TODAY'S TOP STORY: Viagogo has proposed selling off all but the North American StubHub business in order to get regulator approval in the UK for the already-completed acquisition of its ticket resale rival... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Viagogo proposes selling StubHub everywhere but North America to get UK regulator approval
LEGAL TikTok tries to get Donald Trump's second executive order paused while it still seeks approval for an Oracle/Walmart alliance
Britney Spears' father remains conservator, following court hearing

DEALS Sentric signs Don Broco
LIVE BUSINESS Music Venue Trust highlights the 30 UK venues in imminent danger of permanent closure
BRANDS & MERCH Beyonce partners with Peloton
ONE LINERS Christina Aguilera, Tegan & Sara, Foo Fighters, more
AND FINALLY... Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler celebrates pop's history of offending, before being offended by Cardi B's WAP
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Collective Licensing In Ten Steps
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Viagogo proposes selling StubHub everywhere but North America to get UK regulator approval
Viagogo has proposed selling off all but the North American StubHub business in order to get regulator approval in the UK for the already-completed acquisition of its ticket resale rival.

Viagogo completed its purchase of StubHub from previous owner eBay earlier this year. By the time the purchase was completed, the UK's Competition & Markets Authority had already confirmed it was investigating the deal because of competition concerns, a combined Viagogo/StubHub set to totally dominate the British secondary ticketing market.

For its part, Viagogo tried to argue that it also competes with face-value ticket exchanges and primary ticket agents, so there would still be plenty of competition in the marketplace, but - after a two phase investigation - the CMA said its competition law concerns remained.

In a statement last month the CMA suggested that its approval could still be secured if Viagogo committed to a significant divestment of either StubHub assets, Viagogo assets or a combination of the two. Though given Viagogo had already offered to sell StubHub Europe to get CMA approval - and that remedy had been deemed insufficient by the regulator - it was clear that any new proposal would need to involve a significant sell-off.

Hence the reported new proposal to sell off everything StubHub other than its North American business. That's not entirely surprising, given we knew that Viagogo's main interest in buying StubHub was to get a much bigger slice of the US market, where StubHub is a much bigger deal than Viagogo.

According to the Press Association, Viagogo made that proposal to the CMA last week. Any buyer would get access to both the StubHub brand and its customer base in all non-North American markets. "The purchaser will therefore", Viagogo's proposal reportedly states, "be provided with the customer and transaction data necessary to compete in secondary ticketing in the UK and beyond".

Of course, StubHub websites in the US and Canada, operated by Viagogo, would still be accessible by ticket sellers and buyers in the UK. However, Viagogo would make commitments that the North American division of StubHub would not target UK consumers, for example through search engine advertising. And presumably whoever bought StubHub UK would want similar assurance.

There are some extra technicalities though, according to the PA's report, which says that the buyer would have a three-year licence to use the StubHub brand in the UK. It's not quite clear what that means, although possibly whoever buys the global StubHub business would have to rebrand within three years, so that ultimately only Viagogo's StubHub North America division got to use that name.

It remains to be seen if this bigger divestment proposal placates the CMA. FanFair, the group that campaigns against for-profit online ticket touting in the UK, points out all the various controversies involving Viagogo over the years, and says it has specific concerns with what is now being proposed.

"Viagogo is a discredited business that's been at the heart of a major ticket mis-selling scandal, ripping off UK audiences to the tune of millions", the group's Adam Webb said yesterday, adding that "the operators of this platform cannot be trusted". Raising various issues with what has been proposed, Webb said: "We have already raised these concerns with the CMA".

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Viagogo said: "We look forward to working with the CMA to deliver a comprehensive solution which addresses their concerns and we believe this proposal would achieve that".


TikTok tries to get Donald Trump's second executive order paused while it still seeks approval for an Oracle/Walmart alliance
TikTok owner ByteDance has asked a court in Washington DC to pause the second of Donald Trump's executive orders against the video-sharing app, which ordered China-based Bytedance to divest itself of any US-based assets.

Trump issued two orders targeting TikTok back in August, both based on concerns that - because the app is ultimately Chinese-owned - the Chinese government has access to its global userbase and user-data. The first order, originally due to come into effect in September, banned Americans from transacting with Bytedance. The second, due to come into effect this month, ordered the divestment of US assets.

Bytedance got the first executive order put on hold by the courts. That was based on the argument that, in the order, Trump was using powers granted to the US President by the country's International Emergency Economic Powers Act. But that act includes limitations on stopping "personal communications" or the sharing of "informational materials".

