|FRIDAY 20 JANUARY 2017||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Take note everybody, this could be your last opportunity to exclaim "those crazy Germans and all their CD buying, what are they like!" Because you all like exclaiming that, right? I know you do. You xenophobic bastards. While CD sales still accounted for more than half of the German record industry's revenues last year, they were down to 53.7%, and will likely slip below the 50% point in 2017. But worry not, CD sales may continue to slip and slide, but streaming is booming... [READ MORE]|
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Streaming booms but CDs still lead in Germany
While CD sales still accounted for more than half of the German record industry's revenues last year, they were down to 53.7%, and will likely slip below the 50% point in 2017. But worry not, CD sales may continue to slip and slide, but streaming is booming, up 73.1% year on year.
Actually, with the vinyl revival pushing revenues from that format up 41% last year, and once you throw in some DVD sales and such like, physical product together still accounts for around 62% of the German record industry's overall income. So, while the digital - by which we really mean streaming - revolution is now happening in Germany, many music fans there are still doing the physical thing.
Germany and Japan, of course, have been the major recorded music markets where physical has continued to dominate in recent years, while the US and UK saw a more rapid move over to digital, though the German and Japanese markets are still slowly following the global trend in the direction of subscription streams. And the impressive growth of the latter strand of recorded music helped the German record industry overall grow 2.4% last year.
All this is according to stats from local industry trade group BVMI, the boss of which, Florian Drücke, says: "The growth curve in 2016 might be slightly flatter than in the previous year, but it doesn't take away from the current overall positive trend within the market. The streaming business was able to more than offset the decline in physical sales with a significant increase of 73%".
He added: "It was once more that unique mix of digital and analogue that fuelled and shaped the German market - and ultimately made for a convincing year in the music business. Streaming has finally reached German consumers".
Quincy Jones' Jackson Estate lawsuit to proceed to trial
As previously reported, the producer sued Sony Music and MJJ Productions in 2013 in relation to various posthumous Jackson-based ventures that utilised music from the king of pop's albums that Jones produced, including the 'This Is It' film, two Cirque du Soleil productions and some album re-releases.
Jones' lawsuit alleged that those projects breached agreements dating from 1978 and 1985 that gave him the first option to remix or remaster the records he produced. It also accused Sony and MJJ of constructing complicated deals around some of those ventures that meant more money went to the Jackson estate to the detriment of Jones.
MJJ Productions sought to have the case dismissed via summary judgement for the second time this week. But, according to The Hollywood Reporter, the judge hearing the case said that he thought the Jackson company's lawyer was over-simplifying the dispute.
Judge Michael L Stern concluded that there remained a number of outstanding issues that required more rigorous analysis of the available evidence, which in turn would require some proper court time.
He also added that he felt the arguments presented this time in favour of summary judgement were no different than those submitted last year, and he denied the motion that time too.
The matter is now due to properly arrive in court on 21 Feb.
Taxstone bail revoked after prosecutors appeal to higher judge
As previously reported, the incident occurred in May 2016 in a VIP bar at the Irving Plaza, leaving one dead and three injured. Rapper Troy Ave, real name Roland Collins, was arrested soon afterwards, after CCTV footage emerged appearing to show him walk into the bar and open fire. Collins was also one of those injured in the attack, and it was his bodyguard, Ronald McPhatter, who died.
Campbell was arrested earlier this week after his DNA was found on the murder weapon - later recovered from a secret compartment in the van that took Collins to hospital. Prosecutors claim that the DNA suggests that it was Campbell who loaded the gun and as a result pushed for him to be denied bail at an arraignment earlier this week.
Initially, a judge placed Campbell on $500,000 bail, and basically ordered him to be held under house arrest - allowed only to leave to record his 'Tax Season' podcast or meet his legal team, and even then wearing an electronic tag. However, that has now been overruled by a senior judge, after prosecutors argued that Campbell poses a danger to the public. As a result, he will remain in jail while he awaits trial.
Collins was released on $500,000 bail last year.
Sammy Andrews to launch directory of female and BAME speakers for music industry events
Called 'Let's Be The Change', the new project has been launched by artist manager and digital expert Sammy Andrews in response to a debate that occurred on Facebook late last year following the publication of an article by AIM's Marketing & Events Director Lara Baker dealing with the need for more diversity at music business conferences, and the challenges of achieving that.
More diverse speaker line-ups at industry events can help improve the diversity of the industry at large - not least by inspiring the next generation of execs - but also enables a more wide-ranging and therefore more insightful conversation at said events as well.
Andrews has been a regular panellist and speaker at industry events in recent years, but is too often the only woman on the panels she takes part in. Launching Let's Be The Change, she said: "I've worked in the music industry for over fifteen years now in various capacities and things are certainly changing for women in music, but there is still much to be done".
She went on: "As many of you know, I speak often at our conferences on subjects ranging from tech, marketing and diversity to blockchain and data insights, but sadly I'm often the only woman on a panel, very often the only female keynote speaker, and further to that quite often one of a small percentage of women in attendance at all at some events. This year I want to do my small part to help change that for women in the music industry".
