TODAY'S TOP STORY: Adidas has confirmed that it will launch an investigation into allegations of misconduct that have been made against Kanye West by people who worked on the rapper's long-running Yeezy joint venture with the sportswear brand. .. [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Adidas launches investigation into Yeezy employees' allegations of bullying against Kanye West
LABELS & PUBLISHERS PPL boss discusses revival of the recorded music revenue streams that were hit by COVID
LIVE BUSINESS Pre-Christmas rail strikes will be "catastrophic" for night time economy, says NTIA
MEDIA Kaiser Chiefs' Ricky Wilson to host drivetime on Virgin Radio
RELEASES Murcof announces new project, Twin Color
ONE LINERS Stormzy, Zayn, Jelani Blackman, more
AND FINALLY... BTS's Jin urges fans not to try to visit him during army training
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Adidas launches investigation into Yeezy employees' allegations of bullying against Kanye West
Adidas has confirmed that it will launch an investigation into allegations of misconduct that have been made against Kanye West by people who worked on the rapper's long-running Yeezy joint venture with the sportswear brand.

That joint venture was cancelled recently when West's flurry of controversial interviews and statements made the alliance untenable, but - former employees say - Adidas bosses were previously willing to turn a blind eye to their superstar business partner's bad behaviour.

Those former employees have expressed their grievances in a letter to Adidas bosses which has been seen by Rolling Stone.

In it they say that Adidas staff members who came into contact with West via the Yeezy JV had to deal with "years of verbal abuse, vulgar tirades and bullying attacks", but management - although aware of this behaviour - "turned their moral compass off" and ignored that conduct, because, you know, that's just "Kanye being Kanye".

Rolling Stone reports: "Behind the scenes, [West] did more than test the boundaries of professionalism. Former Yeezy and Adidas staffers and creative collaborators claim that he played pornography to Yeezy staff in meetings; discussed porn and showed an intimate photograph of Kim Kardashian in job interviews; and showed an explicit video and photos of Kardashian as well as his own sex tapes to Yeezy team members".

Meanwhile, the letter from the former employees states: "[West] has, in years past, exploded at women in the room with offensive remarks, and would resort to sexually disturbing references when providing design feedback. This type of response from a brand partner is one that Adidas employees should never be subjected to, nor should Adidas leadership ever tolerate".

According to the Financial Times, in response to the Rolling Stone report, Germany's third-largest asset manager, Union Investment, which has a one percent shareholding in Adidas, wrote to the company's management team demanding clarity about the allegations. The finance firm's Janne Werning also told the FT: "Adidas needs to disclose when the management and the supervisory board was first informed about the internal allegations".

For its part, Adidas said in a statement yesterday: "It is currently not clear whether the accusations made in an anonymous letter are true. However, we take these allegations very seriously and have taken the decision to launch an independent investigation of the matter immediately to address the allegations".

With the Yeezy/Adidas joint venture already cancelled, staff at the sportswear brand no longer have to deal with West anyway. However, this internal investigation - if it confirms the allegations made by the ex-employees - may nevertheless put pressure on Adidas, which is in the process of getting a new CEO. And it will likely make other companies wary of working with West, even if he manages to repair all the damage those recent controversies have done to his personal brand.


PPL boss discusses revival of the recorded music revenue streams that were hit by COVID
The boss of UK record industry collecting society PPL discussed the state of public performance and broadcast income at the organisation's Annual Performer Meeting yesterday.

Those, of course, were the recorded music revenue streams that took a hit during the COVID pandemic, as pubs, clubs, bars, shops and other businesses that play recorded music in public went into lockdown at various points in 2020 and 2021, and commercial radio advertising income - in which the record industry shares - also took a hit.

On the public performance revenue stream in the UK - which is managed by PPL's joint venture with PRS - PPL CEO Peter Leathem said: "This is a high-volume business where we license hundreds of thousands of UK establishments for their use of music - and this was where we saw the biggest impact from COVID-19 back in 2020. In that year, there was a 42% decline in revenue due to the restrictions on many businesses that were unable to open let alone play music, which, in turn, impacted our public performance licensing revenue".

"In 2021 though, we were pleased to see some recovery", he added, "despite continued restrictions and closures across many industry sectors. Total public performance ... revenues reached £72.1 million, reflecting 25% growth on 2020. To achieve this, and through PPL PRS Ltd, we worked closely with licensees as they - and indeed we - navigated through continued periods of closure".

"We offered deferred licence renewal dates, extended payment plans for direct debit agreements, and offered credits for periods of closure due to government enforced lockdowns", he explained. "As the UK reopened gradually for business, we adapted and varied our engagement strategy with licensees right across the country as we were mindful that not everything could open up all at once and not every business was subject to the same rules across the UK".

"We saw significant growth in specific sectors", he then confirmed, "such as supermarkets and warehouses, who saw how music could enhance their environments for employees and customers. We also secured new licences from well-known high street retailers, which reinforces the important work being undertaken to promote the role of music in public places".

