FRIDAY 18 MARCH 2016
TODAY'S TOP STORY: As expected, Spotify has announced an agreement with the US National Music Publishers Association over all those unpaid mechanical royalties, and the NMPA is "THRILLED" about the deal. So, that's all good then. As much previously reported, the payment of mechanical royalties by on-demand streaming services in the US, to the owners of the songs that have been streamed... [READ MORE]
 
TODAY'S APPROVED: At times the Club Tip moves to foreign climes and this week we'll be checking out this night at the Romy S club in central Stuttgart. Saturday sees DJ W!ld head into town. Playing the Rex in Paris in his younger days, this guy progressed to Circoloco at DC10 in Ibiza and was part of Sven Vath's Cocoon party. A long-serving underground househead, he also... [READ MORE]
 
BEEF OF THE WEEK: PJ Harvey has been compared to Piers Morgan by a Washington, DC politician who took exception to her assessment of the city's Ward 7 area on new single 'The Community Of Hope'. Which seems unnecessarily harsh, whatever he thinks of her lyrics. As previously reported, Harvey's new album 'The Hope Six Demolition Project' features songs that draw upon journeys to a number... [READ MORE]
 
CMU PODCAST: Yesterday CMU Insights presented a session at the Convergence festival considering the challenges facing the media sector in 2016. This week, a special edition of the CMU Podcast includes highlights from the session, with CMU Business Editor Chris Cooke interviewing the people behind some of our favourite music magazines and websites. Look out for the podcast going live this weekend. [INFO HERE]
TOP STORIES Spotify agrees settlement over mechanicals with NMPA
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LEGAL Businesses that offer free wi-fi shouldn't be liable for infringing customers, says European AG Advocate General
Michael Jackson hologram dispute settled
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Sony Music signs SoundCloud licensing deal
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ARTIST NEWS Police confirm death of DJ Derek
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RELEASES The National curate all-star Grateful Dead tribute album for charity
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GIGS & FESTIVALS Latvia and Lithuania confirmed as featured countries at The Great Escape
Laura Mvula announces UK tour
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ONE LINERS Melodic European Labels, Kendrick Lamar, Zayn Malik, more
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AND FINALLY... CMU Beef Of The Week #298: Washington DC v PJ Harvey
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Click JUMP to skip direct to a section of this email or ONLINE to read and share stories on the CMU website (JUMP option may not work in all email readers). For regular updates from Team CMU follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.
 
 
IMPRESSIVE PR - SENIOR MUSIC PUBLICIST (LONDON)
Impressive PR is looking for an experienced senior music publicist. Salary approx £30K dependent on experience.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
THE O2 - SENIOR TECHNICAL MANAGER (LONDON)
AEG is recruiting for a Senior Technical Manager to lead and co-ordinate the Technical Team at The O2, including Building Six.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
MUSIC CONCIERGE - BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER (LONDON)
Music Concierge is looking for a Business Development Manager to join our business development team. This is an opportunity for a sales focused, driven individual to play a key role in the growth of a world class music agency.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
RED ESSENTIAL - DIGITAL ACCOUNT MANAGER (LONDON)
The Digital Account Manager will be the first point of contact for a number of key DSP’s in the digital marketplace, representing Red Essential's distributed labels and artists in liaising with DSP clients to achieve the highest level of profile and opportunity.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
D DIGITAL PR - FREELANCE ONLINE PR SENIOR ACCOUNT MANAGER (LONDON)
D Digital PR is looking for an independent, experienced, creative and dynamic London based freelance online music PR to assist across all accounts as a freelance senior account manager.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
UDR MUSIC - PRODUCTION & PRODUCT DATA ASSISTANT (LONDON)
UDR Music is looking for a Production & Product Data Assistant to join the London branch of this dynamic and independent rock/metal record label.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
BAND ON THE WALL - MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER (MANCHESTER)
An experienced marketing and communications manager is required for busy live music venue Band On The Wall.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
THE FORGE - WEB CONTENT & DIGITAL MARKETING OFFICER (LONDON)
The Forge venue is looking for an enthusiastic, dynamic and dedicated Web Content & Digital Marketing officer to join a small team working in an exciting music venue in the centre of Camden Town.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
LISTEN UP - PRESS MANAGER (LONDON)
We are hiring an experienced Press Manager to join the press team at Listen Up. The candidate will need 2-4 years' experience experience in a similar role with a thorough knowledge of artist and label campaigns.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
SECRETLY GROUP - INTERNATIONAL MARKETING CO-ORDINATOR (LONDON)
Secretly Group are looking for an International Marketing Co-ordinator. The role involves regular travel to mainland Europe, Japan and Australia.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
AUDIO NETWORK - MIX ENGINEER (LONDON)
Audio Network is looking for an audio professional with experience in mixing and mastering music in a wide variety of styles to the highest level. The company has an especially strong reputation for its orchestral and live recordings which are produced at Air and Abbey Road Studios and with composers and artists from around the world.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
   
