FRIDAY 7 JANUARY 2022 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
Hello and happy new year!

This first edition of the CMU Daily of 2022 rounds up stories from across the Christmas break, with all the big developments that happened over the last couple of weeks. We'll be back to normal service from Monday.

Don't forget, in case you haven't got around to checking them out yet, you can still listen to the Setlist podcast round up of the music business in 2021, plus our favourite tracks of the year, and all the artists featured in the CMU Approved column last year.

And now, let's catch up with everything the music industry was up to while we were away. See you back here again next week!

TOP STORIES UK music consumption up again in 2021, according to BPI year-end stats
Streaming and vinyl help music industry to increase share of entertainment revenues in 2021

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LEGAL Judge declines to extend restraining order against Live Nation in Coachella trademark dispute
Taylor Swift has one last go at getting the Shake It Off song-theft lawsuit dismissed

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DEALS Warner Music acquires David Bowie's songs catalogue for $250 million
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LIVE BUSINESS Congressional committee demands documents and information from Live Nation in relation to Astroworld tragedy
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MEDIA Global-linked investment entity given approval to buy up to 14.99% of iHeart
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INDUSTRY PEOPLE Music and media industries pay tribute to Janice Long
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ARTIST NEWS PinkPantheress tops BBC Sound Of 2022 poll
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Check out all the latest job opportunities with CMU Jobs. To advertise your job opportunities here email advertising@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060.
   
BAND ON THE WALL - BOX OFFICE & TICKETING MANAGER (MANCHESTER)
Band On The Wall is recruiting a Box Office and Ticketing Manager to join its growing team, ahead of the venue reopening in spring 2022.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
FOUNDATION.FM - EXECUTIVE PRODUCER (LONDON)
Foundation.fm is the leading platform championing the hottest emerging female, non binary and queer talent in the UK: an online community radio station, talent management agency and record label. The Executive Producer runs the day-to-day operation of the radio station, and is tasked with hitting audience, staffing and output requirements.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
GONDWANA RECORDS - JUNIOR PRODUCT MANAGER (REMOTE)
Gondwana Records is seeking a dynamic, self-motivated and highly organised full time Product Manager. The chosen candidate will assist with the day to day project management of the artist roster and releases and reporting directly to the Label Manager and General Manager.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
HARDWICK & MORRIS - MANAGER (LONDON)
Hardwick & Morris is a firm of Chartered Accountants and Business Managers specialising in music and entertainment. It is looking for a manager or senior manager to join our exciting team.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
UD - HEAD ENGINEER (LONDON)
UD Music is looking for an experienced Head Engineer to run its brand new suite of studios at The Talent House.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
NINJA TUNE - DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER (LONDON/REMOTE)
The Digital Marketing Manager is the key bridge between Ninja Tune's Marketing, Streaming and Social Media teams, ensuring all its release marketing plans are at the cutting edge in order to maximise its artists' footprint across ever-changing social media, streaming and creative marketing worlds.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
BLUES KITCHEN/OLD QUEENS HEAD - MARKETING MANAGER (LONDON)
The Columbo Group is looking for a Marketing Manager to work on The Blues Kitchen and The Old Queens Head, with responsibilities including event promotion, running social media platforms and developing venue marketing strategies.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
JAZZ CAFE - MARKETING MANAGER (LONDON)
The Columbo Group is looking for a Marketing Manager to work onThe Jazz Cafe, with responsibilities including event promotion, running social media platforms and developing venue marketing strategies.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
WINAMP - CHIEF ARTIST OFFICER (BRUSSELS/IBIZA/PARIS/REMOTE)
Winamp is seeking a Chief Artist Officer reponsible for designing, implementing and executing a strategy for the acquisition, onboarding and cross-/up-selling of music artists and audio content creators to the Winamp platform.

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...
THE MUSIC INDUSTRY MUSIC COPYRIGHT
THE RECORD INDUSTRY THE MUSIC PUBLISHING SECTOR
THE STREAMING BUSINESS THE LIVE MUSIC SECTOR
THE DIRECT-TO-FAN BUSINESS MUSIC MARKETING

UK music consumption up again in 2021, according to BPI year-end stats
Music consumption was up in the UK again last year, with the total number of tracks streamed topping 147 billion, up 5.7% on 2020.

