TODAY'S TOP STORY: The first oral hearing as part of Parliament's inquiry into the economics of music streaming heard from four music-makers yesterday who told MPs that the current model isn't working for many artists. So much so, according to Elbow's Guy Garvey, it is "threatening the future of music". As for possible solutions, the stand out talking point of the day was good old equitable remuneration... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Performer ER in the spotlight at first parliamentary hearing on the economics of music streaming
DEALS Kolidescopes sign to Sony/ATV
RELEASES Arab Strap announce first album for fifteen years
GIGS & FESTIVALS Communion launches new weekly live music stream from Lafayette
AWARDS Grammy nominees announced, Trevor Noah to host 2021 ceremony
MOBO Awards to return next month

ONE LINERS The Cat's Mother, Taylor Swift, Arlo Parks, more
AND FINALLY... MC5's Wayne Kramer sues Old Spice over its Guitar Solo soap bottle
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Performer ER in the spotlight at first parliamentary hearing on the economics of music streaming
The first oral hearing as part of Parliament's inquiry into the economics of music streaming heard from four music-makers yesterday who told MPs that the current model isn't working for many artists. So much so, according to Elbow's Guy Garvey, it is "threatening the future of music". As for possible solutions, the stand out talking point of the day was good old equitable remuneration.

Parliament's culture select committee announced it was launching an inquiry into the streaming music business last month, prompted by the artist and songwriter-led #brokenrecord and #fixstreaming campaigns.

Although none of the issues with the way music streaming works are new, those issues have come back into the spotlight this year as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in artists losing entirely their live revenue streams. The one revenue stream unaffected by COVID is subscription streaming, but - for various reasons - that is a revenue stream where artists and songwriters often see a minority share of the money.

As some artists and songwriters have gone public with their frustrations regarding the royalties they see from streaming, sometimes its the streaming services themselves that have taken the heat, and in particular market leader Spotify.

Some simply argue that the per-stream payouts are too low. Others - accepting that Spotify et al already hand over around 70% of their revenues to the music industry - argue that subscription prices are too cheap. Or that the 'service-centric' approach to dividing monies between tracks is unfair and favours already cash-rich superstar artists, and that a so called 'user-centric' system would be fairer.

Though, it seems, the longer any debate about the economics of streaming goes on, the more likely it is that attention will fall on what happens to the approximately 55% of streaming income that is paid to the record industry.

Which is to say, is the real problem for artists what happens to the cash as it flows through their record labels? Certainly it was the labels - and especially the majors - that seemed to get more criticism at yesterday's oral hearing, which heard from musicians Tom Gray, Nadine Shah and Ed O'Brien, as well as Garvey, alongside music lawyer Tom Frederikse and music accountant Colin Young.

In the first part of the proceedings, Gray, Frederikse and Young explained to MPs how record deals work; how labels usually get to keep at least 80% of monies recordings generate; how artists must also pay back some of the label's upfront costs out of their 20%; and how terms in record contracts written with CD sales in mind are still sometimes applied to streaming income.

Of course, every deal is different, and some artists may have much more favourable terms, especially if they are working with an indie, or they have set up their own single-artist label and work with a music distributor. However, the select committee was told, most successful artists are likely on more traditional record contracts where they earn a minority share of the money their recordings generate.

But, given that every record deal is privately negotiated between an artist and a label, what could MPs do if they felt it was the job of government or Parliament to reconfigure the streaming business model so that a greater share of the money went to artists. Enter equitable remuneration.

ER is a principle that already exists in copyright law and applies to monies generated by the record industry from broadcasters and public performance.

In those scenarios artists have a statutory right to payment at industry-standard rates, meaning record contract terms are irrelevant. For broadcast and public performance, monies are split 50/50 between labels and artists. The artist's ER share is collected and distributed by their collecting society, which is PPL in the UK.

Frederikse noted that a number of the written submissions made to the select committee by the music community propose the extension of ER to streaming in some way. Gray backed that proposal. He acknowledged that the debate around the economics of streaming is multi-layered and complicated, creating a risk that MPs will get so confused that they conclude there is nothing that can be done. ER - however - he argued, is a simple solution.

"Equitable remuneration does what it says on the tin", he told the committee. "It's equal pay for equal work. Apply ER to some extent to streaming and suddenly, for the first time in history, money goes directly into the pockets of artists on the first stream, irrespective of any contract terms that have been agreed".

