TODAY'S TOP STORY: UK Prime Minister 'Boris' Johnson will set out later today the COVID measures that will be in place in England when the current country-wide lockdown ends next week. It's expected that a three-tier system will return, so that rules are different around the country depending on local levels of COVID infections. The unpopular 10pm curfew for all hospitality and night-time businesses is likely to be axed, though a new 'last orders at 10pm' rule will replace it... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Live music and night-time sectors await government announcement on December COVID measures in England
LEGAL R Kelly's New York trial set for April 2021
Radiohead say admission of negligence by engineer involved in Toronto stage collapse "eight years too late"
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Warner Music promotes Simon Robson into international role
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Snapchat buys Voisey
MEDIA Nicki Minaj signs deal for documentary series about her life and career
INDUSTRY PEOPLE New social enterprise launched to grow The F-List initiative
AND FINALLY... Dave Grohl concedes defeat in drum battle with ten year old
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Expand your knowledge about the inner workings of the music business, best practice across the music industry, and all the latest trends and developments, with CMU's weekly webinars.

Taking place every Tuesday afternoon at 2.30pm London time, these one hour online training sessions are delivered by CMU's Chris Cooke.

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Tuesday 24 Nov 2020 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
Music distribution has changed a lot over the last fifteen years. This webinar reviews the evolution of digital distribution, explaining how distributors expanded their services and client base, and runs through the distribution options open to artists and labels today.
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As the legitimate digital music market has evolved so has online music piracy. This webinar looks at the piracy challenge over the last 20 years, how the music industry has sought to tackle the problem, and which anti-piracy tactics actually work today.
Tuesday 8 Dec 2020 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
The role of the artist manager has changed dramatically over the last two decades as artists themselves seek to take more control over their recorded music and fan relationships. What does management now involve, what skills and knowledge are required, and what should management deals look like?
Tuesday 12 Jan 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
The music rights business makes money by exploiting the controls that come with the copyrights in songs and recordings. Get to grips with all the basic principles of copyright law and how music copyright makes money in this user-friendly easy-to-follow webinar.
Tuesday 19 Jan 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
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Getting songwriters and artists paid when their songs and recordings are played often comes down to whether or not the right data is in the system. But what data? This webinar runs through all the key data points and explains how to get information into the system.
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Streaming now accounts for more than half of recorded music revenues worldwide - and in many countries it's much bigger than that. Get fully up to speed on all the key trends and developments in the global streaming music market in this super timely webinar.
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Tuesday 16 Feb 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
Streaming is a revenue share game, with digital dollars shared out each month between artists, songwriters, labels and publishers. We explain how the money is currently split up and talk through why some people in the industry believe a different approach is needed.
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Music Industry Basics In Ten Steps
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Streaming Challenges In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to the challenges facing the streaming business in 2020
Collective Licensing In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to the collective licensing system
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Live music and night-time sectors await government announcement on December COVID measures in England
UK Prime Minister 'Boris' Johnson will set out later today the COVID measures that will be in place in England when the current country-wide lockdown ends next week. It's expected that a three-tier system will return, so that rules are different around the country depending on local levels of COVID infections. The unpopular 10pm curfew for all hospitality and night-time businesses is likely to be axed, though a new 'last orders at 10pm' rule will replace it.

Those live entertainment and night-time businesses that had been able to re-open in one way or another between the two full-on COVID lockdowns in England will be scrutinising the new rules carefully. Again reps for the night-time industries have criticised ministers for not consulting with the sector enough before coming up with the new restrictions.

Following reports this weekend regarding what Johnson will say later today, the boss of the Night Time Industries Association, Michael Kill, said: "We are anxious in anticipation of the announcement of the restrictions that will be implemented from the 2 Dec 2020. Even at this late stage, we reiterate our concerns, and implore the government to consider some specific insights from the sector, with the impending communication of new restrictions".

While venues and bars will be pleased that the 10pm curfew - which the sector heavily criticised - is being axed, the NTIA expressed concern about the last orders rule that will replace it.

