TODAY'S TOP STORY: CMU Insights has today announced two sets of new webinars that will take place next month and in January. First up are the annual Music Business Trends webinars that provide an end-of-year overview of all the key developments in the business of music over the last twelve months. The second set will then explain the ongoing debates around the digital music business and how streaming income is shared out across the music community... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES New CMU webinars to put the spotlight on music business trends and the digital dollar debates
LEGAL US judge declines to set aside Slacker ruling ordering it to pay $9.7 million to SoundExchange
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Afrochella's Rising Star Challenge competition partners with Sony Music Africa
LIVE BUSINESS Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster comment on last week's ticketing dramas
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Entrepreneur behind Kanye West's Stem player discusses working with his now ex-business partner
MEDIA AudioUK calls for more recognition of and support for UK podcast makers
GIGS & FESTIVALS Florence And The Machine postpone remainder of UK tour
ONE LINERS Cardi B, Pharrell & Travis Scott, Blur, more
AND FINALLY... DJ Khaled puts his shoe cupboard on Airbnb
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New CMU webinars to put the spotlight on music business trends and the digital dollar debates
CMU Insights has today announced two sets of new webinars that will take place next month and in January. First up are the annual Music Business Trends webinars that provide an end-of-year overview of all the key developments in the business of music over the last twelve months. The second set will then explain the ongoing debates around the digital music business and how streaming income is shared out across the music community.

The webinars are all hosted by CMU's Chris Cooke. Attendees can book places here, and then either tune in live or watch back on-demand following the live session, and everyone also gets access to the slides presented during the webinar.

The three Music Business Trends webinars will help music people navigate and understand all the key trends and developments from the last year.

The first session looks at the different music industry revenue streams, how they are performing, and to what extent COVID is still having an impact. The second session puts the spotlight on what has been happening in the world of music copyright, while the third is focused on digital music trends.

The webinars will be available live each Monday afternoon from 5-19 Dec at 2.30pm UK time - or attendees can watch again at any point during December and into the new year.

The three webinars under the banner Digital Dollar Debates will help anyone working in music to fully understand the ongoing discussions around how streaming works and how digital income is shared.

These debates have been particularly newsworthy in the UK over the last two years, of course, because of Parliament's economics of streaming inquiry. But similar discussions are being had all over the world, with various changes to the way streaming operates being proposed and, in some cases, already implemented.

These webinars will be available live each Monday afternoon from 16-30 Jan at 2.30pm UK time - or attendees can tune in at anytime once the live edition has gone out.

Talking about the webinars, Cooke says: "In an industry that continues to evolve at a rapid pace, it can be hard for anyone working in music to keep all with all the happenings, announcements, launches, changes and debates. Here at CMU we monitor it all and then identify the really important stuff. With the Music Business Trends webinars, you'll end 2022 and start 2023 fully up to speed on all the very latest developments".

"In the new year we will put the spotlight on the digital dollar debates", he adds. "As I said in Parliament last week, the economics of streaming debate that the culture select committee led on in 2021 is actually a number of different but connected debates. To truly understand what's going on - and what issues have been raised and why - it's important to separate out those different debates".

"That's what we'll do with these webinars", he confirms. "And we'll explain all the arguments from every viewpoint, allowing attendees to then form their own opinions on the economics of streaming, but in a super informed way".

You will find more information about the webinars and can book places here.

CMU can also run these and other webinars bespoke for music companies, allowing employees to come together to learn and debate together. More information about CMU's team training is available here.


US judge declines to set aside Slacker ruling ordering it to pay $9.7 million to SoundExchange
A US judge has declined to set aside his recent ruling against personalised radio service Slacker and its parent company LiveOne regarding royalties that are owed to record industry collecting society SoundExchange. The judge says that the court is simply enforcing an agreement signed up to by LiveOne execs back in 2020 and his judgement is therefore "fair, adequate and reasonable".

