TODAY'S TOP STORY: The boss of Scottish live music firm DF Concerts has told the country's government that any ban on alcohol brands sponsoring shows and festivals would be "nothing short of disastrous for Scotland's live music industry"... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES DF Concerts chief says that alcohol sponsorship ban in Scotland would be "nothing short of disastrous" for the country's live sector
LEGAL US Ninth Circuit court says Ticketmaster's arbitration term is binding on ticket-buyers
DEALS Minds On Fire allies with BMG
LIVE BUSINESS TEG owners will start sounding out possible buyers in April
MEDIA Global launches Capital Chill
GIGS & FESTIVALS Trivium announce intimate UK shows
ONE LINERS Skrillex, Rod Stewart, The 1975, more
AND FINALLY... Capitol Records super happy with Sam Smith's satanism but still shelving Morrissey's new album, says Morrissey
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Hawkr is a revolutionary new way of buying and selling music merchandise at live gigs. Our digital platform makes our merchandising process simpler, more eco-friendly and a more rewarding experience for both fans and artists. Hawkr is expanding rapidly and searching for an Artist & Festival Recruitment Manager to lead on recruiting and onboarding artists and festivals to the platforms and managing campaigns through.

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DF Concerts chief says that alcohol sponsorship ban in Scotland would be "nothing short of disastrous" for the country's live sector
The boss of Scottish live music firm DF Concerts has told the country's government that any ban on alcohol brands sponsoring shows and festivals would be "nothing short of disastrous for Scotland's live music industry".

The Scottish government began a consultation on restricting alcohol advertising and promotion last year, with country's Minister For Public Health, Women's Health And Sport, Maree Todd, noting at the time that "alcohol-related harm is one of the most pressing public health challenges that we face in Scotland".

She then added: "Restricting alcohol marketing is identified as one of the World Health Organisation's three 'best buys', the most cost-effective measures that WHO recommends to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm. Many our European neighbours have already taken action to do this including Ireland, France and Norway. This consultation sets out a potential approach for Scotland".

The consultation is considering all kinds of alcohol marketing, including the sponsorship deals alcohol brands often negotiate with the sports and wider entertainment sector. And restricting such deals is one of the things being considered.

Of course, plenty of venues, shows and festivals rely on marketing partnerships with brands to ensure that their operations are commercially viable, and alcohol brands have traditionally been key targets for live music companies seeking such partnerships.

Not least because most people drink alcohol when watching live music, so for the brands, their products can be available and on sale at the venues, shows or festivals that they are sponsoring.

DF Concerts - a Live Nation subsidiary - is probably still best known as the promoter of the T In The Park festival that ran from 1994 to 2016. The 'T' - of course - stood for Tennents, the lager brand that sponsored the festival.

Meanwhile, DF's current festivals TRNSMT and Summer Sessions - while not having alcohol brands in their names - have had brand support from the likes of Bacardi and Carlsberg.

According to Glasgow Live, DF CEO Geoff Ellis has written to Todd about the proposed restrictions on alcohol sponsorship, stating: "This letter is not intended to ignore or try to dismiss the fact that there are problem drinkers in Scotland. Rather, it is to implore the Scottish government not to pursue the misguided proposal to ban all forms of alcohol marketing and sponsorship".

"It is not advertising and sponsorship that are the cause of the problem", his letter goes on. "Indeed, the fortified wine drink most anecdotally associated with violence and underage drinking is a brand that does not advertise at all. The root causes of addiction problems are what the government should be focusing on, such as poverty and other societal factors, as well as improving support services for those affected".

Outlining the impact an alcohol sponsorship ban could have on live music in Scotland, he then says: "A proposed restriction on alcohol sponsorship and advertising will be nothing short of disastrous for Scotland's live music industry. It will set Scotland back irreparably in cultural, social and economic terms, especially in relation to our UK neighbours and the rest of Europe".

