TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK's Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition have hit out at song rights collecting society PRS over its proposed royalty rates for livestreamed shows. The two trade groups argue that there is a "staggering disconnect" between the rate for real world gigs and the proposed rate for online gigs, and that that proposed rate has been "determined without consultation" of the wider music community... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES MMF and FAC hit out at proposed PRS royalty rate for livestreamed shows
LEGAL Chance The Rapper responds to manager lawsuit
Rita Ora apologises again after second COVID rule breach emerges

LABELS & PUBLISHERS First One Step Ahead report and webinar puts the spotlight on playlists
MANAGEMENT & FUNDING Artist manager David Swartz launches new company Singular Arts Group
EDUCATION & EVENTS ISM report says COVID has further cut music education and participation in UK schools
ONE LINERS Yaeji, Capitol, Lethal Bizzle, more
AND FINALLY... Christmas songs dominate this week's singles chart, with Mariah Carey on course for number one
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MMF and FAC hit out at proposed PRS royalty rate for livestreamed shows
The UK's Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition have hit out at song rights collecting society PRS over its proposed royalty rates for livestreamed shows. The two trade groups argue that there is a "staggering disconnect" between the rate for real world gigs and the proposed rate for online gigs, and that that proposed rate has been "determined without consultation" of the wider music community.

Although livestreaming has been a thing for more than two decades now, it's only since the COVID shutdown sparked much more mainstream interest in ticketed livestreamed concerts that the music industry has really started to consider how such events should be commercialised, and what specific music rights are being created and exploited.

Livestreamed concerts are interesting in that they bring together pretty much every strand of the music industry, they being both a live show and recorded content at the same time, relying on and further enhancing the direct-to-fan relationship, and providing great opportunities for merch sales and brand partnerships.

But established artists usually have different business partners for each different strand of their individual artist businesses, including labels, publishers, collecting societies, booking agents, promoters, venues, ticket agents, direct-to-fan platforms, merchandise makers and brand partnership brokers. And if all those companies get involved in a livestreamed show there is a risk that between them they'll want 200% of the money made.

And then there's the customary debates around copyright. The music industry licenses live performances of songs and the streaming of songs very differently. So is a livestreamed concert a live performance or a stream?

The so called performing rights of the song are definitely being exploited in a livestream, but are the mechanical rights too? Because with Anglo-American repertoire the former are controlled by societies and the latter by publishers.

And if an artist's record contract gives the label ownership of all recordings created while the deal is active, does that include these live recordings?

As a plethora of artists started livestreaming during the COVID shutdown - initially for free and then shifting over to ticketed shows with higher production values - behind the scenes all these questions about business partners and copyright were being raised. As part of that, PRS started developing a bespoke new licence for livestreamed shows.

For ticketed live shows in the UK, the main PRS licence charges around 4% of gross ticket sales. With on-demand streaming, societies and publishers together usually get 12-15% of whatever advertising or subscription monies are allocated to their repertories, based on total consumption share.

For livestreams, PRS is proposing a pilot scheme that would charge 8% on the first £50k of ticket sales, but the percentage share would then increase on each additional £50k of revenue, so that on ticket sales above £450k the rate would be 17%. The plan is to charge these rates retrospectively for livestreamed shows that have taken place in the UK this year.

The licence would seemingly cover both performing rights and mechanical rights, which means the publishers are involved in the new scheme via MCPS, as well as PRS itself.

There is an added complication in that collective licensing is traditionally done on a territorial basis, so PRS usually only licenses concerts taking place in the UK. But livestreamed shows taking place in the UK obviously have a global audience.

In the digital domain societies have been slowly moving to a multi-territory licensing model, and PRS says its pilot livestream licence will be global. Although other societies around the world are also developing or evolving livestream licences, and some of them argue that royalties should be paid to the society in the country where the ticket-buyer lives, not where the livestreamed show takes place.

In an open letter to PRS boss Andrea Martin, MMF and FAC - whose members have staged a number of headline-grabbing livestreamed shows this year - say that the proposed 8-17% rate is "unworkable".

