TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Night Time Industries Association has called for urgent financial support from the UK government for live entertainment and hospitality businesses as the latest COVID surge gets under-way, while noting that the minister responsible for such support - Chancellor Of The Exchequer Rishi Sunak - has been suspiciously absent from the most recent announcements regarding the coronavirus... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Night Time Industries Association calls for urgent sector support as "pseudo-lockdown" goes into force
LEGAL Model suing Cardi B wants to bring up mixtape royalties in court
DEALS Bruce Springsteen reportedly sells music rights to Sony for $500 million
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Sony Music and Anghami launch new label focused on Middle Eastern talent
ARTIST NEWS Britney Spears lawyer asks why her father responded to claims about Diane Sawyer video
RELEASES Ela Minus releases N19 5NF video
ONE LINERS George Harrison, Virgin Music, Alesso & Katy Perry, more
AND FINALLY... Elton John favours a Greggs sausage roll, reveals LadBaby
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Night Time Industries Association calls for urgent sector support as "pseudo-lockdown" goes into force
The Night Time Industries Association has called for urgent financial support from the UK government for live entertainment and hospitality businesses as the latest COVID surge gets under-way, while noting that the minister responsible for such support - Chancellor Of The Exchequer Rishi Sunak - has been suspiciously absent from the most recent announcements regarding the coronavirus.

Although UK prime minister 'Boris' Johnson has insisted that he isn't putting the country back into lockdown - despite the rapid spread of the omicron variant of COVID - reps for the live and night-time sectors argue that the government's current messaging is created a 'quasi' or 'pseudo' lockdown.

At the government's latest COVID press conference yesterday, Johnson said that - while entertainment and hospitality businesses would not be forced back into lockdown - people should nevertheless "think carefully" before they go out and about.

Meanwhile, England's Chief Medical Officer went further, urging people to avoid "mixing with people you don't have to". The omicron variant was now spreading at "an absolutely phenomenal pace", he added. And while data is still being gathered regarding the extent to which omicron results in severe symptoms and hospitalisations, he said of the latest variant of the coronavirus: "All the things that we do know are bad".

Although not taking the country back into lockdown, Johnson's government has - of course - introduced a number of new measures to try and restrict the spread of the omicron variant. And as part of that, nightclubs and some venues in England will have to start checking the COVID or vaccination status of customers, a requirement that is already in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

That new rule creates a new logistical cost for affected businesses. Though, in a way, the government's communications are proving much more damaging for the live and night-time sectors, in that - while those businesses are not being told to close - their customers are being told to stay at home. Hence the pseudo-lockdown.

If the government put the country back into full-on lockdown, everyone would expect another round of financial support from the government for affected businesses. However, with ministers insisting there isn't going to be another lockdown - while concurrently causing a pseudo-lockdown - there has been no mention of additional financial aid. Meanwhile, Sunak hasn't been involved in the latest COVID briefings and has actually been in California this week.

Following yesterday's COVID update, NTIA CEO Michael Kill said: "Tonight's press conference was the latest blow in a week of the government's public health messaging taking a sledge hammer to what is usually the busiest period of the year for night time economy businesses. With the Prime Minister appearing to lack the political will to impose actual restrictions, and instead seeking to induce a pseudo-lockdown through repeated sombre-sounding announcements, our sector is now facing the worst of both worlds – a drop in footfall and no government support to help us through".

"It is quite staggering that despite the obvious implications of the government's rhetoric we haven’t heard a squeak out of HM Treasury", he added. "The Chancellor needs to come out of hiding and outline how he will support nightlife businesses - who have already carried so much burden in the last two years - through the omicron wave. Surely he can see it will only be worse for the economy in the long run if these businesses are left to try to fend off failure on their own?"

Earlier this week the Music Venue Trust raised similar concerns about the impact of a pseudo-lockdown and also called for further financial support for those businesses seeing a significant downturn as a result of the latest government messaging around COVID.

