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MUSEXPO CREATIVE SUMMIT 2020 ADDS MORE KEY INDUSTRY MINDS
TO ITS 22ND GLOBAL EDITION’S PROGRAM


MUSEXPO Creative Summit continues to confirm some of the most innovative and inspiring executives from across the global music and media landscape to join its 2020 event. The 22nd edition of the event is set to return as part of California Entertainment Week 2020 to Burbank, CA from March 22nd–25th, joining together the Global Synch & Brands Summit, A&R Summit and Worldwide Radio Summit.

Alexandra Patsavas Andrea C. Martin Ben Adelson Charlie Haggard Chris Williams
Cybele Pettus Eddie Chavez Evan Jones Jenn Tolman Kabiru Bello
Katie Welle Kenny Salcido Kyle Hopkins Matt Colon Mona Rubsämen
Paramdeep Singh Reuben Sears Sander van Maarschalkerweerd Shane Tobin Shridhar Subramaniam

Among the new group of leading music, media, digital and entertainment industry minds confirmed to join MUSEXPO Creative Summit 2020 are: Alexandra Patsavas – Founder, Chop Shop Music Supervision; Andrea C. Martin – Chief Executive, PRS For Music; Ben Adelson – Executive VP, A&R, Republic Records; Charlie Haggard – Music Supervisor, NBCUniversal; Chris Williams – Chief Product Officer, iHeartRadio; Cybele Pettus – Sr. Music Supervisor, Electronic Arts; Eddie Chavez – Promo Music Supervisor, NBCUniversal Television; Evan Jones – Chief Marketing Officer, Fender Musical Instruments Corporation; Jenn Tolman – Artist Manager (Avril Lavigne), Vector Management; Jobst Neerman – Managing Director, RBK Fusion GmbH (Germany); Justin Bumper Reeve – Founder, Hidden Track Music; Kabiru Bello – Director of A&R, Warner Music Sweden & Head of Asylum (Sweden); Katie Welle – Sr. VP, A&R, RCA Records; Kenny “Tick” Salcido – Sr. VP/Head of A&R, Red Bull Records; Kyle Hopkins – Head of Music Supervision, Microsoft Studios; Matt Colon -– US Managing Director of Music, YM&U Group; Mona Rubsämen – Managing Partner, Flux FM (Germany); Paramdeep Singh – Co–Founder & Executive Vice Chairman, JioSaavn; Reuben Sears – Sr. VP Trailers & Promos, SILO Music; Sander van Maarschalkerweerd – Founder & Managing Director, Sizzer (Holland); Shane Tobin – VP, Partnerships & Ent’t Relations, Sofar Sounds; Shridhar Subramaniam – President, Sony Music India & Middle East; and many others to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

MUSEXPO has also confirmed record labels, music publishers, managers, distributors, booking agents, promoters, streaming, digital, radio and media companies delegates already registered to attend MUSEXPO 2020 from Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, N. America and South America – from over 30 countries and counting. Information on artist showcasing opportunities, to register your attendance to MUSEXPO 2020, direct flights to Burbank Airport and conference discount hotel room bookings within the Burbank, CA area is available at www.musexpo.net.

To register to attend the event with an A&R Worldwide discount, or for organization and group savings contact Tyler Polzin at tyler@anrworldwide.com.

For more information on sponsorship and showcase opportunities and event partnerships contact Sat Bisla at sat@anrworldwide.com.


WARNER MUSIC GROUP & PROVIDENCE EQUITY PARTNERS LAUNCH
TEMPO MUSIC INVESTMENTS




Warner Music Group (WMG) and Providence Equity Partners revealed last week plans to invest in world–class recorded music and music publishing catalogs through a newly established platform, Tempo Music Investments.

Tempo was launched with $650 million in equity and debt capacity, with a large part of the equity coming from Providence, a leading investment firm specializing in the media, communications, education and information industries. WMG will look after administration for music publishing and distribution for recorded music. Tempo will also tap Influence Media Partners, a new management company, to explore investment opportunities and drive catalog performance.

“More than ever before, the long–lasting value of music is being recognized outside the music industry. We’ll be devoted stewards of these amazing catalogs created by songwriters and recording artists across the globe, and WMG is very happy to be partnering with Providence in this pioneering venture,” said Stu Bergen, CEO, International and Global Commercial Services, WMG.

Josh Empson, Managing Director at Providence, said, “It is a privilege to partner again with Warner Music Group. We are excited about this innovative new relationship, which combines Providence’s investment expertise in media with WMG’s distinctive skill in working with and recognizing top artists and assets in music. We look forward to partnering with WMG and our investment management team to support creators and build a best–in–class portfolio of music assets.”

Among the first acquisitions of the venture are selected copyrights of Grammy Award–winning songwriters Jeff Bhasker, Shane McAnally and Ben Rector. With 15 nominations and five Grammy wins including Producer of the Year, Bhasker has worked with some of the biggest names in the business. McAnally is a three–time Grammy winner and seven–time nominee who also serves as Co–President of Monument Records. Independent artist Rector is an emerging singer/songwriter with success in licensing music across numerous TV shows, national ad campaigns and movie trailers.


