TODAY'S TOP STORY: Reps for the tech sector and civil right groups in the US have criticised proposals that two copyright measures be included in the urgent government spending bill that is currently being negotiating in Washington. And while the deadline for getting that bill passed in order to avoid a shutdown of America's federal government looks likely to be extended to the end of next week, tech sector reps argue that is still not enough time to give the two copyright proposals the required scrutiny... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES US tech sector and civil rights groups criticise proposals to include copyright reforms in urgent spending bill
LEGAL NTIA welcomes extension of 'forfeiture moratorium' and launch of night-time economy APPG
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Imogen Heap's Creative Passport goes live in beta mode
MEDIA Bauer is allowed to relaunch Bristol's Sam FM as Hits Radio
ARTIST NEWS Weezer's Rivers Cuomo releases over 2500 demos as part of programming course
RELEASES Barbarossa announces new album, Love Here Listen
ONE LINERS Bob Crewe, Dave Grohl & Greg Kurstin, JP Saxe & Julia Michaels, more
AND FINALLY... Jon Bon Jovi releases unimaginably bad version of Fairytale Of New York
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US tech sector and civil rights groups criticise proposals to include copyright reforms in urgent spending bill
Reps for the tech sector and civil right groups in the US have criticised proposals that two copyright measures be included in the urgent government spending bill that is currently being negotiating in Washington. And while the deadline for getting that bill passed in order to avoid a shutdown of America's federal government looks likely to be extended to the end of next week, tech sector reps argue that is still not enough time to give the two copyright proposals the required scrutiny.

Although the first of those proposals has had quite a lot of scrutiny already, having been approved by the Senate's judiciary committee and actually passed by the House Of Representatives last year. It's the CASE Act, which aims to simplify the process for American copyright owners seeking to enforce their rights in disputes where damages wouldn't exceed $30,000.

It would do that by setting up a new three judge copyright claims board within the US Copyright Office. The board would only hear simpler copyright infringement claims, with the aim of making it quicker and cheaper for smaller copyright owners to enforce their rights, compared to pursuing traditional litigation through the courts.

Needless to say, the proposals are widely supported by the copyright industries, who argue the scheme would primarily benefit individual creators and smaller independents rightsholders.

When the act was introduced into Congress in May 2019, one of the senators proposing it, Thom Tillis, said: "Independent artists who rely on copyright laws to protect their work play an important role in our communities, but the current system makes it difficult for them to receive damages in a cost-effective manner. This bipartisan bill will provide a more efficient way for copyright holders to protect their intellectual property and ensure that our content creators can be properly paid when their work is used without authorisation".

However, there are critics who say that a simpler cheaper process for enforcing copyright could be open to abuse by so called 'copyright trolls' that target individual internet users who inadvertently share copyright protected material online. Supporters argue that opt-outs have been included in the proposals to protect anyone targeted in that way, but opponents say those measures do not go far enough.

Opponents like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which stated earlier this week: "Previous versions of the CASE Act all failed. This version is not an improvement, and Congress has not heard enough from those of us who would be most affected by CASE: regular, everyday internet users who could end up owing thousands of dollars". And, EFF adds, Congress isn't going to hear those concerns if the current version of the CASE Act is rushed through in the next week.

The American Civil Liberties Union has also spoken out on this issue calling the CASE Act "a controversial provision that would significantly alter the enforcement of copyright law and would have the unintended consequence of undermining free expression online".

Given the urgency of the spending bill, which is even more urgent in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, "we ask that you decline to include the CASE Act in the upcoming funding bill and instead allow that provision to proceed through regular order where members will have an opportunity to address the significant concerns raised by the bill before it passes into law".

The other copyright measure that could be included in the spending bill would empower the US Department Of Justice to charge commercial enterprises making available streams of unlicensed copyright-protected content with felony copyright infringement.

Specifics of that proposal - also being made by the aforementioned Tillis - remain unclear, though it seems likely that tech sector lobbyists and the likes of the EFF will oppose it, certainly in the context of it being rushed through Congress in a week.


NTIA welcomes extension of 'forfeiture moratorium' and launch of night-time economy APPG
The Night Time Industries Association has welcomed the temporary extension of a COVID-19 restriction that stops landlords evicting businesses from commercial property over unpaid rent, although adds that a more long-term solution is also needed.

