TODAY'S TOP STORY: Sony Music has announced that it is extending its programme to pay through royalties to artists on unrecouped old record deals, so that any artists who signed those old deals more than 20 years ago will now benefit, with a new group of artists qualifying each year... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Sony Music expands commitment to pay through royalties to unrecouped heritage artists
LEGAL Marilyn Manson sexual assault lawsuit dismissed over statute of limitations
Bestival boss in court over Ticketline advances
LABELS & PUBLISHERS As PRS elects eight new Council members, MMF says more changes are needed to boost diversity at the top
CISAC outlines ISWC advancements in latest annual report
Warner Music Israel launches
ONE LINERS Sky Ferriera, Ed Sheeran, Noga Erez, more
AND FINALLY... Rick Astley marks Never Gonna Give You Up's 35th anniversary with new animated video
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Sony Music expands commitment to pay through royalties to unrecouped heritage artists
Sony Music has announced that it is extending its programme to pay through royalties to artists on unrecouped old record deals, so that any artists who signed those old deals more than 20 years ago will now benefit, with a new group of artists qualifying each year.

When artists sign a conventional record deal, any cash advance they receive and - depending on the deal - possibly some of the other upfront costs incurred by the label are recoupable. That means the label can recoup those costs out of any income generated by the artist's recordings and usually specifically out of the artist's share of that income.

The artist will only actually receive new monies in their bank account once all those costs are covered and the artist is said to have 'recouped'. But plenty of artists never actually recoup.

This meant that when streaming took off and the record industry's catalogue surged in value, many heritage artists weren't seeing the benefit of that surge because the new streaming royalties being generated were paying off old unrecouped balances.

This became one of the music industry practices that was regularly criticised as the debate about the streaming economy gained momentum - not least because labels often go into profit on their investment in any one artist long before that artist actually recoups, because the label's share of recording income is usually significantly larger than the artist's share.

Some indies had already adopted the practice of writing off unrecouped balances after a period of time - so artists would start getting royalty payments in their bank accounts - but Sony was the first of the majors to announce it would start paying royalties through to any unrecouped artist who signed their deal with the record company and hadn't received any additional advances since 2000.

That announcement came last June as the UK Parliament's culture select committee was finishing off its inquiry into the economics of streaming. The move was welcomed by MPs who called on Warner Music and Universal Music to follow suit, which they both did earlier this year.

However, those commitments specifically related to artists signed before 2000. Artist and manager groups - while welcoming said commitments - also said that the majors should make a long-term rolling commitment so that after a set period of time other unrecouped artists would automatically qualify to receive royalties. Which is what Sony has just done.

Sony Music boss Rob Stringer made that new commitment as part of an annual presentation to Sony Corp investors. He told those investors: "At Sony Music Group we take pride in our efforts to be the most creator friendly company in the modern music industry and we will keep searching for the most principled ways to represent our talent".

"We became the first major company to pay through earnings to many long standing artists and songwriters regardless of any recoupment status", he added. "And now, we are expanding that effort to include even more qualifying artists who have been signed to us for more than 20 years, by offering eligibility on a rolling basis".

The new commitment means that unrecouped artists with pre-2001 deals will receive royalties from 1 Jan this year, with a new group of artists becoming eligible for such payments in each subsequent year.

Sony says that thousands of artists and songwriters have benefited from its previous commitment on unrecouped balances, together receiving millions of dollars in new royalties, and thousands more will benefit from this new commitment.

The UK's Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition both welcomed the new commitment, with their CEOs - Annabella Coldrick and David Martin - stating this morning: "We welcome the news that Sony Music Entertainment are to disregard unrecouped balances on artists' accounts on a rolling, annual basis. The policy echoes measures that the FAC and the MMF have long been calling for".

"It means that every twelve months a new cohort of artists can benefit from the growth in music consumption and finally earn an income from their work", they add. "Sony's approach, writing off debt in this way, is the right one, marking a further step towards fairer and more collaborative relationships between labels and artists".

Warner Music and Universal Music will presumably make similar commitments down the line, though we await to see when exactly.


Marilyn Manson sexual assault lawsuit dismissed over statute of limitations
One of four sexual assault lawsuits filed against Marilyn Manson has been dismissed, after a judge ruled that the statute of limitations prevented the litigation from proceeding.

The musician's former assistant, Ashley Walters, sued Manson a year ago, accusing him of sexual harassment, abuse and battery during her time working for him between 2010 and 2011. Manson's legal team had already successfully argued once before that Walters' claims fell outside the statute of limitations, but she was given the opportunity to submit an amended complaint.

