TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK's Night Time Industries Association has again called for more government support for the clubbing sector in response to new figures that show that one in five of the country's nightclubs has closed in the last three years... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES One in five UK nightclubs has closed since 2019, NTIA research confirms
LEGAL Cypress Hill DJ sues Peloton over unlicensed music
VeePN puts in place some anti-piracy blocks to settle copyright litigation
LIVE BUSINESS Toby Leighton-Pope to lead revamped TEG Europe
Music Venue Trust announces five new appointments
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Warner Music execs pay tribute to Mo Ostin
GIGS & FESTIVALS Robbie Williams to go all orchestral at BBC Radio 2 Live
AND FINALLY... Atlanta festival cancelled, probably due to local pro-gun laws
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One in five UK nightclubs has closed since 2019, NTIA research confirms
The UK's Night Time Industries Association has again called for more government support for the clubbing sector in response to new figures that show that one in five of the country's nightclubs has closed in the last three years.

The data gathered by research firm CGA shows that the number of clubs in the UK has actually been in decline since a mid-2000s peak. But, of course, the sector has faced particularly big challenges in recent years, with clubs being severely impacted by the COVID-caused lockdowns, and the post-pandemic recovery negatively impacted by rising costs and wider economic issues.

Summarising the new data, the NTIA said in a statement this morning that the stats show "the huge impact on nightclubs across the UK over the last three years, with only 1130 nightclubs left across the UK, which is down substantially since the pandemic and subject to further change in the current economic climate".

The CGA stats look at the number of club venues in different regions, with the NTIA noting: "The Midlands and North have been hardest hit, with some key independent businesses being lost, all of which play a significant role in supporting the wider night time economy, which generates £112 billion in revenue per annum".

Stressing that the sector continues to face unprecedented pressures despite the lifting of COVID restrictions, the trade group added: "The culmination of pandemic debt, growing energy bills, workforce challenges, supply chain, increased insurance premiums, landlord pressures and product cost increases have created a perfect storm".

And those economic challenges seem likely to continue for the foreseeable future, with more than half of the night-time business consulted by the NTIA still to renew their current contracts with their energy supplies, renewals which are likely to result in a surge in energy costs.

Calling for more government support this morning, NTIA boss Michael Kill was keen to point out the value a successful night-time economy can deliver, within any one city or region, and nationally.

"Late night economy businesses were one of the quickest sectors to rebound during the financial crash many years ago, harbouring an abundance of resilience and entrepreneurial spirit", he said. "It's without a doubt that these businesses, particularly nightclubs, have a huge part to play in the regeneration of high streets in towns and cities across the UK".

"Beyond the generation of footfall through trade, domestic and international visitors to clubs support the local economy in secondary and tertiary purchases through accommodation, travel and retail", he went on.

"It is also key to recognise that these businesses play a key part in people's decision making process, from choosing a university or college, to influencing investment choices for businesses relocating or expanding, to accommodate for a young workforce. [And that's] not forgetting the important part they play in people's physical, mental and social well being".

With all that in mind, he concluded: "The government needs to recognise the economic, cultural, and community value of clubs and the wider night time economy. We must protect these businesses, using every means possible, and recognise their importance before it's too late".


Cypress Hill DJ sues Peloton over unlicensed music
Fitness firm Peloton is back fighting a copyright infringement lawsuit over music that appears in its exercise videos. Though this time, the fight is with a single copyright owner, rather than a consortium of them.

Back in 2019, Peloton enjoyed a brief stint towards the top of the music industry's copyright gripe list for not properly licensing the music that appeared in its videos. Specifically, it was a group of US music publishers that sued Peloton, accusing it of using an assortment of songs without first sorting out the required licences.

That litigation was settled in 2020, and these days music companies are more prone to mention Peloton in a positive context, usually when listing off the newer digital revenue streams that are going to help the music rights industry maintain its current levels of growth. But that doesn't mean everybody is happy about Peloton's musical fitness funtimes.

Or at least DJ Muggs - the former Cypress Hill producer and DJ - definitely isn't happy. His company, Soul Assassins Inc, has now sued Peloton claiming that the company is using various Cypress Hill tracks in its videos - including 'Jump Around, 'Insane In The Brain' and '(Rap) Superstar' - but has never licensed his slice of the song rights in those tracks.