Or at least that's according to some new year stats published by record industry trade body BPI earlier this week. Fans of mysterious maths will be pleased to know that - by BPI and Official Charts Company criteria - that equates to 132.4 million album sales.

With 159.3 million albums (or equivalent) consumed in total in the UK last year, that means streaming accounted for 83% of music consumption overall. Yay streaming boom, woo!

But what about the remaining 17%? That's what you really want to know, right? Well, for starters 5.3 million vinyl LPs were bought last year, because, you know, vinyl rival, woo!

And then let's not forget the all important (aka not really that important) cassette revival - woo! - with 185,000 tapes being sold last year. That means vinyl sales were up 11% year-on-year, with cassette sales growing 19%.

And hey, if you find the cassette revival surprising, get this: the great British public bought 4.6 million digital albums last year. As in, they downloaded 4.6 million albums from iTunes et al.

That's on top of all the single track downloads that account for much of the 2.4 million 'track equivalent albums' recorded in the BPI stats.

I mean, don't get me wrong, downloads are still very much in decline - digital album sales were down 23.1% and single track sales 24% - but the format isn't dead yet. And how long can it really be until the MP3 revival gets underway?

Talking of declining formats, let's not forget the good old compact disc. Though - mainly because of boosts from big releases from the likes of Adele, Ed Sheeran and Abba - the ongoing decline of the CD format slowed a little, to just 10.5%. So, in total, 14.4 million CDs were shifted during 2021.

The BPI's figures also confirm that albums by UK artists were most popular among UK music consumers in 2021, with eight of the top ten albums of the year coming from British performers, namely Adele, Dua Lipa, Dave, Elton John, Queen, Fleetwood Mac and Ed Sheeran (twice).

Admittedly those pesky foreigners did somewhat better in the year end singles chart, but, you know, fuck the singles chart. Actually, fuck all the charts, who cares about them, what about the money?

Well, this first batch of year end stats is very much focused on consumption. The BPI's record industry revenue stats will follow later in the year, but we already know how much money went through the tills of record shops, download stores and streaming services, thanks to the Entertainment Retailers Association's 2021 stats, which also arrived this week (and which you will find further down this edition of the Daily).

However, there is some other interesting information to be pulled from the BPI figures too. Given streaming is only really good business for artists and labels once you're talking about millions of streams, how many acts are performing at that level within the UK market?

Well, says the BPI, "all of the top ten streaming artists in 2021 achieved over half a billion UK streams, while well over half of the top 100 artists achieved over 200 million streams. 180 artists achieved more than 100 million streams in the UK over the past twelve months, and nearly 2000 artists (1918) saw their songs streamed at least ten million times in the UK".

"For an artist, ten million streams generates at least the same royalties as 10,000 CD sales", the BPI goes on, "and nearly 2000 artists will achieve at least ten million streams this year in the UK alone - nearly double the number who sold the equivalent number of CDs and downloads in 2007".

Those sorts of stats are interesting but also somewhat political, of course, given the ongoing conversation about whether or not the booming streaming market is working for artists.

Throughout the big streaming debate in the UK Parliament, the BPI was keen to stress that - while streaming has created unprecedented competition in the recorded music market place - it is also allowing an increasing number of artists to generate decent revenues from their recordings.

Of course, campaigners in the artist community would note that that's decent 'total revenues' - and the extent to which artists benefit from that will depend on their record deal and what share of that income they receive.

Plus songwriters will almost certainly point out that - because of the way the digital pie is sliced up - they need to secure much higher levels of streams to generate similarly decent revenues.

The digital pie debate will continue throughout 2022, and maybe - at some point - there'll be a re-slicing of that pie in some way that benefits certain groups of music-makers who are possibly being screwed over by the current framework in one way or another.

But at the same time the BPI's stats demonstrate that - while the economics of streaming discussions in Parliament sometimes suggested there is only doom and gloom for artists in the Spotify age - actually, especially for newer artists, there are considerable opportunities if they can find the right audience and the right business partners.

Plus those are UK-only stats, and streaming is a much more global market. And it's also worth considering the emerging digital opportunities in the direct-to-fan space that go beyond the kind of music consumption recorded in these BPI figures. So, look at that, we've started the year with some optimism. That can't be right.

