TODAY'S TOP STORY: Facebook Gaming - the social media giant's app for livestreamed gaming - has announced a bunch of deals with the music industry legitimising the use of music in streams delivered through the app, initially for those gamers classified as 'partners'. It's an interesting development given all the chatter about the lack of music licences held by its much bigger rival in the livestreamed gaming space, Amazon's Twitch... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Facebook secures music deals for its gaming app
LEGAL TikTok submits plans for Oracle alliance to US government
BRANDS & MERCH Jarvis Cocker complements new album with peppermint tea and a jigsaw
MEDIA Billboard launches global music charts
ARTIST NEWS Kanye West hits out at Universal and Sony in latest Twitter rant
ONE LINERS Poutyface, Illenium, Donel, more
AND FINALLY... Jedward claim Ian Brown has "lost all respect and credibility" over COVID tweets

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Facebook secures music deals for its gaming app
Facebook Gaming - the social media giant's app for livestreamed gaming - has announced a bunch of deals with the music industry legitimising the use of music in streams delivered through the app, initially for those gamers classified as 'partners'. It's an interesting development given all the chatter about the lack of music licences held by its much bigger rival in the livestreamed gaming space, Amazon's Twitch.

In a blog post published yesterday, Facebook's Global Director For Games Partnerships, Leo Olebe, writes: "We know you want to play music during your gaming livestreams - and not just any old music, but music people know, that will get them hyped as they watch".

"At the same time", he goes on, "you probably realise, or have heard from elsewhere, that music rights are complex and hard to understand. Instead of suggesting you go to music law school to figure it all out, we want to make the whole process a lot easier so you can focus on being a great streamer, and not a rights specialist".

By which, Olebe means that Facebook has now secured licensing deals specifically for its gaming app from all three majors, BMG, Kobalt, indie-label repping Merlin and others. The deals cover recording rights and those song rights that are directly licensed by the big publishers.

Olebe's post also says that, while the new licensing deals will only initially benefit Facebook Gaming's higher-level gamers, the plan is to also roll out the extra music options to what it calls its 'level up' creators.

He then talks a little about the mind-fuck that is music licensing, especially on the songs side. Not all tracks and all songs will be covered by the deals, of course, meaning gamers could still see their videos blocked or muted if and when it turns out they contain unlicensed music.

How do gamers know which tracks and songs are covered by these new deals? "We're unable to disclose which songs are not covered", Olebe admits, because of, well, you know, music industry bullshit. But, he insists that the blocking or muting of streams from Facebook Gaming partners on music rights grounds should now be "rare".

There are other limitations to the licences, he adds, though that's mainly if and when gamers start making videos more about the music than the gaming. If any gamer is planning to do things beyond conventional livestreamed gaming, he advises, they might want to make use of Facebook's own production music library Sound Collection.

The new licensing deals with the Facebook Gaming app come as livestreaming services of all kinds are increasingly under the spotlight when it comes to music rights, mainly as a result of the increase in interest in livestreamed entertainment during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Twitch in particular is in that spotlight, partly because it's so big in the livestreamed gaming space, partly because it's been proactively pushing into the music space, and partly because it's owned by Amazon so (a) has access to lots of cash and (b) has a parent company that knows all about music licensing.

In almost related news, there was a flurry of online chatter last week to the effect that Facebook was limiting the use of music on its main platform via new terms and conditions that will go come into force next month.

People had noted that the music section of those terms say that commercial use of music on its platform is not allowed unless the commercial user has direct licences from whoever owns the music. And another term prohibits the posting of videos containing music onto Facebook where the aim is to basically create an audio playlist or service.

However, Facebook has pointed out that it isn't actually making any changes to the music section of its terms and conditions next month, and those rules have been in effect ever since it did its original deals with the music industry more than two years ago. It's just that very few users had noticed.


TikTok submits plans for Oracle alliance to US government
TikTok has confirmed it has submitted proposals to the US government that it hopes will allay the concerns of President Donald Trump regarding its operations in America. The US government has confirmed it has received those proposals and that they involve technology firm Oracle. And Oracle has confirmed that is correct. Good times.

