TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Great Escape has kicked off in Brighton, the first in-person edition of the showcase festival and music industry conference since before the pandemic. Music industry delegates from across the world are arriving in the city to check out and experience hundreds of great artists and bands, and to network and learn within the TGE Conference... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES The Great Escape 2022 is go!
LEGAL Two former MegaUpload execs reach deal with prosecution to avoid extradition to the US
Young Thug denies racketeering charges

DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Apple discontinues the iPod
ARTIST NEWS Bono to publish memoir
RELEASES Diana Ross and Tame Impala collaborate for new Minion movie soundtrack
ONE LINERS Ed Sheeran, Universal, Flying Lotus, more
AND FINALLY... Rick Astley is cool with not being cool
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The Great Escape 2022 is go!
The Great Escape has kicked off in Brighton, the first in-person edition of the showcase festival and music industry conference since before the pandemic. Music industry delegates from across the world are arriving in the city to check out and experience hundreds of great artists and bands, and to network and learn within the TGE Conference.

That conference includes three full-day CMU+TGE strands. The first of those strands kicked off this morning putting the spotlight on music and education, with conversations and debates galore exploring how music educators and the music industry can better support early-career talent taking place through to 5pm today.

Tomorrow's CMU+TGE strands is all about music and data. To kick things off at 10am, CMU will launch its own label and release its own record, all in the first few minutes of the day.

Delegates will then follow that track on its data journey, as we identify all the ways in which data gets music played and artists paid. The aim is to build a data to do a list and understand the role labels, publishers, managers - and artists and songwriters themselves - all play making sure the data flows. Plus, we'll identify a number of issues around music and explore some of the proposed solutions.

Later in the day the focus will be fan data, as we explore how artists, labels, promoters and managers use the data that comes back into the music industry - from streaming, ticketing, social media and digital advertising - to drive listening, sell tickets and build a direct-to-fan relationship. And after that, we'll help you understand what all the chatter about NFTs and blockchain is really about.

Alongside the CMU+TGE strand tomorrow - and a selection of great panels and parties presented by TGE's industry partners - there will also be two keynote in conversations. We'll chat to the team who represented Ed Sheeran in the recent 'Shape Of You' legal battle, and we'll talk to Tom Gray, Kevin Brennan MP and Naomi Pohl about the economics of streaming campaign.

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.


Two former MegaUpload execs reach deal with prosecution to avoid extradition to the US
Two former MegaUpload execs have reached a deal with the authorities which means they will avoid extradition to the US to face criminal charges in relation to the long defunct file-transfer and video-upload service. They will face charges in New Zealand instead.

It's more than ten years since the US authorities shut down MegaUpload on the grounds that it facilitated and encouraged rampant copyright infringement. Prosecutors in the US then got the MegaUpload team arrested, most of whom were living in New Zealand at the time.

The plan was to extradite that team to face charges of criminal copyright infringement in the US, though ten years on the extradition process is still going through the motions. The prosecution has generally prevailed in court when it comes to deciding whether or not there are grounds for extradition, but there are lots of routes of appeal, and so far the MegaUpload team have pursued them all.

However, the whole case is now at the final stage. With all options for fighting the extradition in the courts exhausted, it's up to New Zealand's justice minister to decide whether he wants to intervene. If not, the former MegaUpload chiefs will be heading to the US.

Or at least one of the former MegaUpload chiefs will be heading to the US. But only one, now that two of the other defendants have reached a deal. That's Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk. Under their deal, they will now face MegaUpload related charges in New Zealand, after which the US authorities will drop their charges. So the legal woes are not at an end, but the prospect of extradition is off the table.

Except, that is, for the most famous former MegaUpload chief, that being Kim Dotcom. He will continue to fight extradition and - assuming that fails - still plans to fight the criminal charges in an American courtroom.

Confirming they had reached a deal with prosecutors, Ortmann and Van Der Kolk said in a statement: "New Zealand is our home now and we want to stay here. The continuing uncertainty associated with the extradition case has taken a heavy toll on our lives and the time has come to move on".