A&R WORLDWIDE RETURNS TO BERLIN–BASED
GERMAN SONGWRITING AWARDS



Last week, A&R Worldwide President & Founder Sat Bisla made his way back to Berlin, Germany to join this year’s German Songwriting Awards (GSA). The German Songwriting Awards are Europe’s first competition focusing on the skills of songwriters/producers in the region. One day before the GSA Award Show, the third annual SongsCon, one of Europe’s largest conferences focused on songwriters and producers, also took place. The multi–faceted program included songwriting and composing workshops, A&R pitches, one–on–one sessions, business and publishing panels, masterclasses, talent stage with direct feedback from A&R’s, celebrity Q&A’s and music industry exhibitors.

Bisla joined the SongsCon program alongside a number of other innovative and insightful A&R executives to share their take on what it takes to make a great song and a great artist.

Below is a pictorial overview of A&R Worldwide’s German excursion, and a recap of a quick stop in London, England!

IT ALL STARTS WITH A GREAT SONG: Sharing their passion and respect for the songwriting community were (l–r): Uli Kuppel (Co–Founder, SongsCon and German Songwriting Awards), Nadja Paul (Co–Founder, SongsCon and German Songwriting Awards), hit songwriter Billy Mann (Founder & CEO, Green & Bloom/Topline and Chairman, Manncom) and Sat Bisla (President & Founder, A&R Worldwide).
TANGLED UP IN SOME LEGAL BRIEFS were highly respected music attorney Paul Spraggon (Co–Founder, SSB) with his longtime friend Sat Bisla. A&R GERMAN STYLE – DAS IST GUT: Enjoying a broad A&R conversation were A&R Worldwide’s Sat Bisla with Markus Hartmann (Vice President, RCA & Ariola Germany/Switzerland/Austria).
WINNER OF THE 2019 GERMAN SONGWRITING AWARD: Recognizing the exceptional talent of artist and songwriter Danny Baldursson (second from right) were SongsCon Founder Nadja Paul (second from left), A&R judges Matthew Tasa (far left) and A&R Worldwide Founder Sat Bisla. DISCUSSING ALL THINGS AUDIO & RADIO were A&R Worldwide’s Sat Bisla with his fellow broadcasting friend Aditya Sharma (Head of Music, Radio Fritz/RBB, Germany).
HAVING A CONVERSATION ABOUT THE GERMAN LIVE BUSINESS were longtime friends Jobst Neerman (Managing Director, RBK Fusion, Germany) and Sat Bisla. ENJOYING A MUSICAL CONVERSATION & SOME SCHNITZEL were (l–r): Sat Bisla, A&R Worldwide’s William Aman, Sony/ATV Germany signed singer/songwriter René Miller and his manager Manfred Müller.
DAS ROCK WIT H–BLOCKX: A&R Worldwide Founder Sat Bisla reunites with German rock legend Henning Wehland (lead singer of multi–Platinum German rock band H–Blockx). PREPARING FOR THE GERMAN SONGWRITING AWARDS were Universal Music Publishing Australian songwriter Alfie Arcuri and A&R Worldwide’s Sat Bisla.
HAVING A TIK TOK AND A TIC TAC MOMENT (l–r) were A&R Worldwide’s William Aman, Ken Ogihara (Head of Music & Content Partnerships, Tik Tok, Germany), A&R Worldwide’s Sat Bisla and Red Bull Songs executive Samantha Kolton.


HOLIDAY GREETINGS FROM A&R WORLDWIDE


From our entire team at A&R Worldwide, we wanted to send to you and yours our best wishes for a wonderful, safe and happy holiday season. We thank all of our friends and colleagues around the world for your support, and for sharing with us the love of music and its positive effect on humanity. In a year that came with its fair share of ups and downs, we’re grateful we are surrounded by the positivity that our industry radiates as it supports not just its own, but all people around the world.

We look forward to another New Year of working together as a global music community to create, share and amplify the music and message from all of the artists we work with, be it emotional, spiritual or social. Across history, music has, at many times, been a driving force for bringing people together, generating social awareness and bringing about positive change. Now, more than ever, our world could use a little more of the love, compassion and unification that we all know music can deliver.

As our team takes the next couple of weeks to be with family, friends and loved ones, and to reflect and recharge for what is sure to be an exciting 2020 and new decade, we hope that your holiday season is restful as well, and that you’re able to spend it with those close to you. Again, we thank you all and look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Best wishes and safe Happy Holidays from the A&R Worldwide Team to everyone around the world, and remember to be good, kind and respectful to one another and to those around you.


