|FRIDAY 25 JANUARY 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Following the bold claim by Viagogo last week that it was now compliant with UK rules on secondary ticketing, the Competition And Markets Authority has - and I know this is going to surprise you - said that this is not the case... [READ MORE]|
CMA raises "serious concerns" over Viagogo's compliance with court order
In a statement yesterday, the CMA said: "Following initial checks, the CMA has serious concerns that Viagogo has not complied with important aspects of the court order we secured against them".
That court order - or "agreement", as Viagogo likes to call it - was sought after the always controversial ticket resale firm failed to commit to make changes to its website to bring it in line with consumer rights law.
The CMA first announced plans in November 2017 to crack down on all the major secondary ticketing sites in the UK. They then made a number of specific demands of those sites. By the compliance deadline of 17 Jan, those demands applied to just StubHub and Viagogo, after Ticketmaster shut down its GetMeIn and Seatwave sites in Europe.
Just before that deadline, Viagogo tweeted: "Further to the agreement we reached with the CMA we have met the deadline and are now compliant".
Many critics - including some in the secondary ticketing industry - immediately disputed that this was the case. The rules being enforced include ensuring that buyers are told any seat numbers linked to tickets they are buying; that the name of the seller is published if said seller touts tickets commercially; and that any risks of touted tickets being cancelled by a promoter are clearly stated.
Viagogo was also told to stop using misleading messaging and to sort out its notoriously useless refunds system for people who buy tickets via the platform that then fail to get them into a show. In some cases, critics say that changes made to Viagogo's site have made things worse, rather than better. Meanwhile, other rules are simply not being adhered to.
Reacting to the new CMA statement, Campaign Manager of anti-touting group the FanFair Alliance, Adam Webb, said in a statement: "Last week Viagogo passed a strict deadline to comply with a court order and overhaul its business. True to form, we have seen little evidence of change. In fact, our concerns with how this website operates have only intensified, and while we welcome today's update it is now vital that the CMA act quickly and decisively to enforce the law. Viagogo has run out of road".
On that last point, the CMA said in its statement: "The CMA has now raised these concerns with Viagogo and expects them to make any necessary changes without delay. If they do not, the CMA will return to court to ensure they do".
This could now lead to Viagogo being found to be in contempt of court. If this happens, it could face a fine or some employees of the company could face prison.
Asked for a statement, a spokesperson for Viagogo would only say, "We are compliant".
Songwriter Matty Benbrook signs to Cooking Vinyl Publishing
Benbrook is best known for his work on Paolo Nutini's debut album, 'These Streets', including co-writing the single 'New Shoes'. He also worked on Jack Savoretti's 2015 album 'Written In Scars', Beverly Knight's 2016 album 'Soulsville' and Dido's 1999 debut album, 'No Angel', as well as tracks by artists including James Morrison, Lana Del Rey, James Morrison, Lana Del Rey and Jamie N Commons.
"I'm incredibly happy to be joining Cooking Vinyl Publishing", says Benbrook. "CV is a fantastic independent with a great history and team of people who work extremely hard for the music they believe in. I'm looking forward to being part of that and I'm looking forward to a successful partnership with what is going to be a rapidly growing publisher that has a great reach all over the world. It feels like home already and I'm excited about what the future holds with them".
Cooking Vinyl Publishing MD Ryan Farley adds: "I'm delighted to make Matty my first signing here at Cooking Vinyl Publishing. He is a wonderful songwriter and a true professional, with an amazing pedigree for classic songwriting and a catalogue that speaks for itself. His ability to develop strong relationships with artists from development level to household names is testament to his talent and likeability".
Benbrook is the first non-performing songwriter to sign to Cooking Vinyl Publishing, which, we're told, highlights a new direction for the fifteen year old company.
PledgeMusic issues statement amid latest artist payment problems
There were issues around late payments from Pledge last year, but then in October it announced an executive rejig and new finance system that the company said should solve the problems. However, issues have continued and an increasing number of artists still awaiting payment have started to go public.
In a statement issued to Billboard, PledgeMusic said yesterday that it "has always been committed to serving artist and fan communities. It was established by artists and was born of a need to change the way in which the traditional music industry operated. It was designed to help artists and their teams at every level, and we believe that PledgeMusic has become an essential part of the evolving landscape of the music industry".
