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European Commission paper considers increasing copyright obligations of YouTube et al
As much previously reported, in the last year the music industry has made it lobbying priority number one to alter the safe harbours of copyright law which allow internet companies to side-step liability for copyright infringement when users upload unlicensed content to their servers. Under the safe harbours, net companies only need act over unlicensed content on their platforms when made aware of it by a rights owner.
The safe harbours are utilised by companies like YouTube to operate opt-out rather than opt-in streaming services. The record companies and music publishers - despite most having licensing deals in place with YouTube - don't like that fact, arguing that by exploiting the safe harbours YouTube secures much more preferential deals from rights owners than opt-in services like Spotify and Apple Music, which - they say - distorts the market. The music industry wants the safe harbours amended so that services like YouTube no longer benefit.
Despite taking on the weight of Google's lobbying machine - not to mention lobbyists working for other web giants - the music industry's reps have insisted they've been getting a positive response from policy makers in Europe on this point.
And now Reuters says it has seen a draft paper from the European Commission that proposes new obligations on user-upload platforms to both seek licensing agreements with rights owners and to put in place "appropriate and proportionate measures, such as content identification technologies, to ensure the functioning" of any agreements with the content industries.
Which might be good news. Though the problem for the music business - whose main target in the safe harbours debate is YouTube - is that the Google-owned company will likely argue that it already does both of those things.
While new legal obligations might motivate YouTube to further enhance its Content ID system - which is one of the better automated content identification platforms, though by no means perfect - unless the video site is obliged to monitor uploads itself for copyright infringing material, it will still likely have the upper hand when deal making, which means the music industry will face the same problems.
But the devil is in the detail, and it will be interesting to see what the final version of the paper proposes when it is published next month.
Liam Gallagher signs to Warner Bros UK
"Very excited to be signing to the mighty Warner Brothers", said Gallagher of the deal. "Looking forward to making some super sweet sounds. Keep the faith!"
Sure, I'll keep it in a box and put it on a high shelf so as not to lose it.
"Liam's one of the all-time greats - brilliant, distinctive, controversial and captivating", said WBR UK president Phil Christie. Meanwhile Gallagher's manager at UROK, Sam Eldridge, nodded frantically: "Liam is one of the greatest singers, frontmen and artists of all time".
So that's the review of the man himself done. But what about this new album everyone's been promising us? Well, says Christie: "The album he's currently recording is big, bold and heartfelt, and it feels important and culturally relevant".
I do like some cultural relevance. Especially with my afternoon cup of tea, so that all sounds great to me. Though whether Gallagher on his own can top the heady heights of his career with former band Beady Eye remains to be seen.
#SaveFabric campaign launched to rally support for threatened club
As previously reported, Fabric shut down earlier this month as police investigated two recent drug-related deaths at the venue. A review of its licence by Islington Council was also initiated, meaning Fabric will now be closed for the third weekend in a row, and over the lucrative bank holiday period too. This despite a court ruling late last year that said that the venue's systems to keep drugs from being brought through its doors already went beyond those of other clubs.
Last week, the venue said that it was nonetheless reviewing all procedures in order to see whether further improvements could be made. Now the club has launched the #SaveFabric campaign, in a bid to focus the wealth of support it has found online since it closed its doors.
"As you know by now, Fabric is facing the very real threat of closure on 6 Sep", says the club's co-founder Cameron Leslie. "If Fabric's licence is revoked, or onerous conditions are placed upon it that make it impossible to operate, then London will lose yet another venue. However stringent the operating policies and procedures, venues are currently too far downstream on the problems and risks to avoid the inevitable".
He continued: "We are asking that the police work with us as they did for such a long time to take the challenges we all face head on. Please take a moment to sign the petition and share with friends, family and fans, [and then] hopefully the London Borough Of Islington and the Mayor will take note".
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has already voiced his support for Fabric, though beyond a tweet it's not entirely clear what he is doing.
Also commenting on the campaign, Chairman of Night Time Industries Association Alan Miller says: "We are hopeful and confident that with all the fantastic work done by so many stakeholders across London recently, that Islington Council will find a way, along with the police, to ensure that what the Mayor of London has said - and what we all want and need - [will happen]: that Fabric will be able to continue operations, leading the way as it does internationally and in the UK with it's 'gold standard' of professionalism and for us to retain one of Britain's most loved cultural gems".
You can sign the petition here, and if you're posting about it on social media, you're encouraged to use the hashtags #SaveFabric and #nightlifematters.
Songkick secures new funding from Access Industries
Sitting on top of all the cash, the firm's CEO Matt Jones told Billboard: "We'll be growing our technology team to continue to deliver a better overall live experience for fans and artists. We'll be expanding our concert discovery innovations, and connecting more fans to concerts in new, engaging ways. We'll also be introducing the next iteration of our discovery platform integrations, working with more artists, and continuing to deliver our anti-scalping technology. We're working to ensure that every artist we work with has the tools to get more tickets into the hands of their dedicated fans".