In that amended filing, Walters said that, due to post-traumatic stress disorder, she had - until recently - suppressed her memories of what had happened to her while working for Manson.

She had, said the lawsuit, been "unable to recall many of the physical and emotional abuses until the fall of 2020 when countless repressed memories flooded back to [her] after meeting numerous other victims of [Manson] and obtaining counselling from a mental health professional".

In California, where the case has been filed, the statute of limitations on sexual assault and harassment cases was three years, until 2020 when it was increased to ten years.

However, according to Courthouse News, the judge overseeing the case, Michael Stern, said that the law change was not retroactive, meaning that Walters was still bound by the three year rule, requiring her to go legal within three years of the alleged abuse. "The plaintiff has pled too few facts to keep this complaint in court, and too late, most importantly", said Stern.

Walters' attorney, Tanya Sukhija-Cohen, argued in court that, as her memories only returned to her in 2020, Walters should not be bound by the older statute of limitation, saying: "There were memories she could not recall due to PTSD. Once the memories came back, she immediately thought to get an attorney and notify law enforcement".

In a statement, Walters indicated that she would appeal yesterday's decision, saying: "Nobody gets to choose exactly how they process abuse or threats. I am disheartened in the court's decision today not just for my case, but for the message it sends to other survivors out there trying to balance how they process abuse with arbitrary court deadlines".

Unsurprisingly, Manson's attorney Gene Williams insisted that the correct decision had been made, reckoning that Walters has been inconsistent in her claims about whether or not her memories had been repressed, adding: "This is an issue of whether the plaintiff has pled facts to get around statute of limitations. The allegations ended in 2011. There is no justification for not bringing the suit for ten years after that".

Manson was sued by several women last year, after actor and ex-fiancée of the musician Evan Rachel Wood named him as the previously anonymous abuser she had spoken about a number of times in recent years.

One other lawsuit was also dismissed last year on the grounds that the statute of limitations had expired, but that was then re-filed days later. Meanwhile, in October a court declined to dismiss another complaint filed by 'Game Of Thrones' actor Esmé Bianco.

In March this year, Manson sued Wood for defamation, ahead of the TV premiere of the documentary 'Phoenix Rising' on HBO, in which Wood makes various allegations of sexual abuse against the musician.

In that lawsuit, Manson accuses Wood and her "on-again, off-again" partner Ashley Gore of framing him as "a rapist and abuser - a malicious falsehood that has derailed [his] successful music, TV and film career".

He also accuses Wood and Gore of "falsifying and spreading" allegations against him, as well as "forging and distributing a fictitious letter from the [FBI], to create the false appearance" that he was under federal investigation. As well as this, he accuses Gore of trying to hack into his computer, phone and email, and that she created fake email addresses to make claims against the musician.

Manson, of course, denies all of the allegations that have been made against him.


Bestival boss in court over Ticketline advances
Rob da Bank has been in court in London this week in a dispute over money advanced to his former Bestival company by Ticketline. Except, the ticketing company claims, those monies were actually loaned to the Bestival boss on a personal basis, and therefore are still owing despite the Bestival company being wound up.

The company that promoted the Bestival and Camp Bestival festivals went into administration in 2018 after admitting it was facing various "financial challenges". It was actually forced into administration by another money-lender, which for a short time looked like it might take over the Bestival brand from da Bank - real name Robert Gorham - despite the festival being very closely linked to its co-founders, Gorham and his wife Josie.

However, in the end the Gorhams teamed up with Live Nation and SJM to buy the Bestival brand from that money-lender, albeit in order to continue staging the more family orientated Camp Bestival event, rather than Bestival itself.

This week's court hearing relates to monies advanced by Ticketline in the two years before the Bestival company went into administration. The ticketing firm says that, although it often advances money to clients that it then recoups from ticket sales, it became aware that the Bestival company was facing financial challenges making any advancing of cash a risky move.

To that end, Ticketline says, when it advanced a million pounds to the festival business via two payments between 2016 and 2018, it did so on the basis that Gorham and his fellow Bestival director John Hughes were personally liable for ensuring that money was repaid.

According to the Daily Mail, Ticketline's legal rep, Paul Burton, told the court: "By the first quarter of 2016, the [Bestival] group had cash flow problems and identified a need for an injection of approximately £1.5 million to enable it to continue to trade. Ticketline had a high degree of visibility of the group's financial position. It was not prepared to advance anything like the sum required on an unsecured basis, with repayment being recouped from ticket sales".

So, instead, Burton claimed, the ticketing firm agreed to lend £750,000 if Gorham and Hughes were personally liable to pay it back. "Notwithstanding the injection of the claimant's £750,000", the lawyer went on, "the group was soon back at crisis point and desperately short of funds. As Mr Gorham himself put it in March 2018 'we're on the brink'".

