MONDAY 23 MAY 2022 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK's Music Venue Trust has today formally launched a new organisation called Music Venue Properties - which is a charitable community benefit society set up to buy the freeholds of properties that currently house grassroots music venues, providing those venues with the much needed security of having a landlord that shares their interests and objectives... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Music Venue Trust launches new initiative to buy freeholds of grassroots venues
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LEGAL Bandcamp and Google confirm temporary agreement as dispute over in-app payments proceeds
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DEALS Outback Presents acquires Robomagic
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LIVE BUSINESS Owners of new Manchester venue talk up ambitions head of June launch
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MEDIA Heart adds spin-off station with focus on music from 2000s
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RELEASES Wargasm release "sexy, fresh and metal" new single
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AND FINALLY... Mick Jagger says similarity to Harry Styles is "superficial"
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Music Venue Trust launches new initiative to buy freeholds of grassroots venues
The UK's Music Venue Trust has today formally launched a new organisation called Music Venue Properties - which is a charitable community benefit society set up to buy the freeholds of properties that currently house grassroots music venues, providing those venues with the much needed security of having a landlord that shares their interests and objectives.

For the last two years grassroots venues - like the entire live music sector - have faced unprecedented challenges, being in crisis mode pretty much throughout the pandemic.

However, it's no secret that many grassroots venues were already facing significant challenges long before the pandemic began, including rising costs, licensing issues, and problems resulting from the gentrification of areas where grassroots venues are often based, despite that gentrification usually being kickstarted by the cultural value delivered by the venues themselves.

Dealing with those challenges was a key reason for the Music Venue Trust being launched in the first place. And, based on their experience of tackling those challenges, the MVT team say that the issue of ownership - which is to say the fact that 93% of grassroots venues rent rather than own their buildings - "underpins almost every other challenge".

It also means that two thirds of government support for the grassroots venue sector during the pandemic actually ended up with landlords rather than venue operators.

It's with that in mind that Music Venue Properties has been launched. As a so called charitable community benefit society, this new organisation will be able to raise money by selling community shares. MVT explains: "By purchasing these shares music fans and ethical investors will help raise funds to allow MVP to buy freeholds, whilst also receiving a 3% APR return on their investment".

Once the new entity has acquired the freeholds on the buildings currently housing grassroots venues, it "will offer the majority of current operators an immediate rent reduction and help contribute to building repairs and insurance, while also guaranteeing long term security and market resistant rents".

Nine venues have already been identified by MVP as part of a pilot, the freeholds of which it will seek to acquire this year following an initial phase of fundraising that aims to secure £3.5 million. Six of those venues are in England, with one in Scotland and two in Wales.

Launching the new initiative, MVT CEO Mark Dayvd says: "This is the most ambitious initiative Music Venue Trust has ever undertaken. The long-term security and prosperity of grassroots music venues depends almost entirely on one thing - ownership. Too many have been at the mercy of some commercial landlords whose motivations revolve primarily around profit".

"We have lost over a third of our venues in the last 20 years and with over 90% having only eighteen months left on their tenancies we are at the cliff edge and could see the decimation of our sector if we don't do something radical about it", he adds. "The Music Venue Properties scheme will allow ethical investors and music fans to invest in the future of live music while receiving a healthy return on their money".

"Our #SaveOurVenues campaign launched during the pandemic raised over £4.1 million with more than 80,000 people contributing", he concludes. "We already have the crowd - we just need to ask them to invest from 23 May and are confident they will".

There is more information about the new initiative and how to invest in it here.

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Bandcamp and Google confirm temporary agreement as dispute over in-app payments proceeds
Direct-to-fan platform Bandcamp has entered into a "joint stipulation" agreement with Google which will allow it to continue using its own payments system when people buy downloads via its Android app while a recently filed lawsuit over a change to the tech giant's app rules goes through the motions.

The legal battle between Bandcamp and Google relates to the latter's rules regarding in-app payments taken via Android apps. The rules of both Google and Apple regarding in-app payments on devices using their respective operating systems have been very much in the spotlight in recent years, of course, with many app-makers arguing that those rules are often anti-competitive.

With certain transactions - including when people are buying access to content, experiences or other digital assets consumed within an app - the app maker is obliged to use Google or Apple's proprietary and commission-charging payment platforms.

The makers of apps affected by that obligation either have to swallow the Google or Apple commissions, or pass them on to the consumer.

