|TUESDAY 10 MAY 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Great Escape returns to Brighton tomorrow with four days of great music across the city, plus a four day conference for the music industry, including a packed programme of sessions presented by CMU... [READ MORE]|
The Great Escape Conference kicks of tomorrow with music and education in the spotlight
The first of the CMU+TGE strands kicks off at 10am tomorrow morning. MUSIC+EDUCATION puts the spotlight on the work of CMU's Pathways Into Music Foundation, which seeks to better connect all the many strands of music education and all the many strands of the music industry.
Things kick off at 10am with a discussion of the make up of the music-maker community in 2022, and in particular where the huge number of hobbyist and DIY phase artists releasing music onto the streaming platforms fit in, with music education and the music industry.
Joining that discussion will be Dr Hayleigh Bosher from Brunel University; Lucie Caswell from the Music Publishers Association; Paul Bonham from MMF, and former Spotify and PRS For Music economist Will Page.
At 11.15am Pathways Into Music will present its Artist Circle, a tool for helping DIY phase artists organise their activities and progress their careers. There are four segments to the circle, and across the day a team of music industry experts will identify the ten top pieces of knowledge and information DIY artists require in each segment, and then discuss the best way to get that information to those artists.
At lunchtime there'll be an extra conversation all about the role of music funders in supporting early-career artists and music education. Pippa Moyle from BIMM Brighton will talk to Daniel Williams from Youth Music, Shad Mutali from Help Musicians, and Westley Holdsworth from the PRS Foundation.
And towards the end of the day at 3.15pm we'll launch a new round of Pathways Into Music research that is seeking to map music education - in all its many forms - across the UK.
We'll also discuss how to better connect and sign-post all the great educational and talent development initiatives that are available with Dr Maha from BIMM London, Pamela McCormick from UD, Peter Chivers from Create Music, and Wizdom from We Are Impact + Head of MOBO UnSung.
Closing the proceedings at 4.30pm will be a final conversation where four of our guests from the day re-join us on stage to make and discuss some big ideas and radical suggestions – for the future of music education in general – and more specifically, for future work that might be pursued by the Pathways Into Music Foundation.
MUSIC+EDUCATION takes place at Jurys Inn Waterfront from 10.00am-5.00pm tomorrow. It's open to all TGE delegates - plus standalone tickets just for this programme are still available - info here.
There are two more full-day CMU+TGE strands also taking place as part of TGE this year - with MUSIC+DATA on Thursday and MUSIC+VIDEO on Friday, both presented in association with the BPI. Then, on Saturday, it's the TGE ELEVATE SESSIONS, a day of panels and seminars for those earlier on in their music careers.
On top of that, CMU and TGE are also presenting three keynote in conversations this year. On Thursday lunchtime we'll chat to the team who worked for Ed Sheeran on the recent 'Shape Of You' legal battle.
Later in the day we'll be talking to Tom Gray, Kevin Brennan MP and (just confirmed) recently elected MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl all about the economics of streaming campaign.
And on Friday at 12.45pm music PR legend Barbara Charone will be talking journalist Jacqui Swift through the highlights of her career in the music industry.
To browse all the CMU curated sessions happening at TGE this year in one place - check this handy webpage here. To navigate the wider TGE Conference programme - including all the panels, parties and sessions presented by TGE's industry partners - download the official app.
Congress members not hugely impressed with Spotify's response to Discovery Mode concerns
Discovery Mode is the Spotify initiative where artists and labels can inform the company's algorithm about priority tracks, but in return have to accept a lower royalty if the algorithm then generates some plays. Although some labels and distributors have been positive about the scheme, there has been plenty of criticism of it all too, including from within the political community.
Among the politicians raising concern have been Congress members Yvette D Clarke, Judy Chu and Tony Cardenas. In a letter to Spotify boss Daniel Ek last month they raised concerns about the impact of Discovery Mode on both artists and fans.
In terms of artists, their letter stated: "Choosing to accept reduced royalty payments is a serious risk for musicians, who would only benefit if Discovery Mode yields more total streams for an artist across their entire catalogue, not just the track covered by the programme. And if two competing artists both enroll their newest track in the programme, any benefit could be cancelled out, meaning that the only profit goes to your company's bottom line".
And as for fans, they added: "Spotify fails to tell consumers that they are listening to paid content when it feeds them Discovery Mode songs. We believe there is no meaningful distinction between paying a lower royalty rate and accepting payment for placement on the service. In fact, Spotify advertises to listeners that its radio feature offers 'continuous music based on your personal taste and no ads if you are a premium member'".
Among other things, the politicians asked for more transparency, so that artists are aware just how many other music-makers and labels are using the service, and fans are more aware that music might be pushed to them as part of what is basically a commercial scheme.
Spotify has responded to the Congress members, bigging up the positive feedback the company has received from those artists who have been part of the Discovery Mode pilot, who on average have seen a 40% growth in listeners.