As part of the Coronavirus Act 2020 in March, landlords in England, Wales and Northern Ireland were temporarily prevented from forfeiting commercial leases where the leaseholders were in rents arrears. Initially in place until 30 Jun, that measure was then extended to the end of the year.

Earlier this week the NTIA urged the government to instigate another extension, warning that many bars, clubs, music venues and other night-time enterprises were behind on rent payments because of the ongoing pandemic, and without the so called 'forfeiture moratorium' being extended many of those companies could be forced out of business by their landlords in the new year.

Yesterday, the forfeiture moratorium was extended to the end of March 2021. NTIA boss Michael Kill welcomed that decision, but said the temporary extension "still does not address the underlying issues of rent arrears and ongoing rent solution".

"Business owners will continue to take on further rent debt through this period, which will inevitably compromise their future", he explained. "This requires government intervention, and will require lead departments to use this period to address these issues and look at potential solutions where the stakeholders share the burden of debt from rent arrears".

The NTIA - like all trade groups for the music and event industries - has had to really ramp up its lobbying efforts this year as a result of COVID-19, with the 'forfeiture moratorium' just one of many measures night-time businesses need the government to put in place to ensure their survival as the pandemic extends. And, as with the 'forfeiture moratorium', while a lot has been achieved, much more still needs to be done.

Those lobbying efforts may in future be aided by a new All Party Parliament Group focused on the night-time economy that has just launched. Although APPGs are informal groupings within Parliament, they are generally useful in bringing together parliamentarians with a particular interest in one sector or issue. And to that end, they can be useful for lobbying groups looking to identify supporters, test proposals and instigate debate within Westminster.

The new APPG is being chaired by Jeff Smith MP, who said yesterday: "The night-time sector is hugely important to both the UK economy and our cultural identity. But in the past nine months, it has faced enormous challenges, and thousands of bars, nightclubs, and live events businesses are at risk of collapse".

"As a former events manager and DJ, I feel strongly about the importance of these businesses, so I am pleased to be chairing the new cross-party group to support night-time industries", he added. "We will be working hard to ensure that this usually viable, thriving and world-leading sector can not only survive the COVID crisis, but prepare for a prosperous, long-term recovery".

Welcoming the launch of the new APPG from NTIA's perspective, Kill added: "It is vitally important that the night-time economy has its own voice, and alongside businesses, associations and participating parliamentarians, we welcome the All Party Parliamentary Group to further support and clarify the challenges around the industry, and help recognise its cultural and economic value both within the UK and internationally".


Imogen Heap's Creative Passport goes live in beta mode
Imogen Heap's Creative Passport venture had a beta launch yesterday, with music-makers across the world now encouraged to sign-up for a free account. The new service allows artists to store all sorts of data about their work, their output and their individual artist businesses. They can then choose to share some or all of that data, with the world via a public page, and to platforms and organisations in the music industry, with UK collecting society PPL the first partner in that domain.

The Creative Passport is the culmination of five years of workshops, discussions and research within the artist community about how music-makers can more easily be in control of their data, and play an active role in tackling the various data challenges faced by the wider music industry. It is powered by digital ID platform Yoti which, say the Creative Passport team, "will ensure that creatives have a safe way of sharing their verified information both with individuals and with third-party services".

Formally launching the venture, Creative Passport's CEO Carlotta De Ninni says: "At a time when business opportunities are limited because of the coronavirus pandemic, enabling music makers to own and better manage their data in an easy way has become even more important. With ongoing discussions happening with other third-party service providers interested in plugging into the Creative Passport, combined with constant feedback from artists, we are very much looking forward to making this the industry-leading premium digital identity tool for the creative industry".

Heap herself added: "After five years of boiling it down to the core of what music-makers need to combat the irks and frustrations we experience daily in our industry, we now need a huge leap of faith from hundreds of thousands of music-makers globally to bring about the next stage for real change. We are now primed to be the indispensably useful and outrageously organised force that the industry needs for a sustainable and flourishing future".

As the community of music-makers logging their data with Creative Passport grows in size it's hoped that numerous platforms and organisations will want to integrate with the service in one way or another.

Confirming that his is the first organisation to do that, PPL boss Peter Leathem says: "By working with Creative Passport to provide this functionality, we are enabling PPL performers to retrieve their unique, verified International Performer Number into their Creative Passport, so that it can be associated with their credits as they flow through the digital supply chain. We hope that this will help them maximise their income from their creative work, be that through royalty payments or by reaching new audiences. We are proud to partner with Creative Passport and support their drive to empower performers".


