TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK's Music Managers Forum has published a new report based on two roundtable discussions with its members on the topic of digital burnout, making a number of proposals for how the music industry can better help artists meet the demands of being an always-on creator in the social media age... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES MMF report proposes new support to help artists avoid digital burnout
LEGAL Round Hill sues B.o.B in royalty rights dispute
LABELS & PUBLISHERS IFPI signs memorandum of understanding with government in United Arab Emirates
LIVE BUSINESS Sacha Lord becomes Chair of Night Time Industries Association
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Producer Robin Millar marks his 70th birthday with fundraising event for Scope
ARTIST NEWS Ukraine auctions Eurovision trophy to raise money for Ukrainian army
Harry Styles to donate $1 million from upcoming North American tour to gun violence prevention organisation

AND FINALLY... Camila Cabello deletes tweets about "rude" football fans
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MMF report proposes new support to help artists avoid digital burnout
The UK's Music Managers Forum has published a new report based on two roundtable discussions with its members on the topic of digital burnout, making a number of proposals for how the music industry can better help artists meet the demands of being an always-on creator in the social media age.

The roundtables were staged in response to a number of articles and conference discussions about the pressure artists are now under to create ever more content to keep their social media feeds refreshed. Creating that constant stream of content is often unrealistic, and risks reducing the amount of time artist have to actually make music, while also potentially having a detrimental impact on the artist's mental health.

Then there's the frustration that record labels and digital platforms sometimes try to force a one-size-fits-all approach on artists, when - in fact - what kind of content works on what platforms - and what constitutes success data-wise - will depend very much on each artist and their fanbase. But that flexibility is not always available.

That particular frustration has popped up lately with artists complaining about the TikTok-based demands being made on them by their labels, based on the argument that - while we know that TikTok is now a key music marketing tool - that doesn't mean it's appropriate for every artist to just open up the TikTok app and start posting something - anything - to just tick the TikTok tick box.

The MMF's report states: "Managers on the roundtables brought up the huge pressure being applied by labels for artists to generate a continuous stream of 'content', as well as the tendency of labels to judge an artist's value based on social media numbers rather than the integrity of their music".

"There were also comments that some labels overlook the fact that every artist is different and therefore may not be suited for every social media/digital platform", it goes on, "while others prefer not to engage on social media full stop, and would rather this responsibility was devolved".

Of course, adopting a more bespoke approach to each artist's digital marketing requires more resource at the labels, with many managers reckoning that the industry's digital marketing teams are often "under-resourced, overworked and in some cases junior in experience".

"Many managers felt that as digital content is a creative expression for the artists, as well as a promotional marketing tool, relationships with digital teams should be considered as thoughtfully as an A&R or producer matching", the report goes on. "Label digital teams need to become more tailored to ensure they are suited to the artists that they are working with".

That said, while labels could potentially find better ways to work with artists on their digital content and marketing strategies, at least artists signed to labels have that extra support. Self-releasing artists are even more likely to experience digital burnout.

"With less of a support network behind them, these entrepreneurial artists can experience an overwhelming amount of work with digital choices and obligations leading to burnout", the report notes. "Adding to this workload, managers and artists are now expected to become social media experts, to generate content. Managers and artists now need to master Photoshop, video editing, knowledge of algorithms behaviours and other digital skill-sets".

Managers working with self-releasing artists also noted "the lack of industry-led digital education and resources for artists, a lack of finance to create impactful digital marketing campaigns, and limited staff support. Self-releasing artists also have the issue that brands who used to partner with them now want to see even bigger digital stats for consideration of financial support".

As for the digital services, many managers felt that streaming platforms sometimes put too much emphasis on social media stats when deciding what artists and tracks to champion and playlist. Plus building strong relationships with the streaming services often adds to the social media workload.

"Managers are also exhausted from constant demands to publicly thank [streaming services] whenever a new streaming landmark is reached", the report says. "Also discussed was authenticity, questions as to whether these [service] 'shoutouts' were necessary, and if the [services] even acknowledge and act upon them".

