TODAY'S TOP STORY: Spotify pushed out some stat brags, unveiled a bunch of changes to its app and platform, and bigged up its role as an enabler of creators across the world during its second ever Stream On event yesterday... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Spotify unveils new feed and stats aplenty at second Stream On event
LEGAL Earth, Wind & Fire company sues over Legacy Reunion tribute shows
UK Music sets out priorities for government support ahead of next week's budget statement
LABELS & PUBLISHERS UK recorded music revenues up 4.7% to £1.32 billion in 2022, BPI confirms
Former Apple exec launches new music and creator business Gamma
EDUCATION & EVENTS Warner Music UK extends partnership with Rio Ferdinand Foundation
ONE LINERS Kobalt, Saffron Music, Sub Focus, Travis, more
AND FINALLY... Mae Muller to represent UK at Eurovision 2023
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Tru Thoughts Records is looking for an experienced Promotions Manager to work on PR campaigns across print, online, radio, DJs and TV. Candidates must have at least two years experience.

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ICE is expanding its Copyright Operations department and is currently recruiting in London for Copyright Analysts on an initial two-year fixed term contract.

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Whole Management is seeking an Assistant Manager. The day-to-day role will involve marketing, administrative and strategy-oriented tasks, working across multiple areas of the business.

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Ambassador Theatre Group is recruiting a Senior Regional Programmer (Music & Comedy) to support the development and curation of its music and live entertainment programme across its 23 regional venues.

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SJM Concerts is seeking an Assistant to its Event Ticketing Managers. Working in a team of eight, the successful applicant will be an organised, enthusiastic and conscientious all-rounder with great attention to detail and willing to help with anything and everything the busy ticketing department throws their way.

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The Halls, Wolverhampton, AEG Presents' newest venue, is seeking a Live Music Booker. The Live Music Booker is a key member of the venue team. You will be instrumental to the music programme across both venues within The Halls.

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The Halls, Wolverhampton, AEG Presents' newest venue, is seeking a Building Services Manager. The Building Services Manager will form an integral part of the management team for The Halls.

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Spotify unveils new feed and stats aplenty at second Stream On event
Spotify pushed out some stat brags, unveiled a bunch of changes to its app and platform, and bigged up its role as an enabler of creators across the world during its second ever Stream On event yesterday.

A flurry of Spotify execs took to the stage as part of the big event, which was all about streaming and was itself livestreamed, so Stream On I guess. Though it was more of a Waffle On really. Because, boy did they waffle on. And on and on and on and on and on and on.

To be fair, the whole presentation came in at just under 90 minutes. It just felt like 90 hours. But hey, what stats and statements among the waffle were worthy of note?

That all-time Spotify payouts to the music industry are now approaching $40 billion? That, according to Spotify's maths, "the number of artists generating $1 millions plus, as well as those generating $10,000+, has more than doubled over the past five years". That even the "50,000th highest-earning artist on Spotify generated more than $50,000 across all recorded revenue sources" last year?

You can take your pick from those facts and figures. There are even more on the now updated Loud & Clear website which Spotify runs to provide artists and their teams with info about how the Spotify and wider music streaming business works.

After some champion stat bragging, the Stream On proceedings quickly moved on to announcing the thing everyone was expecting to be announced, the streaming service's "new, dynamic mobile interface built for deeper discovery and more meaningful connections between artists and fans".

Having been tested since early last year, that new interface is - of course - more TikTokky in style. To use the technical term. Although - unlike with TikTok - the new vertical visual feed is ultimately about sign-posting and previewing content elsewhere on the Spotify platform, rather than being the experience in itself.

"We've found that the next generation of listeners craves better ways to sample audio before fully diving in", says Spotify about the new feed. "So get ready for a more active experience with advanced recommendations, a spotlight on visual canvases, and a completely new and interactive design - all to make discovering new audio easier than ever before and help introduce users to their next favourite artist, podcast or book".

Spotify reckons that the new feed will better help users discover new content and, therefore, better help musicians and other creators connect with new audiences. And there were other new tools previewed which aim to help music-makers connect and engage with new and existing fans.

That includes Countdown Pages - "dedicated spaces for artists to build anticipation for new albums" - and Spotify Clips - so that "artists can add under-30-second videos to their album pages or their artist profiles".

"With Clips, new listeners will be able to get to know an artist and their music better", Spotify reckons, "while loyal fans will be able to dive even deeper into an artist's music, forging even stronger connections".

