TODAY'S TOP STORY: The music industry in the UK is assessing quite what impact the new COVID restrictions announced by the government yesterday will have on the sector. Late night entertainment will be hardest hit. However, people being urged to work from home again will affect any music company that had started to reintroduce office working, while an admission that these new measures could be in place for six months is a candid reality check that the impact of COVID is likely to be felt well into 2021... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Music industry assesses impact of new COVID restrictions in the UK
LEGAL YouTube hits back against lawsuit over Content ID access
Appeals court confirms Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's win in sample case

LIVE BUSINESS New agency business launched by former Paradigm, WME, CAA and Madison House agents
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Spotify brings news to the UK
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Trade bodies sign up to new Keychange gender equality pledge
ONE LINERS Kate Bush, Deftones, Bastille, more
AND FINALLY... Steel Panther will personalise songs for cash
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Music industry assesses impact of new COVID restrictions in the UK
The music industry in the UK is assessing quite what impact the new COVID restrictions announced by the government yesterday will have on the sector. Late night entertainment will be hardest hit. However, people being urged to work from home again will affect any music company that had started to reintroduce office working, while an admission that these new measures could be in place for six months is a candid reality check that the impact of COVID is likely to be felt well into 2021.

Probably the biggest of the new COVID restrictions announced by UK prime minister 'Boris' Johnson yesterday is the one we already knew about: that pubs, bars and restaurants will be forced to close each night at 10pm. The government insists that pilots of such a curfew have proven effective in curtailing the spread of the coronavirus, even though some critics argue that early closing will probably result in more people - especially young people - socialising at home where social distancing rules are much less likely to be adhered to, resulting in an increase rather than decrease in infections.

Representatives for the hospitality and night time entertainment sectors have hit out at the curfew. The boss of the Night Time Industries Association had already dubbed the move a "devastating blow" before Johnson even formally announced it.

It is most problematic, of course, for those hospitality and night time businesses that had invested time and money into finding commercially viable ways to re-open following the initial lockdown period while still adhering to social distancing rules. In most cases, those approaches to doing business were only just commercially viable, so that the addition of the 10pm curfew will make operating at all very tricky.

In the night time entertainment sector specifically, plenty of businesses hadn't been able to re-open anyway because of the COVID restrictions that were still in place from the original lockdown. However, the announcement of new restrictions now being added that could be in place for six months kills off any optimism that clubbing and other night-time entertainment might be able to start returning to normal in the months ahead.

For live music in general, the impact may not be so significant, even for promoters and venues whose shows usually go on somewhat later than 10pm. The government's Department Of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport qualified the big curfew announcement by stating "guidance will make it clear that cinemas, theatres and concert halls can continue beyond 10pm but only if the performance started before 10pm and alcohol cannot be served after 10pm".

Of course, for those venues where post-show bar sales are key to profitability - or where post-show drinking is a key part of the experience for audience members - the curfew will still be problematic. But for others that restriction on the restriction might mean the curfew doesn't make much difference. Though, as with all new COVID rules, the devil is often in the detail that isn't always immediately available.

Noting the DCMS's clarification on the curfew, the Music Venue Trust said last night: "Based on this statement, MVT cannot officially comment on the impact of these new restrictions since it is not clear how grassroots music venues will be affected".

"We assume that if the government believes that seated audiences enjoying a cultural event should be permitted to do so until the completion of that event, then that belief will obviously extend equally to the enjoyment of rap performance as it does to a classical music piece", it went on. "We assume, based on this position from DCMS, that audiences that are enjoying the theatrics of Muse, for example, are as entitled to watch those theatrics conclude as an audience enjoying a West End play".

Though given the impact on the wider night time economy, MVT stressed that the music and night time industries really now need two things from government.

First, more clarity on why the curfew has public health benefits. And second - as has been stated by pretty much every music and hospitality industry trade group - if ongoing COVID restrictions, however necessary, mean certain sectors are still basically in lockdown, those sectors should continue to receive the financial support that was in place for the original lockdown period.