GLOBAL NEWS UPDATES…



Neil Jacobson is parting ways with his role as Geffen Records’ President after three years. Jacobson revealed in a statement to staff that he exits to launch his own Crescent Drive Productions independent music firm, encompassing management, publishing and recordings. Jacobson will stay on at Geffen until the end of the year, continuing to support the transition. He had been with Interscope Geffen A&M Records (IGA) for over 17 years, starting initially in the international marketing division as an assistant. During his tenure with the company, he’s worked in management and A&R, signing acts such as LMFAO and DJ Snake, managing will.i.am (whose label he also led), Robin Thicke, and songwriter/producers Jeff Bhasker and Emile Haynie. 2017 saw him handed the task of relaunching Geffen Records with a roster counting the likes of DJ Snake, Lil Jon, Mura Masa, Yungblud, AlunaGeorge, Avicii, Ren, Gryffin and Billie Eilish’s Darkroom label.

Legendary Australian concert promoter, Michael Chugg, along with his business partner Andrew Stone, have set up their newest venture as label City Pop Records, focusing on the pop music genre. The new entity, which will fall under the Chugg Music management, record label, label services and publishing umbrella, is distributed by Believe. Since launching in 2012, Chugg Music is home to the likes of global breakthrough act Sheppard, Lime Cordiale (recently signed to Post Malone’s label in the U.S.), Casey Barnes and Avalanche City. Marking City Pop’s first signing is TikTok star Mia Rodriguez (known to her fans as simply Mia). The 17–year–old from Sydney has seen her TikTok following crossing the 2 million threshold, counting around 85% of her audience from the U.S. Mia is also signed with the company for management and was introduced to Chugg and Stone by Mark Muggeridge, day–to–day manager and head of touring for Chugg Music. The label rolled–out this past weekend with Mia’s first studio work “Emotion,” produced by Dave Hammer (Lime Cordiale, Thundamentals, Jeffe).

Roc Nation has named a new CEO in Desiree Perez who had been serving in the role of COO for the firm over the last decade. With Perez stepping into the CEO position, former CEO Jay Brown has been announced as the company’s Vice Chairman. Perez’s new role sees her leading and developing Roc Nation’s various divisions with a portfolio including a record label, management, publishing, film and TV, touring, philanthropy and branding as well as others. Brown will maintain his work in building partnerships and growing the Roc brand. Both Perez and Brown are Co–Founders of the company.

Sony Music Entertainment has announced a strategic investment in podcast production house Neon Hum, forming a new creative partnership between the two companies to expand their development of original podcast content. Founded by award–winning podcast producer, Jonathan Hirsch, Neon Hum has helped create multiple podcast hits including the duPont Award–winning Bag Man with Rachel Maddow, The Thing About Pam, Room 20, Crooked Media’s This Land, and L.A. Times StudiosLarger Than Life. Neon Hum also served as a production partner on the chart–topping podcast Dr. Death, which has been downloaded over 50 million times, made available in seven different languages, and is being adapted for television. Hirsch’s documentary podcast series Dear Franklin Jones launched at No.1 on Apple Podcasts. He founded Neon Hum in April 2018 and since then the Los Angeles–based company has produced shows for clients including Crooked Media, Stitcher, NBC, The Ringer, Spotify, Wondery, Endeavor Audio and the L.A. Times. Under the agreement, Neon Hum will expand the portfolio of shows it produces and develop a slate of new original podcast concepts in collaboration with Sony Music. Hirsch will oversee the JV and Neon Hum will manage all creative aspects of the relationship, including podcast writing, production and recording.

In other Sony Music podcast news, Sony Music UK’s Cassandra Gracey, President of 4th Floor Creative, has announced the promotion of Digital Director, Adam Cardew, to the new role of VP, Podcasting & Creative Strategy. Cardew is tasked with managing the U.K. podcast division and rolling–out a round of innovative, artist–led projects that tap into the fast–growing audio space. Cardew will also look after the company’s Creator Network, the influencer and creator programme that services all Sony Music UK labels, and collaborate with the U.S. on podcast initiatives. Cardew came to Sony Music UK in 2016 as Digital Director and has been closely involved in several innovative digital activations and partnerships with Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, while leading the in–house Digital Learning & Development program for all Sony employees. This year 4th Floor Creative partnered on the award–winning George Ezra & Friends podcast and are producers of the Robbie Williams series, and the newly announced podcast with British grime MC and rapper, Wiley.

DTA Records, a new label founded by Blink–182’s Travis Barker, has entered into a worldwide JV with Elektra Music Group. The deal will see Elektra providing the full spectrum of marketing and distribution services for DTA artists and recordings. Marking the debut release under the new relationship is Barker’s own “Gimme Brain,” featuring Lil Wayne and Rick Ross. In addition to his work with Blink–182, Barker is also a full–time member of Transplants, and the exclusive on–album drummer for Goldfinger and FEVER 333. In the first half of 2019 alone, he’s recorded and/or released work with Lil Nas X, $uicideboy$, Halsey, Machine Gun Kelly, Korn, YUNGBLUD, XXXTentacion ft. Kanye West, Lil Peep, Pharrell, The Game, UnoTheActivist, Ghostemane, Yelawolf, nothing,nowhere, 03 Greedo, and others. In 2011, Barker released his debut solo album, Give the Drummer Some and 2015 marked the publication of his memoir, Can I Say: Living Large, Cheating Death, and Drums, Drums, Drums. Barker is also the presenter of the annual SoCal festivals Musink and Back to the Beach and the head of two record labels, LaSalle Records and now, DTA Records.

