|FRIDAY 21 APRIL 2017||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Following on from Universal Music earlier this month, indie label repping digital rights agency Merlin has done a new licensing deal with Spotify. Like with the major's new arrangement, it offers the opportunity for Merlin-allied labels to window releases off the streaming service's free tier... [READ MORE]|
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Merlin signs new Spotify licensing deal
Representing thousands of independents, including the likes of Beggars Group, Domino, [PIAS], Sub Pop and Warp, Merlin is Spotify's fourth largest content partner, after the three majors. As well as getting in on all the windowing fun, under the new deal the indies will also get "improved marketing and advertising opportunities" and "enhanced access to data".
Getting all excited about this new arrangement yesterday, Spotify boss Daniel Ek tweeted: "Indie music has been a huge part of our success since day one and I am super happy to say we have a new, multi-year deal [with Merlin]".
Merlin CEO Charles Caldas echoed this, saying: "Merlin was a launch partner to Spotify back in 2008, and our partnership has thrived ever since. This new agreement lays the path to future sustainable growth for us both, and we look forward to remaining an integral part in the service's continued success".
Beggars boss and Merlin chair Martin Mills added: "I'm delighted that Merlin has reached this new agreement with Spotify. We've been great partners for each other, and this updated arrangement allows independents in the Merlin community the comfort of knowing they have a highly competitive deal and parity of access to the service, whilst creating a commercial environment in which Spotify can grow to the benefit of all of us".
Spotify, of course, has been busy for sometime trying to secure new multi-year deals with all the rights owners, providing the security it needs to march on to IPO. All sides have been playing hardball, with one of Spotify's big concessions being windowing - allowing labels to restrict new releases to only premium Spotify subscribers for up to a fortnight.
Labels hope windowing will make premium streaming - where all the money is made - more attractive to consumers. It also placates a little those artists who don't like the idea of people getting their brand new music for free. Some sort of windowing system in streaming has seemed inevitable for sometime; now we just need Sony and Warner to fall in line and sign their new Spotify deals, and then we can see who decides first that windowing isn't all it's cracked up to be and abandons the whole idea.
Unreleased Prince EP to remain unreleased following court ruling
As previously reported, producer Ian Boxill was planning to put out the six track EP via a label services company called Rogue Music Alliance. Boxill, who seemingly worked with Prince between 2006 and 2008, reckoned that putting out the tracks - which the producer has completed since the musician's untimely death a year ago - via an independent label services operation is what his one-time collaborator would have wanted.
However, the estate did not agree, saying that Boxhill was breaching a contract between him and Prince which stated that ownership of any recordings the two men collaborated on would stay with the musician, rather then the producer. Therefore he does not have the right to put out the music under his own steam.
A Minnesota district court judge has now sided with the estate on the matter, ruling that Boxhill must hand over the "original recordings, analogue and digital copies, and any derivative works" to estate reps. Who, presumably, will chuck it all in the vault with the rest of Prince's unreleased work.
Although initially withdrawing the release from sale, Rogue Music Alliance is now saying that the title track from the EP, 'Deliverance', isn't affected by the injunction because it was released on Wednesday, alongside the original announcement, prior to the court ruling. To that end, that track was made available on its own via a specific website set up for the EP, though that site isn't working as we go to press. Meanwhile, the full release has definitely been removed from other download and streaming services.
Speaking to Rolling Stone, David Staley, co-founder of RMA, said: "I was pleased by the ruling last night, which in a nutshell indicated everything that has been released up to the time of the judge's ruling, late evening 19 Apr, can be and should be enjoyed by the fans. This includes the 'Deliverance' single and all other released works. My team and I are excited for the 'Deliverance' single to be available again to Prince's loyal fans. I, like Ian, feel 'Deliverance' is a very timely song and believe it will bring comfort to many in these trying times".
The injunction itself stands until 3 May, unless the court decides to extend it.