ER also benefits session musicians as well as so called featured artists, with the 50% allocated to performers being shared out between all the performers who appear on a record. Applying the principle to streaming, therefore, Gray added, "produces an income from stream one for all artists - for our entire music community".

Now, there are complications with applying ER to streams, and certainly such a proposal raises a bunch of questions. Would the 50/50 split that applies to radio be applied to streaming, so that - of the money paid by streaming services to the record industry - 50% would go to artists. That 50/50 split isn't actually set in copyright law, rather it is industry convention. It seems likely that, if ER was applied to streaming, a different split would occur. But what split?

Also, how would the ER be administered? Would it apply to all streams - or just those delivered by radio-like playlists and auto-play functions? Would it apply only to streaming monies generated in the UK or to all streaming income that ultimately reaches UK labels? And what impact would it have on the streaming deals negotiated by the record companies?

Oh, and how would the ER money flow from service to artist? How would it work on a global basis? What extra admin costs would be incurred? How would that affect self-releasing artists who currently get most or all of the money their streams generate? And, assuming PPL administered ER, what would that involve, and would the labels that actually own PPL even allow it?

Because, one thing is for certain, labels generally oppose the idea that ER be applied to streams. No labels were involved in yesterday's session, so MPs will have to wait for another hearing to discuss how that opposition is justified. Though MPs noted some of the arguments that have been made against ER on streams in the written submissions.

One such argument is simply that ER applies to broadcasts, and a stream isn't a broadcast. Though both Frederikse and Young had comebacks on that point. Yes, on-demand streams are not broadcasts. But, Frederikse noted, the music industry has a long history of applying principles developed for one kind of music usage to newer kinds of music usage.

The concept of 'mechanical rights' was conceived by music publishers when self-playing pianos were invented in the nineteenth century, he said, but today mechanical rights still apply to streams. Record deals in the twentieth century were structured around the sale of CDs, but labels have managed to apply them to digital. There is precedent, therefore, for extending a principle created for broadcast to streams.

And on the publishing side of the music industry, you could argue that that has already happened, Young noted. After all, when it comes to songs, publishers license the mechanical rights when CDs are pressed, while collecting society PRS licenses radio stations that broadcast music. But with a stream, money is split between the mechanical rights of publishers and the performing rights of PRS. By applying ER to streams, you'd be doing something similar on the recordings side.

Young said: "In the UK, 50% of the publishing revenue derived from streaming is attributed to mechanical - physical record sale - and 50% is attributed to public performance - radio play. Why has 100% been attributed by the record labels to reproduction and nil to public performance? Why the inconsistency in treatment between recording and publishing?".

We await to see how reps for the label community respond to all the ER talk at future oral hearings as the select committee's big streaming inquiry continues.


Kolidescopes sign to Sony/ATV
Off the back of their success co-writing Joel Corry and MNEK's 'Heart & Heart', songwriting and production duo Kolidescopes - aka John Courtidis and Dan Dare - have signed a worldwide publishing deal with Sony/ATV.

"Johnny and Dan are some of the most multi-talented songwriters I have met", says Sony/ATV UK Co-MD David Ventura. "I remember our first meeting when they played us some incredible songs, and it was evident that they have the absolute 'full set' as writers, topliners, producers and singers".

"Collaborations and opportunities for them are limitless and they have incredible music coming as both artists and songwriters", he adds. "We couldn't be happier and there is a true feeling of euphoria to welcome them at Sony/ATV".

The duo themselves say: "We are beyond excited to begin this new chapter with the entire team at Sony/ATV. They are the kind of music publisher every songwriter would be proud to have in their corner and we can't wait to see what we accomplish together".

Courtidis and Dare are currently working on a project as artists in their own right, and recently released new single 'Torn'.


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Arab Strap announce first album for fifteen years
Arab Strap have announced that they will release their first album since 2005 - and since reforming in 2016 - next March, titled 'As Days Get Dark'. "It's about hopelessness and darkness", says the duo's Aidan Moffat of the LP. "But in a fun way".

"This album feels like its own new thing to me", he goes on. "It's definitely Arab Strap, but an older and wiser one, and quite probably a better one. We're still doing what we always do: Malcolm [Middleton] gives me some guitar parts then I'll fuck about with them and put some drum machines and words over the top".

"We've had enough distance from our earlier work to reappraise and dissect the good and bad elements of what we did", adds Middleton. "Not many bands get to do this, so it's great to split up".