Concurrent to its legal efforts to stop Trump's ban, Bytedance has also been busy trying to placate its critics in Washington via a deal with US firms Oracle and Walmart. That deal would see those two companies get a minority stake in the TikTok business outside of China, and take responsibility for ensuring user-data was held in a way that complies with American law.

The hope was that that deal would lead to Trump voluntarily calling off his two TikTok bans. The President initially did indicate his support for the Oracle and Walmart alliance, although also made some statements about that deal that weren't correct.

Bytedance has been liaising with the US government ever since seeking confirmation that the Oracle/Walmart proposal addresses its concerns and will result in the executive orders being revoked. However, with the deadline for the second order looming, it seems the TikTok owner is yet to get clarity on the US government's position. Needless to say, other events in Washington in the last week haven't helped.

Which is why Bytedance wants the DC court to pause the second executive order while it continues to seek clarity and support from the outgoing (but in denial about that fact, of course) US government.

Having filed legal papers to that effect yesterday, TikTok said in a statement: "We remain committed to working with the administration - as we have all along - to resolve the issues it has raised, but our legal challenge today is a protection to ensure these discussions can take place".

There are some extra complexities in all this, partly because there are two executive orders, but also because there are two legal challenges. In addition to Bytedance's legal effort, three TikTok users also successfully sought a court order pausing any ban against the app in the US. That case was pursued through a federal court in Pennsylvania.

Elsewhere in sort of TikTok news, the former Disney exec who ran the global TikTok business for a few months earlier this year, Kevin Mayer, has just popped up as a senior advisor on media assets at Warner Music owner Access Industries.

Having only started his TikTok CEO role in May, Mayer quit in August as the company's political woes mounted, and it increasingly looked like the TikTok company would be carved up around the world, meaning the US-based boss of TikTok Global might not control the app within the US. As it turns out, such a carve-up is not currently looking likely.


Britney Spears' father remains conservator, following court hearing
A court in LA has declined to remove Britney Spears' father Jamie from his position overseeing her affairs in his legal role as conservator, despite her attorney arguing that she is afraid of him and will not return to performing while Spears Senior still has that control.

Spears has been attempting to have her father removed as co-conservator ever since he returned to the role earlier this year, after he temporarily stood down due to ill-health in 2019. At a hearing yesterday, lawyer Samuel D Ingham III told the judge: "My client has informed me that she is afraid of her father. She will not perform again if her father is in charge of her career".

Ingham also said that Britney and Jamie have no "viable working relationship" and have not spoken in a "long while".

Jamie Spears' attorney, Vivian Lee Thoreen, countered than in the twelve years that Britney has been under conservatorship and not in control of her personal and business affairs, with her father instead taking the lead in that regard, she has gone from being in debt to being worth over $60 million.

Thoreen also argued that the only reason the father and daughter do not speak at the moment is because Igham has advised his client to cut off contact.

"I don't believe there is a shred of evidence to support my client's suspension", said Thoreen.

Although judge Brenda Penny decided not to remove Spears Senior from his role, she did formally approve the appointment of the Bessemer Trust as co-conservator, as had been requested by Britney. The judge also said that she would consider further petitions to have Jame Spears removed from the role - which Ingham has already indicated he plans to submit on behalf of his client.


Sentric signs Don Broco
Sentric Music has signed Don Broco to a new publishing deal, covering their future works.

The band's manager, Raw Power's Dan Jenkins, says: "We are all very excited about the new partnership between Don Broco and Sentric. From the first meeting, it was very clear the Sentric team were keen to partner with us, buy into the band's artistic vision and work alongside us in taking the band to the next level. Sentric have a great history, not only as a publisher, but also in securing some huge syncs for their artists, which makes this new partnership even more exciting".

Sentric's Creative Director Peter McCamley adds: "It's not every day you get to pen deals with a band as exciting as Don Broco. The lads bring a level of energy to their tracks that really sets them apart from the rest. Myself and the team at Sentric are looking forward to being a part of their forthcoming releases and working closer with the guys at Raw Power to build on an already successful relationship".

The band's last album, 'Technology', was released in 2018. No announcement about a follow-up has yet been made, but I think it's fair to assume that there's going to be one.


Music Venue Trust highlights the 30 UK venues in imminent danger of permanent closure
The Music Venue Trust has identified 30 grassroots venues around the UK which it says are now in imminent danger of permanent closure because of the ongoing COVID-19 shutdown. These are venues that were unable to secure grants from the government's Culture Recovery Fund, and which now need crowdfunding support to stay in business.

The Culture Recovery Fund distributed a significant portion of the £1.57 billion in sector-specific COVID support provided by the UK government for the cultural and heritage industries. Grants from that fund - alongside the government's general COVID support schemes - have helped many grassroots venues to find a way to just about survive through to March next year, the hope being that shows may then start to resume in something like a commercially viable way.

