TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK Parliament's culture select committee will next week hold a second oral hearing as part of its ongoing inquiry into the economics of streaming. Three more artists will give evidence - Fiona Bevan, Nile Rodgers and Soweto Kinch - alongside artist manager and MMF Vice-Chair Kwame Kwaten, music rights expert Maria Forte and José Luis Sevillano from Spanish performer collecting society AIE... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Performer ER certain to be debated once again at second parliamentary hearing on streaming
LEGAL NMPA chief says Twitch's music licensing blog post contains some "astounding admissions"
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Unison granted CISAC membership
MEDIA BBC denies cutting band from Strictly spin-off show after they requested payment
Top Of The Pops to return for Christmas again

AWARDS Ivors Composer Awards dished out
ONE LINERS AIM Connected, Yungblud, Black Eyed Peas, more
AND FINALLY... Taylor Swift reveals new version of Love Story in advert
Check out all the latest job opportunities with CMU Jobs. To advertise your job opportunities here email [email protected] or call 020 7099 9060.
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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.
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Performer ER certain to be debated once again at second parliamentary hearing on streaming
The UK Parliament's culture select committee will next week hold a second oral hearing as part of its ongoing inquiry into the economics of streaming. Three more artists will give evidence - Fiona Bevan, Nile Rodgers and Soweto Kinch - alongside artist manager and MMF Vice-Chair Kwame Kwaten, music rights expert Maria Forte and José Luis Sevillano from Spanish performer collecting society AIE.

The inclusion of Sevillano means that the proposal of applying performer equitable remuneration to streaming will be very much on the agenda once again. Spain is one of the few countries where ER already applies to streams and AIE administers that right.

At the select committee's first oral hearing last week, performer ER was a key talking point. MPs heard how the 55% of streaming revenue passed onto the record industry each month is shared with artists subject to their record or distribution contracts, which they may have entered into decades ago.

Every contract is different of course, but with a conventional record deal the artist is likely to get no more than 20-25% of streaming royalties generated by their recordings, though even that might be subject to recoupment and deductions.

However, when monies flow into the record industry from broadcasters or the public performance of recorded music, a different system applies. This is as a result of the performer equitable remuneration right in copyright law that says artists have a statutory right to payment in these scenarios.

That payment is administered by the collective licensing system and money is shared out at industry standard rates, with broadcast and public performance monies split 50/50 between labels and performers.

Those giving evidence at last week's hearing argued that a simple way to ensure artists get a bigger slice of the digital pie is to apply ER to streams in some way. That would mean artists - including session musicians - would have a statutory right to receive payment at industry standard rates, and those payments would not be subject to contract terms, recoupment or label deductions.

Supporting that proposal, Gomez's Tom Gray - also founder of the #brokenrecord campaign - told the committee: "Equitable remuneration does what it says on the tin. 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".

Now, while changing UK copyright law to specifically apply ER to streams might be relatively simple, implementing that change would arguably be less so, with plenty of tricky questions to answer and challenges to overcome. However, in Spain there is precedent as to how it might be achieved in practical terms, which is why Sevillano's input will be interesting.

His organisation's written submission to the committee stated: "We [would] like to draw your attention to the successful and more equitable alternative business model we have been operating in Spain for some fifteen years. In a nutshell, music streaming services pay an additional amount for the music to us, the Spanish collecting society for musical performers, which we distribute to individual artists using our comprehensive databases".

"Our model is based on equitable remuneration for artists for music streaming", it went on. "It has been recognised legally and practically. It does not interfere with any contractual arrangements between artists and record companies and record companies and streaming services respectively. It is separate and in addition to any such arrangements".

"This approach can be easily adopted in the UK by extending the established UK system for broadcasting and public performance to also cover music streaming", it added, noting that that current ER system "is successfully administered by PPL, the UK collecting society representing artists and record companies".

There is one difference between the ER right in Spain and the ER right in the UK. In Spain, the performer right to payment is enforceable against the user of music, whereas under UK law it is enforceable against the copyright owner.

