TODAY'S TOP STORY: Independently released music in the UK enjoyed its fourth consecutive year of growth in terms of consumption share last year, according to some number crunching from record industry trade group BPI, which has today published its latest 'All About The Music' report... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Indie recordings grew UK consumption share again in 2021
DEALS Universal announces deal to represent Elvis songs catalogue
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Universal launches Capitol label brand in Italy
BMG announces new Mexico office

DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Spotify brings livestreaming into its main app
GIGS & FESTIVALS Line-up announced for TikTok presented spotlight show at The Great Escape
ONE LINERS Amy Winehouse, Believe, 100 Gecs, more
AND FINALLY... Gene Simmons says Kiss farewell tour really will be their last: "Not every band should be out there too long"
Check out all the latest job opportunities with CMU Jobs. To advertise your job opportunities here email or call 020 7099 9060.
Ninja Tune is looking for a Sync Creative who will be responsible for creating UK synchronisation opportunities across the Ninja Tune Production Music catalogue.

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Material is focused on building outstanding artists and music brands, in the electronic space. To aid in the expansion of our growing roster of artists and brands we are seeking an exceptional Product Manager to manage the day-to-day record label activity, campaigns as well as expand new products.

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Indie recordings grew UK consumption share again in 2021
Independently released music in the UK enjoyed its fourth consecutive year of growth in terms of consumption share last year, according to some number crunching from record industry trade group BPI, which has today published its latest 'All About The Music' report.

According to those stats, independently released music accounted for 26.9% of UK music consumption last year, up from 25.9% in 2020, and an increase from 22.1% in 2017.

When it comes to album sales, the indie sector's market share is higher and also increasing, 34.2% in 2021 compared to 30.4% in 2019 - and even more so when it comes to vinyl releases, where it's 39.5% compared to 33.9% in 2019.

Of course, stats like this can be a little confusing. Firstly, because top level music consumption stats mash together streaming and sales data, which requires a metric for comparing streams to sales, which can in turn skew things.

Plus, of course, there's also the debate over what constitutes "independently released music". Assuming it covers anything released by a traditional independent label, as well as all the music put out by self-releasing artists - both DIY musicians and those artists running their own labels in partnership with management and a label services business, which could be a major record company's label services business - then that's quite a big group.

But still, stats like this demonstrate that artists going the indie route - whether by signing to an indie label, or launching their own label, or a combination of the two - can definitely achieve considerable success in the streaming age, despite the sometimes told narrative that only superstars signed to major labels can generate listening and income in the 2020s.

Independent artists whose new music made particularly big contributions to the growth of indie consumption share last year include Wolf Alice, Mogwai, KSI, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Central Cee, KSI and AJ Tracey.

Plus, BPI also notes, given that catalogue accounts for a higher portion of streams than traditional CD and download sales - and is also part of the vinyl revival too - some key releases from the catalogues of big indies like Domino and Beggars also notably contributed to the growth, with old albums by Arctic Monkeys and Adele doing particularly well.

Commenting on all this, BPI boss Geoff Taylor says: "The UK has an enviable independent music scene, and enhances choice and variety to new and existing British talent. This continued growth demonstrates that indie labels and artists are thriving in the age of music streaming, and are particularly succeeding in the vinyl revival. We're delighted to see the indie sector going from strength to strength, contributing to the growth of the UK music industry as a whole".


Universal announces deal to represent Elvis songs catalogue
Universal Music Publishing has announced a new deal to represent the songs catalogue of Elvis Presley via an extension of the wider Universal Music Group's partnership with the Authentic Brands Group, which in turn acquired a bunch of Presley-related image and intellectual property rights back in 2013.

UMG and ABG have been working together since late 2020 to, and I quote, "acquire and actively manage artist brands" in order to "expand the legacies and cultural impact of artists worldwide across a wide range of consumer touch-points" and "to drive opportunities in merchandise, memorabilia, endorsements, brand experiences and content, among many others". Lovely stuff.

