TODAY'S TOP STORY: Music tourism in the UK surged last year following the end of COVID restrictions, with UK Music estimating that the number of British people travelling to another part of the country to attend live music events in 2022 was 13.3 million. Another 1.1 million international visitors came to the UK to attend a festival or show. And total music tourism spending across the year reached £6.6 billion... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES UK music tourism generated a £6.6 billion economic boost in 2022, says UK Music
LEGAL US court further delays injunction targeting Apple's App Store rules
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Absolute reacquired by original management team after Utopia adventure
LIVE BUSINESS Fabric calls on fans to share memories for 25th anniversary book
MEDIA Bauer set to acquire Jack FM frequencies in Oxfordshire
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Help Musicians appoints Sarah Woods as CEO
ONE LINERS Becky Hill, Modest! Management, Explosions In The Sky, more
AND FINALLY... Doja Cat says she's leaving behind "music that is palatable, marketable, and sellable"
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UK music tourism generated a £6.6 billion economic boost in 2022, says UK Music
Music tourism in the UK surged last year following the end of COVID restrictions, with UK Music estimating that the number of British people travelling to another part of the country to attend live music events in 2022 was 13.3 million. Another 1.1 million international visitors came to the UK to attend a festival or show. And total music tourism spending across the year reached £6.6 billion.

This is all according to 'Here, There And Everywhere', the latest report from the cross-sector trade group on music tourism, which puts the spotlight on how live music draws people to certain towns, cities or regions, boosting local economies in the process.

For the purposes of its report, UK Music defines a music tourist as "anyone who has travelled at least three times the average commute for their region", using postcodes attached to ticket purchases to identify which gig-goers have travelled that kind of distance to attend an event.

Some of those people have obviously travelled much further than that, including those that came from outside the UK to attend a festival or show.

When it comes to figuring out the economic impact, among the things taken into account are ticket sales, food and beverage sales, merchandise, venue parking, camping fees, accommodation, travel, and additional spending outside of venues while attending an event.

UK Music boss Jamie Njoku-Goodwin says of the latest stats: "The numbers show in certain terms what we all felt in 2022: the excitement for live music to come back for the first full year since the COVID-19 pandemic. With 14.4 million music tourists helping to generate £6.6 billion in spending across the year and supporting 56,000 full-time jobs, it really was quite the return".

And, he adds, while the stats show the direct impact live music has on local economies around the UK, music at large arguably has an even bigger impact on tourism.

"The cultural soft power of music is a driving force behind tourism", Njoku-Goodwin says. "The UK's music scene has permeated global consciousness, shaping fashion, art, and even political movements all over the world. British artists have long held an ability to resonate with diverse audiences, transcending both language and cultural barriers".

But, of course, it is no secret that much of the live sector has struggled commercially since the end of the pandemic, with the costs of staging shows and running venues increasing rapidly, but the cost of living crisis making it difficult to just increase ticket prices.

So, unsurprisingly, UK Music's new report urges central government and local authorities to do more to support the sector to ensure future growth.

"There is a growing recognition of the need to support and boost music at the regional level to ensure the UK's music scene can thrive", Njoku-Goodwin goes on. "Local authorities are now actively exploring innovative strategies and initiatives to leverage music tourism as a driver of economic and cultural growth".

To encourage such strategies and initiatives, UK Music has also produced a toolkit to help local authorities better support their local music communities.

Recommendations in that toolkit include "using data to ensure music is at the heart of planning and licensing policy"; "creating a register of available spaces and places to support music activities"; "enshrining music and the local community in regeneration and development"; and "setting up or supporting city-wide music advisory boards".

You can download the new report here.


US court further delays injunction targeting Apple's App Store rules
The US Ninth Circuit Appeals Court has granted a further stay on the injunction against Apple's anti-steering provisions. This means the court order forcing a change to Apple's App Store rules, resulting from a lawsuit pursued by Epic Games, will remain paused for now while the tech giant takes the legal battle to the US Supreme Court. Epic has expressed disappointment with the delay.