Maybe we caught the optimism bug off BPI boss Geoff Taylor. Says he: "As our lives continue to be disrupted, the past twelve months have reminded us again of the important role that recorded music plays in our lives".

"At the same time", he goes on, "the rise of streaming has empowered more artists than ever - from all backgrounds and eras - to build new fanbases around the world and to forge successful careers in music, while record labels have continued to provide the investment and support needed for British talent to thrive and reach a truly global audience".

So that's all lovely. Let's celebrate with some charts courtesy of your best buds at the Official Charts Company. You now, despite you dissing the charts earlier. Don't worry, I didn't tell Team OCC. It will be our little secret.

UK Albums Chart 2021

  1. Adele - 30
  2. Ed Sheeran - =
  3. ABBA - Voyage
  4. Olivia Rodrigo - Sour
  5. Queen - Greatest Hits
  6. Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia
  7. Ed Sheeran - Divide
  8. Elton John - Diamonds
  9. Fleetwood Mac - 50 Years: Don't Stop
  10. Dave - We're All Alone In This Together

UK Singles Chart 2021

  1. Ed Sheeran - Bad Habits
  2. Olivia Rodrigo - Good 4 U
  3. Olivia Rodrigo - Drivers License
  4. The Weeknd - Save Your Tears
  5. Lil Nas X - Montero (Call Me By Your Name)
  6. Dua Lipa - Levitating
  7. The Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber - Stay
  8. Glass Animals - Heat Waves
  9. The Weeknd - Blinding Lights
  10. Tion Wayne & Russ Millions - Body

UK Vinyl Albums Chart 2021

  1. ABBA - Voyage
  2. Adele - 30
  3. Fleetwood Mac - Rumours
  4. Ed Sheeran - =
  5. Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
  6. Nirvana - Nevermind
  7. Queen - Greatest Hits
  8. Lana Del Rey - Chemtrails Over The Country Club
  9. Wolf Alice - Blue Weekend
  10. Harry Styles - Fine Line

UK Cassette Albums Chart 2021

  1. Olivia Rodrigo - Sour
  2. Dave - We're All Alone In This Together
  3. Lana Del Rey - Chemtrails Over The Country Club
  4. Queen - Greatest Hits
  5. Coldplay - Music Of The Spheres
  6. Wolf Alice - Blue Weekend
  7. Billie Eilish - Happier Than Ever
  8. Elton John - The Lockdown Sessions
  9. Demi Lovato - Dancing With The Devil: The Art Of Starting Over
  10. Ed Sheeran - =

UK Most Streamed Tracks 2021

  1. Ed Sheeran - Bad Habits
  2. Olivia Rodrigo - Good 4 U
  3. Olivia Rodrigo - Drivers License
  4. Lil Nas X - Montero (Call Me By Your Name)
  5. The Weeknd - Save Your Tears
  6. Dua Lipa - Levitating
  7. Glass Animals - Heat Waves
  8. The Kid Laroi & Justin Bieber - Stay
  9. Tion Wayne & Russ Millions - Body
  10. The Weeknd - Blinding Lights

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Streaming and vinyl help music industry to increase share of entertainment revenues in 2021
The UK's home entertainment market - so music, video and gaming combined - reached record revenues of over £9.7 billion in 2021, according to new stats from the Entertainment Retailers Association. It was the ninth successive year of growth - despite fears of a pandemic dip - and it's hoped that this year the sector will top £10 billion.

"The entire sector was braced for revenues to settle down in 2021 after 2020 grew an astonishing 18.7%, but growth continued - for the ninth successive year", says ERA CEO Kim Bayley.

"Strikingly this growth is increasingly independent of new release activity", she adds, "the vast majority of this growth being driven by digital services making entertainment more accessible and convenient than ever before. If we can repeat this success in 2022, the UK entertainment market will exceed £10 billion for the first time".

Music traditionally makes up the smallest part of the wider entertainment retail pie, but it did grow its share in 2021, as gaming revenues fell slightly. In total, music brought in £1.67 billion across both digital services and more traditional retail - an increase of 8.7% year-on-year.

The bulk of this came from streaming, of course, with revenues totalling £1.3 billion (up 10.9%), followed by physical sales, which brought in £291.5 million - an increase of 7.3% on 2020, although down 8.4% compared to 2019, before the pandemic hit.

