TODAY'S TOP STORY: The boss of Google's safe harbour dwelling YouTube has been talking copyright directive. Because, as you all surely vividly remember, the European Parliament voted through the latest draft of the new European Copyright Directive last month - including the controversial safe harbour reform contained in what is called 'article thirteen'... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES YouTube boss urges YouTubers to instigate one last push against article thirteen
LABELS & PUBLISHERS SOCAN launches new services business Dataclef
MEDIA Simon Mayo confirms he is quitting Radio 2
RELEASES New Beirut album out in February
GIGS & FESTIVALS Swedish House Mafia announce 2019 reunion
Haiku Salut announce secret show and VR experience
ONE LINERS Devin Townsend, Dawbell, Nine Inch Nails, more
AND FINALLY... Cardi B records an ASMR video, because that's a thing in music now
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YouTube boss urges YouTubers to instigate one last push against article thirteen
The boss of Google's safe harbour dwelling YouTube has been talking copyright directive. Because, as you all surely vividly remember, the European Parliament voted through the latest draft of the new European Copyright Directive last month - including the controversial safe harbour reform contained in what is called 'article thirteen'.

At the time, you may also recall, YouTube told the world that "we've always said that more innovation and collaboration are the best way to achieve a sustainable future for the European news and creative sectors" and that "we're committed to continued close partnership with these industries". By which, of course, the company really meant "we're going to tell grassroots creators that article thirteen will kill the internet". It's all so obvious with hindsight, isn't it?

YouTube boss Susan Wojcicki penned a blog post to the YouTube creator community yesterday full of stats brags about the past and product promises for the future, but somewhere in the middle she found time for a good old fashioned article thirteen moan. That article, as noted, seeks to increase the copyright liabilities of user-upload platforms like YouTube, which have traditionally claimed protection under the copyright safe harbour whenever users upload copyright infringing content to their websites.

Safe harbour reform, of course, was the top priority for the wider music industry as soon as the European Commission announced plans for a new copyright directive. Record companies, music publishers, collecting societies and organisations representing artists, songwriters and managers lobbied hard to first get safe harbour reform in there at all, and then to have it beefed up a little as the European Parliament discussed the proposals.

All of this began because the music industry accused YouTube of exploiting the safe harbour in order to pressure music rights owners into licensing deals that paid much lower royalties than the deals they were concurrently signing with the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. That difference in the monies generated by these deals was dubbed the 'value gap'.

For a time it looked like article thirteen might cause the whole copyright directive to collapse, with the Parliament voting against the proposals in July on the back of machine-powered campaigning by the tech lobby. But then last month the Parliament passed the latest draft complete with its safe harbour reforms.

It's not an entirely done deal just yet though. The directive is now in its final stage in Brussels, where the Parliament must agree the final wording of each new copyright rule with the European Commission and the EU Council. Once passed, the directive will then need to be implemented at a national level in each member state of the European Union.

It's at that point that the internet will die, reckons doom peddler Wojcicki, in her big blog post full of woe to the YouTuber kids. "Article thirteen as written threatens to shut down the ability of millions of people - from creators like you to everyday users - to upload content to platforms like YouTube", she says. "And it threatens to block users in the EU from viewing content that is already live on the channels of creators everywhere".

And don't be thinking that this just affects all the cat videos soundtracked by some top pop record that the cat owner ripped off. And then slowed down to avoid having their video blocked by YouTube's Content ID system, which is famously utilised by cat-hating pop stars everywhere.

"This includes YouTube's incredible video library of educational content", reckons the Google exec. "Such as language classes, physics tutorials and other how-to's". No! Not the physics tutorials! Fuck me, I didn't know it was going to affect the physics tutorials. If we're not careful, I might have to start reading books again.

Of course, what Wojcicki really means is, "when all you fuckers rip off other people's content, at the moment only you can get sued, but if article thirteen goes through, there's a chance we'll get sued too". The people behind the language classes, physics tutorials and how-to guides that are all original content would never get sued, so neither would YouTube. The problem is all the content uploaded that does rip off other people's work. Those uploaders usually aren't worth suing, but YouTube probably is, once that's an option.