Personalised radio services in the US - like Slacker, which was bought by the company now known as LiveOne in 2017 - can rely on a so called compulsory licence when it comes to accessing recorded music to stream, meaning they don't have to negotiate deals with individual record labels. SoundExchange manages that compulsory licence.

But they do need to pay royalties to the society under the terms of the compulsory licence. And, SoundExchange argued in a lawsuit filed with the courts in June, Slacker stopped paying those royalties back in 2017 following the LiveOne acquisition.

Once the royalty dispute was in court, SoundExchange presented an agreement that had been signed by execs at Slacker in 2020 which said that a judge should enter a judgment against the company for the full sum owing to the collecting society if the digital firm defaulted on a repayment plan that had just been agreed. Which it then did.

With that in mind, the judge quickly ruled in SoundExchange's favour, ordering Slacker and LiveOne to hand over $9.7 million in unpaid royalties to the collecting society.

LiveOne then returned to court arguing that it was simply unrealistic to expect it to hand over nearly $10 million to SoundExchange in one go, and that new talks should begin to agree a payment plan. Enforcing the court order, it added, would cause "unsustainable economic damage" to the LiveOne business, not least because it had already had a negative impact on the company's loan agreements.

SoundExchange insisted that the judgement should stay in place, basically arguing that - after five years of back and forth with LiveOne - now is not the time to be opening a new set of negotiations.

The judge overseeing the case agrees. He said in a new ruling last week: "Defendants cannot argue that the judgment is a result of 'excusable neglect' or that it is 'without fault', when the judgment was entered pursuant to stipulation that defendants negotiated for and assented to".

With that in mind, LiveOne's motion to have the earlier ruling set aside was denied.


Afrochella's Rising Star Challenge competition partners with Sony Music Africa
Afrochella promoter Culture Management Group and streaming service Audiomack have partnered with Sony Music to expand their existing Rising Star Challenge competition. Previously, winners were offered the chance to play the Afrochella festival in Ghana. Now they will also be offered global distribution deals and record contracts via the major.

The top winner will be given a one single record contract with Sony Music Africa, with marketing support and free access to Afrochella's own recording studio.

That winner and five others will also be given the opportunity to perform on the Rising Star Stage at the next Afrochella festival at the end of next month. Up to ten winners from a shortlist of 25 will also be offered distribution deals.

"With the strong backing of Sony Music, we now have the exciting opportunity to make an artist's dreams come to life by providing them with a distribution deal and sustainable resources to help jumpstart their musical career", says Afrochella founder Abdul Karim-Abdullah.

Afrochella - which is set to take place on 28-29 Dec - is currently the subject of legal action from AEG's Goldenvoice - the owner of the Californian music festival Coachella – which accuses the African event of trademark infringement by using 'chella' in its name.

The latest in a string of trademark lawsuits attempting to protect the Coachella name, this is the first launched against an event outside the US. Although it was the staging of Afrochella events within California that seemingly prompted legal action in the American courts.

The lawsuit filed in the US last month is accompanied by another being pursued by Goldenvoice in Ghana itself. That particular legal action was probably mainly prompted by the organisers of Afrochella not only seeking to register their own brand with the trademark registry in Ghana, but the Coachella and Chella brands too.


Taylor Swift and Ticketmaster comment on last week's ticketing dramas
Live Nation's Ticketmaster posted an updated blog post this weekend about all the issues that occurred last week during the pre-sale of tickets for the US dates on Taylor Swift's 2023 'The Eras Tour', reckoning that about 15% of Swift-related "interactions" on its website "experienced issues".

The update followed an Instagram post from Swift herself on Friday in which she stated: "We asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could".

There was a flood of outrage on social media last week as many Swift fans with access to the pre-sale of tickets for the tour experienced issues with the Ticketmaster platform. In response to the growing discontent online, the ticketing firm admitted on its own social media that "historically unprecedented demand" was creating delays, but encouraged fans to "hold tight" and thanked them for their patience.

