|FRIDAY 27 JANUARY 2017||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The previously reported Digital Economy Bill - last seen in these parts being amended in a bid to ban ticket touting bots - has now moved over to the House Of Lords, where Liberal Democrat peer Tim Clement-Jones has proposed a new amendment seeking to help artists get more transparency about the way their music is being exploited by digital platforms, via the labels or publishers which control the rights in their work... [READ MORE]|
|RECRUIT YOUR TEAM RIGHT HERE: 020 7099 9060 or email@example.com|
Transparency amendment proposed for Digital Economy Bill
The lack of transparency in the way streaming services are licensed by the music industry, and in particular the lack of information available to artists and songwriters about the deals done between digital platforms and the record labels, music publishers and collecting societies, has been a big talking point in the music community for some time.
It was also a key issue raised by artist managers during the roundtables that informed part two of the Music Managers Forum's 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar' report, which was produced by CMU Insights.
The draft European Copyright Directive published last year also includes some provisions to force corporate music rights owners to provide more information to songwriters and artists about the digital income generated by their songs and recordings. Though many artist managers feel that as it is currently worded the proposed European legislation leaves too many get-outs and exceptions for those new transparency rules to be truly effective.
Seeking to put the issue on the agenda in Westminster too, Clement-Jones proposes a new section to the Digital Economy Bill that says: "Authors, artists and performers shall receive on a regular basis timely, adequate and sufficient information on the exploitation of their works and performances from those to whom they have licensed or transferred their rights as well as subsequent transferees or licensees, [including] information on modes of exploitation, revenues generated and remuneration due".
Adding that this new measure might require artists/songwriters and labels/publishers to agree a code of practice on transparency, the proposed amendment goes on: "Any such code of practice is to provide that each creator is to be entitled to a statement of income generated under such licence or transfer arrangements at regular intervals during each annual accounting period, and provide an explanation as to how the creator's remuneration has been calculated referencing any contract terms relevant to the calculation".
Of course, most labels and publishers will already be providing some of this information as routine to artists and songwriters on their rosters, but the management community feels that when it comes to streaming income key information about a label or publisher's specific deal and relationship with each digital platform is unavailable to them.
This makes it hard for managers to audit whether the royalties their clients receive are correct, and to assess which streaming services are offering the best deals, and should therefore be more proactively supported by their acts.
The amendment, which is among many proposed by different Lords due to be discussed in the House from next week, has been welcomed by the Music Managers Forum. The trade body's CEO Annabella Coldrick told CMU: "The recorded music business is fast evolving from a sales-based to a licensing-based model. This is an exciting and tectonic shift - as an entire market adapts to the complexities of streaming, of micropayments, and of NDAs".
She goes on: "It is a difficult moment. But it also provides the opportunity to cast aside outdated accounting practices and to build trust and confidence amongst fans that when they subscribe to a streaming service those who create the music will share in its success. We are pleased to see this amendment from Lord Clement-Jones and hope that it may lead to action to address the transparency issue".
Chief Keef arrested over alleged robbery
According to TMZ, police took Keef and one other individual into custody last night. This follows a series of Instagram posts over the last week, in which Ramsay Tha Great claimed that the rapper had come into his house with an AK-47 and five friends to back him up, beating the producer and stealing a Rolex watch, ring and $1600 in cash from him.
In his first post on the matter last week, Ramsay wrote directly to Chief Keef: "Now, if I was a celebrity, I wouldn't come [and] personally jump a person with ... five friends and a AK-47. That's just dumb, you're famous. Now I'm taking everything from you. You really just fucked up, dude. Coming to my house with your phone in your pocket with the location on... yea I'm pressing charges on yo ass. You a fucking low life MF. Niggas out here tryna do positive shit and you still on some goofy Chicago shit. We'll see you in court".
In subsequent videos, he has hit out at people who have criticised him for going to the police over the incident rather than directly retaliating, saying: "I think I'm showing an example to the young black man from my city that we can do it a different way. We don't have to kill each other, like they want us to do ... I think black lives matter, and that's why I took the route that I took".
Police have confirmed to Billboard that two men were indeed arrested on charges of home invasion and robbery yesterday, though did not give any names.
Proper announces digital tie up with IDOL
And if you think that's it, you'd be a fool. Oh no, there's more. "Working with IDOL will allow Proper to offer an independent service from start to finish", says Proper. "IDOL's sophisticated playlist data, which is rolled into refined analytics programming, will also provide Proper and its label clients with an even more expansive understanding of audience demographics and consumption patterns". And who doesn't dig those audience demographics and consumption patterns?
"This partnership with Proper Music Group is certainly a milestone in our UK expansion and international development in general", says IDOL boss Pascal Bittard. "We are THRILLED to work with such a key and like-minded actor of the independent community and have no doubt about the great results our two companies can achieve together".
Meanwhile Proper chief Drew Hill adds: "It's great to be partnering with such a proudly independent organisation as IDOL. Proper are wholly committed to providing exemplary digital services to our label clients, and this partnership will ensure we can deliver that".