Applying it retrospectively will result in past shows that provided vital income for artists and their crews making a loss. And moving forward, it could stop the longterm potential of livestreaming from being realised, with most people reckoning livestreamed shows will remain popular even one COVID is over, if only the right business model can be found.

The letter begins: "PRS's proposed experimental tariff for livestream events is unworkable for artists. A starting rate of 8% of gross ticket receipts - rising to 17% of gross ticket receipts - will make livestreaming unviable, for both the smallest emerging artists and the biggest superstar acts. By comparison, the PRS tariff for a live in-person concert is 4/4.2% of gross ticket receipts. This is a staggering disconnect. A ticket is a ticket"

"Even worse", it goes on, "these seemingly arbitrary terms have been determined without consultation, and with an intention that they be applied retrospectively - a decision that will add to the grave financial distress facing artists and their wider teams, especially in the midst of a pandemic".

"Everyone agrees that songwriters must be compensated and livestreams licensed properly. Indeed, the vast majority of our members are songwriters or their representatives. But in a year when live shows have effectively shut down, and with more uncertainty ahead, livestreaming has presented artists with one of their few opportunities to perform and connect with their fans".

"The larger most-successful events involve significant production costs, and have provided a lifeline to crew and other industry workers. At the other end of the scale, livestreaming has been increasingly important for emerging artists and those operating in niche genres. For the sake of all artists, songwriters and the wider industry, it is crucial that this new format is allowed to grow and thrive".

"Charging artists up to four times the live rate strangles rather than nurtures this innovation. For some of the smaller artists who have just covered their costs livestreaming, it will be impossible to find this additional money retrospectively. Subsequently, we are asking that you reconsider PRS's approach, and that you engage with us in a full and transparent consultation. This should also aim to provide certainty that PRS actually holds a mandate to license livestreaming events on a global basis".

"Until that process is concluded", it then adds, "we are working on the basis that the current live tariff is the applicable rate to these ticketed events. PRS wants to show global leadership, in our view this requires communication and a transparent, open and evidence-based consultation. We look forward to both in due course".

The letter is co-signed by 50 managers who between them represent a plethora of artists including Dua Lipa, Biffy Clyro, Liam Gallagher, Bicep, Fontaines DC, Gorillaz, Yungblud and Arlo Parks. Meanwhile, FAC members putting their name to the letter include Ed O'Brien, Aluna Francis, Graeme Park, Dave Rowntree, Sandie Shaw and Simone Butler.

In an accompanying statement, MMF and FAC say that they have been engaging with PRS for two weeks since being told about the proposed rates seeking "a full and transparent consultation, but to no avail". They then add that, therefore "we are now making our position public"

PRS has issued a statement responding to the letter. It said: "PRS For Music members, alongside many others across our sector, have been very badly impacted by the shutdown of live music this year. We welcome the many initiatives to move live concerts online and PRS For Music has designed an online live concert licence, which will allow the necessary rights to be licensed".

"The proposed pilot licence scheme is still evolving", it added. "As conversations with our partners are active and ongoing, it would not be right for us to provide further detail or comment at this stage while we await their assessment and feedback. Of course our primary role is to protect our members' rights and to ensure they are paid fairly for their work, which is more important than ever now. We hope that these conversation will progress quickly".


Chance The Rapper responds to manager lawsuit
Chance The Rapper has responded, via his legal team, to a lawsuit filed last week by his former manager. Pat Corcoran is suing in a bid to recover $3 million in commissions and expenditure that he says is owing after being sacked by his former client in April. He also wants to enforce an industry standard sunset clause so that he continues to get commissions for three more years.

In the lawsuit, Corcoran claims that Chance The Rapper, real name Chancelor Bennett, started to ignore his advice in early 2019 – instead allowing his father and brother to increasingly control his business affairs – resulting in the rushed release of an album that met with a mixed response among fans, in turn leading to poor ticket sales and a cancelled tour. He claims that Bennett then blamed him for those issues, ultimately leading to his sacking earlier this year.