A separate pre-sale for Capital One cardholders was then pushed back while Ticketmaster dealt with the ongoing "unprecedented demand". Plans to make all of the remaining tickets available to anyone without pre-sale access on Friday were then ultimately called off "due to extraordinarily high demands on ticketing systems and insufficient remaining ticket inventory to meet that demand".

Following all the social media chatter and accompanying media reporting about the various problems Swift fans were experiencing accessing tickets to her show, the musician herself took to Instagram to respond.

"It goes without saying that I'm extremely protective of my fans", she declared, explaining that's why she tries to run as much of the operations around her music and shows within her own team, so she's in full control of the fan experience. But sometimes third parties have to be relied upon, of course.

"There are a multitude of reasons why people had such a hard time trying to get tickets and I'm trying to figure out how this situation can be improved moving forward", she went on. "I'm not going to make excuses for anyone because we asked them, multiple times, if they could handle this kind of demand and we were assured they could".

In its new blog post on Saturday, which updated an earlier and previously deleted post, Ticketmaster writes: "We strive to make ticket buying as easy as possible for fans, but that hasn't been the case for many people trying to buy tickets for Taylor Swift's 'The Eras Tour'".

"First", it then states, "we want to apologise to Taylor and all of her fans - especially those who had a terrible experience trying to purchase tickets. Next, we feel we owe it to everyone to share some information to help explain what happened".

Swift's tour made use of Ticketmaster's Verified Fan system to manage the pre-sale, which seeks to block any bots trying to hoover up tickets for sale on the secondary market. "Based on fan interest at registration we knew this would be big", the blog post adds. "Over 3.5 million people pre-registered ... which is the largest registration in history".

Given that usually only about 40% of those who register actually try and buy tickets when they go on pre-sale - and with the average purchase being three tickets - Ticketmaster sent codes to 1.5 million fans that would give them access to tickets on 15 Nov. The remaining two million fans who had signed up were then put on a waiting list on the off chance tickets would still be available after the initial influx of purchases.

"Historically, we've been able to manage huge volume coming into the site to shop for tickets, so those with Verified Fan codes have a smooth shopping process", it goes on. "However, this time the staggering number of bot attacks as well as fans who didn't have codes drove unprecedented traffic on our site, resulting in 3.5 billion total system requests - four times our previous peak".

"Never before has a Verified Fan onsale sparked so much attention - or traffic", it adds. "This disrupted the predictability and reliability that is the hallmark of our Verified Fan platform. Overall, we estimate about 15% of interactions across the site experienced issues, and that's 15% too many, including passcode validation errors that caused fans to lose tickets they had carted".

However, despite all that, the Ticketmaster blog post goes on, over two million tickets were sold, and those all went to people who had previously registered with the Verified Fan system. As a result, it reckons, less than 5% of tickets for the tour have popped up on secondary ticketing sites, compared to the 20-30% that is common for in-demand shows in the US that don't use a system like Verified Fan.

And while Ticketmaster is willing to take responsibility for the tech issues Swift's fans occurred last week - "we're working to shore up our tech for the new bar that has been set", the company insists - it isn't taking the blame for all the fans that missed out on tickets for the shows. Because when there is high demand to access a show - let alone "historically unprecedented demand" - some fans will inevitably miss out.

Indeed, Ticketmaster concludes, "based on the volume of traffic to our site" to satisfy all the demand for tickets "Taylor would need to perform over 900 stadium shows - almost 20 times the number of shows she is doing - that's a stadium show every single night for the next 2.5 years". However, "while it's impossible for everyone to get tickets to these shows, we know we can do more to improve the experience and that's what we're focused on".

It remains to be seen whether this weekend's blog post does anything to placate the pissed off Swift, let alone the multitude of angry Swift fans. Though last week's debacle also put the spotlight back on the wider criticisms that have been made about Ticketmaster within the music community, and by politicians and consumer rights groups.

