TODAY'S TOP STORY: Vivendi has announced that the Tencent-led consortium that bought 10% of Universal Music a year ago is grabbing itself another 10%. And just in time for Christmas! Well, not quite. The new deal is subject to regulator approval, but should be completed within the first half of 2021. Just in time for Canada Day... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Tencent and its mates grab another 10% of Universal Music
LEGAL amends its RIAA lawsuit, adds ways in which the labels caused it damage
LABELS & PUBLISHERS UK charts firm to start compiling France's music charts
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Pacemaker DJ app relaunches with directly licensed music from Sony and Warner
Spotify launches a Songwriters Hub

MEDIA DIY and state51 team up for new year livestreams
ONE LINERS Christmas number one, DJ Carnage, Eminem, more
AND FINALLY... Noddy Holder insists he doesn't mind people shouting "It's Christmas!" at him 50 times a day
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Ninja Tune is seeking an enthusiastic and driven Marketing Assistant, to support its UK based team on a full- time basis. This is a perfect opportunity for someone looking for an entry level role into the music industry, eager to learn and does not mind rolling up their sleeves, to get things done in a team environment. Please note this role is admin based.

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Each webinar presents timely and easy-to-understand insights about a different music business topic, with plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

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Tuesday 12 Jan 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
The music rights business makes money by exploiting the controls that come with the copyrights in songs and recordings. Get to grips with all the basic principles of copyright law and how music copyright makes money in this user-friendly easy-to-follow webinar.
Tuesday 19 Jan 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
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Tuesday 26 Jan 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
Getting songwriters and artists paid when their songs and recordings are played often comes down to whether or not the right data is in the system. But what data? This webinar runs through all the key data points and explains how to get information into the system.
Tuesday 2 Feb 2021 | 2.30pm | BOOK TICKETS
Streaming now accounts for more than half of recorded music revenues worldwide - and in many countries it's much bigger than that. Get fully up to speed on all the key trends and developments in the global streaming music market in this super timely webinar.
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Streaming is a revenue share game, with digital dollars shared out each month between artists, songwriters, labels and publishers. We explain how the money is currently split up and talk through why some people in the industry believe a different approach is needed.
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How do artists go about building a fanbase in 2020? In this webinar we'll talk through the fanbase building process, from when artists are working truly DIY, through the involvement of different music industry business partners like management, distributors, labels, promoters and specialist agencies.
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Music Rights Data In Ten Steps
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Music Industry Basics In Ten Steps
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Streaming Challenges In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to the challenges facing the streaming business in 2020
Collective Licensing In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to the collective licensing system
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Tencent and its mates grab another 10% of Universal Music
Vivendi has announced that the Tencent-led consortium that bought 10% of Universal Music a year ago is grabbing itself another 10%. And just in time for Christmas! Well, not quite. The new deal is subject to regulator approval, but should be completed within the first half of 2021. Just in time for Canada Day!

Vivendi sold 10% of its music business to the consortium led by Chinese web giant Tencent right at the end of 2019, having let it be known it was planning on selling some equity in the Universal Music Group the previous year.

At the time of that first Tencent deal it was confirmed that the consortium also had the option to buy another 10% of Universal down the line at the same price. That option actually expires next month on 15 Jan, which is why they're taking it up right now. The deal is based on a valuation for the whole of Universal of 30 billion euros.

"Vivendi has enjoyed the presence of Tencent and its co-investors at UMG's share capital since March and is very happy the consortium has decided to exercise its option", the French media firm said yesterday, adding that the Tencent tie-up also enables "UMG to further develop its activities in Asia".

"Tencent and the consortium members are delighted to support UMG's growth through this additional investment", the official statement went on. "Together with Vivendi, Tencent and Tencent Music Entertainment will continue to work to broaden artist opportunities and to enrich experiences for music fans, further promoting a thriving music and entertainment industry".

Lovely. Vivendi, of course, is also planning on selling off some more Universal equity via an initial public offering by no later than 2022. It confirmed that is still very much the plan yesterday.

And what will Vivendi be doing with all this Universal share sale cash? "The cash generated by these transactions may be used by Vivendi to reduce its financial debt and to finance share buybacks and acquisitions". What fun.