Capitol Music Group (CMG) has announced a new partnership with Lyft, making the latter the label group’s official rideshare partner. The two companies will collaborate to offer music fans, Lyft riders and drivers exclusive experiences with top artists. The official partnership builds upon an extensive history of collaborations with CMG artists, label events and activations, and officially rolled out last week with Lyft offering select riders exclusive access to Beck’s special performance at the Capitol Studios. Lyft has been a key part of such 2019 events as CMG’s International Women’s Day celebration and the Motown Manor at Essence Festival in New Orleans, where Lyft and Motown executives teamed up for a panel on diversity and inclusion. Lyft has also partnered with CMG artists like Katy Perry, Paul McCartney, Migos and others.

Amazon Music has welcomed its first–ever Global Head of Latin Music as Rocío Guerrero joins the streaming platform. Guerrero’s new role sees her tasked with supporting the development and overseeing the growth strategy and execution of Amazon Music in the Latin market. She will also develop and maintain industry relationships while putting together a team focused on the Latin music genre. Guerrero will also seek to engage new marketing initiatives to expand on the success of Amazon Music’s global Latin playlists. Previously, Guerrero was with Spotify as Head of Global Music Cultures, a role that saw her placing the DSP as a leader in the Latin music space through the execution of a global music expansion strategy. Her most recent role with Warner Music Latin as VP of A&R and Cross–Culture Strategy saw her finding emerging talent and sourcing new artist development opportunities via streaming platforms as well as organizing creative collaborations for the label’s acts on a local and global level.

SiriusXM and Pandora recenty unveiled the list of emerging artists they predict will break through in a big way in 2020. Selected by the combined company’s music editorial, programming, and curation teams, the 24 artists span genres including country, rock, pop, hip hop, Latin, dance, and more. Included on the list are acts Ali Gatie, Arin Ray, Arizona Zervas, BENEE, Doja Cat, Ekali, Fire From The Gods, Gabby Barrett, girl in red, Hailey Whitters, Isabela Merced, Koffee, Layton Greene, Lil Keed, Lil Tjay, Mahalia, Mallrat, NLE Choppa, Paloma Mami, Pink Sweat$, Roddy Ricch, Tones And I, Tyla Yaweh and Yemi Alade.

Senior BBC executive Alice Webb has been tapped by Universal Music UK to serve as CEO of Eagle Rock Entertainment, which distributes music programming for broadcast, DVD, Blu-Ray, TV and digital media. Webb had spent 15 years with the BBC in a range of sectors. From 2011 to 2014, she served as CEO of BBC North, where she spearheaded the most significant BBC move outside of London, with key BBC departments such as Sport, BBC Children’s, 5 live and BBC Learning transitioning to Salford. From 2016 to 2019, she was also Director of BBC North. Eagle Rock was founded in 1997 and releases more than 50 productions annually, overseeing the distribution of more than 2,000 hours of music programming.

The U.K.’s ITV will continue to broadcast Britain’s Got Talent until 2024, and will see The X Factor return in 2020 following the five–year extension of it’s long–standing deal with Simon Cowell’s Syco Entertainment and Fremantle–owned Thames. Cowell has recently come under scrutiny in the U.S. following the exit of America’s Got Talent’s Gabrielle Union who claims she was fired after raising concerns about a hostile environment on the show. NBC is currently investigating the claims.

Kobalt has finalized a creative, synch and world rights agreement with 88Rising, the media collective and record label that’s home to artists such as Joji, Rich Brian, Niki and The Higher Brothers. The deal encompasses 88Rising’s catalogue as well as future releases and excludes China. Founded in 2015 by Sean Miyashiro, 88Rising counts offices in New York City, Los Angeles and Shanghai.

Deezer is making its way to Facebook’s Portal TV with the video–call platform adding support for the DSP through an app that allows users to access their accounts. The Deezer app has rolled–out to Portal TV users with access for Portal, Portal Mini and Portal+ expected early next year. Portal TV’s Deezer capability is also accessible by Amazon Alexa users on the platform.