"The possibilities are expansive", they waffle on, "with Clips enabling artists to build excitement for an unreleased song, promote a new album or single, tell the story behind a song, and much more. We're unlocking this feature for thousands of artists this week, and we'll be opening it up to more and more artists in waves throughout the spring".

Other existing promo tools within Spotify - some free, some paid-for - are also being rolled out to more creators, including the still pretty controversial Discovery Mode, where artists and labels can inform the streaming service's algorithm about priority releases in return for accepting a lower royalty rate on any subsequent streams.

And beyond promo, Spotify also says it will be enhancing its efforts to help artists generate more revenue through ticket and merch sales. Although when it comes to direct-to-fan type activity within the Spotify ecosystem, the more interesting developments still seem to be on the podcasting side where, among other things, a new Patreon partnership was discussed.

Audiobooks also got plenty of mentions, of course, with that being the third strand of audio content where Spotify is now busy dabbling.

Because, boss man Daniel Ek is keen for everyone to know, Spotify remains the key platform for creators looking to find an audience and make some money out of their audio creations, whatever those audio creations might be. And even if promoting that audio content within the app increasingly needs some visuals and video too.

"Today, there are more than ten million creators on Spotify, with over half a billion listeners across 184 countries and markets", Ek declared yesterday, with some extra stats to hand.

"Think about the massive potential that represents for creators. No matter where you are on your own creative journey within music, podcasts, or audiobooks. The potential to reach half a billion people. And that reach is about to become more powerful with what we've introduced today".

Yeah, maybe. Thanks Dan. And here ends my waffle on all the Stream On waffle.


Earth, Wind & Fire company sues over Legacy Reunion tribute shows
A company owned by the sons of Earth, Wind & Fire founder Maurice White has sued a US promoter that has been staging tribute shows to the band which, it's alleged, incorrectly imply some kind of official status.

The lawsuit explains that, following White's death in 2016, all the trademarks and other branding rights related to Earth, Wind & Fire were assigned to the plaintiff in this case, that being Earth, Wind & Fire IP LLC.

Regarding the subsequent management of those rights and the Earth, Wind & Fire brand, the lawsuit says: "Pursuant to a licence from plaintiff, the musical group Earth, Wind & Fire - including the three remaining original members who have been with the band since no later than 1972 - family members of founding members, and other side musicians, continue to tour the United States and other countries to wide acclaim".

"Plaintiff and its predecessors also have licensed 'Earth, Wind & Fire' to be used on authorised apparel and merchandise", it adds. However, the company has been "selective in evaluating commercial proposals" it has received about other use of the band's brand.

And, the lawsuit stresses, "it has not authorised any band except the real musical group Earth, Wind & Fire to use the name and mark 'Earth, Wind & Fire' and other associated logos and images to promote the band's live musical entertainment services".

Which brings us to defendants Substantial Music Group. "Beginning in about 2019", the lawsuit claims, "defendants hired a few musicians who previously had played with the real Earth, Wind & Fire as side musicians for brief periods up to three decades previously, along with other musicians who had never played with Earth, Wind & Fire, to perform songs that the real Earth, Wind & Fire made famous".

Those shows were initially marketed as the 'Earth, Wind & Fire Legacy Reunion', with promotional materials allegedly using the actual Earth, Wind & Fire's trademark protected logos. More recently the shows have been rebranded as the 'Legacy Reunion Of Earth, Wind & Fire Alumni', with new imagery being used.

However, Earth, Wind & Fire IP LLC argues, marketing copy is still misleading. Currently on its website, Substantial Music Group says of these shows: "The style and sounds of the greatest hit recordings by Earth, Wind & Fire were built by founder Maurice White and the contributions of a stellar collective of some of the best musicians in the world throughout the decades"

"Get swept up in the musical whirlwind", it goes on, "and re-live the glory days under the Maurice White-led era of EWF as Legacy Reunion reunites former members of the EWF family to continue the tradition now spanning five decades".

All of this, Earth, Wind & Fire IP LLC reckons, constitutes trademark infringement and dilution, unfair competition and false advertising. And they'd like a court order stopping all that conduct and some lovely damages.


UK Music sets out priorities for government support ahead of next week's budget statement
Cross-sector trade group UK Music has written an open letter to the country's Chancellor Of The Exchequer - that's your good mate Jeremy Hunt - urging him to use next week's budget statement to announce measures that will boost jobs and growth in the British music business.

The letter, from UK Music boss Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, is something of a greatest hits in terms of the music community's requests from government, summarising eight key asks from the sector.