The report makes a number of recommendations for how labels, digital services, managers and the wider industry can help deal with the issues around digital burnout. That includes more resources for digital marketing teams, a more bespoke approach to each artist's digital marketing plan, storing of content to allow artists to take breaks from social media, more access to insight on what works on social media, and more training and mental health support for artists and managers.

The report also adds that "there was also a suggestion to set up an independent body" to instigate discussions between "all stakeholders, which includes artists, managers, labels, social media platforms and [streaming services], looking at different perspectives, and working out actionable solutions/best practices, which needs to be constantly reviewed/monitored".

You can download the report here.


Round Hill sues B.o.B in royalty rights dispute
Round Hill Music has sued the rapper B.o.B claiming that he owes them $3 million after reneging on a past royalty rights agreement.

According to a legal filing last week, the rapper seemingly entered into a deal back in 2017 which involved him assigning away some of the royalties linked to his recordings, specifically public performance or so called neighbouring rights income.

That deal wasn't with Round Hill, but the music rights firm subsequently acquired the royalty rights, which - seemingly - it has since been struggling to enforce. "In an intentional violation of the assignment agreement, defendants have prevented plaintiffs from collecting the royalties that plaintiffs are contractually entitled to collect", says the lawsuit.

For his part, B.o.B is blaming a former manager for the dispute. He told TMZ: "I have not seen the lawsuit but am aware my former manager had entered into agreements without my knowledge. I take my business seriously and look forward to getting to the truth of what happened".

As do we all B.o.B, as do well all.


IFPI signs memorandum of understanding with government in United Arab Emirates
The International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the government of the United Arab Emirates which aims to support the growth of the music industry in the country, mainly by bringing its copyright laws up to international standards, and setting up a collecting society representing recording rights in the market.

The agreement is with UAE's Ministry Of Economy, and will see the global trade group and government department collaborate in various ways, "including sharing relevant information and data; creating a copyright framework that aligns with international standards; and enforcing, collecting and protecting the rights" of recording artists and record labels.

Although, as a regional market, the Middle East and North Africa generates relatively low revenues for the record industry at large - in the wider scheme of things - it was also the fastest growing region in terms of recorded music revenues last year.

That growth was mainly fuelled by the ongoing streaming boom, though capitalising on all the opportunities in the region requires ensuring each country's copyright system fully protects sound recording rights, including in those scenarios where monies are usually collecting through the collective licensing system.

Commenting on the memorandum of understanding with the UAE government, IFPI boss Frances Moore says: "This is a very exciting time for the music industry in the UAE and the MoU is an important next step to ensuring its future growth".

"We are looking forward to working closely with the Ministry Of Economy in a number of areas to support the development of the industry in a way that is sustainable for the long term", she goes on. "Our priority is to develop an official music licensing company that will license the use of recordings for broadcast and public performance under UAE law".

Meanwhile, the country's Assistant Undersecretary For Commercial Affairs, Abdulaziz Al-Nuaimi, adds: "There's a saying that the future has already happened, unfolding one day at a time. We believe the partnership with IFPI and its members shall unfold the music industry future the same way, as each day passes. Among other areas included in the MoU, collective management is only the beginning to fuel the economic potential of the UAE's and the region's creative economy".


Sacha Lord becomes Chair of Night Time Industries Association
The Night Time Industries Association has appointed Parklife and The Warehouse Project co-founder Sacha Lord as the chair of its board of directors.

Lord - who is also the Night Time Economy Advisor for Greater Manchester - was very vocal regarding the challenges faced by live entertainment and other night-time businesses during the COVID lockdowns, and was generally very much allied with the NTIA its various campaigns regarding lockdown restrictions and the need for more government support for the sector.

Confirming his new role at the NTIA, Lord says: "The Night Time Industries Association is a critical player in the sector, and has been a key voice in representing operators, not just in London but nationally across the UK".