Reservoir has signed Grammy–nominated writer/producer Sam Sumser to a worldwide publishing deal. The deal encompasses rights to Sumser’s catalog of works including singles “Juice” and “Lingerie” off of Lizzo’s Grammy–nominated Album of the Year, Cuz I Love You (Deluxe), as well as “Banana” featuring Becky G, off of Anitta’s 2019 Latin Grammy–nominated album, Kisses. Alongside his nomination for Album of the Year, Sumser’s contributions to Lizzo’s Cuz I Love You (Deluxe), also garnered a Best Urban Contemporary Album nod. Co–written by Sumser, “Juice” has been RIAA Platinum–certified and has generated more than half a billion streams globally. Additional work in 2019 for Sumser includes credits with Jason Derulo, Chris Brown and Shenseea, as well as others. Nashville collaborations include charting country singles by Mitchell Tenpenny and Chase Martin. He has also written and produced with the likes of Usher, Austin Mahone, Dawin and Plain White T’s, and is currently back in the in the studio with Lizzo, Usher and Austin Mahone, as well as Conrad Sewell, Daniel Skye, Eric Hudson and R. City.

British indie label Dirty Hit, which has launched the careers of such artists as The 1975, Wolf Alice, Pale Wave and Beabadoobee, has signed an exclusive global digital distribution deal with Ingrooves Music Group. The new agreement represents an expansion of Dirty Hit’s long relationship with Ingrooves/Universal Music Group and will further grow the independent label’s footprint worldwide. Over the last 10 years Dirty Hit has sold millions of records, with releases topping the charts in multiple territories, headlined festivals and sold–out tours across the world and been recognised at the BRITs, Grammy’s, Ivor Novello’s, Mercury’s, Music Week Awards, AIM and the A&R Awards as well as others.

The U.K.’s Official Charts Company has named Ed Sheeran as its No.1 Artist of the Decade. Sheeran was presented with a special Official Chart Record Breaker Award recognizing the most No.1s on the Official Singles and Albums Charts with 12, as well as the most weeks at No.1 across both listings at 79 for the 2010’s. With three of Sheeran’s singles in the top 10 of the U.K.’s biggest tracks of the decade, “Shape Of You” garnered the No.1 spot having spent 14 weeks at the top of the Singles Chart in 2017. Another leading British artist, Adele, also picked up honors having had the two biggest albums of the decade with 21 and 25.

Spotify is set to have its story told via a new, scripted series which has been ordered by Netflix. Currently untitled, the series will be produced in Swedish and English by Yellow Bird UK and will be based around the book Spotify Untold, written by Sven Carlsson and Jonas Leijonhufvud. Also working on the series are executive producer Berna Levin with Per–Olav Sorensen directing.

Universal Music Publishing Nashville and 50 Egg Music Publishing have announced an exclusive global publishing agreement with country music songwriter, Shane Minor. Minor’s credits including hits written for the likes of Kenny Chesney, Cole Swindell, Parmalee, Craig Morgan, Steve Holy and Easton Corbin, as well as others. As a recording artist, Minor also released a self–titled album in 1999 via Mercury Records which produced two tracks reaching Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart with “Slave to the Habit” (No.20) and “Ordinary Love” (No.24). Prior to his music career, Minor served as an officer on the Los Angeles Police Department for almost a decade.

A new JV has been launched between Live Nation Entertainment and female–led music and entertainment platform, Femme It Forward. Since rolling out in April, Femme It Forward has produced 20 all–femlae concerts and panel forums. The new venture falls under the Live Nation Urban division and will be led by Femme It Forward’s Founder and Live Nation Urban VP of Talent and Touring, Heather Lowery. As it heads into 2020, the platform is planning a broader set of concert series’ including cross–genre lineups as well as three new programming initiatives.

The most recent financial results from Hipgnosis Songs have revealed that the firm has reached total spending of £500 million and plans to invest another £500 million in continued acquisitions of catalogues moving forward. From its launch in 2018 up until September of this year, the company put just under £320 million into full or partial acquisitions of 27 catalogues, calculating deals based on a blended model of 12.84 times historical annual net income. From October 1st along, Hipgnosis has invested an additional £186 million across 15 catalogues (based on a 12.99 multiple). Revenue for the six–month period concluding September 30th surpassed Hipgnosis’ expectations, reaching £22.6 million, with an independent valuer placing the value of the 27 catalogues £344.6 million, an increase of 7.9% over the same period. Alongside the newest financials, Hipgnosis also announced it has acquired a catalogue of 436 songs from Jeff Bhasker, multi–Grammy–winning producer/songwriter with credits that include Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” featuring Bruno Mars, as well as work with Ed Sheeran, Drake, Alicia Keys, Harry Styles, Fun. and Kanye West among others. Hipgnosis also adds the first four studio full–length and greatest hits set from Kaiser Chiefs with the rock outfit turning over 100% of its worldwide master rights ownership to the firm.

In other Hipgnosis news, the firm also revealed the acquisition of a music catalogue from widely–successful producer/songwriter and artists, Jack Antonoff. A four–time Grammy winner, Antonoff is the lead singer of Bleachers and a founding member of Fun. His creative work has seen him collaborate with the likes of Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Lorde, P!nk and St. Vincent, among others. Under the agreement, which encompasses 188 works, Antonoff will retain an interest in the catalogue, working alongside Hipgnosis on the management of the songs with Hipgnosis’ share of the collection designated as C Shares.

