WEDNESDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2022 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Megan Thee Stallion has returned to court in Texas to settle another dispute with her label 1501 Certified Entertainment. This time the rapper wants the judge to confirm that her 'Something For Thee Hotties' release last October was definitely an album release, meaning that she has now fulfilled her minimum recording commitment to the label for the second option period of her contract with the company... [READ MORE]
YESTERDAY'S CMU DAILY: There were a few technical problems during the sending of yesterday's CMU Daily which means some of you didn't receive it - for which we apologise! If you want to know what the music industry had to say about the UK government's latest COVID announcements or how Bring Me The Horizon reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 38% on their 2021 arena tour or what Britney Spears' mega-bucks book deal is all about, you can access yesterday's Daily on the website here. Fingers crossed, today we'll arrive in every inbox as planned.

TOP STORIES Megan Thee Stallion goes back to court to dispute label's definition of "album"
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DEALS SoundCloud partners with management firm Solid Foundation to launch A&R programmes
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LIVE BUSINESS Ben Lovett's venue business raises $50 million in new finance
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Meta adds Reels functionality to Facebook in 150+ markets
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INDUSTRY PEOPLE PPL partners with Action For Diversity & Development
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ARTIST NEWS Mark Lanegan dies
Procol Harum's Gary Brooker dies

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AND FINALLY... Kanye West misses Donda 2 release date
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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.
   
NUMERO GROUP - UK/EU LABEL MANAGER (LONDON)
Numero Group seeks a Label Manager UK & Europe. The candidate will be based in London, and act as the lead representative and ambassador for Numero Group in the UK and Europe.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
MUTE - DIGITAL CONTENT & COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR (LONDON)
Mute is looking for a Digital Content & Communications Coordinator. The role will focus on content creation and social media/web marketing across new releases and catalogue campaigns.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
PROPER MUSIC DISTRIBUTION - DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION COORDINATOR (REMOTE)
Proper Music Distribution is looking for a driven music lover to help facilitate the growth of its digital department and assist its roster of independent labels and artists in getting the best out of their releases.

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KILIMANJARO LIVE - ASSISTANT PROMOTER, ROCK (LONDON)
Kilimanjaro Live is looking for a rock music Assistant Promoter with solid live experience to support a senior Promoter in the staging of primarily rock music concerts and events in a variety of venues across the UK.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
POINT BLANK MUSIC SCHOOL - MARKETING & BRANDING MODULE LEADER (LONDON)
Point Blank Music School is looking for a module leader to come onboard to teach and lead its Marketing and Branding module which is part of its Music Production and Sound Engineering and Music Production and DJ Performance degrees.

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KILIMANJARO LIVE - CAMPAIGN MANAGER (LONDON)
As a Campaign Manager at Kilimanjaro Live you will assume responsibility for the creation, implementation and monitoring of all the marketing functions for the shows and tours assigned to you.

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ICMP - SOCIAL MEDIA EXECUTIVE (LONDON)
The Institute Of Contemporary Music Performance is seeking a confident, creative, highly-organised and motivated social media professional.

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NINJA TUNE - GLOBAL CUSTOMER SERVICE & D2C ENGAGEMENT (LONDON)
Ninja Tune is looking for customer focused individual to support with global customer service and D2C engagement at Ninja Tune.

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NINJA TUNE - PRODUCT MANAGER (LONDON)
Ninja Tune is looking for an experienced Product Manager working across Ninja Tune and its imprints including Counter Records.

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NINJA TUNE - MARKETING ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Ninja Tune is seeking an enthusiastic and driven Marketing Assistant, to support its UK based team on a full-time basis.

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MOTORPOINT ARENA CARDIFF - DEPUTY GENERAL MANAGER (CARDIFF)
The Motorpoint Arena Cardiff is seeking a Deputy General Manager. This is a senior position within the team, responsible for a variety of duties that contribute to the effective management and smooth running of arena and lead exceptional delivery of our core business objectives and commercial targets.