"That said", it went on, "we deeply regret that recently we have not lived up to the high standards to which PledgeMusic has always held itself. We acknowledge that many artists have and continue to experience payment delays. These delays to artists are unacceptable - not only to them, but to us".
Referencing recent financing, executive rejigs and logistical overhauls, the statement adds: "While the company has made progress, we still haven't reached our goals. PledgeMusic has been in discussions with several strategic players in the industry who have interest in the PledgeMusic platform. We are evaluating a number of transactions with those potential partners, and we plan to announce details of this in the next 60 days. It is our expectation that payments will be brought current within the next 90 days".
Concluding, the business said that it accepts "responsibility for the fact that we have been late on payments over the past year. PledgeMusic is working tirelessly on this issue, and we are asking our community for their continued support and patience".
Pledge co-founder Benji Rogers, who is no longer with the business but who is still often linked to it - having been the public face of the company for many years - has also issued a statement. He wrote: "To the artists, their teams, managers, labels and fans, and to all who have been negatively affected by the issues at PledgeMusic, I am truly sorry".
Recalling how the business was set up to be a genuinely trusted partner for the artists it worked with, he goes on: "Even though I handed over day-to-day control of Pledge as its CEO for the second time in April of 2016 and left the board last February, the fact that this trust is now broken is unacceptable to me personally and I am truly sorry to all of you who have been affected by this. I have emailed a lot of you from my personal email account, as I no longer have a Pledge email address, and have tried to help where I can, but it's not enough".
"As such", he then revealed, "I have been in touch with the current board and management team to offer my help both strategically and practically. If it is asked for, I will commit to doing all that I can to ensure that this wonderful engine that we created does not cause any further harm, and can grow into something even better for all who would use it".
Concluding, Rogers wrote: "I would like to acknowledge the incredible team, which includes one of my co-founders, who have been battling to get the right people paid under immensely difficult circumstances both professionally and personally. They are feeling the heat, as they are on the front lines of this and are doing their very best to help you. Of that, I have no doubt. Once again I am truly sorry to any and all of you who have been harmed as a result of what I made. Please know that I will do all that is within my power to make it right and to fix what I can if given the opportunity to do so".
Teen band "will not stand for" local council's Foo Fighters puns
Anyway, I'm sure you all remember that time in 2016 when Dave Grohl wrote to Cornwall Council asking it to lift restirctions that had been instigated against a band formed by some local teenagers and which stopped them from practising.
The Foo Fighters frontman appealed to the council to overturn a ruling that the band could not play louder than 40 decibels, which is "approximately the level of a dishwasher at fifteen meters distance", he noted.
He went on to explain how important it had been for him, at the start of his music career, to initially play in a garage, adding how particularly unfair these restrictions seemed given that the band were playing in a garage in the middle of nowhere and had received no complaints from their nearest neighbour.
Anyway, because Grohl turned 50 earlier this month, this letter started circulating again as people shared various reasons why he's such a great guy, despite being so painfully old.
Trying to get in on the act, Cornwall Council decided to join in with the fun, posting a couple of tweets filled with weak Foo Fighters puns, before explaining the conclusion to the above mentioned story.
"We were in contact with the Cornish band Black Leaves Of Envy several times, offering them alternative rehearsal and soundproofing from a professional company", the council wrote. "No formal action was taken and we've not had any complaints since".
Well that sounds just great, doesn't it? Except that the band's recollection isn't quite so fluffy and happy ending-y. Black Leaves Of Envy - apparently still going - wrote on their Facebook page: "Here are some facts on this matter: We were given a statutory nuisance complaint from the Council, indicating a four figure penalty should our noise levels continue".
"Cornwall Council", they went on, "removed the local youth centre that used to provide a practice room in 2012, giving the workers one weeks notice to leave the property and reneging on a 25 year lease. No real explanation or apology has ever been given, and the promise of another alternative centre never surfaced".
As for the offer of an alternative place to practise, they add: "We were told that an alternative rehearsal space would have to be funded ourselves, costing several thousands of pounds".
Concluding, they say that the Council "posting a mocking reply with misleading information" that tries to make the local authority look like the good guy, "is disgraceful ... we will not stand for it".
Happy birthday, Dave Grohl.
Mark Hoppus from Blink 182 and Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low have formed a band
"'Drug' is always the first song we play people when introducing them to Simple Creatures, so it only makes sense that it's the first single", Hoppus tells Kerrang. "I love the ratty guitar lead mixed with the thumping kick drum. Lyrically, the song is about being destroyed by the things you love".