However, not every venue received CRF funding from Arts Council England, or equivalent support that was available in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Some venues weren't eligible, others were unsuccessful, and some received grants that only cover part of ongoing costs.

MVT has now organised the country's grassroots venues into three groups that employ a traffic light system. The green group of 353 venues have funding in place to get through to the end of March. The amber group of 273 venues will need additional support before 31 Mar. And the red group of 30 venues need urgent support or they will permanently close.

The trade group is today launching the latest phase of its #saveourvenues campaign calling for more support and seeking to raise the money needed to keep the 30 venues in that latter group in business. That includes a crowdfunding initiative via which people can support specific venues, though as each venue reaches the sum of money it needs any other donations will go to other red group venues.

Commenting on all this MVT CEO Mark Davyd said: "What the #saveourvenues campaign has achieved during the last eight months is truly remarkable. Thanks to the efforts of music fans, local communities and the wider music sector we have raised over £3 million in donations and have unlocked over £80 million in government assistance to help stave off the imminent closure of over 400 grassroots music venues".

"We are now focusing exclusively on those 30 remaining venues which face immediate permanent closure", he went on. "If people want these local venues to still be there when this is over there is a very clear call to action: choose a venue, get donating, get writing, get calling, get organised. Save them all. Reopen every venue safely".

Details about the 30 venues and how to support them are here.


Beyonce partners with Peloton
Beyonce has announced a new multi-year partnership with interactive fitness company Peloton, initially focussing on the upcoming 'homecoming' season at historically black colleges and universities - aka HBCUs - in the US. This will see Beyonce front a series of homecoming-themed workouts, and give away ten two year Peloton memberships to students at those colleges.

"Peloton and I both believe that the power of music can help uplift, motivate and inspire those on their fitness journeys", says Beyonce. "I've been a Peloton member for several years, and I'm excited to partner with a company that helps people, young and old, be the best versions of themselves, in an innovative and adaptable way".

Peloton's Head Of Music, Gwen Bethel, Riley adds: "Beyonce's commitment to empowerment and artistic expression is an inspiration to the entire Peloton community. It is a privilege to be able to work closely with her and her extraordinary team to broaden access to our platform and collaborate on incredible offerings we think our members will love".

This news is good for Peloton because, well, number one, it's only bloody Beyonce, but also, until earlier this year the company was locked in a high profile and bitter legal battle with some American music publishers. And partnerships like this, at the very least, help communicate that the fitness firm is on better terms with the music community, whose tracks and songs accompany its fitness videos.

In that lawsuit, originally filed in 2019 by fourteen music publishers, it was alleged that some of those videos contained unlicensed music controlled by the plaintiffs. Following the music publisher lawsuit, Peloton then countersued mainly on competition law grounds. It alleged that it had previously had good relationships with most of the publishers involved in the legal dispute and was negotiating licensing deals with many of them.

Those relationships only fell apart, it then claimed, because of interference by America's National Music Publishers Association. The NMPA hit back, arguing that Peloton knew that it had no grounds to defend the copyright infringement claims, so was desperately trying to conjure up a bogus competition law complaint instead.

The competition lawsuit was dismissed in January this year, on the grounds that the publishers involved in the case only controlled a relatively small selection of songs in the wider catalogue available, so Peloton had plenty more to choose from.

After that, in February, it was announced that the two sides had reached a settlement on the copyright dispute, which included entering "into a joint collaboration agreement and will work together to further optimise Peloton's music licensing systems and processes".

Beyonce is signed to Sony/ATV for her publishing, which was not involved in the litigation, so she was never directly part of all that. But still, a better overall relationship with the music industry makes partnerships like this much easier to promote. Plus, says Peloton, Beyonce is consistently the most requested artist in Peloton workouts. So that's nice for everyone, isn't it?


Get all the latest guides from CMU Trends
The selection of CMU Trends guides continues to grow. These form the core of the CMU Library, which exists to help you navigate and understand all the different strands of the music business.

The most recent CMU Trends guide looks at the rights of artists and songwriters over their recordings and songs, even and especially when they no longer own the copyright in that music. It covers contractual rights, moral rights, performer rights and termination rights in ten easy steps.

Other guides currently available cover things like music rights data, collective licensing, digital licensing, sync licensing, the digital market, music piracy, record deals, brand partnerships, music marketing, catalogue marketing and the music industry's battle against ticket touting.

New guides coming up will cover topics like fanbase building for new artists, building a direct-to-fan business and streaming in emerging markets.