Atlas Music Publishing has extended its co–publishing deal with Stevie Jukes, and announced a new co–publishing deal with Al Jukes of SAINT PHNX. Hailing from Scotland, SAINT PHNX has toured with the likes of Imagine Dragons, Yungblud, Lewis Capaldi, and performed major festivals such as Reading, Leeds, V Festival and the Montreal Jazz Festival. HITS Magazine recently placed them on their ones to watch “B-Side” list. Having already garnered 40,000,000 streams globally, SAINT PHNX is set to release their debut full–length in 2020, and recently put out their new single “Scream.” Headline dates on both sides of the Atlantic are set for 2020.

ICM Partners has added singer/actor/performer Robin Thicke to its roster for representation across all areas. The five–time Grammy winner currently features as a panelist on Fox’s The Masked Singer. Having launched his solo career in 2003, Thicke has collaborated with the likes of Christina Aguilera, Nicki Minaj, K. Michelle, Jennifer Hudson, Charlie Wilson, Flo Rida, Brandy, Kid Cudi and Mary J. Blige, as well as working on Usher’s Confessions, and Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III. In 2013, Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” which featured Pharrell and T.I., topped the Billboard Hot 100 for 12 weeks and, as a result of a legal copyright dispute, saw Marvin Gaye garnering songwriting credit for the track, posthumously. Thicke started to release new music earlier in the year, starting with single “That’s What Love Can Do.”

A landmark licensing partnership has been finalized between Merlin, the global digital rights agency for the independent label sector, and Boomplay, Africa’s largest and fastest growing music service. The partnership allows Boomplay access to Merlin’s catalogue of independent music repertoire. Merlin’s membership currently encompasses over 20,000 record labels and distributors from more than 60 countries, accounting for over 12% of the digital music market. With more than 62 million users, Boomplay is the leading music streaming and download service in Africa.

In other music news from the African continent, a pan–African licensing hub, whose formation was led by South African society Composers, Authors and Publishers Association (CAPASSO), has been making significant steps forward to support the country’s repertoire. Composed of 17 collections organizations from within Africa, the hub brings together pan–African repertoire and rights into one central licence, delivering repertoire to licensees on a multi–territorial basis and ensuring accurate royalties to African songwriters for their work. The African region has seen a boost in digital collections of 32% over the past four years with subscription streaming driving 49% of all mechanical rights collections in South Africa. The hub has already finalized multi–territorial agreements with a number of DSPs such as Apple Music, YouTube, Facebook and Spotify with regional platforms including Boomplay, Udux, Music Time and Mdundo also licensed through the hub.

Billboard has revealed that its Billboard 200 albums chart will soon take into account video and audio data from YouTube as well as visual plays from a number of additional music streaming platforms including Apple, Spotify, Tidal and Vevo. The news comes five years after Billboard began including audio stream data for its chart positions. Billboard’s Hot 100 chart, as well as other song–specific rankings, have accounted for YouTube streams since 2013 but as of January 18th next year, it will be the first time they will affect an album chart. Billboard 200’s use of the data will rely solely on officially licensed video content on the platforms while the song charts can be influenced by user–generated content as well.

ASCAP has announced the official roll–out of ASCAP TuneUp, a member program to meet the evolving wellness needs of music creators. TuneUp makes ASCAP the first U.S. PRO to focus heavily on its members’ physical and mental well–being to support their creativity, life balance and longevity. ASCAP also commissioned an extensive research survey to be conducted on an annual basis, “The US Music Creator Wellness Study.” The inaugural 2019 report revealed that music creators have health and wellness needs that significantly exceed those of the general population; do not feel that they have good access to wellness services; and are almost a third more likely than the general population to feel that their wellness has a major impact on their career. Available to ASCAP members under the new initiative are a range of benefits such as access to, and significant discounts, on innovative services that support mental health, mindfulness, exercise and nutrition. ASCAP TuneUp has also finalized a strategic partnership with MusiCares to launch recovery–focused support groups in multiple cities as well as a digital support group that offers services to creators in any location. MusiCares will also serve as an official advisor on ASCAP’s recovery and mental health programs.

Following the recent news of the exit of Michael Dugher as its CEO, UK Music will also see the departure of its longtime Chairman, Andy Heath. Founded by Heath in 2008, he had served in the Chairman role for the organization for the past 11 years. His over five–decade career has seen him become one of the most respected advocates for the music industry. He has also been on the board of Beggars Group and will maintain his Chairman role with Beggars Music. Heath will also continue his Chairman duties with UK Music until a replacement is finalized for Dugher. Alongside his duties with UK Music, Heath has been on the Council of the Music Publishers Association since 1989 and has also sat on the boards of PRS For Music and Mechanical Copyright Protection Society. In 2008, he was named Chairman of British Music Rights, an organization he co–founded in 1997. He currently serves as a member on the MPA board. Heath received a CBE this year for his services to the music industry, having been awarded an MBE in 2009.