Unless Parliament also changed that element of UK copyright law, unlike in Spain, UK performers would not be able to demand an ER payment directly from the streaming services, they would need to get their cut of income from the labels. PPL represents both labels and performers, so could, in theory, organise such a process. Although PPL is actually owned by the labels, and most labels oppose the idea of ER being applied to streams, certainly across the board.

There are various arguments against ER on streaming, which have already been made in some of the written submissions to the select committee. However, those are unlikely to be debated in an oral hearing until label reps get to speak, which won't be next week.

The next oral hearing will take place next Tuesday from 10am.


NMPA chief says Twitch's music licensing blog post contains some "astounding admissions"
The boss of the US National Music Publishers' Association has hit out at that recent music rights-themed blog post made by Amazon's livestreaming platform Twitch. In an op-ed for Billboard, David Israelite says that the post included some "astounding admissions".

The blog post was responding to criticism from gamers and other creators who stream via Twitch about the sudden increase in content being removed from the platform as a result of copyright complaints from the music industry.

Record companies in particular have started more proactively issuing takedown requests against Twitch videos that contain their music, partly because of the increased attention livestreaming has received during the COVID shutdown, and partly because the Amazon company is now more actively seeking to persuade music-makers to join its community of creators.

Twitch is obliged to respond to those takedown requests under copyright law, otherwise it itself could be held liable for copyright infringement. In its blog post, the livestreaming service admitted that it was unprepared for the sudden increase in takedowns and had therefore not offered creators whose videos were targeted with the tools or time to respond to the copyright complaints.

The blog post reassured Twitch creators that it was now seeking to build better systems to deal with takedown notices, while also urging said creators to avoid using commercially released music in their videos and streams moving forward. Twitch does now offer its own library of pre-cleared recordings that creators can make use of, although some music publishers have questioned whether the song rights exploited in that library have been properly licensed.

As for securing more wide-ranging licences from the music industry to allow a greater range of recordings and songs to be used on the platform, Twitch said that talks with record companies were ongoing, but that any deals might "take some time to materialise or may never happen at all".

After reviewing just how much music is used across the Twitch platform, Israelite takes aim at the Amazon company's blog post, and its ongoing approach to legitimise all the recordings and songs being exploited by its users.

First, Israelite criticises Twitch for saying that the sudden increase in takedown notices was a surprise. "Amazon, which purchased Twitch for $970 million in 2014, knows exactly how to license music, as it has done for its Amazon Prime and Amazon Music services", he writes.

"To claim ignorance is laughable, though that is exactly what Amazon's CEO recently did before Congress. When asked in a committee hearing whether Twitch – one of the largest music livestreaming platforms in the world – licensed music, Jeff Bezos had no idea. This gives an estimation of how much paying music creators has been prioritised".

As for the blog post's remarks on Twitch's efforts to get full on music licences sorted, he states: "Twitch has the audacity to imply licensing music for its platform is a novel or difficult exercise. Twitch - and its parent company - cannot seriously argue that their profit margins do not leave room to fairly compensate creators and songwriters for the use of their music".

Twitch backed up its claim that sorting out music licences was difficult by arguing it has a unique business model, meaning that the licensing approaches employed by labels and publishers with other digital platforms are not appropriate for its service. In particular, "the vast majority of our creators don't have recorded music as a part of their streams".

But that's a nonsense argument, reckons Israelite. "Other sites, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok, to name a few, have figured out how to compensate songwriters for the use of music on their platforms, even though not all of their user-generated content contains music. There are several licensing roadmaps for Twitch to follow. Instead, Twitch has gone to incredible lengths to avoid properly licensing music for its streamers".

Elsewhere, Israelite adds: "It is telling that while Twitch goes to great lengths to explain that it is 'actively speaking with the major record labels about potential approaches to additional licences that would be appropriate for the Twitch service', it never mentions music publishers or securing rights to the songwriters' work they represent. We have seen this before. The assumption that new or evolving services shouldn't have to pay for music, or comply with [the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act], has not worked in the past, and it won't work now".

You can read the full op-ed piece here.


