|TUESDAY 14 FEBRUARY 2017||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: SoundCloud has labelled a Financial Times report that said it was now basically "begging for money" as it seeks to raise new investment as "disappointing and surprising". As previously reported, in its article this weekend, the FT noted that two key execs, Chief Operating Officer Marc Strigel and Finance Director Markus Harder, had both left the company. It then quoted an unnamed German financier as saying: "SoundCloud is begging for money"... [READ MORE]|
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SoundCloud denies that it is "begging for money"
As previously reported, in its article this weekend, the FT noted that two key execs, Chief Operating Officer Marc Strigel and Finance Director Markus Harder, had both left the company. It then quoted an unnamed German financier as saying: "SoundCloud is begging for money, but I wouldn't give them any right now. They need to rethink their valuation and settle for a down round".
Responding yesterday, SoundCloud said: "The Financial Times relies on one anonymous source to tell an inaccurate story about SoundCloud. SoundCloud is currently fundraising, which is typical of most start-ups of our size and in our phase of growth. That the Financial Times would compromise its journalistic standards to include an anonymous quote characterising this normal course of fundraising as 'desperation' is disappointing and surprising for a newspaper of record".
So SoundCloud remains bullish. However, the firm's long-term future still seems to be dependent on its newish premium subscription service succeeding, which is far from assured, not least because the move into paid-for streaming puts it up against more established and better funded rivals like Spotify and Apple Music.
Swedish appeals court green lights web-block against The Pirate Bay
While it was in Sweden that the founders of The Pirate Bay were successfully convicted for copyright crimes in relation to the rampant infringement their website facilitated, Swedish law hasn't always been so helpful when the music and movie industries have sought to further target the still active file-sharing hub.
Efforts to seize the Pirate Bay's .se domain got caught up in legal technicalities, and when the major labels and film studios sought to have the site web-blocked in Sweden, a court ruled that internet service providers there couldn't be obliged to instigate such a blockade under copyright law.
That ruling in the District Court Of Stockholm in 2015 was in some ways surprising, given that courts in various European jurisdictions have now issued web-block injunctions on copyright grounds, which force ISPs to block their users from accessing piracy sites. While those web-blocks have been enabled in some countries by a change to copyright law, in other places - like the UK - judges simply decided that web-blocks were possible under existing copyright rules.
Net firms often object to web-blocking when it first appears on the agenda in any one country, so it wasn't surprising that Swedish ISP Bredbandsbolaget opposed the proposal that it block the Bay. Still, the music and movie industries probably didn't expect the ISP to prevail in the lower Stockholm court. Either way, they quickly appealed, with the case going before the Patent And Market Court Of Appeal - a new IP-focused entity that sits within the Svea Court Of Appeal - last year.
That court ruled in favour of the music and movie companies yesterday, ordering Bredbandsbolaget to get busy web-blocking both The Pirate Bay and another piracy site called Swefilmer. Interestingly, the judges confirmed that their judgement was in part influenced by the web-block injunctions that have been ordered elsewhere in the European Union.
According to Torrentfreak, judge Christine Lager said in a statement: "In today's judgment, the Patent And Market Court held that right holders such as film and music companies can obtain a court order in Sweden against an ISP, which forces the ISP to take measures to prevent copyright infringement committed by others on the internet. The decision is based in EU law and Swedish Law should be interpreted in the light of EU law. Similar injunctions have already been announced, such as in Denmark, Finland, France and the UK, but the verdict today is the first of its kind in Sweden".
The verdict can't be appealed which means Bredbandsbolaget will now have to block the two piracy sites, and it seems likely Sweden's music and movie industries will now seek further injunctions to force more ISPs to block a plethora of piracy sites. Of course, anyone with the skills to use Google can usually circumvent the blockades pretty easily, though the entertainment industry reckons that they still serve a useful function in trying to persuade consumers to switch to licensed platforms.
The comments by Lager might encourage rights owners to push for web-block injunctions in other EU jurisdictions where web-blocking is yet to occur. As previously reported, when asked to comment on a web-blocking case in the Netherlands, the EU's Advocate General Maciej Szpunar recently told the European Courts Of Justice that he reckons web-blocking is fine under European copyright law providing judges spend a little time considering 'proportionality', ie just how much infringement a targeted site facilitates or hosts.