Elsewhere in Prince records news, Neilsen has announced that the late star sold more albums than any other artist in the US in 2016. He shifted 2.23 million units - slightly more than Adele. His best seller was that 2001 classic 'The Very Best Of Prince'.
Court sides with BMG over Windstream in safe harbour case
As previously reported, last year - after BMG successfully sued ISP Cox Communications for copyright infringement after it failed to stop repeat infringers on its networks - two other net firms went to court seeking a declaratory judgement that they were definitely protected by the copyright safe harbour. That, of course, says that internet companies cannot be held liable for the infringement of their customers providing they have a system in place via which rights owners can stop their content being shared without permission.
It was RCN and Windstream who wanted judicial confirmation that - whatever had happened in Cox - they were just fine.
But BMG argued that this wasn't a matter for a declaratory judgment. The Cox case wasn't about whether or not the safe harbour existed, but whether or not the ISP fulfilled its obligations in order to get the protection. By failing to deal with repeat infringers, despite claiming it did, the court ruled that Cox did not have protection.
BMG hadn't actually made any formal allegations against RCN and Windstream and - the music firm argued - a judge couldn't rule on either net firm's compliance with their safe harbour obligations without specific examples of copyright infringement being both made and considered - ie this wasn't a matter for a declaratory judgment.
RCN subsequently reached a settlement with BMG and withdrew its request for a judgement, but Windstream proceeded, and this week the judge hearing the case basically concurred with BMG - ie this isn't a matter for a declaratory judgment.
Knocking back Windstream's request, the court wrote: "Windstream seeks a blanket approval of its business model, without reference to any specific copyright held by BMG or any specific act of direct infringement by any Windstream subscriber. Windstream seeks the kind of hypothetical and advisory opinion, isolated from concrete facts, that cannot confer jurisdiction upon this court".
It added: "Because Windstream seeks declarations untethered from any actual instances of copyright infringement or any mention of a specific copyrighted work, the complaint fails to identify an actual case or controversy and the declaratory judgment claims must be dismissed".
Which is the long way of saying, this isn't a matter for a declaratory judgment.
Apple Music launches scheme for championing 'developing artists'
The special content created around Up Next acts includes a documentary, an EP, a live session, some Beats 1 gubbins, and an appearance on 'The Late Late Show With James Corden', which is a partner on the programme. Apple says that once the content is in the bag it will use "all of its resources to give [the artist's] music visibility to new audiences".
Quite how you define 'developing act' is, of course, debatable, and first Up Next artist 6lack is already signed to Universal's Interscope and scoring impressive streams for current single 'PRBLMS'. Though Apple says that its music team have been backing 6lack for sometime already, including before Interscope's involvement.
CMU:DIY teams up with Wide Days to create ticketing mini-guide
Says CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke: "So many great practical tips and insights come out of the various music industry events we are partners with, and while we may report on those discussions in the CMU Daily, we've always thought it would be good to distill that advice into short user-friendly guides that are accessible to all on a long term basis".
He goes on: "It's great to partner with Wide Days on producing the first of these mini-guides, based around the ticketing-focused session taking place at this year's event. In the post-panel guide we'll provide our advice on the business of selling tickets to gigs, plus tips galore from the panel taking place today".
CMU:DIY plans to produce further mini-guides based on both past and future CMU events, and conferences like Wide days, all of which will be available for free at cmudiy.com.
The ticketing session at Wide Days takes place this afternoon, with Gillian Henderson from Ticketmaster and Katie McPhee from Eventbrite outlining different approaches to ticketing, before discussing tips on marketing shows with Lauren Down from the End Of The Road Festival. More info here.
Cabbage vocalist denies accusations of sexual assault at Kasabian show
The allegation came from Twitter user Nicole Rushworth, who said that Broadbent had "stood on the barrier [and] proceeded to put his hand down his trousers, fondle himself, then rub his hand over the girl, ragging on her hair, basically forcing her face first into his crotch".