More government support is required, Njoku-Goodwin argues, to help the UK music industry deal with surging energy costs, the hangover of COVID and challenges created by Brexit, and to continue to punch above its weight globally in an increasingly competitive market place.

Although the letter itself goes into a little more detail, UK Music summarised those eight key asks this morning as follows...

Energy Bills: Give more support to venues, studios and music spaces hit by soaring energy bills.

Business Rates: Ease the tax burden on music businesses by reducing business rates on live music venues and studios.

VAT: Cut VAT on live events, such as music and theatre events, to 5% to bring UK more in line with EU nations and help stimulate live music.

Fiscal Incentive: Create a new tax relief for the music industry like those enjoyed by film and TV to boost music production.

Export Office: Set up a new music export office to drive British music exports and help future talent grow their international audiences.

Orchestral Tax Relief: Extend the 50% uplifted orchestra tax relief rate and boost the sector by ditching plans to cut the rate to 25% by 2024.

Arts Pupil Premium: Deliver on the manifesto pledge to introduce this extra support to help all students access music education.

Transitional Support Package: The government should set up a fund to help the music industry deal with the extra costs of leaving the EU and the impact of Brexit on touring UK musicians and crew.

Commenting on all that, Njoku-Goodwin says: "Our music industry is one of the jewels in the crown of British business. The fantastic work of international stadium-fillers like Harry Styles, Adele and Ed Sheeran, along with brilliant new talents like Wet Leg and Sam Ryder, is heard in every corner of the world".

"The global music market is ferociously competitive, and our sector needs support from government if we are to remain world leaders and ensure our contribution to the UK economy reaches a new high in the years ahead", he adds. "Without the right support, there will be a real threat to the talent pipeline, which the music industry relies on for the next generation of future stars".

"The eight-point plan that UK Music and our members have drawn up spells out the huge opportunity the Chancellor has to help us drive jobs and growth and continue the success story of UK music", he concludes.

Hunt's budget statement will be delivered on 15 Mar, by the way. So that's the day where you might want to schedule a little time in to be disappointed.


UK recorded music revenues up 4.7% to £1.32 billion in 2022, BPI confirms
UK record label trade group BPI has just presented us with a big bucket of stats about the performance of the British recorded music business in 2022. So let's all put on our stat hats and take a look, shall we?

Total revenues in 2022 were up 4.7% year-on-year to £1.32 billion, which is the eighth consecutive year of growth and the highest ever level of income recorded by the BPI in its annual stats round up. So that's nice.

I mean, that's assuming you don't adjust for inflation. If you do adjust for inflation, the UK recorded music business still has some way to go before it matches the revenues it achieved back in the good times when people everywhere just adored those little plastic discs. But the trick here, I think, is to never adjust for inflation. See, apply that rule and everyone feels better already.

The continued growth is, of course, powered by the streams. Mainly paid for streams, with premium streaming services bringing in more than ten times the cash received from ad-funded services. Though income from the free platforms did see decent growth last year.

So streaming at large was up 6.3% to £885 million, meanwhile premium streaming grew 4.8% to £762.8 million and income from free streaming was up 22.3% to £62.5 million.

Vinyl sales also continued to grow last year, with revenues from vinyl albums up 3.1% to £119.5 million. However, CD revenues slipped another 23.7% to £89.5 million, meaning physical revenues overall were down 10.5%.

Maths fans will note the confirmation there that - while in terms of units sold CDs continue to outperform vinyl - the latter brings in more money.

Sync income and the monies that flow in from the broadcast and public performance of recorded music were both hit by the pandemic, so scored impressive growth figures last year, but that was partly the bounce back. Sync revenues were up 39% to £42.7 million, while broadcast and performance monies were up 23% to £143.4 million.

Maths fans not worn out from their CD v vinyl calculation will also note that broadcast and performance income is more than three times that of sync. But hey, sync's still the exciting revenue stream, right?

And now a quote from the BPI's Chief Strategy Officer and Interim CEO Sophie Jones: "The hard work and creativity of UK artists and labels meant that 2022 was another great year for British music, but we must guard against any complacency in the face of growing challenges and keep promoting and protecting the value of music".

"That's why labels continue to innovate and invest in new talent and areas to connect more artists and fans while driving additional revenues", she adds.

"The UK environment has always enabled recorded music to thrive, something we must safeguard, but now we need the music community to unite and create the impetus for further growth so that we can build on an already strong foundation to future proof the success of British music in an increasingly competitive global music market".