Looking ahead, he said: "Public performance collections are currently performing well, but we are aware of the pressures facing the hospitality industry in the coming months and into next year. There is still uncertainty regarding the impact of these external factors, but we will adapt accordingly".

In terms of UK broadcast, where 2021 revenues were 5% up on 2020 at £86.7 million, he went on: "A key success in the year, and the main driver for the overall growth, was our commercial radio revenue. These revenues took a hit in 2020 when advertising in this sector dropped during the early part of the pandemic and PPL's commercial radio revenue subsequently fell. However, 2021 saw revenue recover to a much greater extent than anticipated, with a 21% increase during the year pushing commercial radio revenues ahead of pre-pandemic levels".

The broadcast category also includes the BBC, commercial TV and webcasting. These revenues, he added, "remained relatively stable in 2021, owing to some of the existing multi-year agreements in place with major broadcasters. In addition to this, a number of new services and platforms such as Mixcloud and Sonos were licensed, all of which contributed to a strong overall result during the year for broadcast and online".

In the formal part of yesterday's PPL APM two Performer Directors were elected, with singer-songwriter Roxanne de Bastion being re-elected and horn player David Lee being newly elected.


Pre-Christmas rail strikes will be "catastrophic" for night time economy, says NTIA
The Night Time Industries Association has stressed how damaging the latest rail strikes in the UK will be for bars, clubs, venues and other night-time businesses, coming as they do in the middle of the key Christmas party season.

Indeed, NTIA boss Michael Kill says next month's strike action will be "catastrophic" for bars, clubs and music venues, fearing that the strikes could result in a big drop in the number of people having nights out in December, certainly on the strike days, and maybe more generally.

"The announcement today of further strike action during the festive period will be catastrophic", says Kill. "These sporadic weekly or daily planned strikes are eating into consumer confidence, leaving many concerned about travelling".

The night-time sector was hoping for a better Christmas season this year, after business in December 2021 was hit by a new surge in COVID cases and mixed messaging from government that basically encouraged people to stay at home.

"Our industry is already suffering heavily from rising costs, as inflation reaches a 40 year high, consumer disposable income is at an all time low, coupled with rail strike action feel we are revisiting Christmas 2021", he adds. "This year more than any other we are heavily reliant on this period to get through Q1 2023".

The latest strikes were confirmed by the Rail, Maritime & Transport Union after its officials failed to reach an agreement with government and rail operators on pay and conditions for UK railway staff. The December strikes are set to take place on 13-14 and 16-17 Dec, with two further 48 hour strikes planned in January.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said in a statement: "Our message to the public is we are sorry to inconvenience you, but we urge you to direct your anger and frustration at the government and railway employers during this latest phase of action".

Taking that on board was Robert Smith, who discovered yesterday that one of the strike days would coincide with the third night of The Cure's upcoming Wembley Arena residency.

"13th... Noooooo", he tweeted. "Wembley third night. What can we do? Apart from bring down the government in the next two weeks?"

Well, that's an option. Or, can Robert Smith drive a bus?


Kaiser Chiefs' Ricky Wilson to host drivetime on Virgin Radio
Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson has been announced as the new host of Virgin Radio's drivetime show, replacing Steve Denyer. He will begin presenting the 4-7pm slot five days a week in the new year.

"I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to getting started on Virgin Radio", says Wilson. "Music is my number one passion, but I'm so excited about having some fun in a playful and creative space for drivetime. Plus I'll be working alongside some amazing and talented people who have been some of my radio heroes".

"I've been interviewed by most of them and now I get to work with them, including Chris [Evans], who has probably interviewed me more than my doctor", he goes on. "Virgin Radio listeners are incredible so I'm excited to entertain them all in the New Year".

Virgin Radio UK Content Director Mike Cass adds: "Ricky is a legend in the music business, and we're extremely excited to have him joining Virgin Radio in January. Ricky will bring his electric energy and infectious personality to the drivetime slot, keeping our listeners entertained on their way home from work. I can't wait for our audience to hear his show".

Wilson has previously stood in for Chris Evans on the breakfast show, so fans might have a rough idea of what to expect already. They'll find out for sure when he takes up his new role on 9 Jan.


CMU Insights: The Digital Dollar Debates
The CMU webinars are back! We have two three-part webinar series taking place in the next two months - Music Business Trends 2022 in December and The Digital Dollar Debates in January.

The Digital Dollar Debates will allow you to navigate and understand all the ongoing debates around the economics of music streaming. We'll summarise all the issues and explain the ideas and arguments put forward by all parts of the music community. The sessions are as follows…

To participate in all the digital dollar debates, you need to understand how the streaming business model works. In this webinar we run through the licensing deals negotiated between the music industry and the key digital services, explaining how everyone gets paid.

THE DIGITAL PIE DEBATE Monday 23 Jan 2.30pm
Is the way streaming revenue gets shared out across the music community fair? Many people argue it is not and have proposed alternative approaches to slicing the digital pie, some of which involve changes to copyright law. This webinar explains each of the proposals.