SUPAPASS - DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER (NORWICH OR LONDON)
SupaPass is looking for an ambitious Digital Marketing Manager to drive growth marketing and conversion rate optimisation for our fast growing startup. We’re a dynamic passionate team, and we're looking for someone who has an intense passion for music and tech and is looking to get involved in an early stage startup to grow the business.

For more information including a full job description and how to apply click here.
 
CMU Jobs is a proven way to recruit the best music business talent for roles across the industry at all levels, from graduate to senior management. To book an ad contact Sam on 020 7099 9060 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
 
A guide to upcoming events from and involving CMU, including seminars, masterclasses and conference sessions from CMU Insights and workshops from CMU:DIY, plus other events where CMU journalists are speaking or moderating.
 
13 Apr 2016 CMU:DIY x Urban Development Industry Takeover Seminar
CLICK FOR INFO
14 Apr 2016 CMU Insights @ Music 4.5: Playlists 2
CLICK FOR INFO
18 Apr 2016 CMU Insights Masterclass: Music Business Explained - For Brands
CLICK FOR INFO
22 Apr 2016 CMU Insights @ Wide Days 2016
CLICK FOR INFO
6 May 2016 CMU Insights @ Canadian Music Week 2016
CLICK FOR INFO
19-20 May 2016 CMU Insights @ The Great Escape 2016
CLICK FOR INFO
 

Spotify agrees settlement over mechanicals with NMPA
As expected, Spotify has announced an agreement with the US National Music Publishers Association over all those unpaid mechanical royalties, and the NMPA is "THRILLED" about the deal. So, that's all good then.

As much previously reported, the payment of mechanical royalties by on-demand streaming services in the US, to the owners of the songs that have been streamed, has been something of a mess to date.

Services can license the mechanical rights in songs under a compulsory licence in America, which sets a standard rate. But under that licence the digital service must alert the rights owner that their songs are being used and arrange to pay the statutory royalties. In many cases this hasn't happened, with the streaming firms arguing that they don't know what songs are embodied in what recordings, because the labels don't tell them.

In most other countries the publishers have a single collecting society that takes all the monies due from the streaming service and works out who to pay them too. But in the US, that system has never existed. There are middle-men agencies to help with the royalty distribution process, and Spotify hired the biggest, the until recently NMPA-owned Harry Fox Agency. But it proved itself to be somewhat incompetent in distributing the money, meaning a significant amount of royalties were never paid.

Wherever the blame for all that may or may not lie, under the compulsory licence the digital service is liable and - as also previously reported - numerous streaming services have now been sued by songwriters who publish their own works on this very issue. Those lawsuits rightly say that if a digital service does not comply with the terms of the compulsory licence, then the licence doesn't apply, and therefore any use of those songwriters' works technically constitutes copyright infringement.

Those lawsuits are seeking class action status, meaning any publisher or self-published songwriter could pursue damages if those actions are successful in court. Spotify's deal with the NMPA is an attempt to contain the litigation, by offering publishers a speedy solution to getting both unpaid royalties and a bit of compensation, while ensuring for the streaming service that the mechanical royalty lawsuits don't keep on piling up for the foreseeable future.

Some publishers, while wanting their unpaid royalties, recognise that America's long inefficient mechanical licensing framework is really behind the unpaid monies, and would therefore rather not punish Spotify et al for failing to comply with the terms of the compulsory licence. Meanwhile the NMPA itself may possibly accept the role its inept music rights agency played in creating this big mess.

