TODAY'S TOP STORY: Spotify has confirmed that it is increasing the baseline price of its premium subscription tier in 53 territories, including the UK and US... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Spotify confirms price increases in US, UK and beyond
LEGAL White House sets out commitments made by tech companies to manage risks posed by AI
LIVE BUSINESS Night & Day noise abatement dispute unresolved as more acoustic testing planned for September
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES TikTok announces tie-up with BBC Proms and organist Anna Lapwood
ARTIST NEWS Tony Bennett's son and manager pays tribute
S Club release new single as a tribute to Paul Cattermole ahead of October tour
ONE LINERS Lauren Mayberry, Ministry Of Sound, Maribou State, more
AND FINALLY... Drive-in movie theatre calls on Taylor Swift to acknowledge its appearance in lyric video
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Spotify confirms price increases in US, UK and beyond
Spotify has confirmed that it is increasing the baseline price of its premium subscription tier in 53 territories, including the UK and US.

It had already been expected that a rise from $9.99 to $10.99 would happen in the US this week, with other territories to follow. Those price increases were formally announced yesterday, with rises across the company's various tiers.

So as well as the increases for individual accounts, in the US the Premium Duo tier rises to $14.99, Premium Family moves to $16.99, and Premium Student is now $5.99.

"The market landscape has continued to evolve since we launched", says Spotify in a statement. "So that we can keep innovating, we are changing our Premium prices across a number of markets around the world. These updates will help us continue to deliver value to fans and artists on our platform".

The music industry has been pushing for Spotify to increase its prices for some time. The baseline price for Spotify in key markets has been 9.99 ever since the service first launched.

This means, once inflation is factored in, the cost of a subscription has been declining year-on-year, which matters because Spotify (like the other music streaming services) has a revenue share relationship with the music industry.

More recently, Spotify's shareholders have also begun pushing for higher prices. And while there have previously been some price increases in some markets, those were usually on packages like the family plan, rather than individual accounts. Meanwhile, Apple Music, Amazon Music and - as of last week - YouTube Music all started increasing that 9.99 baseline price.

The next question, of course, is whether this will be the beginning of more regular price increases at Spotify and the other music streaming services in order to keep in line with inflation - something we have seen with Netflix over the years.

The full list of countries that will see Spotify price increases implemented is as follows: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Peru, Portugal, San Marino, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States.


White House sets out commitments made by tech companies to manage risks posed by AI
As the music industry continues to set out its priorities regarding the regulation of artificial intelligence, last week the US government announced it had negotiated an agreement with seven leading AI companies. In that agreement, the tech businesses voluntarily commit to adhere to a set of practices designed to allay some of the concerns that have been raised about the rapid evolution of AI.

Of course, while the music industry - and other copyright industries - have a specific set of concerns about the training and use of generative AI, there are more general concerns for society at large about how AI is developed and employed.

In the main, it's those more general concerns that are addressed in the agreement that was announced by US President Joe Biden last week. Although there are some commitments around transparency, which is an area where the music industry wants more regulation.

Announcing the commitments being made by Amazon, Anthropic, Google, Inflection, Meta, Microsoft and OpenAI, the Biden administration said it was encouraging the companies that are developing AI technologies "to uphold the highest standards to ensure that innovation doesn't come at the expense of Americans' rights and safety".

The US government's statement continued: "These commitments, which the companies have chosen to undertake immediately, underscore three principles that must be fundamental to the future of AI - safety, security and trust - and mark a critical step toward developing responsible AI".

Under 'safety' there are commitments regarding testing new AI systems and sharing information around managing AI risk. While under 'security' the companies commit to invest in "cybersecurity and insider threat safeguards" and to facilitate "third-party discovery and reporting of vulnerabilities in their AI systems".

It's under 'trust' that the transparency commitments appear. "The companies commit", we are told, "to developing robust technical mechanisms to ensure that users know when content is AI generated, such as a watermarking system. This action enables creativity with AI to flourish but reduces the dangers of fraud and deception".

You can read the full set of commitments here.

For the music industry, the key demands around AI regulation relate to copyright and transparency. First, the music community is seeking confirmation that whenever AI companies train their models with existing copyright-protected works, they must first seek permission from and negotiate a deal with whoever owns the copyright in that content.

When it comes to transparency, as well as wanting it to be clear when content is AI-generated - which is covered by last week's commitments - the music industry also wants AI companies to be transparent about what data they have used to train their models, so that it is obvious whether any copyright protected works have been exploited.

These demands have been set out in various places in recent months, including via the Human Artistry Campaign and UK Music's AI white paper. Plus just last week via a statement in relation to the incoming European Union AI Act and in the form of seven principles for regulating AI set out by songwriters, performers and their collecting societies.


