FRIDAY 4 FEBRUARY 2022 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The ever acquisitive Utopia has bought yet another company in its bid to become the uber-service provider to the music industry. It might soon be easier to report on the music companies Utopia hasn't acquired. This time it's Sentric Music that has been bought. It will now become Utopia's royalty management services division... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Utopia buys Sentric
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LEGAL All Time Low go legal over sexual abuse allegations on TikTok and Twitter
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DEALS BMG signs Rita Ora
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INDUSTRY PEOPLE BRIT Trust appoints Mulika Sannie as Deputy Chair
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RELEASES Obongjayar announces debut album, Some Nights I Dream Of Doors
Many Voices Speak announces new album, Gestures
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ONE LINERS Rosalía, Jax Jones & MNEK, Liam Gallagher, more
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AND FINALLY... Absolute launches new station named after listener
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SENTRIC MUSIC - PUBLISHING DEVELOPMENT MANAGER (LONDON/LIVERPOOL)
The Publishing Development Manager (UK) will be responsible for developing and maintaining effective internal partnerships within the Sentric Music Group and through direct ownership of high value and high influence client relationships and industry partnerships.

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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

Utopia buys Sentric
The ever acquisitive Utopia has bought yet another company in its bid to become the uber-service provider to the music industry. It might soon be easier to report on the music companies Utopia hasn't acquired. This time it's Sentric Music that has been bought. It will now become Utopia's royalty management services division.

When it first appeared on the scene Utopia mainly talked about its ambition to help get artists and songwriters paid whenever their music is played, seemingly focused mainly on addressing the various issues around music rights data and royalty processing.

However, through its subsequent acquisitions, Utopia has pushed into various other strands of the music business, including financing, metadata, marketing data and physical music distribution (those being its respective purchases of Lyric Financial, Musimap, ForTunes and Proper Music).

Bringing Sentric into the fold is more in line with that original mission statement though; it having built an impressive global network over the years to help songwriters and publishers navigate all the complexities and bullshit around song rights and collective licensing.

Through the deal, Sentric founder Chris Meehan becomes Utopia's VP of Royalty Management Services. Utopia has also committed to set up an engineering tech-hub in Sentric's home city of Liverpool, with plans to "embark on a hiring spree over the course of 2022 to recruit top talent".

"Royalty management services is set to be a cornerstone of the Utopia business model", says Utopia COO Roberto Neri. "Our main goal is to bring 'fair pay for every play' by partnering with all industry stakeholders and unlocking the true value of music for the whole value chain".

"I am very excited to welcome the very well-respected Sentric team", he adds. "Led by Chris, this business unit will be foundational to adding additional value to our already comprehensive and global consumption database, delivering further transparency and faster royalty payouts to songwriters, publishers and collection societies for compositions, and performers and labels for neighbouring rights".

"Importantly", he goes on, "this new unit will generate employment in Liverpool, something we are passionate about as Utopia continues to grow and recruit the best talent from around the world".

Confirming the deal from his side, Meehan says: "Sentric and Utopia have the same long-term vision for the music industry. Both companies have the same passion for unlocking the true value of music, and helping creators reach their full potential. By joining Utopia in the global roll out of our services we are sure to reach our goal faster as a unified front, providing more value to both new and existing clients".

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All Time Low go legal over sexual abuse allegations on TikTok and Twitter
All Time Low have sued three people who made allegations of sexual harassment and abuse against the band's members on social media last year. The band don't currently know the identities of their online accusers, but are seeking to identify them via the litigation.

The first set of allegations against the band went viral on TikTok last October. In that post and accompanying comments, a woman claimed that "a famous pop-punk band" had invited her onto their tour bus when she was just thirteen, offered her beer and asked for her bra "for their nasty collection". She didn't specifically name All Time Low but dropped enough hints that people linked the claims to the band.

A second accuser subsequently alleged that All Time Low guitarist Jack Barakat sexually abused her in 2011 when she was just fifteen, and that an inappropriate relationship then continued for years as she followed the band on subsequent tours. And a third person said on Twitter that she was aware of 97 allegations against the band, adding: "If 97 people aren't enough then I don't know what to tell you".

The band's members then responded to the allegations in late October, stating: "The allegations being brought against us are absolutely and unequivocally false. When a TikTok video gained traction a few weeks ago alluding to inappropriate behaviour within our camp, we chose not to respond because of the glaring inconsistencies in the story, and the apparent reluctance to mention us by name".

"We felt that a response would have elevated and escalated an outright lie, and in doing so, robbed actual victims of abuse of the very real and very important collective voice", they went on. "We believe victims. We stand with victims. We have only ever wanted to cultivate and nurture a culture around our shows and band that is welcoming, healthy and safe".

According to Rolling Stone, the new lawsuit filed with the LA courts says that it aims to "establish the unambiguous truth and quash these malicious lies so that they won't be repeated in the future".

The hope is that, via the discovery process of the litigation, the band can identify the three people who made the allegations, who are currently referred to as Doe 1, Doe 2 and Doe 3 in the legal filing.

