TODAY'S TOP STORY: Spotify "can have Rogan or Young - not both", Neil Young declared earlier this week. Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, Spotify chose Joe Rogan... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Spotify confirms it is removing Neil Young's music following his Joe Rogan podcast protest
LEGAL UK competition regulator outlines scope of market study into music streaming
DEALS Glen Matlock signs to Universal
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Help Musicians announces new helpline to support people experiencing bullying and harassment
RELEASES Warpaint announce new album, Radiate Like This
GIGS & FESTIVALS 100 more artists added to line-up for Great Escape 2022
ONE LINERS Spotify, Simon Fuller, 50 Cent, more
AND FINALLY... Johnny Marr responds to Morrissey request to stop talking about him (so that went well)
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Secretly Group seeks a Label Manager, Benelux. Ideally the candidate will be based in the Netherlands and be a native speaker with reasonable English and a good understanding of the neighbouring territories.

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Spotify confirms it is removing Neil Young's music following his Joe Rogan podcast protest
Spotify "can have Rogan or Young - not both", Neil Young declared earlier this week. Well, perhaps unsurprisingly, Spotify chose Joe Rogan.

Yes, Spotify has confirmed that it is complying with Neil Young's request to remove his music from its platform. The musician announced on Monday that he was pushing for his catalogue to be taken down in protest against the Spotify exclusive podcast the Joe Rogan Experience, which has been accused of spreading COVID misinformation.

Young's move followed an open letter from more than 250 scientists and medics earlier this month which stated that the Joe Rogan podcast has "a concerning history of broadcasting misinformation, particularly regarding the COVID-19 pandemic".

That letter also said that while Spotify "has a responsibility to mitigate the spread of misinformation on its platform, the company presently has no misinformation policy". However, when confirming yesterday that it was removing Young's music from its platform, the streaming firm insisted that it does, in fact, have "detailed content policies" in place which have resulted in it removing plenty of podcasts containing misleading information during the pandemic.

A Spotify spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter: "We want all the world's music and audio content to be available to Spotify users. With that comes great responsibility in balancing both safety for listeners and freedom for creators. We have detailed content policies in place and we've removed over 20,000 podcast episodes related to COVID since the start of the pandemic. We regret Neil's decision to remove his music from Spotify, but hope to welcome him back soon".

Young began his anti-Rogan protest in an open letter on his website that was addressed to his management and label, in which he requested his music be removed from Spotify. In another note to his fans yesterday, Young conceded that under his record deal with Warner Music he doesn't actually have the power to unilaterally remove his recordings from streaming services, even though his music was removed once before in 2015, that time in protest over the audio quality of musical streams.

That move in 2015 suggested Warner is generally keen to placate Young on things like this. Although, of course, streaming revenues are even more important to the record industry now than they were back then and Spotify is by far the biggest premium streaming service on a global basis.

Nevertheless, Young said, Warner Records and its Reprise imprint were quick to comply with his request this week, despite the impact it will have on the royalties both it and he will receive. And despite him still calling his label Warner Bros even though it rebranded in 2019.

"Before I told my friends at Warner Bros about my desire to leave the Spotify platform, I was reminded by my own legal forces that contractually I did not have the control of my music to do that", he wrote. "I announced I was leaving anyway, because I knew I was. I was prepared to do all I could and more just to make sure that happened"

"I want to thank my truly great and supportive record company Warner Brothers - Reprise Records, for standing with me in my decision to pull all my music from Spotify", he added, "Thank You!"

Honing in on the royalties hit his label is taking in order to support his protest, Young went on: "Spotify represents 60% of the streaming of my music to listeners around the world, almost every record I have ever released is available - my life's music - a huge loss for my record company to absorb".

"Yet my friends at Warner Brothers Reprise stood with me, recognising the threat the COVID misinformation on Spotify posed to the world - particularly for our young people who think everything they hear on Spotify is true. Unfortunately it is not. Thank you Warner Brothers for standing with me and taking the hit - losing 60% of my worldwide streaming income in the name of truth".

Earlier in his new letter to fans, Young also recapped his specific gripe with Rogan and Spotify. The streaming service, he wrote, "has recently become a very damaging force via its public misinformation and lies about COVID".

"I first learned of this problem by reading that 200 plus doctors had joined forces, taking on the dangerous life-threatening COVID falsehoods found in Spotify programming", he explained. "Most of the listeners hearing the unfactual, misleading and false COVID information on Spotify are 24 years old, impressionable and easy to swing to the wrong side of the truth".

