TODAY'S TOP STORY: The back and forth between YouTube and the music industry over article thirteen of the European Copyright Directive continues. You'd be forgiven for thinking that there is nothing left to say about this particular bit of European copyright reform, so many op-eds, open letters and public musings have there been from both sides. And you'd be right. There isn't really anything left to say. But, possibly on the assumption that the last person left talking will get their way, everybody is still talking... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES Music industry responds to YouTube's latest article thirteen claims
LEGAL Gig-goer injured in Skrillex stagedive wins $3.8 million in damages
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Musical commutes make you work harder, reckons Deezer
MEDIA BBC to launch new pop music quiz show
ARTIST NEWS Tekashi 6ix9ine album release postponed after arrest
GIGS & FESTIVALS Halestorm announce November 2019 UK tour
ONE LINERS Weezer, AJ Tracey, Mumford & Sons, more
AND FINALLY... BTS swipe One Direction's cinema record with new concert film
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Music industry responds to YouTube's latest article thirteen claims
The back and forth between YouTube and the music industry over article thirteen of the European Copyright Directive continues. You'd be forgiven for thinking that there is nothing left to say about this particular bit of European copyright reform, so many op-eds, open letters and public musings have there been from both sides. And you'd be right. There isn't really anything left to say. But, possibly on the assumption that the last person left talking will get their way, everybody is still talking.

Gamekeeper turned poacher Lyor Cohen - now YouTube's music chief - made his latest contribution to the debate via the video site's artist blog earlier in the week.

He insisted that the European Union's plans to reform the copyright safe harbour would result in the music industry making less money from YouTube not more. Grassroots artists would suffer most, of course. And the real problem was data and transparency in the streaming sector, not web giants exploiting copyright law loopholes to sneakily build streaming services without paying the going rate royalties to music rights owners.

Cohen also repeated what has seemingly become YouTube's mantra in this debate, which I'm pretty sure can be summarised as: "We love article thirteen except for all the words".

Article thirteen, of course, seeks to reform the safe harbour that says that internet companies cannot be held liable for the copyright infringement of their users. The music industry argues that companies like YouTube have exploited that safe harbour to get better rates from labels, publishers and collecting societies than their rivals like Spotify and Apple. Article thirteen would increase the liabilities of user-upload sites in particular. YouTube argues that those new liabilities would stop it from taking videos from all but the big content firms.

While Cohen's arguments about ongoing music data issues and the lack of transparency in the streaming sector were both sound, the music industry has again hit out at his core claim that article thirteen will stop individual creators from sharing their content online. The music community reckons these claims are "fake news" - even when delivered by ex-record industry execs like Cohen - and that all the proposed safe harbour reform will do is force Google to spend a little more of its money on rights management and licensing deals.

Among those responding to Cohen's latest blog post was Geoff Taylor, boss of the UK record industry's trade body BPI. He began by noting YouTube's current insistence that it supports the basic aims of article thirteen, just not the specifics of how it will work.

"We are pleased", Taylor wrote yesterday, "that YouTube now claims to support the premise of article thirteen - namely that artists and labels should be paid fairly. However, this is difficult to square with its ongoing carpet-bombing propaganda against that provision, which feels like a challenge to the legitimacy of the democratic process".

Insisting that law-makers in Europe have properly considered all the arguments and all the ramifications in the discussions that led up to the drafting of article thirteen, Taylor went on: "YouTube now seems to be trying to scaremonger the EU into reversing decisions taken after a full debate, because it doesn't like the outcome".

The BPI chief added: "Lyor Cohen argues that ad-supported revenues are helping to fuel music industry growth. That's far from our experience. Despite many billions of views, ad-supported video now generates less than half the revenue labels make from vinyl, and only one-sixteenth of the revenue from premium subscriptions. This problem needs to be fixed".

