TODAY'S TOP STORY: The boss of London's Heaven venue, and the G-A-Y bars and club nights, confirmed on Friday that he has now formally begun judicial review proceedings against the UK government's current 10pm curfew for hospitality businesses... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES G-A-Y boss continues with legal action against government after ministers fail to provide evidence justifying 10pm curfew
LEGAL Music industry says new expansion of UK government's COVID funding unlikely to help
Freeplay Music calls Ford's "false advertising" claim in copyright dispute "absurd"
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Universal Music to open hotel chain
MEDIA Radio 2 listeners name U2's Joshua Tree the ultimate album of the 80s
ARTIST NEWS Killer Mike co-founds a new US bank targeting black and Latinx entrepreneurs and business owners
ONE LINERS Jax Jones, Miguel, Bebe Rexha, more
AND FINALLY... Q gives Paul Heaton award following donation to support magazine's former staff
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G-A-Y boss continues with legal action against government after ministers fail to provide evidence justifying 10pm curfew
The boss of London's Heaven venue, and the G-A-Y bars and club nights, confirmed on Friday that he has now formally begun judicial review proceedings against the UK government's current 10pm curfew for hospitality businesses.

Jeremy Joseph announced his intent to go legal over the curfew last week. Many in the live music and night-time sectors have argued that - while they support other COVID restrictions currently in place in the UK, however damaging they may be for individual live and nighttime firms - the 10pm cut-off for hospitality businesses seems random and badly thought out.

Joseph points out that ministers are yet to provide any scientific justification for the rule. Meanwhile, all hospitably businesses closing at the same time each evening results in large crowds suddenly appearing in the streets and on public transport, making social distancing impossible. And for many night-time businesses which had just about found a viable way of operating in line with other COVID rules, the curfew makes such operations impossible.

On Friday, Joseph said that the government had still not provided any evidence to support the 10pm curfew, despite his threat of legal proceedings. Instead, ministers have asked for a full fourteen days to respond to the G-A-Y boss's demands.

However, a spokesperson for Joseph says: "Our response was clear; if this evidence existed [Health Secretary] Matt Hancock would surely have it to hand. Why the 'dither and delay'? The fact is the government have still not provided any justification for a law that is putting customers, businesses and jobs at risk with every passing day".

"We want G-A-Y venues to be safe, it's how we operate", they go on. "We agree with the other COVID-secure measures, such as track and trace, six person rule, table service and face coverings. These are all based on published scientific information. But the curfew simply is not and does not work. What we are seeing, first-hand, is our customers going from being safe in our venues to unsafe on crowded streets and busy public transport".

Honing in on that latter point, the spokesperson continues: "The effect of the curfew actually goes against the government's own guidance. We get no staggering, massive cumulative impact, overcrowding of public places and transport hubs – all circumstances in which COVID spreads. The curfew is not only thoughtless but threatens lives and likely leads to the increase of COVID contamination. It undermines all the good work being done by our NHS and our hospitality industry".

Returning to the legal action, they conclude: "Since the Government will not engage with us, G-A-Y has been left with no choice but to take immediate action to protect hospitality and public safety. Today we have instructed our lawyers to issue judicial review proceedings against the government to challenge the arbitrary and nonsensical 10pm curfew. We need this government to work to protect hospitality whilst keeping customers safe".

The legal action is supported by the Night Time Industries Association, whose CEO Michael Kill said on Friday: "Our sector has seen the systematic closure of businesses and the loss of thousands of jobs through curfews and restrictions enforced by government, which have no scientific basis".

"Given the gravity of the decisions being made by government on restrictions, we had hoped that they may be able to respond and supply clear evidence for the decision to implement the 10pm curfew and further restrictions, but they have been unable to do this. This leaves no option for Jeremy Joseph, G-A-Y and [their] legal team but to follow through with proceedings".