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SESSION - SENIOR MARKETING EXECUTIVE (LONDON/REMOTE)
Founded by songwriters Björn Ulvaeus, Max Martin and Niclas Molinder, Session aims to combat inadequate creator data collection. As an in-house Senior Marketing Executive for Session, you'll be responsible for reaching the global music creator community to drive user acquisition on the Session Studio app.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
CLWB IFOR BACH - TECHNICAL OFFICER (CARDIFF)
Clwb Ifor Bach is looking for two Technical Officers to join its team. You’ll be responsible for all the technical operations within the venue; including the PA and lighting systems, building maintenance, IT and relevant H&S compliance.

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NIGHT DEPARTMENT - SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGER (LONDON)
Night Department is looking for an ambitious, driven and dedicated Social Media Manager to join its team who is extremely passionate about the company's roster.

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NIGHT DEPARTMENT - MARKETING MANAGER (LONDON)
Night Department is looking for an ambitious, driven and dedicated Marketing Manager to join our team and drive forward the marketing efforts of its roster.

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NIGHT DEPARTMENT - MANAGEMENT ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Night Department is looking for an ambitious, driven and dedicated Artist Management Assistant to help support the Senior Artist Manager with the day-to-day tasks and administration.

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SOUTHBANK CENTRE - SENIOR PRESS OFFICER (LONDON)
The Southbank Centre is looking for a Senior Press Officer to support and deliver positive media coverage for the Southbank Centre's music events, specifically the classical music and contemporary music programmes, including Meltdown Festival.

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SOUTHBANK CENTRE - PRESS OFFICER (LONDON)
The Southbank Centre is looking for a Press Officer to assist in the smooth running of the press office by providing efficient and effective support for the press team.

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THE GARAGE & THE GRACE - DEPUTY GENERAL MANAGER (LONDON)
DHP Family is seeking a Deputy General Manager for The Garage and The Grace in Islington.

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SOUTHBANK CENTRE - MARKETING MANAGER (LONDON)
The Southbank Centre is looking for a Marketing Manager to join its Marketing and Communications team. The successful candidate will be interested in the Southbank Centre's broad range of art-forms, and a working knowledge of marketing classical music events would be beneficial.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
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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SECRETLY GROUP - LABEL MANAGER (BENELUX)
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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SECRETLY GROUP - EUROPEAN PROJECT MANAGER (LONDON)
Secretly Group is seeking a European Project Manger to manage artist release campaigns across Europe for Secretly Group (Dead Oceans, Jagjaguwar Saddest Factory, Secretly Canadian), working closely with US PM to implement a global timeline and strategy.

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FKP SCORPIO - HEAD OF PRODUCTION (LONDON)
FKP Scorpio UK is seeking a Head Of Production to play a pivotal role in the future growth of the business. You will have scope to manage all aspects of the production within FKP Scorpio UK as well as an important role in the wider business operations.

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KILIMANJARO LIVE - PROMOTER ASSISTANT, MUSIC/SPOKEN WORD (LONDON)
Kilimanjaro Live is seeking a Promoter Assistant to assist two Promoters in the music and comedy/spoken word spheres to deliver tours and events and working with new and established artists across a variety of venues in the UK. 

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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

Megan Thee Stallion goes back to court to dispute label's definition of "album"
Megan Thee Stallion has returned to court in Texas to settle another dispute with her label 1501 Certified Entertainment. This time the rapper wants the judge to confirm that her 'Something For Thee Hotties' release last October was definitely an album release, meaning that she has now fulfilled her minimum recording commitment to the label for the second option period of her contract with the company.

It can sometimes be a little bit ambiguous as to quite where you draw the line between a long EP and short album. And then some artists release "mixtapes" that feel rather like albums too. Plus, are we meant to distinguish between albums of all new material and greatest hits or rarity compilations? So many ambiguities!

And what if it's a compilation album of freestyles that you originally distributed via YouTube plus some other tracks from your archives. You know, like 'Something For Thee Hotties'. Well, fuck all that waffling, it's quite clear that a record becomes an album when it passes the 45 minute point. It's that simple. Or, at least, that's what Megan Thee Stallion's record contract allegedly says.

The rapper, real name Megan Pete, has spent quite a lot of the last two years griping over the 2018 contract she signed with 1501 - an independent label owned by former baseball player Carl Crawford - which gave the company an interest in her recordings, publishing, merchandise and live activity.

In her latest legal filing, she notes: "Over the past two years, Pete and 1501 shared a long and tortured history of disputes with each other concerning Pete's recording agreement, including the unconscionability of the agreement in its original form, as well as disputes concerning the release of Pete's music".