Unsurprisingly down on 2020 were downloads, which saw revenues drop to £55 million, which is a decline of 23.8% since this time last year and 38.7% since 2019.

These are retail revenues, which means all the monies that come into digital services and music retailers, including the cut taken by the services and retail businesses themselves. The record industry's own 2021 revenue stats will follow later in the year.

While the home entertainment sector is less reliant on big releases in the age of subscription services online, the music industry did nevertheless enjoy some big new albums in 2021, including new records from Adele, Ed Sheeran and Abba.

"New releases undoubtedly increase the engagement of music fans with streaming services and in 2021 the music industry delivered several blockbusters", Bayley notes, before adding: "What is increasingly clear, however, is that the biggest driver of revenue is the innovation and investment of the services themselves".

Music was the only strand to see an increase in revenues from physical sales in 2021, aided by the vinyl revival and music retailers getting skilled at meeting ongoing COVID challenges. Video saw physical sales drop by 33.6% to £236 million - more than 50% down on 2019. Gaming saw physical down 20.8% to £511.5 million - although this was only a 15% drop compared to 2019.

"The return of physical music sales to growth a full two decades since they started to decline is nothing short of a miracle", adds Bayley. "It is a testament more than anything to the doggedness and resilience of physical retailers, led by the indies, who have driven the vinyl revival in the face of some initial scepticism".

Physical for all three sectors combined was down 18.5%, bringing in just over £1 billion. Digital overall increased 8.3% to £8.66 billion and was up 35.2% compared to 2019. With this boom in digital, ERA says that nearly 90p of every pound spend on home entertainment in the UK is now online.

Whether gaming and video see any revival of physical revenues post-pandemic remains to be seen. If not, the ongoing growth of music streaming, alongside the vinyl revival, could help music to further increase its share of wider entertainment retail revenues in 2022.

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Judge declines to extend restraining order against Live Nation in Coachella trademark dispute
A US judge declined to extend a restraining order secured by AEG against its main rival Live Nation late last month in relation to a New Years event that took place in the Californian city of Coachella. While Live Nation's Ticketmaster platform was banned from referring to that event by its original name - which included the word Coachella - it was still able to sell tickets to the mini-festival.

AEG's Goldenvoice division went legal over the Coachella Day One 22 festival earlier in December, arguing that the name of the event implied an official connection with its much more famous Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival, and therefore infringed its Coachella trademark.

Coachella Day One 22 was actually presented by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians at an entertainment complex it operates called Coachella Crossroads, which is adjacent to its Spotlight 29 Casino. However, the leadership of the Native American tribe was arguably shielded from any legal action due to sovereign immunity.

Therefore, Goldenvoice decided to sue Live Nation, which was marketing and selling tickets to the event via its Ticketmaster platform. As part of that legal action, Goldenvoice secured the restraining order prohibiting Ticketmaster from listing any event that used the Coachella brand.

However, that didn't really make much difference because, by the time the court had issued that order, Ticketmaster had already changed the name of the event on its platform to simply Day One 22. Though, at that point, the original name, ie Coachella Day One 22, was still being used on the websites of Coachella Crossroads and the Spotlight 29 Casino.

Goldenvoice asked the judge hearing the case - R Gary Klausner - to extend the restraining order against Live Nation and Ticketmaster so that it blocked them from selling tickets to the Coachella branded event, even if they were using the abbreviated title on their websites and apps.

However, Klausner denied that request, concluding that - by that point - Live Nation and Ticketmaster were no longer directly infringing Goldenvoice's Coachella trademark. And while Goldenvoice might argue there was still a case for holding the plaintiffs liable for contributory infringement, that argument would likely fail, the judge reckoned, given Live Nation and Ticketmaster have no control over how their clients publicise their events.

The judge also acknowledged that the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians had continued to promote its event under the original name after his original injunction had been issued, but said that wasn't really a surprise, given the tribe was not a party to Goldenvoice's litigation.

Actually, the tribe's venue and casino eventually started publicising the event as 'Day One 22 NYE at Coachella Crossroads' on their websites, meaning they also amended the show's official title. Although, obviously, the venue's name means the word Coachella was still pretty prominent in the marketing, more so than if it had just been included as information about the location of the event.

