|WEDNESDAY 11 JANUARY 2017||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Rumours have been circulating of late that representatives for the Prince estate are now busy negotiating with the key streaming services about getting the late musician's full catalogue onto those platforms. And, the pesky gossipers say, next month's Grammy Awards are seen as a target date, because the Prince tribute due to take place there is expected to send fans speeding to the net seeking to revisit their favourites from the musician's oeuvre. So that's nice. But what about that exclusivity deal with Tidal, hey? Well, what about that exclusivity deal with Tidal indeed... [READ MORE]|
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Tidal responds to lawsuit filed by Prince estate
So that's nice. But what about that exclusivity deal with Tidal, hey? Well, what about that exclusivity deal with Tidal indeed. You might remember that in November Prince's NPG record label and music publishing business - which are currently controlled by estate administrators the Bremer Trust - sued Tidal parent company Aspiro and Jay-Z's Roc Nation over all the Prince tunes they keep on streaming.
Prior to his death, Prince allied with Tidal ahead of the release of his final two albums, 'Hit N Run Phase One' and 'Hit N Run Phase Two'. Much of Prince's music was pulled off the other streaming services as Tidal got exclusivity periods around both the new records. And Prince's Tidal exclusive alliance seemed to cover his catalogue too, which gave the digital music platform a nice little boost as interest in the musician's songs peaked again following his death last April.
But, said NPG in its lawsuit last November, the administrator of the Prince estate couldn't find any agreement giving Tidal the rights to stream the musician's catalogue, on an exclusive basis or otherwise. In fact, the only paperwork the estate had access to - a letter of intent - didn't even given Tidal the rights to stream part two of the 'Hit N Run' album.
When it went legal, the Bremer Trust said: "Despite [our] repeated requests, and Roc Nation's multiple filings [to the court], Tidal and Roc Nation have not provided any documentation or evidence of any oral or implied agreement granting Roc Nation any rights beyond those rights granted in the letter of intent".
Tidal and Roc Nation formally responded to that legal claim this week repeating statements previously submitted to the probate court to the effect that the streaming firm did in fact have both written and oral agreements with Prince prior to his death covering his catalogue material as well as the new recordings.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tidal's new court filing says that: "With the long-established course of dealing, between Mr Nelson [Prince] and Aspiro, plaintiffs were fully aware that Aspiro would proceed to offer Mr Nelson's works based on his promises and plaintiffs reasonably expected or should have expected Aspiro to rely on those promises and to expend time, effort and money to bring Mr Nelson's works to the public".
It adds: "Acting in accordance with the long-established course of dealing, Aspiro justifiably relied on those promises".
Tidal's lawyers also throw some extra technicalities into the mix, questioning whether Bremer has "the requisite authority to authorise the instant lawsuit" because "plaintiffs are not the real parties in interest with respect to the claims asserted". Questions are also made regarding NPG's copyright registrations, alongside allegations of 'copyright misuse'.
So, that's all fun isn't it? Now we just need the Grammys to pick Jay-Z to lead its Prince tribute.
Universal releases Motown rarities album to reboot European copyright
The new compilation is called 'Motown Unreleased: 1966' and features an assortment of previously unreleased tracks from the legendary label that were mainly recorded back in that grand old year that they used to call 1966. Why sneak it out on 30 Dec? Well, to reboot the bloody copyright in Europe of course.
The length of the copyright in a sound recording is a set number of years after it is recorded or released. Those years start counting down as soon as a recording is made, but the copyright term is then rebooted on release, and the years start ticking down anew.
Now, copyright terms vary from country to country, but are harmonised across the European Union. In 2011, the EU sound recordings copyright term was extended from 50 to 70 years after release. The extension went live in 2013, too late to keep The Beatle's 'Love Me Do' in copyright (it having been released in 1962) but doing a fine job of extending the copyright term of much of the rest of the UK record industry's valuable 1960s catalogue.
Except, the extended term only applies to the 'after it is released' bit of the law, not the 'after it is recorded' bit. Which basically means that tracks recorded but never released still lose copyright protection after 50 years, and in year 51 a release will no longer reboot the copyright. But if you get those recordings out in year 50, the copyright reboots and the 70 year term starts ticking anew. Actually, copyright terms expire at the end of the year during which the 50/70 year point passes, which is why 31 Dec was actually the deadline.
By putting out its lacklustre Motown album, Universal has assured that previously unreleased tracks by Marvin Gaye, The Supremes and others now have 70 years of copyright protection in Europe, and are not public domain. Similar copyright reboot releases have been put out in recent years featuring rarity recordings by The Beach Boys, The Beatles and Bob Dylan.
