TODAY'S TOP STORY: The global record industry saw its revenues grow a further 9% last year to $26.2 billion according to the number crunchers at the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry. Subscription streaming powered that growth of course, with revenues from premium streaming services up 10.3% to $12.7 billion... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Recorded music grows 9%, but undervaluation persists, says IFPI
LEGAL Appeal over $3.8 million Cardi B defamation ruling rejected
Post Malone settles authorship dispute over Circles

DEALS Believe signs label services deal with Hospital Records
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Council Of Music Makers sets out its five key priorities ahead of ministerial review of economics of streaming work
LIVE BUSINESS Night & Day noise complaint trial adjourned in order to carry out further sound level tests
ONE LINERS NCT Dream, Danny Brown & Jpegmafia, Coheed And Cambria, more
AND FINALLY... Ed Sheeran has already completed two more albums, including a second with Aaron Dessner
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Recorded music grows 9%, but undervaluation persists, says IFPI
The global record industry saw its revenues grow a further 9% last year to $26.2 billion according to the number crunchers at the International Federation Of The Phonographic Industry. Subscription streaming powered that growth of course, with revenues from premium streaming services up 10.3% to $12.7 billion.

According to the new stats pack from the IFPI, which aggregates recorded music facts and figures from across the world, premium streaming services now generate 48.3% of the sector's income, with ad-funded platforms bringing in 18.7% of the money.

Physical discs are the next biggest revenue generator accounting for 17.5% of the cash, with 9.4% coming from the broadcast and performance of recorded music, 3.6% from downloads, and 2.4% from sync.

The physical music market actually saw more growth last year, up 4% to $4.6 billion. That's all down to the vinyl revival. CD revenues dipped every so slightly while the revenues from the sale of vinyl records were up 17.1% across the year.

IFPI also breaks down revenues by region. Sub-Saharan Africa saw the fastest rate of growth at 34.7%, although in the wider scheme of things this region still brings in a small slice of global revenues. Latin America saw 25.9% in growth, the Middle East and North Africa 23.8% and Asia 15.4%. The US and Canada together scored 5% in growth, Europe 7.5% and Australia 8.1%.

In terms of individual countries, China saw another surge in revenues pushing it into the top five recorded music markets for the first time.

The top five most lucrative markets for recorded music have long been the US, Japan and then the big three European markets, UK, Germany and France. It's France that has been pushed out of the top five by China. The rest of the top ten is made up of South Korea, Canada, Brazil and Australia.

So, there you go, lots of lovely stats for you. Though the IFPI's 'Global Music Report' isn't just about facts and figures. It also sets out the key concerns and lobbying priorities of the record industry and especially the major labels.

Which in turn tells us what things are currently bothering the big wigs at the major music companies, and what demands they are currently making of law-makers around the world and other stakeholders in the wider music business, especially on the digital side.

In fact, looking back at the messaging contained in the various stat packs put out over the last two decades by both the IFPI and the national record industry trade bodies is a good way of understanding the often traumatic journey the sector went on with the big shift from physical to digital, which involved ten years of decline and five years of stagnation before the streaming boom finally took things back into growth.

Across those two decades the record industry narrative slowly but steadily shifted as the market evolved, with the requests and demands along the way going a little bit like this (we're paraphrasing ever so slightly, of course)...

  1. Oh fuck, CD sales have just peaked. That's not good. It's the fucking file-sharers. We need to do something about the fucking file-sharers.

  2. OK, guys, CD sales are now plummeting. Fuck, fuck, fuck. We really need to do something about the fucking file-sharers. We're going to try suing everybody, but we really need those fucking law-makers to fucking do something about the fucking file-sharers.

  3. Right, this iTunes thing Steve Jobs fucking forced on us all might just work. But only if we do something about the fucking file-sharers. We sued fucking everybody but that's not working. And the fucking DRM technologies we were told would fuck over the fucking file-sharers just seem to be fucking everything up. Please somebody do something about the fucking file-sharers.

