TODAY'S TOP STORY: The two former MegaUpload execs who reached a deal with US prosecutors earlier this month to avoid extradition to face criminal charges in an American courtroom could still face up to ten years in prison, albeit in New Zealand... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Former MegaUpload execs who did deal with the prosecution could still face a ten year jail term
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Universal's DIY distributor introduces A&R process, drops a chunk of its current artists
BRANDS & MERCH Coca-Cola takes Coke Studio worldwide
THE GREAT ESCAPE Industry experts inform the Pathways Into Music artist circle at The Great Escape: Part Four
RELEASES Daniel Avery to release 'riled, determined and alive' new album
Connie Constance signs to Play It Again Sam
ONE LINERS John Legend, Asiatic Records, Headie One, more
AND FINALLY... Ivor Novello Awards dished out, just for fun
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Former MegaUpload execs who did deal with the prosecution could still face a ten year jail term
The two former MegaUpload execs who reached a deal with US prosecutors earlier this month to avoid extradition to face criminal charges in an American courtroom could still face up to ten years in prison, albeit in New Zealand.

It was confirmed last week that Mathias Ortmann and Bram van der Kolk - who have been fighting extradition to the US for ten years now - had reached a deal with the prosecution in the case, meaning they'll face charges in relation to their time running MegaUpload in New Zealand rather than in the US. The two men seemingly decided that, while that deal does not end their legal woes, it was a deal worth doing because it means they'll avoid extradition.

The US authorities shut down the file-transfer and video-sharing platform MegaUpload in 2012, accusing its management of facilitating and encouraging rampant copyright infringement. Four of the company's execs were immediately arrested in New Zealand, with the US authorities then beginning what turned out to be the incredibly long process of trying to extradite the accused to the States.

Lawyers for the former Mega team argued that claims of copyright infringement - even criminal copyright infringement - were not covered by the extradition treaty between the US and New Zealand. But prosecutors argued that the MegaUpload enterprise facilitated and encouraged copyright infringement at a sufficient scale to basically constitute a conspiracy to defraud the copyright industries, which is grounds for extradition.

In the main the prosecution prevailed in court, but there were plenty of routes of appeal for the MegaUpload team to pursue, and all of them were pursued. However, all appeal options within the New Zealand courts have now been exhausted without success. Although any extradition still needs to be approved by the country's justice minister, so in theory there is one more hurdle that could still stop the US authorities getting their way.

But Ortmann and van der Kolk's willingness to do their deal with the prosecution suggests they were anticipating that political approval of their extradition was likely to be granted.

The two men announced last week: "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'.

Those new charges were due to be formally presented in a New Zealand district court yesterday, but the case was immediately transferred to the high court in Auckland, meaning a first hearing will now take place next month. More details about the legal proceedings Ortmann and van der Kolk now face in New Zealand will become presented at that hearing.

But, according to the NZ Herald, the two men will be charged with conspiring as part of an "organised criminal group" to unlawfully profit from copyright infringement over a period of seven years from 2005 to 2012.

There will be four specific charges each of which has a maximum jail term of ten years. Although it seems likely that even if they were found guilty of all four charges, the different jail terms would be served concurrently. Plus, by reaching a deal with the prosecution, they may be able to negotiate a much less extreme sentence.

The most famous former MegaUpload exec - the company's founder Kim Dotcom - has not accepted any plea deal, of course. He continues to be vocal about the case - and his willingness to fight it all the way - on Twitter. Obviously he too would prefer to face any charges in New Zealand rather than the US, but he's not willing to cut any deal with the American authorities.

In some of his most recent tweets he's noted the news that, over in the US, a new judge has been appointed to oversee the ongoing MegaUpload criminal case, with judge Anthony Trenga replacing judge Liam O'Grady.

No official reason has been given for the change, but Dotcom says it's because it emerged O'Grady has shares in Disney. Dotcom has long claimed that the US government moved against him and his old company at the request of the big American music companies and Hollywood studios, so the judge's Disney connections arguably constitute bias.

In addition to Dotcom, Ortmann and van der Kolk, the fourth New Zealand based former MegaUpload exec charged back in 2012 was marketing man Finn Batato.

He was dropped from the extradition case last year when it emerged he had life-threatening cancer. His lawyers had previously argued that, unlike the three other defendants, he didn't have any shareholding in MegaUpload and therefore had much less control over the business than his former colleagues, and should be treated different by the prosecution as a result.