"These young people believe Spotify would never present grossly unfactual information", he added. "They unfortunately are wrong. I knew I had to try to point that out. All my music is available on Spotify, being sold to these young people, people who believe what they are hearing because it is on Spotify, and people like me are supporting Spotify by presenting my music there. I realised I could not continue to support Spotify's life threatening misinformation to the music loving public".

Of course, all digital platforms that allow pretty much anyone to publish content face signifiant challenges around what to do when that content is - or is accused of being - offensive or misleading, or outright abusive. There is a need to be seen to be doing something about the harmful content, but - at the same time - platforms also need to be seen to be standing up for free speech rights. No one wants to be accused of censorship or of being cancel culture proponents.

Although with Spotify, some would distinguish between all the many podcasts that are simply pumped into its platform each week, and those podcasts that it directly produces or - say - exclusively licences via $100 million deals. Given the podcasts that it produces or exclusively licenses are not just distributed by Spotify - but also come with the Spotify seal of approval - maybe the firm's responsibilities are higher when it comes to policing that content.

And yet, some critics might argue, it almost seems like Spotify is being more strict with its distributed podcasts rather than the podcasts it makes or exclusively licenses. After all, it's not the 20,000 podcast episodes that it has seemingly removed on COVID grounds that have been accused by 250+ experts of "damaging public trust in scientific research and sowing doubt in the credibility of data-driven guidance offered by medical professionals".

That Rogan and some of his guests regularly make controversial and - some would argue - misleading remarks isn't new news, of course. But with Young having taken a stand over Rogan's COVID content, it will be interesting to see if Spotify's leading controversy-for-hire podcaster starts to cause any further tensions between it and the artist community.

Just yesterday left-leaning American media watchdog Media Matters hit out at a new edition of the Rogan podcast, this one featuring another tedious controversy-for-hire pseudo-intellectual waffle merchant as its guest, this time Jordan Peterson. The programme, Media Matters says, "peddled harmful anti-trans rhetoric".

Either way, Neil Young fans will have to tap other streaming services to hear his music. Though, he also added in his latest letter, fans who do so will get other benefits in addition to the warm glow that can be achieved by supporting a boycott of the Joe Rogan Experience.

And those other benefits relate to Young's previous gripes with streaming. Because many of Spotify's competitors have dealt with his audio quality complaints since 2015. Yet, despite insisting higher quality audio is in the pipeline, that hasn't yet happened at Spotify.

"Many other platforms - Amazon, Apple and Qobuz, to name a few - present my music today in all its high-resolution glory - the way it is intended to be heard", Young's letter concluded yesterday, "while unfortunately Spotify continues to peddle the lowest quality in music reproduction. So much for art. But now that is in the past for me. Soon my music will live on in a better place".

CMU Insights recently collaborated with content and platform security company Friend MTS on a white paper looking at the challenges digital companies face in tacking misinformation and other harmful content, while also seeking to protect freedom of speech. You can download a free copy here.


UK competition regulator outlines scope of market study into music streaming
The UK's Competition & Markets Authority has formally launched its market study into the streaming music business, setting out the scope of that study, which is pretty wide-ranging.

A CMA study into the streaming music business was one of the proposals made by Parliament's culture select committee at the end of its inquiry into the economics of streaming. The regulator then confirmed that it would indeed undertake such a study back in October.

Some sort of CMA study or investigation was mainly floated during the Parliamentary inquiry in the context of songwriter royalties.

Some argue that significantly more streaming money is allocated to recordings than songs because the majors dominate both the record industry and the music publishing sector, and - for various reasons around contractual conventions in the industry - it is in their interest to have more money flowing through their labels than their publishing divisions.

The majors deny this, of course, but many on the songwriter side have said that that is something the CMA should definitely look into.

In its announcement this morning, the CMA confirmed that its music streaming study will consider "the nature of competition at different levels of the value chain, including the extent to which music companies and music streaming services may have market power", and also "the extent to which the publishing arms of recorded music companies strengthen any market power of such music companies".

It will also consider a number of other issues too, though, including barriers to entry faced by music streaming start-ups; the specifics of the deals between the streaming services and the music companies; how the different streaming business models interact and compete; and "whether any business practices adopted by music streaming services (for example how they collect and use consumer data) may harm consumers, especially as more adopt music streaming".