MVT added: "[The] government report detailing the very concerning spread of [COVID-19] infection does not seem to demonstrate a causal link between the rise in infection, which we feel is a serious issue that needs to be addressed, and the use of night-time economy spaces after 10pm. Closing night-time economy spaces is a serious measure with very significant impacts upon people's businesses, jobs and livelihoods. Closing them during their most economically rewarding hours, 10pm to 1am, is an equally serious measure which will have precisely the same impacts".

That said, if there really is good scientific evidence that such a curfew can restrict the spread of COVID-19, "then it should, we regrettably agree, be done. In the event of a 10pm curfew being required on the basis of scientific evidence, [the] government must recognise that this is a decision that must be made for the benefit of the country, and that therefore the country has a responsibility to the businesses and people impacted by that decision".

"Businesses impacted by this decision must have the full furlough scheme extended immediately,", it concluded, "and a financial support package must be created and provided to ensure such businesses survive this crisis".

The general COVID support schemes for furloughed employers and the self-employed set up by the UK government earlier this year are now winding down, of course. That has already resulted in a steep rise in redundancies across the music and night time sectors as companies still basically in shutdown, which had previously been relying on those schemes to keep employees on the pay-roll, now have to make very difficult decisions as shutdown extends and financial support runs out.

The new restrictions, and the formal confirmation that they could be in place for six months, piles on more pressure and will result in more difficult decisions needing to be made.

Posting on Facebook last night the boss of Ministry Of Sound, Lohan Presencer, wrote: "Nearly all late night venues in the UK have had zero income since March. Furlough allowed us to keep our staff employed, but since August they've required us to start contributing to salaries - with what exactly? Sadly that means gradually we've had to make redundancies and then from the end of October furlough ends. Now we are told six more months and a 10pm curfew. No furlough extension, no financial support, no news of the culture grants, just sympathetic noises with zero fucking action".

"70%+ of late night venues will be bust in five weeks", he then warned. "These are not businesses that can simply restart on the other side. Landlords will have to agree huge rent waivers, councils (who are still demanding rates for our office space!) will have to stop saying 'computer says no', new tenants will have to fit out these spaces at huge expense, teams with years of accumulated expertise will vanish as they have to earn a living elsewhere and put food on the table for their kids, and raving will go underground into unlicensed, unsafe spaces controlled by criminals".

He concluded: "Good luck Boris, hope you enjoy the party".


YouTube hits back against lawsuit over Content ID access
YouTube has hit back at a lawsuit that argued that the Google-owned video site should not enjoy protection under the copyright safe harbour because it doesn't make its Content ID rights management system available to everyone.

In its response, YouTube says that the musician behind the lawsuit, Maria Schneider, herself proves that independent creators can in fact access Content ID via third party agents. Meanwhile, it says that the company that is also involved in the lawsuit, Pirate Monitor, is a dodgy dealer whose own conduct demonstrates why YouTube is fussy about who gets Content ID access.

Schneider's complaint that it's not fair that only larger rights owners get access to the Content ID system for monetising and managing music that appears in user-generated content across the YouTube site is a common gripe among independent music-makers and smaller music companies.

However, in her legal complaint filed in July, she went one step further, arguing that the alternative manual system for issuing takedown notices against YouTube was inefficient and ineffective.

Given that dealing with such takedowns is an obligation for internet companies seeking to avoid liability for the copyright infringement of their users - ie to rely on safe harbour protections - that's arguably a problem for YouTube.

Needless to say, it its formal response to the lawsuit YouTube argues that it complies with all of its obligations under US safe harbour rules whether or not copyright owners alert it to infringing content manually or via Content ID. The latter system, it stresses, provide tools for copyright owners that go "far beyond what the law requires".

