TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Great Escape 2022 has been in full force again today, with music and video the focus of the conference. Meanwhile tomorrow we have our TGE Elevate Sessions, with a packed programme of seminars and panels for early career music people... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES The Great Escape continues, with TGE Elevate Day tomorrow
MMF launches $ong Royalties Manifesto at The Great Escape
LEGAL Vans accuses MSCHF of breaching injunction over Tyga's trainers
DEALS Warner Chappell signs Natanael Cano
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Diddy to launch R&B label, Love Records
Secretly and Ghostly launch All Flowers Group

ONE LINERS Post Malone, Big Machine, My Chemical Romance, more
AND FINALLY... Madonna discusses NFT collection: "It's not often a robot centipede crawls out out of my vagina"
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The Great Escape continues, with TGE Elevate Day tomorrow
The Great Escape 2022 has been in full force again today, with music and video the focus of the conference. Meanwhile tomorrow we have our TGE Elevate Sessions, with a packed programme of seminars and panels for early career music people.

This is part of TGE's professional development programme for those early on in their music careers, enabled by the support of Arts Council England.

Along the way we'll put the spotlight on…

How early-career artists go about building and engaging a fanbase, with Sheema Siddiqi from TikTok, Cleo Amedume from MUVVA, and Sadie Thompson from Motive Unknown.

How artists go about building a live career, staging shows and getting booked, with artist manager Rachel Millar, agent Phyllis Belezos, and Rebecca Walker from the Music Venue Trust.

How artists go about releasing music and getting their tracks streamed, with James Lightfoot from TikTok, Rosie James from Fever To Tell, Toni Malyn from Emubands, and Ross Watson from Amazon Music.

How artists can generate extra revenues through direct-to-fan channels, with Aly Gillani from Bandcamp, Joe Vesayaporn from Music Glue, and Kaiya Milan from The Floor.

And what business partners artists work with as their careers progress, with Chris Goss from Hospital Records, Richard Hoare from Hoare Associates, Ellie Giles from Step Music Management, Ed Marquis from Manners McDade, and Rebecca Prochnik from UTA.

Throughout the day we'll also hear from artist entrepreneurs Eckoes and Pickles about their experiences building a business around their music-making.

Also tomorrow, we will have Asher D chatting with legendary hip hop broadcaster DJ Target. The musician and actor will be discussing his career in both fields, originally coming to prominence as a member of So Solid Crew and now also known for playing Dushane Hill in 'Top Boy'.

You can browse the full TGE Conference programme – including all the extra panels and parties presented by TGE's industry partners – via the official TGE app.


MMF launches $ong Royalties Manifesto at The Great Escape
The UK's Music Managers Forum launched a new '$ong Royalties Manifesto' at the CMU+TGE conference in Brighton yesterday. It calls for an overhaul of how songwriters are paid when their music is streamed, and proposes a three step plan for achieving that change.

Launching the new manifesto, MMF said that, despite highlighting the negative impacts of 'royalty chains' on the income songwriters receive in the '$ong Royalties Guide' that it launched at the last in-person Great Escape in 2019, little has since changed.

While recording artists can be paid within two months of a stream, it can take more than two years for the writers of the music to receive their share of royalties. When that money does come in, it's often with deductions, plus there is a risk that significant sums are not accuratley allocated to the songs that have actually been played.

The aim of the manifesto is to affect change to ensure that song royalty payments are as quick, efficient and accurate as the payment of recording royalties. This would mean a comprehensive overhaul of how data is uploaded and collected. As well as speeding up payments, it is hoped that this would also eliminate the need for a digital 'black box' of unallocated money.

The three steps the MMF is calling on the industry to make are...

1. Immediate logging of splits and issuing of ISWC
The percentage ownership of of songs by each writer should be decided and logged at the point of creation - not, as is sometimes the case, months after a track is released. The ISWC code, which is used to identify a song (similar to the ISRC that identifies a recording) should also be issued prior to a recording being released and stored in a publicly accessible database run by an organisation appointed by the music industry.

2. Provision of ISWC with recording as it is released
It should be made mandatory for labels and distributors to provide the ISWC as part of a recording's metadata when it is supplied to streaming services. In the long-term, MMF would also like streaming services to refuse recordings that do not have an attached ISWC and give distributors who provide incorrect ISWCs a lower ranking, as happens with other forms of incomplete or incorrect metadata.

3. Provision of work ownership data to the services as standard
Publishers and collecting societies should provide a real time data feed (by ISWC) identifying every work in which they have an interest - including what percentage the licensor controls of each of the mechanical and performing rights, and in which countries the licensor controls those rights.

