|FRIDAY 1 FEBRUARY 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: One of the best (by which we mean most amusing) pop lawsuits of recent years has been settled. The fan who sued Kanye West for saying that his 'The Life Of Pablo' album would "never, never, never be on Apple" - when in fact the record was streaming on Apple Music six weeks later - has said his litigation is now at an end. Terms of any settlement between the rapper and the fan are not known... [READ MORE]|
Kanye settles "never, never" Tweet lawsuit, dubs publishing contract as 'servitude'
'The Life Of Pablo' came out in early 2016 when the streaming services were busy dabbling with album exclusives. Tidal got the exclusive on the new West record. Which is why, caught up in the excitement of it all, the rapper took to Twitter to declare that his new album "will never, never, never be on Apple" and that "you can only get it on Tidal".
In the end Jay-Z's streaming service only actually had an exclusive on the LP for six weeks, it subsequently popping up everywhere else. Although the record had evolved a little during Tidal's exclusivity period, so you could argue that the original version of the album was only ever on Tidal, while the final version streamed on multiple platforms.
Either way, one West fan - a Mr Justin Baker-Rhett - felt that he had been tricked into signing up to Tidal by being told it would be the only way to access the new record.
West and the streaming firm had, the fan's subsequent lawsuit reckoned, "duped consumers into signing up for Tidal subscriptions - which required handing over troves of valuable personal data including credit card information - under the false pretence that doing so was the only way they would be able to hear 'The Life Of Pablo'".
The litigation, which always seemed somewhat ambitious, got bounced from California to New York and was then trimmed down to size. However, last June a judge ruled that Baker-Rhett's core allegation - that he was misled into signing up for Tidal by West's "never, never, never" tweet - could proceed to court.
There were then efforts to make the dispute a class action, which would mean anyone else who signed up to Tidal on the back of the "never, never, never" tweet could also claim damages, if Baker-Rhett was to win in court.
However, it is now all at an end. New legal papers filed with the court by the Baker-Rhett side earlier this week stated that both parties in the dispute "hereby stipulate and agree to the dismissal of plaintiff's individual claims with prejudice and the putative class's claims without prejudice, with each party to bear its own attorney fees and costs".
So, that's no fun, is it? Though it does give West's legal team more time to focus on the all-important business of suing the biggest music rights companies in the world.
It recently emerged that the rapper has filed lawsuits against Sony/ATV's EMI Music Publishing as well as some Universal Music labels and its merchandiser Bravado. Although the publicly available papers related to the cases were heavily redacted, it seems West is trying to reclaim various rights in his work given up in the early years of his career.
Offering a little more insight on at least one those lawsuits, TMZ says that - in new legal documents - West characterises his publishing contract with EMI as amounting to a form of "servitude", adding that he is entitled "to be set free from its bonds". Which is interesting, I mean it's not like West to carelessly make light of slavery, is it?
In terms of actual legalities, he seemingly then cites the rule under California law that says services contracts entered into in the state cannot last for more than seven years. Which could spark yet more debate over how and whether that particular rule can and should apply to record and publishing deals signed with music companies, or divisions of music companies, with a Californian base. Good times.
Kobalt signs deal for Gregg Allman song catalogue
"Gregg and The Allman Brothers Band's legacy is rich with great music that should be recognised for music generations to come", reckons Kobalt's EVP Business Development Merril Wasserman-Serling. "His iconic catalogue transcends time and many music categories. Our global creative and sync team will breathe new life into these songs from decades ago, to be heard by new and old fans alike around the world".
Kobalt's SVP Commercial Sync Kaeith D'Arcy adds: "Gregg Allman's fans have a deep and personal connection to the man that goes beyond the music and right to the heart of who Allman was as a person. He was, as the song says, 'no angel', but through all his ups and downs he stayed true to himself, his family, his band and to those dedicated fans".
"The music supervision community is no different", D'Arcy then says, for some reason. "We will endeavour to find and foster the music supervisor fans and to make new converts, as we market not only his songs but the stories, the passion and the honesty that defined his remarkable life in music".