Through its ownership of Elvis Presley Enterprises, ABG manages the Presley estate's songs catalogue, which includes many of the songs he made famous, even if he didn't actually co-write them, because he often was co-publisher of those works.

ABG previously appointed Kobalt to administer that catalogue, but is now working with its new best buds Universal on managing and exploiting those songs.

Says Universal Music Publishing COO Marc Cimino: "Elvis Presley has had an unprecedented and lasting global impact on music and pop culture. [UMPG CEO] Jody Gerson and I, along with UMPG's teams around the world, couldn't be more excited and honoured to work with ABG in making sure that Elvis' iconic legacy endures for generations to come".

Meanwhile, President of Entertainment at ABG, Marc Rosen, adds: "2022 is shaping up to be a banner year for Elvis, highlighted by the highly-anticipated theatrical release this June of 'Elvis' directed by Baz Luhrmann, as well as the debut of Netflix's upcoming animated action series 'Agent King'. We are honoured to work in partnership with UMPG as guardians of Elvis' incomparable catalogue, bringing his music and cultural influence to audiences around the world".


Universal launches Capitol label brand in Italy
Universal Music has had another good shuffle of its big pack of label brand cards and as a result there'll be one more Capitol label within the group. But one less Polydor. Yeah, fuck Polydor I say! Unless you work for Polydor, in which case you're all lovely, and we're totally on board in battling this big old Capitol growth conspiracy that's clearly underway. Fuck Capitolism I say!

Anyway, Universal is rebranding its Polydor Records Italy label as Capitol Records Italy. The restructure will "build a bridge" between Milan - the base of Universal Music Italy - and LA - where the main Capitol Music Group is based. Neither are capitals of course. But both are now capitols.

Announcing the rebrand, Universal Music Italy CEO Alessandro Massara says: "Polydor [Italy] is one of the fastest growing labels at the moment, with an established team and new leadership who have brought additional creativity and energy to the label. These factors, combined with the unquestionable numbers in recent months, convinced both Los Angeles and me that this was the right structure for Capitol Records Italy".

Meanwhile, Daniele Menci, who joined Universal late last year and will be director of the new Capital Records Italy label, adds: "In these few months as Polydor's label director, I have found great artists, an amazing team and a company capable of making any goal possible. Building a bridge between Milan and Hollywood and bringing the most iconic music label to Italy is the most exciting challenge of my career in the music industry. Representing Capitol Records positions us strongly for the future".

And finally, if you're wondering what the team over at the Capitol Music Group in the US think about all this, its CEO Michelle Jubelirer says: "We are THRILLED that our partner in Italy is rebranding as Capitol Records Italy. With such talented executives as Alessandro Massara and Daniele Menci heading the company, I'm confident that Italy will grow to be an even more important component in Capitol Music Group's global strategy".


BMG announces new Mexico office
BMG has announced it is launching a new office in Mexico City which will serve as a hub for the Latin America region. The new office is due to open towards the middle of this year, with recruitment underway for an initial general manager and team.

The company already has a base in São Paulo in Brazil, but plans to use the new Mexico office to further extend the on-the-ground support it can offer to its Anglo-American and Spanish language rosters in Latin America, before starting to sign up local talent in Mexico itself.

The new hub will also work closely with BMG Spain and the firm's US-based teams that work with artists in the Latin music domain.

Recorded music revenues in Latin America grew by 31.2% last year according to IFPI figures, mainly thanks to the ongoing streaming boom, with Brazil and Mexico together accounting for 66.5% of the region's record industry income. So, Mexico is definitely a country it's sensible to expand it.

Plus, South America is also an increasingly important live music market and, with that in mind, BMG says that - as well as seeking to grow its streaming market share in this part of the world - it is also focused on maximising live performance royalties from Latin American countries for its songwriters.

Announcing the new Mexico City office, BMG's EVP Repertoire & Marketing EU, APAC & LATAM, Dominique Casimir, says: "Latin America is one of the most dynamic regions in music today. While we have a long history of working in these territories through third parties, now is the time to offer our clients an end-to-end BMG experience. We believe there is a significant gap in the market for our service-based ethic".