Gaskarth adds: "'Drug' is a song about someone or something you want the most, being terrible for you. Feels great until it doesn't, but then you can't stop. In the studio it felt immediately like it was the song that best defined Simple Creatures; it's gritty, grimy, rooted in the musicality we both came up on, but with a twist that takes it away from anything we've worked on before".
Anyway, you should all stop wondering what it would sound like if Mark Hoppus from Blink 182 and Alex Gaskarth from All Time Low formed a band, and instead listen to 'Drug'.
Girli is going to release an album and go on tour
"All the songs on this album are about feeling different from others", she says of all the songs on the album. "But this isn't a sad album. These are happy songs because they're part of me learning to love who I am. I've always felt like the odd one out, and chances are, because you're reading this, you have too. I hope when you listen to these songs, you hear things you relate to and that they make you feel like you're not alone".
One of those songs is called 'Deal With It' and it acts as Girli's new single, which, like the tour, aims to raise awareness of this new album's release. That album will be released on 5 Apr, by the way. Hey, the system works!
Here is every single one of the tour dates:
5 Apr: Leicester, The Cookie
Cardi B, Shaun Ryder, Dua Lipa, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• If you're wondering who's going to star in this year's Super Bowl Pepsi commercial, well, you're a terrible person. But I can tell you it's Cardi B. Because while her principles apparently won't allow her to perform in the half time show, she's still more than happy to take money from its main sponsor.
• If you had a large bet placed on Shaun Ryder not having any work published by Faber in his lifetime, I'm afraid the drinks are not on you tonight. He is both alive and having a book published by Faber. 'Wrote For Luck: Selected Lyrics' will be published by Faber on 3 Mar.
• Dua Lipa has released a new song, 'Swan Song'. It's taken from upcoming Robert Rodriquez movie 'Alita: Battle Angel' and the video for the track very much reflects this fact.
• Best known for being Beck, Beck has released new single, 'Tarantula', taken from a new compilation of songs inspired by the film 'Roma'. This song is a reimaging of a 1982 Colourbox B-side, which I guessed he must have thought of while watching 'Roma'.
• Bring Me The Horizon have a new album out today, and on it is a song featuring Grimes. Cool, huh? It's called 'Nihilist Blues', and this is it here.
• Florence And The Machine have released two new songs. Two! That's the sort of productivity you can achieve when you have a machine in your band, I guess. Anyway, there's one called 'Moderation' and one called 'Haunted House'. You can listen to both here.
• Aurora has released new single, 'Animal'. "I spend a lot of time thinking about humans", she says.
• Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers are releasing an album together, called 'Better Oblivion Community Center'. That is also the name of the band they have formed to make this album. Here they are performing the song 'Dylan Thomas' on 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert'.
• Rose Elinor Dougall has released new single 'First Sign', taken from her new album 'A New Illusion', which is out on 5 Apr.
• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Slipknot's filthy overalls worse than Bono's old pants: official
Except that one reason for higher ticket prices is the size of the behind the scenes team that is required for a top-flight tour who all need to be paid. Like, did you ever even consider the person who has to wash Bono's greasy boxer shorts?
To be fair, no one ever has. Why would you? I try to spend as little of my day as possible thinking about Bono's pants. I've really got it down to nothing more than a few minutes now. Except today I read a New York Times article about the guy who has to wash Bono's pants while U2 are on
It turns out that until Hans-Jürgen Topf started thinking about it about 20 years ago, very few people gave Bono's pants much thought at all. I dread to think what that meant for said pants by the end of any one tour. But don't worry, now they are thought about and taken care of.
"It's very hard to find someone who is passionate about laundry", says U2's tour manager Jake Berry, adding of Topf: "He is passionate. He is a pioneer".
"My reputation precedes me", adds Topf. "Nobody tackled the subject of laundry, nobody wanted to learn it, until I developed a system for it. The artists live their life, and I live my laundry life".
What could possibly get the image of Bono's soiled undies out of your brain though? According to the article, the worst thing Topf ever had to deal with were Slipknot's overalls, which had been "sprayed with beer, cream and fake blood, and left in garbage bags for three days".
Nice. You should read the whole article here, because it turns out that tour laundry is more interesting than you thought.