Explaining how those gripes previously went legal, the new filing goes on: "The terms of the contract as originally written were entirely one-sided in favour of 1501, not consistent with industry standards, and wholly unconscionable to the detriment of Pete".

"When Pete raised the unconscionable nature of the contract to 1501 and Crawford, 1501 and Crawford unlawfully instructed 300 Entertainment, the distributor of Pete's records, not to release or distribute Pete's then-upcoming extended-play album 'Suga'".

As a result, it continues, in March 2020, "Pete initiated a lawsuit against 1501 and Crawford and obtained a temporary restraining order against 1501 and Crawford to ensure that they refrained from preventing 300 Entertainment and others from releasing Pete's new records".

Pete's contract with 1501 was then amended in March last year, this new legal filing reveals. Though that didn't stop another spat from ending up in court last August, when the label was accused of seeking to block the release of the rapper's collaboration with BTS.

There was still seemingly litigation going through the motions in relation to those past disputes over the 'Suga' EP and BTS collaboration, although that was recently dismissed at the rapper's request, because - as a result of past court interventions - both those records were ultimately released, meaning those specific disputes had been resolved.

However, when Crawford shared a news report about the dismissal of that litigation on social media yesterday, Pete was keen to stress that that dismissal didn't mean all disputes had been resolved. In a since deleted response to Crawford's post, the rapper wrote: "We are most definitely STILL IN COURT and YOU STILL GETTING SUED BC YOU OWE ME MONEY!!!"

Which brings us to the latest dispute and legal filing. Here we go!

In October, 1501 exercised its option to extend its deal with Pete into a 'second option period'. Shortly after that she released 'Something For Thee Hotties', described by the rapper herself on Instagram as: "My gift to my hotties - freestyles y'all been asking for plus a few unreleased songs from my archives to hold y'all over for the rest of the year".

As far as Pete was concerned, the release of that record meant she had pretty much immediately met her minimum recording commitment for the label's second option period. But the label does not concur.

"On or about 5 Jan 2022", the new legal filing says, "1501 sent a letter out-of-the-blue asserting that the album 'Something For Thee Hotties' did not constitute an 'album' under the parties' agreement. Given that 1501 waited more than two months after Pete's release of the album 'Something For Thee Hotties' to take this position, it is clear that its position is frivolous and has no basis in law or in fact".

On what grounds has 1501 concluded that 'Something For Thee Hotties' wasn't a proper album? Maybe because - as a compilation of freestyles and other tracks from the rapper's archives (albeit most recorded relatively recently) - it just doesn't feel like a proper album. But, Pete insists, her contract with 1501 formally defines an album as any release more than 45 minutes long, meaning 'Something For Thee Hotties' is definitely a proper album.

"Contrary to 1501's position, 'Something For Thee Hotties' clearly meets the definition of 'album' under the recording agreement because it is not less than 45 minutes in length. There are no other parameters or requirements under the contract for what can be deemed an 'album' other than total run time of the album".

While 'Something For Thee Hotties' might "clearly" meet that contractural definition of an album, it only just does, given the run time of the record - according to Pete's legal filing - is 45 minutes and 2 seconds long.

And, actually, while Spotify lists the full album as having a 45 minute run time, if you add up the timings for each individual track as published on the streaming service, by my maths, it actually comes in a few seconds under 45 minutes.

So, is 1501 employing some legal pedantry here because the final edit of 'Something For Thee Hotties' was a few seconds short of what is, officially, contractually speaking, an album?

No, it seems the label actually disputes the rapper's interpretation of her record contract on this point, insisting that - in fact - it has the legal right to refuse to accept 'Something For Thee Hotties' as the album that fulfils her minimum recording commitment. And, it says, it's been quite clear about that fact all along.

A legal rep told Billboard yesterday that the 1501/Pete contract clearly gives the label the right to approve what counts as an 'album' and that it "told her from the very beginning this is not going to count toward your album count". The label's objection, it seems, was less about run time and more about the fact a bunch of the tracks on 'Something For Thee Hotties' had already been made available to the public.