As for why only bigger rights owners get Content ID access, YouTube says in its counterclaim - filed with the courts this week - that "Content ID ... empowers users to automatically, or at the touch of a button, remove content from YouTube or block it from appearing in the first place. The tools thus have the potential to be used improperly to censor videos that others have every right to post and share through YouTube".

"Further", it adds, "the tools enable users to claim ownership rights in others' content, and to siphon to themselves revenue that rightly belongs to others. Because of the potential for abuse of these scaled tools, YouTube limits access to them, seeking to ensure that those who use them will do so responsibly, and will not cause harm to YouTube, its users, or to other copyright owners".

However, it adds, those creators and smaller copyright owners who do not have access to Content ID can still indirectly access the system by allying with a company that is already a Content ID partner. So, in music, that would usually be a music distributor. And, YouTube, adds, Schneider herself is proof that that option both exists and works.

"Plaintiff Schneider complains that she has been denied access to YouTube's Content ID system", YouTube's counterclaim states. "But [she] has long had that access through her agent who has expressly used Content ID to generate revenue on her behalf using the Content ID system".

That agent also has an active licensing deal with YouTube covering Schneider's music, it also claims, meaning that Schneider can't sue for copyright infringement because the Google site has a licence for her music.

As for Pirate Monitor, YouTube is more scathing about its involvement in the lawsuit. The counterclaim makes various allegations about the conduct of the anti-piracy firm, concluding that that conduct demonstrates why Content ID access is not available to all.

It accuses Pirate Monitor of setting up various anonymous accounts on YouTube, uploading snippets of films controlled by its clients, and then issuing takedown requests against those uploads.

"Pirate Monitor's serial uploads and DMCA takedown requests for the same videos were central to a scheme through which it hoped to gain access to YouTube's powerful copyright management tools, in particular Content ID", YouTube then alleges.

That scheme was instigated, it's claimed, because Pirate Monitor was told that, to get Content ID access, it needed to demonstrate both that it had enough rights management to undertake to warrant access and that it had sufficient experience of the takedown process as prescribed by America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

"Pirate Monitor believed that it could demonstrate both the need for access and a track record of valid DMCA takedown requests by surreptitiously uploading a substantial volume of content through accounts seemingly unconnected to it", YouTube states, "and then sending DMCA takedown requests for that same content".

However, through that scheme Pirate Monitor and its agents either fraudulently claimed to have the rights to upload the video clips that were posted to the anonymous YouTube channels or falsely claimed that those clips infringed copyright and should be taken down. Either way, YouTube concludes, that's dishonest conduct. And dishonest organisations shouldn't have access to Content ID.

So that's fun. It remains to be seen how Schneider and Pirate Monitor respond. Though, either way, the grassroots music community is likely to continue calling for more widespread access to YouTube's Content ID system.


Appeals court confirms Macklemore and Ryan Lewis's win in sample case
The Fifth Circuit appeals court in the US has upheld a ruling in favour of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis over allegations that they used uncleared samples in their 2012 hit 'Thrift Shop'. The appeals court also upheld a separate judgement that the claimant in the case, jazz artist Paul Batiste, should cover some of the duo's legal costs.

Batiste sued Macklemore and Lewis in 2017 claiming that both 'Thrift Shop' and another track, 'Neon Cathedral', stole beats and horn melodies from his songs 'Hip Jazz' and 'World Of Blues', which date from 1997 and 2000 respectively.

The lawsuit was dismissed last year with the lower court concluding that Batiste had failed to demonstrate either that Macklemore and Lewis had had access to his earlier songs, or that there were any instances of sampling in their tracks. Or, for that matter, that there was any 'striking similarity' between their records and his.

Batiste appealed that decision. Meanwhile, Macklemore and Lewis argued that the jazz musician should cover some of their legal costs because his claims were "objectively baseless and unreasonable from the outset" and both he and his attorney were guilty of "egregious misconduct". That 'egregious misconduct' included Batiste writing his own musicologist report and getting a third party 'expert' to pretend he'd written in.