The father of the unidentified girl referenced in Rushworth's tweet, who was accompanying his daughter to the show, reportedly complained to security staff who "then brought out the singer to apologise to the girl and all he did was start an argument with her dad. He flat out refused to apologise and got aggressive with him, stating that it was all part of the act".
The band has refuted this version of events, saying in a statement on Facebook: "We completely deny the accusations put against Lee this morning. His hands were never down his trousers, although he did go down to the barrier to interact with the crowd, as he does at all Cabbage shows. After a complaint was made Lee took it on himself to apologise, which is what any decent person would do if he learns that someone has been offended. Lee met with them, discussed the situation and hands were shaken before father and daughter left and then they stayed for the rest of the show".
They continued: "Security guards and everyone who saw the show know that these complaints are completely unfounded. We're very shocked and deeply troubled by these fabrications. Anyone who's listened to our music, been to one of our gigs or read one of our interviews knows that we would never engage in any of the actions that this tweet accuses us of".
Since the initial allegation was made on Twitter, there has subsequently been much discussion on the social networks over whether or not putting his hands down his pants is a thing that Broadbent commonly does on stage.
Meanwhile, speaking to The Quietus about the alleged incident, the Safe Gigs For Women organisation said: "We have had multiple reports from different people about the incident at the Kasabian/Cabbage show. We're planning to reach out to Kasabian and Cabbage/Lee Broadbent ... to see if they'd like to discuss it with us. We want to understand what they have to say about it, in hopes we can hear their side and discuss issues of consent in the context of the artist/fan relationship during a gig. We'd also be happy to provide referrals to the girl and her father if they feel the need for them, as we do all victims of sexual assault at gigs who come to us".
Classic FM refuses to play operatic punk
First off, the artwork for the record apparently had to be changed, after its parody of the classic HMV 'his master's voice' logo was objected to by the original artwork's current owner, Warner. And now Classic FM is refusing to play tracks from the record.
A spokesperson for the orchestra's management said in a statement: "It's like 1977 all over again. Not only is there political unrest, but punk is once again dividing opinion and crossing boundaries. We are shocked that an album recorded by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and such respected singers won't be played by the UK's leading commercial classical station. It seems that the punk rebellion is still alive and kicking".
I think that might be overstating it a little, but - either way - the album's out on 2 Jun via notoriously edgy label Universal Music.
EMA announces new album, releases This Is England-inspired single
Commenting on the record, she says: "This is for my people in the middle country. I don't look down on, or laugh at, serious issues such as poverty or drug problems. I believe your situations are real, your pain is real. I'm not here to ridicule or dismiss you. But as a person who came from heartland America, I also believe that there is another way than directing your anger at those who often have less power than you. Don't let your discontent or your patriotism be exploited. Don't look down, look up".
Of the first single, 'Aryan Nation', she adds: "I actually wrote this song about three years ago. It was partially inspired by people I've known in the past and also the British film 'This Is England', which most people in the UK are familiar with but hardly any Americans have seen. In the movie a group of non-racist UK skinheads in the 80s are radicalised through prison, poverty, and needless war. The results are violent and tragic. When I watched it I felt like I recognised a glimmer of their hopelessness and confusion in parts of America, but I had no clue how much that would explode in 2017".
Tei Shi announces UK shows
Describing her ethos as an artist, she says: "Earlier in my career, I hid because I wanted first and foremost to be seen as a creative person making music. I thought that if I presented myself as a singer people wouldn't get that I write, that I produce too".
"People have this idea that you can only check some of the proverbial boxes as a creative woman", she continues. "That you can't be attractive and sexual and a great singer and a solid performer and a great writer and be in control of your creative space, as if some of those are mutually exclusive for a human woman. My ambition is to represent all of those without having to sacrifice one for the other".
