|WEDNESDAY 23 JANUARY 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Recording Industry Association Of America has made a submission to the US Trade Representative outlining what its priorities would be in any post-Brexit US/UK trade talks. The nine page document can be pretty much summarised as follows: "UK copyright law is great, can we have some of that?"... [READ MORE]|
RIAA bigs up UK copyright law in post-Brexit trade talks submission
Yeah, all you Remoaners in the British music community, imagine if the outcome of Brexit was stronger copyright protection for all your sound recordings Stateside. That'd put all your remoaning into perspective wouldn't it? I mean, there'd be no food in the shops or electricity to cook it with, but you'd get US radio royalties and piracy sites would be web-blocked on both sides of the Atlantic. So, you know, swings and roundabouts.
The US Trade Representative put out a call last November for input on any future post-Brexit UK trade talks and the deadline for submissions was last week. In its submission - published by Torrentfreak - the RIAA summarises just how important the UK market is for the US record industry, and vice versa, before turning primarily to copyright matters.
It notes a number of features of UK copyright law that put the British record industry in a stronger position than its US counterpart, suggesting that America might want to consider adopting those features to strengthen any post-Brexit trading relationship.
This includes the controls that come with the sound recording copyright. UK law provides a formal making available control and a full-on communication control for sound recordings. The latter of which means, in more practical terms, radio stations pay royalties to record companies and recording artists in the UK, which they don't in the US.
And then there's web-blocking. Forcing internet service providers to block access to copyright infringing websites has become a preferred anti-piracy tactic for the music industry. But web-blocks are not currently available in the US and proposals that they should be all the way back in 2012 proved very controversial indeed.
"Website blocking has been successful in the United Kingdom", the RIAA notes, "with 63 music sites being ordered to be blocked following music right holders' initiatives. On average this produces a reduction in the use of those sites by UK users by approximately 75%".
Elsewhere, the record industry trade group asks that America's approach to copyright exceptions - specific scenarios where the copyright doesn't apply - not be exported to the UK under any trade arrangement. The US has the ambiguous and wide-reaching exception of 'fair use', whereas in the UK, like the rest of Europe, exceptions tend to be narrower and more specific. As it should be, reckons the RIAA.
Of course, not everything is super peachy with UK copyright law, with safe harbours a problem in both North America and Europe as far as the music industry is concerned.
Except if the still-in-the-works European Copyright Directive was to get through, and if it contained the safe harbour reform lobbied for by the music industry, and if a post-Brexit UK government still implemented the directive here, then - in the RIAA's eyes - the British copyright system would be better on safe harbours too. And would then presumably promote the idea of that element of UK copyright being adopted under any trade alliance as well.
That would mean that the music industry would be pushing for the last bit of European Union law to impact on UK law to impact on one of Britain's first big post-EU trade deals so to impact on US law. Not that American negotiators and law-makers are likely to take on the tech lobby back home just to placate the pesky tedious Brexiting Brits.
And, needless to say, all of this is based on a mountain of IFs.
Like IF we actually Brexit. And IF music industry concerns would really register with any trade deal negotiators on either side of the Atlantic. And IF the UK has a functioning government post-March to even negotiate a deal. And IF Donald Trump hasn't, by then, fired every official who might negotiate on the American side. And IF there even is a United Kingdom Of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to ask for a deal come spring.
Still, in a month where everyone around the world is utterly bemused at how the British powers-that-be managed to fuck everything up quite so spectacularly, it's nice of the US record industry to remind us that at least our copyright laws are better. Thanks guys!
Universal's Bravado buys rival Epic Rights
As a result of the deal, Bravado will now be in charge of making tees, hoodies, beanies, buttons, bags, cans and other assorted widgets, gizmos and doo-hickeys for artists including Kiss, Billy Joel, Aerosmith, Def Leppard, AC/DC, Eric Clapton, Madonna, Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, Sting, Britney Spears and ZZ Top.
Epic Rights founder Dell Furano - who did marvellous merch things with the likes of Sony and Live Nation before setting up his own business in 2014 - will join Universal's mighty merch division as part of the transaction, with him and his team continuing to do magnificent merch nonsense for Epic's existing roster of talent.