The lower court agreed that because of Batiste's conduct he should cover some of Macklemore and Lewis' legal costs, to the tune of $125,000. Batiste then appealed that judgement too, meaning the Fifth Circuit had two things to consider. They sided with the lower court and Macklemore and Lewis on both.

In a summary of their decision, the Fifth Circuit judges wrote: "A local jazz musician, Paul Batiste, sued an internationally famous hip hop duo for copyright infringement. He says the group digitally sampled his songs. Finding no evidence of copying, the district court granted summary judgment for the defendants and then ordered both Batiste and his attorney to pay the defendants' attorneys' fees. Batiste appealed. We lack jurisdiction to review the fee award against Batiste's attorney but otherwise affirm the district court's judgments".


New agency business launched by former Paradigm, WME, CAA and Madison House agents
Another new talent agency has emerged in the US as the sector reshuffles itself in the wake of the COVID-19 shutdown. Five former Paradigm agents previously announced new company TBA, and now some of their former colleagues have teamed up with agents who previously worked at WME, CAA and Madison House to launch the Mint Talent Group.

All talent and booking agencies around the world have faced significant challenges as a result of COVID-19 with many companies having to make staff redundant, depending on what government support is available in each country.

Given artists often ally to individual agents as much as the agencies they work for, it was inevitable that lay offs at the established agencies would like result in new agency businesses being launched, both by those who were among the redundancies and others looking for new opportunities once the post-COVID recovery begins.

Mint Talent Group has been founded by former Paradigm agents Patrick McAuliff and Phil Egenthal, and CJ Strock, formerly of WME. In addition to the founders, the company's team of agents will also include Michael Morris and Ryan Owens (also ex-Paradigm), Peter Wiederlight (also ex-WME), Logan Handelsman (formerly CAA), and Mary Allen and Cassie Siegel (formerly of Madison House).

The new company states: "Utilising countless decades of combined agency experience, Mint launches with an exciting model focused on empowering artists and providing crucial services that continue evolving with the times. In addition to core booking representation, Mint will guide clients through a reimagination of 'the agency marketing department' via a proprietary 47-point marketing plan designed to embrace new technologies".

Commenting on the launch, and confirming that the new agency will work in the sports space as well as music, Strock states: "I am THRILLED that we have built a new business based on positive core human values for all parties involved in the Mint family. I am very proud of my partners, employees, and top to bottom across the music client roster and sports properties. Let's go!"

While McAuliff adds: "The goal of Mint is to bring together great agents with amazing rosters so that both can thrive at a home that values the associate, agent and artist like family. The wealth of experience the Mint team brings to the group gives us the clout of a corporate without the limitations or boundaries".

Initial clients of the new agency will include Allman Brothers Band, Blackberry Smoke, Brian McKnight, CloZee, Erasure, George Porter Jr, Mavis Staples, Rising Appalachia, Stick Figure, Trevor Hall, Steel Pulse, Stephen Marley and Taj Mahal.


Spotify brings news to the UK
Five years after originally announcing the concept (sort of), Spotify is bringing its dynamic playlist that mixes music and news to the UK and Ireland.

The 'Your Daily Drive' playlist was made available in the US last year. It's not quite like the 'Spotify Now' playlist that was announced in a panic by Daniel Ek all the way back in 2015, ahead of the launch of Apple Music, when he shouted out every idea Spotify had ever had as if it was happening imminently, just in case it turned out Apple was offering that functionality or service at launch.

What it is, however, is a clear attempt to compete with traditional radio. And specifically - as the name suggests - radio listening in the car.

You can tune into the playlist at any time of the day or night (yes, even when you're not driving) and it will play you a mix of your favourite tunes, some new tracks it thinks you'll like, and occasionally slip in a little news update from one of a variety of sources, including The Times, FT, TalkSPORT, The Economist and the Evening Standard.