Among those who have been particularly vocal about the in-app payment rules are Spotify and Epic Games - the latter best known as the owner of Fortnite, but also - as of earlier this year - the owner of Bandcamp as well.

The Bandcamp beef specifically relates to a recent change to the Google app rules. Previously on Android devices - unlike with iOS - when an app was selling a download to be consumed outside of the app itself there was no obligation to use Google's payments system.

However, the rules have now changed meaning apps are now obliged to use the Google system to take payments in that scenario.

Google has offered Bandcamp a special deal so that it would only pay a 10% commission on those in-app payments, however, the direct-to-fan platform says that extra cost will have to be passed onto the fan, making it less attractive to sell downloads to Android users through the app.

It would also mean that artists would have to wait longer to receive their cut of the money, as the cash passes through the Google system.

Unhappy with the rule change, Bandcamp filed legal papers in the US late last month seeking an injunction stopping Google from removing its Android app from the Google Play store if it continues to take direct payments for download sales despite the new rules.

Google is fighting that lawsuit, but - at the urging of the court - has agreed to allow Bandcamp to continue taking those direct payments in the short term while the legal battle proceeds.

However, Bandcamp will, at its own cost, also set aside monies that equal 10% of each transaction taken for download sales through its Android app, in case it loses the legal battle and Google is due its commissions.

Bandcamp last week added an update to a previous blog post about the Google dispute confirming a temporary agreement had been reached that will allow downloads to continue to be sold via its Android app.

That update read: "Under an agreement encouraged by the court, Bandcamp will continue to operate using our existing payment system on Android devices. Fans can keep supporting artists on Android as they have, and we'll continue paying artists the same share of sales (typically within 24-48 hours, as we do today)".

"Bandcamp will place 10% of the revenue generated from digital sales on Android devices in escrow until Epic's ongoing case against Google is resolved, a cost we will bear", it added. "Moving forward, we'll continue the fight to allow artist-first business models like ours on Android".

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Outback Presents acquires Robomagic
US tour promoter Outback Presents has acquired UK-based Robomagic, with the two companies saying they are together pursuing a "joint mission to create more equitable touring opportunities in partnership with artists".

Outback Presents was launched in 2019 by Vaughn Millette through a partnership with Mike Smarkdak, who was in turn founder of the Nashville-based Outback Concerts.

Meanwhile, Robomagic was founded in 2015 by Rob Hallett, who had previously launched AEG Live's UK division ten years earlier. The Robomagic company had a brief stint operating as part of Live Nation UK, before becoming independent again in 2020.

Confirming the new partnership, Millette said last week: "Rob is one of the very few legends of the music business that I have met who has a shared vision of building a true artist partnership company where the relationship between promoter and artist is transparent. We are THRILLED to welcome Rob into the Outback family".

Hallet added that after first meeting Millette "we immediately realised we were both passionate about the pursuit of creating a more equitable landscape for touring artists on all levels to thrive. It didn't take us long to agree a deal to combine forces and take our vision to the world!"

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Owners of new Manchester venue talk up ambitions head of June launch
The Canvas Venues Group - which is already involved in London venues Oval Space and The Pickle Factory - last week announced more details about its new venue in Manchester called, simply, Canvas, which opens its doors next month.

The company says that the new complex will consist of a "music venue with a capacity of 600, a members bar and lounge, and a late night bar and restaurant", with its line-up of gigs and club nights also accompanied by a programme of panels and workshops, including music and technology courses.

The Canvas Venues Group is led by Dean James, who previously co-founded the MAMA Group, which operated a network of venues and festivals, much of which were ultimately acquired by Live Nation. His current company took a stake in the Oval Space and The Pickle Factory back in 2015, and first announced in 2020 its intent to develop a new venue and cultural space in Manchester as part of the city's Circle Square development.

Speaking about the new venue last week, James said: "Manchester was always where we were going first outside of London as a city of huge cultural significance, especially in the music scene. We launched Canvas here because Manchester represents music, community, and entertainment in spades".

"We have aimed this venue specifically at the youth market because we believe, now more than ever, this generation needs a place to re-establish and re-build the social connections that were taken from them over the past two years", he went on. "We will aim our programming and our members' events squarely at helping them to rebuild those connections and a way of life that involves connecting with people".

The new venue's Head Of Programming, Joe Splain, added: "Manchester has a history of being creative and rebellious within the fabric of its music scene from the beginning. The appeal to open Canvas here comes from the breadth and diversity of Manchester's live music and cultural scene and the influence it has not just on British music culture, but also internationally".

