right hand and injured his back as he attempted to help deal with the crowd surge, while Jackson says he has suffered shoulder and back pain since the festival, as well as emotional trauma after witnessing medical staff dealing with so many unconscious festival-goers, and at one point allegedly having to pull a deceased audience member out of the crowd.

The Bushes spoke about their experiences during a press briefing outside NRG Park yesterday. According to KPRC-TV, when asked what kind of training they received ahead of the festival, they said "there was no training". Pretty much the only formality, they claim, was that they had to sign their name on entry. After that, they add, they were just "thrown out there".

Commenting on his clients' Astroworld experience and lawsuit during the same press briefing, attorney Larry Taylor said: "You would think it would take more than just signing your name. At least an ID, at least the day before, coming through, walking through, seeing what you needed to do so everyone knew their assignment, everyone knew each other".

"None of those things were done", he went on. "It was as simple as you and I meeting up now, and walking on the other side of this gate, and we're supposed to secure the park. Secure what? Secure where? Secure who? None of these things were provided to these gentlemen and it seems [the security firm] just wanted bodies, more so than to actually secure".


Music sharing community loses Discord presence after pre-release leak of Adele's '30'
An online community "dedicated to the ripping and sharing of music" has lost its presence on Discord, seemingly after members of said community shared copies of Adele's new album '30' pre-release and the record industry gods on high declared "no more".

Although the music industry isn't quite as obsessed about music piracy these days as compared to the 2000s, it still maintains a piracy gripe list, and routinely has its lawyers send cease-and-desist letters out to people who are illegally sharing music files - and the platforms they use - which occasionally lead to actual litigation.

One particular gripe is when music is being shared before its official release, and especially if that music is a highly anticipated release. You know, like '30' by a certain Adele.

A copy of that album was seemingly doing the rounds early last week via the RipRequests community, which has - or had - a presence on both Discord and Reddit. That was seemingly spotted by Adele's label Sony Music, which then had the Recording Industry Association Of America quickly send a cease-and-desist notice to the owners of the Discord messaging platform.

According to Torrentfreak - which has seen the cease-and-desist - the RIAA's missive noted that the illegal distribution of '30' could result in not only civil liabilities, but also a criminal prosecution and jail time. I mean, it probably wouldn't, but copyright infringement is a crime in certain contexts.

That was seemingly enough for Discord to shut down the RipRequests channel - or 'server' - on its platform. In a subsequent post on Reddit, one of the RipRequest team stated: "Unfortunately, I have to announce that the Discord server has been taken down by the RIAA. Status of this subreddit is [as] of yet unknown. More info to follow".

The subreddit was then also locked, although Torrentfreak reckons that was actually done by the RipRequest team themselves.

Platforms like Discord and Reddit are obliged to deal with copyright complaints, of course, in order to benefit from the copyright safe harbour that says they can't be held liable for the infringement directly. Whether RipRequests' ban on Discord is permanent remains to be seen.


Levantine Music allies with IMPEL
IMPEL - the agency that negotiates digital licensing deals on behalf of a consortium of independent music publishers - has a new member in the form of Levantine Music, a company focused on songs from the Middle East and North Africa.

Confirming its alliance with IMPEL, Levantine MD Abed Hathot said: "We needed a partner that had the relationships and the knowledge to license our MENA catalogue, and IMPEL was the perfect choice. We are so happy to join the IMPEL family".

Meanwhile IMPEL Chair Simon Platz added: "We are delighted to welcome Levantine into the IMPEL fold. It's exciting that the repertoire we represent is becoming increasingly international. Trends in consumption across the streaming services clearly show that people are more and more open to music not in their mother tongue. We're confident that our growing ability to offer such diverse repertoire to [digital service providers] will give us another real edge as a licensor".

Artists Levantine works with include Tamer Nafar, Zuhair Francis, Kher Fodi, Fanar, Nairuz and Sarab.


NetEase music IPO is back on
The Initial Public Offering of NetEase's music streaming business Cloud Village is back on, although with the target in terms of how much money will be raised through the stock market listing cut back.

Chinese web giant NetEase announced that it was going to spin off its music business and list it on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange back in May. However, the IPO plan was temporarily paused in August amid a crackdown by Chinese regulators, which have been scrutinising the operations of China's tech companies much more rigorously of late.

In music specifically, that crackdown has had some up sides for NetEase, given that its main rival in music streaming - Tencent - was forced to end its exclusivity deals with music rights owners.

