|FRIDAY 17 FEBRUARY 2017||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Songick has amended its ongoing antitrust lawsuit against Live Nation to include new claims that staff at the live music giant's ticketing firm Ticketmaster stole trade secrets from the start-up and used them to develop its own rival service. Live Nation calls the accusations "baseless". As previously reported, Songkick sued Live Nation in December 2015... [READ MORE]|
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Songkick accuses Ticketmaster of hacking in updated Live Nation lawsuit
As previously reported, Songkick sued Live Nation in December 2015, alleging that the live entertainment firm – which is, of course, a significant player in tour and festival promotion, and venue and artist management, as well as tickets – was holding the acts it works with to ransom, especially in the US, if they decided to collaborate with the gig recommendation and DIY ticketing service on fan club pre-sales.
Later, Songkick also alleged that Live Nation had increased its demands around the pre-sale campaigns it was running for artists tied to the live music major after its legal action had been filed. It then requested a preliminary injunction that would stop Live Nation from making such demands, which was denied in May last year.
In new legal documents, Songkick alleges that Ticketmaster's Director Of Client Relations Stephen Mead used his position as a former employee of CrowdSurge – with which Songkick merged in 2015 – to steal data from both start-ups.
Mead left CrowdSurge in 2012 and did not join Ticketmaster - through a role at its Ticketweb division - until twelve months later. Songkick alleges that he nevertheless retained 85,000 Crowdsurge company documents on his laptop – including business plans, financial information, contracts and more – which he used to create reports for his new bosses about potential new business.
The lawsuit claims that in an email in January 2014, Mead wrote: "I must stress that as this is access to a live CS tool I would be careful in what you click on as it would be best not to give away that we are snooping around [but] feel free to screengrab the hell out of [CrowdSurge's] system".
At least in part, this information related to CrowdSurge test sites created for potential new clients, which were publicly available to anyone who knew how the URLs were formulated.
It is claimed that Ticketmaster then developed a plan to compete with CrowdSurge based on the confidential information it had obtained, including targeting new clients which the start-up was aiming to work with.
In a statement, Live Nation said: "In the face of [last year's] adverse rulings, Songkick has been forced to conjure up a new set of dubious arguments and theories, resulting in the amended compliant they recently filed. Songkick's amended complaint is based on the alleged misappropriation of information that Songkick did not even try to keep secret, in some cases could not have kept secret, and in some cases shared with artist managers that work for Live Nation. The claims have no legal merit and Live Nation and Ticketmaster will continue to vigorously defend this case".
Tori Kelly signs to Sony/ATV
Opinion on Kelly is divided. "Tori is a smart, self-driven and extremely talented artist with one of the most stunning voices in music", says Sony/ATV President Rick Krim. However, the company's A&R boss Lou Al-chamaa disagrees, saying that she is "an incredibly gifted songwriter and arguably one of the best singers around".
Meanwhile Kelly's manager Scooter Braun argues: "Tori is an incredible talent that needs to be shown to the world". He refuses to accept either of the views put forward by Krim or Al-chamaa, instead saying: "That is the way I have always felt and this partnership is just another step in continuing her incredible journey".
Apparently oblivious to the heated debate this deal has instigated, Kelly simply says: "I'm THRILLED to be part of the Sony/ATV Publishing family and eager to start working together to create my next project. I can't wait to see what the future holds as I continue to develop as an artist".
Well, presuming the people behind her stop arguing long enough to let her get anything done, she's currently working on a second album.
Old Blue Last team takeover Sebright Arms
Says Head Booker Cal McRae, said: "We're beyond excited to be working on Sebright Arms, there's a real simplicity and authenticity to it all – it's a straight up boozer with an incredible sounding venue that myself, along with a lot of other people hold in high regard".
"We want to bring Sebright back to it's original form, filling it with an in house programme consisting of some of the most exciting, up and coming acts as well as established acts in a setting you'd never normally be able to see them in, which is something that we've developed a great reputation for doing so over at our other sites".
"The response from everyone we've told so far has been overwhelmingly positive so it's already been a total pleasure to work on. We can't wait to properly move in and invite everyone over for a pint".
Ticketmaster buys Czech ticketing firm Ticketpro
"The live entertainment industry continues to flourish. There are more events taking place and artists on the road than ever before, coupled with increasing demand from fans across the world," says Ticketmaster International man Mark Yovich. "Acquiring Ticketpro enables us to better service our clients in Central Europe, while providing a world class service to the many fans in these countries".