The CMA has already published a basic summary of how its sees music copyright and the music streaming business working, before running through a whole load of questions it is seeking to answer via this study. Interested parties now have until 17 Feb to make submissions.

Commenting on the study, CMA CEO Andrea Coscelli says: "Whether you're into Bowie, Beethoven or Beyonce, most of us now choose to stream our favourite music. A vibrant and competitive music streaming market not only serves the interests of fans and creators but helps support a diverse and dynamic sector, which is of significant cultural and economic value to the UK. As we examine this complex market, our thinking and conclusions will be guided by the evidence we receive".

The CMA study will be undertaken concurrent to various other government initiatives that came about as a result of the Parliamentary inquiry.

That includes working groups that are looking at contract transparency and music rights data, and Intellectual Property Office commissioned research into three proposed copyright law reforms that some argue would empower artists in the streaming domain, including equitable remuneration, a contract adjustment mechanism and reversion rights.


Glen Matlock signs to Universal
The Universal Music Group has got itself a Sex Pistol. That makes it sound like a kidnap situation. No, Glen Matlock has - willingly, as far as I can tell - signed a new solo record deal with the major record company.

He will release a new album with UMG later this year, while the major's catalogue division will oversee reissues of a number of his earlier solo works.

"I am over the moon to have now signed to Universal Music Group, who will be releasing my brand spanking new album, and I can't wait to get cracking with the team", says Matlock. "Watch this space".

Matlock's last solo album, 'Good To Go', came out on 2018. Ahead of the new album release, he will play West Hampstead Arts Club in London on 10 Mar and the Cornwall Punk Festival on 20 Mar.


Help Musicians announces new helpline to support people experiencing bullying and harassment
Help Musicians has announced that it will launch a new helpline to offer support and guidance to musicians and music industry professionals who are experiencing bullying and harassment. The new service will go live in March.

It follows increased debate within the music community in recent years about bullying and harassment within the sector, and especially the challenges faced by people who are basically freelance - which includes most artists and songwriters - and who therefore don't usually work in companies which, in theory at least, should have formal systems to deal with such problems.

Rebecca Ferguson has been particularly vocal on this issue, of course, while organisations like the Musicians' Union and the Incorporated Society Of Musicians have pursued various initiatives, including the MU's Safe Space programme, which offers advice and sign-posts support services to those experiencing bullying, harassment or other abuse while working in music.

The new Help Musicians helpline will seek to complement these existing schemes, and will sit alongside the music charity's other initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of the music community, including its Music Minds Matter service.

The charity explains that it is "acting upon the need for more support for those experiencing bullying and harassment, with the new service providing emotional support, guidance on how to raise and resolve the issues being experienced, and advice on rights and avenues for formal action where issues cannot be resolved by other means. The service is not only being offered to professional musicians, but also to those working within the wider music industry".

The helpline, which will actually be operated by an independent third-party organisation that already runs similar services in other sectors, will also "provide anonymous data to shed more light on the issues being experienced and to inform the collaborative efforts for positive and permanent change across the music industry".

Formally announcing the new helpline, Help Musicians' CEO James Ainscough says: "Bullying and harassment is an industry-wide challenge that requires a collaborative response. The creation of the helpline is a vital first step and Help Musicians is well placed to provide this service, as an independent charity. But this is only one part of the solution, and we look forward to seeing industry-wide standards and culture change that eventually leads to our service becoming redundant".

"The anonymous insight we will gather through this service will shed more light on the issues being experienced and help to target the collaborative efforts for positive and permanent change across the music industry", he adds. "This is a vital service, and we ask for everybody's help in promoting awareness once we go live in March, to ensure that individuals who need it will know that they can call for support at any time".

Campaigning by Ferguson and others has also prompted the UK government to look into issues around bullying and harassment in the wider creative industries, including the music sector.

With that in mind, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has welcomed the new support line, stating: "Bullying and harassment have no place in society, and it is pleasing to see this fantastic new resource being made available to those who work in our world class music industry. I have heard first hand the experiences of those who have been subjected to bullying and harassment and I am committed to continuing to work with the industry to tackle the issue".


Approved: Cassels
While their approach to songwriting in the past has always been to do it at speed, during the pandemic brothers Jim and Loz Beck - aka Cassels - took the time to finesse their work a bit more.