The actual impact article thirteen will have on platforms like YouTube depends on how much you believe blanket licensing deals with the music and entertainment industries, beefed up Content ID type technologies and maybe a little more human moderation can reduce the risk of such platforms being successfully sued for infringement. Either by reducing the amount of rip off content being uploaded or - more likely - by convincing a judge down the line that an accused platform did everything it realistically could to stop infringing videos being shared.

Those campaigning for article thirteen argue that this can be achieved, ie that there are practical measures that will mean new liabilities don't result in new litigation. It might require YouTube to invest a little more of its profits into honing its technology and business, but such investments would allow user-upload platforms to continue operating while being compliant with the proposed new rules. Maybe if Google had made those investments already, some in the music industry would argue, we wouldn't have got to this point of demanding new laws.

However, Wojcicki - employing a little more drama - argues otherwise. "The proposal could force platforms, like YouTube, to allow only content from a small number of large companies", she writes to all the non-large companies reading her blog post. "It would be too risky for platforms to host content from smaller original content creators, because the platforms would now be directly liable for that content".

Insisting that YouTube has actually already spent plenty of money to help more traditional content companies manage their rights on her platform, she muses on: "We realise the importance of all rightsholders being fairly compensated, which is why we built Content ID and a platform to pay out all types of content owners. But the unintended consequences of article thirteen will put this ecosystem at risk".

Concluding her article thirteen moan, Wojcicki first employs a little of the conciliatory language YouTube used on the day of the most recent European Parliament vote. "We are committed to working with the industry to find a better way", she insists.

But then she calls on her audience to raise arms and attempt a last minute strike against the EU's safe harbour reforms, partly by employing the misleading and simplistic hashtags that dominated the conversation back in July. Noting that the final draft of the directive was now being agreed, she writes "it's important to speak up now".

To that end she urges her readers to "take a moment to learn more about how it could affect your channel and take action immediately. Tell the world through social media (#SaveYourInternet) and your channel why the creator economy is important and how this legislation will impact you".


SOCAN launches new services business Dataclef
A recent trend in the not-always-necessarily-dull world of collective licensing has been certain collecting societies launching new divisions or businesses that provide an assortment of rights management and royalty processing services to other collecting societies. And also directly to music publishers, songwriters and other rights owners, beyond the usual licensing and royalties gubbins societies do for their members, and often beyond the confines of each society's home territory, where their focus would traditionally have been.

Canadian performing rights organisation SOCAN has been one of those societies, and yesterday it announced the launch of a new "services arm" called Dataclef.

That new business will, and I quote, empower "customers to thrive in the hyper-competitive modern music industry with revolutionary, fully-customisable service suites that simplify complex back-office and technology tasks". And if you enjoyed that sentence, note that the Dataclef Suite will allow rights-holder customers to "unlock maximum back office ROI with flexible and infinitely scalable multi-territory, multi-right licensing and royalty tools".

"Dataclef is a milestone for SOCAN and the music industry on a global level", says the society's chief Eric Baptiste. "For the first time ever, organisations can go to one place for state-of-the-art licence administration, worldwide reporting, and intelligent royalty tracking and delivery, improving their efficiency and bottom-line to return superior results".

An early client of Dataclef is the Indian Performing Rights Society, which will receive so called back office services from SOCAN's new business.

It's Chairman Javed Akhtar confirmed the tie-up, saying: "IPRS is excited to work with Dataclef to leverage their data and systems for maximised efficiency and royalty delivery to our members. Dataclef's revolutionary systems and database are unlike anything we've had access to before. We anticipate many years of mutual success working with their impressive technology and team".


Simon Mayo confirms he is quitting Radio 2
Simon Mayo has announced he is departing Radio 2, just months after his drive time show was revamped to include Jo Whiley as a co-presenter, a change that aimed to introduce a little more gender diversity into the BBC station's day-time schedule.

The revamp - and the pairing of Mayo and Whiley - was generally panned by critics and seemed to be unpopular with many listeners too. There were also reports of tensions behind the scenes, with some arguing that management had fucked up a popular show in order to tick some boxes, albeit as part of an important move to try and get a little more diversity on a station with a very uniform line-up.