Bauer is allowed to relaunch Bristol's Sam FM as Hits Radio
Bauer Media has been given the green light to relaunch Sam FM in Bristol as another local outpost of its Hits Radio network. This despite twelve of the thirteen submissions to a public consultation on the proposed revamp opposing the change.

Sam FM was one of a plethora of local radio stations bought by Bauer last year through a swift succession of acquisitions of smaller commercial radio groups. Earlier this year many of those local stations became part of the media firm's Greatest Hits Radio network, while four others joined the Hits Radio network, taking mainly networked programmes made in Manchester.

However, it couldn't do either of those things to Sam FM, because its licence from media regulator OfCom dictates that the frequency should be used for "an adult alternative station playing adult-oriented album tracks, classic rock and predominantly non-contemporary pop/rock hits, with particular appeal for 35-59 year olds".

Unless, of course, it could get the terms of that licence changed. Which is what Bauer asked OfCom to do in October, suggesting that the regulator might rewrite the service term of that FM licence so that it reads "a station playing current hits and the best hits from the past 20 years with local news and information appealing to a 25-44 year old audience in the Bristol area".

As is the norm when an FM radio station wants to radically change its output, OfCom opened up a consultation. And nearly all the submissions to said consultation opposed Bauer's proposals. The main arguments against the change were that a Bristol version of Hits Radio, taking mainly networked shows, would lack the local content of Sam FM and would be very similar to other stations already operating in the city in terms of music played.

OfCom acknowledged the opposition and also noted that previous Sam FM owner Celador Radio had only recently been re-awarded the Bristol licence before the company was sold to Bauer. And OfCom's usual policy is that licence changes that significantly alter "the character of service relatively soon after launch or re-award" should not be allowed.

However, the pressures put on commercial radio by COVID-19 were enough to persuade the regulator to set that policy aside. It stated: "We are aware that the exceptional financial pressures on the radio industry as a consequence of the pandemic means that genuine intentions parties had a year or two ago may no longer be possible to meet, and on balance accept this was the case here".

So, sorry Sam FM fans, you've got to make way for Hits Radio Bristol.


On The CMU Stereo 2020 - Spring
OK, we're into 2020 proper now with this review of the music year, as we revisit our favourite tracks from the spring, which includes not one but two lockdown albums.

Charli XCX's 'How I'm Feeling Now' was, of course, the big lockdown music project. Giving herself a six week deadline - after which, it felt at the time, this whole pandemic thing might be done and dusted - she created a brand new album from scratch in isolation, involving fans in the whole process.

It was interesting just as a means to see the mechanics of an artist at work, but six weeks after it was first announced a great album also emerged, taking the record's title completely on board and laying her emotions out for all to see, as well as her creative process.

The other lockdown album represented in our playlist is Daniel Avery's 'Love + Light', which was surprise-released in June. An album of two distinct halves, Avery has spoken about its creation being therapeutic. That process can be felt in the flow of the record, beginning with energetic techno tracks, before giving way to a calmer sound, feeling like the album coming to terms with and accepting its situation. The track we've selected, 'Infinite Future', comes from that second half.

Elsewhere on the playlist, tracks from yet more of 2020's best albums are in effect. This year saw Fiona Apple and Ghostpoet both deliver career bests - 'Fetch The Bolt Cutters' and 'I Grow Tired But I Dare Not Fall Asleep' respectively - that both capture moments outside the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Jhené Aiko, Denai Moore, Nils Bech, Kate NV and Sault all turned in amazing LPs this year, that need to be explored in full. The one artist on this list who didn't put out an album this year, Moonchild Sannelly, is the artist we're looking forward to hearing more from the most in 2021.

Listen to all ten of these tracks, plus our ten winter selections, in this Spotify playlist. Stay tuned for our summer and autumn playlists next week.

Here's the full tracklist:

Jhené Aiko – BS (feat HER)
Charli XCX – Forever
Fiona Apple – Under The Table
Ghostpoet – I Grow Tired But I Dare Not Fall Asleep
Denai Moore – Motherless Child
Nils Bech – Foolish Heart (2019)
Kate NV – Plans
Sault – Stop Them
Moonchild Sanelly – Bashiri
Daniel Avery – Infinite Future

Weezer's Rivers Cuomo releases over 2500 demos as part of programming course
Weezer's Rivers Cuomo spent lockdown learning programming languages Python and JavaScript, like you said you were going to but didn't. Now he's done that though, what to do next? Well, obviously, build a website selling over 2500 previously unreleased demos and other random audio snippets.