As work proceeded on Bestival's 2018 events, "once again the group had a cash flow crisis. Unpaid contractors were demanding payment, failing which they would withdraw their services and the event would not be able to open to the public. There was a concluded oral agreement for him and Mr Hughes to borrow £249,000 so that it could be deployed by the group and literally save the day".

Some of the monies loaned to the Bestival company by Ticketline were repaid, but £650,000 is still owing. And, as far as the ticketing firm is concerned, the personal liabilities of Gorham and Hughes were clear when those loans were made.

"The claimant would only make the first and second loans available if the defendants were liable to repay", Burton continued. "If the monies could be repaid by the group, so much the better, but this does not affect the agreement the defendants made".

Hughes basically agrees with Ticketline regarding his and Gorham's personal liabilities, according to the Mail. However, Gorham says that he never agreed to any personal loan or to take on any personal liabilities for the monies advanced by Ticketline.

He reportedly told the court: "This was a multi-million pound, very busy business, with me driving the customer-facing side and the artists, [and] a whole raft of things in the festival world. The finance and accounting was not my department". But, he insisted, "I never signed up for a personal loan".


As PRS elects eight new Council members, MMF says more changes are needed to boost diversity at the top
UK collecting society PRS held its Annual General Meeting in London yesterday, which included the election of eight members to the society's Council, four writers and four publishers.

Despite various efforts to increase the diversity of the organisation's leadership, the election didn't do much to enhance the diversity of its Council, which - the Music Managers Forum said yesterday - was mainly because of an "outmoded and outdated system of governance".

The writers elected to the Council yesterday included Hannah Peel, Tom Gray, Crispin Hunt and Philip Pope. On the publisher side, the four members elected to the Council were Nigel Gilroy from the Wise Music Group, Daniel Lang from Warner Chappell Music, John Minch from Concord, and Richard Paine from Faber Music.

Commenting on the election, PRS CEO Andrea Czapary Martin said: "My congratulations to the newly elected and re-elected Council members. I very much look forward to working with you all. You bring a breadth of vision, diversity of skill sets and an understanding of the digital ecosystem from which the organisation and the members will greatly benefit".

Meanwhile, outgoing Chair of the Council, Peermusic's Nigel Elderton, added: "I welcome our newly appointed and reappointed Council Members whose combined experience and expertise will help to steer PRS's future. I know they will bring a huge amount of insight and knowledge to the Members' Council".

Elderton is stepping down from the Council completely after three decades as a PRS director. "As I look back on my 30 years as a director of PRS", he went on, "it is immensely rewarding to note how far and how quickly this company has transformed into a world class performing rights organisation. I wish PRS and its members continued success as it grows into becoming a billion-pound society".

However, the Chairs and CEO of MMF - Paul Craig, Kwame Kwaten and Annabella Coldrick - expressed disappointment that the election had not resulted in a more diverse Council, despite efforts to ensure that a more diverse pool of candidates were standing.

"Today's PRS election result is disappointing", they said in a statement. "Last week at the Ivor Novello Awards we all celebrated the diversity of the UK's songwriting talent, and it's evident that those voices need to be properly represented on the Council of our collecting society".

"That this hasn't happened is no reflection on the candidates", they went on, "it's the result of an outmoded and outdated system of governance at PRS, which is in clear need of root and branch reform to ensure the value of people of colour to songwriting and publishing is not just acknowledged but properly represented".

Among the aspects of PRS governance that have come under criticism are the rules around voting. Not all PRS members get to vote, meanwhile some members get ten or 20 votes, mainly depending on the revenues they generate via the society.

That likely means a relatively small portion of the membership actually decides who is elected to the Council, which arguably impacts on the diversity of the elected team.

PRS has reviewed its governance practices in recent years while also launching various initiatives to increase the diversity of its membership, and the people working at and leading the society. It remains to be seen if further changes are now made in a bid to get a more diverse top team at the organisation.


CISAC outlines ISWC advancements in latest annual report CISAC - the global organisation for song right collecting societies - has published its annual report, which includes updates on various lobbying efforts around the world, and its involvement in debates and campaigns around livestreaming, fair remuneration, the copyright status of AI created works, and moves by some media firms to pressure music-makers into agreeing to complete buy-out deals.

It also includes an update on developments around the ISWC, the unique identifier for musical works that is managed by the global organisation. This is relevant to the ongoing economics of streaming debate, especially in the UK where the government has instigated a working group looking into music rights data issues and the impact those issues have on the payment of streaming royalties.