Fortnite maker Epic - like many other app makers, including Spotify - objects to the rules relating to in-app payments on iOS devices. Apple's rules mean many app makers are obliged to use the tech giant's own commission-charging transactions system to take in-app payments. And they are also barred from sign-posting other places online where payments can be made.

Epic argues that these rules breach US competition law. Its lawsuit presenting those arguments, filed with the courts in California, mainly failed. However, the judge overseeing the case did conclude that the specific rule stopping the sign-posting of alternative payment options - often called the anti-steering provision - violates Californian unfair competition law.

With that in mind, the judge issued the injunction forcing Apple to allow app-makers to sign-post other payment options. However, that injunction was paused after both Apple and Epic took the case to the Ninth Circuit court. But the appeal judges more or less backed the lower court's ruling, including in relation to the anti-steering provision.

Apple now plans to take that specific element of this case to the Supreme Court. And to that end, earlier this month it urged the Ninth Circuit to keep the injunction regarding alternative payment options paused while it goes through that process. Unsurprisingly, Epic objected, claiming there were no grounds for further delaying the injunction going into effect.

But the Ninth Circuit does not agree, and yesterday stated that "the mandate is stayed for 90 days to permit the filing of a petition for writ of certiorari in the Supreme Court. Apple must notify the court in writing that the petition has been filed, in which case the stay will continue until the Supreme Court resolves the petition".

That said, despite agreeing to further delay the injunction, one of the Ninth Circuit judges was clear that he feels Apple's arguments against it are pretty weak.

"Given our general practice of granting a motion for a stay if the arguments presented therein are not frivolous, I have voted to grant Apple's motion", judge Milan D Smith Jr wrote.

However, he added, "I write separately to express my view that, while the arguments in Apple's motion may not be technically frivolous, they ignore key aspects of the panel's reasoning and key factual findings by the district court".

"When our reasoning and the district court's findings are considered", he continued, "Apple's arguments cannot withstand even the slightest scrutiny. Apple's standing and scope-of-the-injunction arguments simply masquerade its disagreement with the district court's findings and objection to state-law liability as contentions of legal error".

So, presumably, Smith doesn't reckon that Apple is going to successfully block the injunction at the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, Epic boss Tim Sweeney wrote on Twitter: "Sadly, Apple's anti-steering rules - which both the district court and the Ninth Circuit Court found to be illegal - will remain in place, as the Ninth Court court stayed the injunction that puts an end to the practice. Justice delayed, again".


Absolute reacquired by original management team after Utopia adventure
Absolute Label Services is the latest Utopia acquisition to negotiate itself out of that particular confusing adventure. The company's original shareholders have reacquired 100% of the business.

Utopia, of course, expanded rapidly through a series of acquisitions. That included three deals in close succession in early 2022 involving some key UK-based independent music businesses: Proper MusicSentric Music and Absolute Label Services.

However, later in 2022 the acquisition spree came to a halt and then the downsizing began within the core Utopia business, which was building a music monitoring and data management platform.

In February this year, Utopia announced that it was selling one of its earlier purchases - music industry directory and data platform ROSTR - back to its founders. Then in March, it was confirmed Believe was buying Sentric Music.

Yesterday it was revealed that "Absolute's original shareholders - Henry Semmence, Simon Wills, Debs Cutting and Mark Dowling - have taken the decision to reacquire 100% of the company from Utopia Music".

The label services business also confirmed that it "maintained its original, long-standing team, leading infrastructure and diverse client base" during its stint as a Utopia subsidiary, and that during that time it has enjoyed "significant growth, with revenues up 25% year-on-year across the business - including both its label services and neighbouring rights operations".

Semmence, Wills, Cutting and Dowling said in a joint statement: "Absolute's management team is excited to announce our decision to move forward independently. The decision to revert the full ownership of the company, and to preserve its vision and direction, was fuelled by our unwavering commitment to continue providing exceptional label services".

"Our primary focus for the last 28 years has been delivering success and growth for our artists and labels", they went on. "We look forward to continuing our relationship with all of them, and providing the dedicated support, resources, and innovative solutions they deserve".

