TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK's Musicians' Union says that it believes leaked documents outlining even more radical changes to the BBC's in-house orchestras represent earlier and since rejected proposals, adding that it has received written reassurances that those more dramatic changes are not now on the agenda. However, the union adds, these additional rumours are only adding to the stresses currently being endured by musicians employed by the broadcaster... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Musicians' Union says leaked documents containing further changes to BBC's orchestras likely outline earlier rejected plans
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Production music firm FreshTracks launches UK division
Believe UK announces three promotions
LIVE BUSINESS Glastonbury Festival secures permanent planning permission from local council
MEDIA 6 Music announces rejig to evening schedule from June
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Former EMI and Sony Music exec launches new music business consultancy
ONE LINERS Beatport, BTS, Diplo, Caroline Polachek
AND FINALLY... Taylor Swift reps say rapidly fading merch is probably part of the "vintage" design
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Musicians' Union says leaked documents containing further changes to BBC's orchestras likely outline earlier rejected plans
The UK's Musicians' Union says that it believes leaked documents outlining even more radical changes to the BBC's in-house orchestras represent earlier and since rejected proposals, adding that it has received written reassurances that those more dramatic changes are not now on the agenda. However, the union adds, these additional rumours are only adding to the stresses currently being endured by musicians employed by the broadcaster.

The BBC recently announced a revamp of its classical music output which included the closing down of its in-house choir the BBC Singers and a 20% cut in the number of salaried roles within its orchestras in England. After those proposals faced widespread criticism, including from the MU, the BBC then announced it was looking into alternative funding options that could allow the BBC Singers to continue to operate.

Classical music news site Slipped Disc yesterday reported on official BBC documents that it said were circulated internally last month. Some of the proposals in those documents were what the BBC announced as part of its classical music revamp, but there were some other additional proposed cutbacks too.

In particular a plan to create "a single pool of musicians from the Concert and Symphony Orchestras" and to "reduce the core-salary base of the BBC Philharmonic [by] creating ... a world-leading talent development programme in partnership with the Royal Northern College Of Music".

Responding to the Slipped Disc article, the MU says that it has seen the documents said article refers to and believes they are probably "an earlier version of the proposals announced by the BBC on 7 Mar". It also adds that it suspects it wasn't actually meant to see those documents and the proposals contained within them.

The MU adds that neither the proposal for a single pool of musicians nor the RNCM partnership have "been discussed with the union in any meetings we have attended with the BBC about the future of its performing groups".

Plus it has since received written assurances from BBC Head Of Orchestras And Choirs Simon Webb that "[the BBC does] not propose to create a single pool of musicians from the BBC Concert and BBC Symphony Orchestras", although "as discussed during our consultative meetings we do envisage those ensembles working together to develop the freelance pool of players available to the BBC in London".

Webb's update to the MU goes on: "Whilst I can confirm that we do plan to launch a new partnership with the RNCM this is not related to our proposed changes to the roles with the BBC Philharmonic".

"I would like to reiterate", he then insists, "the BBC's continued commitment to strengthening its public purpose for classical music whilst reaching a sustainable financial model for its six performing groups. We remain committed to meaningful consultation with the MU and other staff unions".

Meanwhile the RNCM has also contacted the MU to state: "Any discussions with the BBC regarding talent development and professional experience for students pre-date, and are wholly unrelated to, the recent announcement of a reduction in salaried musician posts at the corporation".

Commenting on the latest developments, and the union's ongoing talks with the BBC, MU General Secretary Naomi Pohl says: "The musicians employed by the BBC's performing groups have had a terrible month since the BBC made its ill-advised announcement proposing to close the BBC Singers and make 20% job cuts in its English orchestras".

"Since then, nothing material has significantly changed", she adds. "There are still no concrete plans for the future of the BBC Singers and our members' jobs at the BBC Concert, Philharmonic and Symphony orchestras are still under threat".

"These additional proposals", she goes on, "which seem to have been shared in error, have further undermined our members' faith in the BBC and have made engaging in meaningful talks more difficult still".

"The MU will continue to consult its members and keep them fully informed of developments", she concludes. "In the meantime, I encourage all our members and everyone who loves music at the BBC to email [BBC boss] Tim Davie and the BBC board using our template letter".


Production music firm FreshTracks launches UK division
Czechia-based Studio Fontana has announced the launch of a new UK outlet for its production music business FreshTracks, headed up by John Clifford, who previously held senior roles in the production music divisions of both BMG and Universal Music.

FreshTracks already operates in multiple European markets. The new UK business will make music available to audio-visual producers under the production music licences administrated by collecting society MCPS.

"Alongside its own repertoire", an official blurb states, "FreshTracks Music UK will sub-publish select quality production music from international labels, expanding the offering of the wider FreshTracks Music network that already operates in ten European countries".