As for the concerns that subscribers were unknowingly getting music in their ears as a result of the promotional initiative, Spotify's letter said that it had published a blog post all about Discovery Mode and had an 'About Recommendations' blurb that states that commercial considerations might influence what music is recommended.
The latter part of the response in particular didn't really impress Spotify's Congressional critics. They told Billboard in a statement: "The response we received from Spotify regarding consumer disclosure points to a blog post and vague language about commercial considerations that are buried in their terms of service and several clicks deep on their application. We will welcome a constructive dialogue with Spotify but won't back down from our belief that they can do better to abide by the clear rules of the road for online disclosures".
And to that end Clarke, Chu, and Cardenas plan to continue monitoring how Spotify's Discovery Mode develops. "We have seen time and again that as digital platforms get bigger and more powerful they need to be checked by scrutiny from Congress on behaviour that can harm consumers and competition", they added. "Our goal in sending this letter to Mr Ek is to make sure, as Spotify continues to grow, that its leaders understand that they cannot be the sole arbiters of what is good for music creators, their subscribers or the general public".
Cradle Of Filth sign to Napalm Records
"It is with great expectation and excitement that we announce our move to Napalm Records", says frontman Dani Filth. "Having seen and heard a great deal of complimentary things about the label ... leads us to believe that this will be the perfect nesting ground for Cradle Of Filth in 2022 and beyond. We'd like to thank all our fans for their continued support and trust in us doing the right thing for the band and its music. All hail the eternal Filth!"
Thomas Caser, CEO of Napalm Records, adds: "We are THRILLED to welcome the most influential and iconic extreme metal band to our ever-growing Napalm Records family. Being a fan of the band since their very first album, it is with great honour and excitement that we're able to work with them from now on! We are ready to conquer the metal world with Cradle Of Filth!"
The news comes just days after the announcement that guitarist Richard Shaw and keyboardist Anabelle Iratni have left the band.
AleXa wins first American Song Contest
Launched in March, and hosted by Kelly Clarkson and Snoop Dogg, the competition has seen artists from all 50 US states, five US territories and the capital, Washington, DC, go head to head to have their song named the overall winner. The show followed a similar format to Eurovision, although they stretched the whole thing out to an eight week series.
Last night's final saw the final ten entrants perform their song one last time, before AleXa was selected as the winner. As with Eurovision, votes are cast by the public and a professional jury - the latter made up of 56 representatives of ten geographic regions from around the US. When the jury vote was announced, it was Washington's Allen Stone with his song 'A Bit Of Both' who was in the lead, but strong public support pushed AleXa ahead in the end.
"I was a little nervous after the jury vote but knowing how the point system works out, I was holding hands with my mother and father, praying so hard for my dreams to come true", she told Billboard. "Fortunately they did and I was lucky enough to win this competition".
On her big win, she added: "It felt like my brain exploded because my mother was holding onto my arm and she was crying and shaking and so I cried with her. It was a very emotional experience. Sharing that moment with my team and all [my] American Song Contest friends who were in the crowd meant the world to me".
Kelly Clarkson said of AleXa: "I knew of her before because my niece is a huge K-pop fan. She is already obsessed with her, and so are many fans. Honestly, that's why the vote counted, right? Like, Allen Stone was going to take it and America comes in and votes and it's like, 'Nope'".
"I've never seen anything like AleXa", she went on. "That's her biggest pull. Her performance and her vibe and the fact that she's from Oklahoma is so funny to me, because I grew up in North Texas and I didn't see any of that hanging out, like those kind of artists".
"We think people are boxed into these [categories] and we're not. It was really interesting to see the 56 states and territories expressing that. There's a lot of different kind of vibes everywhere and I thought that was really cool".
What the win means for AleXa's career now remains to be seen. We'll also have to wait and see if NBC decides to bring back the 'American Song Contest' for a second run. The show has been going up against 'American Idol' and pulling in about a third of the viewers, although ratings do seem to have picked up a little towards the end of the series.
Help Musicians launches online mental health resource
The new website, called Music Minds Matter Explore, offers written and video content for musicians on a variety of mental health related subjects. Key topics include anxiety, performance anxiety and depression.
"Music and musicians bring us all enormous joy but as [our] numbers show, mental health needs within the music industry are continuing to rise", says Joe Hastings, Head Of Music Minds Matter. "Music Minds Matter Explore has been launched to provide all those working in the sector with a new and additional form of help - adding to the range of services Help Musicians offers in this area".
"We hope that those using the site will find information to understand their needs better, signposting to support available locally and nationally, plus knowledgeable and supportive voices", he goes on. "The music landscape is ever-changing and we will continue to develop our mental health support for all those who work in music. Sadly, two years of COVID have seriously disrupted careers and we would encourage anyone struggling to get in touch and find the support they need".