BACK TO THE TOP OF THE BULLETIN amends its RIAA lawsuit, adds ways in which the labels caused it damage
Stream-ripping site has filed an amended complaint in its legal battle with the Recording Industry Association Of America. The new legal filing mainly ramps up the claims regarding the negative impact allegedly caused by the record label trade group's efforts to have delisted from Google. sued the RIAA through the courts in Connecticut in October. Obviously, such legal battles usually go the other way round, with stream-ripping services - ie websites that allow people to grab permanent downloads of temporary streams - more commonly being on the receiving end of lawsuits from the record industry, or subject to web-blocking injunctions sought by copyright owners.

Indeed, was subject to a web-blocking injunction in Denmark earlier this year, with an organisation called Rights Alliance seeking a court order that would force internet service providers in the country to block access to the stream ripping site. It's unusual for websites targeted by web-blocks to actually fight them in the courts, though founder John Nader did just that in Denmark. Albeit unsuccessfully.

That made it slightly less surprising when he decided to sue the RIAA in the US, even though stream-rippers suing copyright owners isn't the norm. That lawsuit accused the RIAA of misrepresenting when it tried to get the stream-ripping site de-listed from the Google search engine.

The operators of stream-ripping sites usually claim that their technologies don't actually infringe copyright. Usually said operators employ the same arguments used - mainly unsuccessfully - by the original file-sharing platforms. Which is: we never actually host any copyright infringing files and our technologies have legitimate as well as illegitimate uses.

That said, in its complaint to Google, the RIAA specifically claimed that circumvents "YouTube's rolling cipher, a technical protection measure, that protects our members' works on YouTube from unauthorised copying [and] downloading". And that, the trade group argued, violated the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act which "prohibits circumventing a technological protection measure put in place by a copyright owner to control access to a copyrighted work".

Therefore's RIAA lawsuit mainly disputed those specific claims, stating: "Contrary to defendants' allegations, Yout's software platform is not designed to descramble, decrypt, avoid, bypass, remove, deactivate, or impair the YouTube rolling cypher technology. In fact, any digital mechanism in place designed as anti-circumvention technology stops Yout users from recording and saving that protected work, thereby demonstrating Yout's compliance with any anti-circumvention protections in place".

The amended lawsuit presents all the same arguments in that domain, but goes into more detail about why the allegedly misleading claims RIAA made to Google caused actual damage to Because, you know, you generally need to prove damage in court if you want some lovely damages. The RIAA's meddling, it now claims, cost subscribers and prevented it from taking future payments.

"Defendants' DMCA notices have caused Yout's customers to cancel subscriptions", the new lawsuit says. Those cancellations occurred because customers received a notice "via Google when searching for '' that [said] 'in response to multiple complaints we received under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, we have removed two results from this page'".

And not only that, "On information and belief, defendants' DMCA notices have caused PayPal to shut down Yout's account, causing Yout further significant monetary and reputational damage".

It remains to be seen how the record industry trade group responds to's claims regarding its circumvention - or not - of YouTube's digital rights management technologies, and its new allegations regarding the damage it suffered because of the RIAA's notice to Google.


UK charts firm to start compiling France's music charts
From next month the UK's Official Charts Company will start counting up French streams and sales too. Though not for the UK charts. That would be mad! Imagine a chart that combined British and French music consumption. Not in Brexit Britain thank you very much!

You French music fans can fuck off. We don't care about your foreign music. And keep your fucking hands off our fucking fish. Sorry about that everybody. It's just that swearing at the French is now a legal requirement here in the UK. Which will make the new alliance between the OCC and French record label trade group SNEP interesting.

So yes, from next month the OCC, with its technical partner Kantar, will start compiling the French music charts. It takes over from German stats company GFK, which has compiled France's charts since 1994. OCC won the bidding after SNEP put the chart counting gig up for tender a year ago.

Confirming the move, SNEP MD Alexandre Lasch says: "The Official Charts Company, a joint venture of labels and retailers, has been operating official music and video rankings in the UK since 1994 and in Ireland since 2017, also providing the industry with comprehensive weekly summaries and reports. Building on this heritage, we are certain that Official Charts will be able to bring the same level of know-how to labels in France, as well as to our partners in specialised distribution, mass distribution and streaming platforms, without whom this work would not be possible".

Meanwhile OCC boss Martin Talbot adds: "The Official Charts Company is delighted to have concluded the agreement to compile the official charts and market data for France from January 2021. Like the UK, France is among the most influential and important music markets in the world and deserves the very best charts and data. We look forward to working with the teams at SNEP, France's labels, retailers and other partners to provide the French recorded music market with gold standard tools to drive their businesses".