Universal's DIY distributor introduces A&R process, drops a chunk of its current artists
Universal Music's DIY distribution service Spinnup is revamping to become a "fully curated invite-only artist discovery and music distribution platform". Which basically means the music distribution service will only be available to a select group of artists. And current Spinnup users not in that select group will need to find another distributor pronto.

According to Hypebot, Spinnup sent an email to its current userbase on Wednesday which announced that it is 'changing from an open DIY music distribution service to a curated artist discovery and distribution platform. This means we will be reducing the number of artists on the platform as we move into this new chapter".

Expanding on what that means on a special FAQ page on its website, Spinnup says: "Artists who are leaving Spinnup are being asked to take down their releases and transfer to a new distributor by 19 Jul 2022, after that date we will need to begin taking down any remaining live releases from departing artists".

Universal originally launched its DIY distribution service in Sweden back in 2013, before rolling it out globally, with on-the-ground support in a number of other European markets, including the UK.

It worked like many other DIY distributors, making basic digital distribution available to any artist who wanted it in return for a flat fee, then passing on 100% of any royalties generated by plays on the streaming services.

Though, as a Universal-owned service, an extra selling point to DIY artists was that the major's A&R teams would also use Spinnup as a talent-scouting platform. And, in 2020, the major said that its labels had formed more wide-ranging relationships with more than 80 artists who started out using its DIY distribution service.

With the big old revamp, Spinnup will become more like AWAL, which is now owned by Sony Music of course. AWAL has long operated a slightly different model to the other DIY distributors in that the service is not open to all and any artists.

Instead artists can apply to use the service, with a basic A&R process being employed to decide which music-makers can join the club. The AWAL site is also very upfront that many of the artists it works with were recommended to it by a trusted contacts within music industry, such as artist managers and lawyers.

AWAL also has three levels of service offering, with levels two and three - made available to a smaller group of artists - moving beyond basic DIY distribution to something more like label services.

Now its part of Sony, presumably AWAL artists on that journey up the hierarchy could also upstream to a Sony label - or possibly to the major's other label services division The Orchard which might be in a position to offer more full-on marketing support.

It's not clear if the revamped Spinnup might also adopt other aspects of the AWAL model, ie add other levels of service providing artists more support within the Spinnup ecosystem before any possible shift to a Universal label.


Coca-Cola takes Coke Studio worldwide
Coca-Cola has partnered with Universal Music to expand its Coke Studio emerging talent programme worldwide. To get the new partnership going, seven artists from around the world have delivered their own take on Queen's 'I Want To Break Free'.

Originally launched in Pakistan in 2008, Coke Studio has since rolled out into a number of other territories. By going global, says Coca-Cola's Head Of Global Creative Strategy And Content, Pratik Thakar, the programmes will 'celebrate the unique ability of music to unite and uplift, and provide a connection point for fans around the world to come together and enjoy a new experience'.

'The Coke Studio platform was born in Pakistan and has gone on to have great success there as well as in Africa and the Philippines, including [securing] eleven million YouTube subscribers', he goes on. 'We believe it has the potential for exponential growth, and today we're excited to introduce it to a wider global audience, using the reach of our iconic brand to help bring new audiences to some extraordinary artists'.

Joshua Burke, Head Of Global Music & Culture Marketing at Coca-Cola, adds: 'We set out to do something different with Coke Studio. Coca-Cola has always had a strong connection with music, working with stand-out emerging talent in different communities in all corners of the world, as well as a strong heritage in connecting people across borders and cultures'.

'Coke Studio', he reckons, 'brings these two things together in a way that's powerful and future-facing, supporting the development of talent in the music industry, while also connecting new audiences to new music - and to each other'.

OK, sure. But what are they actually doing? Well, the newly expanded platform launches with a new two minute film called 'The Conductor'. It features a cover of Queen's 'I Want To Break Free', featuring Ari Lennox and Mariah Angeliq from the US, Griff from the UK, Ekin Beril from Turkey, Tems from Nigeria, Tesher from Canada, and from South Korea.

A full version of the track from each artist is available too, plus some behind-the-scenes stuff. And who doesn't love behind-the-scenes stuff?

You can find it all on the Coke Studio YouTube channel.


Industry experts inform the Pathways Into Music artist circle at The Great Escape: Part Four
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 finance quarter were Chris Hunte from Addition, Lucy Stone from No Stone Unturned Fundraising, and Whiskas from Music Local and Launchpad.

1. Income from shows and streaming will be modest at the start - but you should think about ways you can generate money from your most engaged fans. Are there products and services they might pay for that are easy to deliver? Would they make a regular donation to support your work or pay a regular membership fee to access premium content? Would they commit to buy products and services in advance, before you've made any financial commitment?