Issues around music rights data create complexities and inefficiencies in the digital music market. Meanwhile, a lack of transparency makes it difficult for music-makers to understand how different digital services impact on their own artist businesses. This webinar sets out the issues and considers the proposed solutions.

You can tune in live or watch each webinar on demand after the live session.

Click here to find out more and book your place.

Murcof announces new project, Twin Color
Producer Fernando Corona - best known as Murcof - has announced new project Twin Color, which sees him moving into post-punk, new wave and synth wave sounds.

"I started working on Twin Color during the first wave of the pandemic, back in early/mid-2020", he explains. "I was playing around in the studio trying to come up with some ideas for a possible new Murcof album. Those first sketches were a bit Murcofy, but very soon afterwards it became obvious this was something else and that indeed it required its own unique name".

Vocals on the tracks are handled by Corona's young daughter Alina, whose voice he cut up and manipulated for the tracks when she visited him in his studio.

"I began recording our little jam sessions just for fun and perhaps also as a way of showing her some of the sound manipulation possibilities on the computer", he says. "But later, when I was again on my own working on the music, I thought I would give some of the more melodic bits of her voice a try on the demos I was making, time stretching, formant shifting and Auto-Tuning it as I went along".

The first Twin Color EP, 'Extended Play No 1', is set for release on 2 Dec. Here's a little teaser.



Zayn has released a cover of Jimi Hendrix's 'Angel' to coincide with what would have been the late guitarist's 80th birthday.

Jelani Blackman has released new single 'Izit', featuring Kojey Radical. "Kojey's a very talented artist, we've known each other for a while and been waiting to collaborate at some point", he says. "I'm happy this is the track we linked up on because I think it reflects the energy we both have. There's so much tension and hate in the world at the moment and not always clarity. I hope the lyrics and force in this track fuels people's energy, to push actions and voices further, so positive change can't be ignored".

Kele Okereke has announced that he will release new solo album, 'The Flames', on 24 Mar, and released new single, 'Vandal'. "There haven't been many things that have made me feel proud to be British recently but watching those people in Bristol pulling down the Colston statue made me feel immensely proud", he says of the inspiration for the song. "It was ordinary people saying, 'no, this slaver does not represent my Britain'. It was an act of defiance that I understood and I suddenly got a glimpse of a Britain I could believe in".

Mac Wetha has released new single 'Don't Go Falling In Love', featuring Biig Piig and Lord Apex. "Jess [Biig Piig] is like a sister and I've been in awe of her talent and voice ever since we first met [at sixteen]", he says. "Although we've worked loads over the years this song is the first time as Mac Wetha and Biig Piig we've written and sung together, and it's a genuine honour to have done so. I can also say the same for Apex, although we met years and years ago, this is actually the first time we've linked up to make music, and again the pleasure is all mine".



With his new album, 'This Is What I Mean', out today, Stormzy has announced that he will stream a concert film - 'This Is What I Mean - Live From Queen Elizabeth Hall' - via Amazon Music UK's Twitch channel at 7pm on Wednesday next week. That's 30 Nov, date fans. The show at the venue in London's Southbank Centre will actually take place the previous evening. That's 29 Nov. "This unmissable livestreamed show will not only give fans an insight into his mindset and creative process, but the incredible opportunity to see the world exclusive live performance of multiple songs from Stormzy's brilliant new album", says Laura Lukanz, Amazon Music's Head Of Music Industry, UK, Australia & New Zealand.

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


BTS's Jin urges fans not to try to visit him during army training
BTS's Jin has officially enlisted in the South Korean army, with his basic training programme set to begin next month.

With that news now out, the singer has requested that the Army not turn up to try to catch a glimpse of him as he goes through the training process. The Army being the name that BTS fans are known by, of course. The army will be there obviously. Or some of it. But no Army, please.

You know what? Given that serving in the military is compulsory for all men in South Korea, it would have been very easy for BTS to foresee this confusion and pick another name for their fans. Call them the BTS Navy Seals or something.

Anyway, in a statement, Jin said; "Dear Army, please refrain from coming to the training centre. We don't want a huge crowd as it could get dangerous for my beautiful fans. I love you Army".

Normally that sort of thing would sound quite caring, although now that he's going to be living in a place where there are quite a lot of weapons, saying that things "could get dangerous" sounds almost like a threat. Whatever, don't turn up at the training centre, BTS fans.

Under South Korean law, all able-bodied men must serve in the country's military at some point between the ages of eighteen and 28. A change in the law allowed Jin to delay his enrolment until he was 30 - a milestone he will hit next month.

In a recent livestream, Jin said that he would have enlisted sooner, but the success of the band's 2020 single 'Dynamite' delayed things. He had then hoped to get started on his military service in the summer, around the time BTS announced their hiatus, but then they were invited to play a concert supporting Busan's bid for the World Expo 2030, which took place last month.

With all BTS commitments now out of the way, things are good for him to get started with his military commitments. And just in time - he will turn 30 next week on 4 Dec. His five weeks of basic training are reportedly set to begin on 13 Dec. But let's just reiterate, if you're a member of the Army, you should not turn up to see Jin becoming a member of the army.


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