Though with this deal and the outstanding class actions now both on the table, we'll get to see how many publishers - and self-publishing songwriters - are willing to just forgive and forget, and how many want to see the digital firms held accountable in court.

Although we don't yet know some of the specific figures in the NMPA/Spotify deal, we do know that, as expected, there are three key elements to the arrangement.

First, the streaming service will work with the trade group to distribute the big pile of unpaid mechanical royalties it's sitting on. Secondly, there will be a separate fund distributed to publishers and songwriters who opt in, a sort of "sorry we screwed up fund". And thirdly, a system will be put in place to ensure that Spotify gets the data it needs to make more efficient mechanical royalty payments in future.

It's widely rumoured that the "soz fund" will be $5 million, while the stack of unpaid royalties is anywhere between $15 million and $25 million, depending on who you talk to.

It is thought that publishers will have three months to sign up to the deal, after which a big data collation and money distribution period will begin. Those opting in won't be able to take any subsequent action against Spotify on the mechanical rights issue, which is the key gain for the streaming service, the aim being to end most of the disputes around these royalties sooner rather than later. Certainly ahead of any IPO for the Spotify company.

Which brings us back to the choice US publishers and songwriters must now make, join the settlement or join one of the class actions, where the prize could be infringement damages of up to $150,000 per song. Spotify will be hoping that, beyond any of the aforementioned goodwill in the publishing community, it can convince even its critics into the deal with the promise of a relatively quick pay day, compared to a long drawn out legal battle.

The streaming service's lawyers are also concurrently trying to have class action status denied to the highest profile of the lawsuits it is fighting, that launched by David Lowery late last year. By setting a deadline for the settlement, and with the class action status of the Lowery litigation still to be determined by the judge, that could provide another incentive for publishers and songwriters to join the settlement party. Even if some feel that the deal as it is currently set up favours the bigger publishers.

Lowery's lawyers Michelman & Robinson pre-empted the NMPA deal by issuing its own statement to the songwriting community earlier this week. The law firm said: "It is impossible to determine the true benefit to songwriters [of the settlement] because the settlement negotiations between NMPA and Spotify have been conducted without court oversight".

"In stark contrast, a class action settlement requires the class counsel - the attorneys representing the songwriters - to submit the settlement terms to a court and provide the court with evidence that the settlement was reached in an arms-length transaction", they went on. "In other words, courts ensure that there was no collusion in the negotiation and that the settlement is fair and reasonable to all class members. Unfortunately those safeguards are absent from the NMPA/Spotify settlement negotiations".

They were also keen to distinguish this NMPA settlement from one the trade group reached with YouTube back in 2011. "That settlement was reached as part of a class action", the lawyers said. "As such, that settlement was submitted to and approved by an independent court. In addition to providing an independent third party arbiter, a class action has the further advantage of narrowing the scope of the claims to the case. The NMPA/Spotify settlement will likely require songwriters to waive all rights to future action and compensation beyond the deal".

Their advice for any self-publishing songwriters now not certain what to do? Get yourself some legal advice, mate. "Before agreeing to be a part of the NMPA/Spotify settlement, you are strongly encouraged to consult with your own counsel, or contact plaintiffs' counsel on the Spotify class action lawsuit. In order to protect your songs, and your livelihood, it is critical that you carefully consider the long-term benefits of the NMPA/Spotify settlement before attaching yourself to it".

But did I mention how THRILLED the NMPA is that it reached a settlement. "I am THRILLED that through this agreement both independent and major songwriters will be able to get what is owed to them", said the organisation's top man David Israelite. "We must continue to push digital services to properly pay for the musical works that fuel their businesses and after much work together, we have found a way for Spotify to quickly get royalties to the right people. I look forward to all NMPA members being paid what they are owed, and I am excited about the creation of a better process moving forward".

Spotify's chief speaking dude Jonathan Prince, meanwhile, said in a statement: "As we have said many times, we have always been committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny. We appreciate the hard work of everyone at the NMPA to secure this agreement and we look forward to further collaboration with them as we build a comprehensive publishing administration system".