"Like the rest of the FreshTracks network", it adds, "the business is powered by a proprietary search platform - created in-house by a team of developers at parent company Studio Fontana - a unique search and discovery experience that utilises intuitive UI and AI features to make finding, reporting and licensing production music easy for TV, film and advertising".

After departing BMG at the end of 2021, Clifford set up his own consultancy business True Road Music, which he will continue to run alongside his new role at FreshTracks Music UK.

He says: "After decades in the production music industry and a year working with many other great businesses via True Road, more than ever I'm looking for talented and innovative partners who marry the music at the core of our business with progressive technology and people".

"Over some three decades, the Studio Fontana and FreshTracks Music businesses have evolved in a continually impressive way", he goes on. "I'm proud to lead the new UK division in this vital chapter in the FreshTracks expansion, and I look forward to welcoming new colleagues, label partners and clients".

Studio Fontana Co-Owner Martin Nedved adds: "Combining Studio Fontana's strong and established operation and John's exceptional track record in the UK market and beyond, along with our superior technology platform, puts the FreshTracks Music UK business in a strong position that I have no doubt will grow with stunning quality and quantity".


Believe UK announces three promotions
Music distributor and artist services company Believe has announced a number of promotions within its UK team.

Ben Rimmer, previously Label & Artist Solutions Director for Believe's UK business, will now have a wider geographic remit, taking on the same role but for the UK and Northern Europe. He'll be charged with the task of "bringing the same rapid growth to Believe's operations in Benelux and Scandinavia that he has helped drive in the UK".

Malena Wolfer, previously Head Of Artist Services at Believe UK becomes Director Of Artist Services. The new position will see her "focus on high-profile signings and partnerships, and explore joint venture opportunities to help supercharge Believe's UK growth".

And Panos Polimatidis has been promoted from Head Of Artist Relations to Head Of Label And Artist Solutions for the UK, reporting into Rimmer. He is now "responsible for new business development across both the label and artist distribution divisions, and will oversee the client relationship management team".

These internal promotions follow the hiring late last year of Karishma Anand as Believe UK's MD of Operations, overseeing the firm's UK finance, HR and legal departments, as well as its day-to-day operations.

Says Believe UK MD Alex Kennedy: "Ben, Malena and Panos have together been the engine behind our success in the UK over the last decade and could not be more deserving of their promotions. Together with Karishma, our new MDO, our senior team is complete and primed to lead Believe UK to the next level".


Glastonbury Festival secures permanent planning permission from local council Glastonbury Festival has secured permanent planning permission from its local council, which organisers say will "provide more certainty and additional flexibility" for the staging of the festival and related events on the Worthy Farm site in Somerset.

Although the regular run ins between Glastonbury Festival and Mendip District Council that used to occur back in the day are now very much in the distant past, the event was nevertheless relying on rolling temporary planning permission from the council, an arrangement that was due to expire in 2024.

The festival's organisers were advised that a further extension of that arrangement was unlikely, because it was "contrary to best planning practice" as laid out by the UK government.

To that end, those organisers, working with a consultancy called Planning Sphere, applied for permanent planning permission for the festival and associated events. And that has now been granted.

The new arrangement will allow for the "permanent regularisation" of the event's Pyramid Stage and a building currently used for storage and recycling, as well as the allocation of land to accommodate the temporary festival workforce.

Though the festival itself will still be subject to the terms of its official licence, which - among other things - sets limits on capacity and noise levels.

Planning Sphere told reporters: "The grant of planning permission will provide certainty and secure the future of the largest and most iconic music and performing arts festival in Europe".

The permanent planning permission was granted just before Mendip District Council was basically abolished, it being merged into the all new Somerset Council.


6 Music announces rejig to evening schedule from June
BBC 6 Music has announced a rejig to its evening schedules which will kick off in June and will see the launch of a new daily version of the station's 'New Music Fix' show, which currently airs in the early hours of Friday morning.

'New Music Fix Daily' - presented by Tom Ravenscroft and Deb Grant - will air from 7pm-9pm from Monday through Thursday, and will feature "the best of what is being made, performed and shared right now".

To make room in the schedule for the new programme, the existing evening and nighttime shows presented by Marc Riley and Gideon Coe will merge and become Riley & Coe, airing from 10pm-midnight. The two DJs will actually only co-present on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, with Riley hosting solo on Mondays and Coe on Thursdays.

Another show currently airing on a weekly basis overnight will also get a new daily slot in between 'New Music Fix Daily' and 'Riley & Coe', that being 'Artist In Residence', the programme where different guest artists select the music.

Says Head Of 6 Music Samantha Moy: "A love of music unites all of our 6 Music presenters. And bringing Marc and Gid, and Tom and Deb, together means even more music will be found and shared with our audience, giving a new sound to 6 Music at night".


Former EMI and Sony Music exec launches new music business consultancy
Former Sony Music exec Mark Collen has announced the launch of a new consultancy business called Night Manager Entertainment.