Former Apple exec launches new music and creator business Gamma
Apple is backing a new music company founded by one of its former execs, Larry Jackson, who was previously Global Creative Director for the tech giant.

That company is called Gamma and plans to work with musicians and other creators on all of their creative output, whether that be music, video, film, podcasts, fashion or any other nonsense they might come up with along the way.

"The artists shaping today's culture not only create music, but also video, film, podcasts, fashion, and more", said Jackson yesterday. "They shouldn't have to jump through multiple hoops to express themselves".

Of course, when jumping through lots of hoops becomes the next TikTok craze - and that's surely only a matter of time - Jackson's new fangled music firm will presumably be ready and waiting with a stack of hoops for its clients to jump through. But physical hoops. There are no metaphorical hoops in the land of Gamma, that's the point.

And should physical hoops need to be bought for Gamma clients, they'll presumably be luxurious hoops given reports that the new company has access to a neat billion dollars in finance. Although Gamma has declined to officially comment on those reports and it's thought Apple is more of a partner than an investor.

But whatever, Jackson has definitely amassed a lot of cash, as well as buying his new business it's own distribution platform, having acquired the company Vydia last year.

He's also got a team in place which includes co-founder and COO Ike Youssef, and former Atlantic Records UK boss Ben Cook.

He, of course, left the Warner Music label in 2019 after a controversy over a photo which resurfaced of him attending a 2013 fancy dress party decked out as a member of Run DMC, a costume that, he said, was intended as tribute but was, in hindsight, offensive.

As for creator clients, Gamma is already working with Snoop Dogg and the Death Row Records catalogue he acquired last year, as well as Rick Ross and Naomi Campbell.


Warner Music UK extends partnership with Rio Ferdinand Foundation
Warner Music UK has announced a renewal of its partnership with the Rio Ferdinand Foundation, which runs various educational and development programmes for young people interested in careers in music or football.

Among other things, Warner provides internships and mentors as part of those programmes and, as a result of this renewal, will continue to be involved for the next three years.

Says Ferdinand: "Football and music are two creative mediums that bring people together from a wide range of cultures and life experiences. It humbles me how well Warner Music understands the importance of hosting these experiences for our youth networks and linking them with local communities".

"It's truly great to be officially extending the project with Warner Music to the end of 2025", he goes on, "together we'll be able to go forward to discover and enable the next generation of leaders".

Warner Music UK CEO Tony Harlow adds: "The Rio Ferdinand Foundation is an impeccable partner; they truly understand and share our passion for levelling-up youth networks with their local communities across the UK and Ireland".

"We're striving to bring together the cultural overlaps and opportunities in football and music", he continues. "And after a brilliant pilot event in London last year, I'm looking forward to getting the tour on the road and seeing our Warner Music teams visit counties that are bursting with young talent but often overlooked and underfunded".

Bauer Media's Kiss radio station is now also involved in the Foundation's work, providing support through its editorial and content team.


CMU at South By South West
CMU's Chris Cooke will be at the South By South West festival and conference in Austin, Texas next week to take part in a panel called 'Getting Songwriters Paid - Fix The Leaky Pipes!'

It's a session based on research from the 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar' project that CMU works on for the UK's Music Managers Forum looking at how songwriters get paid when their music is streamed.

In the US, the song royalty rate for streaming is subject to a compulsory licence, with the rate set by the country's Copyright Royalty Board. The CRB-set rate has been slowly increasing in recent years, a move initially opposed but more recently accepted by the streaming services.

Under the most recent CRB ruling, the top line revenue share rate for songs will increase to 15.35% over the next few years.

However, says the blurb for this SXSW panel, while that increase should be "a major cause for celebration, unless outdated industry infrastructures and distribution mechanisms are urgently addressed, the impact of this progress might be limited".

"Research by the MMF shows songwriters are currently waiting several years to receive payment for streaming. Due to the tangled complex of collecting society and publisher networks, up to 30% of royalties can be deducted in admin costs".

"Millions more dollars of 'unmatched' revenues are torrenting into black boxes, before being re-apportioned by market share to the biggest rightsholders. Come hear about the MMF 'Song Royalties Manifesto' which outlines how this mess can be fixed".

The session takes place on 14 Mar at 4pm in Room 18AB of the Austin Convention Center, with MMF's Annabella Coldrick, AMRA's Tomas Ericsson, and artist manager and former Hipgnosis Chief Catalogue Officer Amy Thomson also joining the conversation. Info here.