Officially Mayo is quitting so he can spend more time on his projects beyond broadcasting. He said: "Obviously, I'm very sad to be leaving Radio 2 and my good friend Jo. However, 2019 looks like being incredibly exciting for me. I have a new two book deal with Transworld, my children's series 'Itch' is being filmed for TV in Australia in early 2019, and I'm continuing to develop my novel 'Mad Blood Stirring' for a movie with screenwriter Jack Thorne".

He later addressed the rumours that the Whiley pairing had motivated his departure from the BBC station on Twitter. "Maybe it needs to be said, maybe not, but so there is no room for argument I'll be clear", he wrote. "I've loved working with the exceptional Jo Whiley and when the show was 'reconfigured' she was my first and only choice. Some of the abuse she has had here has been appalling. Support for a show is one thing, assaulting the dignity of a warmhearted and loyal friend is another".

Mayo will continue to host his film show with Mark Kermode on BBC Radio 5 Live, while Whiley will return to an evening slot on Radio 2. Which means that a new drive time host will now be sought. Sara Cox, previously tipped for the vacant breakfast show slot that subsequently went to Zoe Ball, is favourite for the new late afternoon programme.


Approved: Desire
Formed in 2009 by vocalist Megan Louise with Chromatics' Johnny Jewel and Nat Walker, Desire released their debut - and to date only - album, 'Desire', in 2009. Two years later, they gained wider recognition when one of their tracks, 'Under Your Spell', was used on the soundtrack to Ryan Gosling movie 'Drive'.

Although the odd new track has appeared here and there on other soundtracks since then, the project has mostly been quiet for the best part of the last decade. But now they're back with the first single from a second album, which is set for release next year.

"'Tears From Heaven' is a song about crossing the divide between being a voyeur on the sidelines of your own life and taking action to make your own destiny", says the singer of the new single. "Heaven is a metaphor for life after death. A leap into the great unknown".

"If you never knock on the door", she goes on, "it will never open. In the song, the tears represent raindrops pouring down from the clouds washing away all of the dirt and confusion. The mundane obstacles of the daily routine are pushed aside for a clearer vision of what's to come".

Listen to 'Tears From Heaven' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

New Beirut album out in February
Zach Condon has announced that he will release his fifth album as Beirut on 1 Feb next year. It will be called 'Gallipoli'.

Of the inspiration for the album's title track, which is out now, Condon says: "We stumbled into the medieval-fortressed island town of Gallipoli one night and followed a brass band procession fronted by priests carrying a statue of the town's saint through the winding narrow streets behind what seemed like the entire town. The next day I wrote the song entirely in one sitting, pausing only to eat".

Following the album's release, there will be gigs, tickets for which go on sale this Friday. Here are the UK dates:

10 Apr: Manchester, Albert Hall
11 Apr: Leeds Town Hall
12 Apr: London, Hammersmith Apollo


Swedish House Mafia announce 2019 reunion
Six years after they announced plans to split - which then came to fruition in 2013 - Swedish House Mafia confirmed yesterday that they will reunite for a show in Stockholm next May.

Axel 'Axwell' Hedfors, Steve Angello and Sebastian Ingrosso performed together for the first time since 2013 at this year's Ultra Music Festival, where they appeared for an unbilled set. Next year's full scale reunion show will also see them unveil new music, they said at yesterday's press conference.

Originally founded back in 2008, the trio became one of the biggest names in dance music, bowing out while still on a commercial high. Hedfors and Ingrosso continued to work together as Axwell Ingrosso, and first revealed plans to reunite with Angello at a show in New York earlier this year.

The big reunion concert is set to take place at the Tele2 Arena in Stockholm on 4 May. Tickets go on sale on Saturday at midnight.

You can watch the full press conference here - although I should probably warn you that once you've found your way through the lengthy countdown at the beginning, it's all in Swedish. I did hear someone say "fuck it" at one point though.


Haiku Salut announce secret show and VR experience
Haiku Salut recently released a virtual reality video for their single 'Occupy'. What's that though, you don't have a VR set up in your house on which to watch said video? Don't worry, the band are playing a show next week where they'll have all the equipment on hand for you to borrow.

The performance will take place at an undisclosed London location on 2 Nov, before which attendees will be given the opportunity to step inside the video via a VR headset.