"By giving people a platform to share and collaborate", he continued, "Canvas has a really unique way of bringing together artists and audiences from underrepresented backgrounds. We try hard to avoid being polarised - I think it's this passion that keeps us ahead of the curve and relevant to what our communities actually want".

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Heart adds spin-off station with focus on music from 2000s
Global's Heart station launched another decade-specific spin-off channel last week dedicated to all the wonderful music that was released in the grand old decade that was the 2000s.

Well, I'm assuming that's the remit. It's called Heart 00s, and presumably the focus is the 2000s and not the 1900s. I say that partly because I know for a fact that Heart 90s plays music from the 1990s and not the 1890s. And partly because Pussycat Doll Ashley Roberts, who has a weekly show on the new station, says she might be playing some of her own group's former hits, and I'm pretty sure they were more active in the 2000s than the 1900s.

"The Heart brand goes from strength to strength and we've seen tremendous growth from Heart 70s, Heart 80s, Heart 90s and Heart Dance", says Global Executive President Ashely Tabor-King. "We've been wanting to do noughties for a little while now and we're delighted to add Heart 00s to the family!"

The other presenter on the new station is Mike Panteli, who will present the breakfast show. Says he: "I'm really excited to be part of Heart's brand new station, Heart 00s. Heart is so iconic, and it's a real privilege to be hosting the Heart 00s Breakfast show. Looking forward to waking you all up!"

As Tabor noted, Heart already has decade-specific stations for the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. Though, of course, its Absolute - owned by rival media firm Bauer - that has gone all out on decade-specific spin offs, it already having a 2020s version of the station alongside Absolute 60s, Absolute 70s, Absolute 80s, Absolute 90s, Absolute 00s and Absolute 10s.

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Setlist: Live at Wide Days
A special edition of the show recorded live at Wide Days in Edinburgh. CMU's Chris Cooke is joined on stage by Serenade's Mike Walsh and SNM Management's Shikayla Nadine to review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including the latest judgement against Viagogo in Australia, Universal's DIY distribution platform Spinnup going invite-only, and the battle for the top of the singles chart in Jubilee week.

Listen to this edition of Setlist here.

Wargasm release "sexy, fresh and metal" new single
Wargasm have announced that they will release their debut mixtape, ‘Explicit', later this year, and have also released new single ‘DRILDO'.

"It's a good bridge between the two elements of Wargasm, which are super fun, sexy and electronic, and also fresh and metal", says the duo's Sam Matlock of the new track. "You can clearly hear the both of us. We want there to be two characters in the music. You should have a favourite".

Currently supporting Limp Bizkit in the US, Wargasm will be back in the UK amid European dates over the summer to play the Download and Glastonbury festivals.

Now, watch the video for ‘DRILDO' and pick a favourite member of the duo here.

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Mick Jagger says similarity to Harry Styles is "superficial"
Alright, let's put this to bed once and for all: Harry Styles is nothing like the young Mick Jagger. Well, OK, he is a bit like the young Mick Jagger. But only a bit. Or at least so says the old Mick Jagger.

"I mean, I used to wear a lot more eye make-up than him", Jagger tells The Sunday Times of the many ways in which his younger self looked different to Styles. "Come on, I was much more androgynous. And he doesn't have a voice like mine or move on stage like me; he just has a superficial resemblance to my younger self, which is fine - he can't help that".

I suspect he could help it a bit, but does it matter really? Jagger doesn't seem to think so. In fact, he and Styles are great mates. "I like Harry", he says, "we have an easy relationship".

So that's nice. Though, maybe, just maybe, Jagger feels that way because Styles reminds him of his younger self. You know, a little bit.

Jagger, of course, is about to head out on tour with The Rolling Stones again, marking the band's 60th anniversary. That's quite a feat and one Jagger recognises as unusual.

"Rock n roll, or any kind of pop music honestly, isn't supposed to be done when you're in your 70s", he says. "It wasn't designed for that. Doing anything high-energy at this age is really pushing it. But that makes it even more challenging. So it's, like, ‘OK, we've got to fucking do this right', but it's got to be as full-on as possible".

We'll have to wait until to 2070 to see if Styles is still performing full-on in his 70s, I guess. In other news, The Sunday Times has just named him as the UK's richest young musician on its annual Rich List (Ed Sheeran no longer being considered young, seemingly). So that's another similarity between Styles and Jagger then. The Stones frontman is, according to the poll, the sixth richest UK musician overall.

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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.
andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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.
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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.
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caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
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