But, a legal rep for the rapper claims that Corcoran has been paid all the commissions he is legally due, adding that his version of Bennett's recent career is inaccurate and self-serving.

"Mr Corcoran has filed a suit for allegedly unpaid commissions", Bennett's legal team said on Friday. "In fact, Mr Corcoran has been paid all of the commissions to which he is legally entitled".

They added: "Most of the complaint consists of self-serving and fabricated allegations that are wholly unrelated to Mr Corcoran's claim for commissions and were plainly included in a calculated attempt to seek attention. Those allegations are wholly without merit, are grossly offensive and we will respond to them within the context of the litigation".

As Bennett's fans got about debating the big bust up between the rapper and his former manager, Dione Warwick took to Twitter to ask a much more important question. "Hi, Chance The Rapper", she tweeted, "If you are very obviously a rapper why did you put it in your stage name? I cannot stop thinking about this".

"Sorry I'm still freaking out that u know who I am. This is amazing!" he then replied. "I will be whatever you wanna call me Ms Warwick".

Warwick tweeted back: "Of course I know you - you're THE rapper - let's rap together - I'll message you", while her son Damon Elliott decided to intervene, tweeting: "Mom that's it! As soon as this quarantine is over I'm taking your iPhone away from you... time to go back to a flip phone".

So that's a nice fun distraction from all the legal dramas.


Rita Ora apologises again after second COVID rule breach emerges
Rita Ora has apologised again, after it emerged that her 30th birthday party last month was a double breach of COVID-19 rules. Aside from the fact that she shouldn't have been having a birthday party at all, she should also have been in self-isolation at the time of the event.

According to the Mail On Sunday, Ora flew by private jet to Egypt on 21 Nov in order to perform at the W Hotel in Cairo. Upon her return the next day, she should have begun a fourteen day isolation. Instead, of course, she attended that party on 28 Nov, for which she has already apologised and offered to pay a £10,000 fine.

In a new statement yesterday, Ora said: "I recently flew to Egypt to perform at a corporate event for a private company, where my travel party followed protocol and presented negative COVID tests upon entry, as required by Egyptian authorities. Upon my return to Britain, I should have followed government advice and isolated myself for the required period. As you know, I didn't follow government advice and for that I apologised earlier this week. I apologise again, unreservedly".

She continued: "While I realise the apologetic words of a pop star might not carry much weight, especially one who has broken the rules like I have, I do realise that some might seek to follow my example. My message to them is simple: Please don't".

"The guilt and shame I've carried this week for my mistake aren't worth it", she added. "Instead, continue to listen to the government advice and the voices of the heroes of the NHS and take the required precautions. I will take the criticisms coming my way because I deserve them".

In an interview published by The Sunday Times this weekend - conducted two weeks prior to her birthday - Ora said that she planned to celebrate with just her parents, due to lockdown. In her previous apology, Ora said that the "small gathering" she attended instead was "a spur of the moment decision".


First One Step Ahead report and webinar puts the spotlight on playlists
IMPALA and CMU Insights last week published the first One Step Ahead report, providing an in depth overview of playlists and curation in the streaming music market. Later this week there will be a webinar for IMPALA members featuring a speed briefing summary of the report and a discussion of the key talking points that it raises.

One Step Ahead is a new digital intelligence facility from IMPALA that sets out to enable independent music companies across Europe to navigate and identify trends, developments, challenges and opportunities in the digital music market. IMPALA members can access a series of reports, briefings and webinars.

The first report puts the spotlight on the role of playlists and curation at the main on-demand music streaming platforms in driving streams, plays, royalties, fanbase building and music discovery.

It identifies five key trends, including the so called 'democratisation' of playlist pitching at the streaming platforms; the increased importance of the algorithm; the debate around paid-for promotion; the impact of diversification in the digital market; and challenges caused by the disparity between playlisting operations in different markets.

All five of those themes are explained and dissected in the report, along with action points for independent music companies and talking points for the independent music community.

Those talking points will also be debated during this week's webinar, the first IMPALA Digital Hour session from One Step Ahead. That takes place at 3pm CET this Friday and is open to all IMPALA members, including members of any IMPALA affiliated national trade organisation. Check with your local organisation for details.