Collen was most recently EVP International Operations at Sony Music. Before his ten year stint at that major he held various senior roles within the EMI Group, including being Marketing Director for Parlophone Records and Managing Director of Chrysalis Records. He also previously ran another consultancy business between working for EMI and Sony.

The new company will, and I quote, "offer strategic leadership and international marketing consultancy to a range of clients across the music industry, including labels, management companies, technology platforms and the investment sector".

Says Collen: "After a wonderful decade with Sony, where I'm grateful and privileged to have worked with some amazing people and artists, and a career working with some of the greatest artists of our time, I couldn't be more energised at the thought of embracing this new venture".

"At a time when we are seeing seismic shifts in the way music is conceived, consumed and engaged with", he goes on, "this feels like the perfect time to apply my experience and insights on behalf of the wider music industry to help them and the artists they represent navigate this exciting new global landscape".


CMU+TGE Sessions at The Great Escape 2023
Look out for more exciting news about this year's TGE Conference at The Great Escape coming your way very soon.

But in the meantime, don't forget the full schedules are already online for each of this year's full-day CMU+TGE Sessions, which this time put the spotlight on education, deals and the creator economy.


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.


Beatport Group has appointed Sofia Ilyas to the newly created role of Chief Community Officer. In that job she will "oversee the company's diversity, inclusion and social action efforts" and also "head corporate communications, set the strategy for emerging growth markets and manage the company's numerous partnerships with DJ and producer community organisations around the world".

The UK's Entertainment Agents' Association has a new President, Paul Winteridge from Exeter-based agency the Vern Allen Group. Says he: "It is with pride and excitement that I take on the role of President in what continues to be a difficult time for live entertainment. I will be working hard on membership support, education and engagement with an ambition to grow a more diverse membership".



BTS member Suga has made available the full version of his 'Agust D' mixtape - originally released in 2016 - on the streaming services, having sorted out some sample clearance issues on a couple of the tracks. His 2020 mixtape 'D-2' is also now available on South Korean streaming services Melon and FLO for the first time, according to NME. His debut solo album 'D-Day' is out on 21 Apr.

Diplo will released his latest country project - 'Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley: Chapter 2 - Swamp Savant' - on 28 Apr via Sony's Columbia label. It includes previously released 'Wasted' featuring Kodak Black and Koe Wetzel. "To prepare for this new Thomas Wesley project", says Diplo. "I went back to my father's house in Florida. It all started in the swamps I was raised in. This is the greatest single piece of work I've ever done, I can promise you that".

Caroline Polachek has posted a new live performance music video for her track 'Smoke', directed by Matt Copson. The song appears on her recent album 'Desire, I Want To Turn Into You'. The new video is currently exclusive to Instagram, though it will pop up on other platforms tomorrow if you happen to be a patient Instagram hater.

There's a new video from James Acaster's music project Temps. It's for single 'ificouldjust' featuring Yoni Wolf, Quelle Chris, Shamir, Montaigne and Ami Dang. Temps album 'Party Gator Purgatory' is out via Bella Union on 19 May. Says Acaster of 'ificouldjust': "Like all of us, the party gator often wishes they possessed a little more self-motivation but instead they find themselves repeating the same behaviour for what feels like the rest of time. Also, I once again cannot believe we got all these people on the same track".

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


Taylor Swift reps say rapidly fading merch is probably part of the "vintage" design
Taylor Swift fans have been informed that - if apparel bought from the merch stall on her current tour quickly fades in the wash - well, that's part of the design idiots.

Or maybe the fans just washed the branded clothing wrong, double idiots. Or maybe, just maybe, something's gone wrong with the production of the garments and maybe, just maybe, replacements will be offered.

An article on the Vulture site features several Swift fans not too happy about their quickly fading merch purchases. "After one wash, the print was horribly faded to the point Taylor's face on the print was unrecognisable", says one fan called Emilia.

She apparently waited for over five hours to buy a grey quarter-zip sweatshirt at one of Swift's Las Vegas shows. "It was also $65", she adds "which I feel like is more than enough for it to hold up. It's super disappointing that it looks this bad".

But worry not Emila. That sweatshirt's meant to look a bit shit. It's "vintage" see. "Due to the particular ink curing process used on certain tour collection products, after washing your merchandise you may see a faint fade on the product print", says an official statement on the musician's website. "This slight fade is related to the product's distressed, vintage look".

"Please also note", it then adds, "it is important to follow product care instructions as listed on the product label when washing and drying your items, to best protect and maintain the product's look and feel".

Which presumably means, while it's meant to look a bit shit, because, you know, "vintage", if your t-shirt or sweatshirt looks really shit, well that's probably due to your own shitty laundry practices.

"If after washing your product you notice a dramatic loss of pigment or ink bleeding on your product", the statement then concludes, "please contact [us by email] so we can help address the concern, and provide a replacement if necessary under our exchange policy".

So that's all good then. By the way, if you wash this email, there's a very high change it will fade. But don't worry, it's just part of our vintage design.


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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