TODAY'S TOP STORY: Lil Wayne will no longer headline this weekend's Strawberries And Creem festival in Cambridge after the UK Home Office rejected his visa application at the last minute because of his past conviction in the US on gun charges... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Lil Wayne denied UK visa ahead of Strawberries And Creem headline set
LEGAL ASCAP and BMI hit out at US radio industry plan to force combined rate court hearing
DEALS Don Letts signs to Cooking Vinyl for first solo album
LIVE BUSINESS New York venue buys Electric Zoo promoter
RELEASES Jon Hopkins and Anna team up for Deep In The Glowing Heart remix
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith announces new album, Let's Turn It Into Sound

ONE LINERS Rina Sawayama, Carl Cox, Dry Cleaning, more
AND FINALLY... BTS's RM insists that group's break "is not the end for us"
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Lil Wayne denied UK visa ahead of Strawberries And Creem headline set
Lil Wayne will no longer headline this weekend's Strawberries And Creem festival in Cambridge after the UK Home Office rejected his visa application at the last minute because of his past conviction in the US on gun charges.

Promoters of the festival said in a short statement yesterday: "Due to extreme circumstances beyond our control or influence, we are very sorry to inform you that Lil Wayne is now unable to perform at the festival. Lil Wayne has been refused entry to the UK directly by the Home Office in a last minute decision. We are deeply disappointed by this sudden and negative ruling".

Although the Home Office doesn't usually comment on the specifics of any one individual visa application, a spokesperson did tell the BBC: "Any individual who has been sentenced to a custodial sentence of twelve months or more must have their application refused".

Wayne was jailed back in 2010 having plead guilty the previous year to the crime of 'attempted criminal possession of a weapon'. That related to an incident in 2007 when a police officer searched the rapper's tour bus and discovered a .40 calibre handgun.

He initially denied owning the gun but changed his plea in 2009 after the prosecution said they believed they had DNA evidence that could link him to the weapon and it was confirmed that evidence would be admissible in court during any trial.

The rapper received a one year jail sentence in relation to the gun crime conviction. And although he only actually spent eight months in jail, because the sentence was for one year he has fallen foul of the UK Home Office's rules.

If only Donald Trump was still President, maybe the US government would have intervened and put pressure on British ministers. After all, Wayne was facing new charges in the US in relation to the possession of illegal firearms which, because of the earlier conviction, could have resulted in a ten year jail term. But as Trump was on his way out of the White House he formally pardoned the rapper meaning that prosecution did not proceed.

But without Trump on hand to help guarantee Wayne's entry into the UK, promoters of Strawberries And Creem have instead brought in Ludacris to head up its Saturday line-up.


ASCAP and BMI hit out at US radio industry plan to force combined rate court hearing
American song right collecting societies ASCAP and BMI have hit out at the US Radio Music License Committee after it filed a motion with a court in New York seeking a single hearing to consider what royalty rates radio stations should pay the two rights organisations.

Collective licensing, ie where large groups of copyright owners come together to license their rights, is highly regulated in the US. ASCAP and BMI - the two big societies representing the performing rights of songwriters and music publishers - are regulated by the so called consent decrees.

Under those regulations, if a licensee - or group of licensees - can't agree with either ASCAP or BMI what they should pay in order to make use of each society's repertoire, they can take the matter to a rate court hearing, where basically a judge hears arguments from both sides and then sets the rate.

Traditionally there were two judges who oversaw such hearings, one when it involved ASCAP and another when it involved BMI. However, the 2018 Music Modernization Act - which made a number of reforms to US copyright law - introduced a new system. Under that new system, each time there is a rate court hearing one of a team of judges is randomly assigned to run the proceedings.

ASCAP and BMI supported that change, with the former explaining at the time that it would "ensure that the judge will find the facts afresh for each rate case based on the record in that particular case, without impressions derived from prior cases".

However, the RMLC, which represents the US radio industry when it is negotiating music licences, is seeking to use that change to the rules to force a combined hearing in front of one judge to discuss what rates stations should pay to both societies.

Neither ASCAP nor BMI want that approach to be taken, with both insisting that was not the intention of the MMA reforms. It's feared that a combined hearing would pit ASCAP against BMI, ultimately pushing the overall rates paid into the music industry down.

For example, because there are multiple collecting societies representing the performing rights of songwriters in the US, one element of the negotiations between the societies and licensees is market share. Basically, where a licensee has a revenue share arrangement with the music industry, what percentage of revenue share is allocated to each society is usually influenced by the society's share of the market.