  4. Thanks to the innovative partnership record labels have spearheaded with Apple and iTunes, the digital music market is now gaining momentum. Though we're still fucked. Please, please, please do something about the fucking file-sharers.

  5. This was a great year for the record industry as record labels innovated even further in building download experiences that are exciting music fans everywhere. But really we're still fucked. Why haven't we done anything about the fucking file-sharers? The fucking internet service providers should really do something about the fucking file-sharers.

  6. The record industry has truly turned a corner as record labels continue to innovate in the digital market. By which, we mean, that fucking big advance cheque from Spotify was nice. Actually we're still fucked. Can we hurry up and get these new fucking laws passed that force the fucking ISPs to actually fucking do something about the fucking file-sharers?

  7. Thanks to the innovative partnerships record labels have spearheaded with subscription streaming services like Spotify our industry has well and truly turned a corner. Those file-sharers can still go fuck themselves, though. And the ISPs. Fucking ISPs.

  8. This was a great year for the recorded music business which - thanks to the continued innovation of the record labels - is back in growth. No thanks to the fucking file-sharers. Or the fucking ISPs. Or fucking YouTube. We really need to do something about fucking YouTube.

  9. This was another great year for the recorded music business which - thanks to the continued innovation of the record labels - continues to grow. But not fucking fast enough. Why? Fucking YouTube, that's why. And the fucking safe harbour. Won't somebody do something about the fucking safe harbour? If we start banging on endlessly about the 'value gap', will somebody do something about the fucking safe harbour? Fuck you, YouTube.

  10. Thanks to the innovative partnerships record labels have spearheaded with a diverse mix of digital platforms like Spotify and YouTube, this was another year of significant growth for the record industry. Though the rest of the music industry is well and truly fucked because of this fucking pandemic, so we won't brag too much about it, promise.

And that brings us to now. With market growth continuing, the pandemic over, YouTube onside and the file-sharers pretty much forgotten, what are the priorities of the record companies in 2023? Well, new digital platforms need to properly value music - especially the not really that new Facebook, Instagram and TikTok.

And over on those digital platforms that we sort of like, all the very fine music made by very fine humans and, crucially, released by very fine record labels needs to be prioritised over shitty background noise and machine-generated nonsense.

Or in the words of Universal Music's boss Lucian Grainge, we need to make the world of digital music much more 'artist-centric'. Which seems fair enough. Even if it's still not clear what that means. Or whether any artists will actually be consulted on how streaming might be made more 'artist-centric'.

"To succeed, music's future must be artist-centric", says Grainge in the new IFPI report. "As we enter our industry's next exciting chapter, we must remain focused on our shared goal: a robust, growing and sustainable music ecosystem".

"This is an environment in which great music is not drowned out by an ocean of noise", he goes on, "where music is easily and clearly accessible for fans to discover and enjoy, and an environment in which the creators of all music content - whether in the form of audio or short-form video - are fairly compensated and can therefore thrive for decades to come".

Sony Music boss Rob Stringer then declares: "Whilst we continue to bring high quality content into the world from hugely innovative creators, we must all recognise that the worth and importance of this creativity can be diminished if we don't proactively maintain that value everywhere consumers experience content".

"The recording industry represents the music that drives the growth and success of many other businesses", he continues, "so we must be vigilant against any race to the bottom offered up to consumers. With new chapters on the horizon such as the Metaverse and AI, we will continue to protect our creators as we navigate a new complex rights model".

"Music thrives at the intersection of culture, technology, and commerce", reckons new Warner Music big cheese Robert Kyncl. "It's the single most influential global art form, with an unmatched ability to attract audiences, drive social interaction, transcend borders, and unite people".

"Despite this power, it's still undervalued compared to other forms of entertainment", he reckons on. "We're excited to unlock the industry's next phase of growth by championing extraordinary artists and songwriters, building long-term careers and loyal fan communities, while developing innovative business models and high impact tech products. Our future is a whole universe of opportunity".