Trump last month, of course, issued an executive order that will ban the use of TikTok within the US unless the app basically sells its American business to an American company. That's in theory based on the concern that the Chinese government currently has access to TikTok's global audience and user-data, because it is owned by China-based Bytedance.

For its part, Bytedance denies those allegations and says that Trump's executive order is unconstitutional. However, it has also been busy looking into doing a deal with a American firm that would address the US government's concerns and result in the ban being voluntarily called off.

It was thought that the outcome of that would be Microsoft buying outright the TikTok business within the US, and probably some other markets like Canada, Australia and New Zealand. But last weekend it was confirmed that would not happen and instead Oracle is set to become TikTok's US "technology partner".

In a short statement yesterday, TikTok said: "We can confirm that we've submitted a proposal to the US Treasury Department which we believe would resolve the administration's security concerns".

"This proposal", it went on, "would enable us to continue supporting our community of 100 million people in the US who love TikTok for connection and entertainment, and the hundreds of thousands of small business owners and creators who rely upon TikTok to grow their livelihoods and build meaningful careers".

The US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin then confirmed to CNBC that he had received TikTok's proposals. He also confirmed - unlike TikTok itself - that Oracle becoming the app's "trusted technology partner" was a key part of that plan.

That then resulted in a short statement from Oracle, which said that it could confirm "Secretary Mnuchin's statement that it is part of the proposal submitted by Bytedance to the Treasury Department over the weekend in which Oracle will serve as the trusted technology provider. Oracle has a 40 year track record providing secure, highly performant technology solutions".

Mnuchin said that the Committee On Foreign Investment In The United States would now review those proposals before making a recommendation to Trump.

In his CNBC interview, Mnuchin said that, in that review "we'll need to make sure that the code is ... secure, Americans' data is secure, that the phones are secure and we'll be looking to have discussions with Oracle over the next few days with our technical teams".

In many ways what TikTok is proposing via its partnership with Oracle isn't anywhere near as radical a move as it was implied would be necessary to placate the app's critics in Washington.

However, cynics are noting that Oracle boss Larry Ellison is one of Trump's few supporters in the tech sector, and that alone could be the big sweetener needed to get this proposal signed off by the US government.

A commitment to expand TikTok's on-the-ground presence in the US creating thousands more jobs is also likely to be part of any deal, allowing Trump to say "we've dealt with the data problems, we've created more jobs, screw you China", while still allowing a major app that is ultimately Chinese owned to continue operating in the US.


ADA Asia launches
Warner Music's label services business ADA continues its global expansion with the creation of ADA Asia. It will focus on, well, Asian music markets. I guess you knew that. China, Korea and South East Asia to be precise. It will be led by former Sony and Spotify exec Chee Meng Tan.

ADA boss Eliah Seton says: "Building on the extraordinary growth of our international repertoire in Asia, we're excited to continue our strategy of building a local powerhouse in the region. As Spotify's first employee in Asia, Chee Meng knows what it takes to build a huge, successful and rapidly growing business. He has a true entrepreneur's agility, so the sky's the limit for ADA in Asia with Chee Meng at the helm".

Tan himself adds: "We're on a mission to deliver a best-in-class service to independent artists and labels of all levels across Asia, and help them connect with audiences around the world. From K-pop to Asian hip hop, our region is a hotbed of creative talent that's increasingly finding an international audience and ADA is uniquely placed to partner with these creators to take them to the next level, while embracing their originality and creativity".

The arrival of ADA Asia follows the launch of ADA Latin in July which, although based in Miami, focuses on the music markets in Latin America, Spain and Portugal, as well as working with Latin music-makers in the US.


Jarvis Cocker complements new album with peppermint tea and a jigsaw
You're no one this year if your band hasn't put out a jigsaw or some tea as merch. Thankfully - and I know a lot of you were worried about this - Jarvis Cocker has finally put out both. You can now sip on a tea specially blended to complement his Jarv Is... project's new album 'Beyond The Pale', while slotting together pieces of a 1000 piece jigsaw based on its artwork.