For grassroots venues, MVT noted, the existing Culture Recovery Fund could be used to provide urgent support, while the Treasury should also reinstate the tax relief that was made available earlier in the pandemic.

MVT boss Mark Davyd said: "The Culture Recovery Fund can be swiftly adapted to mitigate this economic impact, the money is already there and waiting, we just need [Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries] to act quickly. The government [also] previously used business rate suspension and VAT cuts to support and sustain the sector. We don't need to spend time considering the situation; the government already knows what can be done and can choose very quickly to do it".

The trade body for the wider live music sector - LIVE - has also issued a statement this morning, echoing MVT and NTIA's calls for support, while also calling on the government to update its "failing" COVID-related events insurance scheme.

"The current lockdown by stealth is quickly pushing the live music sector to the edge", says LIVE CEO Greg Parmley. "We are now facing a crippling blow as individual venues scramble to cover the spiralling costs of COVID-related cancellations, which will inevitably result in permanent closures. The government must step up to the plate and provide a raft of financial assistance now, if it is to avoid much-loved live music venues and businesses closing up shop for good".


Model suing Cardi B wants to bring up mixtape royalties in court
The model suing Cardi B over the artwork on her 2016 mixtape 'Gangsta Bitch Music Vol 1' has asked the court to allow him to discuss the rapper's earnings from that release when the dispute is argued out in front of a jury next year. Her legal team have already objected to such figures being shared with jurors.

The rapper - real name Belcalis Almánzar - is being sued by model Kevin Brophy over what he says is the unauthorised use of his image on the cover of her 2016 mixtape.

That image was inserted into the artwork so that it appeared as if Brophy was performing oral sex on the rapper. You can't actually see Brophy's face, but he argues that his distinctive back tattoos made it super obvious that it was him in the image. And that infringed his so called publicity rights under Californian law, his lawsuit claimed.

Almánzar tried to have the case dismissed, arguing that the designer who created the artwork significantly altered the original photo of Brophy's back. Therefore, the use of the photo was "transformative fair use" and not an infringement of Brophy's publicity rights. However, the judge overseeing the case declined to dismiss the litigation in late 2020, and the whole matter is now due to go before a jury next February.

That said, although the judge declined to dismiss Brophy's lawsuit, he did exclude the testimony of an expert witness working for the model regarding how damages might be awarded in the case. According to Law360, that expert, Doug Bania, "attributed all of Cardi B's album revenue to the tattoo's use on the cover, but the judge said a jury could only award damages directly attributable to the use of Brophy's image".

It's with that in mind that Almánzar's team is now trying to stop Brophy from discussing her 'Gangsta Bitch Music Vol 1' royalties when the case gets to court, arguing that doing so raises similar concerns to those which led to Bania's testimony being excluded. And, therefore, allowing Brophy to discuss Almánzar's royalties, but without an expert, is basically "giving him a second bite at the apple, after Mr Bania's overreaching first attempt was rejected".

However, in a new filing with the court, Brophy's reps state: "Defendants assert that the evidence of their income is irrelevant because it will not be presented by an expert, and that it is prejudicial because the amount will allegedly 'desensitise' the jury. They are incorrect".

"The evidence of defendants' royalties earned is relevant and admissible because it supports plaintiff’s statutory remedy of disgorgement of profits earned from the unlawful use", the filing adds. "The law does not require an expert to prove profits attributable to the wrongful use. Plaintiff may carry his burden of proving the causal nexus without an expert, and with circumstantial evidence".

"The evidence is also relevant and admissible for other reasons", it goes on. "It shows defendants' continuing and knowing use of plaintiff's likeness without his consent, it shows defendants' ongoing commercial exploitation, it shows defendants' profit motive in continuing to use plaintiff's likeness, including after defendants' ignored cease and desist letter sent to them, and it shows defendants' malicious conduct that supports plaintiff's request for punitive damages".

It remains to be seen how the judge rules on this.


Bruce Springsteen reportedly sells music rights to Sony for $500 million
Bruce Springsteen has sold his music rights to Sony Music for at least $500 million, according to reports.