"Accordingly", they added, "we have reached an agreement with the New Zealand government and the United States Of America under which we have agreed to be charged in New Zealand for offences similar to those we face in the United States. Once those charges are heard by the New Zealand courts, the United States will withdraw its extradition proceedings against us".

Dotcom said he was happy for Ortmann and Van Fer Kolk, and about the news that they had reduced the potential impact of the ongoing criminal charges on their lives, even though he said they will now likely appear as witnesses for the prosecution. He isn't willing to accept a similar deal, he added, although he said that the fact such a deal was on the table weakens the argument of the US authorities for forcing him into an American courtroom.

In a series of tweets, he wrote: "My co-defendants in the MegaUpload copyright case, Mathias and Bram, have made a deal with the US and New Zealand government to accept liability and to become witnesses against me. They will be charged in New Zealand and will no longer face extradition to the United States".

"I want to congratulate my former friends and partners to have found a case resolution", he added. "They can avoid the terrible US justice system. I'm happy for them. After ten years of US lawfare I understand why they have given up. I don't blame them and I sincerely wish them all the best".

"I'm now the last man standing in this fight", he concluded, "and I will continue to fight because unlike my co-defendants I won't accept the injustice we have been subjected to. If I have to go to jail for what MegaUpload users did on our site then many big tech CEOs are in the same boat with me".

He then later returned to Twitter and stated: "My co-defendants don't believe that they are criminals or members of an organised criminal group, they have said so repeatedly and that's the truth. They made a deal of convenience and if they can have their case heard in New Zealand Courts so should I. A new portal has opened".

"My legal team may try to have my case heard in New Zealand Courts too, with a jury of New Zealanders", he went on. "The difference is I would never accept any charges and I will defend myself to clear my name. If New Zealand can decide the case of my co-defendants I should have the same right".


Young Thug denies racketeering charges
Young Thug has been charged - alongside fellow rapper Gunna and 26 others - with numerous counts of racketeering. Prosecutors in Georgia allege that the rapper co-founded a gang that went on to commit murders, shootings and carjackings, which he then bragged about in his music videos.

"It does not matter what your notoriety is, what your fame is", said Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis at a press conference yesterday. "If you come to Fulton County, Georgia and you commit crimes - and certainly if those crimes are in furtherance of a street gang -then you are going to become a target and a focus of this district attorney's office".

According to the indictment, the 28 arrested men are or were members of a gang called Young Slime Life, and since 2012 have "conspired to associate together and with others for the common purposes of illegally obtaining money and property through a pattern of racketeering activity and conducting and participating in the enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity".

As well as a long list of criminal acts, the legal filing also lists multiple Young Thug lyrics as evidence of his complicity in criminal activity. Real name Jeffery Lamar Williams, he is accused of drugs and weapons-related crimes, and renting a vehicle which was used in a drive-by shooting.

Members of the gang are also accused of attempting to kill rapper YFN Lucci in prison, and shooting at Lil Wayne's tour bus in 2015.

In a statement, Young Thug's attorney Brian Steel said: "The response to any allegation is Mr Williams committed no crime whatsoever and we will fight to my last drop of blood to clear him".


Apple discontinues the iPod
Apple has announced that it is discontinuing the iPod. I will wait while you express disbelief that the iPod hadn't already been discontinued. The company said that it was ceasing development of the digital music devices because, for fuck's sake, just get an iPhone already.

"Music has always been part of our core at Apple, and bringing it to hundreds of millions of users in the way iPod did impacted more than just the music industry - it also redefined how music is discovered, listened to, and shared", says Greg Joswiak, Apple's SVP Worldwide Marketing.

"Today, the spirit of iPod lives on", he insists. "We've integrated an incredible music experience across all of our products, from the iPhone to the Apple Watch to HomePod mini, and across Mac, iPad, and Apple TV. And Apple Music delivers industry-leading sound quality with support for spatial audio - there's no better way to enjoy, discover, and experience music".