Just to clarify, we Brits are THRILLED at this cross-channel alliance and are super excited about UK counting people counting up all the sales and streams of all the music bought and streamed by all you lovely French music fans in the fantastic French music market. But the fish thing, we're fucking serious about that. Or at least, that's what our tabloid newspapers keep telling us.


Spotify launches a Songwriters Hub
Spotify yesterday launched a new Songwriters Hub that brings together playlists, podcasts and other gubbins that is songwriter-centric. I wonder if they'll include that edition of Setlist where we explained why songwriters in America are so pissed off with Spotify? Probably not.

The Songwriters Hub is part of Spotify's ongoing efforts to placate the songwriter community and to make it easier to navigate the streaming service's vast catalogue of music based on who wrote the songs. Earlier this year, Spotify also started added specific pages for more prolific songwriters, and another stack of those are set to go live, again encouraging users to navigate music by writer.

I wonder if they'll include that edition of Setlist where we talk about Eminem's publishing company Eight Mile Style suing Spotify for the shoddy payment of song royalties in the US? Probably not.

Confirming the launch of the Songwriter Hub, Spotify's Head Of Songwriter And Publishing Relations, Jules Parker, said: "With the launch of the Songwriters Hub, we're continuing to evolve how music is discovered, appreciated and enjoyed by the world".

"Supporting publishers and songwriters goes hand in hand with artist discovery", he added. "People know who an artist is. They don't know who the writers are, necessarily. If we can help make those connections, we help people discover new music and open up potential career opportunities for the songwriter. It all ties back to our mission of helping creators live off their work".

I wonder if they'll include that edition of Setlist where we talked about the streaming select committee hearing where a bunch of creators talked about how it's so hard for them to live off their work in the streaming age. Probably not.

Prominent on the Songwriters Hub page at launch is a playlist curating songs written or co-written by songwriter Nija, who added: "Having a hub for songwriters is extremely important because people need to know who these people are who are helping create the soundtrack to our lives".

"Songwriters deserve to be praised for their contributions just as much as artists and producers", she went on. "A lot of times we get the short end of the stick, so I'm glad that there's a place where people can see who's writing their favourite songs. Personally, I'm so thankful that I was chosen to be the first featured writer of the hub. It makes me feel appreciated and that makes me want to work harder".

I wonder if they'll include that edition of Setlist where we explained how the shoddy payment of song royalties in the US was really the fault of the music industry's shitty licensing systems and not Spotify? Maybe they will.

Though that's kind of old now and a bit out of date. I know, I wonder if they'll include the more recent Setlist specials on 'the things people get wrong about streaming'. I mean, those pretty much present all sides of the digital dollar debate. So everyone gets dissed a bit. Yeah, probably not.

Oh well. Podcasts-wise the Songwriter Hub currently leads with 'And The Writer Is' and 'Song Exploder'. And they're both great. Listen to them. Oh, and some music. You should probably listen to some of these songwriters' songs too. I think that's probably the point.

You can check out the Songwriters Hub here.


Pacemaker DJ app relaunches with directly licensed music from Sony and Warner
Pacemaker has relaunched as the first DJ app to directly license the music streamed within it. Like many such apps, Pacemaker was forced to rethink its business model after Spotify decided to withdraw access to its API and therefore the catalogue of digital music many relied upon.

The company now has deals in place with Sony and Warner, which means tracks from those two majors will be available in the relaunched app from the off. Other deals are being negotiated.

While it will no longer be possible to play music directly from Spotify, a new feature allowing users to mirror playlists from Spotify or Apple Music has been implemented.

Spotify announced in March this year that it was planning to withdraw API access for DJ apps, initially with a deadline of 1 Jul - although currently the older version of Pacemaker still has access.

Other apps already had integrations with some other streaming services (or quickly added them), as well as allowing you to play locally stored files. Pacemaker, however, was always pitched as allowing users to "mix music with Spotify". Rather than opting to work with an alternative streaming service - and risk being cut off again in the future if that service also had a change of heart regarding DJ apps - it announced in May that it would instead directly negotiate licensing deals with labels and publishers.

Negotiating such licensing deals is no easy task, of course, especially when you are doing anything a little bit different than a standard streaming platform. Which is possibly why Pacemaker's rivals didn't go this route. But, while tedious for the company in the short term, having its own licensing deals in place should help futureproof the app, arguably giving it an edge on competitors.