Billboard reported last month that Springsteen was in talks to sell his recordings catalogue to Sony, and that he was also shopping his publishing catalogue around too. Sony seemingly put in a high bid in order to secure both, taking full control of his more than 300 songs and 20 studio albums.

For Sony, this is a return of many of those master rights. Springsteen has worked with the major's Columbia label for his entire career, but took control of the rights in his recordings as part of a contract renegotiation during the CD boom. He has also long directly controlled his own publishing, most recently seeing it administered via Universal.

The deal - reported by both Billboard and the New York Times - would be the biggest of its type so far seen by the music industry, despite there being a flurry of mega-bucks catalogue purchases involving heritage artists in recent years. It would surpass Bob Dylan's $300 million deal a year ago considerably - although that was only for Dylan's publishing catalogue.

With the boom of streaming and other digital services set to continue for some time yet - delivering the music rights sector ever greater revenues for the foreseeable future - there has been something of a goldrush to buy up rights in recent years, of course, led by both traditional music rights companies and the new music IP investment funds.

Various big name artists have now agreed to take a one-off lump sum in exchange for some or all of their rights, including - in addition to Dylan - Neil Young, Tina Turner, Paul Simon, various members of Fleetwood Mac, and Shakira.


Sony Music and Anghami launch new label focused on Middle Eastern talent
Sony Music and streaming service Anghami have announced a new joint venture record label called Vibe Music Arabia which will seek to "support the independent Arabic artist community" in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Middle East. It will be led by Rami Zeidan, who joins the new label from TikTok, where he headed up a video and creative division for the Middle East and North Africa.

Announcing the JV from the Sony side, the major's President, Corporate Strategy And Market Development for the region, Shridhar Subramaniam, said: "We are THRILLED to announce the launch of Vibe Music Arabia as a new label for independent Arabic artists - combining Sony Music Entertainment's unrivalled regional teams with dedicated resources and Anghami's best-in-class services and technology, to help foster long-term partnerships and deliver global success for the next generation of Arabic artist talent".

Speaking for Anghami, the streaming service that has a specific focus on the Middle East and North Africa, the firm's CEO Eddy Maroun added: "At Anghami we are proud of our deep-rooted Arabic origins. We see so many talented artists and songs emerge daily from this region and believe there is a real opportunity for a boutique label to foster these fast-growing music communities and help develop their craft. Now is the perfect time for Vibe Music Arabia".


On The CMU Stereo 2021 - Autumn
Well then, here it is, the final part of our round up of our favourite tracks of 2021. We now have 40 tracks that prove without doubt that, despite everything, the pandemic hasn't stopped people from making great music. Some of them even managed to get out and perform it live, which was a real treat after that enforced break from gigs.

Like the rest of the playlist, there are tracks here that are taken from some of our favourite albums of 2021. But a significant portion of this final batch also look forward to the future, with early tastes of things to come, in that the albums on which they appear are not yet out.

Los Bitchos open our autumn selections with their single 'Las Panteras'. One of those bands we managed to catch live in the last few months, their celebratory music and performances really felt necessary and captured the moment. Their debut album, 'Let The Festivities Begin!', is out in February and will bring yet more brightness to the winter months.

One of those artists who already put out their album is James Blake, who once again outdid himself with 'Friends That Break Your Heart'. The quality of his back catalogue is extraordinary and he continues to build on that and find new avenues to explore in his sound. On the track we've chosen here, 'Coming Back', he teams up with SZA, who's also had a good year and will hopefully be back with her long awaited second album sooner rather than later.

Taking the prize for the heaviest track on the playlist (just pipping Converge, I think) are Rolo Tomassi with 'Drip'. Although featuring a long melodic section, it also captures the band at their most punishing, and - almost fifteen years since their debut EP - sees them still utterly exhilarating. Their new album, 'Where Myth Becomes Memory', is also out in February.

