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“Normally, I can keep my cool”

EDITORIAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF George Garner george.garner@futurenet.com DIGITAL EDITOR Andre Paine andre.paine@futurenet.com FEATURES EDITOR Ben Homewood ben.homewood@futurenet.com CONTENT EDITOR/PRODUCER Miranda Bardsley miranda.bardsley@futurenet.com ART EDITOR Steve Newman steve.newman@futurenet.com CHARTS & DATA Isabelle Nesmon isabelle.nesmon@futurenet.com

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Welcome to

Music Week...

Tik-ing clocks

Commiserations to anyone who was hoping for a bit of peace and quiet in the music business in 2024. In the opening weeks of January alone, various battle lines have been drawn. Some anticipated, some not. January 30, of course, saw the dispute that launched a thousand industry WhatsApp groups: the fiercely worded exchange between UMG and TikTok that saw their licensing agreement negotiations implode and the major pull all of its music covered by recording and publishing deals from the platform. Even if in the highly unlikely event this has all been resolved by the time you read this, it does little to diminish the feeling that this is just one of many high-profile wrangles set to unfold this year. Late last month, we saw the acute dangers of AI usage brought into sharp focus. The pornographic deepfakes Taylor Swift was subjected to – which led to the search of her name being removed from X – were utterly abhorrent. And, sadly, you feel, this is just the tip of the iceberg as technology seems to be outstripping safeguarding measures. The collective fight to protect people from malicious AI use – which wasn’t exactly a low-key debate last year – will likely be a defining one this year. An altogether different type of clash concerning the world of music media came to a dispiriting conclusion last month, too: that of brands fighting to survive shifts in the digital world. First, came the absorption of Pitchfork into men’s lifestyle brand GQ, itself deeply galling in essentially telling the platform’s readership that music is somehow an exclusively male interest. Elsewhere, the closure of Channel 4’s iconic video channels Kerrang!, Kiss, The Box and Magic was yet another blow. Every time one of these staples disappears, we lose yet another precious space in which music is the main conversation, and not just background noise to sport, games, social media or film and TV. Make no mistake, these developments impact all of us. At least we can end on some good news. Look no further than Nadia Khan’s Women In Ctrl organisation – which campaigns to advance gender equality in the music business – who issued their latest Seat At The Table report in January. According to its new study, representation of women on UK music trade association boards has risen to 52%. This reflected substantial progress since the inaugural 2020 report, where women held just 32% of seats. “Concerted efforts lead to tangible change, and I’m proud of the progress we’ve collectively achieved,” said Khan. “However, our work is far from over.” As with everything cited, and more besides, the fight continues in 2024...

George Garner, Editor-In-Chief

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