Those criticisms include the long-standing consumer resentment over ticketing fees; Ticketmaster's ongoing interests in the secondary ticketing market in the US; the lack of transparency over how tickets for shows are allocated; and - of course - Ticketmaster being part of the wider Live Nation group, a combination that has been frequently criticised, including by US-based artist groups just last month.

Now, arguably none of those issues are particularly relevant to last week's problems, which was really just about a tech platform that wasn't equipped to cope with the levels of demand for Swift's first tour in five years.

But maybe some of the practices that are common in the modern ticketing business did contribute to the problems - and even if they didn't, when you have as many critics as Ticketmaster, it's inevitable that at least some of them are going to be ready to kick you whenever you're down.

Among Ticketmaster's critics in the US Congress is Amy Klobuchar, who used last week's Swift tickets meltdown to prompt another letter to Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino.

"In the last twelve months, how much have you invested in upgrading your systems to address demand surges, and specifically, what improvements did those investments generate?" the senator wanted to know.

Perhaps wondering if the allocation of tickets to brand partners, such as Capital One, had contributed to last week's problems with tickets to The Eras Tour', she also asked: "Typically, what percentage of high profile tour tickets are available to the general public compared to those allocated to pre-sales, radio stations, VIPs, and other restricted sales opportunities?"

And, unsurprisingly, Klobuchar used the moment to again discuss the 2010 merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster, and the obligations the two companies made to the US Department Of Justice, via one of those consent decrees, in order to get regulator approval for that deal.

Earlier this year the Senator requested that the DoJ again review the dominance of Live Nation and Ticketmaster in the US live sector, and following last week's Swift debacle the New York Times reported that such review is actually underway.

In her new letter to Rapino, Klobuchar wrote: "Ticketmaster has been repeatedly accused of violating the requirements of its consent decree with the Department Of Justice. Is Ticketmaster aware of any complaints that have been made to it or to government agencies about potential noncompliance with the consent decree in the last twelve months?"

The senator requested that her questions be answered by 23 Nov.


Entrepreneur behind Kanye West's Stem player discusses working with his now ex-business partner
Kanye West's business partner on the Stem player project, Kano Computing's Alex Klein, has spoken to the LA Times about that collaboration after recently confirming that his company has ended its relationship with the rapper following his recent flurry of controversial interviews and statements.

West first expressed an interest in working with UK-based Kano Computing back in 2019 and that led to him getting very involved with the firm's Stem device, which allows users to break down a track into its constituent parts and then remix it.

The device was launched alongside West's 'Donda' album in summer 2021, and the follow up album - this year's 'Donda 2' - was then exclusively made available via the device.

Having become aware of Kano's tech at the CES trade show in Las Vegas, West approached Klein about a collaboration. "I brought a set of our tech to his house, which he loved", the Kano boss tells the Times. "He asked me if he could put his album on our speaker device. He also asked me to teach him how to code".

The partnership initially progressed well. "I liked working with him, I liked him as a person", Klein adds. "We spent time together in Cody [in Wyoming], where music was made for [2019 album] 'Jesus Is King', which was a memorable time that I'm very grateful for".

However, the relationship was already becoming strained prior to West's most recent meltdown, because Kano wanted to involve other artists in the Stem player and platform.

"Unfortunately, Kanye didn't want to allow other musical artists onto the platform", Klein says. "This was a disagreement that we had trouble resolving". At that point West offered to buy the Kano company so to give him full control over the player, but Klein declined.

Then West started making his controversial statements and giving all those controversial interviews, which included spreading dangerous anti-semitic conspiracy theories. In a recent Reddit post Klein, who is half-Jewish, revealed that the rapper "tried to call me racist when I gently told him that attacking a whole race of people wasn't good for him or Stem".