"We are committed to exploring new collaborations, forging strategic partnerships, and harnessing cutting-edge technologies to elevate our label services to even greater commercial growth and success. Our dedication to investment and expansion remains resolute. Our incredible staff, brimming with talent and expertise, will remain at the core of our success, and we will continue to ensure they have the tools and knowledge to drive unparalleled results for our artists and labels".


Fabric calls on fans to share memories for 25th anniversary book
Fabric has announced plans to publish a book as part of celebrations for the London nightclub's 25th anniversary next year, and it is inviting anyone who has frequented the venue in that time to submit their own stories, memories, photos and more.

"Ever since we opened in 1999, you - our dancers and our community - have played such an important part in our history", says the club in a statement. "We are asking all those who have interacted with Fabric over the years to send in archive material, stories and oral snippets, photographs, video, old flyers and more to be used as subjects and sources for the forthcoming publication".

Also referencing the record label that Fabric operates and the big campaign in 2016 to save the venue after its licence was revoked, the statement continues: "Please send us your most memorable moments of the club or label over the years. From stories about falling in love at Fabric, first dates on the dance floor, and making new connections, to fond memories about particular club nights [or] DJ sets, recollections about or participation in the #savefabric campaign, or simply a favourite Fabric visual or artwork".

Set to be published by White Rabbit, the book will also feature written material on the club's history from journalist Joe Muggs. Anyone wishing to make their own submissions for possible inclusion should do so here by 7 Aug.


Bauer set to acquire Jack FM frequencies in Oxfordshire
Bauer Media is set to acquire some more FM frequencies, this time in Oxfordshire, having agreed to a deal with Jack Media.

The acquisition is still subject to regulatory approval and Bauer hasn't yet said what it plans to do with the frequencies currently used by Jack-branded stations in the county, though a further expansion of the media firm's Greatest Hits Radio service seems likely.

The company now known as Jack Media Oxfordshire Ltd first launched a Jack FM station in Oxford in 2007, licensing a brand and format that already existed on the airwaves in North America. For a time Jack FM stations were on air in other parts of the UK as well, and - in 2016 - a national digital-only Union Jack Radio service was launched.

The separate company that operated the latter went into administration last year, resulting in the Union Jack stations going off the air. However, in Oxfordshire, Jack FM - and another sister Jack-branded station - continue to operate on the FM dial.

For now. Having originally licensed the Jack FM brand from its North American owner, Jack Media Oxfordshire subsequently acquired the European rights to that brand. But those rights are not part of the Bauer deal.

So, although Jack FM will remain on air while this deal goes through the regulatory process, once completed, Bauer will have to put one of its own brands onto the frequencies it is buying.

This isn't a problem, given that Bauer almost certainly wants the frequencies in order to extend the reach of one of its existing brands anyway. And Greatest Hits Radio is the brand Bauer has been most aggressively expanding in recent years.

Confirming the deal, Bauer Media Audio UK CEO Simon Myciunka says: "This acquisition will make it easier for our valued audiences in Oxfordshire to connect with our services, unlocking increased scale for our brands and commercial partners alike. My thanks go to the Jack FM Oxfordshire team who we will work closely with as we work through this transition".

Clive Dickens, a non-exec director at Jack Media Oxfordshire Ltd, adds: "The founders and directors of Jack Media would like to thank the staff, listeners, advertisers and the Oxfordshire community for the incredible privilege of providing multi-award-winning local broadcast radio for the last eighteen years".


Help Musicians appoints Sarah Woods as CEO
Music charity Help Musicians has appointed Sarah Woods as its new Chief Executive. She takes up the role with immediate effect, having been interim CEO since May.

"Sarah has proved herself to be an exceptional leader and a real visionary", says Chair of the charity Bob Shennan. "She is the perfect person to take the charity to the next level".

Woods herself adds: "Music has always played an important role in my life; performing from an early age it enabled me to build new skills, connect with others and build relationships. It is therefore a privilege to be the charity's next Chief Executive and I'm looking forward to working collaboratively across the sector to help more people working in music build sustainable and healthy careers".

"This is an exciting time to lead the team and together with the Help Musicians and Music Minds Matter boards we are ambitious about making an even greater difference to musical life across the UK in the years to come", she adds.