The idea is pretty simple. The Let's Be The Change project will compile a directory of women working in music who are up for speaking about the aspects of the business they work in which will then be made available to event organisers and media. The directory will include female music business professionals from every strand of the industry, with different experience levels and skill-sets.
Recognising that gender diversity is not the only issue at music industry events, there will also be a directory for speakers from Black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds. First-time speakers are also encouraged to come forward, with the offer of mentoring for those doing public speaking for the first time.
The initiative has already been backed by music business organisations like AIM, MMF and the PRS For Music Foundation, employers like Live Nation and The Orchard, and industry events like Fast Forward and The Great Escape. CMU Insights, of course, programmes the core conference programme at TGE, and is one of those industry supporters of the new venture too.
CMU MD and Business Editor Chris Cooke says: "There's no music business topic where it's impossible to find a diverse mix of people to join the debate on stage, and doing so will almost certainly deliver the wider range of ideas and insights an ever-evolving industry needs - or at least that's what we've always found".
He goes on: "Achieving that diversity might involve casting a wider net, having a few more conversations before you start booking your speakers, and asking for specific people from the companies you want to feature. Every event has a deadline and it always arrives sooner than you would like, meaning there isn't always time for that extra work".
"That's not a great excuse, but it can sometimes be the reason behind that panel of old white men. Which is why this project is as brilliant as it is simple - it will make identifying speakers much easier. I look forward to tapping it for information for my events, and will add to it my previously secret list of brilliant women in music who should be on your panel".
Let's Be The Change is one of a number of initiatives to launch this week seeking to enable more diverse music industry events in 2017. Earlier this week AIM used its Women In Music evening to announce the offer of free public speaking training for a group of female music business execs, while CMU Insights and The Great Escape launched its New Speaker Programme. The latter is open to everyone, with the aim of giving time to new voices at this year's CMU@TGE conferences. Click here for information on that programme.
Arcade Fire return with anti-Trump single
"It's never been more important that we stick together and take care of each other", said the band and Staples in a short statement to accompany the song.
They have also announced that all proceeds from the single will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Gorillaz return with anti-Trump single
Ahead of the new president's inauguration the virtual band returned yesterday with new single 'Hallelujah Money', featuring vocals from 2015 Mercury Prize winner Benjamin Clementine.
"Dark times - u need someone to look up to", tweeted the band. "Here's a lightning bolt of truth in a black night. Now piss on! New stuff won't write itself".
Chairlift's Caroline Polachek releases new solo album
On the decision to just sling it out into the world, she explains to The Creative Review: "The more I thought about it, the more I became aware that so much advertising language now is just telling people what to do. You're on the subway, it'll say, 'Do this. Don't do this'. Like the Nike slogan, 'Just do it'. Being surrounded by that kind of language is really oppressive. I was thinking to myself, 'Well if this music will be useful to people, they're gonna hear the use for it right away. They're gonna just do it. They're just gonna use it'".
"I also realised that the things I use it for might not be what other people use it for", she continues. "I didn't want to necessarily plant the seed that this is a relaxing record. Some people might use it for weight lifting. I wanted to leave the door open. Ideally it would be appropriated in all sorts of ways... used by physical therapists and also under a really hard rap verse. That would be ideal".
Gallops reunite for new album
In the event that you don't remember, Gallops released their debut album, 'Yours Sincerely Dr Hardcore', in 2012, but then the following year they split up. And that was a shame because they were really good and that album was also really good.
"We missed it too much", say the three members of the band in unison. "Basically having some time away from the band gave us a fresh perspective and made us realise that Gallops still has life in it. It just needed a nap".
As for how their sound has developed as they've got back to working on it, they continue: "The move towards a more electronic sound has been a natural progression for us. These days we tend to be more excited by the possibilities of electronic music than we do by traditional instrumentation. This is very much Gallops MKII. We intend to keep pushing things further and we are already writing ideas for our next record".
So they are back, and they're here to stay this time. That's good news. The album, 'Bronze Mystic', is out on 21 Apr. And if you've come this far and still demand proof that this is all very exciting, here's the first single, 'Darkjewel'.
INgrooves, Little Mix, Yasutaka Nakata, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• INgrooves has announced the hiring of Ollie Buckwell as its new SVP Business Development. "The music industry is at a moment of unprecedented potential with the modernisation of digital delivery, analytics and distribution services", he says. "What an exciting time to join INgrooves". And what a time to be alive!
• Little Mix have released the video for new single 'Touch'.
• Yasutaka Nakata has released a new single, 'Crazy Crazy', featuring vocals from Charli XCX and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Here's a bit of it.
• Squarepusher is releasing a new album with his Shobaleader One live band, called 'Elektrac', on 10 Mar. It features eleven new versions of solo Squarepusher tracks. Here's one, 'Journey To Reedham'.
• Nancy Sinatra: Not a fan of Donald Trump.
• John Mellencamp: Not a fan of Donald Trump.
• Maynard James Keenan: Not a fan of Donald Trump.
• Joey Bada$$: Not a fan of Donald Trump.
• China: Not a fan of Donald Trump.
• Madonna: Still not a fan of Donald Trump.
