|FRIDAY 15 FEBRUARY 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: It seemed like everyone had something to say about the European Copyright Directive yesterday, following the news that the European Commission, European Parliament and EU Council had agreed a final single version of the copyright reforming document via their so called trilogue talks. The directive, as you know, includes the safe habour reforming article thirteen and a bunch of measures designed to increase the rights of artists and songwriters... [READ MORE]|
European Commission lays into the tech sector over copyright directive lobbying, as everyone else comments on the final draft
Of course, I say "everyone". I mean every group or organisation representing the music community or the tech sector. My Great Aunt Marge was suspiciously quiet about it all. Peterborough City Council is yet to issue a statement. And I checked every white board at every tube station in London - there wasn't one witty poem about article thirteen.
Although also commenting was the European Commission itself, which took to Medium to tell Google, YouTube, Facebook and all those fractious techie types (though presumably not Medium) that they can well and truly fuck off. "EU to end the internet?" Fuck off. "Europe to ban all memes?" Fuck off. "Censorship machines?" Yeah, you got it, fuck off.
Not my words, by the way, but the words of the European Commission. Well, OK, my words, its sentiment. "We know from recent elections and referendums that simple memorable slogans - however untrue or unobtainable - can go a long way to winning over hearts, minds and voters", the blog post noted (I wonder what referendum it could be referring to?). "Never let the truth get in the way of a catchy slogan", it also mused.
The blog post then argued that the directive is simply about making copyright fit for the digital age. And also levelling the playing field so that tech companies that benefit financially from the content and creativity of others can't force those content makers and creators into unfair deals.
Taking aim at lobbying tactics employed by the tech sector as the copyright directive has slowly worked its way through the motions, the Commission wrote: "It appears as if the largest search and video platforms in the world are afraid of regulation - despite having overwhelming dominance on the internet. Furthermore, there is ample evidence that 'big technology' has even 'created' grassroots campaigns against the copyright directive in order to make it look and sound as if the EU is acting against the 'will of the people'".
Not so, the EC argues, which insists that "unlike Google and Facebook, the EU is answerable to the public and to democratically elected politicians. As with most EU legislation, the text must be agreed by a majority of member states and voted upon by MEPs in the European Parliament. So next time, when you get a sponsored message on your timeline, which says something like 'the EU will kill the world wide web as we know it', stop, pause and consider for a moment. Ask yourself: Cui Bono? Who really benefits from this message or this wider negative campaign?".
Tough talking. Though in the interest of balance, here's what Julia Reda MEP, the most vocal opponent within the European Parliament to the directive - and especially article thirteen (and the also controversial article eleven) - had to say shortly after the final draft was confirmed on Wednesday.
"The history of this law is a shameful one", she wrote on her blog. "From the very beginning, the purpose of articles eleven and thirteen was never to solve clearly-defined issues in copyright law with well-assessed measures, but to serve powerful special interests, with hardly any concern for the collateral damage caused".
"In the relentless pursuit of this goal", she went on, "concerns by independent academics, fundamental rights defenders, independent publishers, start-ups and many others were ignored. At times, confusion was spread about crystal-clear contrary evidence. Parliament negotiator Axel Voss defamed the unprecedented protest of millions of internet users as 'built on lies' ... it took efforts equally herculean and sisyphean across party lines to prevent the text from turning out even worse than it now is".
So there you go. The full EU Council and European Parliament still need to vote on the final draft before it becomes law. Meanwhile, here are some music types saying things:
Helen Smith, Executive Chair of pan-European indie labels trade group IMPALA...
"We need to see the final text, but this legislation will be the first time anywhere in the world that there is absolute confirmation that user-upload services are covered by copyright and need a licence. In line with the WIN Fair Digital Deals Declaration adopted over three years ago, IMPALA also supports the provisions in the directive on transparency and remuneration for authors and performers".
"The EU institutions have done a great job reaching this compromise in time. Last week we raised the alarm on the risks of moving ahead without improvements to the text and we understand these concerns were heard. All those who contributed their views, whatever side of the debate they are on, played an important role. There are a few more steps before this reform becomes law and we count on all sectors to unite in support of this balanced text and ensure it is finally adopted".