Allman died in 2017. Which you probably knew. But just in case you wondered why he hadn't bothered to comment on the new deal.
Penske Media takes complete control of Rolling Stone
Penske bought 51% of Rolling Stone off the magazine's founder Jann Wenner in late 2017. Wenner had previously sold 49% to Singapore-based BandLab Technologies, meaning that for the last year or so the title has been co-owned by the two companies. But now Penske has confirmed it has bought BandLab out of the title giving it complete control.
In a memo to staff, Penske boss Jay Penske wrote: "In the twelve months since PMC's initial investment into this incredible team and legendary brand, the need to consolidate the Rolling Stone business has become abundantly clear and something that BandLab and their leadership team also recognised and were in full support of".
"It's with their confidence and blessing that we were able to put together a deal that was best for all parties", he went on. "We continue to have shared goals and will continue to collaborate in the future. This strategic transaction is a key move for what will be many years of future growth and expansion for Rolling Stone, both domestically and abroad".
Rolling Stone, like most music media, has faced the challenge of making money out of an audience that is increasingly online. It's no secret that magazine owners have found it hard to charge for digital content, while on the advertising side Google and Facebook have proven to be major competitors for ad spend. All of which means that media owners have had to try to find - and develop - other ways to generate income around their content and brands.
When PMC first acquired half of Rolling Stone, Wenner's son Gus said of the deal: "Rolling Stone's past, present and future is in great storytelling and that's where we want to put our investment. Jay has shown repeatedly that he has a deep belief in investing in content and investing in the product. This will allow us to do that in a way we haven't been able to do over the last couple of years".
67% of young people are making music, just not in a way traditional educators might recognise
The research was commissioned by music charity Youth Music and undertaken by Ipsos MORI. In terms of participation in music making, this has increased significantly since the charity undertook a similar survey in 2006. The increase has come about because of digital tools and platforms that make it easier for young people to pursue music projects by themselves.
Youth Music, which specifically seeks to work with young people who - for various reasons - don't have access to formal music education, added that its research shows how "those from lower income backgrounds have quite different patterns of engagement with music than those from higher income backgrounds".
"Many young people with limited financial means are experiencing a rich musical childhood", the charity went on. "It just looks different to that of their more affluent peers. It's more likely to emanate from their home, have a DIY feel to it, and less likely to be taught in a formal way".
It's no secret that budget cuts and education policies that place less importance on creative subjects have had a negative impact on music education in schools. This remains a concern, as it means a decent formal music education is increasingly only available to those whose parents can pay for it.
Though Youth Music's research also shows that music-making - and learning about music-making - can take many forms. Which means that music educators and decision makers in music education need to better understand the bigger picture, so that they can engage with and support young creative talent in the best possible way. And make the best possible use of what budget is available.
The Youth Music report notes how creating music videos, producing beats and bars on a computer, DJing, rapping and even karaoke are not activities that have traditionally been part of a formal music education. But they are all ways in which young people are interacting with the music-making process.
Matt Griffiths, CEO of Youth Music, said: "This is a missed opportunity to engage young people and support them in their musical development. If young people don't have access to professional guidance, they're less likely to have support to progress to more advanced levels of technical competence, to learn from expert role models, to understand the career paths available to them".
Maroon 5's Adam Levine wants to "move on" from Super Bowl controversy
Since it was first rumoured that they had been booked to play the show, many have called on the band to cancel over the NFL's treatment of American football player Colin Kaepernick after he protested police brutality. A number of other artists passed on the 2019 Super Bowl set for this reason, including Rihanna and Jay-Z.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Levine says that people just have an "insatiable urge to hate a little bit" when it comes to the Super Bowl half time entertainment. "I'm not in the right profession if I can't handle a little bit of controversy. It's what it is. We expected it. We'd like to move on from it".
He insists that he did give the criticisms due thought before accepting the NFL booking, saying that he consulted "many people" before ignoring them. He explains: "I silenced all the noise and listened to myself, and made my decision based upon how I felt about it all. No one thought about it harder than I did. No one put more thought and love into this than I did".