Music 4.5 and CMU Trends consider what a future record label will look like
The article notes that, despite many people predicting the demise of the record label at various points over the last fifteen years, "most artists still work with a record company - or a business that looks rather like a record company - in one way or another. And - with a few notable exceptions - most new artists are still doing record deals that look very similar to the contracts being signed in the 1990s". However, it adds, "the artist / artist manager / label relationship has definitely evolved, and continues to change".
Explaining how his company has sought to alter the function of a record label since relaunching as a new music business in 2008, Alistair Norbury, EVP International Artists at BMG, told CMU: "The BMG approach to record deals is inherently fairer to artists and more transparent than the traditional record deal. We designed it to be so. There was little point in creating a new BMG if it was going to be the same as the old companies. What that means in practice is no hidden deductions, transparency about costs and a strong preference to revenue sharing deals".
Meanwhile Paul Hitchman, President of Kobalt Music Recordings, also lists his company's "very transparent accounting" as one of its key innovations, along with the removal of copyright assignment from the deal. "The main difference with our label service deals is that the artist retains ownership of their rights, as well as most of the revenues", he adds. And the artist isn't locked into long-term exclusivity either. "Our deals are for a specific project, like an album or EP, and for a relatively short term".
Premium readers of CMU can access the full CMU Trends article - online or as a PDF - here. You can buy individual CMU Trends articles as a PDF from the CMU shop here, or go premium for £5 a month to access all CMU Trends articles past, present and future, plus the weekly CMU Digest summarising the biggest stories in just a few sentences each Monday.
Meanwhile, Music 4.5's 'The Record Label Of The Future?' event takes place on 23 Feb in London, with Alistair Norbury and Paul Hitchman among the line-up of speakers. Click here for more information or to book your ticket.
Manchester's Factory venue says it has rectified recurring ceiling collapse issue
According to reports, at about 1.30am on Sunday morning, a large section of the plasterboard ceiling fell down. Video and photographs from the event show people at the event subsequently holding it up.
One person in the room, Bethan Holmes, told student newspaper The Tab: "I was on the edge of the dancefloor and then bits of plaster landed on me. It went in my left eye, I didn't know what had happened. Then I turned round to see that most of the roof had collapsed in the middle of the room and everyone was holding it up. The music stopped and I heard people shouting and glass breaking".
Another, Tom Foster, added: "It took about two minutes for the DJ to stop, then bouncers rushed in, but there was no plan. I was surprised there was no announcement, I would have thought there would be in a situation like [that], to help people [stay] calm when half the room is holding up the ceiling of a very old building".
This is not the first time this has happened at the venue, which opened in 2010. Seven people were injured in a similar incident in 2014.
A spokesperson for Factory told the Manchester Evening News: "A section of plasterboard came loose from the first floor. The same section that came loose on this exact weekend two years ago. At this stage we are uncertain how or why - no one was hurt and the club was evacuated purely as a precaution - there is no structural issue so we now need to investigate with contractors how this re-occurred. This issue relates to the first floor only".
The club then announced yesterday that "after a thorough investigation we have got to the bottom of what caused the ceiling to drop on Saturday and we can confirm the problem has been rectified".
It added: "We would also like to thank all the people who held the ceiling up whilst still partying and dancing underneath it".
Apple Music now "well past" 20 million subscribers
What exactly Cue means by that isn't clear - it was already confirmed that the streaming service had over 20 million subscribers in December last year. That figure was up from seventeen million in September. Assuming Apple Music is now adding about a million users a month, that would put it around 22 million now. You can decide if that's "well past" 20 million or not for yourself.
Cue also apparently said that Apple is not completely happy with its streaming service's growth levels just yet, adding that he still sees room for "exponential" growth in the market that is not currently being achieved.
He noted that around 100 million people are paying for streaming music worldwide, but many more are listening to music online.