However, quite how market share should be calculated often proves to be controversial. And with a combined rate court hearing, rather than the argument over market share being between a licensee and a society, that argument could end up being between ASCAP and BMI.

Responding to the RMLC's motion to force a single combined hearing, BMI said in a statement: "We are astonished that the RMLC has decided to bring an unprecedented joint action against BMI and ASCAP, relying on a gross mischaracterisation of the Music Modernization Act".

"We are also disappointed that the RMLC opted to commence this action rather than engage in negotiations with BMI", it went on. "We will vigorously oppose the improper joint action and look forward to establishing the significant value of the BMI repertoire to radio before the BMI rate court".

Meanwhile, ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews added: "The litigation filed today is squarely aimed at reducing what powerful RMLC radio stations pay songwriters, who are the lifeblood of the radio industry. The RMLC is weaponising their market power to punish the songwriters whom it relies upon for its business. ASCAP will vigorously fight for the right of our members to be paid fairly".


Don Letts signs to Cooking Vinyl for first solo album
Cooking Vinyl has signed DJ and film maker Don Letts to release his debut solo album.

"It's taken a bit of time to create this soundtrack to my mind but with the help of a few friends, some heavy bass lines and a record label with taste the dread stands firm", says Letts.

Cooking Vinyl Manager Director Rob Collins adds: "Don Letts has been ever present in my life since I was a sixteen year old kid at the Roxy being turned on to reggae and heavy dub. Now to work with him after 47 years is extraordinary. This is one of those records that makes it all worthwhile".

With the album still in production, it is currently scheduled for release in the spring next year. Exactly who the "few friends" Letts has roped in to help him make it are is yet to be announced, but we do know that the whole thing is being produced by Gaudi.


New York venue buys Electric Zoo promoter
The company behind New York nightclub and venue Avant Gardner has reportedly acquired New York-based promoter Made Event, best known for running the Electric Zoo electronic music festival.

Made Event was one of the many electronic music centric companies bought by SFX in the early 2010s as entertainment industry veteran Robert FX Sillerman tried to create a dance music powerhouse, basically by replicating the acquisition hungry approach he'd previously employed in the 1990s to create the original SFX live events company that ultimately morphed into Live Nation.

However, the second SFX project ran into financial problems, the company ultimately filing for bankruptcy in 2016. Out of that bankruptcy emerged the much more stable LiveStyle Inc, which retained a number of Sillerman's previous acquisitions, including Made Event.

But, according to Billboard, the Electric Zoo promoter was sold to Avant Gardner earlier this month in a $15 million deal. The Avant Gardner company was founded by Swiss concert promoter Billy Bildstein and banker Philipp Wiederkehr, with its New York venue complex opening in 2017.


Approved: Donna Thompson
For a time, Donna Thompson thought she'd left her hopes of a career as a musician behind. But sometimes it's not as easy as just casting a dream aside and thankfully she didn't. In recent years she's become a mainstay of the Total Refreshment Centre - the Hackney recording studio, performance space and hub for the London jazz scene - working with various other artists and eventually developing her own music there.

It's possible you may have seen her playing drums in Falle Nioke and Alabaster Deplume's bands, but now she's stepping out to the front of the stage herself with debut EP 'Something True'. Deplume was, in fact, one of the people who encouraged her to develop an initial batch of piano-based songs recorded at TRC into something more expansive, and he plays saxophone on the finished EP - recorded at PRAH Studios in Margate and released via its excellent label.

"I've had to sing for my supper", says Thompson. "The fact that I've even made it to this point is really a surprise to me but it's where I've wanted to be for a long time. I've found love, a home, friends and my passion for music is growing every day. Working on this EP was a way to sketch my own world in the way I hear it now, having been through all of that".

"I recorded a majority of the vocals in my bedroom as that's where I feel safest at the moment", she adds. "Being safe means being able to be vulnerable... but I try to leave myself open to ideas to flow through my mind at any time in any place".

"I'm quite sensitive and my work is predominantly focused on how I'm feeling at that present moment", she goes on. "I sometimes incorporate samples of the room at the time of recording so that the song is kind of like a musical snapshot of the flow happening. Improvisation is key to my sound".

'Something True' is set for release on 22 Jul and new single 'Be With You' is out now. Watch the video for that here.

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

Jon Hopkins and Anna team up for Deep In The Glowing Heart remix
Jon Hopkins and Anna have announced their latest collaboration, with Anna creating a 'night version' of 'Deep In The Glowing Heart' - a track from Hopkins' ambient album 'Music For Psychedelic Therapy'.