"I am honoured to be joining as Chair at this pivotal time in the sector's recovery", he goes on. "There is still so much work to be done to help operators through these difficult times, and I wholly support the NTIA in their efforts to create better working practices for those in the industry, achieve greater funding for businesses nationwide, and develop vital initiatives to ensure everyone working within, or using the night time economy, gets home safely".

NTIA CEO Michael Kill adds: "I have been lucky enough to have worked very closely with Sacha over the last three years, and alongside welcoming him as the Chair of the board of directors at the Night Time Industries Association, would like to personally thank him on behalf of the industry for his exceptional work and support during the crisis".

"As a leading figurehead within our industry, we are looking forward to harnessing his passion and drive in establishing a stronger voice for the sector", he continues, "adding another dimension to the public and political agenda to drive home positive change, and support an extremely ambitious strategy for the sector in the future. The unanimous appointment by the board is testament to the tireless work that he has put into representing this industry".


Producer Robin Millar marks his 70th birthday with fundraising event for Scope
Veteran music producer and Blue Raincoat Music Chairman Robin Millar will this week celebrate his 70th birthday by also marking the 70th anniversary of the charity for which is he is Chairman, that being Scope. Millar's 70th was actually late last year, but COVID restrictions postponed the fundraising celebrations slightly, and they are now taking place at London's 606 Club on Thursday with a livestream of the proceedings available.

The official blurb for the event explains: "Robin, who has been blind since the age of sixteen, became Chairman of Scope in 2021, a charity that provides practical advice and emotional support whenever disabled people need them most. It does this through its Scope helpline, online community, a range of employment and family services, community engagement programmes, partnerships and more, with the overarching aim of achieving everyday equality for disabled people".

"The planned party", it then adds, "will see 100 invited guests enjoy entertainment from The Stacey Brothers and Andy Caine, featuring musicians who have worked with the likes of Noel Gallagher, Sheryl Crow and King Crimson among others, playing a set comprised of classic songs . This will be followed by a blues set featuring Millar himself - who has released three acclaimed albums as a solo artist - on guitar".

The stream of the event will be available free of charge to 5000 Scope volunteers and colleagues, while others are being encouraged to make a donation to the charity via this JustGiving page.

Millar himself was recently diagnosed with cancer and is planning to go into isolation the day after the party. Commenting on the event, he says: "I have spent my life in the music business and it has been incredibly good to me, so I'm hoping the industry will step up and help support [Scope's] vital work".

"If anyone can make a donation to Scope right now to help over fourteen million disabled people and their families, I would be very grateful and will take great strength from it as I go into my personal wilderness of cancer", he adds. "This fundraising activity is part of our ambition to halve the employment gap between disabled people and the rest of the population and to send a clear message to businesses that those who welcome and include disabled people thrive".


Setlist: Is it time to #ownourvenues?
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including the UK Music Venue Trust's launch of 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 - and its #ownourvenues campaign, plus Sony Music's latest announcement regarding paying royalties to unrecouped artists.

Listen to this episode of Setlist here.

Ukraine auctions Eurovision trophy to raise money for Ukrainian army
This year's Eurovision Song Contest winners Kalush Orchestra have auctioned off their trophy from the competition in order to raise money for the Ukrainian army. The winning bid of 500 Ethereums - roughly $900,000 - was placed by Ukraine-based cryptocurrency exchange WhiteBit.

Announced last week, the auction took place on Sunday, hosted by TV presenter Serhiy Prytula, with the band also announcing the winner of a raffle to win the pink bucket hat frontman Oleh Psiuk wore on stage at this month's Eurovision show.

Tickets for the raffle cost five euros a pop, and raised a further $370,000. The band say that the money raised will be used to purchase three PD-2 drone systems for the Ukrainian army.

"You guys are amazing", said the band in a Facebook post following the auction. "We appreciate each and everyone of you who donated to this auction and a special thanks to the team at Whitebit who purchased the trophy for $900,000 and are now its rightful owners".

Kalush Orchestra, of course, won Eurovision earlier this month in a dramatic round of voting, which saw them receive far and away the biggest portion of the public vote.