"Having revealed the serious structural problems with song royalty chains three years ago, we return to The Great Escape to present our three-step vision for change", says MMF chief exec Annabella Coldrick. "Songwriters and composers are being failed by outmoded processes that drastically delay and reduce their streaming royalties. Each year, obscene amounts of money are being lost or mis-allocated. On the back of the important work being undertaken within the UK's Intellectual Property Office, it's imperative that the entire industry comes together to devise a permanent solution. We need to build better systems and instil greater transparency. We need a glass box, not a black box".

Chief Catalogue Officer of Hipgnosis Song, Amy Thomson, also supports the manifesto, adding: "This manifesto is essential. Anyone representing a songwriter or using their work to make money can accept nothing less. In an age of data revolution and blockchain, the journey of the 15% of song revenue received by writers for streaming being hacked apart by a lack of care in its data from day one is no longer acceptable. The song has rights, the songwriter has rights, and it's time everyone who uses the work of a composer attaches every piece of code required to get them paid".

"Black boxes are not acceptable", she goes on. "Anything which seems unclear, inexplicable and hidden in an age of data speed and accuracy like we have never seen needs to be smashed. Profits being made by monies not reaching the correct recipient because the system let them down, a system they had no part in designing, has to end".

And PRS Songwriter Director Crispin Hunt also comments: "I wholeheartedly support the goals of the MMF's manifesto. Thanks to concerted campaigning across the creator community, there is now undeniable momentum to reform the mechanics of music streaming. However, as well as ensuring a fairer share of revenue to writers, performers and producers, it is equally vital that the industry's business structures and distribution systems are made efficient, transparent and fit for purpose".

You can download the full manifesto here.


Vans accuses MSCHF of breaching injunction over Tyga's trainers
Vans has gone back to court, accusing MSCHF of breaching a court order over the trainers it created with rapper Tyga. The shoe company says that MSCHF continued to ship its 'Wavy Baby' shoes after an injunction ordered it to halt their sale.

In a new legal filing yesterday, Vans said that MSCHF has "intentionally and repeatedly flouted the authority of the court" by continuing to ship orders as recently as Wednesday.

"The shipments were not irreversible orders picked up shortly after the injunction issued", Vans' legal team writes. "They were made almost two weeks after the court's unambiguous order that no such shipments be made. MSCHF should be held in contempt for failing to comply with the court's unequivocal instructions".

In a statement to Billboard, MSCHF's attorney David H Bernstein says that Vans' claim is "completely without merit" and that "MSCHF has complied, is complying, and will continue to comply with all court orders".

"Vans' request", he adds, "is nothing more than a desperate attempt to distract from MSCHF's pending appeal".

The temporary restraining order prohibiting the continued sale of the 'Wavy Baby' shoes was granted in New York earlier this month.

MSCHF is the company behind Lil Nas X's 'Satan Shoes', which drew legal action from Nike last year. The partnership with Tyga is a more ambitious project, creating a new kind of shoe, rather than modifying existing ones. However, the shoe design and accompanying imagery is clearly influenced by Vans, in a way that the shoe maker says infringes its trademarks.

For its part MSCHF insisted that the Wavy Baby trainers were a statement about the nature of the sports shoes business and should therefore be protected by its free speech rights. "Standard shoe practice is: steal a sole, steal an upper, change a symbol", it said. "What a boring use of cultural material. Wavy Baby is a complete distortion of an entire object that is itself a symbol".

MSCHF was also keen to stress that its shoe wasn't identical to any Vans product, because they have made them look like they'd been digitally warped, and therefore the idea that its latest shoe project would confuse consumers into thinking it was an official Vans-endorsed venture wasn't credible.

However, the judge hearing the case did not agree. He said that in trademark infringement cases like this, marks need not be identical in order for there to be a case for consumer confusion. Indeed, he added, "independent sources" had reported that consumer confusion had actually occurred regarding the latest MSCHF shoes and their possible link to Vans.

As noted by MSCHF's attorney, the company is planning to appeal.


Warner Chappell signs Natanael Cano
Warner Chappell has signed a worldwide publishing deal with singer-songwriter Natanael Cano, best known for his 2019 collaboration with Bad Bunny, 'Soy El Diablo (Remix)'.