"She can't just deliver us an album that we did not approve and then claim it satisfies her recording contract", the label's lawyer added. "It doesn't, and the contract is pretty clear about that. I'll be interested to hear what they have to say when they're under oath".

1501's legal man also noted that Pete's deal with the label was revised last year - as her new legal filing confirms. As a result, he said, she can no longer claim, as she basically has in the past, that the record company is enforcing an unfair deal that she signed as naive badly advised aspiring artist, because she was advised by industry experts, including Jay-Z no less, when negotiating the revised contract.

We'll see I guess. Pete's specific request in the new filing is that the judge confirm that "'Something For Thee Hotties' ... constitutes an 'album' as defined in the contract" and "'Something For Thee Hotties' ... meets her 'minimum recording commitment' for the second option period under the contract".

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SoundCloud partners with management firm Solid Foundation to launch A&R programmes
SoundCloud is further expanding its creator and artist services operations via a new joint venture with Atlanta-based management firm Solid Foundation that will "discover new talent and revolutionise artist partnerships by empowering creatives with bespoke resources, tools and access". And why the hell not?

Under the deal, Solid Foundation's parent company QC Media Holdings - probably best known for its Quality Control Music label - has invested in SoundCloud. The plan is that Solid Foundation - and its founders Kevin 'Coach K' Lee and Pierre 'P' Thomas - will now look for artists on the Soundcloud platform to work with and invest in.

Together, they say, SoundCloud and Solid Foundation will "apply a combination of deep industry experience, proprietary data and insights, and resources to create custom A&R programmes for selected artists inclusive of development, distribution and marketing and artist services".

Says SoundCloud President Eliah Seton: "Coach K and P are two of the most influential voices in music, having identified, developed and grown some of the most successful hip-hop acts of our time. With this deal, we're bringing together SoundCloud, the largest A&R source on the planet, with the creative genius of Coach and P. We are excited to partner with them in this innovative way as together we amplify the voices of who's next in music".

Adds Thomas: "With our years of ear-to-the-street skills coupled with SoundCloud's endless stream of talent and powerful data pointing to what is authentically bubbling up in the scene I can't think of a better merging of passion, intel and skill sets to create countless new paths for emerging artists. We are beyond excited for this partnership".

And Lee says: "There is nothing more important to our process than discovering new artists, so partnering with SoundCloud, one of the most important hotbeds of talent, is incredibly exciting to us. Their data merging with our time-tested way of cultivating and building artists will be a blend to be reckoned with!"

Artists Solid Foundation already works with include Migos, Lil Yachty, Lil Baby and City Girls.

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Ben Lovett's venue business raises $50 million in new finance
The venue company headed up by Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons - now branded as TVG Hospitality, the TVG bit standing for The Venue Group - has announced it has raised $50 million to expand its team and venue portfolio.

The company is best known to date for its London operations, in particular Omeara and Lafayette and the bars alongside them, plus last year it got involved in The Social too. But it has also been quietly getting itself established in the US. And an existing partnership with the city of Huntsville in Alabama will see the company open the 8000 capacity Orion Amphitheater there later this year.

A wide range of investors - including many from the music industry - are involved in the company's recent funding round, among them C3 Presents and the Oak View Group.

The latter's co-founder, Irving Azoff, says: "We are THRILLED to be working with TVG on this next chapter of their venues. Ben and his team are approaching the venue space in exactly the right way - you have to put the artist and the fan at the centre of every thought process. That's the key and TVG are both artists and fans whilst also knowing a thing or two about hospitality. We hope to support them on their mission in any way we can".

Lovett adds: "Our passion at TVG, our defining character, is a deep-rooted belief in the value of communal spaces, gathering places where we can be reminded of our common ground and all that makes us human. Music is the ultimate leveller - somewhere between melody and lyric is a truth that calls us away from our phones and out of our living rooms to stand together and sing together".

"The plans we have in mind are rooted in elevating these experiences surrounding live music", he goes on. "I am incredibly grateful for the investments from so many of our industry leaders. It furthers cements our belief that our new thinking is going to be game changing for artists, fans and communities alike".

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Meta adds Reels functionality to Facebook in 150+ markets
That company that insists on calling itself Meta has announced that it is rolling out its TikTok style feature Reels across the Facebook platform in 150+ countries. And it is also ramping up the ways Reel makers can generate cash from their, erm, Reeling.