The lawsuit adds: "Regrettably, this is the only course remaining to properly restore the [band members'] reputations and repair the damage to their business. [The band] will then donate any proceeds derived from this litigation to charities that support victims of sexual abuse".

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BMG signs Rita Ora
BMG has announced a deal with that Rita Ora which will see it release her future recordings.

Ora is, obviously, "THRILLED" about the deal. Who wouldn't be? And she's particular THRILLED about the BMG model which means she'll retain ownership of the rights in the recordings she puts out with the company

"I'm THRILLED to announce that I am partnering with BMG", she announced on Instagram. "I couldn't be happier that they will be my label family moving forward. Their approach to artist ownership and control is very much aligned with mine, and it's so empowering to know that I will own all my master recordings that I make from now on. I also feel so motivated to be working with such a dynamic, creative, forward-thinking global company".

Back at BMG the team is both excited and delighted. Who wouldn't be? "Rita Ora is an exciting and enduring multi-talented artist with the ability to connect across many different platforms", says VP A&R UK Jamie Nelson. "We're excited to get cracking".

"We are delighted that Rita, one of the smartest artists operating today, has chosen BMG's distinctive approach which puts the artist in the driving seat", adds President Repertoire & Marketing UK Alistair Norbury. "Rita is unique among UK artists in the breadth of her activities, from music to TV, film and business, something normally only associated with US artists like Lady Gaga and Beyonce. We look forward to helping achieve her ambitious goals".

Take that all other UK artists, you should really try harder to be more like the Americans. You're just making music? Lazy. Be more like Rita. Then you too could get yourself a lovely BMG deal. It really is that simple.

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BRIT Trust appoints Mulika Sannie as Deputy Chair
Ahead of the good old BRIT Awards next week, the music charity it helps support, the BRIT Trust, has appointed Mulika Sannie to the newly created role of Deputy Chair.

"Mulika has made an important and valued contribution to the work of the BRIT Trust since coming on board, and I believe our skill sets complement each other, which is a shorthand way of saying that she knows lots of things that I don't", says Chair Tony Wadsworth. "Her support will be invaluable as we develop the BRIT Trust over the coming years, and I welcome her to this role".

Sannie herself adds: "I'm absolutely THRILLED to be appointed as Deputy Chair of the BRIT Trust and am honoured that Tony believes in my capabilities to perform this role. I'm really looking forward to continuing to working alongside Tony and the rest of the trustees to ensure the BRIT Trust continues to support the music community at the high standard it is so well regarded for".

In her day job, Sannie is Google's legal counsel for music across the EMEA region, handling the company's music and video content licensing agreements.

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CMU Insights: Music Business Trends 2022 - kicks off on Tuesday
The first series of live CMU Webinars kicks off on Tuesday. This is the Music Business Trends series. Over three sessions we'll talk you through all the key trends and developments in the music industry, including...

- How music is making money in 2022.
- The ongoing impact of COVID and Brexit - especially on the live side of the business.
- The continued steaming boom and the economics of streaming debate.
- The big copyright reforms currently being proposed.
- The big music catalogue deals and what the buyers are buying.
- The diversification of digital music and the increased importance of direct-to-fan.
- Where NFTs and the metaverse fit in.

You can still book a place on all three sessions at the discount rate of £60 - click here for info.

Obongjayar announces debut album, Some Nights I Dream Of Doors
Obongjayar has announced that he will release his debut album, 'Some Nights I Dream Of Doors', in May. He's also put out new single 'Try'.

"This album dives into the idea of opportunity and tries to explore what that means, what lies behind those doors, and asks if we're ready for it", he says. "The pursuit of success, what happens when you achieve it, and what happens if you don't? What does success mean? The head, the body, and the end of a dream".

"Opportunity is looking forward, and in that lies the question of time", he goes on. "What is your place in it? To know the future, or to fully be aware of your present, you need to analyse and understand your past. It's an endless loop that continuously piles on itself".

Of the new single, he adds: "When you're a child, there are so many possibilities. You can be a pilot or an astronaut, it's all so possible. By the time you turn twenty, you realise you're probably not going to become a brain surgeon; reality starts to set in".

"That's what the song and this record is about", he goes on. "Where do those feelings go? At what point do we lose our innocence, our wide-eyed approach to the world?"

Last year, Obongjayar won the Best Song Musically And Lyrically prize at the Ivor Novello Awards for his track 'God's Own Children'. So no pressure on the album then. That album, by the way, is out on 13 May. Watch the video for 'Try' here.

There are tour dates upcoming too. Here are all the dates:

20 Apr: Leeds, Belgrave Music Hall
22 Apr: London, Koko
23 Apr: Bristol, Thekla
24 Apr: Nottingham, Rough Trade
26 Apr: Brighton, Patterns
27 Apr: Manchester, Band On The Wall

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Many Voices Speak announces new album, Gestures
Many Voices Speak - aka Swedish musician Matilda Mård - has announced that she will release her second album, 'Gestures', in April. New single, 'Seat For Sadness', is out now.