"Nata is a unique talent, who at such a young age, has already secured his legacy in the industry", says Warner Chappell's President for the US, Latin and Latin America, Gustavo Menéndez. "He has an incredible delivery with an uncanny penmanship as a songwriter, no matter the genre. I've also had the opportunity to spend time with Nata outside of the studio and he's an incredible and inspiring human being. We are proud that he's entrusted us to be his publisher and continue to help pave the way".

Cano himself adds: "I'm excited to join forces with Gustavo and the Warner Chappell team to share my music on a global scale. With our shared vision, I know we'll accomplish great things together".

Earlier this year, Cano released new album, 'NataKong', which includes Steve Aoki collaboration 'NataAoki'.


Diddy to launch R&B label, Love Records
Diddy has announced the launch of new record label, Love Records, through which he will release his first album for more than fifteen years. Love Records will release that album in partnership with Motown Records.

The label, which will focus exclusively on R&B, will also actively sign artists other than Diddy himself, with him acting as A&R as well as producing music on the label. He will also continue to oversee his Bad Boy Entertainment label.

"Music has always been my first love", he says. "Love Records is the next chapter, it's about getting back to the love and making the best music of my life. For the label, I'm focused on creating timeless R&B music with the next generation of artists and producers. Motown is the perfect partner for my album and I'm excited to add to its legacy".

"This is a major moment for Motown, as Diddy is one of this century's most important voices in music and culture", says Motown CEO Ethiopia Habtemariam. "To be a part of his next evolution and album is nothing short of monumental".


Secretly and Ghostly launch All Flowers Group
Secretly and Ghostly International have announced the launch of a new group of labels, called All Flowers Group.

As well as Ghostly itself, the group will also include newly launched company Drink Some Wtr, which will focus on artist development. Drink Sum Wtr is led by Nigil Mack, former A&R at Motown and Republic Records, and his own Unruly Records label.

"I'm very excited about the journey that I'm about to take with this new venture", says Mack. "Working with a like-minded team of industry seasoned professionals who are all unified in making artist development the core focus of Drink Sum Wtr, the artist's vision will always be the priority. Never at Drink Sum Wtr will we chase trends and algorithms. We'd rather chase legacy".

Also new on board is Alexandra Berenson, who joins from Vinyl Me, Please and takes on the role of Senior Director of A&R at All Flowers Group, and Kate Ebeling, who joins from mtheory and becomes Marketing Director.

"I am incredibly excited to join Ghostly, Drink Sum Wtr and the Secretly family for this new venture", she says. "What compelled me to be a part of All Flowers Group is an 'art first' approach, which I believe to be key in allowing artists the freedom to express their creativity with as few roadblocks as possible. It is our mission to foster a collaborative space, while refusing to chase trends in order to help uplift every artist we partner with".

The launch of All Flowers Group follows Ghostly International becoming part of Secretly Group two years ago.

Ghostly founder Sam Valenti IV says: "The 'same soil, water, and sun' approach we envisioned for Ghostly when partnering with Secretly has already led to some of our most beloved signings and a true sense of international connection. This new chapter will add to our collective voice and help us encourage new and visionary leadership, which Nigil, Alex, and Kate exemplify".

Secretly founder Chris Swanson adds: "As a believer that record labels - especially in 2022 - play a crucial role in the artist development landscape, I see labels forming alliances as label groups as a means to providing more competitive services for their artist partners. It's with that spirit that we approach All Flowers Group. Starting a new label Drink Sum Wtr with Nigil - to operate alongside Sam's now-grown baby Ghostly International - has been a beautiful process so far".

The first signing to Drink Sum Wtr is rapper Deem Spencer, and next month the label will release the first in a new singles series with tracks from Shelley FKA DRAM, followed by Sol Galeano and Wahid.


CMU Insights At The Great Escape
The Great Escape Conference has been underway in Brighton since Wednesday morning - and CMU has been presenting plenty of insights and leading lots of debate via three CMU+TGE strands. Meanwhile tomorrow it's the TGE Elevate Sessions for early-career music people.

Along the way there have been plenty of CMU presentations about rights data, fan data and sync, 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.


Big Machine Label Group and Blac Noize Recordings have partnered to jointly sign hip hop and R&B acts worldwide. "To have partners and a distributor that can help us put something up within 24 hours without any question [or] pushback was very important", says Blac Noize's Chioke 'Stretch' McCoy. "As far as the majors, we love them to death, but sometimes they're a little bloated and we plan to be thinner and more efficient".

