TODAY'S TOP STORY: New laws that would restrict when prosecutors can cite rap lyrics in criminal proceedings were passed by the Senate of New York State yesterday, just a week after supposedly incriminating lyrics were included in legal papers alongside the prosecution of Young Thug and Gunna. There is now one more stage in the process before these new rules become law in New York State... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES New York Senate passes new laws to restrict the use of rap lyrics in criminal proceedings
DEALS LimeWire signs licensing deal with Universal
BRANDS & MERCH Universal "centralises" the rosters of merch businesses
MEDIA Radio 1 to make its Presenter Upload tool available to the wider industry
THE GREAT ESCAPE Industry experts inform the Pathways Into Music artist circle at The Great Escape: Part Two
RELEASES Unloved announce new album with Killing Eve-featured single
ONE LINERS Jamal Edwards, Craig David, Serenade, more
AND FINALLY... Sarah Brightman and Alfie Boe aiming for jubilee number one with new recording of God Save The Queen
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New York Senate passes new laws to restrict the use of rap lyrics in criminal proceedings
New laws that would restrict when prosecutors can cite rap lyrics in criminal proceedings were passed by the Senate of New York State yesterday, just a week after supposedly incriminating lyrics were included in legal papers alongside the prosecution of Young Thug and Gunna. There is now one more stage in the process before these new rules become law in New York State.

The proposed new rules are contained in Senate Bill S7527, sometimes dubbed the 'rap on trial' bill. Put forward late last year by senators Jamaal Bailey and Brad Hoylman, the proposals have been backed by the likes of Jay-Z, Meek Mill, Killer Mike and Fat Joe.

The aim is to ensure that where defendants in a criminal case also make music - and especially rap music - there are restrictions on presenting those defendants' lyrics as evidence. Supporters of the bill say that when lyrics are used by prosecutors in criminal cases, they often add very little substance to the case being argued, but can be impactful on juries. The practice of using lyrics in this way also disproportionally impacts on black men.

The bill itself describes its mission as follows: "The purpose of this legislation is to protect freedom of speech and artistic expression in New York State. This bill effectuates the enhanced free speech protections provided by the New York State Constitution, ensuring that criminal defendants are tried based upon evidence of criminal conduct, not the provocative nature of their artistic works and tastes".

The new restrictions would affect the use of any form of "creative expression" as evidence in court. They wouldn't stop such creative expression from being used at all, but prosecutors would be obliged to explain to the jury why they believed any allegedly incriminating lyrics were "literal" rather than "figurative or fictional".

Last week rappers Young Thug and Gunna were among 28 people charged in Georgia accused of involvement in a gang that committed murders, shootings and carjackings. Music videos and lyrics from the two rappers are being used as key evidence in that case.

Back in New York, the proposals now passed by the Senate will also need to be voted through by the state's Assembly before they can become law.

However, a companion bill is already set to go to committee in the Assembly, and supporters of the proposals remain optimistic the new restrictions will come into force in New York State, with the hope similar measures might then be considered elsewhere in the US.

Erik Nielson, an academic who co-wrote the book 'Rap On Trail: Race, Lyrics And Guilt In America', welcomed yesterday's vote, writing on Twitter: "The New York Senate just passed the rap on trial bill! Now on to the Assembly and then, hopefully, to [New York State] Governor Kathy Hochul for her signature. This is a historic bill and should be a blueprint for other states to follow".


LimeWire signs licensing deal with Universal
LimeWire has signed a licensing deal with Universal Music. Not a sentence you probably ever expected to read. Well, not until recently perhaps. Because, of course, if you've been paying attention, you'll know that LimeWire isn't a defunct piece of file-sharing software anymore, instead it's a shiny new NFT marketplace.

The global content licensing deal means, says LimeWire, that any Universal artist can now offer "audio recordings, audiovisual content, backstage footage and any artwork and images as NFTs on the LimeWire marketplace and sell them directly to fans and collectors". So that's nice. Although, subject to clearing any song rights not controlled by Universal, presumably.

"We see this partnership as a true demonstration of the pace at which the music industry is embracing Web3", say LimeWire co-CEOs Paul and Julian Zehetmayr. "We're THRILLED to open up the LimeWire NFT ecosystem to Universal Music Group artists and fans and can't wait to see the first creative projects being launched on the marketplace".

Universal's EVP Digital Business Development & Strategy, Jonathan Dworkin, adds: "Universal Music Group has always prioritised its artists' creativity and valued fans' desire to engage in innovative new ways. Now, NFTs are providing an exciting vehicle to enhance this connection between artists and audiences".