Meanwhile Ticketpro chief Serge Grimaux added: "Having started our business in the Czech Republic, Ticketpro has established a proven track record in Central Europe and many emerging markets around the world. Combining this with Ticketmaster's global scale and reach will ensure that Ticketpro continues to provide an even better experience to its current fans, while attracting considerably more. This is an exciting time for the business and the live entertainment industry in this part of the world. For me, it is the end of a ticketing journey which has lasted over 25 years".
Mew release 85 Videos
The video again features strange, colourful projections on faces of band members, as seen on the 'Carry Me To Safety' promo. You'd best get used to seeing these, because frontman Jonas Bjerre has made a video like this for each track on the new record.
"I've been working a lot with kaleidoscopes lately", explains Bjerre. "You have an image, or a sequence of images, and you snip out an angle, mirror it, and repeat it in a 360° angle. It's a beautiful thing, because almost no matter the state of the original image, it ends up a beautiful symmetrical, indefinable something. A picture of your messy desk turns into a strange flower. I like that you can't really envision what it will look like until you see it. I think our music is a bit like that too, even as we're working on it".
He continues: "I made a bunch of sequences, and crafted them into these ever-changing 'faces' that I then video-projected on to our actual faces. It's like wearing a mask made out of photons. You can say a lot of philosophical stuff about masks - but don't worry, I'm not going to".
You're welcome to think up your own philosophical comments while watching the video here.
Kid Koala and Emilíana Torrini to release collaborative album
"Emilíana is one of my favourite singers in the world", says the producer, real name Eric San. "I've been following her work since her first album. She's just got one of those singular voices that captivated me years ago. Even when she is singing at whisper quiet levels, it's enough to crack your heart open".
He continues: "Emilíana told me about an article she had read about a woman who had signed up on a one way mission to Mars and would leave her significant other behind forever. We spoke at length about how it might feel to leave your planet, and what it meant both literally and metaphorically. Many of those ideas grew to become a narrative theme for the album. It allowed us to create two characters with differing points of view through which we could write".
Commenting on working with San, and writing melodies for his poetry, Torrini says: "Eric told me it was his first time writing lyrics so I thought it was a big deal. It is the first thing I listen to in music, my absolute favourite. Words are powerful. He was also going through a bit of a brain maze so writing your way out is perfect. He is an annoying guy in a sense: with everything he does, with whatever he touches, he is amazing. Creation is his absolute core, his nature. I have to work harder to reach that space".
Wesley Gonzalez announces excellent debut album
"I wanted to completely indulge myself with the experimentation that I had previously kept to my bedroom demos", he says of his approach to writing for the album. "Whilst I'm proud of what I did with Let's Wrestle, I hate bands that regurgitate the same sound over various LPs – I knew something had to change for me to want to try music again".
He continues: "I found a new way of working in the 'first thought, best thought' manner. I purposefully didn't allow any of the musicians playing on the record to hear much of the songs prior to the recording sessions, and instead asked them to just turn up on the day, forcing creativity to meet financial deadlines. I was terrified of starting another band, of rehearsing, and of allowing myself to fall back on what I was used to".
The musicians playing on the record are Younghusband's Joe Chilton and Euan Hinshelwood, and Proper Ornaments drummer Bobby Voltaire. Rose Elinor Dougall was also drafted in later for the live band.
Speaking of the live band, you can catch them at The Waiting Room in London on 4 May. And here's new single 'Exhibition Song'.
MPG Awards presented
UK Producer Of The Year: Paul Epworth
Breakthrough Producer Of The Year: Andrew Hunt
UK Album Of The Year: David Bowie – Blackstar
Studio Of The Year: RAK Studios
Outstanding Contribution To UK Music: Tony Visconti
Ed Sheeran, Linkin Park, The Shins
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• CMU Insights presented two sessions at the Output conference in Belfast yesterday. Those who attended can access the slides here, plus look out for highlights of the first session – on music media and PR – on the new CMU Podcast going live this weekend.
• Here's a new song from Ed Sheeran's new album, fresh out this morning, 'How Would You Feel?'
• Linkin Park will release their seventh album, 'One More Light', on 19 May. It's too late to stop it now. Here's first single 'Heavy'.
• The Shins have released a new single, 'Mildenhall'. New album, 'Heartworms', is out on 10 Mar. You can catch them at the Hammersmith Apollo on 29 Mar too.