And so, next week they return with their third album 'A Gut Feeling' - their first since 2019 - which loses none of the raw energy of previous releases but takes them deeper into their raw, riff-heavy sound. On top, Jim's spoken word lyrics shift from introspective to "an intentionally muddy mix of experience, opinion, red herrings and fiction".

"I found that setting myself the brief of writing character pieces offered a nice way of sneaking quite personal things into the songs without being explicitly autobiographical", he explains.

Two singles, 'Mr Henderson Coughs' and 'Charlie Goes Skiing', came out last year, instantly marking a new peak in the band's creative output. Heavier, more layered and with sharper bite, the music here suggests that the duo have really found out who they are through making this record.

Further confirmation of this comes with new single 'Beth's Recurring Dream', which they describe as "pretty much a straightforward, 4/4, garage rock banger".

"Hope can be both a tonic and an affliction", they go on. "It can help make a bad situation bearable, but at the same time can also keep you trapped in that same bad situation. That's what this song is about, amongst other things".

With the album out on 4 Feb, the band kick of a UK tour next week too, starting at Elsewhere in Margate on 3 Feb and concluding at The Victoria in London on 19 Feb.

Listen to 'Beth's Recurring Dream' here.

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

Warpaint announce new album, Radiate Like This
Warpaint have announced that they will return with new album 'Radiate Like This' - their first album for six years - in May. New single 'Champion' is out now, alongside the announcement of a string of UK and Ireland tour dates.

In the time since their 2016 album 'Head's Up', the four members of the band have been kept busy with other commitments in their personal lives, but eventually they decided that they still wanted to find a way to work together.

Unable to physically get into the same room at the same time to record - due to the pandemic, as much as anything else - they recorded alone, passing round tracks and adding new layers separately.

"I was saying the other day that we should've called **this album 'Exquisite Corpse'", jokes the band's Emily Kokal, referencing both the parlour game and the title of the group's debut EP.

The new single, the band say, is about "being a champion to oneself and for others. We are all in this together, life is too short not to strive for excellence in all that we do".

'Radiate Like This' is out on 6 May. And here are the UK and Ireland tour dates lined up for the same month:

11 May: Bristol, Academy
12 May: Manchester, Albert Hall
13 May: Glasgow, SWG3 Galvanisers
14 May: Dublin, National Stadium
17 May: Bexhill, De La Warr Pavilion
18 May: London, The Roundhouse

Listen to 'Champion' here.


100 more artists added to line-up for Great Escape 2022
The Great Escape has announced details of 100 more artists who will play this year's festival, which returns to Brighton from 12-14 May. It follows the announcement of the first 50 acts on the 2022 bill last year.

Among the latest additions to the line-up are The Amazons, Yard Act, Rebecca Black, Sinead O'Brien, Baby Queen, Abby Roberts, Dylan Fraser, Indigo De Souza, Lola Young, Crawlers, Malaki, Enola Gay and Madison Cunningham.

In addition to the update on who is playing the main TGE festival this year, more details have also been revealed about The Road To The Great Escape, live music showcases taking place in Glasgow and Dublin in the run up to the main festival - in Glasgow on 6-7 May and Dublin on 9-10 May.

Artists due to play those shows include Abi Coulibaly, Conor Albert, Dylan Fraser, Eli Smart, English Teacher, Frankie Beetlestone and Wallice.

As always, the main TGE festival will see more than 450 artists play at more than 35 venues across Brighton. Industry delegates will also have access to the TGE Conference, including the flagship CMU+TGE Sessions, which this year will put the spotlight on music and education, music and data, and music and video.

More details about some of the industry experts taking part in those sessions will be announced soon. Meanwhile, delegate passes for TGE 2022 are available here.



Spotify has launched a new website offering advice to artists on how to get people to listen to their music, called Made To Be Found. It has also launched a new beta feature on Spotify For Artists showing the source of streams.



Veteran artist manager Simon Fuller has launched new band The Future X. The group's three singers and four dancers were all discovered on the TikToks. "We have spent a year working in partnership with TikTok to find the best talent on their platform and I am THRILLED with the resulting group", says Fuller. "The Future X combines everything that is exciting about contemporary young artists: Authenticity, confidence, empowerment and a unique balance between extraordinary dancers and iconic singers". Here's a preview.