Unison granted CISAC membership
The new(ish) Spain-based collecting society Unison has been admitted into CISAC, the global organisation for song right collective management organisations. Participation in CISAC gives Unison access to international standard tools and databases, and more formally brings Unison into the global conversation around the evolution of collective rights management.

It also means that Unison is currently the only Spanish society for songwriters and music publishers within the CISAC membership. Spain's main song rights society SGAE was, of course, temporarily expelled from CISAC in May 2019 after years of criticism over allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

Capitalising on changes to the way collecting societies are regulated across Europe, Unison entered the market to offer songwriters and publishers frustrated by all the controversies surrounding SGAE an alternative option for licensing their rights within Spain and beyond. CISAC membership definitely helps Unison boost its profile and legitimacy in Spain and elsewhere.

One task for any new society is building partnerships with other societies around the world, principally to access the monies those other societies collect from broadcasters, concert promoters and other businesses in their home countries for the use of international repertoire. Unison already has more than 40 agreements with other societies in place, but CISAC membership will likely speed up the process of securing more.

Interestingly, whereas most collecting societies are member-owned, Unison is a privately owned enterprise. CISAC defines such societies as 'rights management entities', and Unison is only the second such entity to be granted membership.

Commenting on this latest development, Unison boss Jordi Puy said: "We add this milestone to the long list of pioneering achievements that we have been achieving in recent years, always with the aim of favouring creators in the music sector and offering the best possible service to our customers".


BBC denies cutting band from Strictly spin-off show after they requested payment
The BBC has denied claims made by jazz band Amaraterra that they were dropped from 'Strictly Come Dancing' spin-off show 'It Takes Two' because they asked to be paid for their performance. The broadcaster says the decision was made purely for "editorial reasons".

The band had been booked to provide musical accompaniment for dancers Nadiya Bychkova and Graziano Di Prima on the show. However, when they asked what the fee would be, they were told in an email - published by The Guardian - that there was not "money in the budget to pay for contributors".

Instead, they were told that they would be given a free lunch and would receive a "decent amount of screen time, as well as a mention of your group name", which would help to boost their social media followers.

The band's Cassandre Balosso-Bardin replied by saying that they would perform if producers would agree to pay Musicians' Union session work rates for their time on the show and rehearsals prior to recording. But, the band say, they did not hear anything back for several days from the programme's producers, before receiving an email telling them that their performance had been cut from the show.

"The days of 'it'll give you exposure' - something all musicians will be all too familiar with - are over", adds Balosso-Bardin. "What exposure? For what? We won't get any gigs these days and we won't sell any albums as we have none to sell, not being able to afford its production. They want us and our expertise, but they won't pay for it".

A spokesperson for the BBC has denied all this, insisting that the band would have been paid and that their request for payment was not the reason they were dropped from the show.

"As we do with lots of artists, we discussed a proposed performance with Amaraterra for 'It Takes Two' that ultimately didn't happen for editorial reasons", they said. "Had they performed they would of course have been paid for their appearance".


Top Of The Pops to return for Christmas again
Yeah, so, just in case you wondered, the BBC's annual festive revival of the 'Top Of The Pops' brand continues, with special editions of the long-gone pop show set to be broadcast on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.

This being 2020, social distancing rules will presumably be in force, meaning all viewers will have to be at least two metres away from their telly sets while viewing the programme.

Whether other 2020 trends will be acknowledged - maybe artists could be obliged to deliver 60 second TikTok style performances to ensure young viewers don't get bored - is not clear. Though with only eight performances confirmed for Christmas Day, and seven for New Year's Eve, that would require a lot of padding from hosts Clara Amfo and Fearne Cotton. So presumably not.

Says Amfo: "I'm delighted to be part of 'Top Of The Pops' this year. As we know, 2020 has been a challenge and as always music is a constant balm for us! I'm really looking forward to celebrating the artists with Fearne and everyone watching at home".

But what three minute performances will be boring to death any young people who accidentally tune in to these 'TOTP' specials?