The peppermint tea, called Peppermint Jungle, was created by Berkshire tea company Dragonfly Tea. Of it, Cocker says: "It's been an absolute pleasure to work with the people at Dragonfly to produce a bespoke tea blend to complement the 'Beyond The Pale' album. I always thought it would be a nice idea - but they have made that idea a reality. What message awaits you on the tag attached to the tea bag? Only one way to find out... Welcome to the Peppermint Jungle!"

Only one way? What if I squint at the picture here? "Mum's pregnant with Jarv?" No, maybe you will have to buy a box of the tea to find out. And why wouldn't you? Peppermint tea is lovely, particularly after a big meal. It's also quite reasonably priced at £3 a box. Delightful.

You can buy it right here. Unfortunately, that jigsaw I mentioned is sold out. You'll just have to do your Radiohead one again.


Billboard launches global music charts
Billboard and MRC Data have announced the launch of two new global music charts which, they say, will "give an accurate glimpse into the most popular songs on the planet".

The two charts will collate sales and streaming data from more than 200 markets. There's two because one will remove US data from the proceedings because, well, I don't know why. Maybe it will give non-American artists more of a chance to shine.

After all, the first Billboard Global 200 chart is topped by Cardi B, while the first edition of the snappily titled Billboard Global Excl US chart has Colombian artist Maluma at number one.

The charts will be compiled by MRC Data, the sister company to Billboard that was created after the industry trade mag's publisher - then still known as Valence Media, now MRC Media & Info - acquired some music data assets from Nielsen last year.

Commenting on the new global charts, Deanna Brown - President of both MRC Data and MRC Media & Info - says: "As the steward of the definitive industry charts we're THRILLED to unveil our global charts which give the industry insights into the most powerful artists worldwide, what songs have an international impact, as well as what songs may start trending outside of the United States".


Approved: Susu
Fronted by vocalists Liza Colby and Kia Warren, Susu developed through the consolidation of the two rock bands they respectively fronted: Liza Colby Sound and Revel In Dimes. Initially the two bands merged for a number of shows in 2016 under the name Revel Sound, but it soon occurred to them that they were onto something, and so Colby and Warren continued to work together.

"You don't know what you don't know, and we certainly didn't realise how much we needed each other", says Colby. "We aren't shy about being black women in rock n roll. There is an aliveness, an awareness, and a spirituality to Susu that are both timely and timeless".

"We kept growing as creative partners and continue to discover the duality in our power of working together", she continues. "It's intuitive who takes the top and who takes the bottom harmony, so to speak".

Over the course of lockdown, they've released a string of singles - 'Let's Get High', 'It Can't Be Over', 'Rollin Calf' and a cover of the Buzzcock's 'Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)' - ahead of the release of their debut EP, 'Panther City', on 13 Nov.

New single 'Work Song' is a protest song that the duo say "is for us - the disenfranchised, black, brown, minority, middle class, poor, trans, gay, and subjugated communities stepping down off the auction block, breaking the stranglehold; saying: 'If a house gets in my way, you know I'll burn it down'". Watch the video here.

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

Kanye West hits out at Universal and Sony in latest Twitter rant
Kanye West has again hit out at his primary business partners in the music rights industry in a typically confusing flurry of tweets last night, some of which have since been deleted.

Along the way, he threatened to basically go on strike as a performing artist until he is cut free from his current contractual commitments to record company Universal Music and music publisher Sony/ATV.

In January 2019 he sued both Universal and Sony over his ongoing record and publishing deals. The Sony dispute got more attention, with West trying to get out of his publishing agreement by citing Californian laws, while the publisher countered that that publishing deal was actually subject to the laws of New York.

However, long drawn out settlement talks between West and Sony/ATV were conducted throughout much of last year, with both sides confirming that an agreement had pretty much been reached at the start of this year.

And yet, West tweeted last night, "I'm not putting no more music out till I'm done with my contract with Sony and Universal ... On God ... in Jesus name ... come and get me".

Which, assuming we're not meant to interpret the double negative literally - and also assuming West isn't just prepping the release of new music by claiming there will be no new music - suggests that resentments remain between the rapper and his label and publisher.