Previously Director Of External Affairs at the Royal Albert Hall in London, Woods joined Help Musicians in 2018, working alongside the charity's then CEO James Ainscough, who had also previously worked at the London venue.

Woods had various roles at Help Musicians before being appointed Deputy CEO in January this year. She then became Interim CEO in May when Ainscough returned to the Royal Albert Hall to take on the CEO job there.


Approved: Celestial North
Celestial North has released her debut album 'Otherworld', which - as its title suggests - is a wash of ethereal tunes that transport the listener into a fully realised sonic environment. In order to achieve this, she fuses elements of dream pop, folktronica, techno and more.

"I imagined that I was time-travelling through different and exciting worlds", she says of writing the record. "Wandering through the ancient, sacred stone circles at Machrie Moor and then jumping straight into an underground rave in the forest".

The latest single from the album is its title track 'Otherworld', which she describes as "a rabble-rousing pick-me-up on days when life feels a bit much, a reminder that it will all be OK and that we are never truly alone in this world. Providing the beat and movement of life for us all to shake it off together".

Listen to 'Otherworld' here.

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


Modest! Management has appointed Sarah Gallagher as Managing Director. She originally joined the company in 2009. "It's an exciting time here at Modest! and I'm delighted to be stepping into this new role", she says. "We'll continue to work hard to ensure that we as a team can realise the full potential of all our artists, and diligently develop their careers in a way that maximises all opportunities in music and beyond".



The Music Venue Trust has announced that its annual Venues Day conference will this year take place at The Fireworks Factory in London on 17 Oct. "With this year's Venues Day shaping up to be our biggest to date we are keen to showcase and celebrate the incredible amount of unsung work that our members do behind the scenes every single day to keep grassroots live music vibrant and viable throughout the UK", says COO Beverley Whitrick.



Becky Hill and Chase & Status have teamed up for new single 'Disconnect'. "It's a true dance floor record that toes the line between the rave and the radio, and to be working with the likes of Chase & Status, who I have dreamed of working with since I was a teenager, is a real moment for me", says Hill.

Explosions In The Sky have announced that they will release 'End' - their first album for seven years - on 15 Sep. Out now is first single 'Ten Billion People'. "Our starting point was the concept of an ending - death, or the end of a friendship or relationship", say the band. "Every song comes from a story or an idea one of us has had that we've all expanded on and made its own world". The band are set to play shows in Dublin, Manchester and London in November.

Lost Girls - aka Jenny Hval and Håvard Volden - have released new single 'Ruins'. "If 'Ruins' is 'about' anything, it's about a practice of discovery, being young and lost and feeling as if you are close to something ancient and magical", says Hval. The duo will play Corsica Studios in London on 7 Nov.

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


Doja Cat says she's leaving behind "music that is palatable, marketable, and sellable"
Doja Cat has been teasing a change to her sound for some time now, and in a new interview has elaborated on her declaration earlier this year that there will be "no more pop" in her output.

"I do not consider myself a rock star", she tells V Magazine, when asked if she was becoming more rock n roll based on the outfit worn for the article's photoshoot. "I have made pop music. I'm currently making rap, soul and R&B music with jazz elements. But this is a representation of how I feel. When I wear black, when I wear metal, or very scantily clad outfits, it's all a representation of how angry, liberated and sexual I am".

Back in May, she tweeted that her previous albums had all been "cash grabs" and that her fans "fell for it". Now, she explains: "I have thrown fits my whole career because I have been making music that didn't allow me to have a mental release".

"I have been making music that is palatable, marketable and sellable, that has allowed me to be where I am", she acknowledges. "Now I am making music that allows me to express the way I feel about the world around me".

"These upcoming projects are going to be very different compared to everything I have done and I am excited about that", she concludes. "I do not care if people are not … Success is realising that happiness is a possibility and sadness is temporary".

Doja Cat began teasing a change of direction last year, although refused to be pinned down on where she was heading - at one point claiming to be making an album influenced by 90s German rave culture, before rapidly telling fans it could actually be experimental jazz, rock or R&B.


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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