You can buy all these guides from the CMU Shop. But if you become a premium CMU subscriber, you can access them all for free.

Check out the CMU Trends guides here. And go premium for just £5 a month here.


Christina Aguilera has signed a new management deal with Jay-Z's Roc Nation, according to Variety. It was reported last week that she had split from longtime manager Irving Azoff after 20 years.

Warner Music has expanded its existing US licensing deal with streaming service Audiomack to cover several new territories, including Canada, Ghana, Jamaica, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania.



Tegan & Sara have been announced as ambassadors for Keychange in Canada, as the music industry gender equality campaign launches in the country. "The demographic breakdown of awards nominations and festival lineups reflects the structural confines of our society and industry", say the duo. "We must do better as it sends an outdated message to the next generation about whose art and voice and message is valuable".



Spotify has done a - wait for it - a - no, you'll never guess - a - let's just keep the tension building for a moment longer - a multi-million dollar deal to acquire a podcast company. This time it's bought podcast hosting company Megaphone for a reported $235 million. If you own a podcast company that Spotify hasn't bought yet, it's starting to look bad on you.



The Eurosonic Noorderslag showcase festival and music industry conference in the Netherlands has announced that it will take place entirely online in 2021. "We think that's it's very important in these challenging times, to bring the people of the live music sector, artists, venues and festivals and media together", says Head Of Programme Robert Meijerink. "ESNS Digital will consist of a showcase festival, the conference focussing on the 'road to recovery' and an online edition of the Music Moves Europe Talent Awards". The event will take place from 13-16 Jan. More info here.

The AIM Sync conference will return for its second virtual edition in February, it has been announced. As well as various conference sessions, the event will also close with the AIM Sync Awards. More info here.



Foo Fighters have released the video for new single 'Shame Shame'. They've also announced that they will livestream a performance from the Roxy in Hollywood on 14 Nov.

Rico Nasty has released new track 'OHFR?', produced by Dylan Brady of 100gecs. She's also announced that new album, 'Nightmare Vacation', will be out on 4 Dec.

Brian Eno has shared a new video for his track 'Decline And Fall', to accompany his forthcoming new album 'Film Music 1976-2020'. The track originally appeared in his score for the film 'O Nome da Morte'.

The Bug and Dis Fig have released new single 'Blue To Black'. Their collaborative album 'In Blue' is out through Hyperdub on 20 Nov.

Anna B Savage has released new single 'Corncrakes'. Her debut album, 'A Common Turn', is out on 21 Jan 2021 through City Slang.



Tomorrowland has announced a virtual New Year's Eve party, with 25 artists including Armin van Buuren, Charlotte de Witte, David Guetta, Diplo, Martin Garrix and Snoop Dogg (as DJ Snoopadelic) playing across four stages. Tickets go on sale on 17 Nov. More info here.

The Cinematic Orchestra will livestream a performance from the Royal Festival Hall in London 11 Dec. "We're incredibly excited to be able to connect this globally loved British band to audiences all around the world, and bring their new music into everyone's homes for this very special one-off event from the Royal Festival Hall", says Southbank Centre Head Of Contemporary Music Bengi Ünsal. More details here.

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


Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler celebrates pop's history of offending, before being offended by Cardi B's WAP
Contemporary music has a long history of pissing off older generations. In some ways it could be seen as its job, with each new generation of pop stars charged with the task of pissing off the people who, when younger, liked music partly because it was pissing off an earlier generation of older people.

Does that make sense? Well, let me give you an example: Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler, having previously made music that pissed people off, is now pissed off by new music himself. Specifically, he's not a fan of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's 'WAP', branding it "disgusting".

The topic arose in a new interview with Kerrang! while discussing his 1997 solo track 'Unspeakable Elvis'. "That's really about the fact that whatever new music comes out, it's viewed as the devil's music", he says. "I remember when Elvis came out everybody said he was Satan. And then in the 60s and 70s he became America's national treasure".

"It happens with every new wave of music", he goes on. "Like metal, obviously. The christians were going mental when Sabbath came about. And then when rap came about, people were up in arms about that and certain words that rappers were using. I have to say, though, that Cardi B pisses me off with that 'WAP' song. It's disgusting! But there you go".

Like many, Butler isn't keen on the sexually explicit lyrics in the track, even though it has been viewed by others as a female empowerment anthem.

"A friend of mine didn't know what the song was about but his ten year old girl was singing it", he says. "I was like 'What?!' To put it on album, fair enough. But to put it out as a single? That's a bit much".

"Then again", he concedes, "I'm 71. A bloody old goat!"


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 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.
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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.
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