"This is why we are delighted to have partnered with LimeWire", he goes on, "who is focused on guiding everyday users into this expansive arena, in this new era of Web3 engagement and music appreciation".

It was announced in March that the LimeWire brand had been acquired to be slapped on top of a music-focussed NFT marketplace.

Once people have been drawn to the website by the LimeWire name (it could happen), the aim is to offer people with an interest in digital collectibles - but who possibly lack the technical expertise to know how to get on board the NFT bandwagon - with an easier way into this brave new world. You'll just be able to buy stuff, without all the hassle of working out how to set up a crypto wallet.

The company launched with several music industry figures on its advisory board, including General Manager of Wu-Tang Clan's Wu Music Group, Tareef Michael; former Def Jam A&R Pedro Genao; and artist managers Brett Fischer and Jeanine McLean. Scoring the Universal deal will be another boon to its credentials, although it still remains to be seen if it will actually take off.


Universal "centralises" the rosters of merch businesses
Universal Music has announced that it is "centralising the rosters" of its two big merch businesses - those being Bravado and Epic Rights. It's the latest move to more closely align the major's merchandise operations.

Universal - already a big player in the music merchandise business via Bravado - bought US-based Epic Rights in 2019, with the two merch companies then operating side by side within the major music group. Epic co-founder Dell Furano continued to head up his company even after the Universal acquisition, until his death last year, aged 71, from cancer.

More recently, another Epic Rights co-founder, Jesper Poulsen, was appointed as General Manager of Bravado. In that role he oversees the day-to-day operations of both Bravado and Epic. And now, as part of the "centralising" of the two companies' rosters, another Epic exec has a new role encompassing both Bravado and Epic, with Lisa Streff becoming SVP Global Licensing for the wider Universal merch business.

Straff will report into Poulsen, who in turn reports into Bravado President Matt Young, who says: "We are continuing to grow our global licensing and retail business with a more unified and complementary strategy across both Bravado and Epic Rights, while maintaining individual strategies and priorities. With Jesper leading the team as General Manager and Lisa driving global licensing strategy, we have the right team in place to ensure growth for our artists in this area".

Commenting on her new role, Streff adds: "This is a magical time to be in music licensing and merchandising. I am honoured and excited to collaborate with Matt, Jesper and the Bravado team in this expanded role and to work with some of the biggest artists in the world under the Bravado banner, while continuing to spearhead the programmes for our Epic Rights' talent".


Radio 1 to make its Presenter Upload tool available to the wider industry
Radio 1 is looking to make its Presenter Uploader tool available to the wider radio industry, making it easier for aspiring radio presenters to submit their demo tapes to decision makers at stations around the UK.

The tool was originally designed for Radio 1's Christmas Takeover, where the BBC outlet gives new presenting talent the opportunity to present shows over the Christmas break, when the station's usual line-up of DJs tend to take a few days off.

But Radio 1 would like the tool to be used more widely, including beyond the BBC, and to that end it is partnering with the Radio Academy to promote the initiative to other broadcasters.

The tool aims to make it easier for aspiring presenters to get their work in front of the decision makers in radio, and for programming chiefs to organise and manage the demo tapes they receive.

Speaking to Radio Today about the initiative at the Radiodays Europe conference, Head Of Radio 1 Aled Haydn-Jones said that by making tools like this available, the radio industry can become accessible to a more diverse mix of people. After all, in radio - like the music business - having existing connections in the industry has always been a key way that many people find their initial opportunities. But how can you better help those without the connections?

"That's why we keep getting the same type of people coming into the radio industry all the time, because they're the kind of people like us who can make it to freelance around our stations", Haydn-Jones observed. "This uploader gave me the insight that you can level the playing field and reach new people with different backgrounds who may not be radio focused, but who would be good on radio, wherever they are in the UK".


Industry experts inform the Pathways Into Music artist circle at The Great Escape: Part Two
CMU's Pathways Into Music Foundation last week used the MUSIC+EDUCATION sessions at The Great Escape to present more of its research work which aims to provide music educators and talent development organisations with resources that they can use to give DIY phase artists the knowledge and information they need to pursue a career around their music-making.

At TGE, Foundation director Phil Nelson presented the artist circle, a way of understanding the process artists go through when growing an audience and business around their music.

That begins with creative activities, and then moves onto fanbase building, which is in turn amplified through the promotion of releases and shows, and finally artists look for ways to raise funds and generate income around their music. So there are four quarters to the artist circle: creative, fanbase, promotion and finance.