YouTube is part of the solution, Taylor conceded, but only if it accepts the copyright law reforms that the music industry deems necessary. "It's time for YouTube to respect the EU legislative process and focus its energy on working with labels to grow the value generated by recorded music", he said. "For example, through its excellent new YouTube Music subscription service, rather than trying to protect an outdated safe harbour that has given it an unfair advantage over both competing services and individual musicians and creators".

Meanwhile, trade organisations representing labels, publishers and collecting societies across Europe and beyond put out a joint statement yesterday echoing Taylor's response, and also earlier open letters from the bosses of IMPALA and PRS that responded to an article written by YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki.

The joint statement came from ECSA, which represents songwriters in Europe; GESAC, which represents the song right collecting societies in Europe; IMPALA, which represents the indie music sector in Europe; and the global trade bodies for the music publishers and the record companies, ICMP and IFPI respectively.

Together they said: "YouTube's campaign against article thirteen of the Copyright Directive shows a lack of respect for the EU democratic process of law-making. The revisions to the directive have been under discussion for over four years already and the three main institutions of the European Union have all given their position".

"The Commission, Council and Parliament have all reached the same conclusion", they went on. "There is a value gap, also referred to as a transfer of value, where user-upload services are making vast sums of money on creators' content uploaded by their users, but not paying the right holders who own that content fairly".

"The result is a serious distortion in the European digital market place which harms right holders, other digital services and citizens", they continued. "To correct that situation, platforms like YouTube should have to take responsibility for the content they use and monetise, by fairly remunerating their creators and right holders".

Dealing with YouTube's specific arguments in particular, the trade groups note how the Google company "constantly refers menacingly to 'unintended consequences' if the directive is adopted, and threatens to block content, instead of showing willingness to observe laws and fairly remunerate. In fact, the directive will bring fairness".

Then pointing out that thousands of artists, songwriters, publishers, labels and managers have backed the wider music industry's campaign for safe harbour reform, the joint statement concludes that: "YouTube's eleventh-hour campaign of fact-free fear-mongering should be seen for what it is: an attempt to derail the EU democratic legislative process".

So there you have it. The ball is back in YouTube's court. It's currently busy inserting article thirteen warnings into everyone's YouTube app. But I suspect it will still find time to throw back a few more arguments at the bloody music industry as the final bits of deal-making are done in Brussels and Strasbourg to make the new European Copyright Directive law.


Gig-goer injured in Skrillex stagedive wins $3.8 million in damages
A court in LA has awarded a woman who sued Skrillex over a stagedive gone wrong $3.8 million in damages for the injuries she suffered.

Jennifer Fraissl sued the DJ and producer in relation to a show in LA back in 2012. She claimed that when he attempted to crowdsurf at the gig, she suffered head injuries that subsequently led to a stroke. Fraissl also claimed that Skrillex had urged fans to move forward before his stagedive, making it hard for her to remove herself from the situation.

According to CBS, the jury awarded Fraissl damages that totalled $4.5 million, but those were then cut back slightly because "Fraissl's negligence was apportioned at 15%". Of the remaining $3.8 million, most will be paid by Skrillex and his company Lost Boys Touring Inc, while the venue will have to cover $450,000.

Commenting on the ruling, Skrillex said in a statement: "There is nothing more important to me than my fans and their safety at my shows. I want them to have fun and enjoy the music. While I'm disappointed by the jury's decision, I'm glad this process is over. I look forward to getting back to work and delivering new music to my fans".


Musical commutes make you work harder, reckons Deezer
Did you listen to some music on your way into work today? If you did, you're probably far too motivated and productive to be reading this nonsense.

Because musical commutes make for better workers. Says new research commissioned by Deezer. Which would presumably like you to soundtrack your commute with some tracks streamed through its app. These claims are based on a survey of a thousand UK workers about their commuting listening habits and what impact they reckon that has on what happens once they get to work.

Of those surveyed, 90% regularly listened to music on their commute, while 64% reckoned doing so meant they arrived at their work place more motivated and were therefore more productive. Yeah, maybe. Although not if you spend half your day organising and downloading a playlist to listen to on your way home.