Paul Pacifico, CEO of the UK's Association Of Independent Music...
"We are pleased and relieved to hear that the EU has achieved an effective and well-balanced version of the copyright directive and would like to thank the EU parliamentarians, member states, institutions and committees for all of their hard work in making this possible".
"Reports indicate that the final draft agreed last night in trilogue demonstrates that opinions from all sides have been heard, expertly weighed and incorporated to deliver a strong workable compromise text that enables the market to function fairly and more effectively in the digital age and therefore better protect the creatives at the heart of European culture and its creative industries".
The UK's Council Of Music Makers...
"The CMM commends the positive progress made on this vital piece of legislation for music makers. Music makers bring untold joy and entertainment to the masses. They are significant contributors to culture, as well as providing a grand boost to the economy beyond most other sectors".
"The CMM believes that the full package of the proposed copyright directive as a whole aims to support our community, modernise the industry, encourage a healthier market with fairness and transparency, and promote a sustainable, innovative, balanced music business with music makers at its heart. This ambition is vital in ensuring music makers are clearly and adequately remunerated for their work".
"We have supported the positive activity of our UK and European counterparts on this matter and lobbied at home and in Brussels, to ensure that our message is heard on the importance of the copyright directive as an opportunity to modernise the laws and commercial landscape governing how music makers get paid and how fans engage with music".
Robert Ashcroft, CEO of UK collecting society PRS For Music...
"After five years of hard work, the news that we have a final text is a welcome relief for all involved. This directive has generated an unprecedented level of debate and a wave of misinformation from the open internet lobby, so I commend all of those who have battled through it to arrive at a text to put to the European Parliament".
"Our mission has only ever been to achieve a fair and functioning digital market and, as a result, fair reward for creators. Subject to final scrutiny of the text and the forthcoming vote in Parliament it looks today as though we are going to achieve our aim".
Video reportedly showing R Kelly having sex with underage girl handed to authorities
Attorney Michael Avenatti said in a statement yesterday that, since April last year, he has been providing free legal assistance to "multiple clients in relation to allegations of sexual assault of minors" by R Kelly.
Included in evidence gathered during this time, he writes, "is a VHS videotape of Mr Kelly engaging in multiple sexual assaults of a girl underage". A further statement and corroboration by CNN says that the girl is repeatedly referred to as being fourteen years old in the recording.
Confirming that this is a different tape to the one which previously saw Kelly taken to court on criminal charges of child abuse, Avenatii goes on: "This tape, which is clear, is approximately 45 minutes in length and has never previously been publicly disclosed or, until recently, provided to law enforcement".
The tape has now been handed over to Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx, he says. Foxx recently called for alleged victims of Kelly to come forward, in order to build a criminal case against the musician. A spokesperson for her office said that they "cannot confirm or deny [that] an investigation" is underway relating to the new evidence.
Meanwhile, Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg told CNN: "We are unaware of any new information involving Mr Kelly. We have not been contacted by anyone. We have not been informed about any new information by anyone and we have not been contacted by law enforcement".
Allegations of sexual abuse against Kelly have persisted for many years now, of course, and came under more scrutiny recently, firstly following reports that he is operating a "sex cult", and then after the screening in the US of a new documentary about the abuse claims.
Of the many civil actions launched against him over the years alleging abuse, Kelly has settled the majority out of court. Though on that one occasion criminal charges were brought against him - based on other video evidence - he was acquitted after his legal team argued that the identity of the girl in the footage could not be proven conclusively.
Clint Mansell signs Decca publishing deal
"I wanted to find a publisher who shared my vision of how I work, of why I work, of the projects I want to be involved with and who can support the new spaces I want to explore", says Mansell. "Decca's approach makes sense for the modern world of composition and creativity. The team there have a bespoke understanding of this space, and a unique enthusiasm for it. I'm really excited about what we can achieve together".
EVP of Decca Publishing, Natasha Baldwin, adds: "We are delighted to welcome Clint Mansell to Decca Publishing. He is a truly unique and unconventional composer with a distinct artistic voice and an unparalleled reputation. It is hugely exciting to be given the opportunity to bring Clint's impressive catalogue all together and support him and his team to shape the next phase of his narrative as a composer".