"Please consider", Kill went on, "that last orders an hour before closure will create mass ordering prior to the service closing with the potential for more people consuming alcohol quicker over a short period of time, and then systematically spilling out on the street at 11pm".

"It would be more considered to have a last entry or staggered closure strategy relevant to the individual premises operating licence", he advised. "This would then detract from people buying in excess to beat last orders and would allow businesses that are able to open the opportunity to generate some sustainable trade within a safe environment".

Kill also again argued that government should seek to support venues and bars that have invested in systems and infrastructure that facilitate social distancing, because it is much safer for people to gather in those premises than at house parties or unofficial unregulated events.

"It has been stated on many occasions and re-enforced by ministers at many levels that the businesses within the night time economy are one of the safest environments for people to socialise", he said. "We have invested in staffing, technology and our business environments to create these COVID safe spaces, and are highly regulated with very clear objectives which are upheld and scrutinised by licensing officers across the UK".

"The facts are", he continued, "the longer our sector is closed or limited in its ability to open through restrictions, people out of desperation will strive to find an outlet or an alternative, particularly at this time of year. Whether it's an illegal event, house party or lock-in, it all adds to pressures on police and emergency services, something that the government has suggested it's trying to avoid".

He then concluded: "The government needs to consult further with the industry and create realistic operating parameters for us to be able to manage our businesses safely and effectively, and consider the public needs, especially during the festive period".


R Kelly's New York trial set for April 2021
The date has been set for R Kelly's New York trial on sexual abuse charges. It will begin on 7 Apr 2021, with jury selection taking place the previous day.

Kelly has been held in custody ever since being arrested in July last year and faces charges in multiple American states. In the New York case - ie the one set to be heard next April - he is accused of leading an operation to aid him in engaging in illegal sexual activity with six women.

The musician has made repeated requests for release on bail while he awaits the various court hearings, all of which have been denied. Concerns have been raised by prosecutors that Kelly is a flight risk, and that he may also try to intimidate witnesses if allowed to go free in the run up to trial.

Fears of witness tampering also led to prosecutors to request that jurors identities be kept anonymous in next year's hearing, a request that New York judge Ann Donnelly granted last month.

Kelly's attorney Michael Leonard unsuccessfully argued that that move was inappropriate for his client's case, and that such protection of each juror's identity was only normally put in place for cases involving organised crime bosses.

"[Kelly] is charged with leading a criminal enterprise that paid out large sums over the past two decades to bribe witnesses and cover up his misconduct, and he faces a significant prison term if convicted", noted Donnelly when approving the motion.

Speaking to Billboard, Leonard said that Kelly was glad that a trial date had finally being set, adding: "It's been long and onerous, but on the other hand I think he is eager to get to trial".

The New York case was originally supposed to get to court in July, but has been postponed a number of times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. His Chicago trial had been due to begin last month, but has now been moved back to December. In addition to this, Kelly is also awaiting trial in Minnesota.


Radiohead say admission of negligence by engineer involved in Toronto stage collapse "eight years too late"
Radiohead have again criticised the man who was responsible for the design and approval of the stage that collapsed ahead of a 2012 concert in Toronto killing the band's drum tech Scott Johnson. Band members said on social media that Domenic Cugliari's recent admission of errors and negligence had come "eight years too late".

Johnson died when the roof of an open air stage set up at Downsview Park in Toronto collapsed shortly before doors were due to open for a Radiohead concert. The show's promoter Live Nation, production firm Optex Staging & Services Inc and Cugliari were all charged under Ontario's Occupational Health And Safety Act in relation to the incident.

However, that legal action stalled and was then abandoned because of legal technicalities. Though a subsequent inquest made various recommendations as to what regulators could and should do to stop such a tragedy from occurring again in the future.

In a separate inquest in Johnson's hometown of Doncaster last year, coroner Nicola Mundy concluded that his death was the result of "inadequate advice coupled with wholly inadequate construction techniques". She added: "It's quite clear from what I have heard that the design and construction itself had inherent deficiencies within them".