Kobalt has promoted Alison Donald to the role of Head Of Global Creative, overseeing the company's global creative teams and splitting her time between LA and London. CEO Laurent Hubert says that Donald "is not only an accomplished A&R but an incredible leader and mentor to songwriters and A&Rs alike - I am excited to see her step into this role and build upon our award-winning publishing team".

Composer and music supervisor management agency First Artists Management has hired Zoe Hart to work as an agent in its London office, while also promoting Hailey Flame to the same role within its LA team. The firm has also confirmed a bunch of recent client signings including: Aaron May, David Ridley, Jon Opstad, Madison Willing, Rutger Hoedemaekers, music supervisor Sarah Giles and music editor Clare Batterton.

Universal Music Canada has appointed Julie Adam, previously with media firm Rogers Sports & Media, as EVP and General Manager. "Julie is an absolute force – she's an exceptional executive and a passionate, purpose-driven leader who has helped shape the Canadian media and entertainment industry", says the major's Canadian CEO Jeffrey Remedios. "I'm so honoured Julie has agreed to join me in leading Universal Music Canada's outstanding team as we continue to propel our roster of artists to new heights".



Saffron Music - a not-for-profit that as been working for seven years across the UK, and globally online, to boost diversity in music production and tech through training and artist development programmes and a label - has launched a fund-raising campaign. It says that a number of "crucial and expected" grants and income sources have not materialised or have been cut, which is why it needs to urgently raise new funds. More information here.



Sub Focus will release new album 'Evolve' on 12 May via EMI Records. "Drum & Bass has never felt stronger or more popular as a genre and I'm proud to have been a part of such a thriving scene for so long", he says. "I've dabbled with multiple genres in the past but this time I wanted to make an album that speaks to my D&B core, with breakbeats laced through every track as a backbone". Here's a track from the album, Vibration featuring AR/CO.

Róisín Murphy has signed to Ninja Tune and has also shared new single 'CooCool', which is produced by DJ Koze.

Travis have released a live version of their 2001 song 'Sing'. It comes from an upcoming live album recorded at a show in Glasgow last year where the band performed 2001 album 'The Invisible Band' in full. The full live recording will be released to streaming services on 21 Apr and will be available on vinyl the following day as part of Record Store Day. You can hear the band sing 'Sing' here.

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


Mae Muller to represent UK at Eurovision 2023
The UK's entrant for this year's Eurovision Song Contest has been announced, with the BBC hoping that its partnership with management firm TaP Music in selecting said entrant goes as well this time as last year.

And that 2023 entrant is EMI/Capitol-signed Mae Muller, who will be singing 'I Wrote A Song' at the big old Contest in Liverpool in May. Really it should be called 'We Wrote A Song', given Muller co-wrote it with Lewis Thompson and Karen Poole.

Says Muller: "I'm so excited to participate in Eurovision this year and represent the UK! I've loved watching Eurovision all my life, so to compete in such a massive music competition is simply brilliant.  I'm a huge fan of so many of the artists that have found success at Eurovision, from Abba to Måneskin!"

Muller then references last year's British contender Sam Ryder, who was also selected by TaP Music and finished in second place at the 2022 Contest, the first UK entrant to appear towards the top of the leader board in a long time. "Sam Ryder was so amazing last year", Muller goes on, "and proved the UK can be back on the left-hand side of the leader board!"

And as for the song she will sing in May, she explains: "I wrote the song 'I Wrote A Song' a few months ago when I was going through a hard time and wanted to feel empowered about relationships, so for it to be chosen for this year's UK Eurovision song is honestly a dream!"

On their 2023 selection, TaP Music co-founders Ben Mawson and Ed Millett add: "We have always been fans of Mae for her voice, songs and star charisma, and when we heard 'I Wrote A Song', we were really taken by its impactful message - 'songs as a form of therapy', a great message for the biggest song contest in the world! - alongside its playful tone and up-tempo fun production".

"From the moment we met Mae", they go on, "we knew she would be an incredible ambassador for the UK at Eurovision. Alongside her abundant talent, she has the most wonderfully warm and fun personality and expressed positivity and excitement about the opportunity to represent the UK. We are super excited to work with Mae, EMI and her management company Modest! on supporting Mae to get another great result at Eurovision".

There's a short programme on BBC One tonight at 8.55pm to formally introducing Muller as the UK's 2023 Eurovision entrant. The big Contest then happens on 13 May, being staged in Liverpool on behalf of Ukraine, of course, which won last year's competition.


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.
[email protected] (except press releases, see below)
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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