"We share a collective vision for thinking beyond traditional genre boundaries", she went on, "and for re-defining what it means to be a composer and we are excited to open up new creatives outlets to expose his remarkable talent to new audiences".
The next new music to arrive from Mansell will be the soundtrack to Carol Morley's 'Out Of Blue', which will be released in cinemas later this year.
Karen Elson and Liz Phair speak out against Ryan Adams, as FBI launches investigation into communications with underage fan
Allegations against Adams emerged in a New York Times article earlier this week. In it, six women, including his former wife Mandy Moore and Phoebe Bridgers, accused him of offering to help them in their careers, before harassing them and becoming emotionally abusive. In the case of Moore, she said that he also halted her career at a pivotal time.
Another of his accusers, identified only as 'Ava', says that she was fourteen and at the beginning of a career in music when she first came into contact with Adams. She alleges that he offered to help her further that career, but that later their communications became sexual, and that at one time he exposed himself to her on a Skype call.
Adams, through his lawyer, denies all the accusations. But the NYT says that it has reviewed over 3000 text message communications, in which Adams makes sexually explicit comments and repeatedly questions Ava about her age, at one point saying, "I would get in trouble if someone knew we talked like this". She says that the experience ultimately caused her to give up playing music.
In a post on Twitter, Adams said: "I would never have inappropriate interactions with someone I thought was underage. Period".
It is these communications which are now being investigated by the FBI. A further New York Times article says that the publications has been told that the law enforcement agency intends to interview the woman involved and also obtain the text messages and any other evidence. At that point, it will decide whether to investigate further and potentially pursue criminal charges.
In the original article, the women involved all speak of how Adams initially spoke enthusiastically about their music, offering to collaborate with them to advance their careers. In each case, he then attempted to move things to a sexual relationship, later becoming abusive, threatening to suppress their work together or take his own life if they did not do as he asked. "Music was a point of control for him", adds Moore.
Adams' lawyer denied the allegations made against his client in the article, referring to some of them as "grousing by disgruntled individuals". In a series of posts on Twitter, Adams himself also wrote: "I am not a perfect man and I have made many mistakes. To anyone I have ever hurt, however unintentionally, I apologise deeply and unreservedly. But the picture that this article paints is upsettingly inaccurate. Some of its details are misrepresented; some are exaggerated; some are outright false".
He added: "As someone who has always tried to spread joy through my music and my life, hearing that some people believe I caused them pain saddens me greatly. I am resolved to work to be the best man I can be. And I wish everyone compassion, understanding and healing".
Since the publication of the original article, Phair and Elson have now also spoken out.
In an Instagram post, Elson wrote: "I also had a traumatising experience with Ryan Adams. While I'm not quite brave enough yet to speak about my specifics, I'm encouraged that many women have bonded and helped each other heal. This is the power of sisterhood and I'm very grateful for these women".
"I hope all those speaking out are given the grace and dignity they deserve", she continued. "The trauma that lingers is often a very powerful silencer of women as is the business that enables these men to thrive without ever facing consequences".
Meanwhile, responding to a fan on Twitter who asked about her experiences working with Adams, Phair said that her "experience was nowhere near as personally involving" but that "the similarities are upsetting".
Katy Perry and Zedd release new single, 365
"Katy and I have known each other for a while now and while on tour together in Australia last summer we starting working on some music", says Zedd. "After we got off tour and with our musical value systems even more aligned we continued working together and that's when '365' started to take shape. As it all came together, we knew we had something special. I love how Katy sounds on this record. I'm so excited to finally share this with our fans".
Perry adds: "I was really excited for Zedd to join my 'Witness' tour last year and, in our down time, we started vibing on music, which led to this special song. Happy to collaborate with such a talented and down-to-earth human being".
The video for the track, thought up by Perry herself, ponders whether AI could ever learn to love. Maybe it could, after it's finished with the all-important task of rising up and destroying humanity, I guess.