The lawsuit from the DJ - real name Lawrence Muggerud - notes Peloton's previous run in with the music publishers, reckoning that that legal battle demonstrates that the fitness company understands its obligations when it comes to licensing music.

According to Billboard, last week's legal filing reads: "Peloton's use of [the songs] in its work-out videos without a licence from Soul Assassins is an outrageous, wilful infringement, because Peloton was sued by a group of music publishers in March of 2019 for doing the exact same thing. Clearly … Peloton knew unequivocally that it had no right to use any musical composition in its exercise videos without first obtaining a licence for one hundred percent of the song".

That Peloton's alleged infringement was 'wilful' is important, because under US copyright law if you can show wilful infringement the damages you can claim are significantly higher.

The fitness firm is yet to comment on the new litigation. It's not clear if it has secured licences from the other co-owners of the Cypress Hill tracks named in Muggerud's lawsuit.


VeePN puts in place some anti-piracy blocks to settle copyright litigation
The latest VPN to be targeted by a group of litigious film producers over allegations it was facilitating rampant copyright infringement - VeePN - has reached a settlement with the movie-makers and committed to instigate some anti-piracy measures on its platform.

VPNs are working their way up the piracy gripe lists of both the music and movie industries, as they can be used by people accessing unlicensed content online both to hide their infringing activity and to circumvent any web-blocks put in place against piracy sites by internet service providers.

The independent film producers that sued VeePN said that not only did it help copyright infringers hide their piracy activity and circumvent any anti-piracy blockades, but it actively promoted those aspects of its service via its marketing communications.

As the lawsuit was going through the motions, the producers got an injunction ordering payment processing companies PayPal and Alipay to freeze the assets of the VPN company that they controlled, which might have motivated VeePN's owners to get some sort of settlement agreed sooner rather than later.

And that settlement has indeed been agreed, meaning both the lawsuit and the injunction can now be dismissed. In order to reach a deal, VeePN has seemingly agreed to put in place measures to restrict piracy on its platform, mainly by targeting those sharing files via BitTorrent, and by instigating its own web-blocks against certain piracy sites.

A legal filing confirmed the settlement last week in a rather long sentence that says: "Pursuant to the confidential settlement agreement, plaintiffs have requested, and defendant VeePN Corp has agreed to use commercially reasonable efforts to block BitTorrent traffic on its servers in the United States to prevent customers of its VPN service from using the BitTorrent protocol to download and/or share content from servers in the United States under defendant's control, and to use commercially reasonable efforts to block access from servers in the United States under defendant's control to the certain notorious piracy websites located outside of the United States".


Toby Leighton-Pope to lead revamped TEG Europe
Australia-based live music firm TEG has appointed Toby Leighton-Pope to be Managing Director of its recently revamped European division. He will oversee the operations and strategic direction of said division, with plans for rapid expansion.

TEG was already active in Europe and especially the UK, in particular via MJR, the Bristol-based venue operator and concert promoter it acquired in 2019. Last month it announced a rejig of its various Europe-based interests, more closely aligning its tour promotion, venue, ticketing and data operations, as well as the indie club night brand Propaganda.

Leighton-Pope has previously worked for both Live Nation and AEG, most recently at the latter as co-CEO of AEG Presents UK. It was confirmed back in January that he'd stepped down from that role to "pursue other interests".

In his new job, he'll work alongside Richard Buck - co-founder of the aforementioned MJR, who became CEO of TEG-MJR after the 2019 acquisition - and who will now head up European touring and Middle Eastern partnerships for the revamped TEG Europe.

Confirming the new appointment, TEG CEO Geoff Jones said: "Toby's outstanding record in the live entertainment industry speaks for itself. His ideas, connections and infectious enthusiasm make him the perfect choice to lead the further expansion of TEG's successful integrated model into the vibrant UK and European markets".

Meanwhile Leighton-Pope himself confirmed he is double THRILLED about his new job, which is pretty damn thrilling. "I am THRILLED to join TEG as Managing Director of TEG Europe", he said. "In the past decade, Geoff and his team have built TEG from Australia's leading ticketing company, Ticketek, into an increasingly global and leading player in live entertainment, ticketing, venue, digital and data".