Previously streaming services like NetEase's CloudMusic had to negotiate with their main competitor in order to access a whole load of music - although NetEase had already been slowly securing direct deals with some of the record companies that previously had exclusivity arrangements with Tencent.

Either way, the ongoing regulator crackdown in China created some uncertainties that could have negatively impacted on the big IPO. As a result, it seemed NetEase was willing to wait a while before ploughing on with the stock market listing.

But the waiting is over. In a new regulatory filing, NetEase has announced that its Cloud Village subsidiary will be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on 2 Dec. However, whereas earlier in the year sources told Reuters that NetEase hoped to raise $1 billion from the IPO, the target is now $500 million.


Approved: Ferla
Playing what they term "after-dark pop", Ferla are set to release their second album, 'Personal Hotspot', early next year - the follow-up to 2019's 'It's Personal'. Following two previous singles from the record - 'Rita' and 'I See You' - they are now back with "menacing but meditative" new track 'Nothing Else Matters'.

"This song's a bump in the night", says vocalist Giuliano Ferla. "It's like one of those dreams you have where you're trying to run as fast as you can, but the air is thick as sludge and it's taking all of your energy just to put one foot in front of the other. That's this song".

Is that selling it? I don't know. The track is actually a lot warmer and more inviting than you might now expect. But, he's right, it is quite sleepy and has a tempo several BPM lower than where another act might have set it. Maybe it would help to know that Giuliano also describes the new album as "a love letter to the world... made up of the things I hate about it".

Watch the video for 'Nothing Else Matters' here.

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

BRITs drops gendered awards
The BRIT Awards has announced that it is dropping gendered prizes from next year's ceremony, filling the gaps with four new genre-based categories. This comes after several years of calls to stop splitting artists up along binary gender lines at industry award events.

There were reports in late 2019 that BRITs organisers were considering dropping male and female categories, partly in response to Sam Smith coming out as non-binary. That proposal was then seemingly given some more serious consideration earlier this year, but ultimately it was decided to keep gender-specific categories for the 2021 edition of the awards show.

Another ongoing criticism of awards ceremonies having gender-specific categories is that it simply implies that men are more talented than women - ie that male artists would dominate the winner lists if there weren't female specific prizes.

Indeed, it is thought that one concern about dropping gender specific categories is the impact it could have on the diversity of winner lists. Though not because of actual relative talent, of course, instead as a result of inherent sexism within the music industry, and among whichever group of people you allow to vote for the winners.

Whether there will be any behind-the-scenes efforts to ensure that dropping male/female categories doesn't negatively impact on overall gender diversity at the BRITs - such as having quotas within the nominations - isn't clear. But maybe BRITs organisers have just figured that Adele's going to win everything this time around anyway, so now's the best time to make the change.

What we do know is that there should be a more diverse mix of genres represented in the winner lists moving forward. Because - with the previously gender-divided categories now amalgamated - there is space for some new awards. And so the new categories being added in 2022 are Best Alternative/Rock Act, Best Hip Hop/Grime/Rap Act, Best Dance Act and Best Pop/R&B Act. All four of these new categories will be voted for by the public.

BRIT Chair and Co-President of Polydor Records, Tom March, says: "It is important that The BRITs continue to evolve and aim to be as inclusive as possible. It feels completely the right time to celebrate the achievements of artists for the music that they create, and the work that they do, irrespective of gender".

"I'm really excited to launch four new genre awards", he adds, "which create even more opportunities for artists to be acknowledged for the brilliant music they create and produce, and give music fans the chance to get involved and vote to support their artists and help them to win a BRIT".

The other bit of BRIT Awards news is that next year there will be a new host at the big BRITs show. Jack Whitehall has finally been given the boot after presenting something like 700 BRITs ceremonies in a row. Something like that, anyway. It could well be more. But in 2022, the event will be hosted by stand up comedian Mo Gilligan.

"It's an absolute privilege to host the 2022 BRIT Awards", he says. "I'm truly honoured to be asked. We're already in the extensive planning stages and all I can say is, I promise we're going to give it all we've got to create an incredible night for music fans everywhere. Let's go!"

The BRIT Awards 2022 will take place on 8 Feb.