With the artist circle introduced, music industry experts were then invited on stage at TGE to together compile the ten key pieces of knowledge and information that educators and talent development teams should be looking to communicate to DIY phases artists for each quarter of the circle.

Providing the tips for the fanbase building quarter were Chris Chadwick from Famous Friends, Erika Thomas from WMA, and Fiona McAuley from Atlantic Records UK.

Here are the ten tips they compiled...

1. What's your story? With so many artists releasing so much music, having a great story is a good way to stand out from the crowd. Think about your brand, your identity and your vision.

2. As you start to build a fanbase for your music, think of that fanbase like a community. Interact with your community and talk to your community - that way they will become your biggest champions and supporters.

3. Build your music-maker and wider creator network. Collaboration is key for making great music, but it's also important for growing your fanbase. All the other music-makers and creators you collaborate with have their own fanbases - make sure you champion each other's work to your respective audiences.

4. Look for as many opportunities to play live as possible - including open mic nights and guest spots - and use each performance as an opportunity to connect with new fans by subtly directing them to your digital channels.

5. Work out which digital channels work best for you and your fanbase, learn what kinds of content and posts work best on each channel, and find a good rhythm in terms of regularity of content and posting. You need to keep each digital channel refreshed, but you only have so much time available, so figure out a realistic schedule that keeps people engaged.

6. Look at 'content pillars' outside of your music and artist identity - which is to say, what are your other passions and interests that you could post about? This makes it easier to keep your digital channels refreshed and your fans engaged.

7. Use your analytics - from the streaming services, your distributor and social media. Cross-reference the different sets of data to see what kinds of content and posts get the best response - and result in more streams of your music. Learn from that and adjust your future content and posts accordingly.

8. As your fanbase grows, you should start to segment your audience into casual fans, core fans and super fans - and then treat them differently.

9. Start building a mailing list right away - so encourage fans to give you an email address and permission to email them. You will still talk to your fans much more frequently on social media, but every so often you can send your core fanbase some extra content by email. Those mailings often get more engagement and generate great fan data.

10. Be your own PR! Don't be afraid to promote your music and your music projects. And as momentum builds, start reaching out to industry and media contacts too. Don't be too pushy, but occasional personalised emails updating key people on your activities and asking for support and advice can be really beneficial.

We are publishing the ten tips for each of the quarters of the artist circle each day here in the CMU Daily. Or you can get them all in one place by downloading the latest Pathways Into Music Research Summary here.


CMU Insights: Wide Days Sessions
CMU is heading to the Wide Days music conference and showcase festival in Edinburgh this week, taking part in a number of sessions on Friday.

The whole thing kicks off at midday tomorrow at Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms with a stack of panels, round tables and speedy '15 Minutes Of Knowledge' presentations across Thursday and Friday, plus a walking music tour, record shop tour and whisky tasting on Saturday.

Meanwhile, in the evenings it's obviously all about the music, with the Revive Live Welcome Party with the Music Venue Trust tomorrow evening, the Wide Days Talent Development Programme showcases on Friday, and the BreakOut West x Focus Wales takeover on Saturday.

CMU's Chris Cooke will be taking part in three conference sessions on Friday.

He'll join a conversation all about NFTs in music at 10.15am; will deliver a speedy overview of the MMF Song Royalties Manifesto that was launched at The Great Escape last week at 1.30pm; and he'll host a live recording of the Setlist podcast at 2.45pm, with three industry guests talking about some of the biggest music business news stories of the last week.

You can check the full line up of conference sessions here and all the showcases here.

Unloved announce new album with Killing Eve-featured single
Unloved have announced their new album, 'The Pink Album', will be out later this year. They've also released new single 'Mother's Been A Bad Girl', which you may well recognise from the heavy rotation it had in the latest (and final) series of 'Killing Eve'.

"In my head, 'Mother's Been A Bad Girl' is a tale of duality, searching for authenticity", says frontwoman Jade Vincent. "It slips effortlessly from the point of view of those watching - surmising, to those judging - cheekily chanting, 'Mother's been a bad girl!' over and over, all sass, steeped in tradition, and ending in the final words of the dignified matriarch, regaining her composure, 'Are you truly certain you can handle me?'"

Formed by Vincent, Keefus Ciancia and David Holmes in 2015, Unloved came to wider prominence when they were hired to create the soundtrack for 'Killing Eve'. Contributing to all four series, they built a sonic identity for the show that won them a British Academy Television Craft Award in 2019, and also got them nominated at the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards the following year.