Night & Day noise abatement dispute unresolved as more acoustic testing planned for September
A spokesperson for Manchester venue Night & Day has told reporters that it "feels like we're going backwards over old ground" after it was confirmed that further acoustic testing will now take place in relation to its appeal of a noise abatement order.

The next round of testing will occur on 3 Sep, meaning the venue's bid to have that noise abatement order revoked will now rumble on into the autumn and possibly even next year.

The venue's management had hoped that a scheduled court hearing earlier this month would resolve the matter, saying in a post on Facebook at the end of June that the venue rather focus on "what it does best - putting on bands, nurturing culture and creativity, and putting smiles on the faces of the people that visit the venue".

Manchester City Council issued a noise abatement order against Night & Day in 2021, based on a complaint made by a resident who moved into a property next to the venue during the COVID lockdowns.

Night & Day argues that complying with the order would force a significant change to its late night operations making the wider business commercially unviable. And, of course, the order is seeking to alter operations that have been underway at the venue for decades.

Not only that, but - as the venue explained in that Facebook post late last month - "the source of this problem is that no acoustic consideration was given during the planning and development stages of the apartments next to the pre-existing venue N&D. This is confirmed within the apartments planning file held today at MCC Planning Portal".

The dispute initially got to the magistrate's court in Manchester last November. At a subsequent hearing in March the case was adjourned so that further acoustic testing could be conducted to assess noise levels at the venue.

Another court hearing was then scheduled for the first week of this month, ahead of which Night & Day published its statement expressing a hope that that would resolve the matter once and for all. But that didn't happen, with the hearing first postponed to allow further out of court discussions between the venue and the council, and then hindered by technical problems with a video link.

As a result, things were rescheduled for a hearing on Friday last week. Though there were already reports that the Council wanted to undertake more acoustic testing, which suggested last week's hearing wasn't going to progress things all that much. And it didn't.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, it was agreed during the court session that further testing will now take place on 3 Sep, after which the venue and the council will again see if they can reach a settlement regarding noise levels. If that doesn't happen, the dispute will then return to court next year.

A spokesperson for Night & Day told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the venue's management had now attended many meetings with council officials which they had approached "with a positive and constructive manner". However, "unfortunately, the council has asked for yet another round of acoustic testing. It feels like we're going backwards over old ground".

"We don't understand why testing didn't happen during the planning stage 20 years ago before anyone moved into the apartments", they added, "and why there was no discussion with MMC before the abatement notice was served on us in 2021".

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the council said: "We remain entirely committed to reaching an agreement that recognises the needs of residents, allows us to meet our legal obligations and allows the venue to remain commercially viable".


TikTok announces tie-up with BBC Proms and organist Anna Lapwood
TikTok has announced that organist Anna Lapwood is the latest official featured artist on its #ClassicalMusic hub ahead of her performance as part of the BBC Proms tonight.

That late night recital is described by the Proms as "a chance to hear the 9999 pipes of the Royal Albert Hall's organ put through their paces by organist and TikTok star Anna Lapwood in her solo Proms debut". Musician and broadcaster Lapwood has over half a million followers on TikTok where she regularly posts clips of herself playing music on the organ.

TikTok's #ClassicalMusic hub was launched last year via a tie-up with Hans Zimmer, and is described by the social media firm as a "central place for music fans to discover the best classical artists, culture, content and music". Via the collaboration with Lapwood and the Proms, TikTok - we are told - "will transform its #ClassicalMusic hub and deliver fans exclusive content and a special curated playlist for complete classical immersion".

Says Lapwood: "One of my favourite things about TikTok is how it helps smash down perceived barriers between different genres. Since I started using TikTok I've worked with so many people from all sorts of musical backgrounds and realised what a glorious tool collaboration can be to bring classical music to a new audience. TikTok has really blown open my whole musical world and I can't wait to see what collaboration the world throws at me next!"

Meanwhile, Sam Jackson, Controller of BBC Radio 3, adds: "I want the BBC Proms to be accessible to absolutely everyone, whether that's listening on Radio 3, watching on TV or on social media. This collaboration with TikTok is so exciting because it allows us to reach new audiences in creative ways while showcasing the magic of the live music we perform in the Royal Albert Hall and at venues across the UK".

And speaking for TikTok itself, Label Partnerships Manager Lisa Skeppner says: "We are committed to shining a light on diverse genres, celebrating the arts, and introducing new generations to classical sounds. TikTok breathes new life into classical music, allowing creators all over the world to discover tracks they might not have otherwise heard. We're proud to be a home for classical stars like Anna Lapwood and delighted to be working with the Proms to bring the TikTok community closer to the treasured classical festival".