Managing Director of Spotify UK, Tom Connaughton, says: "At Spotify we believe in providing access to personalised content that our users love. That's why we are proud to introduce a new offering in the UK and Ireland that will revolutionise people's daily listening experience: this new playlist gives listeners the current affairs updates we know they'd like more of alongside the music they want, blended seamlessly into their day".

Back in 2015, Ek actually announced that Spotify was going to automatically adapt to your day. So you could press play in the morning and it would play you exactly what you wanted to hear - music or otherwise - every minute of the day until you turned it off at night. We're still waiting for that update, but maybe one day. For now, news on the hour will probably do.


Trade bodies sign up to new Keychange gender equality pledge
The Keychange initiative that seeks to encourage and enable more gender diversity across the music industry - initially in the festivals domain and now in other ways too - has announced that eight trade bodies have signed up to a new pledge to achieve 50% board representation of women and under-represented genders.

This follows the Women In CTRL report earlier this year which highlighted the lack of diversity at board level at many of the UK music industry's trade bodies and collecting societies. PRS For Music, the Incorporated Society Of Musicians, the Ivors Academy, the Featured Artist Coalition, the Association Of Independent Music, the Music Managers Forum and the Music Publishers Association have all now committed to make positive change.

"PRS For Music is proud to sign the Keychange pledge in order to rebalance the scales of gender equality on our Members' Council, alongside our support of individuals through their impactful talent development programme", says PRS For Music CEO Andrea C Martin.

"As an organisation, we look to reflect the broad diversity of our members at every level, and we are committed to investing in meaningful and long lasting change through the PRS Foundation", she adds. "We welcome all new signatories of the pledge, alongside the new ambassadors who will help to spread word of the vital work that Keychange does across the global music industry".

Launched in 2017 by the PRS Foundation, the Keychange project initially focused on festival line-ups, but last year expanded out to include music industry organisations more widely. Over 350 organisations are now signed up to the pledge, and, as Martin noted, in addition to the trade bodies, today the programme announced several more company signees and three new ambassadors.

The new companies on board include: ATC Live, Arts Council Of Northern Ireland, Girls I Rate, Gorwelion Horizons, Boudica, Bido Lito!, BLOC+, Runway Artists, Future Yard, Last Night From Glasgow, Score Draw Music, Off The Record, Baltic Creative, Generator, Scottish Alternative Music Awards, Sound City Ipswich, Suffering Fools Records, Uproar Ensemble and Brighter Sound.

The new ambassadors are Girls I Rate founder Carla Marie Williams, musician Planningtorock, and founding Keychange Project Manager Jess Partridge.


CMU Insights Webinar: Digital Music In Emerging Markets
Markets like China, India, Russia, South Korea and Brazil have played a key role in the revival of the record industry's fortunes, while markets in Africa are set to become increasingly important in the years ahead. But which services and what models dominate in these countries?

Next week's CMU Insights webinar will talk you through recent digital revenue trends in important emerging music markets, as well as explaining what specific services dominate in each of those countries. Sometimes Spotify and Apple Music have the edge there too, but sometimes domestic platforms actually have more users and generate more revenue.

The session will also look at how artists, songwriters, labels and publishers in Europe and North America can get their music onto the regional services, and how monies flow back through the system. It all takes place next Tuesday, 29 Sep, at 2.30pm.

You can book into this webinar for just £25 or sign up for a number of CMU's upcoming training sessions and get additional discounts. We've just added a brand new webinar on the evolution of music distribution which will take place on 24 Nov - and you can sign up to all nine of the webinars currently on sale for just £150.

Click here to find out more about all the upcoming webinars and to book.


Sony/ATV has signed Filmore to a worldwide publishing deal. "I'm beyond excited to be a part of the Sony/ATV family", he says. "Telling my story through songwriting has helped build my career, and for Sony/ATV to put their support and belief in me is such an incredible honour. I can't wait to see what we all do together!"