Downtown Music Services division Sheer Publishing has signed a global publishing deal with the estate of South African musician Johnny Clegg. Sheer MD David Alexander says: "Clegg's music has been one of the biggest cultural exports in our lifetimes. His role in speaking truth to power has been acknowledged by many countries with many of their highest awards".



Label and management company Insanity Group has promoted Issy Lloyd to Talent Director within its broadcast division, which manages TV and radio talent. "Over the past ten years, since joining Insanity, I feel extremely privileged to have worked alongside some incredible talent, sharing in their journeys, and celebrating their great successes", she says. "Insanity inspires and champions new and fresh talent, both on and off screen, and provides opportunity for growth, learning and achieving goals - not just for our talent but for the Insanity team too".

AWAL has promoted Aaron Bogucki to Global Head Of Audience Development, heading up the company's new Audience Development department. "Having been a part of AWAL's incredible growth and success over the past four years, I can confidently say we're on to something really unique and special", he says. "I'm excited to continue our creative, disruptive audience-first approach to artist development globally".

UK record industry trade group BPI has appointed Leon Neville to the new role of Director Of Insight. "I am THRILLED to be joining the BPI", he says. "I look forward to helping them alongside the wider team in championing UK music artists and furthering the continued successes for our members' acts both here and across the globe".



Yard Act have released new single 'Payday'. "If only Monday was payday hey", they say. "What a world it would be. It's not payday, the world is still a cold, hard place, but we are pleased to present the third track to be taken from our debut album".

Los Bitchos have released new single 'Good To Go!' The band's debut album, 'Let The Festivities Begin!', is set for release on 4 Feb and they will be touring the UK the same month.

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


Australian journalist "mortified" after Adele interview pulled
Australian journalist Matt Doran has apologised for failing to listen to Adele's new album '30' before interviewing her earlier this month - despite being sent it by Sony Music in advance. The gaff resulted in her record label refusing to allow the interview to be aired.

All was looking good a couple of weeks ago when the host of Channel Seven's 'Weekend Sunrise' flew from Sydney to London for the interview - beating his Channel Nine rivals to the exclusive. Posting on Instagram, he promised that "this one is going to be pretty special".

Unfortunately, when Adele asked him what he thought of her new album, which had not then been released, he admitted that he had not heard it. According to the Australian Daily Telegraph, Doran outright declared: "I haven't listened to it!"

However, he refutes that version of events, insisting he instead admitted to having only heard first single 'Easy On Me', which had already been released. He's also denies rumours that Adele stormed out of the interview as a result of him admitting he hadn't heard her new record - an outcome that always seemed unlikely.

In a statement, Doran explains that he'd missed the email that contained a link to where he could listen to the album pre-release, adding that he had never been made aware of the fact he was going to be sent an advance copy before the interview.

"When I sat down to interview Adele, I was honestly unaware that I'd been emailed a preview of her unreleased album", he says. "I later discovered it was sent to me as an 'e-card' link after we landed in London on the day prior to the interview. In my lengthy phone discussions with Sony reps in advance I was never told a preview copy was being made available. It was a major oversight on my end but NOT a deliberate snub. This is the most important email I have ever missed and I am mortified and unequivocally apologetic".

"I'm in awe of Adele's music and the majesty of her voice, and it's gnawing at me savagely that I've offended her", he continues. "Of course I'd have listened to the album if I'd known a copy was being released. To deliberately not bother would be unforgivable arrogance. But to suggest that the interview was disrespectful - or that Adele walked out - is incorrect. In fact, it ran well overtime and we had a great rapport. Adele was hilarious, engaging, generous, honest and profound and I'm devastated that her fans are being denied this interview".

"For the record", he adds, "I never said: 'I haven't listened to your album'. I said, 'I've only had the privilege of hearing [the single] 'Go Easy On Me', and already it sounds like you've produced something extraordinary'".

So, hey, it was all very polite, and - by Doran's account - it was a really great interview. Maybe admitting he'd not heard the record resulted in a stronger rapport. Maybe it was the greatest Adele interview ever recorded. But we'll never know, because - in exchange for the exclusive - Channel Seven gave Sony the rights to veto the footage before it aired. And that is what Sony has done.

Which means, no interview for you! Still, who doesn't like flying halfway across the world for no reason, just as the world's political leaders have gathered together to discuss the climate crisis, and amid a resurgent pandemic? Fun times!

By the way, in the interest of full disclosure, I hadn't listened to Adele's album '30' at the point I wrote this article. In my case, though, it was a deliberate snub.


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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