"It's amazing that Spotify gave us the opportunity to connect with their service and innovate on top of their catalogue, but for this next stage in Pacemaker's growth, we needed to serve everyone that wants to use Pacemaker", says CEO Jonas Norberg. "Now, with directly licensed music, we can bring our innovation to a much broader audience".

Available for Apple devices, the shift to direct licensing also brings to an end free access to Pacemaker. With licensing bills to pay, access is currently being offered on a three month trial basis for £4.99 per month, after which it will cost £16.49 per month - a significant increase from the previous (optional) premium tier offered.


DIY and state51 team up for new year livestreams
Music media company DIY and independent music distributor The state51 Conspiracy have announced a tie-up to stage a series of livestreamed shows featuring new artists, under the title Hello 2021. Acts on the bill include Yard Act, Oscar Lang, Sinead O'Brien and Matilda Mann.

The online performances will replace DIY's usual January shows at the Old Blue Last in London and will be broadcast every Tuesday at 7pm throughout that month on state51's YouTube channel. They are being filmed in state51's own performance and production space, the state51 Factory.

"After a year like 2020, where gigs and festivals have been entirely put on hold and music fans everywhere are desperate for some live music, we're THRILLED to have been able to work with state51 to ensure our Hello live series can go ahead next year", says DIY Managing Editor Sarah Jamieson. "We're also super excited to be giving some incredible new acts the chance to perform live, and introduce a whole new raft of fans to their music".

William Reid, Creative Director at The state51 Conspiracy, adds: "It's been such a blast welcoming these talented artists, their managers and labels to the state51 Factory and produce our series of videos with the DIY team. The challenge to every artist was to perform a set in a single take, with no overdubs and no edits. Every time we ran the cameras, a little bit of magic happened and we can't wait for people to experience what we did in the state51 Factory, reminding us all about the power of live music and performance".

Here are the line-ups for each show:

5 Jan: Oscar Lang, Courting, Moa Moa

12 Jan: Master Peace, Pixey, Rose Gray

19 Jan: Sinead O'Connor, Yard Act, Dep Tan

26 Jan: Matilda, Osquello, Sam Dotia


CMU Insights: Book into webinars on copyright, streaming and fanbase building
Why not start 2021 by getting to grips with the inner workings of the music industry and fully up to speed with all the latest trends and developments? That's exactly what CMU's weekly webinars are all about - with three series of three webinars occurring, putting the spotlight on copyright, streaming and fanbase building.

The Music Copyright Webinar Series in January provides an introduction to copyright law in general and music copyright in particular, explains the different kinds of music licensing, and runs through the key music rights data points that ensure everyone gets paid.

The Streaming Explained Webinar Series in February provides an introduction to the digital music market in 2021, how streaming services are licensed by the music industry, and how streaming income is shared out across the music community each month.

The Building A Fanbase Webinar Series in February and March looks at how new artists go about building a fanbase, the different marketing tools available, the importance of fan data, and the role of different music industry business partners in the fanbase building process.

You can book into individual webinars for just £25 – or get a ticket for any one of the three series of sessions for just £60. Click here for full info on all our upcoming webinars.


Kobalt has signed DJ Carnage to a publishing deal. "Carnage is an incredible producer and DJ", says Kobalt's Creative VP, Dominique Keegan. "His career has shown an extensive range of production styles ranging from hip hop to electronic pop and his upcoming music showcases a truly global sound with an American twist. Carnage has some big records coming with huge artist features on board!"

Spirit Music Group has signed Liz Lokre to a worldwide publishing deal. "I've always envisioned a career built around strong feminine energy", says Lokre. "When [Spirit's VP A&R] Nancy Matalon and I met a few years ago, I knew we would work well together".



DIY distributor TuneCore has named Faryal Khan-Thompson as VP International. The appointment comes as the company launches new localised versions of its website in Polish, Romanian, Indonesian and Thai. "I'm THRILLED to be taking on this role during a period of exponential worldwide expansion at TuneCore", says Khan-Thompson. "TuneCore's localised websites are step one in enhancing the international customer experience and exploring a 360 strategy to drive wide-ranging growth that will benefit all stakeholders".

PRS Foundation has appointed Yaw Owusu to a new senior management role at the organisation. He has been consulting for the music charity since August and will now head up a new initiative that will support black music-makers and industry executives. "This soon to be announced initiative and the scope of this new role will enable me to be effective and efficient in contributing to positive changes for black music creators and industry executives in so many ways", he says.