Reels began on Meta's Instagram platform, of course. It enables and encourages users to create short-form videos in a TikTok stylee, also making it easier to select and synchronise musical clips into said videos. The company began experimenting with adding Reels functionality to Facebook last year, ahead of this big roll out of the feature.

The company said yesterday: "Watching video is half of time spent on Facebook and Instagram, and Reels is our fastest growing content format by far. We're focused on making Reels the best way for creators to get discovered, connect with their audience and earn money. We also want to make it fun and easy for people to find and share relevant and entertaining content".

TikTok's impact on its main rivals has been significant in the last couple of years, with YouTube also adding its TikTok style Shorts feature. And given music is generally more key to this kind of short-form video, that's good news for the music industry. Not least because, with the inbuilt music library feature, platforms can't rely so much on the copyright safe harbour when trying to play hard ball in licensing deal negotiations.

As for how the online creators behind the most popular Reel videos can make some more money, Meta said yesterday: "We're creating a variety of opportunities for creators to earn money for their reels. Our Reels Play bonus programme, part of our $1 billion creator investment, pays eligible creators up to $35,000 a month based on the views of their qualifying reels".

Like its rivals, Facebook is developing other ad-based and direct-to-fan tools to help creators monetise their content, so that those creators can both get a cut of ad income and have their fans directly make payments via memberships or digital gifting.

And while those tools aren't available in all markets yet, platforms seem to recognise better monetisation tools are key to keeping the best creators in an increasingly competitive market place, so presumably rolling them out into new markets in due course is something of a priority.

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PPL partners with Action For Diversity & Development
UK record industry collecting society PPL and an organisation called Action For Diversity & Development has announced a partnership that will "help tackle underrepresentation at senior levels in the music industry and support those with protected characteristics - particularly race, gender, disability and religion - who are not progressing within organisations".

Although there are now lots of great schemes and programmes seeking to encourage and enable more diversity in the music industry - both on stage and behind the scenes - there is, of course, still lots more to be done, including looking at how people progress to the top of music companies, where there is often a particular lack of diversity.

Under the new partnership with ADD - which launched in 2020 as an evolution of the Alliance For Diversity In Music & Media - PPL will provide funding, while ADD will support the collecting society "in ensuring there are no barriers to opportunity for staff from underrepresented groups". Among other things, it will provided training, mentoring and assistance recruiting for senior management roles, for PPL itself, and others in the music industry.

Announcing the partnership, PPL's Chief People Officer Kate Reilly says: "ADD brings together a team of experienced industry leaders, renowned in their own areas of expertise and also respected for the years of work they have put in to making the music industry a fairer place for all".

"PPL recognises that there is more that needs to be done", she goes on. "We hope that, by providing financial support to the organisation, ADD can support as many skilled professionals from underrepresented backgrounds as possible and lay the groundwork for more diverse leadership teams in the near future both within PPL and the wider UK music industry".

Meanwhile, ADD Director Danny Poku - also Co-Founder of Stellar Songs - adds: "On behalf of the ADD team I would like to thank Chief Executive Officer Peter Leathem, Kate Reilly, and Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Partner Tomi Oyewumi from PPL, for not only supporting our drive to bring parity to black and brown people in the creative industry but for their support in taking this major first step with us on our journey to effect real 'change'".

"We know there is a long way to go", he continues, "and how critical it is to ensure that equity stays front of mind when the media noise relents, but this is an important start".

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CMU Insights: Streaming Business Explained Webinars
Don't forget, you can now book into the next series of live CMU webinars focused on all things streaming - they take place over three Tuesdays in March.

This series of three one-hour webinars will provide you with an up-to-date guide to the digital music market today - which services bring in the money, which services are growing most rapidly and what will the digital market look like in five years time?

It will also talk you through all the complexities of digital licensing, and explain how services like Spotify and Apple Music calculate what royalties everyone is due each month, with a three-stage process for getting artists paid.

And it will tell you everything you need to know about the big old digital pie debate over how streaming money is shared out between artists, songwriters, labels and publishers. There are a number of different elements to that debate, and we'll explain them all.

You can book into all three sessions at the discount rate of £60 right now - click here for more info.

Mark Lanegan dies
Former Screaming Trees frontman Mark Lanegan has died, aged 57. No cause of death has yet been announced.