Apple last launched a new iPod - the seventh generation iPod Touch - in 2019, having stopped making the classic iPod in 2014. The iPod Shuffle and iPod Nano both had production ended in 2017. Still, with remaining stocks of the iPod Touch still on sale, that means that iPod hardware has managed to reach the grand old age of 21. It also outlasted the Microsoft Zune by more than a decade, which I think is the main achievement here.

Launched in 2001, the iPod was followed by Apple's iTunes digital music store in 2003, which played a large part in dragging the record industry into the digital age and showing that the digital revolution was as much an opportunity as a threat. And while it was really streaming that took the record industry back into growth, the iTunes boom in the late 2000s definitely mitigated to an extent the impact of the collapse in CD sales.

So, the iPod and its accompanying music store was a pretty big deal in its day, then. Meaning today's news probably constitutes the end of an era. Although, given that pretty much everyone has at least one - if not several - sources of digital music in their pockets and around their homes at all times, it was arguably an era that ended some time ago.


CMU Insights At The Great Escape
The Great Escape Conference is underway in Brighton - and over the next four days CMU will be presenting plenty of insights and leading lots of debate via three CMU+TGE strands and, on Saturday, the TGE Elevate Sessions for early-career music people.

Along the way there will be a number of CMU presentations and seminars about the business of music, plus CMU's Pathways Into Music Foundation has published a new guide to some of its recent research.

The slides and materials we are presenting will be available for delegates to download after the event. To get the link for those materials, just register your email here.

Bono to publish memoir
Bono has announced that he will publish a first memoir, 'Surrender', later this year. As well as writing the book, he has also created original drawings to accompany each chapter.

"When I started to write this book, I was hoping to draw in detail what I'd previously only sketched in songs", he says. "The people, places, and possibilities in my life".

Explaining the title, he goes on: "Surrender is a word freighted with meaning for me. Growing up in Ireland in the 70s with my fists up - musically speaking - it was not a natural concept. A word I only circled until I gathered my thoughts for the book".

"I am still grappling with this most humbling of commands. In the band, in my marriage, in my faith, in my life as an activist. Surrender is the story of one pilgrim's lack of progress... With a fair amount of fun along the way".

The book covers the musician's early years in Dublin, finding himself in one of the world's most successful bands, and his activism against AIDS and poverty. Although he did manage to write it before he played a gig in a Ukrainian bomb shelter, so there's definitely more he could write about in the future.

'Surrender' will be published by Penguin Random House imprint Hutchinson Heinemann on 1 Nov. You can hear Bono read an expert from the book here.


Diana Ross and Tame Impala collaborate for new Minion movie soundtrack
Artists including St Vincent, Thundercat, Phoebe Bridgers and HER have covered funk, disco and soul classics for the soundtrack of new movie 'Minions: The Rise Of Gru'. Although the first single, 'Turn Up The Sunshine', is a new song from Diana Ross and Tame Impala.

Produced by producer of everything Jack Antonoff, the compilation will see Caroline Polachek cover 'Band Bang' by Nancy Sinatra, Brockhampton take on 'Fly Like An Eagle' by The Steve Miller Band, and the Minions themselves do 'Cecilia' by Simon & Garfunkel, among others.

Diana Ross and Tame Impala's new song will be released next week, and its official announcement comes after posters teasing the collaboration appeared in London.

The full soundtrack album will arrive on 1 Jul, the same day that the film hits cinemas. Right now, all I can offer you is 29 seconds of instrumental music.