Although those Motown tracks would have gone public domain - ie would have no longer been restricted by copyright - had Universal not put out the new compilation, as previously unreleased tracks they would also likely have never been heard. So this particular copyright technicality means labels are incentivised to put out some rarities for fans each year, and such reboot releases are likely to become ever more common.
Though, if you're a fan of super copyright technicalities, I'll note here that in the UK - but not Europe at large - the so called 2039 Rule means actually the copyright in unreleased recordings from the early 1960s could still be rebooted, and if you're a super interested and super premium CMU subscriber, you can read more about all that here.
Mariah Carey sues promoter over cancelled shows
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Carey's Mirage Entertainment is suing FEG Entretenimientos for breach of contract. The singer cancelled two shows in Argentina and Chile in October, saying that the company failed to make agreed payments for her full fee by the end of September. With the first show due to take place on 28 Oct, Carey cancelled on 25 Oct, which FEG counters damaged its reputation.
Mincing no words, Mirage's lawsuit says: "In the music industry everyone knows the familiar story of the deceitful promoter that promises to pay and fails to deliver. This lawsuit is filed in part not only to confirm the multiple breaches of the contracts by FEG ... but to warn the artistic community not to trust any promises from FEG".
It was unreasonable to expect Carey and her team to travel all the way to South America on the promise that payments would be made, the lawsuit goes on. And more so than FEG, it was the singer's reputation that was damaged by the late pulling of the shows. She also missed out financially, it is claimed, because she turned down other opportunities in order to play the shows in Argentina and Chile.
In other Mariah Carey news, her Hollywood Walk Of Fame star was vandalised this week. Some ruffian drew a question mark after her name, so that it read "Mariah Carey?" The Hollywood Historic Trust, which sells the pavement stars to LA's more egotistical celebs, quickly washed off the graffiti at a cost, it is claimed, of $1500. Which seems like a lot of money to wipe off a little bit of marker pen ink.
Police are apparently investigating the 'crime'.
Ex-Visit Florida CEO received reduced pay-off following Pitbull controversy
As previously reported, the Florida state government sued to have details of the secret deal revealed last year, which resulted in Pitbull posting his contract on Twitter. Under the lucrative "celebrity ambassador" arrangement, Pitbull committed to perform a New Year's Eve show in Miami, make a music video for 'Sexy Beaches' on some of Florida's beaches, and display "#LoveFL" on screens at his live shows. All of which I would happily have done for $500,000 from the largely tax payer-funded tourism organisation.
As pressure mounted over the deal, a number of Visit Florida execs resigned, including Secombe. However, under his employment contract he was entitled to a minimum pay off of his full $326,000 annual salary if he left the role. However, given the nature of his departure, he and Visit Florida have negotiated a deal that will see him paid $73,000.
Secombe will be replaced by the secretary of the Department Of Business And Professional Regulation, Ken Lawson. In a statement, Florida governor Rick Scott, who pressured Secombe to stand down after the scandal broke, said that Lawson "understands the responsibility we have to be transparent with every tax dollar".
Prince estate announces merch deal with Universal's Bravado
If I'm being honest, ever since the aforementioned Tidal fist fight began last November, I've been sharing with everyone my concerns that no one would be appointed to strategically curate global programmes that embrace and honour Prince's legacy, embody his invaluable influence on art and culture and provide exciting new connections for his millions and millions of fans.
But, and in these uncertain times, at least we have this to get us through the day, the Prince estate has appointed someone to strategically curate global programmes that embrace and honour Prince's legacy, embody his invaluable influence on art and culture and provide exciting new connections for his millions and millions of fans.
So, yes, Universal Music's merchandise and branding business Bravado yesterday announced a deal with the Prince estate that will see it, and I quote, "strategically curating global programmes that embrace and honour Prince's legacy, embody his invaluable influence on art and culture and provide exciting new connections for his millions and millions of fans".
Confirming the deal, Bravado boss dude Mat Vlasic said: "Prince's legendary performances, his unmistakable style and music, his incomparable artistry, all continue to make a lasting impression on art, music, culture, design and fashion and will continue for generations to come. I'm THRILLED the estate has chosen Bravado to represent Prince. As the leading global provider of consumer, lifestyle and branding services to artists, Bravado will bring passion and energy to working with the estate to create unmatched opportunities and ensure Prince continues to THRILL fans and impact culture around the world".
The industry veterans advising the Prince estate on commercialising his legacy and catalogue, Charles Koppelman and L Londell McMillan, previously announced a deal with Universal's publishing business to administrate the late musician's songs repertoire. Scoring the right to also exploit the Prince brand in the merchandising space is another coup for the mega-major.