Meanwhile, IFPI CEO Frances Moore writes in her intro to the new report that "music continues to grow globally, and artists are increasingly interconnected with fans as a result of the worldwide infrastructure and investment from record companies".

Lots of innovation and investment from record companies, she goes on, "has created new and diverse opportunities for artists to connect with their fans; from harnessing cutting edge technology - ranging from creating immersive music experiences to enhancing health and fitness activities - to reimagining opportunities to tell artist stories through films, TV and brand partnerships and much more".

"However", she then declares, "as the opportunities for music continue to expand, so too do the areas in which record companies must work to ensure that the value of the music artists are creating is recognised and returned. This challenge is becoming increasingly complex as a greater number of actors seek to benefit from music whilst playing no part in investing in and developing it".

Though, not wishing to end of a negative note, she concludes: "Ultimately, however, the story of this report is one of innovation and growth and, above all else, great artists and their music". And hurrah for that.

Get yourself some stats and other IFPI gubbins here.


Appeal over $3.8 million Cardi B defamation ruling rejected
The Eleventh Circuit Appeals Court in the US has knocked back an attempt by YouTuber Latasha Kebe to appeal the $3.8 million ruling made against her in a defamation legal battle with Cardi B.

The judges say that Kebe failed to follow the correct procedure in challenging that ruling and also failed to clarify her specific issues regarding decisions in the district court over what evidence could be shared with the jury during the original court hearing.

Cardi B - real name Belcalis Almanzar - sued Kebe over various claims that the latter made about the former in her YouTube videos. That included, legal papers said, that Almanzar "was a prostitute … was a user of cocaine … had and still has herpes … had and still has HPV … engaged in a debasing act with a beer bottle and … committed infidelity".

Almanzar denied all the allegations that Kebe had made, and told the court that false rumours spread by the YouTuber had had a negative impact on her mental health, resulting in the rapper becoming depressed and suicidal.

Kebe, meanwhile, basically admitted in court that she didn't fact-check any of the allegations made about Almanzar on her YouTube channel, even when the rapper was actively denying those claims.

A jury found Kebe liable for defamation in January last year, awarding the rapper nearly $4 million in damages.

Kebe then began appeal proceedings in the Eleventh Circuit appeals court, arguing that it was never proven in court that she acted with actual malice when making her videos about Almanzar and that the exclusion of evidence about the rapper's character in court resulted in a "very lopsided" hearing.

In their response, the appeal judges said yesterday: "There are two issues here. One is whether the jury had sufficient evidence to hold appellants - Latasha Kebe and others - liable for defamation (and other privacy torts) against appellee Belcalis Almanzar. The other is whether the district court erred by excluding evidence. We hold that Kebe hasn't preserved either issue for appeal".

It was on the first issue that judges said Kebe had failed to follow correct procedure. "Defendant Latasha Kebe asks for a new trial, saying that there was insufficient evidence for the jury verdict against her. But as she all but admits, she didn't make ... the required post-verdict motions in the district court. As a result, we have no authority to consider her insufficiency-of-the-evidence argument on appeal".

Kebe did offer an argument as to why legal precedent in this domain should not apply, so allowing her to make a claim in the appeals court despite not filing the required motions in the lower court. But her interpretation of the law on this matter, the judges said, is simply "incorrect".

"Kebe also failed to preserve her evidentiary arguments", they then added. "Kebe didn't adequately brief her challenges to the district court's evidentiary rulings. Specifically, she never tells us where in the 5500-page record the district court's alleged errors can be found ... because Kebe's brief falls well short of what we require, she has abandoned this argument".

As a result, the original jury decision in the district court is affirmed.


Post Malone settles authorship dispute over Circles
Post Malone has settled a legal battle over who wrote his 2019 track 'Circles'. Which is no fun at all. It was about to get to court and everything.

Malone was sued by Tyler Armes - a songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and member of Canadian rap-rock outfit Down With Webster - who joined the rapper and producer Frank Dukes for an all-night jamming session back in August 2018. He claimed that during that session he contributed to the writing of 'Circles'.