"Our beloved friend Mark Lanegan passed away this morning at his home in Killarney, Ireland", reads a statement on his Twitter account. "A beloved singer, songwriter, author and musician he was 57 and is survived by his wife Shelley. No other information is available at this time. We ask please respect the family privacy".

Screaming Trees were formed by Lanegan in 1984 in Ellensburg, near Seattle, and became one of the early bands to be grouped under the 'grunge' genre tag. The band released four albums on independent labels Velvetone and SST in the late 1980s, before the grunge boom helped to secure them a major label deal with Epic, where they released three albums.

After parting ways with the Epic label following their 1996 album 'Dust', the band struggled to find a new deal and eventually split in 2000.

Concurrent to Screaming Trees' major label career, Lanegan began recording solo music, releasing his debut album, 'The Winding Sheet', through Sub Pop in 1990, which included a version of the song 'Where Did You Sleep Last Night' featuring Nirvana's Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic. Three more solo albums - 'Whiskey For The Holy Ghost', 'Scraps At Midnight' and 'I'll Take Care Of You' - arrived before the end of the decade.

After Screaming Trees split, Lanegan continued to release solo records, which included collaborations with other artists, such as PJ Harvey and Guns N Roses' Duff McKagan. He also joined Queens Of The Stone Age - frontman Josh Homme having been a member of Screaming Trees in the late 90s - after contributing to the band's 'Rated R' album.

While still working with QOTSA, Lanegan also began a collaboration with Belle & Sebastian's Isobel Campbell. And the first of their three albums together, 2006's 'Ballad Of The Broken Seas', was nominated for that year's Mercury Prize.

In total, Lanegan released twelve solo albums - the last, 'Straight Songs Of Sorrow', coming out in 2020 - as well as seven with Screaming Trees and three with Campbell. In addition to that, he released two with Duke Garwood, one with Skeleton Joe (as Dark Mark vs Skeleton Joe), and one with Afghan Whigs' Greg Dulli, under the name The Gutter Twins.

A prolific collaborator, he also contributed to many other projects by artists including grunge supergroup Mad Season, Manic Street Preachers, Moby, UNKLE, Tinariwen, Eagles Of Death Metal, The Breeders, Melissa Auf Der Maur, Cult Of Luna, Martina Topley-Bird and The Duke Spirit.

Through the 90s and early 2000s, Lanegan struggled with alcoholism and heroin addiction, and for a time became homeless after Screaming Trees broke up. He wrote about these and other experiences in his 2020 memoir 'Sing Backwards And Weep'. At the time of his death, he had been sober for more than a decade - crediting Courtney Love with saving his life, by paying for a year of rehab.

Last year, Lanegan contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalised for several months, at times in a coma. Following his recovery, he recalled his experiences during this time in another book, 'Devil In A Coma', writing: "Whatever was in this shitwagon I'd caught a ride on, it was no fucking joke. I'd taken my share of well-deserved ass-kickings over the years but this thing was trying to dismantle me, body and mind, and I could see no end to it in sight".

Alongside the many artists paying tribute to Lanegan on social media last night, some of the labels he worked with also posted statements. The Beggars Group wrote on Twitter: "We are seeing the sad news that Mark Lanegan has passed. His voice was one of a kind. He will be greatly missed. Beggars Banquet and 4AD had the pleasure of releasing several of his albums and we are honoured to have had a small part in the long legacy he leaves".

Meanwhile, in a post on Instagram, Ipecac Recordings co-founder Greg Werckman said: "Mark Lanegan was an extremely talented musician. Mark was also an Ipecac Recordings artist. We worked with him on several records. But more importantly, Mark was a dear friend that we loved. I'm not a religious person but there is no denying that Mark's voice was a spiritual device. He had a wonderful, dark sense of humour, was often grumpy and loved baseball. We were blessed to have had Mark in our lives and we miss him horribly but will celebrate our time with him and the music he created".

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Procol Harum's Gary Brooker dies
Procol Harum frontman Gary Brooker has died, aged 76, while receiving treatment for cancer.