"Many live music venues will be forced to close and those that remain will need to increase ticket prices considerably, hurting Scottish music fans disproportionately compared to those elsewhere in the UK", he adds. "Without doubt, as festivals and venues disappear, Scottish audiences will flock to England and the country will lose the benefit of attracting fans from the rest of the UK and further afield, as it will have no music festivals of any note".

Responding to Ellis's letter, a spokesperson for the Scottish government told reporters: "The consultation is open until 9 Mar and no decisions have been taken. All views and responses will be given serious and thorough consideration".

"Reducing the exposure of children to alcohol promotion is a priority", the spokesperson added. "There's clear evidence which shows adverts glamorising drinking can encourage young people to drink alcohol and can also have a detrimental impact on those in recovery from problem alcohol use".


US Ninth Circuit court says Ticketmaster's arbitration term is binding on ticket-buyers
The US Ninth Circuit appeals court has upheld a decision that aggrieved Ticketmaster customers are obliged to take their grievances to arbitration rather than suing through a court of law.

There have been a number of lawsuits against the Live Nation ticketing company in the US, over things like refunds and allegations of anti-competitive conduct, where Ticketmaster has argued that plaintiffs are obliged to go the arbitration route.

That approach means that any one customer's complaints get discussed in private before an independent arbitrator selected by the ticketing firm.

The argument that the customer must take their complaints to arbitration is based on the terms and conditions on the Ticketmaster website, which state that that is how any disputes between the ticketing firm and the customer will be dealt with.

Various plaintiffs and legal teams have tried to counter that argument by claiming that Ticketmaster's terms and conditions are verbose, unclear and/or hidden, and therefore the customer shouldn't be bound by the arbitration term.

However, those counter arguments have generally failed in court, including in a case filed with a district court in California in 2020. Ruling the following year, the judge in that case - George H Wu - concluded that Ticketmaster's terms were sufficiently clear to be binding on the customer.

The plaintiffs took their dispute to the Ninth Circuit last year, but it has now affirmed the lower court ruling that Ticketmaster's terms "constituted a valid agreement between the parties and that the requirements for mutual assent were met".

In its ruling, the Ninth Circuit writes: "The panel held that an enforceable agreement may be found where a website provides reasonably conspicuous notice of the terms to which the consumer will be bound; and the consumer takes some action, such as clicking a button or checking a box, that unambiguously manifests his or her assent to those terms".

"The panel held that [Ticketmaster's] terms of use met this standard", it adds. "[Its] website contained features sufficient to provide reasonably conspicuous notice of the terms because the terms were marked in bright blue font and distinguished from the rest of the text, and the notices were located directly on top of or below the action button at each of three independent stages that a user was required to complete before purchasing tickets".

Not only that, but "the notices at issue explicitly alerted the user that by creating an account, signing in or purchasing a ticket, and proceeding to the next page, the user 'agrees to our terms of use'".

With all that in mind, "the district court did not err in finding that constructive notice was established as a matter of law", meaning that the complainants need to take all of their complaints to the arbitrator.


Minds On Fire allies with BMG
London-based independent music publishing company Minds On Fire has announced a new global administration and co-publishing deal with BMG.

"Minds On Fire has an independent ethos and spirit but we wanted access to the global admin processes, sync teams and tech of a large progressive publisher and with that in mind BMG were the obvious choice as partners", says Minds On Fire's James Pitt. "The team there are completely aligned with what we are setting out to achieve and they are as hungry as we are to add value for our writers and build this business".

Lisa Cullington, Vice President Creative at BMG, adds: "It's a great endorsement that Minds On Fire have decided to partner with us. James Pitt and [co-founder] Simon Harris are a fantastic creative force finding and developing songwriting talent and we look forward to working with them closely".

The first joint signing between the two companies are former Years & Years members Emre Turkmen and Michael Goldsworthy with their new project Human Family.


TEG owners will start sounding out possible buyers in April
The current owners of Australian live music company TEG Group will begin a formal process in April to sound out possible buyers for the business. Or at least that's according to sources who have spoken to The Australian.