As Joseph's legal challenge of the 10pm curfew proceeds, the government is likely to also face a separate challenge through the courts to the increased COVID measures expected to be announced later today, which will be initially focused on the north of England. Various organisations representing the hospitality sector, including NTIA, are likely to argue that - just like the curfew - those new measures are also not justified by credible scientific evidence.


Music industry says new expansion of UK government's COVID funding unlikely to help
The live music industry has hit out at the latest announcements regarding the UK government's general COVID support schemes. Concerns have been expressed that another technicality put in place by ministers will prevent most venues and live companies from accessing what is meant to be an extension of the financial support available to COVID-hit businesses.

The original financial support schemes for companies and people unable to operate or work because of COVID restrictions are currently winding down. The replacement schemes assume that beneficiaries are starting to get back to normal after the COVID shutdown, but are yet to reach full capacity.

For the main Jobs Support Scheme, employees need to be working at least 33% of their usual hours and companies need to be able to pay them more than half their usual salary to receive a government subsidy. Most live music and night-time businesses are currently operating at a small fraction of their usual capacity, if at all, with many still in full-on shutdown. For those businesses, the new scheme is pretty much useless.

On Friday, Chancellor Of The Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced an extension of the Job Support Scheme, pre-empting an announcement later today that COVID measures across England are likely to increase.

In terms of those new measures, a simplified three-tier system will be introduced, with each region of the country classified medium, high or very high risk. Medium risk areas will be subject to current social-distancing measures, while high risk areas will have rules more in line with the localised lockdowns currently in place in various towns and cities. In very high risk areas bars and restaurants will be forced to go back into full-on shutdown.

Those companies in very high risk areas forced to close again will get extra support under the expanded Job Support Scheme, with cash grants of up to £3000 depending on the rateable value of their properties, and two thirds of employee salaries covered by the government, providing employers still make national insurance and pension contributions.

However, while some live music and night-time businesses in very high risk areas may be able to benefit from the expanded Job Support Scheme, many other businesses around the country will not.

This is because the new scheme only benefits those venues, bars and restaurants who are specifically told they cannot open. It does not benefit companies that technically can open, but realistically - with the ongoing social-distancing rules and 10pm curfew in force - cannot re-open in a viable way.

And again, there are also concerns that companies and freelancers lower down the supply chain won't be able to access the required support, despite being directly impacted by the enforced closure of other live music and night-time businesses.

Criticising those limitations, the boss of the UK's Concert Promoters Association, Phil Bowdery, said on Friday that "the new scheme risks overlooking businesses who can technically open their doors but cannot trade economically due to the restrictions on gatherings in clubs, concert halls and arenas".

"Revenue in the live music industry will be down a catastrophic 80% in 2019 and over 70% of the employees in the industry are currently utilising the [soon to expire] furlough scheme", he added. "If the government fails to ensure that all sectors that can't work can access the new scheme, there will be tens of thousands of additional job losses coming before the end of the year".

Meanwhile, Steve Heap, General Secretary of the Association Of Festival Organisers said: "The Chancellor's new scheme appears to have failed the viable live music industry that was the first to close down. What is, effectively, a furlough scheme extension aimed at businesses that have opened and now have to close again, completely misses out the businesses in the live music industry that have been closed for over six months".

"Festivals, concerts and clubs along with their support crews", he added, "cannot survive another winter with no income and no government scheme to see them through until next spring".

Amidst increased criticism of the government from the music, creative, event and night-time sectors regarding the revamped general COVID support schemes, ministers have repeatedly pointed to the £1.57 billion in sector-specific support allocated to the cultural and heritage industries. That, they insist, will protect cultural businesses no longer eligible for general COVID support.

But with so many companies and organisations seeking a share of that £1.57 billion some doubt that it is sufficient to plug the gaps. A significant portion will be distributed via grants issued by Arts Council England's Cultural Recovery Fund, the first recipients of which will be confirmed later today. It remains to be seen to what extent those grants address the music industry's mounting concerns.