Businesses that offer free wi-fi shouldn't be liable for infringing customers, says European AG Advocate General
So, here's a blast from the past, are cafes and shops that provide free wi-fi to their customers then liable if said customers do some of that pesky pirating on the free network?

The wi-fi issue has been part of the online piracy debate since the early days of music and movie companies trying to crack down on illegal file-sharing. What if a pirate uses a neighbour's wi-fi network, or the free internet at a local coffee shop, in order to access or share unlicensed content? Can the owner of the wi-fi network be held liable? If not, couldn't any accused pirate just claim someone else tapped into their wi-fi and did the infringing? But if so, wouldn't that bring an end to businesses making wi-fi available for customers?

According to Torrentfreak, the Advocate General of the European Union's Courts Of Justice has now provided an opinion on this issue as part of a long-running case focused on publically accessible wi-fi networks, stemming from litigation filed against a German shop owner by Sony Music back in 2010 after one of his customers infringed the major's copyrights over his network.

A lower German court was inclined to say that the shop owner should be held liable for his customer's infringement, but with the case having gone up to the European level, Advocate General Maciej Szpunar - whose opinion is not binding but is influential on the ECJ - reckons that the safe harbours enjoyed by internet service providers should extend to companies offering free wi-fi.

Though, adds Szpunar, a local court could in theory issue an injunction ordering a company offering free wi-fi to, in some way, restrict copyright infringing traffic, though any such requests would have to be "fair and balanced".

And a "make your entire network secure" order shouldn't qualify for that, he says, because "any general obligation to make access to a wi-fi network secure, as a means of protecting copyright on the internet could be a disadvantage for society as a whole and one that could outweigh the potential benefits for rightsholders".

It remains to be seen how the ECJ responds, but this could be a landmark ruling on a long running debate.

--------------------------------------------------

Michael Jackson hologram dispute settled
A legal dispute stemming from a performance by a hologram version of Michael Jackson at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards has been settled.

As previously reported, Alki David's Hologram USA accused John Textor's Pulse Evolution, which staged the Billboard performance, of patent infringement. David claimed that his company was the exclusive licensee of the 'hologram' technology employed - really an updated version of the nineteenth century theatre trick 'Pepper's Ghost - in the US.

In a countersuit, Pulse claimed that David was a "notorious infringer of intellectual property rights" and, anyway, the German company through with Hologram USA had gained its licensing deal had now gone out of business. Textor also later filed another lawsuit accusing David of cyberstalking.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the settlement between the two companies puts an end to both the infringement and the cyberstalking cases. In a slightly loaded statement, a spokesperson for Hologram USA said: "Though the terms of the agreement are confidential, we were very happy to receive Pulse's settlement".

This doesn't mean a complete end to the controversy around the hologram-esque technology though. THR also reports that Ian O'Connell, a British businessman who was involved in the company that originally built the technology used by Hologram USA, is now suing David's company for a variety of things, including patent infringement, breach of contract, tortious interference and fraudulent misrepresentation.

Sony Music signs SoundCloud licensing deal
Sony Music has seemingly got around, finally, to signing a licensing deal with SoundCloud, meaning it now has all three majors on board. Maybe now it can get on with launching that subscription service it keeps banging on about. All the fucking time.

According to The Verge, Sony's gone for the old classic 'licensing and a bit of equity' deal. How much SoundCloud had to give up hasn't been disclosed, but it's likely the label drove a hard bargain. With Warner Music and the indie label-repping Merlin already on board, Universal signed up to all things SoundCloud in January, having been awaiting the outcome of the ultimately settled legal action by PRS.

The Sony deal has been hard fought though, with the label going so far as to start pulling down its content from the website when negotiations weren't going as it would like last year. It was rumoured that, despite SoundCloud having ad-funded and subscription tiers in the works, Sony felt that neither had the potential to provide much revenue.

Whether or not those concerns have been completely put to rest remains to be seen. But in this make or break year for SoundCloud, this deal is vital.

  Vigsy's Club Tip: DJ W!ld at Romy S
At times the Club Tip moves to foreign climes and this week we'll be checking out this night at the Romy S club in central Stuttgart.