Set to make guest appearances with Maroon 5 are rappers Big Boi and Travis Scott. Prior to agreeding, Scott reportedly spoke directly with Kaepernick.
The massive sporting event is set to take place in Atlanta this year and Big Boi will be the sole representative of the city's strong hip hop scene. A further controversy surrounding this half time show is that an Atlanta native wasn't booked to headline it. Though, given the other controversy, it's possible some were asked and declined.
Planned David Bowie biopic doesn't have "the family's blessing"
According to Deadline, the film, titled 'Stardust', will tell the story of Bowie's first trip to the US in 1971, which inspired his character Ziggy Stardust. As well as Flynn, actor Jena Malone has been cast to play Bowie's first wife, Angie, and comedian Marc Maron will play a record company publicist.
In response to the news about the film, Jones tweeted: "Pretty certain nobody has been granted music rights for ANY biopic. I would know".
He added: "I'm not saying this movie is not happening. I honestly wouldn't know. I'm saying that as it stands, this movie won't have any of dad's music in it, and I can't imagine that changing. If you want to see a biopic without his music or the family's blessing, that's up to the audience".
Asked what Bowie movie, if any, he would approve of, he pitched an animated film using his father's various characters, directed by Peter Ramsey and written by Neil Gaiman. Just so you know.
China trade mission, R Kelly, Nicki Minaj, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Details of the UK music industry's annual trade mission to China have been announced. It will be in early April. Assuming there is still a UK to being missioning trade by then. The government's Department For International Trade has teamed up with music industry organisations BPI, AIM and MPA to organise the trip to Beijing for music companies seeking out business opportunities there. It will run from 31 Mar to 6 Apr. Wanna go? Here's a form.
• Jennifer Hudson has removed two songs written for her by R Kelly - 'It's Your World' and 'Where You At' - from digital music platforms. It follows Lady Gaga's decision to likewise remove her Kelly collaboration. Which in turn followed the recent TV documentary putting the spotlight back on abuse allegations against Kelly.
• Nicki Minaj has released the video for 'Hard White' from her 2018 album 'Queen'.
• Portishead's Beth Gibbons will release a new album featuring her 2014 performance of Henryk Górecki's 'Symphony No 3 (Symphony Of Sorrowful Songs)' with the Polish National Radio Symphony Orchestra. The album will be released on 29 Mar. Here's a trailer.
• Yann Tiersen has released new track 'Pell'. His new album 'All' is out on 15 Feb.
• Billie Eilish has announced that she will release her debut album, 'When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?', on 29 Mar. Here's new single 'Bury A Friend'.
• The definitely brilliant Yves Tumor has released the video for 'Noid' from his 'Safe In The Hands Of Love' album.
• Stella Donnelly has released new single 'Lunch'. Her debut album, 'Beware Of The Dogs', is out on 8 Mar.
• Lucy Dacus has released the first in a series of songs she'll be putting out throughout the year, a cover of Edith Piaf's 'La Vie En Rose'. "I want someone to listen to this while running at top speed to the doorstep of the person they adore, ready to profess their deep, undying love", she says. Consider that your challenge for today.
• Balthazar have released the video for 'Wrong Vibration' from their new album 'Fever'.
• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Marshmello to perform live in Fortnite this weekend
The EDM producer has added the game's Pleasant Park area to his tour schedule and the Fortnite Intel website has confirmed that a virtual stage is currently being constructed in said virtual park. The show is apparently set to begin at 7pm UK time tomorrow.
It will be accessible in the free-to-play 'Fortnite Battle Royale' version of the game, in which up to a 100 players at a time fight to the death. Which could make watching the performance interesting.
Marshmello's manager announced an upcoming tie-up with Fortnite earlier this month, saying on Instagram that it is "gonna have the world shook".
Presumably the stage for the show isn't going to become a permanent fixture of the game, but who knows? I just discovered that there's still a whole Duran Duran area in 'Second Life' - complete with rehearsal room, night club, cinema and giant tower of Hades - from their tie-up with that digital whatnot over a decade ago. In other breaking news, 'Second Life' is still online.