Freeplay Music calls Ford's "false advertising" claim in copyright dispute "absurd"
Production music company Freeplay has hit back at the Ford motor company in an ongoing dispute over the latter's use of the former's music without licence. Freeplay says that Ford, unable to deny its copyright infringement claims, is instead trying to "abuse and distort consumer protection laws".

Freeplay Music sued Ford earlier this year, accusing the car maker of using tracks from its library in promotional videos online without securing the appropriate licences. That, it said, was wilful copyright infringement on the part of the car company and it should therefore be awarded statutory damages of $150,000 for each uncleared track that was used.

Ford formally responded to the lawsuit last month. It raised some jurisdiction issues, though much of is response was focused on counterclaims that basically accused Freeplay of false advertising.

Ford argued that Freeplay's name and marketing communications are designed to trick people into thinking that they can use its music free of charge, when in fact in most uses of that music require buying a licence. Freeplay's aim, Ford claimed, was to confuse people, encourage them to use music from its library and then threaten to sue for copyright infringement.

The free bit of Freeplay relates to when people exploit its music in user-generated content on YouTube, where the company can generate income by seeking royalties from the Google site itself through the Content ID system. Other uses of Freeplay's music are not free, with a pretty clearly labelled pricing page on the firm's website outlining the costs of its other licences.

However, Ford argued, that pricing page was only added to Freeplay's site in 2018, and prior to that the unfreeness of Freeplay's free music was not so clearly sign-posted and was instead buried within some tedious terms and conditions.

But, Freeplay states in a new legal filing with the courts seeking to have Ford's counterclaims dismissed, the car maker's arguments are weak, unsubstantiated and disingenuous.

Ford, the new legal filing reckons "seeks to abuse and distort consumer protection laws in the misplaced attempt to excuse years of willful and continuous infringements of Freeplay Music's copyright registered works. Ford, a sophisticated corporation with global outreach, claims that Freeplay somehow tricked it, as part of an elaborate scheme, into exploiting Freeplay's catalogue of works without entering into a licence or paying licensing fees".

"Ford's only 'support' for its conspiracy is a website banner uploaded years after Ford began exploiting Freeplay's catalogue, despite the fact that Freeplay has issued millions of licences without licensees having any trouble understanding the need to enter into such licences to exploit Freeplay's copyrighted works. Ford also disingenuously brings its counterclaims, knowing full well that other courts have summarily dismissed virtually identical claims brought by other infringers".

"Despite this", the legal filing adds, "Ford has brought frivolous counterclaims for which it lacks standing and which fail as a matter of law. Each of these counterclaims should be dismissed".

Commenting on the new filing, the lawyer representing Freeplay, Richard Busch, told CMU: "While generally speaking everything we have to say is in our motion to dismiss, it bears noting that Freeplay Music's website is not only clear that companies like Ford must enter into licences to use Freeplay's works, but millions of licensees have had no problem understanding Freeplay's licences. Ford's counterclaim claiming that they were somehow tricked is therefore absurd, and we made that clear in our motion to dismiss".

Let's now see how Ford responds.


Universal Music to open hotel chain
With the record business having held up reasonably well during the pandemic, Universal Music has decided that now is the time to get into the hospitality business. The company is set to open three Umusic Hotels in Atlanta, Georgia; Biloxi, Mississippi; and Orlando, Florida. And why the hell not? Apart from all the reasons.

A partnership with investment firm Dakia U-Ventures, the new musical hotels will be managed by the Pyramid Hotel Group. It is planned to open more hotels around the US and worldwide, assuming that these first three are successful enough.

"Through music's unique power to inspire and unite – especially given UMG's unparalleled roster of artists and labels – Umusic Hotels will both highlight these cities' rich music heritages and provide new opportunities for artists to reach fans in immersive, innovative and authentic ways", says CEO of Universal Music Enterprises, Bruce Resnikoff.