FUGA has ramped up their partnership with Better Noise Music to set–up a unique global distribution and marketing platform providing customized strategy and full supply chain independence. The move sees Better Noise and FUGA fully partner across DSP marketing and distribution. The arrangement also allows Better Noise to tailor their DSP deal approach as required. Prior to fully moving over to FUGA, Better Noise had operated under a basic label software fulfilment agreement with the platform for the past five years.

Dot Dash, the in–house label of Australian label management, digital distribution, publicity and marketing services company Remote Control, has signed a new distribution deal with leading U.K. indie distributor, Proper Music Group. Proper will distribute CDs and records from Dot Dash’s label roster across Europe, the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland. Proper will also oversee new frontline releases, using its network of delivery partners to boost Dot Dash’s entire roster, many of whom already have a strong U.K. and European fanbase. The first U.K./Europe release under the new partnership will be Gena Rose Bruce’s debut full–length, Can’t Make You Love Me, set for release in early 2020. This will be followed by an expanded version of the self–titled debut record from Carla Geneve, who recently took home four West Australian Music Awards including Best Rock Act, Best Single, Best Guitarist and Best EP. New music is also forthcoming from Donny Benét with new signings Handsome and Memphis LK already garnering fans globally. Dot Dash launched in 2004 and since that time has worked with Methyl Ethel, Chet Faker, Wolf & Cub, King Gizzard And The Lizard Wizard, Client Liaison, Banoffee, Total Giovanni, Gabriella Cohen and others.

D2C company Townsend Music has brought on PledgeMusic’s former Head of Acquisitions Ben James as New Business Manager.James started his career in A&R at Nude Records, working with the likes of Suede, Ultrasound and Lowgold. He went on to work for B–Unique before setting up a live promotions and artist management business that included the successful monthly Breakout event featuring acts such as Ed Sheeran, Jack Savoretti, Lianne Les Havas, Manchester Orchestra and Daughter. He also worked for Live Nation&rsrquo;s festival and brand partnerships division. Most recently, with PledgeMusic, he has worked with a diverse group of artists including Sophie Ellis–Bextor, Orbital, José González, The Wombats and Stone Sour.

Roxette’s Marie Fredriksson passed away last week after a 17–year–long battle with cancer. Fredriksson initially rose to prominence as a solo artist before joining forces with Per Gessle to form Roxette in 1986. They experienced quick success in their native Sweden with their first global hit, “The Look,” coming in 1989. The single topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the U.S. and was preceded by additional hits “Listen To Your Heart,” “It Must Have Been Love,” “Joyride,” “Dressed For Success,” “Sleeping In My Car,” “Dangerous” and “How Do You Do!” The band sold over 80 million records and toured around the world. Despite Fredriksson’s ill health, the band continued to record and tour until she was forced to retire in 2016.


IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Tom Whalley, Wendy Goldstein, Robin Shaw, Jody Gerson, Mike Smith, Dave Jordan, Mike Walsh, George Ergatoudis, Ron Perry, David Gray, Rich McLaughlin, Mark Beaven and Mary Rahmani.


JACKASS OF THE WEEK

Have you ever sent a text message you regretted, clicked on the wrong link, posted an inappropriate message or image on social media, accidentally replied “send all” on an E–mail, or made a total ass of yourself? Yes, we’ve all had a jackass moment at one time or another in our life. Yes, we’ve all had a jackass moment at one time or another in our life. Christmas is around the corner and it’s time for presents and surprises. Click HERE to get a dose of Christmas present surprises and freakouts!


A&R WORLDWIDE’S "ARTIST OF THE WEEK"– BENEE



This year has been a breakout year for Benee, the 19–year–old indie pop phenomenon from New Zealand. Her music has been added to the most influential playlists and she continues to build a global audience for her sweetly groove–drenched sound and quirky lyrical take on the world. She released the Stella & Steve EP last month via Republic Records, the follow–up from her Fire On Marzz debut EP in June, featuring the singles “Soaked” which has earned over 25 million Spotify streams and “Glitter” which has earned over 10 million Spotify streams. Benee has been performing sold–out shows everywhere from London to New York and all across Australia and will open up the new year touring Australia and New Zealand on the Laneway Festivals with more dates and music planned in the near future. The new EP features the Triple J Australia–supported “Find An Island,” which can be heard HERE. For all inquiries, contact Paul McKessar at paul@crsmanagement.co.nz.