A statement on the band's website reads: "With the deepest regret we must announce the death on 19 Feb 2022 of Gary Brooker MBE, singer, pianist and composer of Procol Harum, and a brightly-shining, irreplaceable light in the music industry. Aged 76, he had been receiving treatment for cancer, but died peacefully at home".

Born in London in 1945, Brooker moved with his family to Southend-On-Sea in Essex while he was still an infant. His father Harry was also a professional musician, but died when his son was eleven years old.

Brooker formed his first band in 1962, The Paramounts, gaining some recognition and releasing a number of singles before splitting in 1966. He then formed Procol Harum with lyricist Keith Reid, pulling together a band to perform their songs in 1967, the initial line-up being keyboard player Matthew Fisher, guitarist Ray Royer and bassist David Knights.

The band recorded their debut single, 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale', later that year, which became a huge hit. Their live debut followed - with Bobby Harrison joining on drums - supporting Jimi Hendrix.

Although their next single, 'Homburg', was also a hit, 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale' was so big and became such a classic that they were never able to match it. The band split in 1977, but reformed again in the early 1990s, continuing to perform live and record with various line-ups. Their last album, 'Novum', was released in 2017.

In 2009, Matthew Fisher - who originally left the band in 1969, but returned in 1991 until 2004 - won a lawsuit over the authorship of 'A Whiter Shade Of Pale', following various appeals. Fisher argued that he wrote the song's distinct keyboard line and should be entitled to a cut of its royalties. In the end, he was awarded 40% of the composer's share of future publishing royalties.

The final appeal in that case was the last dispute heard by the UK's House Of Lords Appellate Committee of law lords before it was replaced by the Supreme Court.

Brooker also released three solo albums, as well as recording and performing with other artists too, including George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Kate Bush, The Hollies, Eric Clapton and The Alan Parsons Project.

In a statement, his current Procol Harum bandmates said: "Gary's charisma was by no means confined to the stage. He lit up any room he entered, and his kindness to a multilingual family of fans was legendary".

"He was notable for his individuality, integrity, and occasionally stubborn eccentricity. His mordant wit, and appetite for the ridiculous, made him a priceless raconteur - and his surreal inter-song banter made a fascinating contrast with the gravitas of Procol Harum's performances".

"But for all his other interests and skills - prize-winning angler, pub-owner, lyricist, painter, inventor - he was above all a devoted and loyal husband to Franky, whom he met in 1965 and married in 1968", they concluded. "Our thoughts must be with her, their families and friends at this extremely sad time".

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Kanye West misses Donda 2 release date
Welcome to 23 Feb 2022, the day after the first scheduled release date for Kanye West's 'Donda 2' album. I say "first" because - of course, obviously, and I apologise for stating the fucking obvious - 'Donda 2' did not come out yesterday. Not an issue for most of us, but quite annoying for anyone who forked out $200 for the device on which it is set to be exclusively released.

The planned launch event for the new album at LoanDepot Park in Miami did go ahead as planned, with fans who were there - or watching on a livestream - getting to enjoy tracks from 'Donda 2' and some other collaborations, plus a live performance. Guests for the live bit included Alicia Keys and, more controversially, Marilyn Manson.

West announced plans to release 'Donda 2' last month, assuring everyone that it would be out on 22 Feb. He then booked in the launch event last week, which was seemingly set to pre-empt the release. But, as I think everyone expected, there's currently no sign of the album.

Last week, West announced that the record would not be available via streaming services, but would instead be made available exclusively through the Stem Player device he launched last year. On Saturday, he then announced that he'd sold more than $2 million worth of the devices in 24 hours, as fans - a relatively small number of fans, mind - rushed to ensure that they'd have access to the album as soon as it came out.

Fans buying those devices are presumably also thinking that this will be the only way they'll ever be able to listen to 'Donda 2' - other than at a listening party - particularly as West has said this move is in part a protest against payouts by streaming services. Although it wouldn't be the first time he said that an album would be exclusive to one platform and then changed his mind.

Back in 2018, he was sued over a statement that 'The Life Of Pablo' would only ever be available on Tidal, and "never ever ever ... on Apple [Music]". A guarantee he did not hold to for every long. Once 'Donda 2' does come out, it remains to be seen how long it will remain exclusive to his proprietary player. Although it does need to come out first for us to see that.

Watch the 'Donda 2' launch event 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)
   
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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.
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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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