Many of the stakeholders involved in those discussions - including songwriters, music publishers and, via the MMF's recently published Song Royalties Manifesto, artist managers - have called for further changes to the way ISWCs are issued for new songs and then shared with streaming services.

Currently, when recordings are delivered to those streaming services, the song contained in the recording is not specifically identified. That means streaming services don't actually know what songs they are streaming.

So each month they have to send their licensing partners on the songs side of the business complete usage reports, where recordings are uniquely identified by the record industry's identifier, the ISRC. Then the music publishers and collecting societies have to match those ISRCs to ISWCs in retrospect, and then identify which ISWCs they control in each market, and therefore which streams they need to be paid for.

Many writers and publishers argue that record labels and music distributors should provide an ISWC with each recording as it is delivered, so that post-stream matching would no longer be required.

However, labels and distributors counter that when they release new tracks, the ISWC for the song often hasn't been issued. Meanwhile, it can be hard for labels and distributors to identify ISWCs, and for DIY artists who write their own music, chances are ISWCs will never be issued for those works.

Therefore to overcome some of the music industry's current data challenges, ISWCs need to be issued much faster, and need to be much more widely available to DIY Phase artists and those hobbyist musicians releasing music via DIY distributors.

Some work in that domain has been underway for a few years now. CISAC upgraded its ISWC system back in 2020, and - its new annual report states - "has made steady progress during 2021/22 in extending its global music identifier across the value chain".

The 2020 update, it adds, "has led to tighter integration in the assignment of ISWCs by member societies over the last three years".

"In the last two years societies have taken the opportunity of the new modernised system to redesign their allocation procedures, benefitting from improved web services which allow for the central assignment of ISWCs as part of their local registration processes", the annual report goes on.

Resolution and allocation services run by CISAC are also helping, it adds. "Publishers have also started to make more extensive use of the resolution service to validate existing ISWCs in their databases or retrieve ISWCs missing from their back catalogues".

"Publishers also have access to the allocation service, with the support of societies. This allows an ISWC to be assigned before the work is fully registered with the society, and before the work documentation is circulated to the network of sub-publishers throughout the world. In this way, the ISWC is fully documented even before the musical work is used".

Looking ahead, it goes on: "CISAC aims to provide new services that will be made available to other parties in the music industry, including music platforms and tech companies offering services to societies. These new services include an automated access to the ISWC database, in addition to the current website that is available to the public. The objective is to further disseminate the ISWC throughout the value chain, and with greater accuracy".

You can download the CISAC annual report here.


Warner Music Israel launches
Warner Music has announced the launch of a new division based out of Tel Aviv to be run by Mariah Mochiach. She previously repped the major in Israel when she was General Manager of Lev Group Media, the Israeli music company with which Warner has worked in the past.

In her new role, she reports into Warner's President Of Emerging Markets, Alfonso Perez-Soto, who says: "Israel has a rich culture and is the home to some incredible talent. Mariah has vast experience of the country's music industry and so is the perfect person to lead our operations here".

"We hope to turn Warner Music Israel into a powerhouse full of local stars", he goes on, "and by offering artists the opportunity to tap into Warner Music's renowned global network, we aim to attract the country's most exciting talent".

Meanwhile, Mochiach herself adds: "I'm honoured to be able to open Warner Music Israel for business. Our country is full of unique and extraordinary talent which we hope to propel onto the global stage. We hope to find many inspirational artists in Israel in the near future".


Approved: Saya Gray
With a hefty bout of touring experience as a session bassist for other artists under her belt, Saya Gray has more recently stepped out as an artist in her own right. With her debut mixtape, 'Nineteen Masters', out next month, she returns now with the latest single from it, 'Empathy 4 Bethany'.

Like earlier single, 'If There's No Seat In The Sky (Will You Forgive Me?)', the song deals with the issue of falling in love when you're constantly about to head out on the road again.

"I live very non-committal - I haven't had a lease in years", she recently told The Face. "I have a lot of energy, and the momentum of that suits me".

However, in 2019, that life started to take its toll, she explains: "I was in a really exhausted state. I remember being like, 'Is this all there is?' It was this internal process of dealing with my mental health and having no home, just living out of a bag. Eventually, it gets to your brain".

Confronting these feelings face on in her own songs, wrapped in an intimate, experimental folk sound, she has created something that really stands out.

'Nineteen Masters' is out through Dirty Hit on 2 Jun. Watch the video for 'Empathy 4 Bethany' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.