Approved: Art Feynman
Having released several solo albums under his own name, Here We Go Magic frontman Luke Temple took on the moniker Art Feynman in 2017, initially as a means of avoiding expectations when it came to the new music he was creating. Previously a purely solo project, for new album 'Be Good The Crazy Boys' he worked with a seven piece band, recording songs live in the studio.

"Sonically, I was inspired by records that were recorded at the late Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas", he explains, "such as Grace Jones' 'Private Life', Lizzy Mercier Descloux's 'Mambo Nassau', and Talking Heads' 'Remain In Light'".

Of new single 'Desperately Free', he adds: "I was thinking about the obsession with spiritual growth or with 'curing' death and the compensatory consequences that ensue as a result. We can't cheat nature of which we are one and the same, she'll find balance eventually".

'Be Good The Crazy Boys' is out on 10 Nov. Listen to 'Desperately Free' here.

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

Tony Bennett's son and manager pays tribute
Tony Bennett's son and long-time manager D'Andrea 'Danny' Bennett has spoken to People magazine following his father's death last week.

"Tony, my father, imbued the essence of the American dream", the younger Bennett said in a People article that was published yesterday. "He taught us all that remarkable opportunities will reveal themselves and that anything is possible when you stick by your passion, believe in yourself and dedicate your life to quality".

"He was an artist, a humanitarian and an inspiration to anyone who experienced his elegance and grace", Danny went on. "He and I experienced an amazing journey together as father and son, and I'm simply proud and humble to have been a small part of his legacy".

Bennett's death was announced on Friday by his publicist Sylvia Weiner in a statement to the Associated Press. No cause of death was confirmed, although the 96 year old had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2016.

A subsequent statement on the musician's Twitter page said: "Tony left us today but he was still singing the other day at his piano and his last song was 'Because Of You', his first number one hit. Tony, because of you we have your songs in our heart forever".

Born Anthony Dominick Benedetto in New York in 1926, Bennett first began performing as a singing waiter in his early teens, before enrolling to study music and painting at New York's School Of Industrial Art.

After a stint in the US army towards the end of World War Two, he returned to America and continued pursuing a career as a singer. Having signed with Columbia Records, his big break came in 1951 with his recording of the aforementioned 'Because Of You', which spent ten weeks at number one.

Further hits then followed throughout the 1950s and into the 1960s, including his version of 'I Left My Heart In San Francisco' in 1962. But, as the 1960s progressed, the kind of pop and jazz music that Bennett was famous for started to fall out of favour. He also faced a number of challenges in his personal life, including divorces and drug addiction.

However - after appointing Danny to handle his business affairs in 1979 - Bennett started to enjoy new success in the 1980s and 1990s, with albums like 1986's 'The Art Of Excellence', his 1992 tribute to Frank Sinatra 'Perfectly Frank' and 1994's 'MTV Unplugged'.

He also collaborated with many other artists along the way - including KD Lang, Amy Winehouse, Queen Latifah, Diana Krall and Lady Gaga - with some of those collaborations helping Bennett build a profile among younger music fans in the latter part of his career.

The albums that followed his 1980s revival - like those at the start of his career - were released by Sony Music's Columbia Records. The current boss of Sony Music, Rob Stringer, was among the many people paying tribute to Bennett over the weekend.

He said: "There are few people in life who could surpass the achievements of the legendary artist Tony Bennett. His biography reads like an inspiring and principled socio-cultural history of nearly a century. His artistry in recording and performing will be admired forever. Everyone at Sony Music worldwide loved him and we are now honoured to represent his legacy".


S Club release new single as a tribute to Paul Cattermole ahead of October tour
S Club are releasing their first new single in 20 years as a tribute to late bandmate Paul Cattermole. The track has been written by the group's original songwriting team - Cathy Dennis, Simon Ellis and Johanne Ellis - and producer John Nathaniel.

According to The Sun, although they already had a reunion tour scheduled for later this year, the pop group had not originally planned to record any new music alongside those shows. However, those plans changed after Cattermole's sudden death back in April.

Says a source who spoke to the tabloid: "It didn't look like S Club were ever going to make music again but Paul's tragic passing has brought them closer than ever. They have bonded in their grief".

Regarding the new song, called 'These Are The Days', the source added: "The single has been written by the same team who were behind the majority of their number ones. It is a beautiful slice of nostalgia and fans will instantly recognise it as S Club".

"It sounds like a classic which will slot right in with their old tunes", they went on. "It is about looking back at what an amazing man Paul was and the video was extremely emotional for them all. It celebrates his life and the amazing career S Club have had".