"As the industry's preeminent brand management company we are constantly looking for ways to evolve our company while providing fans around the world with an ever-growing array of products and experiences", Bravado boss man Mat Vlasic bragged yesterday, while confirming the Epic deal. Then getting to the point, he declared: "I'm excited to work with Dell, a true icon in our industry, and expand the Bravado portfolio".
For his part, Furano endorsed Vlasic's bragging, reckoning that Bravado "have taken product development, marketing and global distribution to an entirely new level". Then also getting to the point, he added: "I'm very proud of all that we've achieved at Epic Rights, and look forward to expanding Epic's roster and artist services in this next chapter".
US radio giant iHeartMedia heading out of bankruptcy
It's hoped that said plan will allow iHeart to put behind it years of uncertainty caused by a massive debt-load which was in turn caused by a stupid 'leveraged buyout' of the business back in 2008. Assuming that works, it will ensure that the media firm is able to begin with some certainty the years of uncertainty about to be faced by the entire radio industry. Good times.
iHeart formally entered the so called chapter eleven bankruptcy process last March, though it had been a long time coming. Since then negotiations have been ongoing with the firm's creditors, some of whom only agreed to the new judicially approved restructuring plan last week. Under that plan, the company's debts will be cut from $16.1 billion to a mere $5.58 billion. Yeah, just $5.58 billion. Lovely.
The restructuring will also see iHeart's outdoor advertising division, which still uses the firm's old brand name of Clear Channel, spun off as a separate company. The billboards business was never formally part of the bankruptcy proceedings. Meanwhile, back at iHeart Central, CEO Bob Pittman and CFO Rich Bressler will stick around to implement the plan and move the business onwards and upwards, with both signing new four year contracts with the company.
Commenting on all this, the there mentioned Pittman told reporters yesterday: "We are delighted to reach this significant milestone in our restructuring process, which will give us a new capital structure that matches the strong operating performance of our business. iHeartMedia's unique place in the advertising world perfectly positions us to take advantage of the renaissance underway in audio".
Ah yes, the renaissance currently underway in audio. That's code for an entire generation of young consumers shunning radio, but everyone in the traditional radio industry hoping that they can jump on the podcast bandwagon now it's starting to become lucrative for a small premiere league of podcasters. Either that, or they'll try and grab the more mainstream ad-funded end of the streaming music market which, you know, will surely become profitable one day somewhere somehow for someone.
Eternal optimist Pittman reckons opportunities abound and that iHeart is just the kind of company to capitalise on them. After all, he said, "our ability to advance through the restructuring process this smoothly is a testament to both the strength of our operating business and the strong support of our stakeholders, including our debtholders who will become our owners, our advertising partners and our operating team".
Apparat announces first solo album for six years
His first solo outing since 2013, it follows two studio albums by Moderat, the trio he formed with Modeselektor. That project has had a big impact on his return to solo work, he says, in that it allows him to pursue something different under his solo guise.
"I was only able to make the record this way because Moderat exists", he notes. "Having a huge stage with Moderat gave me a setting for grand gestures and meant I could unburden Apparat from these aspirations. I don't have to write big pop hymns here; I can just immerse myself in the details and the structures".
Apparat will perform live at the Attenborough Centre in Brighton on 26 Apr and London's Barbican Centre on 27 Apr.
Band Of Skulls announce new album and tour dates
"[The single is] an anti-war cry for our turbulent times", say the band. "All the energy we spend fighting amongst ourselves can be used to do something positive, something real. So don't forget to go out, to fall in love and to feel alive".
Of the album as a whole, the add: "This record is tough and tender with a rebellious spirit. It is a positive record. It looks to what is possible and how a little love and human kindness can help bring about positive change".
"We drew on personal experiences [and] changes in our situation", they go on, "and couldn't help but be affected by what has been going on in the world politically, culturally and environmentally. Attempting to overcome that sometimes powerless feeling by creating and connecting with people and making something new".