The pair first came together when Hopkins asked Anna to remix his track 'Singularity' in 2018. Then, as now, she turned in a brilliant techno rework of Hopkins' original. Although on this occasion, it's far more of a transformation from the original track, and the project also saw her work in collaboration with Hopkins directly on the remix

"I first came across Anna's music through her track 'Hidden Beauties', which I found myself playing in DJ sets all the time and always goes down so well", says Hopkins. "I then asked her to remix 'Singularity' and the results were so amazing I was super keen to work with her again but in a more collaborative way, rather than just handing over stems. We went back and forth a lot and it flowed really well. I love how this one turned out, it's such a meeting of our two styles".

Anna adds: "It is a big honour to be able to create music together with Jon. His music is part of my daily life, part of my meditations, my long walks and contemplative moments. My remix for his track 'Singularity' had a huge impact on my career and getting to know Jon better since then, and collaborate on this version of 'DITGH', it feels like our relationship has come full circle!"

Listen to 'Deep In The Glowing Heart (Night Version)' here.


Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith announces new album, Let's Turn It Into Sound
Experimental musician Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith has announced that she will release her latest album, 'Let's Turn It Into Sound', later this summer.

"The album is a puzzle", she says. "[It] is a symbol of receiving a compound of a ton of feelings from going out into a situation, and the song titles are instructions to breaking apart the feelings and understanding them".

Of first single, 'Is It Me Or Is It You?', she adds: "This song is about breaking free from others' perceptions of you and playing with the line between what is yours and what is being projected onto you. Sometimes we project pain onto others and vice versa - I wanted to play with that in the lyrics and keep in theme with playing with sound and phonetics".

The album is set for release on Ghostly International on 26 Aug. Watch the video for 'Is It Me Or Is It You?' here.



Warner Chappell has signed Puerto Rican rapper Villano Antillano. "Queer people need to feel like they can be their true, authentic selves and I want to use my music as a channel to help inspire and uplift", says Antillano. "I'm very excited to be joining Warner Chappell Music, and with the support [of] the team, I know I can continue speaking my truth".

Palm Artists is joining with larger artist management company Three Six Zero, with founder Greg Burnells bringing across his roster of artists, including Gorgon City, Piri & Tommy, Biscits and Surya Sen. "I'm delighted Greg and the Palm Artists team will be joining the Three Six Zero ecosystem", says Three Six Zero CEO Mark Gillespie. "Greg has proven to be a dynamic and innovative manager and he will play a significant part as we continue to expand our management business globally".



Venue operator ASM Global has promoted Martin McInulty to General Manager of the First Direct Arena in Leeds. "I have always felt privileged to work at the First Direct Arena and I am genuinely THRILLED to be taking on the new role as General Manager", he says. "We have a great team in Leeds who are dedicated to enhancing the arena's reputation as a must-play venue".

Downtown Music Services has expanded its operations in Latin America, promoting Estefanía Parra to Manager, A&R & Partnerships LatAm; Daniela Gutiérrez to Lead Marketing in Mexico; Martin Liviciche to Business Development covering Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay; and Juan Nuñez to Marketing Manager, LatAm. It's also hired Ariel Conde and Vianey Ramirez as part of its Client Services team.

Julia Betley has joined Warner Records in the US as SVP Creative Sync Licensing, shifting over from Sony Music. "Julia has a deep understanding of how a magic combination of music and image can propel storytelling in dramatic and meaningful ways", says EVP Brand Partnerships & Sync Claudia Butzky. "She has a proven track record of success across multiple platforms and genres, and she'll be a fantastic asset to our team as we find original and inventive opportunities for our artists. We're excited to welcome her into the Warner Records family".

Jeremy Abbott has been appointed as the new Managing Editor of NME Networks - overseeing titles including NME, NME Asia, NME Australia, and MusicTech. "I'm absolutely THRILLED to be joining NME Networks as Managing Editor", he says: "To be able to lead numerous world class titles into the future is an honour and I can't wait to get started".

Bauer Media Audio UK has appointed Tony Moorey to the new position of Content Director Of Digital Platforms. "Tony is going to transform the way you listen to and look at our content on your smart speaker, phone or laptop", says Chief Content And Music Officer Ben Cooper. "And by using his impeccable radio knowledge and his passion for digital innovation will focus on winning new audiences in new ways for our fantastic portfolio of UK stations".