Either way, the Chairman of the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, Darrell Mike, welcomed the latest ruling, telling reporters: "[This] is a win for the tribe, the community and our ticketing partners at Live Nation. As a community and nation who reside in Coachella, California, we are equally THRILLED that our outdoor venue, Coachella Crossroads, will be able to continue operation under its given name".

He added: "The strong-arming of Goldenvoice and its parent company AEG to take reign over a name of a region and businesses who choose to identify with it is disrespectful to small and large business operations, those under their employ and the indigenous people who live within the valley".

--------------------------------------------------

Taylor Swift has one last go at getting the Shake It Off song-theft lawsuit dismissed
Taylor Swift is having one last go at stopping her song-theft legal battle over the lyrics of 'Shake It Off' from ending up before a jury, urging the judge hearing the case to rethink his most recent ruling. It's something of an ambitious ask at this stage, but is worth a try I guess.

Songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler accuse Swift of ripping off their 2001 song 'Playas Gon Play' on her 2014 hit. The former had the lyric "the playas gon play/them haters gonna hate", while 'Shake It Off' famously includes the line "the players gonna play, play, play, play, play/and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate".

Hall and Butler first went legal in 2017. However, the following year judge Michael Fitzgerald dismissed their lawsuit, concluding that their 2001 lyrics about 'playas' playing and 'haters' hating were simply "too banal" to enjoy copyright protection in isolation, which meant Swift had not infringed any copyrights with her very similar lyrics.

But the duo took their case to the Ninth Circuit appeals court and, in 2019, judges there criticised the lower court judge for reaching such a speedy conclusion on the all important question of whether or not the two key lines of 'Playas Gon Play' could be protected by copyright.

As a result, the whole matter was sent back to Fitzgerald's court for take two. Swift's team have been busy ever since trying to have the whole thing dismissed for a second time, but so far without success. Fitzgerald most recently declined to dismiss the case last month.

Despite admitting during a hearing in September that the Swift side's arguments were "really strong", the judge basically concluded that those arguments hadn't really changed since the case returned to his court.

And if the Ninth Circuit thought it was inappropriate to dismiss the lawsuit on summary judgement first time, they'd probably reach the same conclusion second time.

But Fitzgerald was wrong to refuse dismissal last month, Swift's lawyers said in yet another legal filing submitted with the court just before the Christmas break. And he reached the wrong decision by failing to properly apply the so called 'extrinsic test'.

When declining to dismiss the case earlier in December, the judge concluded that there is "a genuine dispute as to the potential substantial similarity between the lyrics and their sequential structure" in the two songs, and that dispute should be considered by a jury.

However, that conclusion, Swift's side said, "does not apply the extrinsic test to that claimed substantial similarity, and that test mandates, inter alia, that 'it is essential to distinguish between the protected and unprotected material in a plaintiff's work'".

Basically, the lyrics that could be seen as substantially similar are the common phrases about players playing and haters hating. And, said Swift's new filing, even Hall and Butler have admitted that those statements in isolation "are unprotected and in the public domain".

The plaintiffs have pointed out how both songs also have other albeit different tautological phrases alongside those related to players playing and haters hating. Hall and Butler's song says "ballers, they gon ball/shot callers, they gonna call", while in 'Shake It Off' Swift sings about how heartbreakers are gonna break, and fakers are gonna fake.

"Even assuming for the sake of argument that [these other] lyrics share the same idea or concept", Swift's new legal filing went on, "that does not satisfy the extrinsic test [either] because ideas are not protected by copyright and, as a result, also must be disregarded".

With all this in mind, the filing continued, Fitzgerald's most recent decision "does something that, as far defendants are aware, no other court has done, namely finding a potentially valid infringement claim in the use of two short public domain phrases along with allegedly similar ideas and concepts. Defendants respectfully submit that the ruling should be revisited".

The filing then concluded: "The presence of versions of the two short public domain statements and two other tautologies in both songs - a commonality that the court has noted - simply does not satisfy the extrinsic test. Otherwise, plaintiffs could sue everyone who writes, sings, or publicly says 'players gonna play' and 'haters gonna hate' alone with other tautologies. To permit that is unprecedented and 'cheats the public domain'".

It would be surprising if this latest filing is enough to change Fitzgerald's mind. None of these arguments are really new, which means the judge will likely reach the same conclusion, ie if the Ninth Circuit felt a summary judgement was inappropriate before, they'd feel the same way now.