Chair of Dakia U-Ventures, Robert Lavia, adds: "Every destination holds a great story just waiting to be told through its cultural heritage and its music. Through this new concept, we will both help people discover new ways to channel their love for music and the arts and help empower the transformation of communities worldwide through cultural, inspirational, creative and conscious collaboration".

"And we're THRILLED to work together with Universal Music Group", he goes on, "who shares our vision and passion about the powerful role of culture and music for each community we touch".

No dates have yet been announced for the opening of the hotels. Stay up to date on the Umusic Hotels website.


Radio 2 listeners name U2's Joshua Tree the ultimate album of the 80s
BBC Radio 2 listeners have voted U2's 'The Joshua Tree' the greatest album of the 1980s. This is why we can't have nice things.

The poll was announced to coincide with National Album Day, which was on Saturday. Did you listen to lots of albums? Did you listen to 'The Joshua Tree'? Did you do either of those things remembering that Saturday was National Album Day?

"'The Joshua Tree' changed everything for us as a band", says guitarist The Edge. "It was written in the mid-80s, during the Reagan-Thatcher era of British and US politics, a period when there was a lot of unrest. And it feels like we're right back there in a way, politics are still so polarised".

"We've had the privilege of playing 'The Joshua Tree' live all over the world in the last few years and it's almost like the album has come full circle", he goes on. "We're just THRILLED that people are still connecting with these songs, night after night, year after year. Huge thanks to Radio 2 and everyone who voted!"

Radio 2's Head Of Music Jeff Smith, adds: "The 80s saw the introduction of the CD and a renaissance for the album format but now in pristine digital audio".

Thanks, Jeff, that's good to know. Gary Davies, who presented the full top 40 rundown for the BBC station, adds: "Because there were so many brilliant albums in the 80s having to choose just one is really difficult. I'm very pleased to see that the Radio 2 listeners have impeccable taste by choosing an album from my all-time favourite band and agree with me that the ultimate 80s album just has to be 'The Joshua Tree' from U2".

Here's the top ten:

  1. U2 - The Joshua Tree
  2. Dire Straits - Brothers In Arms
  3. The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses
  4. Michael Jackson - Thriller
  5. Guns N Roses - Appetite For Destruction
  6. The Human League - Dare
  7. The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead
  8. Paul Simon - Graceland
  9. ABC - The Lexicon Of Love
  10. Prince - Purple Rain

Listen to the full rundown on BBC Sounds here


Setlist: BMG moves to make record contracts fairer
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including BMG's announcement that it is eliminating a controversial, artist unfriendly clause from its record contracts and whether other labels might follow suit, plus what the members of BTS serving military service could mean for both the band and the South Korean economy.

Listen to this episode of Setlist here, and sign up to receive new episodes for free automatically each week through any of these services...

Acast | Apple Podcasts | audioBoom | CastBox | Deezer | Google Play | iHeart | Mixcloud | RSS | Spotify | Stitcher | TuneIn

Killer Mike co-founds a new US bank targeting black and Latinx entrepreneurs and business owners
Entrepreneurial music-makers have got themselves involved in lots of non-musical business ventures over the years, especially within the hip hop community. Though Killer Mike might be the first to set up a bank.

The activist and Run The Jewels rapper has teamed up with a former mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young, and the founder of US television network Bounce TV, Ryan Glover, to launch Greenwood, a digital banking platform that will target black and Latinx customers - both individuals and businesses - in the US.

The start-up announced that it had secured $3 million in seed funding last week as it put its initial website live. Although the banking service won't actually properly launch until the new year, Glover said this weekend that tens of thousands of people have already signed up to open an account.

Glover has been working on launching Greenwood since early 2019, though he says interest in the venture has risen in recent months amid the latest round of Black Lives Matter protests. One of the many things that those protests have sparked is a movement to support black entrepreneurs and businesses owned by black people. Providing support to those entrepreneurs and businesses is a key aim of the Greenwood venture.