Saturday sees DJ W!ld head into town. Playing the Rex in Paris in his younger days, this guy progressed to Circoloco at DC10 in Ibiza and was part of Sven Vath's Cocoon party. A long-serving underground househead, he also has a huge production output on 2020, Resonance, and his own Wild label.

He will be joined at Romy S by purveyors of deep and tech house Township Rebellion, plus Wagner, Mürle & Jakubowski, who join together "to conquer the world's musical landscape", and also local lads Chronos.

Saturday 19 Mar, Romy S, Langestrasse 7, 70173 Stuttgart, Germany, 11pm-7am. More info here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column in 2016 by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.
CLICK HERE to read and share online
 

Police confirm death of DJ Derek
Police have confirmed the death of Derek Serpell-Morris, aka DJ Derek, who went missing from his home in Bristol last summer.

Starting out as a reggae DJ in the late 1970s, DJ Derek performed at venues and festivals around the UK until his retirement in 2013 aged 72. He was reported missing by his family in July last year, prompting a nationwide search. Human remains found in woodland near the Cribbs Causeway shopping centre in Bristol last week were yesterday formally confirmed to be those of Serpell-Morris.

"Derek's family have been updated and our thoughts remain with them at this very difficult time", said Avon & Somerset Police in a statement. "A post-mortem examination carried out earlier this week was inconclusive and further tests are being progressed, but we're not treating Derek's death as suspicious. We're continuing to carry out further inquiries on behalf of the coroner's office".

Derek's older brother Gerald told the Bristol Post: "I was amazed how much better I felt when the news came through. The last seven months have been a huge strain, not knowing. The whole family has been affected by what has happened. The worst part was not knowing, the uncertainty and the knowledge that you don't know where he is and that he may never be found. The sense of relief that his body has been found can only be understood by somebody who has been through what we have".

An event celebrating the life of the DJ is being planned for the end of April, with full details still to be announced.

The National curate all-star Grateful Dead tribute album for charity
The National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner have announced their second compilation for AIDS and HIV charity the Red Hot Organisation, the follow-up to 2009's 'Dark Was The Night'. Titled 'Day Of The Dead', the 59 track compilation features songs originally by The Grateful Dead re-recorded by over 60 different artists.

Due for release through 4AD on 20 May, the six hour long album took over four years to record and will be released digitally, as a five CD set and as a limited edition vinyl boxset. It's hoped that the release will have similar success to 'Dark Was The Night', which has to date raised over $1.5 million for the charity.

"They're one of the great, 'do everything' bands, take from whatever you want and warp it into something new", says one contributor, TV On The Radio's Tunde Adebimpe, of The Grateful Dead. "I'm sure that some of the space rock and psyche DNA of the band has seeped into what we do".

"I have worked with a few people whose minds are brilliant and complicated, musically", adds Will Oldham, aka Bonnie 'Prince' Billy, who appears on several tracks. "There's something about the Dead that allows these big-brained pickers to just chill the fuck out and feel good about it. There's basic types of song forms and melodies that I have an affinity for, and the Grateful Dead have helped other people find their ways into these musics. So it isn't as hard to establish connections with folks out there that might not otherwise share some of what I am digging into".

Other artists who feature on the record include Mumford & Sons, Justin Vernon, The Flaming Lips, Courtney Barnett, Fucked Up, Perfume Genius, Sharon Van Etten, The War On Drugs, Kurt Vile, Angel Olsen, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Stephen Malkmus And The Jicks, and The Grateful Dead's Bob Weir.

Obviously you'll have to wait to hear the compilation, but you can check out the original versions of the songs on it in this Spotify playlist compiled by 4AD.

Latvia and Lithuania confirmed as featured countries at The Great Escape
The Great Escape has announced that the music industries of Latvia and Lithuania will be under the spotlight this year, with Music Export Latvia and The Lithuanian Music Business Association the lead international partners of this year's edition of the showcase festival.

A number of artists from the two countries will appear at TGE as part of the market spotlight programme, with Lithuania's Without Letters and Alina Orlova, and Carnival Youth and Howling Owl from Latvia, already confirmed. Representatives from both countries' respective music industries will also be amongst the delegation, looking to connect with TGE's business audience from across the world.