The album is set for release on 5 Mar 2021. Its announcement is accompanied by new single 'Compersion Part 1' and tour dates for September next year, which we've listed for you here:

4 Sep: Manchester Academy 2
5 Sep: Dublin, Vicar Street
6 Sep: Birmingham, The Mill
7 Sep: Bristol, SWX
8 Sep: London, Electric Ballroom
9 Sep: Newcastle Upon Tyne, Boiler Shop
10 Sep: Glasgow, Barrowland Ballroom


Communion launches new weekly live music stream from Lafayette
Music company Communion has teamed up with the website LIVENow to launch a new weekly streamed show that will feature live performances from and interviews with two artists, all recorded at Lafayette.

That, of course, is the new London venue launched earlier this year by Mumford & Sons member and Communion co-founder Ben Lovett, which - like most grassroots venues - is currently closed due to lockdown restrictions.

Mazin Tappuni, who will host the weekly 'Communion Presents' stream, says: "Lafayette is London's best new venue, and whilst you can't come and see that for yourself yet, we hope these online shows offer up the next best opportunity to see what makes it so special".

As well as allowing people to see Lovett's new venue while it's closed, Communion hopes that the weekly stream will also help artists who have been negatively impacted by COVID.

Tappuni adds: "Providing a stage for new music has always been at the heart of what we do at Communion. During this disaster of a year, we wanted to find a way to continue supporting exciting new artists and creating a live streaming series seemed the right way to do it".

Artists set to appear on 'Community Presents' are as follows...

29 Nov: Olivia Dean & Louis Dunford
6 Dec: Martha Gunn & Richard Fairlie
13 Dec: APRE & Mysie
20 Dec: Delilah Montagu & Jordan Mackampa
27 Dec: Chatreuse & Zola Courtney


Grammy nominees announced, Trevor Noah to host 2021 ceremony
The 2021 Grammy nominations are out. Right out. There's no putting them back in now. Shortlists for all 83 categories have been made public. Yes, even Best Album Notes. That's the big one everyone's talking about.

Presenter of 'The Daily Show' Trevor Noah has also been announced as the host of this year's awards. He said yesterday: "Despite the fact that I am extremely disappointed that the Grammys have refused to have me sing or be nominated for Best Pop Album, I am THRILLED to be hosting this auspicious event".

Noting his 2020 nomination in the Best Comedy Album award category, he went on: "I think as a one-time Grammy nominee, I am the best person to provide a shoulder to all the amazing artists who do not win on the night because I too know the pain of not winning the award. This is a metaphorical shoulder - I'm not trying to catch corona. See you at the 63rd Grammys!"

Now, presumably you're all already well aware of the nominations for Best Album Notes, so here's who's up for the other main categories:

Record Of The Year
Beyonce - Black Parade
Black Pumas - Colors
DaBaby - Rockstar (feat Roddy Rich)
Doja Cat - Say So
Billie Eilish - Everything I Wanted
Dua Lipa - Don't Stop Now
Post Malone - Circles
Megan Thee Stallion - Savage (feat Beyonce)

Album Of The Year
Jhené Aiko - Chilombo
Black Pumas - Black Pumas
Coldplay - Everyday Life
Jacob Collier - Djesse Vol 3
Haim - Women In Music Part III
Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia
Post Malone - Hollywood's Bleeding
Taylor Swift - Folklore

Song Of The Year
Beyonce - Black Parade
Roddy Rich - The Box
Taylor Swift - Cardigan
Post Malone - Circles
Dua Lipa - Don't Start Now
Billie Eilish - Everything I Wanted
HER - I Can't Breath
JP Saxe - If The Worlds Was Ending (feat Julia Michaels)

You can see the complete list of nominees here.


MOBO Awards to return next month
The MOBOs will return next month with a ceremony livestreamed on YouTube, with a highlights show on BBC One later the same night. It will be the first time the event has taken place since 2017.

"Recognising the unique role the MOBO Awards plays for so many, and the challenging year we find ourselves in, it is now more important than ever to be there and to continue the rich history of showcasing the very best of black music and culture", says MOBO founder, Kanya King.

"We are proud to partner with YouTube and the BBC to bring this year's celebration to millions of music fans", she adds, "and continue to uplift creative voices here in the UK and around the world".