"I am THRILLED to be working with the talented and passionate TEG Europe team, including Richard Buck, who is taking on a vital role for us as head of European touring and Middle East partnerships", he added. "We have a huge opportunity to grow our business and build on TEG's enduring track record of touring success in concerts, sport, festivals, theatre, musicals, exhibitions, family entertainment, comedy and e-sports, and Ticketek's 40+ years experience ticketing major international events and partnering with the world's premiere venues".


Music Venue Trust announces five new appointments
The UK's Music Venue Trust has announced that a number of people who have recently worked with the organisation on a freelance basis have now been appointed to new permanent roles.

Rebecca Walker, who has been coordinating MVT's National Lottery sponsored Revive Live programme, having previously worked at Sheffield's Leadmill venue, becomes Live Projects Coordinator.

Jay Taylor and Sophie Asquith, who both worked with the organisation on a freelance basis in 2020 and 2021, become MVT Coordinators for England. Taylor has previously worked for various music industry organisations and events, as well as working at Manchester's Night & Day venue. And Asquith previously spent six years as General Manager & Booker at London's Bush Hall.

Matthew Otridge has been appointed as the lead coordinator on MVT's recently launched #OwnOurVenues initiative, which he has already been helping to develop on a freelance basis, tapping into his own experience running venues in Bristol.

And finally Chris Sherrington, who has 20 years of experience in live music, including running his own venue The Fulford Arms in York, becomes Policy & Strategy Support Officer, having previously been MVT's Coordinator for the North East of England.

Commenting on all these appointments, MVT COO Beverley Whitrick says: "These permanent appointments of amazing colleagues who have already proven themselves invaluable members of the grassroots music community during an incredibly challenging period for the sector will take MVT's ability to innovate, advocate and coordinate to a new level. All five bring proven experience, skills, insight and passion to our team and we are delighted to welcome them on board".


Warner Music execs pay tribute to Mo Ostin
Warner Music execs have paid tribute to Mo Ostin, the US record industry veteran who has died, aged 95.

Ostin began his record industry career in the 1950s at Verve Records, before being head-hunted by Frank Sinatra who - having failed in a bid to buy Verve - set up his own label, Reprise Records, in 1960, and hired Ostin to run it.

Reprise then allied with Warner just three years later, and Ostin subsequently played a key role in the growth of the major record company, and its independent distribution network WEA, with the Warner/Reprise roster of the 1960s and 1970s including the likes of The Kinks, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac, The Grateful Dead, Randy Newman and Rod Stewart.

Ostin's original stint with Warner Music ran all the way to the early 1990s. A few years after departing the major he joined the newly launched DreamWorks Records, staying there until shortly after its acquisition by Universal Music in 2003. A few years after that, from 2006, he returned to Warner Music in a consultancy role.

Among those paying tribute to Ostin yesterday were Aaron Bay-Schuck and Tom Corson - CEO and COO of Warner Records - who said in a joint statement: "Legendary music executive Mo Ostin passed away peacefully in his sleep last night at the age of 95. Mo was one of the greatest record men of all time, and a prime architect of the modern music business. For Mo, it was always first and foremost about helping artists realise their vision".

"One of the pivotal figures in the evolution of Warner Music Group", they went on, "in the 1960s Mo ushered Warner/Reprise Records into a golden era of revolutionary, culture-shifting artistry. Over his next three decades at the label, he remained a tireless champion of creative freedom, both for the talent he nurtured and the people who worked for him".

"Mo lived an extraordinary life doing what he loved", they added, "and he will be deeply missed throughout the industry he helped create, and by the countless artists and colleagues whom he inspired to be their best selves. On behalf of everyone at Warner, we want to thank Mo for everything he did, and for his inspiring belief in our bright future. Our condolences go out to his family at this difficult time".

CEO of Warner Record Music, Max Lousada, also paid tribute, stating: "In an era when creative entrepreneurs are revered, we celebrate Mo Ostin as a pioneer who wrote the rulebook for others to follow. Warner Music Group and Warner Records wouldn't exist without his passion, vision, and intelligence".

"He not only helped build one of the world's greatest music companies", he went on, "but he inspired a culture driven by bravery and ingenuity. Mo saw artists for who they really were and gave them the space and support to fully realise their originality. Mo was a legend, and he will be deeply missed".


CMU Insights: CMU + Vill Vill Vest Sessions
CMU will return to the Vill Vill Vest festival and conference in Bergen, Norway in September to present four sessions - two speed briefings from CMU's Chris Cooke, and two panel discussions.