Other acts with new music lined up for 2022 include Melt Yourself Down, Caleb Kunle and Yard Act, while our 2021 playlist draws to a gentle close with an amazing solo piano piece from Poppy Ackroyd's recently released 'Pause' album.

Listen to these tracks, plus our other 2021 selections, on our Spotify playlist here. You can also go back and read all our write-ups here.

Here are the ten tracks on our autumn playlist:

Los Bitchos - Las Panteras
James Blake - Coming Back (feat SZA)
Melt Yourself Down - Pray For Me I Don't Fit In
Elkka - Voices
Caleb Kunle - Could Be Good
Rolo Tomassi - Drip
Yard Act - Land Of The Blind
Converge & Chelsea Wolfe - Coil
Nnamdi - Backseat
Poppy Ackroyd - Murmurations


Britney Spears lawyer asks why her father responded to claims about Diane Sawyer video
Britney Spears' lawyer Mathew Rosengart has questioned why her father, Jamie Spears, was so quick to deny involvement in a Diane Sawyer interview with his daughter two decades ago, while he has refused to comment at all on more serious allegations.

Sawyer filmed her interview with Britney in 2003. A portion of it was included in the 'Framing Britney Spears' documentary earlier this year, with the interview being criticised, especially of late, for Sawyer's aggressive line of questioning that left the singer in tears.

In a lengthy and since deleted post on Instagram earlier this week, Britney wrote: "Do we dare forget the Diane Sawyer interview in my apartment almost 20 years ago? What was with the 'you're in the wrong' approach? Geeze... and making me cry?"

"Seriously though, I lived in my apartment for a year and never spoke to anyone", she went on. "My manager put that woman in my home and made me talk to her on national television and she asked if I had a shopping problem! When did I have a shopping problem?"

She concluded by saying: "Pretty lame of my dad and three men to show up at my door when I could hardly speak. They put Diane Sawyer in my living room, they forced me to talk! I was a baby. I was almost 22 and didn't understand, but I fucking know now!"

Jamie Spears quickly sent out a statement to the press, via his lawyer Alex Weingarten, following the Instagram post, saying: "Mr Spears has no idea what Ms Spears is talking about. Jamie never set up any interview with Diane Sawyer and was not present for any such interview. He had nothing to do with Britney's career at this point and was completely uninvolved in this interview".

"Jamie loves Britney very much [and] wishes Britney nothing but the best", the statement went on, "and [he] hopes that she continues to seek the help that she needs to stay safe and healthy".

Rosengart now asks why Jamie Spears has put out this statement, despite remaining tight lipped on other recent accusations relating to his time as his daughter's conservator, particularly that he and Britney's former business management company, Tri Star Sports And Entertainment, ran a surveillance operation on her. He also raises questions about money Jamie Spears' paid to himself while running Britney's controversial conservatorship.

The lawyer tells Variety: "Rather than bullying and attacking his daughter, even as he claims to 'love' her, it would be far more appropriate for Mr Spears and his lawyer to focus on answering the following fundamental questions, to start, which we have been asking for months".

Those questions are as follows: "As a suspended conservator, will he now return the millions of dollars in combined salary and commissions from Britney's work that he paid himself before he was suspended? What were the total amounts he received from his daughter's estate? Why did he approve a $500,000 payment to Tri Star after Britney went on hiatus? Does he have any evidence to refute the allegations in [an] extensive New York Times expose regarding a listening device being placed in his adult daughter's bedroom?"

While Britney's conservatorship - which controlled her life for thirteen years - was brought to an end last month, legal wrangling between the father and daughter continues.

Following a court hearing last week, Rosengart claims that Jamie Spears is avoiding sitting for a deposition. He also said that he has failed to provide certain requested documents, which Rosengart claims will "shed light in regard to his abuses and the alleged conduct".


Ela Minus releases N19 5NF video
Ela Minus has released a video for her track 'N19 5NF', which also features a clip of a brand new unnamed piece of music.