2. Once you are selling products and services to your fans, think about your pricing strategy - make sure you have things that your fans want to pay for at different pricing levels, so however much money they have available, there is a way for them to support you.

3. Research what grant funding is available for people making music within your genre at your level. There are 8000+ trusts out there that offer funding - how do you find them? What do they want?

4. When you are seeking funding, have a well thought out plan about what funding schemes you are going to target, when and for what projects. But make sure the plan is adaptable - so that you can evolve projects to different funding opportunities.

5. As with everything else, personal relationships are important in the funding world too. The people working at funding organisations want you to succeed and will have lots of practical tips and advice on how to apply for grants. Think about how you can connect with those people.

6. When you are applying for grant funding, resilience is key - you will get a 'no' more than a 'yes'. How do you deal with that? And how can you learn from the rejections?

7. Think about the new opportunities that are emerging for artists at all levels. Livestreaming has become a much bigger deal since the pandemic - whether via social media apps where you can use digital gifting tools or with ticketed livestreaming events. Look at what other artists are doing in this domain and consider whether it could work for you.

8. Another area that has been generating a lot of interest in the last year is NFTs. Again, research what other artists are doing in this domain and consider whether there could be opportunities to pursue for you and your music.

9. Are there any companies you could collaborate with to create exciting new products and services for your fanbase? For example, could you partner with manufacturing companies to create branded products that you can then sell direct-to-fan?

10. Try to find time to think a little longer term. Work out what you are going to do next after your current projects. If those current projects are a success, are there platforms, funders or other initiatives - or music industry business partners - that could help you progress further on your pathway into music?

You can check out all of the artist circle tips by downloading the latest Pathways Into Music Research Summary here.


CMU:DIY: Next Industry Takeover Seminar is next week
The latest series of UD Industry Takeover Seminars - co-hosted by CMU:DIY - is currently underway. Taking place at UD's new East London base at Talent House, each seminar puts the spotlight on a different aspect of the music industry, and how artists go about building a business around their music-making.

The next edition takes place next week on Thursday 26 May. It looks at how artists get their recorded music to market - and the different options now available, including signing a conventional record deal with a conventional record label, or setting up your own single-artist label and working with a distributor or label services company.

Things kick off with a CMU:DIY guide from CMU's Chris Cooke, who is then joined by a panel of experts including Callum Hay from Ditto, TK from Finesse Forever, and Timothy Alexander Youdeowei from The Orchard. Get your tickets here.

Daniel Avery to release 'riled, determined and alive' new album
Daniel Avery will release his new album, 'Ultra Truth', later this year. The record features guest vocal contributions from Haai, Sherelle, AK Paul, Marie Davidson, Kelly Lee Owens, James Massiah and HTRK's Jonnine Standish.

''Ultra Truth' finds me in a different place to where I've been before', he says. 'My previous albums have all focused on the idea of music being an escape or a distraction from the world but that's not the case this time. For me, this album is about looking directly into the darkness, not running away from it'.

'There's a way through these times but it involves keeping the important people in your life close to you and navigating the noise together', he goes on. 'This is an intentionally heavy and dense album, the hooks often hidden in dusty corners. I'm no longer dealing in a misty-eyed euphoria. 'Ultra Truth' is a distorted fever dream of a record: riled, determined and alive'.

'I'm working with an entirely new world of sound on this record', he continues. 'Every single influence from the last decade spent on the road plays a part. Things that have been in the back of my mind forever, warped, distorted and pushed to a new place'.

'Ultra Truth' will be out on 4 Nov. Watch the video for first single, 'Chaos Energy', featuring Kelly Lee Owens and Haai, here.


Connie Constance signs to Play It Again Sam
Connie Constance has signed a new record deal with Play It Again Sam, marking the announcement of said deal with new single 'Miss Power'.

"A classic Connie Constance indie banger if I do say so myself', she says of the new track. 'This song is about being in your power, feeling free from any mental or physical or financial restraints. This is my fuck you, and your opinions, I don't need you, I've got me song. It's the wake up call that I needed and I hope it can do the same for anyone who needs it'.

'It can be pretty lonely sometimes working towards a goal by yourself or with a handle of fairies', she continues. 'Having to get up everyday, maybe working a part time job that you hate whilst trying to still see yourself as the star that you are. So I wrote this song for me last year cleaning fucking toilets before the studio and it's for everyone out there that needs some motivation. You're your most valuable player. Big Love to the gremlins hustling out there'.