Reports began circulating last year that Silver Lake - the private equity outfit that bought TEG in 2019 - was seeking advice on a possible sale of the live entertainment and ticketing company.

Whether or not a sale happens later this year will depend on what bidders are interested and what kind of price they are willing to bid with. The Australian notes that other private equity funds are the most likely bidders.

Alongside its interests in festivals and tour promotion in Australia - not to mention its ticketing business Ticketek - TEG has also been expanding its interests in Europe, and especially the UK, in recent years.

Last year it revamped what is now known as TEG Europe, more closely aligning its tour promotion, venue, ticketing and data operations in this part of the world.


Global launches Capital Chill
Radio firm Global yesterday launched a new spin-off of its Capital brand, this time Capital Chill, which will play - and I quote - "a mix of chilled house, deep house and ambient dance music as well as classics from the likes of Groove Armada, Chicane, Röyksopp, Massive Attack, Moby, Bonobo and more".

The new service is available across the UK on the DAB digital radio network as well as via Global's app, so you can choose where you want to chill. And you're under no obligation to actually be in a capital at the time.

Noting the other Capital spin-offs already available, Global Executive President Ashley Tabor-King says: "Following the huge success of Capital Dance, Capital XTRA and Capital XTRA Reloaded, I'm delighted to welcome Capital Chill to the family".

"The uplifting euphoria of non-stop chilled beats music will bring that Ibiza sunset vibe to your everyday, whether that's working from home, after the gym or simply starting the day with uplifting ambient beats", he goes on.

Meanwhile, Capital's Managing Editor Brent Tobin adds: "We know how much our listeners love dance music, so Capital Chill is the perfect addition to the Capital family, bringing non-stop chilled beats to your every day".


Approved: Latir
For his first single of 2023 - 'E1' - R&B artist Latir has penned an ode to Bethnal Green in East London, capturing the dark and light of the area over a distorted bassline.

"I moved to Bethnal Green in East London in 2020 after growing up in North London and this song details all the chaos I've witnessed on this side of the city", he says. "I want people to feel a sense of nostalgia listening to this, and as though they can relate to this crazy side of London, from a somewhat dark, gritty place, but also somewhat romanticised as it's home".

"[Producer] Tev'n and I wrote this song in East London in a studio on the very canal I wrote about", he goes on. "We wanted to make this song feel as punk-rock-London as possible but also maintain my own style and usage of melodies, so we started on the bass guitar and never looked back".

The track follows December's smoother-sounding 'The Rabbit Hole', which was also produced by Tev'n.

Watch the video for 'E1' here.

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

Trivium announce intimate UK shows
Trivium have announced a set of intimate UK shows this summer, playing venues and cities many of which they haven't been to for more than fifteen years.

"Since the first UK headline tour in 2005 we'd made it a point to do our best to get out of the big cities and play other ones that might get overlooked or skipped", says bassist Paolo Gregoletto. "We looked at old Maiden and Motörhead posters and let that inspire the way we routed this one".

Support on the tour will come from Bleed From Within and Orbit Culture. Gregoletto continues: "Bleed From Within and Orbit Culture are two of our favourite new bands and we are honoured to have them join us. This is going to be the biggest and best metal show to hit your town this summer guaranteed!"

Tickets for the shows go on general sale tomorrow. Here are the dates:

23 Aug: Cambridge, Corn Exchange
24 Aug: Norwich, UEA
25 Aug: Nottingham, Rock City
26 Aug: Oxford, Academy
28 Aug: Stoke, Victoria Hall
29 Aug: Liverpool, Academy
30 Aug: Sheffield, Academy
31 Aug: Newcastle, NX
2 Sep: Edinburgh, Academy
3 Sep: Leeds, Stylus
4 Sep: Bristol, Academy
6 Sep: Folkestone, Leas Cliff Hall
7 Sep: Southampton, Guildhall



Budde Music and Karma Songs have signed Jez Ashurst - who has worked with the likes of Little Mix, Tom Walker and Tom Grennan - to a new publishing deal. The producer and songwriter is already allied to the Karma Artists management company. "We are delighted to extend our relationship working with Jez to include publishing through Karma Songs", says the firm's Jordan Jay. "He is a rare breed of songwriter with such consistency and an incredible breadth of songwriting talent".