That the jam session occurred was not disputed, however Malone played down the role Armes played in the creation of what became 'Circles'. That was despite Armes claiming that Malone's manager had initially offered him a 5% split of the copyright in that song on the basis he was indeed a co-writer.

Malone's bid to have the litigation dismissed was unsuccessful, although he did get the lawsuit cutback somewhat. Had the case got to court, the jury would have been asked to ascertain what role, if any, Armes had in co-writing an earlier work that was then morphed into 'Circles'.

If the jury had decided that Armes and Malone had collaborated on writing a song in 2018, and that 'Circles' was a derivative work of that song, Armes would have been due a share of the hit and the royalties it generated.

But none of that will now happen. According to Courthouse News, just as jury selection was about to get underway legal reps for both sides informed the judge that they had reached a settlement in principle. They now have until the end of May to finalise that deal and formally dismiss the lawsuit.


Believe signs label services deal with Hospital Records
Music distributor Believe has signed a long-term services deal with Hospital Records. The drum n bass label was one of the first clients to sign to Believe UK back in 2011 and now returns to the company as the latest signing to b:electronic, the electronic music-focussed unit launched as part of Believe's Label & Artist Solutions division.

Under the new partnership, Believe will handle the digital distribution of Hospital's entire catalogue of over 5300 tracks. Hospital will also receive other support to help it grow its international reach, including video channel management.

"We are delighted to join b:electronic at this exciting and innovative phase of their global development", says Hospital Records co-founder Chris Goss. "As Hospital starts to plan for our fourth decade in the international dance music community, we see our partnership with Believe as an integral connection and platform to nurture the depth, breadth and scope of our catalogue and future releases".

Ben Rimmer, Director of Label & Artist Solutions, Believe UK, adds: "It's very rewarding to welcome Hospital back to Believe. In returning, they have future-proofed their digital business. The two teams complement each other perfectly with our long relationship built on trust and shared love and understanding of independence and drum n bass music. We're excited to help super-charge Hospital's digital growth".

The first new releases under the partnership include album projects from P Money x Whiney, Metrik, Hugh Hardie and Flava D.


Council Of Music Makers sets out its five key priorities ahead of ministerial review of economics of streaming work
The Council Of Music Makers has set out its five key priorities in the ongoing debate around the economics of streaming, urging record labels, music publishers and streaming services to work with artists, songwriters and their managers via the forums already put in place by the UK government to address each of the five things they are calling for.

The government's Intellectual Property Office instigated three strands of work in late 2021 following the Economics Of Music Streaming inquiry undertaken by the Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee in Parliament. Those three strands respectively put the focus on remuneration, transparency and data.

That work has involved representatives from across the music industry, including the five organisations that make up the Council Of Music Makers, those being the Musicians' Union, the Featured Artists Coalition, the Ivors Academy, the Music Producers Guild and the Music Managers Forum.

When the select committee held another session late last year to review all the IPO-instigated work, MPs were told that there had been some progress on transparency and data. But that when it comes to artist and songwriter remuneration, some research had been commissioned but no real discussion between industry stakeholders had yet taken place.

The CMM has set out its priorities this morning ahead of a ministerial meeting tomorrow in which relevant members of government will also review the IPO-led work. The message from the CMM organisations seems to be that while some progress has been made on some of their priorities, there is plenty more still to be done.

In its statement, the CMM also notes recent comments by Universal Music boss Lucian Grainge in which he has called for the way music streaming works - and the way streaming monies are shared out across the industry - to be evolved into a more "artist-centric" model.

He's been very vague regarding what that means, but the CMM reckons that the starting point to achieving a more "artist-centric" streaming business is achieving its five priorities. Each of those five points have been raised plenty of times before, of course, including within the IPO-led work, and so far the labels - especially the majors - have pushed back on a bunch of them.