The full report also includes an overview of best practice playlist marketing, helping labels navigate and understand the different kinds of curation and playlists, offering tips on how to pitch to playlist curators, and advice on the business partners that can help with the process. There is also official pitching guidance from Spotify, Deezer and Amazon Music.

IMPALA members can access the full report here and sign up to the webinar here.

Artist manager David Swartz launches new company Singular Arts Group
Berlin-based artist manager David Swartz last week launched a new management company called Singular Arts Group in partnership with video director and photographer Matt Lambert. The business launches with a roster including Patrick Wolf, Mykki Blanco, Finn Ronsdorf and FaltyDL.

The duo say that Swartz will lead on strategic development and overall vision while, as Creative Director, Lambert will provide the company's roster of artists with "access to a substantial resource on imagery, content, and overall visual identity".

They added in a statement: "Our ethos is centred in a passion for fostering the development, growth and sustainability of truly singular artistic voices. We aim to serve as a vital source of guidance in navigating the path for each of our artists and we recognise our role to support and facilitate the realisation of their creative visions".

"There is a special intimacy between artist and management unlike any other professional relationship within the music industry", they went on, "it is a delicate balance of honesty and trust that must exist in a mutual way within our relationship to enable us to thrive. When we commit to representing an artist, we are dedicated to putting forth the most significant level of love and effort that we can in the name of their artistry".


ISM report says COVID has further cut music education and participation in UK schools
The Incorporated Society Of Musicians has published a new report investigating the impact COVID-19 has had on music education in UK schools, with lockdown earlier this year and other subsequent COVID restrictions this autumn resulting in significant cutbacks in music teaching and music participation, both in the classroom and extra curricular.

As part of ISM's survey of UK music educators, 68% of primary school and 39% of secondary school teachers reported that music provision has been reduced this year since the COVID pandemic began. Almost 10% of primary and secondary schools are not teaching music class at all, even though it is a requirement of the curriculum.

Meanwhile, extra-curricular activities, which are often a key opportunity for students to participate in music-making, are no longer taking place in 72% of primary schools and 66% of secondary schools this academic year.

Commenting on its findings, ISM states: "Studying music must not become the preserve of the privileged few, but this research has highlighted worrying inequalities for pupils at a local and national level. This has huge implications for diversity. Teachers are constantly adapting, but COVID-19 has exacerbated a postcode lottery which is contributing to an ever-widening gap between those who can access instrumental tuition and those who cannot".

ISM's report makes a number of recommendations for government, both UK wide, and specifically for ministers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. You can download the full report here.

Commenting on the findings, ISM boss Deborah Annetts says: "We are disappointed but not surprised to discover that music education provision is being reduced in our schools as a direct result of the pandemic, with opportunities for pupils to make and create music even more limited both in and out of the classroom. Our survey findings suggest all aspects of music education are being impacted, including singing in schools, practical music-making, instrumental learning and examinations".

"It is vital that every child can access a quality music education", she adds. "Therefore there needs to be sustained and meaningful leadership across the governments of all four nations actively encouraging safe music teaching in schools. We need to see clear, timely and consistent guidance across all four nations for the rest of the 2020/21 academic year and beyond so that music education is not disrupted further. If we do not do this then not only will less privileged children go without, but the heart of the school will be damaged in the long term".


Setlist: Can the Grammy Awards ever avoid controversy?
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including the accusations of corruption levelled at the Grammy Awards by The Weeknd and Halsey (among others) and whether the big US music industry awards show can ever escape criticism, plus the $3 million lawsuit launched by Chance The Rapper's former manager that calls his last album a "freestyle-driven product of sub-par quality".

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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Sony Music has acquired Human Re Sources, the LA-based artist services company set up by J Erving. The business will become part of Sony's The Orchard label services division, while Erving will also become EVP Creative Development for Sony Music at large, as well as continuing to head up the Human Re Sources team. Launched in 2018, Human Re Sources had been operating as part of Troy Carter's Q&A business since last April, which Erving also co-founded.