Where are you going at the moment? Nowhere, that's where. But you can pretend you're travelling the world with the BBC New Radiophonic Workshop's 'travel agency' app, which lets you travel the globe through sound. Try it out here.



Paul McCartney and Rick Rubin are teaming up for a six-part TV series looking back at the musician's career. Here's a trailer. McCartney's new album, 'McCartney III', is out today.



The Christmas number one race has begun. Justin Bieber and The Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir have released their new version of Bieber's 'Holy', also featuring Chance The Rapper. Proceeds from this will be split between the choir and NHS Charities.

Going for his third Christmas number one in a row is LadBady, with 'Don't Stop Me Eatin'. Profits from this one will go to food bank charity The Trussell Trust.

Eminem began the year by releasing surprise album 'Music To Be Murdered By'. Now he's closed the year with 'Music To Be Murdered By – Side B'. From it, this is 'GNAT'.

Ghetts has released new single 'Proud Family'.

Slowthai has released new track 'Thoughts'.

MF Doom has released two new tracks, 'Lunch Break', produced by Flying Lotus, and 'The Chocolate Conquistadors', producer by BadBadNotGood.

Enter Shikari have released the video for 'TINA' from their most recent album 'Nothing Is True And Everything Is Possible'.

Young Knives have released the video for their song 'Jenny Haniver'.

Liraz has released the video for her track 'Bia Bia'. "It is a request for a revolution of love, asking for the joy that comes from the simple, smallest things in life", she says of the song. "Dancing, rejoicing and living together in difficult, unusual times. In the song, I'm asking my love not to fall and break both of our hearts. Dare to join me".

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


Noddy Holder insists he doesn't mind people shouting "It's Christmas!" at him 50 times a day
Once, about 20 years ago, I pointed out Roy Wood to a friend in a bar. Said friend then immediately went over and asked him if he wished it could be Christmas every day. He apparently took it in good humour, but I've felt bad about it ever since. Surely that kind of thing gets annoying. Apparently, it doesn't. Not according to Noddy Holder, anyway.

Holder appears on the latest edition of Robbie Williams and Ayda Field's 'At Home With The Williamses' podcast. Among other things, he discusses Slade's Christmas classic 'Merry Xmas Everybody' and having people perpetually shout "IT'S CHRIIIIIIIIISTMAAAAAAAAAAAAAS!" at him.

"I like it every time I hear it", he insists. "[That song] is going [to be] 47 years [old] this year. That's a hell of a time. But I still get a kick when young kids come up to me in the street and they say, 'Oh, you're that Mr Christmas, ain't you?' and I say, 'Yeah, yeah, yeah'. 'You sung that Christmas song?' 'Yeah, yeah, yeah'. And they say, 'We've just done that at our carol concert at school', so that's a good legacy to have. That's brilliant for us".

Yeah, that's all well and good, but what about the people who just randomly shout "IT'S CHRIIIIIIIIISTMAAAAAAAAAAAAAS"?

"There ain't one day goes past in the year where I'm out and about that somebody don't shout it at me", he goes on. "And in December, of course, I get it 20/30/40/50 times a day. And everybody who shouts it out at me thinks they're the first one to do it, they all think it's the first time I've heard it. I'm used to it now. So, I just smile sweetly and accept it. Because you have to, don't you?"

Williams, not buying this cheery disposition one bit, continues to probe further, eventually asking: "But wasn't there a period like, I don't know, late 80s/early 90s where you were just like, 'Oh, fuck off'?"

"I mean, there probably has been", says Holder, finally cracking. "The worst time it happens is if I'm in a restaurant, having a meal with my mates or my family or whatever, and they're shouting it across the restaurant at the top of their voice".

"I'm trying to hide in a corner, sort of thing, especially around December time, you get all the Christmas parties in", he continues. "Because I know the Christmas tape's going on the sound system in the restaurant... So, I'm sort of heads down".

"And then, of course, somebody on their way to the bog, off the Christmas party, will pass my table. Then, it swiftly gets round the restaurant that I'm in, and then they all want it, you know? They all want me to sing along with it then, on a table or something. That gets really embarrassing, that".

Yeah, that's sounds really annoying. You should stop doing that. Let the man eat in peace. And will you please just let Roy Wood by a drink without hassling him. Keep your festive cheer to yourself.

Anyway, you can listen to the full interview, in which he also talks about things that don't involve people shouting at him, 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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