Among the younger workers surveyed, 40% said that if - for some terrible unfortunate reason - they missed out on their musical commute, they would arrive at work feeling frustrated and irritable. Others also noted that a musical accompaniment meant they got less annoyed with their fellow commuters and, for those driving in, they got less stressed about traffic jams and traffic lights.

"It's fascinating to see the power music has over our mood before we even get to the office", says Deezer's Adam Read.

Name-checking his service's personalised playlist function Flow, he goes on: "Perhaps if more people listened to their 'Flow' on the commute, we'd see many more happy faces on the bus, train and tube! Moving forward, we hope everyone's journey to and from work is less stressful and their day is more productive with the help of their favourite tunes".

Of course, everyone knows that the best way to stay super relaxed on your commute, and to ensure that you are fully motivated and productive once at work, is to tune in to CMU's Setlist podcast. That'll do it. Hey, you can even listen to it on Deezer, if you want. 1


BBC to launch new pop music quiz show
BBC TV will next year launch a new musical quiz show in which contestants will be asked to name that tune. Hey, they should call it 'Name That Tune'. Or maybe that's been done before. The working title is 'Playlisters'. Let's hope they put some more work into that.

Pop couple Rochelle and Marvin Humes will host the thing, in which three teams will compete to win £10,000 by identifying songs and the artists singing them. The blurb says that "each round will be filled with hit songs from the 60s to today covering every style of pop music". Which is good news. Everything released in the 1950s was shit.

"This is our first standalone show together", sing Rochelle and Marvin Humes in perfect harmony, "and the fact it's a format based on our love of music makes it all the more rewarding. We frequently put each other's knowledge to the test at home, so we cannot wait to see how the contestants get on".

"I can't think of a better way to kick off Saturday nights", adds the BBC's Kate Phillips, who could possibly do with thinking a little harder. "Hosted by the deeply competitive Rochelle and Marvin Humes, it'll have everyone at home shouting out the answers and singing along".

Sounds like super fun. Unfortunately I think I'm going to be busy every Saturday night in 2019, because I'm pretty sure there's some banging my head against a brick wall I need to get done. But you enjoy all that shouting and singing along, won't you?


Approved: Alexa Melo
Back in 2015, Alexa Melo's career in music was starting to gain some traction. Having laid all the groundwork, she'd self-released her debut album and headed out on tour. Then she was diagnosed with a cyst on her vocal cord. Not ideal, but fixable with surgery, and, she was told, there would be no lasting damage. The only problem was that she'd have to rest her voice for a year.

Determined not to give up, she eased herself back into singing a year later by posting cover song performances onto YouTube. She found a following in the process, leading to her putting out an EP of Radiohead covers. Now she's returned to original material, with the release of new EP 'Mute'.

After that period of not being able to work, 'Mute' sees Melo throw her energy fully back into her music. Each song on the EP also has a video created by her close collaborator, videographer Daniel Garcia. The fourth and final of those is for 'Hollow', which you can watch here.

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

Tekashi 6ix9ine album release postponed after arrest
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the release of the debut album from controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine - or Tekashi69 or just 6ix9ine or Daniel Hernandez, if you prefer - has been postponed after his arrest on firearm and racketeering charges.

The rapper was told earlier this week that he faces 32 years to life in prison if found guilty of the charges now on the table, which have seemingly resulted from a five-year investigation into the Nine Trey Bloods street gang, with which Hernandez has alleged links.

His debut album 'Dummy Boy' was due to be released tomorrow, but a statement posted on his Instagram profile yesterday said: "Due to circumstances beyond our control we have postponed the release of Tekashi 6ix9ine's 'Dummy Boy' until further notice".

Hernandez has courted controversy for some time, partly because of the aggressive style of his rapping and the nature of his on-stage persona, and partly because of his previous run ins with the law. He was among the list of artists that campaigners called on Spotify to boycott earlier this year when it was dabbling with its much discussed 'hateful conduct' policy.