Billboard revamps genre album charts
From next Tuesday, the various US genre charts will record ten track sales and 1500 streams as each being equivalent to one album sale. One album sale will still equal one album sale, in case you wondered. Billboard says that this consumption model better reflects what people are listening to.
"We've been THRILLED with the reception to the Billboard 200 album consumption methodology and how it reflects album popularity in today's world, where music is accessible on so many platforms", says VP Charts And Data Development at Billboard, Silvio Pietroluongo. "The conversion of genre album charts to consumption reinforces how this approach has become the accepted measure of album success".
Not everyone thinks this way of compiling charts is brilliant, of course. And to placate those people, Billboard will continue to publish charts based on album sales data only. I'm not sure that will actually placate them, but whatever.
On-demand services that will provide data for counting are: Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, Amazon Music, SoundCloud, Slacker, Napster, Google Play and Groove Music. As with the Billboard 200 chart, YouTube data will not be counted, although it is included in the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.
Irish competition regulator to investigate the ticketing sector
The government agency says it will investigate "suspected breaches of competition law in relation to the provision of tickets and the operation of ticketing services for live events. The investigation will focus primarily on potentially anti-competitive conduct by operators including those involved in providing tickets and ticketing services, promoters and venues".
Secondary ticketing has been a talking point in Ireland of late, as in the UK and elsewhere, with particular chatter about how quickly tickets for U2's show at Croke Park in Dublin later this year sold out, before appearing at majorly hiked up prices on the touting platforms. Irish MPs called for regulation of the ticket resale sector earlier this week as the country's government announced a public consultation on the issues around touting.
Though the CCPC investigation will seemingly go further than that. The watchdog said yesterday: "As part of the investigation, the CCPC has issued witness summonses and formal requirements for information to a number of parties involved in the sector. The CCPC welcomes contacts from parties in the sector who may have information that they feel is relevant to the investigation".
BBC Radio 3 to set Malala Yousafzai speech to music for International Women's Day
Yousafzai, the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban when she was fifteen years old, says of the commission: "I am honoured and excited that my speech inspired a composer to set it to music and that it will be performed and broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on International Women's Day by the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales in Cardiff".
She went on: "As the speech is a call to raise our voices, it makes me very happy that it will be sung by a large choir, that so many voices will rise to share the message of education for all. It is wonderful that the message and the music will reach many more people through the live radio broadcast".
Whitely adds: "I feel very lucky to have been asked by Radio 3 to write a piece for such an important day celebrating women around the world! The theme for International Women's Day 2017 is 'Be Bold For Change' - trying to find ways to make a more gender inclusive world - which chimes exactly with what Malala's text is about".
Thundercat announces new album, featuring Pharrell, Kenny Loggins and more
"These are guys that I've listened to and where I felt that I've learned that honesty in the music", says Thundercat. "Kenny Loggins is one of my favourite songwriters. [And] I think one of the most beautiful moments was realising how amazing Michael McDonald is. He would go through so many ideas and have so much to offer".
Speaking about the album's title, 'Drunk', he adds: "I've always tried to hold true to what Erykah Badu and Flying Lotus told me: 'It has to come from an honest place'. I feel like it's a place that I've been in different ways, seen different angles of and it's been a bit inspirational - the drinking. It has its ups and downs and everything, but I felt like it showed the human side of what goes on behind things, something that I see with all of my friends. I felt like it was kind of interweaved in the music culture. And it's something that's never talked about".
Following the album release, Thundercat will be on tour in the UK and Ireland. Here are the dates:
22 Mar: Bristol, Thekla
NZCA Lines release visual version of Infinite Summer
"'Infinite Summer' was inspired by concept-driven albums such as Daft Punk's 'Discovery' and 'Interstella 5555', and Drexciya's 'Neptune's Lair'", says Lovett. "It was always my dream to have a visual for each song, something that would draw an audience deeper into our world".
He goes on: "Our Village Underground show was an opportunity to bring the album to life onstage in a way we hadn't done before. I worked closely with Taxonym and Amala Studio to articulate my thoughts, feelings and ideas behind each song on 'Infinite Summer', which they interpreted to create each of the videos".
Kobalt, Universal Music, BBC Radio 2, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Kobalt's digital distribution platform AWAL has put together a micro-site presenting stats about how the music it reps did on the old streaming networks last year which - although mainly about how AWAL acts performed - also has some more general nuggets of information about streaming trends. It's here.
• Universal Music has announced that its key London sites - including its main HQ in Kensington and those Abbey Road Studios - are now getting their power from Ecotricity, which gets most of its energy from the good old wind and sometimes super sun. So, next time you're moaning about the mega-major, remember not to use the firm's carbon footprint in your ranting, because that's all fine.
• BBC Radio 2 is bringing back its country-focussed pop-up station for the third year running, to coincide with the C2C: Country To Country festival at the O2. It'll be available via DAB from 9-12 Mar.
• Rag N Bone Man has released a new song called 'Skin'. So that's something.
• Yasutaka Nakata, Charli XCX and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu have released the full video for 'Crazy Crazy'.