Already one of the favourites to win the competition, it became widely expected that Ukraine would be Eurovision champions this year following the Russian invasion of the country in February. Although, of course, following those events, it had not been a given that Ukraine would even be able to perform at this year's contest.

First there was the logistical question of whether Kalush Orchestra would be able to travel to this year's host city, Turin in Italy. And then there was the political dimension, with Eurovision famously having a strict no politics rule, which is always hard to enforce when there is an ongoing political and/or military conflict between two countries competing in the Contest.

Initially, the European Broadcasting Union, which oversees the Contest, had said that it would still allow acts from both Ukraine and Russia to perform. However, following criticism from broadcasters across Europe about the EBU's stance - including Ukraine's state broadcaster, UA:PBC - it was subsequently announced that Russia would be barred from entering the competition.

Ukraine won with a combined jury and public vote points total of 631, well ahead of the UK in second place with 466.


Harry Styles to donate $1 million from upcoming North American tour to gun violence prevention organisation
Harry Styles has announced that he and promoter Live Nation will be donating over $1 million in proceeds from his upcoming North American tour to the Support Fund of Everytown For Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organisation in the US.

This follows the horrific events in Uvalde, Texas last week, where nineteen children and two teachers were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School. Styles and Live Nation announced the charitable donation to the education, research, and litigation arm of Everytown For Gun Safety this weekend.

Confirming that support, Styles said: "Along with all of you, I have been absolutely devastated by the recent string of mass shootings in America, culminating at Robb Elementary School in Texas. On our North American tour, we will be partnering with Everytown who work to end gun violence, donating to support their efforts, and sharing their suggested action items".

The sold out 42 date tour supporting Styles' new album 'Harry's House' begins in Toronto on 15 Aug, and includes a fifteen night run at Madison Square Garden in New York and another fifteen night residency at the Kia Forum in LA. There will also be five nights in Texas at the Moody Center in Austin.


Camila Cabello deletes tweets about "rude" football fans
Camila Cabello did not call Real Madrid and Liverpool fans rude when she performed an opening show at the UEFA Champions League Final in Paris on Saturday. While a message to that effect did appear on her Twitter account, a rep has insisted that someone else posted it.

To be fair, it does sound like the football fans were quite rude, although given what was happening as those fans tried to get into the stadium on Saturday night, that was possibly inevitable. And, either way, the musician would like you to know that her official verdict of her performance at the football match is that it was a "dream moment".

The singer appeared at the Stade de France to perform a medley of her hits to a crowd already agitated by ticketing issues and heavily criticised crowd management which had left many fans stuck outside the venue, and which resulted in the beginning of the game being delayed.

There mainly to see a game of football - and in many cases very frustrated about all the issues getting into the stadium - many didn't take kindly to Cabello turning up on the pitch to sing some songs, confirming that fact by booing and loudly singing their teams' own anthems over her performance.

Following the show, two tweets appeared on Cabello's Twitter account, the first reading: "Playing back our performance and I can't believe people were singing their team's anthem so loud during our performance. Like, my team and I worked tirelessly for so long to bring [the] right vibes and give a good show".

This was followed by, "Very rude but whatever, I'M GLAD U GUYS LOVED IT!"

With those tweets seemingly not in line with the vibe she was going for either, they were later deleted and replaced with a more positive message, featuring a brief clip of the show, in which the crowd can indeed be heard singing songs that are not those being performed.

"This was something I will never forget", the revised tweet began. "Dream moment for all of us! Thank you UEFA Champions League and [sponsor] Pepsi, we're so honoured to be part of such a huge game. I grew up watching soccer with my family and the energy in there was SO ELECTRIC I had so much fun watching afterwards too. Thank you so much to my team and the dancers and musicians and creatives that worked so hard on this show!"

Referring back to the earlier deleted tweets, a spokesperson for Cabello told Metro that they were "deleted because someone who has access to Camila's account posted [them] intending to post on their own account".

So, there you go. If you're going to complain about something on social media, do try to not accidentally tweet your gripes to a famous person's account with words that definitely read like you are that famous person.


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)
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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
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