The statement also references Spotify's recent Stream On event - and comments made there by boss man Daniel Ek and other execs about the streaming firm's mission to truly empower creators - as well as recent remarks by the Interim CEO at record label trade group BPI, Sophie Jones, about the need for the music community "to unite and create the impetus for further growth".

"The IPO-convened working groups provide the perfect forum to achieve this vision of an artist-and-creator-centric streaming business", the CMM's statement reads, "allowing a united music industry to work together to put in place the five key foundational changes outlined by the CMM today".

"Thanks to nearly two years of hard work by the IPO and representatives from across the industry some progress has already been made, especially around data and transparency", it goes on. "The CMM hopes that that work will soon result in new industry codes which will start this process of transformation. Meanwhile, some independent music businesses are already going further".

"However", it adds, "there remains much, much more to be done to ensure meaningful change across the entire industry: the journey has only just begun. The CMM is ready and willing to build on the work to date to deliver all five of the foundational changes, creating a truly artist-and-creator-centric streaming business and transforming the livelihoods of all music makers".

As for what the five key priorities are, the CMM states that to move to an "artist-and-creator-centric" music streaming sector the following should be achieved:

  1. All featured artists should receive a modern, minimum digital royalty rate, with unrecouped balances written off after a term, on a rolling basis, without any additional conditions.

  2. All session musicians should see the benefit of the streaming boom, on both new recordings and catalogue.

  3. All music-makers should have an opportunity to revise outdated old contract terms, making old deals fit for purpose in the modern music business. Remuneration should always be fair and appropriate.

  4. All songwriters and artists must be given transparency on how their music is monetised by each digital platform. That includes proactively communicating how monies are allocated to each music-maker's songs and recordings, and then shared with and paid through to them.

  5. The whole industry should ensure that all required music rights data is in the system before release. Every music-maker should always be credited for their contribution and digital royalties must reach songwriters as quickly and accurately as they do for artists.

The CMM organisations then state: "As the Council Of Music Makers we stand united in our desire to build a system where streaming offers more equitable rewards to all those who compose, perform and produce music. While it is heartening to see major music companies share our conclusion that change is necessary, it is disappointing that we have seen few meaningful commitments on the five fundamental areas already put on the table at the IPO".

"Ahead of our meeting with ministers on 23 Jun", they go on, "we urge our label and publishing partners to join us in taking the necessary actions so we can all unite and create the impetus for future growth".


Night & Day noise complaint trial adjourned in order to carry out further sound level tests
The future of Manchester music venue Night & Day remains in the balance after a court hearing yesterday was adjourned early. The judge said that the two sides were "going around in circles" and ordered that more testing on noise levels at the venue be carried out.

Night & Day wants a noise abatement order issued against it by Manchester City Council to be cancelled. Although yesterday's hearing mainly centred on whether an agreement could be reached with the council on acceptable night-time noise levels in the venue.

There were disagreements about what those levels should be, what further noise level tests should be carried out, and who should do those tests. Night & Day arrived in court with proposals for a drop in noise levels at the venue to 100 decibels, but the council is pushing for 95.5db. Reps for Night & Day also offered to cut bass levels from 114db to 110db.

After five hours of discussion reached no consensus, a visibly frustrated district judge Margaret McCormack said, according to Manchester Evening News: "I am going to adjourn. I am not an engineer and I need to have something in front of me so I can read it, and ask any relevant questions. I need to know before we get to the noise abatement notice".

"Court time is precious, I want as much agreed as we can", she went on. "We will be going round in circles. Can we please, for the good of the case, wherever it goes to, get some sort of consensus on testing. If it's a figure, then that's what it is".

Manchester City Council served its noise abatement order against Night & Day in November 2021 following a complaint from one of the venue's neighbours, a person who moved into a residential property adjacent to the venue during the COVID lockdowns.

Complying with the order would force Night & Day to change its late night operations which could in turn make the venue's business unviable.