Confirming his involvement in the new banking platform, Killer Mike last week cited a frequently shared stat regarding how money that flows into the black community in America is quickly spent with businesses outside that community.

"Today, a dollar circulates for 20 days in the white community but only six hours in the black community", the rapper said. "Moreover, a black person is twice as likely as a white person to be denied a mortgage. This lack of fairness in the financial system is why we created Greenwood".



Universal Music Thailand has partnered with Thai music company IAM Records to launch new girl group Lyra. The two companies are aiming to build an international career for the group, hoping that T-pop can become the new K-pop. "We are delighted to partner with the team at IAM to officially launch Lyra, and to bring the unique sound of T-Pop and Thailand to the world", says Paul Sirisant, Managing Director of Universal Music Thailand. Here's their first track, 'Lyra'.



Jax Jones has released new single 'I Miss You', featuring Au/Ra. The track, he says, "takes it back to my roots with the signature Jax Jones club sound. As much as I love my upbeat dance pop records, it's fun to mix some melancholy in now and again".

Miguel has released the video for new single 'Funeral'.

Bebe Rexha has released new single 'Baby, I'm Jealous', featuring Doja Cat. "It's part of the human process to experience jealousy", says Rexha. "Ultimately, this is an anthem to embrace those feelings as a form of empowerment".

Pearl Jam have released new song 'Get It Back', their contribution to new compilation 'Good Music To Avert The Collapse Of American Democracy Vol 2'.

Fleet Foxes have released the video for 'Can I Believe You', from their recently released album 'Shore'.

Trivium frontman Matt Heafy has released new solo single 'My Mother Told Me', a cover of a song that appeared on TV show 'Vikings'.

Trippie Red has released new single 'Sleepy Hollow'.

Gilligan Moss has released new single 'Ferris Wheel', featuring Rebecca & Fiona. "This song is an ode to a lost season; a ferris-wheel view of a summer that never quite materialised", they all say together. "Since our beaches and carnivals were closed this summer, this song is filled with the phantom smell of corn-dogs, funnel cakes and cotton candy. As we move into autumn, it can be a bit of a token of a season gone by".

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


Q gives Paul Heaton award following donation to support magazine's former staff
Former Beautiful South and Housemartins frontman Paul Heaton has been presented with the Q Award he would have won this year had there still been a Q magazine to present such a prize.

Announcing the news, former Q Editor Ted Kessler also revealed that Heaton donated "a large sum" of money to the staff of the music monthly after it was shut down earlier this year as the COVID pandemic put further pressure on an already struggling magazine sector.

Kessler explained on Twitter that the annual awards - which would have taken place this month - had been in the early planning stages when Q shut down in July.

"The only award [winner] we knew for sure was ... Paul Heaton, as we'd heard he'd never won one", he said. "Think of all the brilliant songs he's written for The Housemartins, Beautiful South etc. Millions of records sold. No Q award (or BRIT) for his songwriting. So we knew he'd be Classic Songwriter".

"Then, a few days after Q closed, we got a message from him saying that, to thank Q for all the support we'd given him over 35 years, he was going to donate a large sum to thank us in our turmoil", he went on.

"Obviously, I politely declined", says Kessler. "[But] he was insistent. I accepted the donation and shared it amongst over 40 staff and freelancers working for Q at the time, all of whose minds - like mine - were blown. It really was the most amazingly kind, selfless, generous act. For some, it meant a bill could be paid".

"We got him that award in the end", he added, posting pictures of the trophy. "Britain's greatest living pop star. A true legend".

Heaton subsequently responded by posting a video on Twitter thanking Kessler, and showing where in his house he was going to display the trophy.

It was announced in July that Q would close after one final issue. There had been hopes that it could be saved after owner Bauer Media put the title up for sale. However, although it was initially said that negotiations with a possible buyer were at an "advanced" stage, no deal was completed.


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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