Music industry conference FastForward will return in London on 6 Sep 2022. "After such a strange few years, I'm excited to be getting fantastic people back in the same room for another FastForward event", says founder Chris Carey. "While the debut event - back in 2016 - was initially aimed at under 35s there is absolutely no restriction on who can attend. Anyone who wants to positively shake up the future of the music industry should attend!" More info here.



Rina Sawayama has released the video for her latest single 'This Hell'. It's directed by Ali Kurr, who also worked on her 'XS' and 'Bad Friend' videos. "It was amazing to get back together with director Ali Kurr for the video for 'This Hell'", she says. "We always like to tell engaging stories through film together so this one was about love and community in the face of hatred and dissent".

Dry Cleaning have announced that they will release their second album, 'Stumpwork', on 21 Oct. From it, this is first single 'Don't Press Me'.

Black Midi have released new single 'Eat Men Eat', from their upcoming new album 'Hellfire', which is out on 15 Jul.

LSDXOXO and Eartheater have teamed up for new track 'Demons'. LSDXOXO explains: "'Demons' is an ode to dark, all-consuming love. The exchange that takes place between two passionate lovers can be quite vampiric. Is that so bad, if it's what both parties desire?"



Carl Cox is set to headline Wembley Arena on 17 Sep. It is "probably going to be the best thing I'm going to do in my whole life", he says. His new album, 'Electric Generations', will also be out on 16 Sep.

Zeal & Ardor have announced a new run of UK shows in November, winding up at Electric Brixton on 13 Nov. Tickets go on sale on Friday.

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


BTS's RM insists that group's break "is not the end for us"
BTS are not splitting up. Not at all. It's just a hiatus, guys. Sure, 'hiatus' is generally boyband code for 'splitting up', but not this time. Not least because, they're management company insists, they didn't even say that they were going on a "hiatus" in the video announcing their hiatus earlier this week. And now the group's RM has added to all that insisting.

Commenting on the media coverage of that video, he said in a statement on Weverse, according to Koreaboo: "A lot of the screenshots of headlines and articles, which have been shared with me, used aggressive keywords taken out of context, like BTS 'disbanding', 'halting group activities' and 'announcing hiatus'. I fully expected this to happen. I was bracing myself for it, too. But it still left a bitter feeling in my heart".

"As clear as it would have been to those who actually watched it", he added, "we explained throughout the whole broadcast that this is not the end for us".

Indeed, throughout the incredibly candid discussion between members of the group on Monday, they stressed that they had no plans to stop working together long-term. However, they did say that they were "exhausted" and had run out of things to say in their lyrics.

In part, RM blamed their workload for both of those things, adding: "The problem with K-pop and the whole 'idol' system is that they don't give you time to mature. You have to keep producing music and keep doing something. There's just no time for me to think".

To be fair, the group have been working pretty much constantly for nine years, with just a couple of brief breaks. They definitely deserve a bit of time off. But is that time off a "hiatus"? The group's management company Hybe - whose share price tumbles whenever there's talk of BTS coming to an end - says no. In a statement, it insisted that "BTS are not taking a hiatus", but confirmed that "members will be focusing more on solo projects at this time".

The extent to which BTS said - or at least implied - they would be pausing their activities as a band for sometime does partly depend on how you translate what they actually said into English.

The subtitles that accompanied Monday's video did originally have band member Suga saying "we're going into a hiatus now", but those subtitles were later amended so that the English phrase he used was "temporary break". And - also according to Koreaboo - the Korean word he actually used could be translated as "off-season" or "an off-period".

The latter translations arguably make the band's break sound more like a natural part of their usual schedule of recording, promoting and touring, rather than something more dramatic. Although, I mean, technically the word 'hiatus' just means a temporary break or interruption. But, as noted, it has become quite a loaded word in pop music.

While discussing the planned time apart was definitely something all the members of BTS did as a group in the video, it was RM who particularly spoke at length about the reasons for the decision and his feelings about the K-pop machine.

In his new statement, he admitted that he now wondered if that had been such a good idea, saying: "Now that I see the screenshots of me bawling my eyes out going around the internet, and triggering a lot of misinterpretations, I'm starting to think I shouldn't have been all that passionate. It seems to me that my courage to be completely transparent and honest always ends up causing unnecessary drama and misunderstandings".

Indeed, anyone only taking a cursory glance at media reports of this week's video may well think that the group had basically announced their split. But that was definitely not the case. And it would be a shame if this put them off speaking so openly again in future, because to see an active pop band discuss their career like that was so unusual and utterly fascinating.

Here is the full discussion again, if you missed it.


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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