This may or may not have been an indication that Apple supports moves to revise the safe harbour rules that currently allow companies like YouTube to force rights owners into licensing free-to-access streaming services that pay much less into the music industry. Or it might just be another dig at Spotify's freemium offer, which we all know Apple doesn't like.
Apple's strategy to attract users to date has been partly based around exclusives, but Cue also acknowledged in his talk that such exclusives "are never good for the long-term basis" of the music industry.
Some music mags saw circulations rise in 2016, according to latest ABCs
Yep, we're talking about the latest numbers from the Audit Bureau Of Circulation, which keeps tabs on how many copies different magazines are selling. Not all music mags bother the ABC to verify their print runs, though most of the key titles do, and plenty appear in the latest stats pack, focused on the latter half of 2016.
As is the norm, most print music titles continued to see their circulations slip through last year. From biggest to smallest, Mojo was down 4.2% year-on-year to an average of 67,518 copies sold per edition; Classic Rock was down 9.2% to 46,517; Uncut was down 9.7% to 43,235; Q was down 9.2% to 40,003; BBC Music Magazine was down 1.7% to 35,734; We Love Pop was down 4.4% to 32,055; Metal Hammer was down 2.9% to 20,353; and Kerrang! was down 23.7% to 18,462.
But there was some also bad news for fans of doom and gloom, as some titles increased their circulation during the year. NME likes the ABC figures now it's a free title, with its weekly run rising 0.6% to 308,938 last year. Top Of The Pops magazine was also up 15.1% year-on-year to 50,218, while classical title Gramophone was up 10.1% to 23,162. And Rock Sound was up 1% last year to 14,057, which the independent title's publisher keen to point out that the rock mag has now seen increases in four consecutive sets of ABC figures.
Owner and publisher Patrick Napier said last week: "I'm delighted to be able to record another increase despite a tough environment thanks to some blockbuster issues and the opening up of new sales channels. We're fortunate to serve a truly passionate audience and the future is exciting as we grow our brand and develop new ways of reaching an increasingly global market".
Dillinger Escape Plan cancel European tour following bus crash
According to the Associated Press, the band's tour bus was parked on the side of a road ahead of a show in Krakow on Sunday when a truck crashed into it. Police said that members of the band were taken to hospital, but none were seriously injured.
In a statement yesterday, guitarist Ben Weinman: "All the gear is destroyed and there are injuries - we are unable to continue this tour right now. The band and crew would like to thank the fans and press around the world for their concern and the Polish police and medical staff for their handling of the situation. We hope to get back to Europe soon".
The tour began in the UK in January. US festivals dates starting in April are as yet unaffected.
As previously reported, the band last year announced plans to split after touring their latest album, 'Dissociation'.
Benefit show for Delays' Greg Gilbert to take place this Friday
Gilbert was diagnosed with stage four bowel cancer, which has also spread to his lungs, last year. With the NHS limited in what it is able to offer him, a number of potentially life-saving treatments have been identified through private health services. These treatments are costly though, particularly as Gilbert's best hope may now lie in the US, with the target for a fundraising campaign set up by his fiancée Stacey Heale set at £250,000.
As part of ongoing fundraising, a benefit show will take place at The 1865 in Delays' hometown of Southampton. On the bill are Mystery Jets, Band Of Skulls, Sam Duckworth, The Diamond Age and Thomas Tantrum, as well as Gilbert's Delays bandmates, who will be performing with Primal Scream's Simone Marie on bass.
The show has been organised by lighting designer Ed Warren, who in recent years has worked with acts such as Mumford & Sons and Solange. He tells CMU: "As soon as I heard the news that they needed to raise money to pay for Greg's treatment I felt compelled to do whatever I could and pull together my music industry friends to make a difference. I wouldn't have a career, this life, if it wasn't for the faith Greg and the Delays guys showed me bringing me out on my first ever tour in 2004".
As well as the show, Warren has also organised an auction of music memorabilia, featuring contributions from Coldplay, Oasis, Mumford & Sons, Laura Marling, Craig David, Manic Street Preachers, and more.