"For my web programming class final project, I made a web market stocked with 2655 previously unreleased demos", he tweeted nonchalantly earlier this week.

The tracks all feature Cuomo alone (apart from one collection with Weezer drummer Patrick Wilson), so are far from every demo he's ever recorded, but they're probably enough to be getting on with. The tracks are collected into compilations of various sizes, selling for $9 each. The largest includes over 1100 tracks with a duration of nearly 38 and a half hours.

Obviously, it's going to take some time for anyone to listen through all of these, and in a blog post explaining the project, Cuomo notes that even he does not know what is contained on every track.

"Please let me know ... if you find you have access to something you shouldn't", he says. "I really appreciate it when you alert me to stuff that shouldn't [be] in a given bundle or shouldn't released at all. Also, please let me know if there's anything I wouldn't want public in all the voice notes. I never thought I would be releasing those. I don't know what's in them".

He also warns fans that tracks could turn out to be silent, "wildly inappropriate", "just a drum beat", "rambling, talking, making sounds", "an inferior version of another demo", or be listed with incorrect information.

On a more positive note, he adds that further tracks may be added to the compilations over time, which will be accessible to anyone who has previously purchased them.

Obviously, this isn't going to be something for anyone who's not a particularly hardcore Weezer and Cuomo fan. He and Weezer already have a history of releasing demos and works in progress too. However, an artist releasing this amount of music, especially tracks he admits could be embarrassing for him, is an interesting project. I hope he gets a good mark from his teacher.

Check it all out here.


Barbarossa announces new album, Love Here Listen
Barbarossa - aka musician James Mathé - has announced that he will release his latest album, 'Love Here Listen', next spring. Accompanying this announcement is new single, 'Iris2Iris'.

"I was thinking about how I have moments of clarity more and more as I get older of what is really meaningful in my life and how I can best use my time in this life", says Mathé of the new song. "The moments are often short-lived though, so I look at ways of accessing this mental state more".

"My kids bring me into this state and nature too", he adds. "I jump in icy water now I live by the sea and it brings me into fight or flight, it brings what's important to the forefront of my mind. The song is about spending more of your life with your eyes open, confronting everything that you are dealt with".

The album was produced by Ghost Culture - who has recently worked with Kelly Lee Owens and Falle Nioke, among others, and also worked on 2018 Barbarossa album 'Lier'.

"It was probably the most stress-free record to date and so much fun just messing around with synth arps", says Mathé of their latest collaboration. "It's easy with James as we really understand each other and I trust him totally. He lives five minutes' walk along the seafront from me. We even jumped in the sea a couple of times after lunch".

'Love Here Listen' is set for release through Memphis Industries on 5 Mar. Listen to 'Iris2Iris' here.



Reservoir has acquired the publishing catalogue of the late Bob Crewe, who wrote songs including 'Walk Like A Man', 'Big Girls Don't Cry' and 'Lady Marmalade'. "Not only are we honoured to bring Bob Crewe's timeless works into our catalogue, but we are also so proud that this acquisition enables Dan Crewe to further his brother's legacy and help bolster The Bob Crewe Foundation's ongoing philanthropic efforts", says Reservoir CEO Golnar Khosrowshahi.

America's all new mechanical rights collecting society The MLC has announced that music data companies Blokur, Exactuals, Music Data Services and TuneRegistr are joining its Data Quality Initiative. "Our team is committed to making the process of checking data as efficient and effective as possible for all of our members", says Kris Ahrend, CEO of The MLC. "Enabling innovative companies like these to make it easier for their users and customers to participate in our Data Quality Initiative helps The MLC achieve that important goal. We appreciate their willingness to help support the DQI".



Management firm YMU has promoted Alistair White to UK Head Of Streaming & Audience. "As an artist management company YMU is facing unprecedented challenges and it is vital that we apply strategic thinking to how we best identify and engage audiences for our clients", says White. "Over the ten years I have worked with [YMU music division MD] Iain [Watt] and the team we have put that type of approach at the heart of everything we do, so I am really happy to be given the responsibility of leading our efforts on that front".