Kate Bush has been made a fellow of The Ivors Academy. "I feel really honoured to be given this fellowship by The Ivors Academy", she says. "It means so very much to me. Thank you to all my family and friends and to everyone who has been there for me over the years. I'll treasure this statue of Euterpe always and ask her to sit on my shoulder while I work".

The Featured Artists Coalition has announced nineteen new Artist Ambassadors: Bob Geldof, Aluna, Ghostpoet, Kelli-Leigh, Ayah Marar, Graeme Park, Roni Size, Jack Savoretti, Shaun Ryder, Dream Wife, Dave Okumu, Roger Sanchez, Maxi Jazz, Hannah Peel, Porridge Radio, The Lady Blacktronika and Mystery Jets' Blaine Harrison. "I'm honoured that these artists are standing up and lending their voice to the FAC, as we work to represent the rights and interests of the artist community", says FAC boss David Martin.

Nick Osborne has been promoted to SVP Digital Strategy & Business Development for Universal's Capitol Music Group in the US. "Nick brings such an innovative approach to the digital space, and his initiatives have proven to be of great benefit to our artists, our company and the industry at large", says COO Michelle Jubelirer.



Deftones are auctioning off the 12,995 dots that make up the artwork for their new album 'Ohms'. It's like the Million Dollar Homepage all over again! Except for charity. Details here.

Amanda Palmer has announced that she will launch new podcast 'The Art Of Asking Everything' on 29 Sep. Adopting the premise of 98% of podcasts, it'll see her interviewing people she knows, including Tim Minchin, Laura Jane Grace, Lenny Henry, Nadya Tolokonnikova and KT Tunstall.



Bastille have released new track 'Survivin'. "There'd been times when I felt like I'd been in a washing machine and on a conveyor belt at the same time", says frontman Dan Smith. "But when people asked me how I was doing, the answer was always the British cliché: 'Yep, all good, fine'. At the start of lockdown I felt very self-conscious about having written a song that felt relevant when it wasn't intended to be, but then I also think 2020 is the year we all stopped pretending everything's fine".

Tune-Yards have released new track 'Nowhere, Man'. "We hope the music brings energy and a strong wind of encouragement to those who are shouting and singing loudly for justice right now", says the duo's Merrill Garbus.

Will Joseph Cook has surprise released the first half of his new album, 'Something To Feel Good About'. "Two halves! Why the heck not?" he says. "Thematically the first half is an open-air, joyous slew of outward optimism. To me, it felt like this summer of love, all very present songs that get swept up in the moment".

William Basinski has released new track 'Tear Vial', from his upcoming album 'Lamentiations'.

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


Steel Panther will personalise songs for cash
In these strange times, performers are having to find new ways to earn their income. Not quite yet ready to become delivery drivers, Steel Panther are now offering to rewrite any of their songs for anyone who wants it, and who has the cash.

"Do you have a favourite Steel Panther song?", ask the band. "How cool would it be if you could personalise the lyrics? Even take part in creating a custom version just for you or someone special? Now you can".

The band explain that "for a limited time (until we can tour again)" they will be offering fans the opportunity to have songs customised to their specifications.

After filling out an initial questionnaire, anyone who stumps up the money will have a Zoom meeting with the band to discuss lyrics further. The band will then pen two versions of the song's new lyrics for you to choose from, before recording the new vocals and slipping them over the top of the original track.

All of this will cost you just $7500. So yes, it's not exactly cheap. But if it's a personalised Steel Panther song you want, that's the price. This is still an emerging market, so it's hard to know if it's a good price or not. It's a good gauge for any other bands wanting to get in on the action though. I'm already saving up to get Radiohead to re-record 'Karma Police' for my cat's birthday.

Book your custom song and have a listen to an example of what's on offer from Steel Panther.


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
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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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