Noga Erez has signed a new deal with Warner/Atlantic's Neon Gold Records, following two albums with indie label City Slang. "I'm super excited to begin to work with the people of Atlantic/Neon Gold", she says. "This partnership is a big step for me. We've already started to get the ball rolling creatively and we have some big plans ahead of us". She's not joking, here's new single 'Nails'.



The UK's Featured Artists Coalition has appointed Genneah Turner as its new General Manager. Noting her past work in artist management, she says: "It has been my greatest pleasure to have been trusted in the role of artist manager, helping recording artists navigate the business of music in a way that centred their autonomy, and created the best foundation from which they could create and share their art. I'm THRILLED to be joining the FAC where I can turn that micro focus outwards to support recording artists as a whole and build on the great work that the FAC's founding artists started and more recently that [CEO] David Martin has built on across the organisation".



Sky Ferriera has released her first new single for more than three years, 'Don't Forget'. Her second album might actually be on the way. Please.

Ed Sheeran is still knocking out remixes of '2Step'. The thirteenth features brilliant Irish rapper Denise Chaila.

Mura Masa will release his third album, 'Demon Time', on 16 Sep. Here's new single 'Blessing Me', featuring Skillibeng and Pa Salieu.

Hercules & Love Affair and Anohni have teamed up for new single 'One'. New Hercules & Love Affair album 'In Amber' is out on 17 Jun.

Cassyette has released new single 'Sad Girl Summer'. "It's a 'fuck you' song and I want people to feel empowered by it", she says. "Anyone that's ever been cheated on will understand that hurt. It's a proper rager in the chorus".

Galya Bisengalieva has released 'Should I Panic About Dying?', taken from her soundtrack to Netflix documentary 'Hold Your Breath: The Ice Dive', which will be out in full on 22 Jul.

Pulled Apart By Horses have released new single 'Rinse & Repeat'. It's "an ode to all that have found themselves trapped in the darker corners of the music industry", says vocalist Tom Hudson. "The realisation that they need you more than you need them. Inspired by seeing Ziggy Stardust stood in line at the job centre. More punk rock than Iggy advertising life insurance".

Attawalpa has released new single 'Too Much'. "Lyrically 'Too Much' is about meeting 'the one', but you're not quite evolved yet", he says. "Generally speaking men always take longer at everything emotional. I feel I am part of a disillusioned generation who knows true love is possible if it doesn't get lost in translation".

Efé has released new single 'Lime', taken from a new EP out in July. "'Lime' is about people that try to convince you that you need them in order to be great, to succeed", she says. "I guess it is a song that pays homage to knowing your own self worth and knowing that you don't need someone and you can be in charge of your own faith".

Gag Salon are back with an important public service message with new single 'Don't Eat Stuff Off The Pavement'. While it's "generally pretty good advice", admits vocalist Joseph Mumford, the title "bears no relation to the song itself though. It's a sad song about nostalgia and living vicariously. Can't take anything too seriously though, so I had to give it a stupid title".



Girl In Red has announced a one-off show at London's Brixton Academy on 3 Apr 2023. This follows the recent postponement of UK and mainland European tour dates after the discovery of "nodular damage" on one of her vocal cords. Tickets for the new show go on sale tomorrow.

Lightning Bolt have announced UK and Ireland tour dates in August, kicking off at The Scala in London on 11 Aug and rounding things off with a performance at the ArcTanGent festival.

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


Rick Astley marks Never Gonna Give You Up's 35th anniversary with new animated video
To mark the 35th anniversary of the song's original release, Rick Astley has posted a new animated video for his 1987 single, 'Never Gonna Give You Up'.

"Last year we had the idea for a frame-by-frame animated remake of 'Never Gonna Give You Up'", explains Astley. "After a lot of hard work, it's finally ready and I love it!"

The track's original video now has over 1.2 billion views on YouTube, thanks in no small part to 'Rickrolling' meme. This, as you must know - it's been around for fifteen years after all - is a game of tricking people into watching the original 'Never Gonna Give You Up' video.

In case you've somehow blocked all memory of the meme from your brain, let me remind you: the sender basically posts a link, convincing the recipient that it will take them to a certain piece of content, or information, or maybe a super duper new animated video. The recipient then clicks on said link only to discover that they're actually watching a 1980s Astley shimmying around a factory.

The new video was created by 50/50 Mediahouse, the production company set up by Astley's manager Lene Bausager. The audio is taken from the newly remastered edition of Astley's debut album, 'Whenever You Need Somebody', which came out last week.

Astley is set to tour the US with New Kids On The Block, En Vogue and Salt N Pepa this summer, before returning to play the Kelvingrove Bandstand And Amphitheatre in Glasgow on 10 Aug.

Now, watch the new animated 'Never Gonna Give You Up' video 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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