Here are those tour dates:
17 Jun: Brighton, Patterns
Spinal Tap, Gorillaz, Big Boi, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Gorillaz members 2D and Murdoch have done their first ever 'live' interview, speaking to MistaJam on the YouTube channel of Electronic Beats. You can have a watch here.
• Outkast's Big Boi will release a new solo album, 'Boomiverse', in the near future. It'll feature guests including Maroon 5's Adam Levine, Jeezy and Killer Mike. First single 'Mic Jack', featuring Levine, is out now.
• Pink Floyd's Roger Waters has announced that he will release a new solo album - the long-awaited follow-up to 1992's 'Amused To Death' - later this year. 'Is This The Life We Really Want?' will be out on 2 Jun.
• Mark Lanegan and his band have shared the video for new single 'Beehive'.
• Poliça have shared new song 'Lipstick Stains' from their Record Store Day double A-side seven-inch.
• Tricot have released 'Melon Soda' from their upcoming new album '3'.
• Want more new music? Check out our weekly Spotify playlist here.
Beef Of The Week #351: Russia v Ukraine (Continued)
As previously reported, Russia was already angry about Ukraine's 2016 Eurovision winning song '1944'. Russia complained before last year's event that Ukraine was breaking the rules by putting forward a politically-charged work, which it felt was clearly targeting Russia's occupation of Crimea. Ukraine countered that it was about a totally different event in Crimea's history and completely unrelated to the current situation.
Allowed to go through to the competition unchallenged, singer Jamala went on to win, which upset Russia even more. It was at that point - with Ukraine now set to host Eurovision 2017 - that the country's officials started talking boycotts. And right up until the last minute it looked like that's what would happen. Then, a day before the deadline, Russia decided it would put forward an entry after all.
Former contestant in the Russian version of 'X-Factor' Julia Samoilova, who also gained international recognition when she performed at the opening ceremony of the 2014 Socchi Winter Paralympics, was put forward with slightly rubbish song 'Flame Is Burning'. So that was all fine.
Except that it wasn't, because she has performed live in Crimea since the occupation. There's a special blacklist reserved for artists who have done that, banning them from performing in Ukraine. She was not on that blacklist at the time, but Ukrainian officials said that they were now considering either banning her from entering the country, or letting her in and then arresting her. Great stuff.
This, said Russia, was an outrage and they demanded that Eurovision overseer the EBU do something about it. With Ukraine refusing to back down, the idea that Samoilova could perform via satellite was put forward. That seemed like an almost reasonable compromise. Except to Russia, which believed that idea to also be an outrage.
That's roughly where we were up to last time we spoke about this a month ago. Since then, the EBU has seemingly continued to try and find a resolution that would suit everyone, but none has come. The last ditch effort was seemingly to try to convince Russia to enter a different artist instead. No dice. So that's it; Russia is out.
In a statement, the EBU said: "These proposals were to either take part via satellite or to change their chosen artist to one who could legally travel to Ukraine for the duration of the contest. Sadly both proposals have been rejected by [Russian broadcaster] Channel One and they have now announced they do not intend to broadcast the Eurovision Song Contest 2017. Unfortunately this means Russia will no longer be able to take part in this year's competition. We very much wanted all 43 countries to be able to participate and did all we could to achieve this".
Frank Dieter Freiling, Chairman of the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group, the event's steering committee, added: "We strongly condemn the Ukrainian authorities' decision to impose a travel ban on Julia Samoilova as we believe it thoroughly undermines the integrity and non-political nature of the Eurovision Song Contest and its mission to bring all nations together in friendly competition. However, preparations continue apace for the Eurovision Song Contest in the host city Kiev. Our top priority remains to produce a spectacular Eurovision Song Contest with our member [Ukraine broadcaster] UA:PBC in May".
So that's a shame. Eurovision's supposed to be a bit of fun that everyone can get involved in, regardless of their differences and political events, and that's not happening. Still, maybe it's for the best. Given the short notice provided by Theresa May this week, Russia probably needs the extra time to spend on rigging the UK General Election in June.