Confirming the alliance between TGE and the two Eastern European markets, Vaidas Stackevičius, director of the Lithuanian Music Business Association, told reporters: "The Great Escape caught us by surprise offering to focus on our countries, we hadn't expected it to happen so quickly! But this is what The Great Escape is all about; discovering new talents, exploring new territories and delivering surprises. We are very proud and look forward to being the lead country focus together with Latvia at the festival for new music".

Meanwhile Agnese Cimuska, CEO of Music Export Latvia, added: "The Great Escape was one of the first music industry events [in which] Music Export Latvia started to take part. It was only three years ago and now to be one of the focus countries shows that we have made our mark very quickly. It was possible because of the open-minded people working at The Great Escape. We appreciate their trust in us, our industries and talents".

Other announcements from TGE HQ yesterday included an alliance with the Raindance Film Festival, which will see a small programme of music-based movies screened as part of the proceedings. That includes 'Suede: Night Thoughts', the film that accompanied the band's new album earlier this year. The TGE screening will be followed by a conversation between the film's director Roger Sargent, actor Alex Wilton, who appears in the movie, and Suede frontman Brett Anderson.

TGE 2016 takes place from 19-21 May with, of course, CMU Insights @ TGE in the middle of the convention proceedings. Find out more about what will be happening there here and then get your delegates pass here.

--------------------------------------------------

Laura Mvula announces UK tour
Laura Mvula has announced a UK tour to promote her upcoming new album, 'The Dreaming Room'. Dates kick off in May, following a sold out London show next week.

The first single from the album, 'Overcome', which features Nile Rodgers, is out now. Watch the video here.

Tour dates:

14 May: Leeds, Wardrobe
15 May: Liverpool, O2 Academy2
16 May: Glasgow, Oran Mor
18 May: Manchester, Gorilla
20 May: Gateshead, Sage 2
21 May: Birmingham, O2 Institute2
22 May: Norwich, Waterfront
23 May: Brighton, Theatre Royal
10 Jul: London, Somerset House

Melodic European Labels, Kendrick Lamar, Zayn Malik, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Manchester-based label services business Melodic European Labels has announced the appointment of Natasha Foley as its new Promotions Manager. "I'm delighted", says Foley. The company currently works with labels including Carpark, Anticon and Bar None.

• Kendrick Lamar got into a rap battle with some kids in Manchester. This has something to do with shoes. Worth watching anyway.

• Zayn [Malik] has released another new solo track. Get him, eh? Here's 'Befour'.

• Slayer have released a seven minute video for new track 'You Against You'. It's not for the squeamish.

• That new Adam Lambert track 'Welcome To The Show' is out now. Have a listen.

• Massive Attack have put out another new celeb-fronted video. This one, for 'Ritual Spirit', stars Kate Moss.

• Wiley announced yesterday that he'll be releasing new album, 'Godfather', on 2 Sep. "I got good features and producers on this album too", he tweeted. "Ones that make total sense".

• Shura will release her long-awaited debut album, 'Nothing's Real', on 8 Jul. Here's Four Tet's remix of previous single 'Touch' to celebrate.

CMU Beef Of The Week #298: Washington DC v PJ Harvey
PJ Harvey has been compared to Piers Morgan by a Washington, DC politician who took exception to her assessment of the city's Ward 7 area on new single 'The Community Of Hope'. Which seems unnecessarily harsh, whatever he thinks of her lyrics.

As previously reported, Harvey's new album 'The Hope Six Demolition Project' features songs that draw upon journeys to a number of cities around the world over a four year period. And, unlike Taylor Swift on 'Welcome To New York', it's fairly safe to say she's not going to be accused of writing jingles for the local tourist boards.

The musician previously gave a snapshot of Kosovan capital Pristina on 'The Wheel', and last week turned her attention to the capital city of the US with 'The Community Of Hope'. Specifically one of its poorer districts, Ward 7, in which she describes one of its main streets, Benning Road, as "the well-known pathway of death", and the area as a whole as "just drug town, just zombies".

With Washington Council elections coming up, local news outlet DCist hit upon the idea of asking those campaigning for the Ward 7 seat what they thought of Harvey's song. And, guess what, not one of them said, "She's right, what a shithole".