The 22 track album is set for release on 2 Sep, and will feature collaborations with Jarvis Cocker, Étienne Daho, Raven Violet and Jon Spencer.

Watch the video for 'Mother's Been A Bad Girl' here.



Music NFT marketplace Serenade has announced a "significant new investment" as well as "plans to expand its global operations", in particular by launching a dedicated office in the US. The new round of finance will provide AUS$6 million to fuel that expansion. A brand refresh is also planned, while upgrades to the marketplace itself will increase what is possible for artists and fans alike.



Craig David will release his new album, '22', on 30 Sep. The title refers to the length of his career to date. So now you know.

100 Gecs have released the video for their latest single 'Doritos & Fritos'.

Gwar have released new single 'Berserker Mode'. "This is my origin story, about transforming into a drug-jacked unpredictable liability on the battlefield", says frontman Berserker Blóthar. "But like me, it has a softer side, a tale of the struggle of becoming a sexy, multi-donged, vajazzled cow beast who is unafraid to proclaim my authentic self".

Sinead O'Brien is back with another new single, 'Multitudes'. Her debut album, 'Time Bend And Break The Bower', is out on 10 Jun.

Hatis Noit has released new single 'Angelus Novus'. Her debut album, 'Aura', is out on 24 Jun.

Launder has shared new single 'Become', featuring Soko on vocals. Launder's debut album, 'Happening', is out on 15 Jul.

MISZCZYK has announced that he will release his debut album, 'Thyrsis Of Etna', on 15 Jul. He's also released new single, 'In The Dark', featuring Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier.



Jamal Edwards is set to posthumously receive this year's Music Industry Trusts Award. "Jamal Edwards changed the face of the music industry in his 31 years, his achievements could be on par with someone 60 years into the business", says co-chair of the MITS Award committee, Toby Leighton-Pope. "His influence on the music scene as it is today should never be underestimated, just look at some of the UK's biggest artists, tours and hits today, and Jamal will have played a part in some way. That's why he is so deserving of this year's MITS Award". The award will be presented to Edwards' family on 7 Nov at Grosvenor House in London.

Pan-European indie music industry group IMPALA has launched a new award scheme called the Changemaker Award to put the spotlight on projects that promote change in the independent sector and inspire others to take action. The first recipient is Power Up, the UK-based initiative founded by the PRS Foundation and Ben Wynter which supports black music creators and industry professionals and executives, as well as addressing anti-black racism and racial disparities in the music sector.

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


Sarah Brightman and Alfie Boe aiming for jubilee number one with new recording of God Save The Queen
Warner Classics has announced a plan to get a new recording of 'God Save The Queen' to number one to coincide with the Queen's upcoming platinum jubilee celebrations.

By which we mean the British national anthem, not a Sex Pistols cover. Though it will be released on the same day as the limited edition vinyl re-releases of the Sex Pistols track that caused plenty of controversy around Queen Liz's silver jubilee celebrations back in 1977.

Appearing on this new recording of the actual national anthem will be Sarah Brightman, Alfie Boe, the NHS Voices Of Care Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Although it's actually a double a-side single which will also include a recording of the mighty anthem being sung at the Queen's coronation service in Westminster Abbey all the way back in 1953, remastered in Dolby Atmos.

The whole thing is a charity endeavour, with all proceeds from the sale and streaming of both tracks being donated to the British Red Cross.

"When I received the call to ask if I wanted to be a part of this adventure with Alfie, I was excited about the opportunity and the efforts behind the project", says Brightman. "It means a lot to us both - we'd love to see the anthem get to the top of the charts and raise meaningful funds for the incredible British Red Cross during the Queen's jubilee celebrations".

Boe adds: "I feel honoured to be a part of this very special project with the amazing Sarah Brightman, the very talented NHS Voices Of Care Choir and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. It's an amazing opportunity to raise money for the British Red Cross who do such a great job day-in day-out, whilst of course trying to get the national anthem to the top of the charts during her majesty's jubilee bank holiday weekend".

The Warner Classics record is not the only new release aiming to get to the top of the charts during jubilee week. Although, with the Sex Pistols re-releases being limited edition vinyl, it seems unlikely that 'God Save The Queen' will be part of any chart battle, unless the re-releases spark a surge in listening of the track on the streaming services.

But, don't forget, The Kunts have also announced their own jubilee single. Although they have said that their goal is to get their song - 'Prince Andrew Is A Sweaty Nonce' - to number two.

Both singles are set for release on 27 May, with a view to reaching their intended chart positions the following week as the platinum jubilee celebrations are in full swing.


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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