Well, AJ Tracey + Aitch, Becky Hill, Celeste, Clean Bandit + Mabel, Ella Henderson, Jamie Cullum, Joel Corry + MNEK, and KSI feat Craig David + Digital Farm Animals on Christmas Day, and Alfie Templeman, Arlo Parks, Becky Hill, Nathan Dawe feat KSI + Ella Henderson, Sigala + James Arthur, Wes Nelson feat Hardy Caprio, and Yungblud on New Year's Eve.


Approved: Gary, Indiana
Gary, Indiana have released three singles this year, each one an exhilarating piece of experimental post-punk. None more so that their latest offering, 'Nike Of Samothrace', which rounds off the year by coiling up like a spring, ready to launch themselves and anyone who'd care to come with them into 2021.

"We wanted 'Nike Of Samothrace' to be like a blunt instrument, both lyrically and musically", say the band. "It's purely brute force, gouging away with all dials turned up full, including the guttural bass line, which was inspired by Thomas Bangalter's score for 'Irreversible' and Hans Zimmer's score for 'Blade Runner 2049'".

"We're very much driven by rhythm and movement and also wanted to experiment with a Liquid Liquid style percussive breakdown", they add. "We love when genres and dynamics are smashed together in an untidy way... we love to butcher things".

Butchery it maybe, but they've taken the various disassembled animals and Frankensteined them into something new and glorious. And on that horrific image, I'll leave you with the video for 'Nike Of Samothrace'.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

Ivors Composer Awards dished out
The Ivors Composer Awards were dished out earlier this week, handing out Ivor Novello Awards to classical, jazz and sound art composers. The main Ivor Novello Awards ceremony took place in September and has more a pop focus.

"My heartfelt congratulations go to all the winners, nominees and recipients of gift of the Academy awards", says Gary Carpenter, Chair of The Ivors Academy's Awards Committee. "An Ivor Novello Award represents innovation, quality, creativity, determination and beauty through composition and music creation. But most of all it represents the esteem that composers and music creators hold for each other".

"Contemporary classical, jazz and sound arts rely on performances, venues and events to reach our audiences", he goes on. "As we hopefully emerge from the worst of this health crisis we have an important opportunity to rejuvenate culture in the UK by supporting, nurturing and playing work by contemporary music creators".

But who were these winners? Who the hell were they? WHO?! They were these people and compositions:

Chamber Orchestra: Robin Haigh - Grin

Choral: Richard Blackford - Pietà

Community & Participation: Oliver Vibrans - More Up

Jazz Composition For Large Ensemble: Charlie Bates - Crepuscule

Jazz Composition For Small Ensemble: Renell Shaw - The Vision They Had

Large Chamber: Oliver Leith - Honey Siren

Large Orchestral: Jonny Greenwood - Horror Vacui

Small Chamber: Daniel Fardon - Six Movements

Solo Or Duo: Gareth Moorcraft - Diaries Of The Early Worm

Sound Art: Kathy Hinde - Twittering Machines

Stage Works: Philip Venables - Denis & Katya

Academy Fellowship: Julian Joseph

Innovation Award: Yazz Ahmed

Outstanding Works Collection: Cecilia McDowall



Warner Chappell has promoted June Gao to the new role of General Manager at its Chinese business. She will, and I quote, "build up a team that will help the company's local and international songwriters take advantage of the huge opportunities that are opening up in the country as its digital music market continues its surge in growth".



The Association Of Independent Music has announced some details about the 2021 edition of its AIM Connected conference, which will take place online on 11 Mar. The programme will include a series of short talks delivering 'strong opinions', with opinionated speakers already confirmed including Merlin CEO Jeremy Sirota; UK Music CEO Jamie Njoku-Goodwin; Jazz re:freshed Executive Director and AIM board member Yvette Griffith; Unheard Voice founder Marsha Ramroop; and Chantal Epp, founder of Click N Clear. More info here.

The team behind Edinburgh music conference Wide Days are presenting a two-day online event for those at the start of their music careers, taking place tomorrow and Saturday (4-5 Dec). Part of the existing Off The Record education programme, speakers include musicians Prentice Robertson, Ross Leighton, Iona Fyfe, Rosie Bans and Zoe Graham, photographers Isha shah and Jannica Honey, plus Elizabeth Sills from the PRS Foundation, Rose Manson from Clyde Built Radio and Shauni Caballero from The Go 2 Agency. More info here.