Speaking to Billboard, a legal rep for Hall and Butler said Swift's latest motion was "groundless", adding: "All it asks is for the court to reverse itself because Swift is unhappy with the ruling".

"She raised these arguments before and they were rejected", the legal rep then noted, before concluding: "The precedent is clear that such motions are routinely denied because the rules are not designed to give an unhappy litigant one additional chance to sway the judge - we are confident the court will adhere to this precedent here".

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Warner Music acquires David Bowie's songs catalogue for $250 million
Warner Chappell has acquired the David Bowie songs catalogue in a deal reportedly worth in the region of $250 million, in the first big music rights acquisition of the year, confirmed at the start of the week. It follows Warner Music's deal last year around Bowie's recordings and means the mini-major now controls the vast majority of the musician's music.

"All of us at Warner Chappell are immensely proud that the David Bowie estate has chosen us to be the caretakers of one of the most groundbreaking, influential and enduring catalogues in music history", the publisher's CEO Guy Moot said upon announcing the deal on 3 Jan. "These are not only extraordinary songs, but milestones that have changed the course of modern music forever".

Last September, Warner Music announced a deal in relation to Bowie's recorded music output post-2000, it already controlling his recordings from 1968 to 1999. Rumours that the Bowie estate was also in talks to do a deal in relation to his songs catalogue began to circulate shortly after. A price tag around $200 million was initially touted, although sources have told Variety that the final deal was worth more like $250 million.

Confirming that deal, Warner stated: "[This] landmark deal includes Bowie's entire body of work, encompassing hundreds of songs spanning the iconic artist and songwriter's six-decade career. The agreement comprises songs from the 26 David Bowie studio albums released during his lifetime, as well as the posthumous studio album release 'Toy'. It also includes the two studio albums from Tin Machine, along with tracks released as singles from soundtracks and other projects".

Meanwhile, Moot continued: "Bowie's vision and creative genius drove him to push the envelope, lyrically and musically - writing songs that challenged convention, changed the conversation, and have become part of the canon of global culture. His work spanned massive pop hits and experimental adventures that have inspired millions of fans and countless innovators, not only in music, but across all the arts, fashion, and media".

"We are looking forward to tending his unparalleled body of songs with passion and care as we strive to build on the legacy of this most extraordinary human being", the Warner Chappell chief concluded.

Commenting on the deal on behalf of the Bowie estate, Allen Grubman said: "We are truly gratified that David Bowie's body of music will now be in the capable hands of Warner Chappell Music Publishing. We are sure they will cherish it and take care of it with the greatest level of dignity".

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Congressional committee demands documents and information from Live Nation in relation to Astroworld tragedy
The Committee On Oversight And Reform in US Congress wrote to Live Nation chief Michael Rapino just before Christmas demanding information relating to last November's Astroworld tragedy, including any contracts the live giant has regarding security, communications and medical care at the Houston festival.

Ten people died and hundreds more were injured on 5 Nov after a crowd surge occurred during Travis Scott's headline set at the festival he founded, which was promoted by Live Nation and its Scoremore subsidiary.

A criminal investigation is underway to ascertain if decisions made before or during the event contributed to the tragedy, and the Harris County Commissioner's Court has also announced a review of security and safety plans at the venue that hosted the festival, NRG Park. Meanwhile, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed in relation to the incident, with Scott and Live Nation the main defendants on most of them.

On top of all that, members of the Congressional Committee On Oversight And Reform - the main investigative committee in the US House Of Representatives - are now also investigating what led to the crowd surge at Astroworld so to "inform possible reforms that could prevent future tragedies".

The committee's letter to Rapino notes various criticisms that have been made of the festival and its promoters since the crowd surge took place. That includes allegations that security and medical staff at Astroworld were inexperienced or ill-equipped, and that event organisers failed to heed warning signs earlier in the day, in particular crowds pushing over security barriers as the festival opened.

The letter also observes that Scott continued performing for more than half an hour after police had declared the crowd surge a mass casualty event. And it cites reports that some part-time employees working at the festival were told to sign new contracts post-event in order to get paid, with revisions that seemingly sought to restrict Live Nation's liabilities with regards those people while working at the festival.