Nicki Minaj was also criticised by some for collaborating with Hernandez around the release of her most recent album 'Queen'. She has a guest spot on his 'Dummy Boy' LP and yesterday she put out a message of support for her fellow rapper.

Also on Instagram, she wrote: "For reasons beyond music, the record company will hold off on putting his project out for now. Danny, I love you and am praying for you, your mother, daughter and her mom during this time".

Hernandez's lawyer insists that his client is innocent of the charges he was arrested over last weekend. Attorney Lance Lazzaro said in a statement: "Daniel Hernandez is completely innocent of all charges being brought. An entertainer who portrays a 'gangster image' to promote his music does not make him a member of an enterprise".


Halestorm announce November 2019 UK tour
Halestorm have announced UK shows one year hence, in support of new album 'Vicious'. For the shows in November 2019, they'll also be bringing with them In This Moment and New Year's Day.

"Hey UK freaks", say the band. "You begged for it, and now we are coming for you! Along with our mates in In This Moment and New Years Day, we are super excited to bring this 'Vicious' tour to the UK! This is history in the making and the event you don't wanna miss! Come rock with us!"

Well, they certainly seem very excited about it. And their last UK tour did sell out, so you'd probably better not sit around thinking, 'ah, I've got a whole year to book tickets for this'. Don't rest on your laurels, like you always do. These guys have their diary in order this far in advance, the least you can do is join them. Tickets go on general sale tomorrow morning.

Here are the dates:

24 Nov: Glasgow, Hydro
25 Nov: Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena
27 Nov: Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
28 Nov: London, Alexandra Palace


Weezer, AJ Tracey, Mumford & Sons, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Weezer have announced that they will release their latest album, 'The Black Album', on 1 Mar. Here's new single 'Zombie Bastards'.

• Millencolin have announced that they will release a new album, 'SOS', on 15 Feb. Here's the title track.

• AJ Tracey will release his debut album on 8 Feb. Here's new single 'Doing It'.

• Mumford & Sons have rescheduled those shows they postponed the other day for June next year. So that's all sorted now.

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


BTS swipe One Direction's cinema record with new concert film
One Direction? Who? They're yesterday's news, mate. If they were anyone to be bothered thinking about, they'd hold the record for most concert film cinema tickets sold. And they don't. I mean, they did, until this week, but now it's those K-pop tykes BTS who can brag about that particular achievement.

According to film distributor Trafalgar Releasing, BTS film 'Burn The Stage: The Movie', sold 1.4 million tickets in cinemas worldwide following its release on 15 Nov. This beats the 1.2 million achieved by One Direction's 'Where We Are' film in 2014.

And it's not just a ticket sales record for concert films. The company reckons this is also a record for 'event cinema' in general - that being films put out in cinemas for a limited number of screenings, with often just one screening per cinema.

The BTS film was screened in 2650 cinemas, across 79 territories, grossing $14 million worldwide. In the US, despite only being available in 617 cinemas - about 10% of the country's movie theatres - it was the tenth most popular film out last weekend. This made it the highest grossing concert film of all time in the US. So there's another record for you.

"BTS fans filled AMC theatres across the country", says that US cinema chain's Nikkole Denson-Randolph. "It's exciting to feel the audience's passion for this documentary film, starting from the moment the cinema events were announced".

Confirming the popularity elsewhere, Johnny Carr of the US division of Vue Cinemas said: "At Vue, we were delighted to have welcomed so many fans to screenings of both 'A Head Full Of Dreams' and 'Burn The Stage: The Movie'. Events like these bring in new audiences to experience the power of the big screen. They afford artists the opportunity to give their fanbase a unique and unforgettable night out. The feedback from audiences has been incredible, with many BTS fans booking to see an additional encore performance".

'A Head Full Of Dreams'? What the hell is that? Well, you see, Trafalgar Releasing had another music film out last week: Coldplay's 'A Head Full Of Dreams'. Released in 70 countries for one night only, it managed to shift just 300,000 tickets. Bad luck, losers. Get yourselves in the bin with One Direction.


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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