Sounds like fun. The new investment comes as the firm expands its West Coast operations in the US, alongside the hiring of a new VP Of Product, Lydia Goldberg, and a new VP Of Design, Lee Martin.
Spotify passes 39 million users as exclusives debate rumbles on
Former artist manager Carter was discussing what being Spotify's Global Head Of Creator Services actually means, saying: "I was brought on board to strengthen the bridge between Spotify and the music community". Though that doesn't mean scoring a load of artist exclusives akin to those used by Tidal and Apple Music to encourage new sign ups.
"Exclusives are bad for artists, bad for consumers and bad for the whole industry", Carter told Billboard. Which is basically the viewpoint that has been held by Spotify for some time, regarding artists locking new albums to one specific streaming service. Though it's also a viewpoint in vogue this week, of course, following Universal's internal announcement that streaming service exclusives are officially out of favour at the mega-major.
Carter then echoed what most critics of recent Tidal and Apple exclusives have said, which is that very few people are going to sign up to multiple services, so the album exclusives will just annoy loyal music consumers who are signed up to services denied the latest big release, and possibly send said consumers back to piracy or platforms like YouTube.
Being Global Head Of Creator Services at Spotify, therefore, seemingly involves persuading labels and artist managers that album exclusives are not the future, and instead they should work with Spotify on creating original content and forming marketing partnerships, while also partnering with the streaming platform to sell gig tickets.
Elsewhere, the UK's Music Managers Forum has also joined this week's debate on artist exclusives, supporting the Entertainment Retailer's Association in basically welcoming Universal's recent proclamation on the so called 'windowing' of new releases off certain platforms to the benefit of other platforms.
Says MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick: "It has been reported Universal Music has now taken a stance against exclusive deals with individual streaming services. Whilst it's always incumbent on managers to make the best decision for their artists, MMF has long held a position against windowing. We believe that preventing fans from listening to their favourite artists can cause confusion, damage confidence in streaming services and increase piracy. Along with ERA, we wish for fans to be able to consume music legally and we hope the rest of the industry will follow suit to grow the market as a whole".
Brighton's Juice and Exeter's Radio Exe become more local
The change in ownership will also result in new investment in the business and a management rejig, with returning MD Laurence Elphick saying of the changes: "We look forward to creating a radio station that truly reflects the people, places and sounds of our unique home town - proudly independent, inclusive, open-minded and irreverent as Brighton deserves".
The station's founder and director Daniel Nathan, meanwhile, said that the changes at the business were "a hugely positive development and a real vote of confidence in our passionately committed team".
The developments at Juice in Brighton follow the news earlier this month that media firm Celador has sold its 40% stake in Radio Exe, which means the Exeter-based radio station is now also wholly locally owned. There had been speculation that Celador might want to reposition the station under its Breeze network, but that never happened, and was never going to, according to Radio Exe's management.
Exe Broadcasting Director Paul Nero told Radio Today: "It's not always been easy and we haven't always got everything right, but we've watched with interest as supposedly knowledgeable people predicted Radio Exe would be swallowed up into a larger company. That's never been on the cards. We've always made clear that, despite generous offers over the years, right now we're buyers, not sellers".
Local radio stations becoming more local is news, of course, because the general trend in UK broadcasting has been in the other direction, ie local stations being bought up by national media groups. Which is something Exeter's MP Ben Bradshaw - who had a stint as Culture Secretary in the last Labour government - noted when commenting on the recent changes at Radio Exe.
He told reporters: "The trend in British radio has been completely one way: national stations buying local ones and effectively closing them down. I've watched the hard work and commitment that local broadcasters have put into Radio Exe and it's no surprise that they have prevailed in keeping Exeter's station local".
Talking of Radio Exe, remember when an anonymous party objected to Global Radio's bid to trademark Radio X after it relaunched Xfm under that name last year?
Well, as we expected, the objecting party was indeed Radio Exe. But, says the Exeter station, it has now reached an agreement with Global so that Radio Exe and Radio X can co-exist. Now we just need someone to launch Radio Ex, 24/7 bitter dedications to former partners. Sounds like the sort of thing Steve Penk might set up.
BPI announces autumn training programme, including new session from CMU Insights
Also new to the programme is a beginners guide seminar run by CMU Insights, which will provide an overview of the wider music industry, explaining the different ways artists make money and the business partnerships they enter into to unlock different revenue streams.
The half-day session will also explain how music rights work and outline how record deals are structured and evolving. It's a concise and user-friendly beginner's guide useful for those new to the sector, or more experienced label executives wanting to better understand the wider music business, and recent trends and developments.
The Introduction To The Music Industry session is taking place on 14 Sep and 19 Oct at the BPI's London HQ. The full list of upcoming BPI training sessions is listed below. Places are free to employees of any BPI member record company, who should contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve places.