Critics of the council point out that the venue had been in operation for decades before the complainant moved into the adjacent property. And, indeed, it was venues like Night & Day that helped turn a run down part of Manchester into a vibrant cultural hub where people want to live.

Not only that, but the noise issues today could have been avoided two decades ago if Manchester City Council had properly enforced its own planning conditions when the building in which the affected flat is based was redeveloped.

Speaking in court yesterday, Night & Day's lawyer argued that further noise level testing was unnecessary and that at this stage they would just be testing differences in sound levels that are entirely subjective.

"We got to the point [with testing where] we know what [the noise level] would be in the flat, [so] what are we measuring for? We have those figures already. The council officers would just be checking that we have the same number".

"We do not need to do that, we can just impose the same limits", she went on. "Within this range of 99.5 to 100 dB. We have a group of people standing in the flat saying '96 dB… that's okay' and then it goes to '98 dB... do you think that's alright?' That's not scientific, it's a range of subjective opinions ... The figures we are now offering, the 100 and 110, it's not plucked from thin air".

Representing the council, Lee Charalambides countered: "The range [in the existing test data] is 95.5 to 101 dB, but there is a dispute over the bass frequency that's based on recordings taken in the venue above the mixing desk".

"What we are suggesting is that for the court to determine if there is a nuisance and if there is an impact. The court needs to know what the impact of 99.5 to 101 dB is. What we would like to see is [both sides can] agree a methodology and agree what the impact of 99.5 to 101 dB is".

"What we propose is that the court has a report and where it cannot be agreed, it's set out [in court]", he went on. "That provides a basis to agree a figure or the court to have clarity around the impacts. We both understand something different".

"To do that without the methodology would be a potential for grave error. Because we do have an established principle, [in that] we are willing to amend the noise abatement notice, the duty is on us to investigate".

Yeah, I see why judge McCormack found it all rather confusing. She ordered six days of new testing to be carried out on consecutive Fridays and Saturdays, with recording equipment placed in both Night & Day and the neighbouring flat.

Once that has been done, it will take five weeks to analyse and write up the results, which will be followed by a further three day trial.


CMU+TGE Sessions at The Great Escape 2023
The Great Escape 2023 is getting closer! Don't forget we recently published full topic outlines for the three full-day CMU+TGE Sessions that we will present as part of the TGE Conference, setting out all the conversations that will happen on stage this year.

The CMU+TGE Sessions put the focus on three key topics, with a full day of talks, interviews, case studies and discussions about each of those topics, allowing us to dig deep and fully navigate the latest trends, developments, opportunities and challenges in the business of music.

This year's CMU+TGE sessions are as follows...


MUSIC+EDUCATION on Wednesday 10 May
CMU and The Great Escape once again bring together music educators and the music industry to put the spotlight on the best ways to support future music talent, both on-stage and behind the scenes.

We will ask how the music industry can help deliver the new National Plan For Music Education in England, how online content and digital education platforms are changing how people learn, and how traditional educators can work alongside digital educators to deliver maximum value.

Plus, what skills are needed in the music business today, what skills will be in demand in the future, and how can education and industry ensure that young people develop the skills they need to succeed?

Click here for the full topic outline


MUSIC+DEALS on Thursday 11 May
CMU and The Great Escape review how deals are being done in the music business today.

We will identify and dissect the deals that best help artists achieve their objectives, consider the different options artists now have when selecting and negotiating with their business partners, and look at how the evolution of consumption is informing deals around particular rights.

We will also ask what that evolution of consumption means for the music industry's digital deals in the future - and will investigate how samples and interpolations are delivering new licensing opportunities for songwriters and music publishers.

Click here for the full topic outline


CMU and The Great Escape put the spotlight on the wider creator economy.

We'll dissect and discuss the growing number of tools, platforms and market-places being used by creators of music to write, record and iterate music, to facilitate collaborations, and to generate new income from their creative expertise. And we'll look at what being part of the creator economy can mean for musicians - as both creators and consumers.