The album is out on 12 Apr. Listen to 'Cool Your Battles' here. And catch Band Of Skulls live here:
11 Apr: Southampton, Central Hall
Jayda G announces debut album, plus London environmental science talks
The album was completed around the same time that the producer finished her masters degree in Resource And Environmental Management. The album's titled, 'Significant Changes', was also the most-used phrase in her thesis on the effects of human activity on the Salish Sea killer whales of Vancouver.
"I'm trying to bring my two worlds together to bridge the communication gap [and] engage people in a new way", she says. "I don't know if people in the electronic music world will want to talk about the environment but I think I should try! I think it's our duty to use a platform like this in a positive way, that's our social responsibility".
Those attempts will see her play a four week residency at Phonox in London in February, and also host two talks on environmental science while she is in town. The JMG Talks will invite young scientists to discuss their recent academic work.
"I just want people to feel not so hopeless", she says. "There's a lot of really depressing things going on, but people are doing good work out there and finding out really interesting stuff, so I just want people to be informed of those things, so that they feel inspired in whatever work that they do".
There are further details on all that at Jayda G's website. And let's not forget there's music too. The album is out on 22 Mar, and here's new single 'Leave Room 2 Breath' featuring vocals from Alexa Dash.
Ariana Grande, Bring Me The horizon, Dido, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Ariana Grande has announced that her new album, 'Thank U, Next', will be released on 8 Feb.
• Bring Me The Horizon have released new single 'Mother Tongue' from their upcoming new album 'Amo'.
• Dido has released new single, 'Give You Up'. "It's just so perfect", she says of the song. "It's a good break up song, where you've been hurt but feel strong. It's that point in a relationship where you are pulling yourself out of the gutter and deciding that it's their loss. Which I can totally relate to".
• Emo legends American Football have released a new song featuring Paramore's Hayley Williams titled 'Uncomfortably Numb'. The song is taken from the band's upcoming third album, 'American Football (LP3)', which is set for release on 22 Mar.
• Flight Of The Conchords have announced that they will release a new live album, 'Live In London', on 8 Mar. Here's a new song from it, 'Iain And Deanna'.
• Wiley has released a new track with Stefflon Don, Sean Paul and Idris Elba, called 'Boasty'.
• Trevor Horn has released new Gabrielle Aplin collaboration 'Dancing In The Dark'. It's taken from the producer's new covers album, 'Trevor Horn Re-imagines The 80s', which is out this Friday.
• Sleeper have released the video for new single 'Look At You Know'.
• Ex:Re - aka Elena Tonra from Daughter - has released the video for 'The Dazzler', from her debut album.
• Lauryn Hill is set to play Blenheim Palace's Nocturne Live series on 21 Jun this year. She will be supported by Laura Mvula and Mahalia.
• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Backstreet Boys identify "biggest piece of crap" in their catalogue of songs
In a video to promote their new album 'DNA', which is out this week, four of the five members picked 'If You Want It To Be Good Girl (Get Yourself A Bad Boy)' as the track they really hate. It's from their 1997 second album 'Backstreet's Back'.
It's "horrible", says Kevin Richardson. While, AJ Maclean adds: "That song should've never been recorded. It is the biggest piece of crap".
Not everyone's so certain though. "I don't really have a song that I don't like", reckons Nick Carter. And the song his bandmates hate so much is seemingly one that many fans love too. Brian Litrell has a theory about this: "You know why the fans love that song? Because Nick is singing the whole dang thing". Which might also explain why Carter won't diss it.
'If You Want It To Be Good Girl (Get Yourself A Bad Boy)' was written and produced by Robert 'Mutt' Lange. It was the only song he contributed to that album, but despite the distaste for it among the group, he did get invited back to their party once more. He co-wrote 'It's Gotta Be You', on their next album 'Millennium', with Max Martin.
It's not clear whether he knew how much they hated his first effort when he was given that second gig. For his part, Lange has not yet commented on being awarded the Backstreet Boys prize for creating "the biggest piece of crap".
Speaking of awards though, elsewhere in the video things turn to, well, DNA, and the Backstreet Boys reveal who the "biggest DNA nerd" in the group is. They're all unanimous again, picking Nick Carter. He's apparently done one of those things where you send off a cotton bud you've spat on and get back a list of countries that may or may not have something to do with your heritage, you see. What a fucking nerd.