The latest hearing in relation to the stage collapse has been undertaken by the Association Of Professional Engineers Of Ontario. According to CBC News, that organisation's investigation into the 2012 incident was delayed because Cugliari claimed it not longer had any jurisdiction following his decision to retire from the profession in 2018.

However, a misconduct hearing did go ahead last week during which, Radiohead said in their statement: "Cugliari acknowledged his catalogue of errors and the negligence on his part that led to the stage collapse and Scott's death".

The band went on: "These admissions are eight years too late. If the evidence now accepted by Mr Cugliari had been agreed at the original court case brought against him, Live Nation and the contractor Optex Staging, it would have been complete in one day, with a very different outcome and some justice would have been delivered".

"As it is", they then added, "Mr Cugliari has now retired and is seemingly beyond any legal recrimination. This is a sad day. Our thoughts and love are, as ever, with Scott's parents, Ken and Sue Johnson, his family and friends, and our crew".


Warner Music promotes Simon Robson into international role
Warner Music has announced that Simon Robson, most recently President of the major's operations in Asia, has been promoted to the role of President, International for recorded music. Based in London, he will oversee the firm's label operations outside the US and UK, reporting into the Global CEO for recorded music, Max Lousada.

Robson takes over in that role from the departing Stu Bergen, who previously headed up the major's international recorded music operations as well as its commercial services business. The latter element of Bergen's former role is basically being taken on by the newly appointed President of Warner's WEA division, Maria Weaver. The major says that Bergen and Weaver will work closely together in their new roles, and also with Warner's Chief Marketing Officer Eric Wong.

Confirming Robson's promotion, Lousada said: "In most places on the planet, domestic music is increasingly important and influential. At the same time, we have the power to ignite worldwide careers out of almost any territory. Music travels faster and more fluidly than ever. Simon's worldwide perspective and dynamic expertise will be invaluable as we invest in our global growth, accelerate our drive into emerging markets, and build a 'one Warner' platform for talent".

Robson himself chipped in: "Our business is more international than ever, with incredible music coming from all parts of the globe. I'm looking forward to helping build our local rosters, foster artistic pollination across territories, and develop long-term, global careers for our artists".

"The paths to international success are multiplying rapidly", he continued, "and it'll be fantastic to work with Warner's talented leadership around the world, many of whom I've already had the pleasure of knowing over the years. I've learned so much from my time in Asia, I'm delighted to be taking on this exciting new role, and I'm hugely ambitious for our artists, our people, and our future".


Snapchat buys Voisey
While most content-sharing apps have been trying to make it easier of late for people to synchronise commercially released music into their user-generated videos, the next fad could well be adding tools that make it easier for those video makers to create their own music. Which is presumably why Snapchat has acquired music creation app Voisey.

We know of the acquisition because of some digging by Business Insider, which has noted that the UK start-up behind the Voisey app has changed its official address to that of Snap Inc's London base, and appointed two Snap employees as its directors.

Voisey describes itself as "a mobile music creation app and community for creators". Users can access backing tracks and beats, and vocal effects, in order to create recordings and videos, and also collaborate with other users on those creations.

These can then be "shared onto social media sites like Instagram" says the official blurb. Though presumably that'll get updated at some point quite soon.

Quite what Snap will do with Voisey - ie will it seek to ultimately absorb the app's tools into the main Snapchat app - remains to be seen. But it seems likely that there will be a boom in music creation apps - or, more to the point, the use of such apps - in the coming years.

And interestedly, whereas video-sharing apps adding sync tools is good news for the music industry because it means extra licensing income, a boom in music creation apps presents both opportunities and challenges.

One less talked about issue that is a big part of the ongoing "streaming isn't working" debate is the huge quantity of music now available, and the ever increasing competition for artists and songwriters trying to make living out of their music. Tools that make it easier to make music, while on one level liberating, will only increase that competition. So that's fun!


Nicki Minaj signs deal for documentary series about her life and career
Nicki Minaj has signed a deal to front a six part documentary series on her career that will be available via HBO's streaming service HBO Max. The announcement of that deal coincides with the tenth anniversary of her 'Pink Friday' album.