Confirming the Bravado arrangement, Koppelman and McMillan said in a statement: "We are very happy Bravado will be the worldwide exclusive merchandise company for Prince, whose fans around the world will soon have new exciting opportunities to connect with their favourite artist. We have full confidence that Mat and his team at Bravado will help support Prince's legacy and artistic expression for generations of fans to come".
Hey, here's an idea for supporting Prince's legacy and artistic expression: a t-shirt carrying the slogan "I'm strategically curating global programmes that embrace and honour Prince's legacy, embody his invaluable influence on art and culture and provide exciting new connections for his millions and millions of fans".
The Accidentals sign to Sony Music Masterworks
"We feel like we can be truly who we are and they appreciate the honesty", says one Accidental, Katie Larson, of Masterworks.
"[It's like] a family of like-minded music nerds that gets us and our music, and wants to support that authentically", adds the other, Sav Buist.
The pair will release their debut album through the company in the spring. Just a note of warning: it will almost certain contain ukulele.
Ents24 identifies the UK's most popular grassroots venues
The firm used the Music Venue Trust's definition of 'grassroots venue', and then defined 'most popular' as the venues "most tracked by Ents24's two million monthly visitors" meaning, says the company, that the results are "free of editorial bias, campaigning and judging panels". So, bad news for fans of editorial bias.
"As founder members of the Music Venues Alliance, veterans of Venues Day, and through our daily work with the 22,500 active venues listed on Ents24, we put our belief in the cultural and economic importance of the UK's live music venues into practice", Ents24's Adam Brooks said yesterday as the most popular venue lists went live.
"Whilst the business of running an amazing venue isn't a popularity contest, we wanted to recognise the grassroots venues that fans return to again and again, and encourage everybody to take a look at what's happening near them during Independent Venue Week - and beyond", he added.
So, there you go. And here are the venues. Small means a capacity under 350, medium 351-650, and large 651+.
South West England
South East England
North West England
North East England
Lucius Yeo launches London-Singapore-based PR agency Copacetic
"The music scene in Singapore and the region is thriving, especially over the past few years", says Yeo of that side of his new business. "A lot of talented artists like Linying from Singapore and Yuna, Pharrell William's protégé from Malaysia, are making waves here, there is also a huge talent pool of new acts and festivals waiting to be discovered and I am looking to provide them with the opportunities to raise their brand here in the UK and introduce a new audience to their music".
As well as Singapore-based acts, Copacetic will also represent the Kitsuné label, and other artists including Djustin and The Legends.
More info here, I'd say.
Ole, The Grammys, Bonobo, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Acquisitive Canadian music rights firm Ole has bought Nashville-based music publisher Red Vinyl Music. The deal includes a catalogue of nearly 3000 songs including work by the likes of Chris Janson, Mark Irwin, and Pavel Dovgalyuk.
• Billboard reckons Rihanna, Bruno Mars and The Weeknd have all been "discussed or approached" for the Prince tribute at next month's Grammy Awards.
• Bonobo has released new track 'No Reason', featuring Nick Murphy (formerly known as Chet Faker).
• Minor Victories have released a rework for 'Scattered Ashes' from their upcoming 'Orchestral Variations' album.
• Menace Beach have shared a new track, 'Suck It Out'. Their new album, 'Lemon Memory', is out on 20 Jan.
• Rebekka Karijord has released the video for new single 'Home'. Her new album, 'Mother Tongue', is out on 27 Jan.
• LANY have announced a handful of UK shows in March, playing Birmingham, Manchester and finishing up at London's Koko.
• Jess Williamson has announced that she will be touring the UK next month, including a show at London's Servant Jazz Quarters on 13 Feb.
Charlotte Church won't play for "tyrant" Donald Trump
Since the beginning of the year, as the performer-light event draws increasingly close, Rebecca Ferguson and Moby have both revealed attempts to book them. Both said that they would do it under certain conditions - Ferguson that she be allowed to perform 'Strange Fruit', Moby that Trump publish his tax returns. Neither has been booked.
Yesterday, Charlotte Church revealed that she had been asked to perform, but that she had bowed out without even thinking up a comedy condition. Instead, she tweeted at Trump: "Your staff have asked me to sing at your inauguration. A simple internet search would show I think you're a tyrant. Bye".
She added four smiling pile-of-poo emojis, to show that she really meant it. Good job she didn't go with any piss-based emojis, otherwise Trump might have assumed that meant the party was on.
In case you wondered, a simple Google search does indeed bring up an interview Church gave to the New Statesman just last month, in which she said she would decline any offer to meet Trump "because he is such a tool".
"Mind you", she added. "I sang at George Bush's inauguration".