Dutch Uncles to launch album with go karting tournament
Taking place at TeamSport, a new go karting track housed underneath the Manchester Arena, there will be prizes on offer for the best go-karters including signed albums, t-shirts and tickets for the band's upcoming shows. If you fancy it, you'll need to claim one of the limited spaces on offer by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
"None of us have been go karting since a post-tour day out to Blackpool Pleasure Beach about seven or eight years ago", says bassist Robin Richards. "We haven't even got our own copies of the new album yet, so we'll be giving it our all to win those coveted prizes".
"And I've never even had a driving lesson", adds frontman Duncan Wallis.
This follows the launch of 2015 album 'O Shudder', which saw the band premiere the record on the tannoy system at a non-league football match between West Didsbury & Chorlton and Bootle, before holding a penalty shoot out with fans. For their third album, 'Out Of Touch In The Wild', in 2013, they designed their own burger.
Those tour dates that you could race your way to tickets for are as follows:
1 Mar: Edinburgh, Electric Circus
Sonos, Tinie Tempah, Ed Sheeran, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Jet have returned after a seven year hiatus and signed a new publishing deal with BMG. "We're really happy", say the band. "It is a huge THRILL", adds BMG Australia boss Heath Johns.
• Sonos is putting up its prices in the UK because the fall in the pound against the dollar since the EU referendum has made current prices "unsustainable". But at least we took back control, right?
• Tinie Tempah has announced that he will release new album, 'Youth', on 31 Mar. Here's the video for new single 'Something Special'.
• Animal Collective will release new EP 'The Painters' this Friday. From it, this is 'Kinda Bonkers'.
• Ed Sheeran will play a Teenage Cancer Trust show at the Royal Albert Hall on 28 Mar. Tickets go on sale on Friday.
• Wiley has announced that he will play Brixton Academy on 3 Nov. Tickets go on sale on Wednesday.
• Philip Glass and Laurie Anderson have announced a second London performance of their 'American Style' show at the Royal Festival Hall on 18 May. Tickets on sale on Friday.
• Katy Perry has completed the performer line-up for this year's BRIT Awards. She'll join Ed Sheeran, Robbie Williams, Bruno Mars, The 1975, Little Mix, Emeli Sandé and Skepta in entertaining the audience between tedious speeches. "After three years, I'm excited to return to the BRITs stage to kick off a new era of purposeful pop", says Perry.
Moby claims to have insider information on Donald Trump
He writes that "after spending the weekend talking to friends who work in DC", he has learned a number of things. First, that the unverified dossier published by Buzzfeed last month, which made various claims about Trump's connections to Russia, is "100% real".
"He's being blackmailed by the Russian government", writes Moby. "Not just for being peed on by Russian hookers, but for much more nefarious things. The Trump administration is in collusion with the Russian government, and has been since day one".
As well as this, he notes that a war often shores up public opinion, so Trump is looking to start one "probably with Iran". Though that's current Russian ally Iran, which is slightly confusing. Nevertheless, in order to instigate this war, US warships are being posted off the Iranian coast, Moby alleges, in the hope that one of them will be attacked providing a reason to retaliate.
While all this is going in, Moby adds that Republicans and "intelligence agencies around the world" are seeking ways to unseat Trump and his team. Intelligence teams are "working to present information that will lead to high level firings and, ultimately, impeachment".
As you may have guessed, this post wasn't met with a 100% positive reception, so he returned later to respond to critics, saying: "Hey, I'm just a clown. I mean, maybe there isn't a Trump administration plan to go to war with Iran. And maybe Trump's inner circle isn't filled with Russian operatives. And maybe Russia doesn't have utterly damning info on Trump that's keeping him under their thumb. And maybe the Koch bros and their pals aren't looking at options to get Trump out of the White House".
"Just don't look too closely at [Mike] Flynn and [Paul] Manafort and the USS Cole and the Russians who've disappeared or died recently and what's currently happening in the Ukraine", he went on. "Again, I'm just a bald clown who probably knows nothing. I'm going to go make some balloon animals now".
Anyway, here's the video for Moby & The Void Pacific Choir's latest single, 'Erupt & Matter'. Enjoy the war.