Elsewhere he took aim at music industry contracts in general, not just the ones he's signed. "I need to see everybody's contracts at Universal and Sony", he wrote. "I'm not gonna watch my people be enslaved. I'm putting my life on the line for my people. The music industry and the NBA are modern day slave ships. I'm the new Moses".

Make of that what you will. Plenty of concern has been expressed, of course, over West's increasingly erratic statements, both online and as part of his still ongoing presidential election campaign. So to what extent an actual dispute still exists between West and Universal and Sony remains unclear.



Poutyface has signed record and publishing deals with Island Records and Warner/Chappell respectively. Real name Olivia Knight, she has found fame through newish short-form video app Voisey. "In 2019, I spent most of my time in an industrial fridge", she says.

Reservoir has signed EDM producer Illenium, real name Nick Miller, to a worldwide publishing deal. "With a name like [Illenium], he's forging his own path and planning for the long-term, writing music that will last", claims Reservoir EVP Creative Donna Caseine.

Star of The Voice UK (it says here) Donel has signed deals with label Warner Records and publisher Sony/ATV. "I'm so excited to embark on this new adventure with an awesome team who understand my vision and goals", he says. "This is a massive opportunity for me to step up and show my artistry to the world".



Artist management firm YMU Group has appointed Truce to the position of Senior Manager. He will continue to run his Bone Soda record label independently. "YMU is a leading entertainment management company and has successfully brought on and supported a number of inspiring artists globally", states Truce.



The UK's Music Managers Forum has opened applications for the 2021 edition of its Accelerator programme. Returning for its third year, the YouTube-supported initiative aims to increase the number of sustainable full-time management businesses operating in the UK. More info here.



With their very good new album 'Re-animator' now out, Everything Everything have released the video for 'Big Climb' from it.

Soho Rezanejad has announced that she will release new album 'Perform And Surrender' on 4 Dec. Here's first single 'Perform'.

Porridge Radio have released new single '7 Seconds'.

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


Jedward claim Ian Brown has "lost all respect and credibility" over COVID tweets
Having taken on Jim Corr's anti-mask protests last month, Jedward have now moved on to Ian Brown. The duo launched their latest attack as the Stone Roses frontman took issue with claims that he is a conspiracy theorist.

Brown, of course, drew criticism earlier this month when he tweeted, "NO LOCKDOWN NO TESTS NO TRACKS NO MASKS NO VAX".

He followed that up days later with a retort to his detractors, stating: "To all of you asking about my medical qualifications, I have the same as the computer seller Bill Gates (biggest funder of the World Health Organisation)".

Bill Gates, of course, made his money selling software, rather than computers, and his Gates Foundation is the fifth largest voluntary contributor to the World Health Organisation. Also, he donates money so that scientists can research diseases rather than simply offering opinions about them on Twitter. So, all in all, it's not a perfect comparison.

Anyway, we're here to talk about Jedward. What's going on there? Well, over the weekend Brown returned to Twitter again, writing: "So I'm a conspiracy theorist? Ha! A term invented by the lamestream media to discredit those who can smell and see through the government/media lies and propaganda".

You could argue that the idea that the "lamestream media" invented the term 'conspiracy theory' is in itself a conspiracy theory. It goes nicely with the one that the CIA came up with the term. The Oxford English Dictionary logs the earliest known use of the phrase as being in an edition of the American Historical Review in 1870. But how do we know that the OED isn't in cahoots with Bill Gates?

Anyway, we were talking about Jedward. I think. Were we? Well, the point is, Jedward have now responded to Ian Brown. They said this: "The public have lost all respect and credibility for your views! Your music and cheekbones are a dream but your tweets are a nightmare".

Oh, sick burn. Unlike Jim Corr, Brown has not yet engaged in a war of words with the twin pop makers, which is a shame. I'm also yet to see a theory that Jedward themselves are somehow involved in a global conspiracy to deceive the public. Although, if they ever achieve their goal of being joint leaders of Ireland, I'm sure that will come.

In other Ian Brown tweeting news, over the weekend he claimed that "every member of Parliament trips on glue". Jedward have not confirmed or denied this.


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.
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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.
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Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and also heads up business development at CMU Insights and CMU:DIY.
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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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