The event is set to take place on 9 Dec, kicking off on YouTube at 7pm, with the BBC One show airing at 10.45pm. Performances on the night will come from Headie One, Ms Banks, Kojey Radical and Tiwa Savage. It will be hosted by Maya Jama and comedian Chunkz.

Here are the main nominations:

Best Male Act
Headie One
J Hus
AJ Tracey
Young T & Bugsey

Best Female Act
Lianna La Havas
Ms Banks
Tiana Major9
FKA Twigs

Album Of The Year
J Hus - Big Conspiracy
Stormzy - Heavy Is The Head
Mahalia - Love And Compromise
Nines - Crabs In A Bucket
Lianne La Havas - Lianne La Havas

Song Of The Year
Young T & Bugsey - Don't Rush (feat Headie One)
Digga D - Woi
Darkoo - Gangsta (feat Acen)
Tion Wayne - I Dunno (feat Stormzy and Dutchavelli)
Abra Acadabra - On Deck

Best Newcomer
Ivorian Doll
Miraa May
Pa Salieu Shaybo
Tiana Major9
M Huncho

See the full nominations here.



Mentoring network The Cat's Mother has partnered with collecting society PPL to host a series of events to support young women entering the music industry. "By connecting talented, aspiring women with some of the most experienced female executives in music, The Cat's Mother offers a unique opportunity to those that may otherwise struggle, through no fault of their own, to start and sustain a career in our industry", says PPL's Kate Reilly.



Taylor Swift has premiered new concert film 'Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions' on Disney+. Performing her 'Folklore' album in full with collaborators Aaron Dessner, Jack Antonoff and Justin Vernon, it sees them play the songs together for the first time - them having created the record remotely during lockdown.

Arlo Parks has released new single 'Caroline'. It's "an exercise in people watching and seeing situations unfold without context", she says. "It's an exploration of how something once full of healthy passion can dissolve in an instant".

Within Temptation have released new singe 'The Purge'. It "revolves around self-reflection and a search for redemption", says frontwoman Sharon den Adel. "To confess, to acknowledge, and to accept [your] mistakes can be a very painful process and unescapable when the burden becomes too heavy".

Matt Sweeney and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy have released new single 'Make Worry For Me'.

Daniel Knox has announced that he will release new album 'Won't You Take Me With You' on 15 Jan. From it, this is 'Fall Apart'.

Karima Francis has released new single 'Carelessness Causes Fire'. "The song is about working through past traumas and how this has affected my life and confidence as an artist to date", she says. "It also has a global message… When the pressure is too much an explosive eruption can happen, which can be dangerous and destructive".

Stevan has released new single 'More Than Them'. His new mixtape 'Ontogeny' is also out now.

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


MC5's Wayne Kramer sues Old Spice over its Guitar Solo soap bottle
MC5's Wayne Kramer has sued Proctor & Gamble over its Old Spice Guitar Solo body wash, and not just because he's offended as a guitarist at the idea of his artform being turned into soap. Rather, he's suing because the illustrated musician that appeared on bottles of said body wash was playing a guitar that looks very like his signature stars and stripes stratocaster.

"Mr Kramer's established signature stars and stripes Fender guitar has become synonymous with his image and brand", a lawsuit filed by the MC5 member states. "In 2011", it adds, "Fender released a limited-run replica of the guitar as the Fender Wayne Kramer Stratocaster. Fender promoted the guitar through a video featuring Mr Kramer holding, displaying, and discussing the guitar".

To that end, the lawsuit argues, by having an illustrated musician playing a very similar guitar on its soap bottles, Proctor & Gamble was implying that Kramer had endorsed its Guitar Solo body wash. Which, of course, he had not. Nor would he, not least because such a tie-up would majorly clash with Kramer's work as a social activist.

"Mr Kramer would have never authorised defendant to use his image or likeness", the legal filing continues, "as it would never be in his interest to be associated with aforesaid body wash product, and more importantly defendant and the advertising website Old Spice, which does not incarnate any of the values Mr Kramer represents and to which [he] has dedicated most parts of his life".

"As a result", it adds, "Mr Kramer is appalled, disgusted, and embarrassed to see his image and/or likeness falsely endorsing defendant's products because such unauthorised use creates a perception of hypocrisy in the public eye and irreparably undermines the important international social work that has been Mr Kramer's adult life's mission, the value of which is immense and cannot be overstated".

Specifically, Kramer accuses Proctor & Gamble of infringing his publicity rights under Californian law and elements of the US-wide Lanham Act.


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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[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.
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