All seven members of S Club had originally been due to take part in the reunion tour. However, following Cattermole's death, Hannah Spearritt announced that she had decided not to proceed with the shows.

This means that the October tour - and the new track - features Rachel Stevens, Jo O'Meara, Bradley McIntosh, Jon Lee and Tina Barrett. The five are working with Universal Music on the new track.



Sony Music UK has announced the promotion of Negla Abdela to the role of Managing Director at its Ministry Of Sound label. She first joined the label in 2015 as Social Media Manager, becoming Head Of Digital in 2018 and General Manager in 2021. Confirming her promotion, she says: "I'm proud of how much the team has collectively achieved during my time at Ministry Of Sound and I'm excited to continue growing with the label as I step into this role".

Venue operator ASM Global has announced the appointment of Sam Ryder as General Manager of its Bonus Arena in Hull. He was previously Head Of Operations at the venue. He is "incredibly excited by the opportunity", he says, adding: "As a part of the initial opening team in the venue, and a proud resident of the city, there is so much room to grow on the success of the venue". He will also retain his most recent post as General Manager of York Barbican, which is also operated by ASM, supported there by newly appointed Deputy General Manager Rebecca Stevenson.

Dance music label Toolroom Records has promoted Miles Shackleton to the role of COO. Reporting to founders Mark Knight and Stuart Knight, in his new role Shackleton will "lead the strategic planning and oversee day-to-day operations of the entire Toolroom group - including Toolroom Records, Toolroom Academy and Amplified Label Services". On the new job, he says: "I'm so excited about how the business is going to grow and evolve over the coming years, with our continued focus on serving electronic music artists, building the Toolroom brand across the world, and innovating music education".



The UK's Music Publishers Association has announced that applications are open for its NXT-Gen Scholars scheme, which offers training, networking and mentoring opportunities for early career music industry professionals from under-represented groups. Applications are encouraged, says MPA, from people "who are proactive and driven to make an impact in the music industry and identify as belonging to one or more of the nine protected characteristics: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation". There is more information about the scheme and how to apply here.



Maribou State have released new single 'Blackoak'. The duo will donate £1 from each vinyl copy of the single sold to the Woodland Trust. They explain: "Having both been fortunate enough to grow up in an area surrounded by woodland, we've always had a strong connection and affinity with forests and now more than ever we fully support the Woodland Trust in their efforts of restoration and protection for these magnificent and vital areas".



Chvrches frontwoman Lauren Mayberry has announced that she is launching a solo project, kicking off her plans with the announcement of tour dates in October. She'll play four shows around the UK, finishing up at The Scala in London on 9 Oct.

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


Drive-in movie theatre calls on Taylor Swift to acknowledge its appearance in lyric video
A drive-in movie theatre in the US has announced a week of events celebrating Taylor Swift, in an effort to finally convince her to acknowledge that it is its screen that appears in the lyric video to her 2020 single 'This Is Me Trying'.

Drive-in 32 in Greenville, New York inadvertently ended up in the lyric video thanks to a short piece of stock footage that the venue had seemingly been unaware of until it was used by Swift's team.

"Somewhere during the winter of either 2018 or 2019, an overseas-based freelance photographer entered our property without permission and began filming", the cinema's management explain in a new Instagram post. "He then placed that footage with Shutterstock advertising [it] as 'abandoned upstate NY drive-in theatre'".

"Someone in Taylor's creative team purchased a $75 license from the stock agency for the footage, enlarged it, slowed it down, stitched together fourteen loops of the original eleven second clip and then added the lyrics on our screen", they go on. "Voila! Instant music video".

That video has now been seen nearly eighteen million times on YouTube and the whole "scenario caught us off-guard as we were not even were remotely aware of this possibility", the post continues. "It has taken us a little time to unwind what happened, but it is a distinctly modern tale".

Three years on, they'd just like a little nod from Swift to acknowledge that it's Drive-In 32 that appears in that video, but, they say: "We did attempt to reach out to Taylor's team to politely ask if they might identify and credit the drive-in as the location for the music video. Alas, we have yet to receive a response from her representatives".

There's no bad blood though, as they note in yesterday's Instagram post, which was posted on the third anniversary of the video going online.

"We've now adopted 24 Jul as our Taylor Swift Appreciation Day", they declare, "and we're making a week out of it. If you want to take it meta, we are hosting a Taylor Swift-themed karaoke night on Friday and you can sing with lyrics projected on the same big screen Taylor used. We might even do a group sing-a-long of 'This Is Me Trying".

"Thanks to Taylor for making ours the most viewed drive-in screen in the world", they conclude.

Watch the video that sparked all of this here.


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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