"The verse of this song kind of came to me all at once", she says of the single. "Then it took quite a long time until I got the rest of the song out of me".

"I lived in Berlin at the time and rented a piano room at a music school, and most of the hours spent in there I was searching for the rest of the song", she continues. "It wasn't until me and [producer] Petter Nygårdh had started recording the album, back home in Sweden, that I came up with the melody that would become the chorus".

"The new chorus pushed us in a new direction by making the whole song require something more", she goes on. "We had only brought a small part of the home studio to a country house to escape the noise from the neighbour's renovation, but we found an acoustic guitar in that house that ended up being an important part of 'Seat For Sadness', and later on an important part of the album as a whole".

The new album follows 2018's 'Tank Town'. Of the development in her songwriting over the last four years, she says: "The lyrics have become more important for me. I've put a lot of trust in the text this time. I could explore this darker and more cinematic sound, I didn't just think about writing a pop song".

"What unites the songs is a need for inner change, to handle the things in life that can't be changed", she adds. "I'm creating strategies for myself - new ways of thinking, so I can live with certain things. The title comes from that. I've figured out that gestures are important because they're proof of love, and that's the only power we have against death and separation".

Listen to 'Seat For Sadness' here.

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RELEASES

Rosalía has released new single 'Saoko'.

Jax Jones and MNEK have teamed up for new track 'Where Did You Go'. "This song is something a little different from me", says Jones. "I love experimenting with my sound. Hope you like it!"

Liam Gallagher has released new single 'Everything's Electric', co-written by and featuring some drum banging from Dave Grohl. The track is taken from Gallagher's forthcoming new album 'C'Mon You Know', which is out on 27 May.

The trailer has been released for a new film about the creative partnership between Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, titled 'This Much I Know To Be True'. Watch here.

Benee is back with new single 'Beach Boy'. The song "is pure fantasy, set in LA", she says. "It's about being happy alone, but still wanting some love; wanting the thrill without the pain. I think it is perfect for cruising down the freeway with the top down".

Sasami has shared new single 'Call Me Home'. "It's about the darkness of feeling nothing and the creeping ache of apathy that can swallow you whole if you let it", she says. "It's about skipping town, driving all night and knowing you'll always have a home to come back to". Her new album 'Squeeze' is out on 25 Feb and you can catch her live in the UK supporting Mitski in April.

Horace Andy will release new album 'Midnight Rocker' on 8 Apr. Produced by Adrian Sherwood, it will also be released on his On-U Sound label. Here's new single 'This Must Be Hell'.

Kavinsky has released new single 'Zenith'. New album, 'Reborn', is out on 25 Mar.

Mallrat has released new single 'Your Love'. "When I wrote 'Your Love', I was listening to a lot of old Memphis rap, like Three 6 Mafia and Project Pat", she says. "I genuinely loved producing this song, and am obsessed with the energy that the Gangsta Pat sample brings".

Nova Twins have released new single 'KMB'. Their second album, 'Supernova', is out on 17 Jun, and they're touring the UK right now.

Alabaster DePlume will release new album 'Gold' on 1 Apr. From it, this is new single 'Don't Forget You're Precious'.

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

GIGS & TOURS

Anna Meredith has announced two back to back gigs at the Barbican this spring. She'll perform her 'Fibs' album with the London Contemporary Orchestra on 30 Apr, then her 'Eighth Grade' soundtrack on 1 May. Tickets are available now.

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

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Absolute launches new station named after listener
Bauer Media's Absolute Radio has launched new station Absolute Radio Natalie, which plays only songs that are fun to sing along with. It's named after Natalie Cole. No, not that one. Rather, the person who won an Absolute Radio Breakfast Show competition to launch their own radio station.

As part of that competition, Cole recently pitched her idea to Dave Berry on his breakfast show, saying that the main Absolute Radio station often plays songs that she likes to sing along with, but that it'd be nice if there was a station that only played classic singalongs. And so it came to pass.

Earlier this week, Cole was invited to the Absolute Radio studios to put together the playlist for the station and record features and links. The station officially launched this morning, playing everything from Disney songs to boyband ballads.

As I write it's playing 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now' by Starship, a song I absolutely hate. I used to work with someone who played it multiple times a day, every day. I don't need to hear it anymore. Absolute should give me a radio station where that song is banned.

"I still can't believe I won, it all feels really surreal to be honest", says Cole. "It has been an amazing day, everyone has really put me at ease, and I have had so much fun taking part in all the features. I keep listening back and thinking that doesn't sound like me! I just really hope everyone enjoys listening to the station and singing along".

Yeah, well, who doesn't like a bit of a singalong? Still, given that the RAJAR figures earlier this week showed a slip in the number of people listening to the main Absolute Radio station, I'm not sure how great an idea it is to start launching yet more Absolute spin-offs and urging listeners to switch over.

It's not clear how long Radio Natalie will stay online, but for now you can tune in here.

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