Yungblud has released new single 'Acting Like That', featuring Machine Gun Kelly. His new album, 'Weird!', is out tomorrow.

Black Eyed Peas have released new single 'Girl Like Me', featuring Shakira.

Sleaford Mods have released a tribute to former adviser to Prime Minister 'Boris' Johnson, called 'Shortcummings'. "I wrote the lyrics to 'Shortcummings' in late 2019 after becoming annoyed by Dominic Cummings' increased unelected presence", says the band's Jason Williamson. "The arrogance of the privileged generally leads to short, short short, short, short cummings in a momentary centre stage at the cost of untold human misery and exploitation of public money".

Dreamer Boy has released new single 'Don't Be A Fool'.

With one month to go until we Get Brexit Done (whatever that means), Asian Dub Foundation have released the video for their Stewart Lee-sampling track 'Coming Over Here'. "Irrespective of the rights and wrongs of Brexit itself, every time a deadline looms the police report upsurges of violence against those perceived by some as unwelcome here", says Lee. "ADF seem to have made something that was merely funny into something improbably powerful and it is a great honour to have been involved in it".

Valentina has released new single 'Nature'. "This was written as a kind of love song to a close friend who was going through a bad break up and struggling with her mental health in a way that was really hard to watch", she says. "I got home one night after staying with her all day and wrote it. I think I wanted to say, even if everyone else lets you down I won't".

T Evann has released new single 'Undercover Women'. His new EP, 'Headblush', is out on 8 Dec.

Samm Henshaw has released new single 'All Good'.

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


Taylor Swift reveals new version of Love Story in advert
Taylor Swift has said that she is re-recording her old songs so that fans can listen to them without feeling guilty about giving any money to big bad Scooter Braun. So where has the first of those re-recorded tracks been made available? That's right, in an advert.

The new version of 2008 song 'Love Story' appears in a new advert for that's been directed by actor Ryan Reynolds. Tweeting about the ad, Swift says: "OK, so while my new re-records are NOT done, my friend [Ryan Reynolds] asked me if he could use a snippet of one for a LOLsome commercial he wrote. So here's a sneak peak of 'Love Story'! Working hard to get the music to you soon!"

Swift, of course, began re-recording her old music after her former label Big Machine was acquired - along with her master recording rights - by Scooter Braun's Ithaca Holdings company. This, she said at the time, was her "worst case scenario", due to Braun's history - she claims - of bullying her. As contractural restrictions on re-recording the Big Machine-owned recordings began to lapse, she set to work making new versions, which she plans to release in the near future.

Last month it was announced that her master rights had been sold again, to private equity firm Shamrock Holdings. However, when it emerged that Braun would continue to profit from the recordings under that deal, she said that she would continue as planned with re-recording the old songs.

"I simply cannot in good conscience bring myself to be involved in benefitting Scooter Braun's interests directly or indirectly", she wrote in a letter to Shamrock. "I will be going forward with my original re-recording schedule and will be embarking on that effort soon".

"I know this will diminish the value of my old masters", she added, "but I hope you will understand that this is my only way of regaining the sense of pride I once had when hearing songs from my first six albums and allowing my fans to listen to those albums without feelings of guilt for supporting Scooter".

Since Ithaca acquired Big Machine, Swift has also been blocking requests from TV, film and advertising companies that want to sync tracks from her early albums through her veto on the publishing side.

It therefore seemed likely that another key reason for re-recording the older songs was to attempt to convince such companies to use the new recordings that she will own outright. The fact that the first taste of these new recordings has arrived in an advert suggests that this is indeed the case.

In a recent interview with 'Good Morning America', Swift talked up the improvements she was making to the songs with her new recordings, particularly 'Love Story'.

"So far, of the ones I've recorded", she said, "I think it's been the most fun doing 'Love Story', because the older music, my voice was so teenaged and I sometimes, when I hear my older music and my young teenage voice, it makes me feel like I'm a different singer now".

Anyway, it's not clear when we'll hear any more new/old music from Swift, but you can watch this advert here.


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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