TaP Music Publishing has signed Kathy Lee, better known as Yaeji. "Kathy is a most holistic of artists whose music and art transcends genres and cultures", says TaP Head Of A&R Chris Woo. "We feel privileged that she's chosen to call TaP her publishing home and are beyond excited to be working as a team with her, her management and her label XL Recordings over the next course of her career to evolve and expand on an already impressive catalogue of work".



Universal's Capitol Records UK has promoted Tom Paul to the role of General Manager. He was previously Marketing Director. "We have worked with Tom for over twelve years and in that time he has proved himself to be an exemplary marketing executive", says co-President Jo Charrington. "He has proven himself to be more than ready for this GM role, and we are THRILLED to work with him in what promises to be an exciting 2021 for Capitol and its expanding roster".



Lethal Bizzle has released new track 'Daily Duppy'.

Korn guitarist Brian Welch's other band Love & Death have released their first new track for eight years, 'Down'. New album 'Perfectly Preserved' is set for release through Earache on 12 Feb. "I feel like what our world needs most in this very unique moment in time are real stories about overcoming struggle", says Welch. "These are honest songs co-written by our group of friends targeting depression/mental health, challenging relationships, trauma, loneliness, and related issues".

Jammer has released new track 'Ain't The Same', featuring JME.

The Staves have released new single 'Satisfied'. "This started out with an acoustic guitar", they say. "The song asking its subject - will they ever be satisfied with what they have? Is it ever enough? But also urging them not to give up on themselves, and love. The song really came to life when we added the band, and gave strength and a backbone to the whole sentiment of the song (as well as a great groove!)"

Goat Girl have released new song 'The Crack'. "'The Crack' emerged from an imagined post-apocalyptic world whereby people flee into space for a new life on an un-ruined planet, as the result of the pillaging of Planet Earth", say the band.

Eyehategod have released new single 'High Risk Trigger'. The track is taken from new album 'A History Of Nomadic Behavior', which is set for release on 12 Mar. "We're not a political band, but it was hard not to be affected by the news from the past year", says vocalist Mike IX Williams. "During this recording, I thought a lot about how stupid humanity has become and how America is now completely divided with these people who don't believe in science and blindly follow liars and nonsensical ideologies. Some of those feelings may have found their way into these songs, but it is mostly subliminal".

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


Christmas songs dominate this week's singles chart, with Mariah Carey on course for number one
With people already playing more Christmas music earlier in the year than usual this year, the UK singles chart looks set to be 80% festive this week, as people attempt to inject some joy into the shitshow that is 2020. As a result, Mariah Carey and Wham are currently battling it out for a 'premature Christmas' number one.

The Official Charts Company published data in mid-November showing that sales and streams of festive tunes were already up 51% compared to the same point in 2019. Now, more than two weeks away from the big day, everyone seems to have gone full turkey, listening to nothing but Christmas music all the livelong day.

In early data for this Friday's chart, the only artists with non-festive tracks in the top ten are Ariana Grande and Little Mix. And with those artists who are actually hoping to be the real Christmas number one this year all holding their releases back until 18 Dec - in the hope of being at the top of the chart on Christmas Day - what we have right now is pretty much all Christmas classics, Jess Glynne offering up the only new track.

Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' is currently on course for number one, followed by Wham's 'Last Christmas'. Current number one, 'Positions' by Ariana Grande, looks set to fall seven places to make room for all these yuletide tunes, including 'Fairytale Of New York' at number four.

With three more Christmas songs rising up the top 20, it's not impossible that we could have a fully festive top ten two weeks before the 25th. Here's the top ten as it currently stands:

  1. Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You

  2. Wham - Last Christmas

  3. Jess Glynne - This Christmas

  4. The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale Of New York

  5. Justin Bieber - Rockin Around The Christmas Tree

  6. Shakin Stevens - Merry Christmas Everyone

  7. Ariana Grande - Positions

  8. Elton John - Step Into Christmas

  9. Band Aid - Do They Know Its Christmas

  10. Little Mix - Sweet Melody


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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