Plus, we'll review the digital tools and platforms that help frontline artists - and other creators in and beyond music - to grow their fanbases and monetise the fan relationship.

Click here for the full topic outline


To access all this, get yourself a TGE delegate pass here.


K-pop group NCT Dream have released an English version of their single 'Beatbox' ahead of their first-ever UK show at London's Wembley Arena on 28 Mar.

Danny Brown and Jpegmafia have shared their latest single 'Scaring The Hoes', the title track from their collaborative album, which is set to be released on Friday.

Shygirl has released a new version of her song 'Woe', featuring Björk. The track is taken from the deluxe edition of her debut album 'Nymph', which is set for release on 14 Apr and features other contributions from artists including Arca, Fatima Al Qadiri, Sevdaliza and Eartheater.

Jelani Blackman today unveils the video for his latest single 'Izit', featuring Kojey Radical. "Like the song, this video is a comment on our consistently more dystopian society", says Blackman. "People are always being watched, just snapshots of data, while we're also beginning to see AI impacting on the physical environment we live in - how things are advertised and designed. It's a direction that raises a lot of questions for the future".

The Japanese House has released new single 'Boyhood'. "This song talks about how sometimes, however hard you try, you can't help but be a product of the things that happened to you or held you back earlier on in life", she says. "But also, and more importantly, it's about hope for overcoming those things".

Tapeworms have released new single 'IRL'. The band are set embark on a UK tour in May, including a show at Strongroom in London on 10 May.

Paige Kennedy has released 'He Is', the latest single from their upcoming EP 'Doubles', which is out on 14 Apr. Kennedy will support Nimmo At The Lower Third in London on 19 Apr.



Coheed And Cambria have announced two new UK tour dates. The band will perform at Glasgow's SWG3 Galvanizers on 11 Jun and London's Kentish Town Forum on 13 Jun. Tickets are available now.

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


Ed Sheeran has already completed two more albums, including a second with Aaron Dessner
Ed Sheeran has revealed that, in addition to his upcoming album '-', he has also recorded a second album with The National's Aaron Dessner, and another with J Balvin, and has yet another in the works that won't come out until after his death.

Pronounced 'Subtract', the new album is the final part of Sheeran's series of records named after mathematical symbols, and was co-written and produced last year by Dessner. The National guitarist's collaborations with Sheeran follow his earlier creative partnership with Taylor Swift, which also resulted in two albums - 'Folklore' and 'Evermore'.

Confirming that there will be two releases from his Dessner alliance, Sheeran tells Rolling Stone: "It was very quickly seen that we were making two different things".

The second record will apparently be more upbeat than the more emotionally heavy '-'. It's not clear when it will be released, but it is currently being mixed. "I have no goals for the record", he explains. "I just want to put it out".

As well as all that, Sheeran also reveals that he has just completed a collaborative album with J Balvin, which features guest appearances from Burna Boy, Daddy Yankee, Pharrell Williams and Shakira. Videos have already been shot for tracks on that record, but again no release date has been set.

Meanwhile, he adds, he is now working on what he hopes will be his best album. Although that, he says, will be released posthumously, with plans to continue working on it throughout his life.

"I want to slowly make this album that is quote-unquote 'perfect' for the rest of my life, adding songs here and there", he says. "And just have it in my will that after I die, it comes out".

That's quite a lot to be getting on with, but those aren't Sheeran's only plans for new music. While he may have finished his run of mathematically-titled albums, he's not leaving symbols behind, saying that he already has an idea for another series of five records with titles based on linked symbols.

What symbols he won't say. Maybe emojis. Or road signs. Or those weird symbols that are meant to tell you how to wash your clothes. We just don't know.

Anyway, if you're not a fan of Sheeran and his songs, you'll no doubt be displeased with this here confirmation that he already has plans for eight more albums after his next one. But let's not get ahead of ourselves, '-' is out on 5 May.


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.
[email protected] (except press releases, see below)
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.
[email protected] or call 020 7099 9060
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.
[email protected]
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