Claire Cordeaux, CEO of British Association Performing Arts Medicine, adds: "As the clinical partner of Help Musicians, BAPAM has been very proud to provide therapeutic support as part of Music Minds Matter to support the increasing demand for mental health support. Rates of poor mental health have always been high in the musician population and COVID has had a significant impact".
"With increased financial pressures, lack of work opportunities and uncertainty about the future, many more musicians have been seeking help", she continues. "Help Musicians have provided amazing support through the helpline and by supporting therapy".
"This new website", she goes on, "provides access to further resources and information which can support all musicians to find out more about services available both general and music industry-specific, self-care techniques and hear from experts about their specialist areas of mental health knowledge. Sadly, we expect the need for services to continue for some time and Help Musicians are really rising to this challenge".
You can access Music Minds Matter Explore here. The Music Minds Matter phone line is available 24/7 on 0808 802 8008
Rachel Chinouriri to release new EP this month
The songs on the record, she explains, are inspired by the end of a five year relationship. She says: "When you're together five years, you almost think you're going to get married at some point. People would make jokes; 'never break up, or she'll write about you'. I didn't think I would, but nope - it's literally all about him, breaking up and realising that you can be more positive by yourself".
There's also a theme of accepting who you are, both as a person and an artist. She adds: "Over the four or five years I've been in the industry, I've definitely wandered away from my indie roots, trying to fit in or be cooler or more experimental. But then I was just kind of like, indie is what I love. Why don't I just go back?"
'Better Off Without' is out on 20 May and Chinouriri begins a UK tour later this week, including sets at The Great Escape in Brighton. She'll also be talking about her experiences building an audience on TikTok at the TGE Conference on Friday as part of the CMU+TGE strand on MUSIC+VIDEO.
Oh, and she also features on the new single by The Snuts, 'End Of The Road', which you can listen to here.
Warner Chappell has signed film composer Daniel Blumberg. "I'm really happy to be working with the team at Warner Chappell Music in this new chapter of my career", he says. "I'm looking forward to developing my practice as a songwriter and composer over the coming years, starting with a new solo album and some upcoming film projects".
BMG has appointed Sarah Mitchell as head of its UK-based neighbouring rights business. She joins from PPL. "BMG's distinctive culture and client-centred approach has really set the agenda for what it means to be a music company in the streaming age", she says. "I see this as the perfect opportunity to employ my industry knowledge and relationships to develop a premium neighbouring rights service".
Amazon Music has hired Laura Lukanz as Head Of Music Industry, UK, Australia & New Zealand. She joins from First Access Entertainment. "This is a fantastic role, a dream job", she says. "I am excited by the scale of innovation and impact at Amazon; the synergistic opportunities across the entertainment division are endless".
AJ Tracey have released new single 'Reasonable'.
The Smile have released 'Thin Thing', from their debut album 'A Light For Attracting Attention', which is out this Friday.
Poliça have released 'Violence' from their new album 'Madness', which is out on 3 June.
Tove Styrke has released new single, 'YouYouYou'. Her new album, 'Hard', is out on 3 Jun.
Stella Donnelly has announced that she will release new album, 'Flood', on 26 Aug, and put out its first single, 'Lungs'. She'll also be in the UK for live shows in November.
GIGS & TOURS
Arcade Fire have announced UK tour dates in September, finishing up at The O2 Arena in London on 8 Sep. And for good measure, here's the video for recent single, 'Unconditional (Lookout Kid)'.
Tinashe has announced a show at Electric Brixton in London on 7 Jul. Tickets are on sale now.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
The Kunts hoping for Jubilee hit single
As confrontational songs to coincide with royal celebrations go, it does make the Sex Pistols' 'God Save The Queen' - which got to number two during the Queen's Silver Jubilee in 1977 - seem a bit twee.
The band say that the song "is intended to re-open the conversation around [The Queen's] son Prince Andrew's conduct at this time when the establishment appear to want it swept under the carpet. Particularly the Prince's friendship with convicted paedophile and sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, and his cloak-and-dagger out of court settlement of the alleged historic sexual assault civil case brought about by Virginia Giuffre".
As for why they're going for number two, they say: "Because let's face it, even if we did sell enough records they'd never let it be number one anyway!"
In their recent efforts to get to Christmas number one - with their songs 'Boris Johnson Is A Fucking Cunt' and 'Boris Johnson Is Still A Fucking Cunt' - The Kunts made it to number five on both occasions. That is the most hotly contested chart of the year though. Maybe they do have a chance of getting higher mid-year. We'll see.
The song will not be released until 27 May, to ensure that all sales and streams go towards the 3 Jun chart. They have, however, revealed that it includes the lyrics, "The grand old Duke of York/He said he didn't sweat/So why did he pay twelve million quid/To a girl he'd never met?"
Further information on the release is available on a dedicated website here.