CMU Beef Of The Week #339: Donald Trump v Ticket Touts
Artists have been standing up to denounce him ever since he launched his campaign to become leader of the free world, though numerous music industry organisations have been falling over themselves to write open letters to the President-Elect since his election win making various demands and requests. But up until now, it's Trump's inauguration, and the various events surrounding it, which has generated the most amusing stories.
The one I've chosen as this week's Beef Of The Week initially appears to be very much in that latter category. However, it is true that this story doesn't quite deliver the punch the headline suggests it will. Still, I'm sticking with it for a number of reasons.
For one, a misleading headline that isn't really backed up by the facts seems wholly appropriate in a world where accusations of "fake news" keep getting thrown around by a pathological liar. Plus the mild tragedy of the actual story here is really a lot more fun than the bold promise of its headline.
On the face of it, the New York Daily News this week appeared to run a story that those pesky ticket touts were struggling to shift tickets for Trump's swearing in ceremony. Surely, you'd think, all those supporters distrustful of everything they read and all the haters distrustful of everything he stands for would both want to be there to see with their own eyes the man himself being officially made their president. Apparently not. No one wants that at all. Or so suggests the headline.
Touts, hey? Grr, and all that. If there's one thing we hate more than Trump it's ticket touts, right? I mean, right? Those bastards, building gold swimming pools full of cash off the back of hardworking musicians, sportspeople and, in this case, soon-to-be-presidents. It's about time they all got knocked down a peg or two. So hey, here's a Trump story with a happy ending.
However, for those few of us who actually read the NYDN's report, it turned out that this story was about just one tout. And an occasional tout at that, rather than someone who makes his living flogging on tickets for profit. Quickly the focus of the beef becomes less touts v Trump, or Trump v touts, but one man locked in a battle with himself. A tussle between bold self-confidence and creeping self-doubt.
Tickets for this event are, in fact, free of charge. However, Yossi Rosenberg, a self-professed "marketing genius, independent short film star and lifelong bachelor" who from time to time resells tickets to make a bit of extra money on the side, did not get any free tickets. Instead, he bought a pair off someone on Craigslist for $700, hoping to double his money.
Immediately he made it known to the world via his Facebook account that he had a pair of these much sought after tickets available. He apparently relisted them on Craigslist too. But no buyers came forth.
"I thought they would be in demand", Rosenberg told NYDN on Monday. "I got offers before I got them, but then I get them and everybody balked".
Possibly no one was expecting to be charged $1400 for a pair of tickets originally given out for free. Or maybe our plucky hero just wasn't looking in the right places.
Keen to at least make his money back, he began listing the tickets on white supremacist websites. Surely racists would want to pay over the odds for them. Racists love Donald Trump. But not these racists, apparently. Perhaps they were poor racists.
At a loss to what to do, he gave it one last shot in the only place that remained: the noticeboard in his office. Amazingly, even that didn't result in a sale. Although he did eventually get an offer.
"Someone offered me $200 for the pair", he said. "I guess [Trump's] approval ratings aren't that high, right?"
Maybe. Although to be fair, $100 each for some complimentary tickets is still quite a lot. Also, it only takes a small amount of searching online to find tickets for the event at closer to that price - along with official warnings not to hand over money to anyone for them. Had he done more of that searching himself, Rosenberg might not have spent $700 on them in the first place.
Still, the professed Democrat who voted for Hillary Clinton in November eventually resigned himself to his fate: There is no way he's going to break even on this sale, and as the event draws ever closer, it seemed less likely that he'll make any return on it at all. Only one thing for it.
"I never intended on going", he confirmed, that being the modus operandi of a ticket tout. "I really thought I'd see some profit. If I don't sell them for what I paid within 72 hours, I'm just going to go".
Of course, you might smell something slightly fishy about all of this. You probably smell something fishy about all news these days, given that you've all been primed to assume that everything is now made up. Still, you'd be right to wonder whether it's entirely reasonable to take this story at face value.
It has the air of a prank, and stars a man who is no stranger to getting himself in the news under slightly bizarre pretences. If nothing else, Rosenberg has now admitted that he never actually put the tickets for sale on any white supremacist sites. Bad luck, racists.
That said, from his Facebook posts this week, he does appear to have a pair of tickets for the inauguration event, so if you're really keen to go, he may as yet be your only hope. Although you'd better make him a good offer and quickly, because it does appear that he's already on his way to Washington, DC.
Whether or not the touting story is true, I really hope he makes it to the ceremony. I've invested more in following this story than I ever imagined. I just want to know what he thinks of it. I want someone with a sense of humour to witness what goes on at that event first hand. I want to know if it holds the answer to what actually counts as "typically and traditionally American". Last night's pre-inauguration concert didn't give much clue, despite Kanye West not being asked to appear because he failed to fit those criteria.
Most of all, I want the big reveal here to be - not that a man never actually tried to sell a pair of tickets he in truth got for free - but that Donald Trump never actually won the election. Now that would be a surprise ending I could get into. It would be the greatest trick since David Copperfield walked through the Great Wall Of China. A wall which may yet be dismantled and rebuilt along the border of Mexico next week if these hopes are not fulfilled.