Spotify brings livestreaming into its main app
Spotify has added a livestreaming function within its main app, basically bringing the existing Spotify Greenroom service - previously its own app - into the main Spotify platform.

Launched last June, Spotify Greenroom was the streaming firm's direct competitor to the buzzy-for-a-while Clubhouse, which basically mashes together the audio chat room and talk radio experiences. Greenroom was built on the back of Locker Room, the sports-centric chat app Spotify acquired in March 2021.

I'm talking about Spotify Greenroom in the past tense - in case you wondered - because that short-lived brand has been abandoned in favour of Spotify Live. Although the live chat experience will still be available via the standalone app, as well as now being accessible within the main Spotify app too.

"When we launched Spotify Greenroom in 2021, we wanted to connect fans and creators on a deeper level through live listening in the Spotify ecosystem", the company said yesterday. "Since then, Spotify Greenroom has evolved through updates and iterations that have enhanced the live-listening experience"

"Now, as our audio offerings continue to evolve, we are changing the name of Greenroom to Spotify Live - and bringing its live capabilities directly onto the Spotify app", it went on. "This change reflects our belief in the future of live-audio creators and live experiences being provided to all 406 million Spotify listeners around the globe".

Spotify is also bigging up some special content around the introduction of livestreaming into its main app, most of it spoken word based and fronted by podcasters and influencers. Although there's also a livestream DJ set from Swedish House Mafia this weekend as they release album 'Paradise Again' and headline Coachella.


ThisWeek Culture comedy conference in Cambridge next week!
Next week, on Friday 22 Apr, CMU's sister publication ThisWeek Culture is teaming up with the Sound + Vision festival and conference in Cambridge to curate and host a day of conversations and panels all about the business of comedy in 2022.

We'll be joined by brilliant people from across the comedy community to discuss how you go about pursuing a comedy career today - plus we'll put the spotlight on the key trends, developments and debates in the sector.

Speakers include: Hils Jago from Amused Moose, Lee Griffiths from Soho Theatre, Darrell Martin from Just The Tonic, Lola Oyewole from TikTok, John Harris from Acast, Tom Brandt and Jason Wolfe from NextUp Comedy, Kaiya Milan from The Floor, comedy PR experts Gaby Jerrard and Flick Morris, media and entertainment lawyer Raffaella De Santis, and comedy creators and performers Jay Foreman, Robyn Perkins, Pete Heat and Kate Smurthwaite.

Sound & Vision is a multi-venue festival and conference taking place in various venues across Cambridge from Thursday 21 Apr to Saturday 23 Apr. The festival will feature over 70 acts - both new and established - from the worlds of music and comedy, while the conference programme will put the spotlight on the music, comedy and creative industries.

For more information about the comedy panels click here.

Find out more about Sound + Vision here.

ThisWeek Culture has a small allocation of tickets available to attend the comedy panels and wider Sound + Vision conference at a special discount rate - click here to access the discount.

Line-up announced for TikTok presented spotlight show at The Great Escape
The Great Escape has revealed the line up for a special spotlight show taking place during this year's festival that is being presented by TikTok. The show will see ArrDee, Dréya Mac, Piri & Tommy, Cassyette and DJ Just Yaz all perform at Brighton's Concorde 2 on Saturday 14 May.

Confirming that line-up, TikTok Artists Partnership Manager Alice Razack says: "We're excited to partner with The Great Escape for the very first time and bring such breakthrough new musical talent to our spotlight shows. ArrDee, Dréya Mac, Piri & Tommy, Cassyette and DJ Just Yaz have built huge fanbases on TikTok through their music and video creations and we can't wait to see them perform live in Brighton".

A number of people from TikTok will also be taking part in this year's TGE Conference, which takes place from Wednesday 11 to Saturday 14 May at Jurys Inn Waterfront in Brighton.