The letter then states: "The tragedy at Astroworld Festival follows a long line of other tragic events and safety violations involving Live Nation. For example, Live Nation has been fined or sued numerous times over safety issues at previous events, including other incidents involving surging fans or stampedes. From 2016 to 2019, Live Nation and its subsidiary Live Nation Worldwide were cited ten times for safety violations and incurred fines".

In addition to providing any relevant contracts relating to the production of Astroworld, the committee also wants Live Nation to outline the roles and responsibilities of everyone working at the festival, and to provide information regarding any pre-show security assessments and briefings, how the promoter responded to the other crowd issues earlier in the day on 5 Nov, and exactly when Live Nation became aware of the casualties that evening.

In fact, the letter specifically asks what the precise time was when Live Nation was "first made aware that law enforcement had declared the event a 'mass casualty event'" and "what actions did Live Nation Entertainment take between that report and the performance's termination at approximately 10.10pm?"

It then also says "please address reports that Live Nation has withheld pay from Astroworld employees until they have signed revised employment contracts that release Live Nation from liability", before asking the most important question of them all: "What steps does Live Nation plan to take to prevent another injury or death at a promoted or held event?"

The letter is signed by committee chair Carolyn B Maloney, and co-signed by Congress members James Comer, Al Green, Kevin Brady and Bill Pascrell.

Live Nation has until today to provide the requested contracts, while the Congress members say they expect a briefing on all these topics by 12 Jan.

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Global-linked investment entity given approval to buy up to 14.99% of iHeart
US media regulator the Federal Communications Commission has given the all clear for an investment entity linked to UK radio giant Global to acquire up to 14.99% of the shares in American radio giant iHeart.

iHeart approached the FCC last year regarding Global Media & Entertainment Investments, an entity incorporated in the Bahamas and headed up by Michael Tabor, who is also a key backer of the main Global radio company in the UK, and father of its President Ashley Tabor-King.

At that point, GMEI had already bought more than 5% of the iHeart company - controlling approximately 6.6% of total equity and 8.7% of voting interests. That needed the FCC's approval because of US rules regarding the ownership of media by foreign entities. It was also known that GMEI was interested in acquiring additional iHeart stock, so approval was sought for both past and future share purchases by the UK-linked investment vehicle.

However, there was a disagreement between iHeart and GMEI about just big a future share purchase should be pre-approved. GMEI said it was interested in acquiring anywhere up to 49.99% of the iHeart business and that it therefore wanted FCC approval now for it possibly buying such a big slice of the American company down the line.

However, iHeart itself sought approval for a more modest GMEI total share grab, initially 9.99%, later amended to 14.99%.

That led to GMEI directly seeking FCC approval for any possible share buying spree that would take its interest in iHeart up to the 49.99% point. However, last month legal reps for the investment outfit announced they were no longer seeking that direct FCC approval.

Meanwhile, the permission sought via iHeart was granted just before Christmas, ie pre-approving any bid by GMEI to increase its stake in iHeart to 14.99%. The regulator said that it considered iHeart's proposal to allow such a thing to be in the public interest.

Specfically, it said, allowing GMEI to increase its share-holding in the future is "likely to enable iHeart greater flexibility to access foreign investment capital, thereby allowing iHeart to better compete with other media companies, enhance its programming, and better serve the public interest".

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Music and media industries pay tribute to Janice Long
A flood of tributes were posted from across the music and media industries over the break for Janice Long, the DJ and presenter who died on Christmas Day, aged 66, after a short illness.

Long's death was confirmed by her agent Nigel Forsyth, who told reporters: "Janice was a wonderful warm human being and exceptional broadcaster. She told a brilliant story and always made you roar with laughter with her sharp wit. She will leave behind her husband Paul and two children who she thought the world of".

Long began her broadcasting career at BBC Radio Merseyside in her hometown of Liverpool in 1979. She then joined BBC Radio 1 in 1983, becoming the first woman to have her own daily show on the station in an era when pop radio in the UK was totally dominated by male DJs.

Her Radio 1 show and regular stints hosting 'Top Of The Pops' meant she became a prominent and popular BBC music presenter, though within the industry she was also seen as an important champion of new talent.