AIM has promoted Gee Davy to the role of COO, and appointed Ben Wynter as Entrepreneurship & Outreach Manager. "Throughout his career, Ben has shown the kind of entrepreneurial spirit that the independent sector thrives on", says CEO Paul Pacifico. "In Gee's promotion to COO, it is a real pleasure to be able to give her the recognition she richly deserves for the work she does for AIM's team and community, which has extended well beyond her initial brief in legal and business affairs".

Concord has hired Shooter Jennings as a staff producer. "I am excited to welcome Shooter to the Concord creative team", says Chief Label Executive Tom Whalley. "His ability to work with a variety of artists is a perfect fit for our labels and their talented rosters".



Dave Grohl and Greg Kurstin have announced that they will be releasing eight new songs to celebrate Hanukkah - one every night of the Jewish festival, which begins today. "Festival of lights?! How about a festival of tasty LICKS", they say in a tweet.

JP Saxe and Julia Michaels have released festive collaboration 'Kissin In The Cold'.

Emily Burns has teamed up with JP Cooper for a new version of her single 'Is It Just Me? "When JP Cooper said he was up for featuring on the track I nearly lost my mind", she says. "He rewrote the second verse and sent it back to me and honestly, when I heard it for the first time, every hair on my body stood up. The perspective he wrote from felt so perfect, as if he really understood and resonated with the message in the song".

Cult Of Luna have released new single 'Three Bridges'. The track is taken from their new EP 'The Raging River', which is set for release on 5 Feb.

Every Time I Die have released two new tracks, 'A Collosal Wreck' and 'Desperate Pleasures'.

The Comet Is Coming have released new single 'Imminent', featuring Joshua Idehen.

Cherry Glazerr have returned with new single 'Rabbit Hole'. "I often find myself acting a certain way to get someone else's approval", says band leader Clementine Creevey. "Then it's hard for me to find myself again. I have to climb my way out of that conformity and embrace myself, even if that means not everyone is going to like me. Easier said than done! But it's what I was meditating on with this song".

Park Hye Jin and Nosaj Thing have released a new track together, 'Clouds'.

FEMM have released a live performance video for their track 'Sit Down', from their recently released '404 Not Found' EP.

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


Jon Bon Jovi releases unimaginably bad version of Fairytale Of New York
We're all now used to the annual tradition of debating the controversial lyrics in The Pogues' 'Fairytale Of New York' as a way of kicking off the festive season here in the UK. But with the focus on that, it can be easy to forget the other controversy this song sparks: the one when people try to cover it.

It's really hard to capture the spirit of a song like 'Fairytale Of New York', although many have tried. For 20 years, Ronan Keating and Moya Brennan's cover has been the undisputed worst ever cover version. As in, the worst ever cover of 'Fairytale Of New York', and a contender for worst ever cover version full stop.

The Keating version is so bad, I don't think anyone ever believed it would be toppled in the 'worst cover of 'Fairytale Of New York' stakes. But toppled it has been. Because Jon Bon Jovi has just turned in an absolute stinker.

There are so many reasons to dislike JBJ's version, I've written you a list:

• He sings both halves of the duet himself, with no effort to distinguish the two parts. It's not even clear that he's aware there are two parts.

• The way he says 'Galway'

• When we get to the offensive line in the song, he doesn't just change it, he rewrites the whole verse.

• Oh, maybe he's improved those controversial lyrics, you might be thinking. No, here they are: "You're a bum, you're a braggart, you've lost all your swagger. And the word around town is you ain't much in bed. Called a squirrel cos you're nuts, you're a kick in the guts. Happy Christmas my ass, I pray to God it's our last".

• He sings "my ass" like it's a term of endearment.

• I'm not even 100% sure he says "my ass". It could also be "my azza" or "my eyesight".

• There are points where his diction is worse than Shane MacGowan's.

• He sings the whole thing like it's a happy, chirpy song, despite his amended lyrics still recognising that the two protagonists hate each other.

• Although, again, there don't seem to be two protagonists in this version.

• "Called a squirrel cos you're nuts".

• Is there an Irish theme pub inside Disneyland? Because that's where it sounds like this was recorded.

• Did I mention that he sings both parts himself?

Somehow this feels apt for 2020. Merry Christmas! You can listen to this absolute monstrosity 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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