The first speed briefing will run through the big digital dollar debates, which is to say the ongoing discussions about how the streaming music business works, and how streaming royalties are shared out across the music community. The session will help delegates navigate and understand each of the key talking points, and will provide an update on proposals and initiatives around the world to address the issues that have been raised.

The second speed briefing will delve into some of the most buzzy buzzwords of the last couple of years, including blockchain, NFTs, metaverse and Web3. It will explain what these different buzzwords mean and - more importantly - how these technologies might power or enhance digital products and services that will create new opportunities and revenue streams for the music industry.

With the panel discussions, CMU will put the spotlight on how artists and labels can create great content on a tight budget, so to keep social media feeds refreshed and the fanbase engaged. And then we'll be joined by a panel of experts to discuss the responsibilities of digital platforms to deal with harmful content that is posted by users, and the ins and outs of all things cancel culture.

You can find out more about the CMU sessions here. Meanwhile, find out about all the showcases and conference sessions at this year's Vill Vill Vest here.

Robbie Williams to go all orchestral at BBC Radio 2 Live
Robbie Williams will play with the BBC Concert Orchestra as part of the BBC Radio 2 Live event in Leeds next month, it has been confirmed. The headline set at the BBC bash will follow the release of Williams' new album 'XXV', which features new orchestral versions of his greatest hits. So, you see, teaming up with the BBC Concert Orchestra makes all kinds of sense.

How does Williams feels about this special show? Yeah, you guessed it! "I'm THRILLED to be performing at Radio 2 Live at Leeds with my band and the legendary BBC Concert Orchestra in September", says he. "I'm really looking forward to seeing you all in Leeds".

Actually, you don't need to be in Leeds to see this show, as the BBC will broadcast the performance on a special Robbie Williams themed evening on BBC Two, which will also include an edition of the Dermot-O'Leary-talks-to-pop-stars programme 'Reel Stories', in which - well - Dermot O'Leary will talk to pop star Robbie Williams.

Says Radio 2 Head Of Music Jeff Smith: "With Robbie Williams headlining Sunday night and Elbow joining the Saturday line-up of Radio 2 Live in Leeds - both joining what is already a stellar bill of globally-renowned artists - this is going to be a truly memorable weekend of music. Come and join us in Leeds, or if you can't be there in person, you can see and hear the performances on Radio 2, BBC Sounds, BBC iPlayer and BBC Two".

Oh yeah, Elbow are also new additions to the Radio 2 Live line-up. I probably should have mentioned that. Williams' former bandmate Howard Donald is also DJing at the event. Should I have mentioned that too? Nah, Smith didn't bother, so why should I?


Atlanta festival cancelled, probably due to local pro-gun laws
A long-running Live Nation promoted music festival in Atlanta - due to be headlined this year by My Chemical Romance, Future, Jack White and Fallout Boy - has been called off, reportedly because of legal issues that would have made it difficult to force a gun ban at the event.

Because, yes, we are in the good old gun loving US of A - and specifically the firearms friendly state of Georgia - where there are legal challenges for event organisers who try to stop attendees from bringing a gun with them to a show if that show is being staged on publicly owned property.

Like, for example, Piedmont Park in Atlanta, where the Music Midtown festival was set to take place next month.

According to Billboard, this all stems from the state's Safe Carry Protection Act - aka the 'guns everywhere law' - and a 2019 ruling in the Georgia Supreme Court regarding how that law should apply where private enterprises are using public property. Basically, anyone using public property on a short-term basis is obliged to respect the gun carrying rights of Georgian citizens under the Safe Carry Protection Act.

Certain pro-gun rights groups in Atlanta have seemingly been emailing organisers of Music Midtown - and posting to the festival's social media - threatening legal challenges if those rights were not respected, which would likely have created problems - had the show gone ahead - for any security staff seeking to stop guns from being carried into the festival.

All of which, it is speculated, is why Live Nation has decided to cancel this year's edition, presumably so that an alternative site, not publicly owned, can be sourced for future years, meaning gun carrying festival goers can be told the fuck off at the door without legal consequences.

None of this was mentioned in the official cancellation notice, which simply stated that: "Due to circumstances beyond our control, Music Midtown will no longer be taking place this year. We were looking forward to reuniting in September and hope we can all get back to enjoying the festival together again soon".


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.
chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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.
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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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