The World Independent Network - the global organisation for independent music companies - has promoted General Manager Noemí Planas to CEO and announced Partisan Records COO Zena White as its new Chair. Also newly appointed to the organisation's board are AIM's Gee Davy, NEWS's Geert De Blaere and Sub Pop's Tony Kiewel. "It is a privilege to have such an extraordinary group of professionals from all corners of the world on our board of directors", says Planas.

BMG has promoted US-based Nitsa Kalispera to the role of EVP Global Supply Chain, meaning she will be "the most senior executive managing BMG's supply chain teams around the world". She will report into BMG CTO Sebastian Hentzschel, who says: "I have worked with Nitsa in various capacities over the past years and witnessed how she and her amazing team have built up our digital and physical distribution capabilities from scratch. BMG couldn't wish for a better leader to run this strategically important area".



Skrillex will release his second album 'Quest For Fire' this Friday. The follow-up to 2014's 'Recess' was announced with a short DJ set on YouTube previewing its tracks.

IAMDDB has released new single 'Where Did The Love Go?' The track is the first to be released from upcoming new album 'Vol 6' which, she says "is a full spectrum of emotions and feelings I had to feel and heal through. It's me finally giving DDB a voice without a filter. I have always been a multidimensional creative, so I hope this project offends everyone who is living in denial and inspires everyone who stands firm in their truth to shine brighter, unapologetically".

Avey Tare has released new single 'Invisible Darlings'. His new album '7s' is out this Friday.

James Holden has released new single 'Common Land', taken from his upcoming new album 'Imagine This Is A High Dimensional Space of All Possibilities', which is out on 31 Mar. "The title comes from the British Library bird recordings I wrote the track around, but obviously references the idea that all land is everyone's and we are all born with the right to roam or rave on it", he says of the track.

A previously unheard track by Ali Farka Touré featuring Ouomuo Sangaré, called 'Cherie', has been released. Originally recorded in 1995, the track will appear on posthumous album 'Voyageur', which is out on 10 Mar. "Ali Farka Touré was not only an important artist, but he was also a humanitarian", says Sangaré. "He provided me with a lot of support when I started out in music, like a protective big brother, and he was proud of my achievements on African development".

The Lemon Twigs have announced that they will release new album 'Everything Harmony' on 5 May and have also put out new single 'Any Time Of Day'. "The song's about the cyclical nature of life", they say. "Everything goes on and on. Out with the old, in with the new!"

dEUS have released the title track of their new album 'How To Replace It', which is out this Friday.

The Hold Steady have released new single 'Sixers' ahead of the release of their new album 'The Price Of Progress' on 31 Mar. "'Sixers' was written in the first days of the pandemic", says frontman Craig Finn. "It's basically a song about knowing your neighbours. Two young professionals meet up in their building late on a Friday night and spend the weekend partying together. They try to find a love connection, but it's not quite there. It's hard to make friends when your job is so demanding".

Jesus Piece have released new single 'Tunnel Vision' from their new album '…So Unknown', which is out on 14 Apr.

Capital X have released new EP 'ABCD'.



Rod Stewart has announced UK shows this summer, kicking off at Home Park Stadium in Plymouth on 24 Jun and finishing at Edinburgh Castle on 6 Jul. Tickets go on general sale on Friday.

The 1975 have announced a show in London's Finsbury Park on 2 Jul, which will see them supported by Cigarettes After Sex, Bleachers, The Japanese House, emo legends American Football and others still to be announced. Tickets go on general sale on Friday.