Marina announces new album
Recorded in London, Sweden and LA over the course of two years, the LP sees Marina collaborate with songwriters including Noonie Bao, Sam De Jong, Oscar Görres, Camille Purcell, Justin Parker and Joe Janiak.
Following the album's release on 26 Apr she will embark on a UK tour, including a show at London's Royal Albert Hall. Here are all the dates:
29 Apr: Newcastle, Academy
Billy Bragg, Cardi B & Bruno Mars, Foals, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Billy Bragg has written the first in a series of political essays for Faber Social. 'The Three Dimensions Of Freedom' will be published on 2 May.
• Cardi B and Bruno Mars have released a new track together, 'Please Me'.
• Foals have released new single 'On The Luna'. They've also announced three low-key shows at Gorilla in Manchester, Liquid Rooms in Edinburgh and EartH in London in the days ahead of the release of new album, 'Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 1', on 8 Mar.
• Jenny Lewis has released new song 'Heads Will Roll' from her new album 'On The Line', which is out on 22 Mar.
• Ray BLK has released the video for 'Paradise' from her 'Empress Project' album.
• Yann Tiersen has released the video for 'Tempelhof' from his new album 'All', which is out today.
• Becce J has enlisted D Double E features for her new single, 'Timing'.
• Tommy Genesis has released new track 'I'm Yours' ahead of upcoming European tour dates, including a show at Oslo in London on 20 Feb.
• Lydia Ainsworth has announced that she will release her third album, 'Phantom Forest', on 10 May. She's also released first single 'Can You Find Her Place'. "I'm singing a number of the songs on 'Phantom Forest' from the perspective of Mother Nature and her views on humanity's hubris", she says. "However, on 'Can You Find Her Place' I am using my voice as a kind of Greek chorus singing about where you can find her strength, setting the scene for 'Phantom Forest'".
• Girl Unit will release his debut album, 'Song Feel', on 5 Apr. He's just released new single 'Stuck', featuring Taliwhoah.
• Sasami has released new single 'Free' featuring Devendra Banhart. Her debut album is set for release on 8 Mar. She will play a show at The Lexington in London the same day.
• Broken Social Scene have released the video for 'Boyfriends', from their new EP 'Let's Try The After Vol 1', which is out today.
• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Fyre founder Ja Rule wants to have another go at staging an "iconic" festival
The rapper and Fyre Festival co-founder recently complained about his portrayal in the two documentaries about the doomed luxury fest - saying that he was also surprised by many of the revelations contained within them. Although, when stopped by TMZ in LAX airport, he admitted he hadn't actually seen either of them.
Still, I suppose he was there at the time. Maybe he's already learned everything he needs to learn about how to do it better next time. Not working with his Fyre Festival co-founder - champion fraudster Billy McFarland - would be a good start. Which is presumably easier for him to do now that McFarland is in jail.
"It's not funny to me, it's heartbreaking", he says of the fallout from the Fyre debacle. "It was something that I really wanted to be special and amazing, and it just didn't go that way".
"But in the midst of chaos there's opportunity", he goes on, before referencing how the Fyre Festival was actually designed to launch a talent booking app him and McFarland were working on. "I've got my new platform, rebranded and rebuilt, and it's an amazing platform", he adds. "It's for artists".
Indeed, new booking tool Iconn is very similar to the Fyre booking app. At launch, it allows users to make offers to book artists including Cardi B, Childish Gambino, Shawn Mendes, Zayn Malik, Maroon 5, Bebe Rexha, Chance The Rapper, Big Boi, Conor Maynard, Ellie Goulding, Rita Ora, Snoop Dogg, Ja Rule himself, and more.
Given the similarities, he is keen to stress that the Fyre app was a separate venture to the Fyre Festival. The app side could have been a viable business, he reckons. And still could be. But there'll be no flawed festival to take it down this time, right?
"It is the most iconic festival that never was", the rapper says of Fyre Festival. "So I have plans to create the iconic festival. But you didn't hear it from me". Oh dear.
Speaking of Billy McFarland, as we almost were, one of the many, many lawsuits brought against him in the wake of the Fyre Festival collapse concluded earlier this week. McFarland was ordered to return almost $3 million plus interest to one investor in the failed event.