• Austra have released the video for 'I Love You More Than You Love Yourself'. They'll be over here in the UK for shows in March.
• Swet Shop Boys have released the video for 'Zayn Malik'. As in, their song 'Zayn Malik', not the Zayn Malik. Although I'm sure he's welcome to watch it too.
• Wiley's going to get the Outstanding Contribution prize at the NME Awards. Quite right.
• Slayer: All over the fucking shop on Donald Trump.
• Nigel Tufnel: Not a fan of inauguration crowd estimates.
CMU Beef Of The Week #340: Newt Gingrich v Madonna
Of course, this can prove counterproductive. Sometimes the things Madonna says can distract from the actual message of your event and/or protest. Although, thankfully, I think last Saturday's Women's March was too big for even Madonna to mess up.
As is usually the case, the sentiment of what Madonna was saying was positive and good. She just happened to mention that it had crossed her mind to blow up the White House, and for some reason people latched onto that.
"Yes, I have thought an awful lot about blowing up the White House", she said, addressing protesters at the main march in Washington, DC. That wasn't all she said, but if you've heard any more of the speech than that this week, you must have gone looking for it. Actually, she followed it up with the line: "but I know that this won't change anything", trying to get across to people that violent actions are not the answer to opposing Donald Trump, who is now the actual president of the actual United States of actual America.
Many live TV broadcasts had cut away by that point though, meaning anyone still watching was now spinning into a blind rage at what they assumed was a call for her audience to head straight round Trump's new gaff and set it off like the 4th of July.
Donald Trump's administration weren't keen to comment on the large-scale protests against his inauguration on Saturday - focussing instead on how 95% of the world's entire population had stood in the cold in central Washington to watch him crowned Phenomenal President Of The Year 2017 the day before. However, most other people on the right of US politics were quick to grab onto that one sentence from Madonna's speech
"I spoke in metaphor and I shared two ways of looking at things", she said after her speech had become a mini controversy. "One was to be hopeful, and one was to feel anger and outrage, which I have personally felt. However, I know that acting out of anger doesn't solve anything. And the only way to change things for the better is to do it with love".
Asked for his view on all of this, as he so often is when something of no real importance happens, former Congressman Newt Gingrich appeared on Fox News shouting about having the singer arrested. It also allowed him to talk up the tiny proportion of protesters who engaged in a bit of vandalism last weekend. There are always a few, and it always plays into the hands of the people who oppose any protest. Well done, guys.
"She is parallel to the young fascists who ran around town breaking windows, all of whom should be given the maximum sentence", he said. "What you have is an emerging left-wing fascism. She's part of it, and I think we have to be prepared to protect ourselves".
That's right, Madonna is the leader of an army of window breakers, who will be coming to break your windows any time now, no doubt. Lock em all up, before it's too late.
Presenter Steve Doocy countered that Madonna had said that her comment had been "wildly taken out of context", at which point things turned weird.
"I love the left", snorted Gingrich. "When they say 'I dreamed about blowing up the White House', they didn't mean they dreamed about blowing up the White House. They actually meant 'the yellow purple banana', but they didn't wanna say yellow purple banana because it was too shocking, so they said blow up the White House. Give me a break! She now understands she's at risk".
Let's break that down quickly...
"I love the left"
Untrue. Newt Gingrich has a long history of thinking people with views opposing his own are well shady.
"When they say 'I dreamed about blowing up the White House', they didn't mean they dreamed about blowing up the White House".
OK, Madonna said she'd thought about it, rather than dreamed about it, and she was very clear that she had thought about it, but I guess he has something of a point there.
"They actually meant 'the yellow purple banana', but they didn't wanna say yellow purple banana because it was too shocking, so they said blow up the White House".
Dude, what now? What the fuck is a yellow purple banana? And what are you talking about? Madonna didn't say 'blow up the White House' to cover up for something more shocking, she said it to emphasise a point. And in that moment, for that purpose, she definitely meant 'blow up the White House'.
"Give me a break!"
"She now understands she's at risk".
Of what? Being arrested? Is that really likely? I think if you watch her full speech it's pretty clear what Madonna meant. She wasn't inciting people to go and torch the White House. She just had a little think about it and decided that it wasn't a good idea. I mean, does Madonna even have the necessary skills to pull off a job like that?
Aside from needing to make the right contacts and gaining their trust in order to get hold of that many explosives, it would require immense skills in sneaking around in order to set them all up undetected. She has trouble even walking up stairs, let alone running around and jumping behind bushes. Also, she'd surely be suspect number one, given that she'd just made her plans public.
Oh wait, I got a bit distracted over thinking things there, didn't I? And while I was writing that last paragraph, President Trump probably signed seventeen executive orders forcing women to have unwanted babies in gold-plated debt-generating hospitals heated with fossil fuels and staffed by unqualified Americans because all skilled immigrants have been put in cages.
But it's hard, I guess, to crowbar all of that into some music news. Even for me. It's a lot easier to talk about how Newt Gingrich had an opinion on a speech he hadn't actually watched in full, and then on another statement he hadn't actually read. And I think that's probably how we got into this mess.