"I will not dignify this inane composition with a response", said former mayor Vince Gray, getting the ball rolling rather slowly. Meaning the soundbite-giving was really left to his campaign treasurer Chuck Thies, who deigned that "PJ Harvey is to music what Piers Morgan is to cable news".

Told you it was a bit harsh. I mean, Harvey had at least been and looked at the thing she was having an opinion on. Also, she hasn't been sacked from music.

"I really didn't get the song. I didn't", said another interviewee, Grant Thompson, adding that he thought Harvey "needs to see more of the city". Though I'm not sure Harvey wrote about Ward 7 just because it was the only bit of Washington, DC she'd seen.

Thompson did come closest to accepting Harvey's observations though - picking up her claim that the area only has one sit-down restaurant (apparently it has three, but whatever). "One of the promises I'm making is that we're going to bring more restaurants to Ward 7. We're the last frontier in terms of development. We have one grocery store in the entire ward. I attribute that to poor leadership".

Grocery stores are another subject of Harvey's song, specifically the refrain of "they're gonna put a Walmart here". Some in Washington had seen that as a positive, rather than the negative Harvey presents it as. The US supermarket chain had been offered a deal to build stores in the city, provided two were in poorer areas (one being Ward 7) where there is little provision of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Walmart backed out of that deal in January, reports the Washington Post. Unfortunately, that news came after Harvey had recorded the song, which means at the point of its release the song is already out of date.

Though if the song is about Ward 7 as Harvey observed it when she was actually there, I'm not sure it having a few facts wrong now is that big an issue. I mean, no one complains that 'Waterloo' by Abba is incorrect, even though Napoleon didn't actually surrender at the Battle Of Waterloo but in Rochefort a month later. I'm sure Abba would have got it right if they'd had all the information at the time they wrote the song in mid-1815.

Elsewhere, existing Ward 7 council member Yvette M Alexander was quick to point out that the song didn't actually focus entirely on that one area, tweeting: "There were several references from both 7 and 8. I respect all artist forms of expression, but this song does not reflect Ward 7!"

No, it's actually a damning assessment of two areas of the city where US government sits and the president lives. Let's get some perspective.

A more detailed review of Harvey's lyrics came from a Ward 7-based charity that shares its name with the song. Unlike the politicians, it was happier to agree with what she had seen, noting that for 35 years it has "been tackling some of the challenges you named in your song", but added that her "picture is also incomplete".

"On your tour of DC, I am sure you saw marbled halls of the best institutions in the United States", said the organisation in an open letter. "I know from your songs that you saw the places where the imperfections of those institutions are most obvious. But we've found our neighbours struggling with drugs aren't zombies - they are living, breathing, feeling humans".

It adds: "By calling out this picture of poverty in terms of streets and buildings and not the humans who live here, have you not reduced their dignity? Have you not trashed the place that, for better or worse, is home to people who are working to make it better, who take pride in their accomplishments".

PJ Harvey hasn't commented on any of this, so we don't know if that was her intention. I'm going to go out on a limb and say it wasn't though. However, I would also guess that she had hoped to ignite this sort of debate, having thrown spotlights on areas of the world that might seem forgotten to those that know them. It'll be interesting to see what further discussion arises as we hear more from the album, which is due for release next month.

Watch the video for 'The Community Of Hope', which contains footage of Ward 7 from Harvey's trip to Washington, DC filmed by filmmaker Seamus Murphy, here.

 
ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
CHRIS COOKE | MD & Business Editor
Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
Email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
Email sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
   
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of 3CM UnLimited she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
Email caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
Send ALL press releases to musicnews@unlimitedmedia.co.uk - this is checked daily by the whole editorial team meaning your release will definitely get to the right person.

For details of the training and consultancy services offered by CMU Insights click here - Andy and Chris are also available to provide music business comment, just email them direct.

To promote your company or advertise jobs or services to the entire UK music industry via the CMU bulletin or website contact Sam on 020 7099 9060 or email ads@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
© UnLimited Media, a division of 3CM Enterprises Ltd

CMU, UnLimited Media, Kemp House, 152 City Road, London EC1V 2NX
t: 020 7099 9050 (editorial) 020 7099 9060 (sales)

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