The title of the track is the postcode of the Whittington Hospital in London, where Minus regained consciousness after two days in intensive care in 2019. The opening of the video shows medical notes, explaining that she was brought into the hospital because she was "confused and vomiting" and then had a "tonic seizure" in the waiting room. This experience, she says, is what began the journey towards making her debut album, 'Acts Of Rebellion'.

"It's where I believe my life before this album ended and a new life began", she says. "I found that through the making of this song and video, reality was transfigured. It illuminated it and revealed its true grinning monstrous teeth. Through this transfiguration I was able to find a voice, not a discourse, but a personal voice looking for an ear or an eye to meet. This video is important because of my own story and the empowerment it can give to others through my way of telling it".

The video was shot in Mexico City with director Losmose. Opening with a disorientating club scene - in which the new track is played - and moving on to body horror and other surreal imagery, Minus says of the making of the video: "I remember looking at the footage and thinking: this feels unlike anything I have done before. This is what a collaboration should feel like - working with someone who makes you feel both confident about your own work and takes it to a completely new place, pushing your own artistry further".

Watch the 'N19 5NF' video here.



Universal Music's Virgin Music Label & Artist Services will begin the new year by launching a new division in the West Balkans. It will be run by Nikola Jovanovic, who has been given the joint job titles of VP of Virgin Music Label & Artist Services, Western Balkans and Head Of Society Relations, Universal Music Western Balkans. "I have been working with artists and indie labels from this region for many years, constantly pushing to bring the necessary change to the regional music industry, to enable young talents and entrepreneurs to make a living out of their creativity and art", he says.

Copyright hub ICE has announced Peter de Mönnink as its new CEO. He will officially take up the position in March. "Nothing has proven more engaging than music in our digital lives", he says. "At the same time, the transition of content rights and their value to the ever-expanding footprint of global digital markets is an ongoing challenge". To that end, he adds, he is looking forward to working "with so many quality people and help to grow and shape the business towards a sustainable leading global position and create success for all stakeholders".



George Harrison's 'My Sweet Lord' has a new celeb-packed video. Don't worry, they're not singing it. They're just wandering around in some sort of 'Men In Black' pastiche. It's all in aid of the song's 50th anniversary. Apparently this all makes sense to someone.

Alesso and Katy Perry are going to release a single together on 29 Dec. Here's a trailer.

Boys Noize and Kelsey Lu have released new single 'Love & Validation'.

Eels have released the video for recent single 'The Magic'. Their new album, 'Extreme Witchcraft', is out on 28 Jan.

Alewya - who you will have heard on our On The CMU Stereo 2021 playlist - has released the video for her track 'Channel High'. It is taken from her 'Panther In Mode' EP.

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


Elton John favours a Greggs sausage roll, reveals LadBaby
LadBaby's Mark Hoyle has revealed that Elton John favours a Greggs sausage roll. At least, he does now. Apparently he used to go to Sainsbury's for them, the absolute maniac.

Hoyle reveals that John had his first Greggs sausage meat/pastry combo during the filming of the video for the LadBaby/John/Sheeran combo Christmas single, 'Sausage Rolls For Everyone'.

"As we were singing, he ate it all", Hoyle tells The Mirror, conjuring up quite an image. "At the end of the video he said: 'That's the best sausage roll I've ever had. Where's that from?’ We said Greggs. And he said: 'I'm not going to Sainsbury's anymore. That's where I'm getting them from'".

I'm glad we finally cleared this up. It's been bugging me for years. Finally we can add John to the list of musicians who love Greggs. The others on that list are Lady Gaga, Marilyn Manson and Blur's Alex James. Worst. Supergroup. Ever.

This year's LadBaby Christmas single is, of course, a cover of John and Ed Sheeran's new Christmas song 'Merry Christmas Everyone', which is currently at number on the UK singles chart.

John and Sheeran are seemingly not keen to be the ones to break LadBaby's run as Christmas chart champions - they having now topped the UK Christmas chart for three consecutive years - but would also quite like to have a Christmas number one themselves. Hence the collaboration.

The sausage roll themed version of the song is set for release tomorrow.


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.
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