"The feeling of 'Occupy' is about space and ownership and empowerment, so the memories that appear in the video are ones of joy and union", says Haiku Salut's Sophie Barkerwood. "Having a video in virtual reality feels otherworldly, to experience it feels like you're stepping into a portal to another plane, elsewhere. With the track ultimately exploring ideas of pride and occupation of space, 'Occupy' and VR was the perfect marriage".

Tickets for the show are free, but you'll need to register here. Or you can stay in the boring old real world and watch the 2D version of the video from the comfort of your own home here.


Devin Townsend, Dawbell, Nine Inch Nails, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Devin Townsend has signed a new deal with Century Media's Inside Out Music label. Next year will mark their 20th anniversary of working together. "In an industry that is tenuous at best, we need to make alliances", says Townsend. "I'm proud to say I've been with Inside Out for many of those years that have defined me as an artist". He is set to release a new solo album through the label, titled 'Empath', next year.

• Artist managers Dan Andrew and Matt Rowsell have announced that they are launching a new record label called Be-Known Music, with the backing of Sony Music's The Orchard. Their first signings are Eliza And The Bear and Lauran Hibberd, whose new single 'What Do Girls Want?' is out now.

• PR agency Dawbell has promoted Laura Sinclair to Head Of PR. Head Of Music And Entertainment Kate Etteridge will take on the day-to-day running of the music team.

• Nine Inch Nails have released a dizzying new live video, featuring a performance of 'Ahead Of Ourselves' from their current US tour.

• Paloma Faith has released the video for new single 'Loyal'.

• Bring Me The Horizon have released new single 'Wonderful Life', featuring vocals from Cradle Of Filth's Dani Filth.

• Holychild have released new single 'Carmelo'. "'Carmelo' is a song I wrote to a family member who sexually assaulted me", says the duo's Liz Nistico. "I didn't write it for you, I didn't write it for the internet, it's written for him, and me. Now that we're releasing it, I hope this song is of some comfort to anyone else who has gone through something similar".

• Aadae has released new single 'Carousel Horses'. The song is about "that sinking feeling when everything appears to be moving but you feel really stuck and static", she says. "It's like you are riding a burning carousel with no pause button. I guess it's always fun in the beginning but then eventually all the lights burn out".

• Pom Poko have announced that they will release their debut album, 'Birthday', on 22 Feb. Here's new single 'My Blood'.

• The Vaccines have announced UK tour dates for early 2019, which will finish up at The Roundhouse in London on 8 Feb. Tickets go on sale on Friday.

• Architect David Adjaye has been announced as the designer for next year's BRIT Award trophies. "The BRITs are an iconic, eponymous celebration of British creativity and a true testimony to the wealth of talent working and supporting, making and producing and creating music both in this country and globally", he reckons. "It is an absolute pleasure to be given the opportunity to participate in honouring fellow creatives in this way".

• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.


Cardi B records an ASMR video, because that's a thing in music now
Hey, do you remember when ASMR wasn't a thing you needed to know about in the music industry? Well bad luck, those days are over. It's the hot new promotional technique. Everyone's at it. Well, two people I can immediately think of. The latest of whom is Cardi B.

The rapper has conducted an entire interview for W Magazine's YouTube channel in a whisper, aiming to trigger the tingling sensation some people experience when watching such videos. She also purrs, plays with some toys, rubs the microphones a lot, and waves her hand in front of the camera. The latter I'm pretty sure is not an ASMR technique.

This is actually the latest in a long running series of ASMR clips from W Magazine, which also recently featured Alessia Cara (so I guess that's three people I can think of). At the start, Cardi B says that she watches ASMR videos every day, something her husband Offset apparently finds "very strange". I don't know whether that means she's any better at creating the ASMR experience, but it does seem that she has some idea of what she wants to achieve.

The other musical type dabbling in this space was Paramore's Hayley Williams, who recently fondled a box of her own brand of hair dye and noisily ate crisps in what she billed as an ASMR video. One person who experiences the sensation told me that it was so bad that it was "offensive". If the comments under Cardi B's video are anything to go by - not a sentence I'm used to typing - her effort has been a bit more successful.

You can watch it yourself here and see what you think.


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.
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