S Club 7 will reunite for UK tour dates in October to mark their 25th anniversary, finishing with a performance at the O2 Arena in London on 28 Oct. "After eight years it feels amazing to announce that we're reuniting and performing together again", say the septet. "We're so excited to bring the S Club party back to our fans across the country to celebrate 25 years of S Club 7. We can't even believe it's been so long! Music and friendship have always been at the core of everything that we've ever done. We hope everyone can join us for one big party!" Tickets go on general sale on Friday.

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


Capitol Records super happy with Sam Smith's satanism but still shelving Morrissey's new album, says Morrissey
Morrissey has had another dig at Universal Music's Capitol Records, which was going to release his new album 'Bonfire Of Teenagers' and then wasn't.

While it's not clear exactly why Capitol bailed on the Morrissey record - though we can possibly guess - he reckons that if the Universal label can invest time in promoting Sam Smith's satanism, it should be able to deliver his new album to some streaming platforms.

Morrissey announced a deal with Capitol in the US last year which was meant to result in the LA base of the Universal label releasing 'Bonfire Of Teenagers' this month.

That deal overtly excluded the UK though, where - of course - Morrissey is now generally deemed too controversial, or at least too annoying, to want to work with. Plus, more specifically, there had been criticism about the album's title track and its references to the 2017 bombing of the Manchester Arena

However, despite that deal in the US, by November the release of 'Bonfire Of Teenagers' was on hold. The following month Morrissey announced he was no longer working with Capitol. And then last week a post on his official website read: "Capitol Records (Los Angeles) will not, after all, release Morrissey's 2021 album 'Bonfire Of Teenagers'. At the same time, Capitol Records (Los Angeles) are holding on to the album".

Why would Capital US sign a deal to release the Morrissey record and then not do so? "Morrissey has said that although he does not believe that Capitol Records in Los Angeles signed 'Bonfire of Teenagers' in order to sabotage it, he is quickly coming around to that belief", last week's post added.

Meanwhile, Capitol Records on both sides of the Atlantic is busy promoting new Sam Smith album 'Gloria', the promo of which has involved performances at both the recent Grammy Awards and BRIT Awards. The former saw Smith annoy various right wing politicians, pundits and tedious outrage-for-hire types in the US because he wore a devil-lite costume, prompting criticism that his performance was somehow satanic.

Also noting that vaccine maker Pfizer was a sponsor of this year's Grammys - and referencing an entirely unrelated news story in New Mexico - Republican Congress member Marjorie Taylor Greene tweeted: "The Grammy's featured Sam Smith's demonic performance and was sponsored by Pfizer. And the Satanic Church now has an abortion clinic in NM that requires its patients to perform a satanic ritual before services. American Christians need to get to work".

Alluding to all that nonsense, the latest Capitol-dissing posting on Morrissey's website reads thus: "Capitol Records (Los Angeles) proudly promotes Sam Smith's 'satanism'; yet they consider the honest truth of Morrissey's factual 'Bonfire Of Teenagers' to be their biggest threat and they will not release it despite their contractual obligation and promise to do so".

So, I think that means if Marjorie and her Christian buddies of America really want to stand up to Satan, they should buy the rights in the Morrissey album from Capitol and get it streaming on Spotify as soon as possible. Which doesn't sound quite right, but then again God does famously work in very mysterious ways.


ANDY MALT heads up our editorial operations, overseeing the CMU Dailywebsite and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column.
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CHRIS COOKE is co-Founder and MD of CMU - he continues to write key business news stories, and runs training, research and event projects for the CMU Insights consultancy unit and CMU:DIY future talent programme.
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SAM TAYLOR leads on the commerical side of CMU, overseeing sales, sponsorship and business development, as well as heading up training, research and event projects at our consultancy unit CMU Insights.
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CARO MOSES is Editor of CMU's sister media ThisWeek Culture and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh. Having previously also written and edited articles for CMU, she continues to advise and support our operations.
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