Watch the video for 'Miss Power' here.



Asiatic Records, a Warner Music Asia label, has made its first move into the Mongolian market by signing Mrs M, a key player in the country's hip hop scene. "Mongolia has always had a great hip hop scene", she says. "It's a small country, but I believe our music can connect with a much wider audience".



Warner Music Canada has appointed Julia Hummel, previously with Amazon Music, to the new role of VP Digital Strategy & Business Development. "It's an inspiring time in the industry and I'm enthusiastic about helping our artists tap into the wealth of opportunities that are emerging daily for them to tell their stories and connect with fans in new ways", says she.



Sony Music is launching an outpost of its RCA Records label in China. "Continuing RCA Records' heritage as a world-class label", says the major, "RCA Records Greater China will help artists grow their fanbase within the region and capitalise on Sony Music's extensive network of creative talent to explore international collaborations and releases for artists who are geared towards a global audience". Fun times.



John Legend has released 'Dope', featuring JID. 'I'm so THRILLED to be releasing new music', he says. 'The past year or so has been so exciting for me creatively. I have been writing and collaborating with some of the most talented people in music, and we have some great new material to share with the world. 'Dope' is one of my favourites'.

Headie One has released new track '22 Carats', featuring Gazo.

Aitch has announced that his new album, 'Closer To Home', will be out on 19 Aug. Here's new single '1989', which features Shaun Ryder and samples The Stone Roses.

N-Dubz are back. And not a moment too soon. Eleven years we've had to wait. New single, 'Charmer', is out now. They'll also be touring the UK in November, including a performance at the O2 Arena in London on 17 Nov.

Take That's Mark Owen will release his fifth solo album, 'Land Of Dreams', on 23 Sep. He's just released his first solo single for nine years, 'You Only Want Me'. He's also announced UK tour dates in October, finishing at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London on 20 Oct.

Lykke Li has released new single '5D', the latest taste of her new album 'Eyeye'.

Interpol have released new song 'Fables'. Their new album, 'The Other Side Of Make Believe', is out on 15 Jul.

Soccer Mommy has released new single 'Bones'.

Angel Olsen has released 'Through The Fires', the latest single from her upcoming album 'Big Time'.

Alexisonfire have released 'Sans Soleil', the latest single from their new album, 'Otherness', which is out on 24 Jun.

Santigold has released new single 'High Priestess'. 'I want to make music that sounds like the past and the future all in one', she says. 'Music that makes you feel safe enough to jump in, but then takes us on a journey to where we needed to go but have never even heard of. I want my music to be the bridge'.

Upsahl's new track, 'Monica Lewinsky', is out today.

Sudan Archives has released new track 'Selfish Soul'.

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


Ivor Novello Awards dished out, just for fun
It was the good old Ivor Novello Awards in London yesterday. We all know that, obviously. But were there any winners? Did they go rogue and decide that no songwriters or songwriting were up to scratch this year and just declare "let's just get pissed and say no more about it?"

No, they did not. They handed out a load of awards instead. Which is no fun at all. Except for the winners. I'm guessing it was fun for the winners. And here they are, proof - if proof were needed - that songwriters and songwriting were, in fact, up to scratch this year. Well done one and all!

Best Song Musically And Lyrically: Sam Fender - Seventeen Going Under
written by Sam Fender
published by Kobalt Music Publishing

Best Contemporary Song: Little Simz - I Love You, I Hate You
written by Dean 'Inflo' Josiah Cover and Little Simz
published by Universal Music Publishing

Most Performed Work: Ed Sheeran - Bad Habits
written by Fred Again, Johnny McDaid and Ed Sheeran
published by Promised Land Music-Universal Music Publishing, Sony Music Publishing and Ed Sheeran Ltd-Sony Music Publishing

Best Album: Laura Mvula - Pink Noise
written by Dann Hume and Laura Mvula
published by Sony Music Publishing and Universal Music Publishing

Best Original Film Score: The World To Come
composed by Daniel Blumberg
published by Wise Music Group

Best Original Video Game Score: Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy
composed by Richard Jacques

Best Television Soundtrack: Landscapers
composed by Arthur Sharpe
published by BDi Music Ltd on behalf of Sister Pictures Ltd and SATV Publishing

Academy Fellowship: Peter Gabriel
Outstanding Song Collection: Paul Heaton
Icon Award: Robert Smith and Simon Gallup
Rising Star Award: Naomi Kimpenu
Songwriter Of The Year: Dave
Special International Award: Shakira
Visionary Award: Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie and Simon Raymonde


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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