On the programme, Tams says: "These masterclasses typically meet with a hugely positive reaction from our members, and to cater to this growing demand we've been happy to increase the numbers each year. Many come thinking they already have a pretty good understanding but leave feeling they have learned something totally new that can only help them in their work. We invite anyone interested to get back to us as soon as possible to book their place and avoid disappointment".
1 Sep: Advertising Masterclass
Music and tech hackathon Buzz Jam to return
The event will take place at Red Bull Studios from 16-18 Sep, with Sony Music again offering up artists to get involved. Artists so far confirmed for this year's event are Tiggs Da Author, Nimmo and Tom Walker.
Says Sam Potts, Head Of Radio Promotions at Sony's Columbia Records, and founder of Buzz Jam: "Tech is the new frontier of the music industry, and with Buzz Jam we connect music artists and creative coders to collaborate on something truly special. Mashing code and music making together in this way creates a unique performance and a profound experience for participants and our partners".
Cooking Vinyl, Jason Alden, Lemmy, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Independent music firm Cooking Vinyl has announced a number of initiatives to celebrate its 30 years in business, including the launch of a new £30k fund that will be invested in artist projects, music start ups and ventures that "want to use the power of music to make the world a better place".
• Country star Jason Alden is planning on holding his new album 'They Don't Know' off all the streaming services for a month, according to Hypebot. Which is amusing given he was one of the artists that got up on stage at that big embarrassing Tidal press conference to declare himself a shareholder in the streaming firm. Good times.
• A statue of Motorhead frontman Lemmy has been erected outside his favourite bar, The Rainbow on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood. See photos and video from the unveiling here.
• Those Kings Of Leon have taken time off from their regal duties to record their seventh album. 'Walls' will be released on 14 Oct.
• There's a new Florence And The Machine song on the soundtrack for the new Tim Burton movie 'Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children'. You can listen to the song, 'Wish You Were Here', here.
• Check out this new Metronomy video for '16 Beat', shot live in Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris.
• Tom Chaplin off of Keane has only gone and released the video for his new solo single 'Quicksand'. Is there anything he won't do?
• You could listen to Efterklang's new single 'The Colour Of Falling', if you wanted.
• Clipping have released the video for new single 'Air Em Out'.
• Hammerfall have released the lyric video for new single 'The Sacred Vow', taken from their forthcoming new album 'Built To Last', out on 4 Nov.
• Esben And The Witch have released 'Sylvan', the first track from their upcoming new album. "We wanted to paint a picture of a forest in flames", say the band, even though they actually ended up writing a song.
CMU Beef Of The Week #320: Corey Taylor v Your Inability To Focus
All those objections manifested in so many different ways and yet not one of those people thought to just smack phones out of their fans' hands. Thankfully, Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor is here to do that important work on their behalf.
Last month, a video appeared on Slipknot's Facebook page showing Taylor at a gig slapping a phone out of the hands of a guy in the front row mid song. Boom! Down on the floor it goes. No more phone for you, sonny. You'll just have to enjoy this one the old fashioned way.
Taylor's distaste for mobile phone use doesn't just extend to his own live performances though. He hates them in many different situations. Well, definitely at live shows, while walking, and while crossing the road.
"You watch people walk down the street, and they can't get their beaks out of their stupid phones to cross the street", the musician told the Los Angeles Review-Journal in a new interview. "I love watching people get buried in their tiny little technological worlds, and then reality comes and smacks them in the face".
Of course, most of the other anti-phone artists are mainly down on people using their mobiles to film gigs. But, as you might have guessed, Taylor's mobile gripes go further than that. And, actually, don't even include the filming of his shows. Which you might have already assumed, given that in the aforementioned phone slap video the next guy along is happily filming the show and gets away unscathed.
"I don't mind people who take pictures", he said. "I don't even mind people who shoot video. I love that because you're still engaged in the show. A lot of people get the wrong idea, they think that if I just see someone on their phone, I'm trying to rage quit their fun. I'm not trying to do that at all".
See? He's actually of the school of thought that when someone films a live show, that's just their way of enjoying it and engaging with it. Because for some people, having fun and engaging means doing something that totally takes you out of the moment and distracts everyone standing around you. Like I said, it's a school of thought.
Taylor's problem is when people start checking stuff on their phones mid-gig, texting or looking at their social media feeds. Just pay attention to the fucking show will you? And if you don't, well, that provides Taylor with the perfect opportunity to slap that phone right out of your hands.
He explains: "If I see someone, and it's so obvious they're not even there, you've got to poke them with a stick to get their attention sometimes. Sometimes that means smacking the phone out of their hands. You can hate me all you want. It's not going to stop me from smacking those things out of people's hands".
Take heed then. If you're at a Slipknot show and you feel the need to very urgently look at something on your phone, make sure you're not in the front row, or if you are, make it look like you're filming the performance.
Unless, of course, you're playing a round of the new game I've just invented called 'How Many Text Messages Can You Send Before Corey Taylor Slaps Your Phone Out Of Your Hand?' Send in your scores, we'll start a leaderboard.
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