Spinnin Records has announced a load of new international appointments. Ranya Khoury joins as US Streaming Manager; in China Sivan Liu is International Marketing Specialist/Project Manager and Crystal Du is International Marketing Manager; while in the UK Jack Guppy is a Data Analyst and Tom Smart is Marketing Specialist/Project Manager.

Beggars Group has named Nabil Ayers as its US President. "My thirteen years at [Beggars label] 4AD have prepared me well for a move down the hall", says Ayers. "And I am proud to work for a company whose roster and staff are growing more exciting and diverse with each passing year". Meanwhile, Claire Taylor has been promoted to General Manager, also in the US.

US collecting society ASCAP has promoted Elizabeth Rodda to SVP International Affairs, Matt DeFilippis to SVP Licensing and Alex Grout to SVP Membership And Business And Legal Affairs. "Liz, Alex and Matt are three strategic executives who have been important contributors to ASCAP's success", says CEO Elizabeth Matthews. "I am THRILLED to recognise them with these promotions, and highlight the expertise, insights and dedication that they bring to our leadership team".



Tove Lo has released new song 'How Long', taken from the soundtrack of HBO show 'Euphoria'. It's "about love, betrayal and denial", she says. "It was one of the few songs that came together for me during quarantine, and I think it's so beautiful in all its darkness".

FKA Twigs has released another video for a track on her 'Caprisongs' mixtape. This one for 'Jealousy'.

Grimes has released new single 'Shinigami Eyes'.

Foxes has released new single 'Body Suit'. Her new album 'The Kick' is out on 11 Feb and she starts a UK tour the same day.

Toro Y Moi will release new album 'Mahal' on 29 Apr. Kicking off its promotion, he's released two new songs: 'Postman' and 'Magazine'.

Noga Erez has released a brass band backed cover of Lil Nas X's 'Industry Baby'. "It was incredibly fun and challenging", she says. "Lil Nas X is an insane vocalist, and I had the best time working on this cover".



50 Cent has announced that he will play Wembley Arena on 10 Jun. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.

Gaz Coombes has announced solo live dates around the UK in April, kicking off at the Lexington in London on 14 Apr. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.

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


Johnny Marr responds to Morrissey request to stop talking about him (so that went well)
Johnny Marr has responded to an open letter from his former Smiths bandmate Morrissey in which the latter asked the former to stop talking about him in interviews. Short version: I don't think it's worked.

This all seems to have been triggered by that recent interview in which Marr said that he was still friends with all the people he's been in bands with over the years "except for the obvious one". That being Morrissey. He didn't really say a great deal about the Smiths vocalist, expect that they are both "so different" and that The Smiths was the only band he's been in that "turned to shit".

Following a flurry of reports about that interview, earlier this week Morrissey posted an open letter to Marr on his website, asking him to stop talking about him in future interviews.

"The fact is: you don't know me", he wrote. "You know nothing of my life, my intentions, my thoughts, my feelings. Yet you talk as if you were my personal psychiatrist with consistent and uninterrupted access to my instincts. We haven't known each other for 35 years - which is many lifetimes ago".

"When we met you and I were not successful", he went on. "We both helped each other become whatever it is we are today. Can you not just leave it at that? Must you persistently, year after year, decade after decade, blame me for everything… from the 2007 Solomon Islands tsunami to the dribble on your grandma's chin?"

"We all know that the British press will print anything you say about me as long as it's cruel and savage", he added. "But you've done all that. Move on".

"It's as if you can't uncross your own legs without mentioning me", he said, not moving on. "Our period together was many lifetimes ago, and a lot of blood has streamed under the bridge since then. There comes a time when you must take responsibility for your own actions and your own career, with which I wish you good health to enjoy. Just stop using my name as clickbait".

"I have not ever attacked your solo work or your solo life, and I have openly applauded your genius during the days of 'Louder Than Bombs' and 'Strangeways, Here We Come', yet you have positioned yourself ever-ready as rent-a-quote whenever the press require an ugly slant on something I half-said during the last glacial period as the Colorado River began to carve out the Grand Canyon", he concluded. "Please stop. It is 2022, not 1982".

In a considerably more concise response, Marr tweeted: "Dear [Morrissey]. An 'open letter' hasn't really been a thing since 1953, it's all 'social media' now. Even Donald J Trump had that one down. Also, this fake news business… a bit 2021 yeah?"

And now here we are reporting on that tweet. So Morrissey's big long letter worked out very well, didn't it?


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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