Ingrooves has signed global distribution deals with Indian musicians Tony Kakkar and Ammy Virk. The agreement with Virk also includes future releases from his Burfi Music record label. "Ammy Virk and Tony Kakkar are extraordinary creative talents, and we are honoured to be a part of their creative journeys", says Amit Sharma, Ingrooves Country Manager for India. "The independent music market in India is thriving, and we look to empower these artists to succeed locally and find opportunities to grow their success into new territories".



Post Malone has released new single 'Cooped Up', featuring Roddy Rich. His new album, 'Twelve Caret Toothache', is out on 3 Jun.

My Chemical Romance have released 'The Foundations Of Decay', their first new song since 2014.

As we gear up for the Eurovision grand final tomorrow night, last year's winner Måneskin have released new single 'Supermodel'.

Paolo Nutini will release new album 'Last Night In The Bittersweet' on 1 Jul. Out now are two new singles, 'Lose It' and 'Through The Echoes'.

Danger Mouse and Black Thought have announced that they will release a collaborative album, titled 'Cheat Codes', on 12 Aug. First single, 'No Gold Teeth', is out now.

Lethal Bizzle will mark the 20th anniversary of the beginning of his career next month with the release of his new mini-album, 'Lethal B v Lethal Bizzle'. Out now is new single, 'Dapper Dan' featuring Giggs and #A92.

Anna Of The North and Gus Dapperton have teamed up for new single 'Meteorite'. "'Meteorite' is a song that was originally written by Gus", says Anna of the North. "He asked if I wanted to put a verse on it and collaborate which I, of course, wanted to do - I'm a big fan of him. I love the song and am so happy with how it came out. Our voices work really well together. It's a song about distance and how energy always connects us".

Yendry has released new track 'Ki-Ki'. "The song is about how being independent and making money requires hard work, so most of the time we're not free to just enjoy life, our families and friends", she says. "It's good to make ourselves unavailable in order to take care of us and celebrate life".

Shygirl will release her debut album, 'Nymph', on 30 Sep. From it, this is new single 'Firefly'.

Gwenno has released 'Tresor', the title track of her third solo album, which is set for release on 1 Jul. "'Tresor' is a song questioning what makes us human, and the conscious choice that we have to either have a positive or negative impact on our environment and everything around us", she says.

Max Cooper has released new track 'Symphony In Acid'. Right now, you can check out an accompanying video and interactive website.

The Hu have released new single 'This Is Mongol'. The band's second album is due out later this year.

Rudi Zygadlo has released new single 'Selotape'. "Sometimes when you're making music, you hit a dead end and you just start making childish noises into the mic in one last desperate roll of the dice", he says. "You run the silly noise through a string of effects, straighten up your back, whack in some power chords and voila - this the best tune I've ever made".



Gogol Bordello have announced a Ukraine benefit show at Electric Brixton on 16 Jul. "London always responded raucously to what we do, perhaps because of its own class struggles", says Ukraine-born frontman Eugene Hütz. "Punk and hardcore is like a cultural-humanitarian corridor between all countries that deals with those issues, and a lot of it developed and grew muscles here. We are always excited to energise that corridor". Tickets on sale here.

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


Madonna discusses NFT collection: "It's not often a robot centipede crawls out out of my vagina"
Madonna has spoken about her new NFT collection, created in partnership with Beeple creator Mike Winklemann, which features a nude animated version of the singer giving birth to various forms of nature.

"When Mike and I decided to collaborate on this project a year ago, I was excited to have the opportunity to share my vision of the world as a mother and an artist with Mike's own unique point of view", Madonna says in a statement accompanying the collection.

"It's been an amazing journey building this together from an intellectual idea to an emotional story, giving birth to art. I wanted to investigate the concept of creation, not only the way a child enters the world through a woman's vagina, but also the way an artist gives birth to creativity".

In an interview with Winklemann she adds: "It's not often a robot centipede crawls out out of my vagina".

I'm sure you'll be glad to hear that. Explaining the idea behind the artworks further, she explains: "I'm doing what women have been doing since the beginning of time, which is giving birth. But on a more existential level, I'm giving birth to art and creativity and we would be lost without both".

"We set out to crate something that is absolutely and utterly connected to creation and motherhood", she continues. "I think it's really important that people know a lot of thought and conversation went into creating these videos".

While reaction to the three short videos being offered up as NFTs has been decidedly mixed, I don't think anyone could deny that quite a lot of thought has gone into the making of them. The NFTs are up for sale now, with the first auction due to complete later today. Money raised will be donated to three female-focussed charities: The Voices Of Children Foundation, The City Of Joy and Black Mama's Bail Out.

Have a look at the animations up for sale for yourself here.


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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