As part of the CMU+TGE strand MUSIC+VIDEO, Head Of UK Artist Partnerships David Mogendorff will identify what it takes to gain momentum and engage an audience on the TikTok platform through a series of insightful artist case studies. Plus Creative Music Licensing exec Kelli Slade will join the conversation about how sync deals work when brands are using user-generated content and social media platforms.

Plus on the Saturday of TGE, Artist Community Managers James Lightfoot and Sheema Siddiqi will be offering tips and practical advice galore as part of the TGE Elevate programme of panels aimed at early-career artists and music industry people.

You can get your TGE delegate passes here.



Believe has announced the appointment of Alex Kennedy to the role of Managing Director of its UK business. He's previously held senior roles at Music Glue, Sky and Omnifone, as well as founding retail tech business Givvit and managing Doc Brown. "I couldn't be happier to be joining what I consider to be the most exciting and forward-thinking company in the music industry", he says of his new job.

Kobalt in the US has announced the promotion of Lisa Bergami to the role of VP Creative Sync. "Simply put, Lisa gets the right music in front of music supervisors and consistently gets our songs placed in high profile advertising opportunities", says the company's Head of Global Sync & Brand Partnerships, Rob Christensen.

Absolute Label Services has announced two promotions within its team, with Kate Hendry and James Cattermole - both previously Senior Label Managers - becoming Head Of Label Operations and Head Of Label Services respectively.



Amy Winehouse's 2007 Glastonbury performance is set to be released on vinyl on 3 Jun. "Amy Winehouse was a Glastonbury-goer through and through", says the festival's Emily Eavis. "She either came and played or, when she wasn't working, came and camped. She played in the blistering heat and the heavy rain, and there were so many magical moments to her performances".

Jamie XX is doing it again with new single 'Let's Do It Again'. "I started making this tune last year, just as it felt like we might all be able to start doing the things we love again", he says.

100 Gecs have released new single 'Doritos & Fritos'. Their second album, '10000 Gecs', is due out later this year.

Machine Head have released new single 'Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate'. They've also announced that they will release new album 'Of Kingdom And Crown' on 26 Aug.

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


Gene Simmons says Kiss farewell tour really will be their last: "Not every band should be out there too long"
Gene Simmons has said that Kiss will definitely retire from touring after their upcoming farewell tour. This isn't going to be one of those fake farewell tours. You see, it's hard work being in Kiss and after 50 years they'd all like to have a nice sit down.

The farewell tour actually began in 2019, and after a pandemic enforced break will recommence next month before finally come to an end in 2023.

"This is going to be the last tour", Simmons tells ET. "We're done. We're approaching 50 years of doing this, which is unbelievable because we never thought we'd last more than a few years".

Despite the fact that the members of the band are now in the 70s - and I'm sure will appreciate that nice old sit down when it finally comes around - Simmons would nevertheless like you all to know that they're not stopping because they can't actually deliver a full-on Kiss show anymore.

"We are the hardest working band out there and take pride in it", he says. "[But] not every band should be out there too long. You've got to have some pride and not stay too long. Always keep them wanting ... The last thing that you want to do is be a guy that stays in the ring too long and gets his ass beat. Get out of the ring when you're a champion".

Other artists might keep pushing on and on, and that's fine - maybe they are still champions - but none of them could do what Kiss do. Not one of them. Not even younger artists like Beyonce and Bruno Mars. What Kiss do - and what Gene Simmons in particular does - that requires special skills and stamina, see.

"You got to understand, we love Jagger and Bruno Mars and Bono and anybody else, they're all great, but if you put those guys - [even] Beyonce - put Beyonce in my outfit with seven to eight inch platform heels, dragon boots that each weigh as much as a bowling ball, the entire outfit, studs, leather and armour is about 40 pounds ... the guitar and the studs is twelve pounds by itself ... then, you got to spit fire, fly through the air and do that for two hours - they would pass out within a half hour".

To be fair, that does sound quite hard. Bono does have it relatively easy just trying not to trip over while wearing sunglasses. Maybe once Kiss give it all up, every band should have a go at playing one show dressed up in Simmons and co's stagewear. Don't pretend you wouldn't pay to see that.


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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