After leaving Radio 1, in 1989 she joined what was then known as Greater London Radio during a particularly innovative era for the BBC's local radio station in the capital, which sought to bring new kinds of programming to the airwaves. Long then became actively involved in two other projects that sought to do the same, by launching commercial alternative music stations in both London and Liverpool, resulting in Xfm and the shorter lived Crash FM.

But Long rarely spent too much time away from BBC radio, presenting shows for a number of the broadcaster's other national stations, including Radio 5, Radio 2 and 6 Music, as well as on its local stations, most recently hosting the evening show on BBC Radio Wales. Meanwhile, from February last year, she also hosted a weekend show on Bauer Media's Greatest Hits Radio.

Among those paying tribute to Long was BBC Controller Of Pop Lorne Clarke, who said: "Everyone in pop radio was saddened to hear of the passing of Janice Long. She was long admired for her role as a talent spotter and new music champion, giving Frankie Goes To Hollywood and Amy Winehouse their first radio sessions, as well as lighting the way for female radio and TV presenters throughout the industry. We send our deepest condolences to her family and friends at this sad time".

Meanwhile the Head Of BBC Radio Wales, Colin Paterson, added: "As a radio presenter her programmes were never about herself. For Janice, her broadcasting career was an opportunity to discover, share and champion music. There are few people who have done more to nurture new talent from music and the arts. She brought her passion for music to Radio Wales in 2017, supporting Welsh artists and Welsh language music ever since. We'll miss her passion, her knowledge and her laugh. Our thoughts are with her many friends and her family who meant so much to her".

Countless artists took to social media to also pay tribute, including those who Long supported early in their careers. As Clarke noted, that included Frankie Goes To Hollywood, who had plenty of critics at the BBC when they first started out, but who found a champion in Long.

On the band's official Twitter, they stated: "First ever Frankie radio interview was conducted by her on 'Streetlife' on Radio Merseyside and she was the first to play us on the radio when she played the demo of 'Relax'. Always had our back. Condolences to her family and loved ones. RIP x".

Meanwhile, among the many people from the radio industry also paying tribute to Long was Annie Nightingale, one of the few other female voices heard on Radio 1 in the 1980s. She said on Twitter: "Sad and shocked to hear of the passing of my dear friend and colleague Janice Long. Deep condolences to her family and loved ones".

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PinkPantheress tops BBC Sound Of 2022 poll
PinkPantheress has been named the winner of the BBC's Sound Of 2022 poll. The bedroom producer with songs that average less than two minutes came ahead of Wet Leg, Mimi Webb, Lola Young and Central Cee.

"I'm honestly gassed, my dad's going to be so happy", says PinkPantheress of her win, speaking to BBC News. "I had self-belief from the beginning but when other people start telling you stuff like this, it genuinely keeps you going".

The singer and producer, who still keeps her real name under wraps, only began releasing music early last year, after posting snippets of songs to TikTok and finishing the ones that got good responses.

Signing to Parlophone, she scored her first top 40 single with 'Pain' - which samples Sweet Female Attitude's UK garage classic 'Flowers' - last summer, and her highest chart position to date with 'Just For Me' in August.

In October she released her debut mixtape, 'To Hell With It', which reached number 20 on the UK album chart. Featuring ten tracks, it features collaborations with producers including Mura Masa, Adam F and more. Thanks to the brevity of her songwriting, the whole thing clocks in at just over eighteen and a half minutes.

"I just get really tired of singing the same melody again and again," she says of the conciseness of her tracks. "By the time I've finished one melody, I'm like, 'OK, I can do better', so then I move on to another one and another one. But every time I write a song, I think it's going to be three minutes - then I see the length and it's always, like, one minute! So it's not something I consciously do but it just ends up being the case. I don't think it necessarily is a bad thing".

New music is on the way this year, and she confirms that she is working on a number of collaborations at the moment. So prepare for that to be the official sound of the year ahead.

Now, here's the Sound Of 2022 top five list in full:

  1. PinkPantheress
  2. Wet Leg
  3. Mimi Webb
  4. Lola Young
  5. Central Cee

BACK TO THE TOP OF THE BULLETIN

 
ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU Daily, website and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column.
andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Founder & MD
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and CMU Trends. He also leads the CMU Insights consultancy unit and the CMU:DIY future talent programme, as well as heading up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
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Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and also heads up business development at CMU Insights and CMU:DIY.
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.
caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
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