"It's going to give you guys a raw unfiltered look at my personal life and my professional journey and I can't wait to share it with you", says Minaj of the show, in a statement.

Director Michael John Warren adds: "I love that this series not only provides an all-access glimpse at one of the most iconic musicians of our generation, it also profiles the brave woman behind the artist, Onika. I believe all of us can learn a great deal from her remarkable professional and personal life. It's an honour to be entrusted with this dynamic story".

Nicki Minaj's real name is Onika Maraj-Petty, just in case you were confused about any of what Warren was talking about there. He has previously made two other documentaries about Minaj, so he should know by now what bits of her life and career to cover.

The show is currently untitled and no date has yet been given for when it will be available.


New social enterprise launched to grow The F-List initiative
A new social enterprise has launched today to support and expand on The F-List directory, an online resource that lists artists, bands, songwriters and composers who identify as female. The aim of the directory is to encourage and enable more festivals and commissioners to book and work with more female music-makers, and to build a community of those musicians.

The directory began as a simple spreadsheet compiled by equality and diversity campaigner Vick Bain, who has been regularly sharing the results of her PhD research that is documenting the careers of women in the music industry, and the extra barriers female music-makers and industry execs routinely have to tackle. That spreadsheet has now evolved into a full online directory.

Among the stats Bain has compiled through her research are that only 14% of UK writers and composers signed to publishers, and just 20% of artists signed to record labels, are female.

And, while certain music festivals have sought to book more diverse talent, many major events continue to have male-dominated bills, in some cases with the upper-level of the line-up being entirely male. Bain compiled the initial F-List spreadsheet after some festival bookers said that they wanted to book more diverse line-ups but they "didn't know where to find female acts".

The new company set up to expand on Bain's work, called The F-List CIC, has also announced composer and musician Anoushka Shankar as its first President. Commenting on that role, Shankar says: "I am delighted to represent this fantastically talented and committed community, who are passionate about creating opportunities for the great wealth of female talent that exists in the UK".

"The F-List is the first initiative of its kind to give female artists and musicians a platform where they can be discovered", she goes on. "Its breath-taking thoroughness and scope nullifies any excuses from people in the music industry who blame a lack of representation and diversity by saying there's a dearth of women to hire. But it's also a supportive network that can transform the music industry into a place that better represents, and reflects, the richness and diversity in British society".

Bain herself adds that, through the new enterprise, she wants to build "a nationwide network that represents the interests of all female artists and musicians in the UK, and spearheads projects and initiatives that match their ambition".

With a network involving "so many talented and experienced women who are committed to creating the lasting changes that are so desperately needed in the music industry ... I believe we can empower more female artists to successfully start and sustain their careers in music".

You can find out more about The F-List here.


Setlist: 300 million reasons why Taylor Swift still hates Scooter Braun
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including Taylor Swift's anger upon learning that the master rights in her first six albums have been sold without her knowledge for a second time, plus music publisher Wixen's lawsuit against TikTok rival Triller.

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

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Dave Grohl concedes defeat in drum battle with ten year old
Dave Grohl has conceded defeat in his weeks long drum battle with ten year old British drummer Nandi Bushell. "There's nothing I could do", he said in an interview on 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert', "it was like being called out by the school bully".

Grohl explained that he first became aware of Bushell a year ago, after she posted a drum cover of Nirvana's 'In Bloom' online.

"She's ten years old, she's tiny, and she's just beating the crap out of her drum set and when she does drum rolls she screams", he said. "So not only is she playing all the parts perfectly, but when she does a drum roll she's like, 'aaaaaaaargh!' And I'm like, 'oh my god, this kid is a force of nature'. It was amazing".

Then in August this year, Bushell posted a cover of 'Everlong' by Foo Fighters, beginning by challenging Grohl to a drum off. Which resulted in a back and forth of drumming videos as said drum off unfolded on YouTube.

In a recent interview with the New York Times, the two drummers also agreed to write a song together, which Bushell will perform live with Foo Fighters when the band are eventually able to get close enough to Ipswich, where she lives.


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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