A&R WORLDWIDE’S "VIDEO OF THE WEEK" – BOY PABLO

Born and raised in Norway by Chilean parents, Boy Pablo is 21–year–old multi–instrumentalist and singer–songwriter Nicolas Pablo Muñoz. Since his meteoric rise, Pablo has grown to become one of the most well–known indie acts around. He produces sugar–sweet indie–pop for all the highs and lows of life, from sheer ecstasy to melancholy, all wrapped in youthful lyrics and catchy riffs. Boy Pablo is an old soul caught up in a thoroughly modern, DIY success story. As a youngster, YouTube introduced him to classic 60s pop, whose melancholic core – combined with strong, musical male role models like his father and brothers – inspired him to first start experimenting with GarageBand and MacBooks at the age of 10. Though Pablo began putting snippets of ideas to digital tape and piecing them together in his childhood bedroom early on, he was soon to be exposed to a wider world far beyond his fingertips as the Boy Pablo project hit heartstrings across the globe. On stage, Pablo performs his songs with four of his close friends in an undeniably energetic live show. The boys spent 2019 playing sold–out headline shows across the globe, and have performed at festivals such as Coachella, Lollapalooza and Primavera Sound. Boy Pablo’s “Feeling Lonely” video is a collaboration with artist Harry Hambley, the genius behind the @ketnipz Instagram account. Watch the visual for “Feeling Lonely” HERE and contact fabio@777music.no, as Boy Pablo is available for synch opportunities.


PASSPORT APPROVED™ PLAYLIST – 12/15/2019



“PASSPORT APPROVED” PLAYLIST FOR Sunday, December 15th, 2019: The weekly import show. Heard on more than 60 radio stations on six continents weekly including: The World Famous KROQ 106.7FM Los Angeles, Radio Doble Nueve, Lima, Peru; KNRK–FM Portland OR; KNDD “The End” Seattle WA; WLKK “Alternative Buffalo” NY 107.7FM; WZRH–FM New Orleans; KBZT–FM 94.9FM San Diego CA; KKDO “94.7FM” Sacramento CA; KWSS “93.9FM” Phoenix AZ; KRML “102.1FM” Carmel CA, KFRR “New Rock 104.1FM” Fresno CA; Radio 1, Mumbai, India; WCNR Charlottesville, VA; KIWR “The River” Council Bluffs, IA; 2XM Ireland (national radio); WAPS–FM “The Summit.FM” Akron–Canton, OH; WKTL–FM Youngstown, 105.5FM XFM Nairobi, Kenya; PUK–FM Johannesburg, South Africa; KSKI–FM, Sun Valley/Twin Falls, ID; WITH “90.1FM” Ithaca, New York; UCFM 87.8FM Australian Capital Territory, Australia, WRUR 88.5FM Rochester New York; WCRU–FM Hamilton, NY and on The Independent FM (iHeartRadio) in the United States and many others. Also, on the worldwide web and twice–weekly segment on Flux FM Germany (Berlin, Brandenburg and Stuttgart) and Allgauhit–FM Bavaria Germany, as well as streaming on one of the world’s fastest growing streaming platforms, JioSaavn.

Listen to this two hour show by clicking HERE:

FOREST BLAKK – “Put Your Hands Up” (Warner Music, Canada)
LONGFELLOW – “Brooklyn” (Unsigned, UK)
TWO YEAR VACATION – “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” (Cloud Hills, Sweden)
SEA GIRLS – “Violet” (Unsigned, UK)
HIGH TROPICS – “Changes” (Unsigned, Australia)
TEMPLES – “You’re Either On Something” (ATO Records, UK)
JAMES DEACON – “Not Givin’ Up” (Bad Future, South Africa)
BRANDON JACKS & THE ARTIFACTS – “Modern Day Distractions” (Sureshaker, Australia)
LARKINS – “Not Enough Love” (Good Soldier Songs, UK)
ARCTIC MONKEYS – “Baby I’m Yours” (Domino, UK)
DOTAN – “Letting Go” (7 Layers, Holland)
RED RUM CLUB – “Kids Addicted” (ModernSky, UK)
CALLUM BEATTIE – “Nothing Hurts Like You” (3Beat/Universal, UK)
SPYRES – “Otherside” (Unsigned, Scotland)
TELEGRAPH – “Down The River” (Telegraph Records/Ditto Music, France)
SHE’S A WOMAN – “The Art of Pleasing” (Unsigned, Germany)
AMBER RUN – “What Could Be As Lonely As Love” (Easy Life, UK)
PICTURE THIS – “One Night” (Warner Music, Ireland)
THE FAIM – “Words Apart” (BMG, Australia)
LAUREN WALLER – “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” (Unsigned, N. America)
KING NUN – “Bug” (Dirty Hit, UK)
SAM JOHNSON – “Stuck Under The Surface” (Made Records/UMG, UK)
HONEYMOAN – “Low Blow” (Unsigned, South Africa)
WAITING FOR SMITH – “Don’t Let Me Down” (Four One Seven Records, UK)
DEMOB HAPPY – “Autoportrait” (SO Recordings, UK)
LOLA MARSH – “Only For A Moment” (Anova Music, Israel)
LIME CORDIALE – “Robbery” (Chugg Music, Australia)
SEAFRET – “Fall” (Unsigned, UK)
VARGAS & LAGOLA – “Forgot To Be Your Lover” (Sweden Music, Sweden)
PIQUED JACKS – “Eternal Ride of A Heartful Mind” (Unsigned, Italy)
MAGNUS MIA – “Head Like A Hole” (Unsigned, Hong Kong)
THE DUNTS – “Bad Decisions” (Unsigned, Scotland)