You'll just have to imagine what the rest of it sounds like, and here's the full tracklist to help you do that:

Diana Ross - Turn Up The Sunshine (feat Tame Impala)
Brittany Howard - Shining Star (feat. Verdine White) (Earth, Wind & Fire, 1975)
St Vincent - Funkytown (Lipps Inc, 1979)
Brockhampton - Hollywood Swinging (Kool & The Gang, 1974)
Kali Uchis - Desafinado (Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto, 1959)
Caroline Polachek - Bang Bang (Nancy Sinatra, 1966)
Thundercat - Fly Like An Eagle (Steve Miller Band, 1976)
Phoebe Bridgers - Goodbye To Love (The Carpenters, 1972)
Bleachers - Instant Karma! (John Lennon, 1970)
Weyes Blood - You're No Good (Linda Ronstadt, 1975)
Gary Clark Jr - Vehicle (The Ides Of March, 1970)
HER - Dance To The Music (Sly And The Family Stone, 1967)
Tierra Whack - Black Magic Woman (Santana, 1970)
Verdine White - Cool Jackson Wang - Born To Be Alive (Patrick Hernandez, 1979)
The Minions - Cecilia (Simon & Garfunkel, 1970)
GEM - Bang Bang (Nancy Sinatra, 1966)
RZA - Kung Fu Suite
Heitor Pereira - Minions: The Rise of Gru Score Suite



Universal Music Publishing has hired Cristina Chavez as VP A&R. "I am THRILLED to be joining UMPG and its exceptional A&R team", she says. "[CEO] Jody Gerson and [Head Of US A&R] David Gray are such respected publishing leaders, and I knew from our early conversations that this is where I am supposed to be. I look forward to adding value to our already amazing team and roster".

Alibi Music has appointed David Diaz as Director Of Marketing. "I hope to offer new insights into an already highly defined marketing strategy, and look forward to increasing my value as Alibi transitions into its next chapter of growth and scale", he says.



Ed Sheeran has released another remix of '2Step', this one featuring Australian musician Budjerah. "I was so shocked to have won my first ARIA Award for Breakthrough Artist at last year's ARIAs, and it meant so much to me that Ed Sheeran was the one who read my name out", he says. "To now be featuring on the Australian remix of Ed's track '2Step' and have it released globally as I'm just starting my first overseas tour is really exciting!"

Flying Lotus has released 'They Call Me Magic (Main Title Theme)' from upcoming Magic Johnson documentary 'They Cal Me Magic'.

Black Midi will release new album, 'Hellfire', on 15 Jul. From it, this is 'Welcome To Hell'.

Nova Twins have released new single 'Puzzles'. Their debut album, 'Supernova', is out on 17 Jun.

Skott has shared new single 'Sunshine'. "The song is about daring to live life without a roof, without limits", she says. "Daring to be vulnerable and let both the sunshine as well as the rain in. If you over-protect yourself from potential bad things and stormy weather, that same shield could also block out the sun and some of the best things in life".

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


Rick Astley is cool with not being cool
Rick Astley says he "would have loved to be cool", but he never has been "and that's OK". He says this as he begins a US tour with New Kids On The Block, En Vogue and Salt N Pepa, so that's probably a good outlook to have.

"Nostalgia is not an ugly thing to me", he tells USA Today of his view on the tour. "It's having beautiful emotions about music you grew up listening to. If I'm singing in front of an audience, I'm seeing what they remember. If I can see someone turn to their husband or wife and give a hug, that's really special and amazing. But the real emotion comes when I'm performing. You're just part of the wallpaper of music the last decades".

Indeed, he is still here, performing and making music 35 years after releasing his first single, which is more than many 'cool' acts can say. He's even played at being one such act, forming a Smiths tribute band with Blossoms. And thanks to the 'Rickrolling' phenomenon and now TikTok, new generations are still discovering that debut single, 'Never Gonna Give You Up'.

"It's mad", he says. "But that is what the internet has changed for everybody. You used to avoid your parents' record collection like the plague, and I think that's sort of dumb. I think the younger generation hears something and if they like it, they don't care if you're dead - if they like it, they like it. To have a younger audience get into my songs, you have to see that as kind of a bonus, even if it's Rickrolling".

"I've bumped into artists at festivals who weren't alive when ['Never Gonna Give You Up'] came out, and they don't disrespect me; I'm allowed to be involved in the world of music today", he says. "I would have loved to be cool, but I've never been cool, and that's OK".

Sort of sounds like he might actually be cool. Don't tell him I said that though.


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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