Like most of West's business partners, as soon as it became clear the rapper was standing by his controversial statements, Kano decided to end its partnership with him. "I asked Kanye not to take the path he's on", Klein noted in a recent Discord chat. "We've told him that we're unable to work together while he's putting out racial conspiracy theories. There's no deal in place".

Of course, Klein's collaboration with West is not entirely at an end, given his company is a co-defendant on some uncleared sample lawsuits filed in relation to 'Donda' and 'Donda 2'. Though Kano is trying to get itself removed from those lawsuits on the basis "the Kano and Stem team were assured by Kanye and [his company] that they would provide music with 'all intellectual property rights, licences and consents'".

Meanwhile, for the rest of us, Klein concludes in his conversation with the LA Times: "Stem lets you customise music. You can turn down Ye's voice if you like".


AudioUK calls for more recognition of and support for UK podcast makers
The boss of AudioUK - an organisation that represents independent audio production companies - last week used an event organised by the Westminster Media Forum to call for increased government support to help audio producers in the UK to capitalise on the podcasting boom.

Chloe Straw stated: "The global podcasting market is expected to grow at a rate of 31.1%, to reach $94.88 billion by 2028. The UK sector is currently one of the most developed in terms of numbers of companies and professionals involved in audio production. But this may only be for a period of time as other countries seek to build their own sectors".

The AudioUK MD would like the government - and its Department Of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport - to reorganise the way it interacts with the audio production sector, which has traditionally been seen as part of the radio industry, but which has evolved a great deal with the rise of podcasting.

"At the most basic level, the current statistical groupings which DCMS uses to collect and report data do not include audio, just 'radio broadcasting'", she said. "And audio production is not represented on the Creative Industries Council, meaning a lack of input at that crucial strategic level".

Beyond that, she would also like to see new support for the audio sector, in particular tax relief, to help the UK industry compete with an increasingly dominant US audio business.

"The US audio market has grown exponentially in terms of revenue and audience", she noted. "So one economy is producing a lot of podcasts and driving its revenue generation and therefore it is limiting the international market and wider economic benefits".

"A tax relief would allow a rebalancing of at least some of the production market power towards the UK", she added, "through incentivising investors to look at this country's production sector. There is already a whole suite of creative industry tax reliefs - film, TV, video games and animation - but not audio".

We await to see if the government makes any moves in this domain.


Setlist: MPs ask for an update on the "complete reset of streaming"
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee hearing which saw music industry experts and representatives updating MPs about the work that has been ongoing within the music community since the committee published its report last year on the economics of music streaming.

Listen to this episode Setlist here.

Florence And The Machine postpone remainder of UK tour
Florence And The Machine have postponed the remainder of their UK tour - which only got underway last week - after Florence Welch broke her foot. She discovered the injury after playing the first of two planned nights at the O2 Arena in London on Friday night.

"I'm so sorry to say that after an x-ray it seems I was dancing on a broken foot last night", she said in a social media post on Saturday. "It is not in my nature to postpone a show, and certainly not a UK tour; but I'm in pain and as dancers know, dancing on an injury is not a good idea. And I have been told not to perform to avoid further damage".

"I'm heartbroken as the 'Dance Fever' tour has been my favourite show we have ever put on", she went on. "The communion with you. Your beautiful faces shining. I love you so much and I'm so sorry to anyone who is disappointed. My heart is aching. I can't wait to be back on my feet and back in your arms".

"Please hang on to your tickets", she added, lest anyone tear their's up in frustration. "We are working our hardest to reschedule these dates for next year and we will let you knows as soon as possible".

Had it gone ahead, the next show on the tour would have been tonight at Bournemouth's International Centre.



Cardi B is now managed by Irving Azoff's Full Stop Management. Her direct manager there, Shawn Holiday, tells Billboard that she has new music on the way in 2023.