• Incubus are back with a new single, the first from their upcoming eighth album, called 'Nimble Bastard'. No, really, that's its actual title.
• Blanck Mass has released the video for recent single 'Please'. He'll be touring the UK in late April, including a show at the Rich Mix in London on 27 Apr.
• Pixx will release her debut album, 'The Age Of Anxiety', through 4AD on 2 Jun. Here's new single, 'I Bow Down'.
• Skott has released the video for new single, 'Glitter & Gloss'. She'll also play Village Underground in London on 13 Sep, so maybe go to that.
• Torgny is back with a new EP, 'Cut & Run', today. From it, this is 'All The Scars'.
• The BRIT Awards will be live streamed on YouTube globally again. The broadcast will be presented by Casper Lee, who's one of those YouTubers they have now.
CMU Beef Of The Week #343: Ed Sheeran v Afterparties
Right, I know at this stage you're wondering how this is my big takeaway from the Grammys last Sunday, given the debate that has been raging all week. But at this stage, I have nothing of value to add to the Grammy Awards racism debate that hasn't already been said. And I think we can all agree that that world would be a better place if people stopped throwing up hastily formed opinions on difficult subjects just because they've got a deadline to meet.
I'm also not sure the Beef Of The Week column is the place to have that kind of debate, even if it does provide me with one of those rapidly approaching deadlines. Let's just agree right now that the small number of non-white artists who have won the Album Of The Year award at the Grammys is troubling, particularly as it's been a white-only affair for nearly a decade now. I'm sure the awards' boss Neil Portnow is right when he says that none of the 14,000 voters is actively considering race when they cast their votes. But that doesn't mean it isn't happening.
At the same time, Beyonce limited the avenues through which her latest album could be heard, so that may also have had an impact on the number of votes she received. Adele was also a streaming holdout for a while, of course, but she did eventually make her record more widely available. It definitely wasn't the best album of the year, and Beyonce almost certainly did deserve it over her. But fucking hell, at least they didn't give it to Justin Bieber.
Sorry, what was I talking about? Oh yeah, theatre seating at awards. Awards are fucking stupid. They are probably the most stupid thing humanity has ever dreamt up. It doesn't matter who wins them, because ultimately everyone loses. And the ones where the audience has to sit in theatre seating - smiling and clapping constantly in case someone on TV notices they are bored out of your mind - are the worst.
They're long, too. Really long. Awards ceremonies go on for ages. And few run longer than The Grammys, which I think was about six and a half days of continuous clapping this year. After that kind of ordeal, everyone badly needs a drink. And that's where the afterparties come in.
All awards ceremonies have afterparties, because after congratulating themselves for a few hours, people like to hang around with their peers and talk about how great they are for a few hours more. But at ceremonies like the Grammys, where you've had to watch Bruno Mars dress up in a Prince costume without hard liquor, a drink is an even greater post-show requirement than at most.
So imagine what it must be like to be Ed Sheeran, who was refused entry from his own label's Grammys afterparty. And not just this year, this has apparently happened every year since 2014.
"That's actually happened four years in a row", he told Ryan Seacreast on iHeart the next day, confirming the rumours that he'd been turned away. "And that's not just my label's afterparty. That's just afterparties in general".
Poor Ed, apparently he just can't catch a break. But it turns out he doesn't even like those afterparties anyway. "You know what I don't get?" he asked. "You walk into those parties there's probably like four musicians there and everyone else is just people from LA that didn't go to the Grammys and just want a party to go to".
Imagine going to a party without the penance of actually sitting through the Grammys first. Those people have some nerve! Sheeran's found a sure fire way to get into parties full of famous people though – he puts on his own. And then he tells loads of people they can't come.
"I did a party at the EMAs in Milan [in 2015] and my rule for the party was that no one was allowed to bring bodyguards or entourage. If you were an artist you just came as yourself. So, Bieber turned up on his own and played pool with Twenty One Pilots. That was a nice thing, rather than Bieber hanging out with his entourage in the corner".
After last weekend's Grammys though, Sheeran ended up at a diner, where it sounds like he had more fun than being in a crowded room full of hangers on. Well, he sat dunking his French fries into a milkshake, which is apparently a thing people do now. So maybe that isn't as good. But he does confirm that it "tastes like cheesecake".
You know what also tastes like cheesecake? Cheesecake. This is why awards ceremonies are awful.