Pico Cibelli has been named as the new President of Warner Music Italy. He joins from Sony Music Italy. "It's an incredibly exciting move for me to join the team at Warner Music and take up the best role in the Italian music industry", he says. "Music fans in Italy have always embraced domestic repertoire, but that trend has accelerated in recent years, making it more important than ever for us to sign and nurture local talent. The success of artists such as Måneskin has also shown that Italian artists can take the world by storm, something we'll see more of in the years ahead".



Pharrell Williams and Travis Scott have collaborated on new track 'Down In Atlanta'.

Pink has announced that she will release new album 'Trustfall' on 17 Feb. She recently released the first single from it, 'Never Gonna Not Dance Again'.

Jean-Michel Jarre and Brian Eno have teamed up on 'Epica Extension' - a rework of 'Epica' from Jarre's 'Oxymore' album. "When I started 'Epica', I immediately thought that Brian Eno could be involved in this most rhythmic track of the album, thinking that he could bring his signature 'ambient' touch in reworking the track – another kind of oxymoron", says Jarre. "But he told me that he was most interested in developing rhythmic ideas these days, and here is the beautiful, ghostly, unexpected result. Thank you Brian".

††† have released new single 'Sensation'. Their new EP, 'Permanent.Radiant', is out on 9 Dec.

Taahliah and Loraine James have released a new track together called 'Fuck It!'



Blur have announced a second Wembley Stadium show, after the first sold out. It'll take place on 9 Jul. Tickets are on sale now.

Låpsley has announced UK tour dates in March next year, finishing with a show at EartH in London on 24 Mar. Here's her latest single, 'Hotel Corridors'. Her new album, 'Cautionary Tales of Youth', is out on 20 Jan.

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


DJ Khaled puts his shoe cupboard on Airbnb
Vice's long-running London Rental Opportunity Of The Week column has long criticised flats that are little more than a shoe closet. But here's a shoe closet you might actually want to stay in. DJ Khaled has teamed up with Airbnb to rent out the cupboard where he stores his shoes for two nights next month.

As cupboards go, it's pretty roomy. You might even call it a room. There's a double bed in there and still plenty of space. Alright, there are a lot of shoes filling up all the shelves, but I'm not sure any of them have actually been worn, so it shouldn't smell too bad. And even if it does, the cost of staying in Khaled's cupboard is only $11 a night, so what do you expect?

"Sneakers are an essential part of hip hop culture and collecting them is an art - just like creating music", he says. "We bring the same passion and energy to the shoe game as we do the studio. That's why we're excited to share our sneaker kingdom with fans and give them a chance to walk in our shoes, literally".

Those of you who are aware of just how into trainers (or sneakers, if you like) Khaled is might be surprised to learn that the producer is planning to allow fans to spend a night in the room where his valuable shoe collection is stored.

And you'd be right to be surprised. Also, he isn't. If you take up this offer, what you'll actually be staying in is a replica of Khaled's real closet. And it's also not in his house. It's quite likely that the shoes on display don't even really belong to producer either.

Actually, we know that at least one pair definitely won't be Khaled's own trainers, because whoever rents out the place will get themselves a pair of We The Best Air Jordan 5s - his new collaboration with Nike - all of their very own.

That's not all you get, either, as part of this package. As well as a bed in a room full of shoes, there's also access to an outdoor lounge and pool - and this is in Miami, so it'll be warm, don't worry. Plus, your celebrity host will leave you a handwritten note and you'll also get a free meal from his The Licking - Miami Gardens restaurant.

On top of all that, you'll also be taken on a private shopping session at Miami's 305 Kicks sneakers (trainers, if you like) store, and you'll then visit other spots around the city that Khaled thinks are just tip top.

You'll have to sort out your own transport to Miami, but if that works for you, then all you need to do now is logon to Airbnb at 6pm UK time on 29 Nov and choose whether you want to stay in the sneaker room on 5 or 6 Dec. I think the two nights available will be dished out on a first come first served basis, and what could possibly go wrong with that?


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.
[email protected] (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.
[email protected] (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.
[email protected] 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.
[email protected]
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