|THURSDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Cross-sector trade group UK Music has called on MEPs to back the final draft of the European Copyright Directive when the European Parliament votes on the latest version of the frequently controversial copyright reforms... [READ MORE]|
UK Music calls on MEPs to back copyright directive, confirms cross-party support on business rate discount for venues
Representatives of the Parliament, European Commission and EU Council agreed a final draft earlier this month and earlier this week it was voted through by the former's legal affairs committee. The last major hurdle for the reforms to cross is a vote of the full Parliament, where critics remain of the directive, and especially the music industry backed safe harbour reforming article thirteen. The full EU Council must also vote it all through.
The music community has been pretty united in lobbying for that safe harbour reform which will increase the copyright liabilities of user-upload platforms like YouTube.
Though as the very final draft was being negotiated, reps for the record labels and music publishers expressed concerns about the direction article thirteen was taking and announced that they now thought the directive should be abandoned altogether.
This angered groups repping artists and songwriters, which pointed out that, alongside article thirteen, there are other measures in the directive designed to increase their rights over their corporate business partners, ie labels and publishers.
However, UK Music brings together trade organisations for labels, publishers, artists and songwriters, and - following this week's legal affairs vote - it urged EU law-makers to now see the directive through to completion.
It said in a statement: "UK Music and its members have always supported constructive steps to foster a fair music licensing environment that benefits creators, performers and those who invest in them. We have campaigned for this together through [our] #LoveMusic [campaign] and the final compromise text of the copyright directive is a notable step in that direction".
"In relation to article thirteen", it continued, "we welcome the fact that the compromise text clearly establishes that online content sharing service providers should not be entitled to avoid the need to secure licences from rightsholders. As has been widely reported, the text of this article in particular has been the subject of fierce and passionate debate and the final result includes a number of compromises".
"With this in mind, we ask the EU Council and MEPs to support the directive", it said, before noting that, even once passed, each EU member state must implement the reforms. To that end, UK Music concluded: "We [also] call on individual member states to ensure that the copyright directive, if successfully adopted, is implemented in a way that achieves its original purpose and benefits the whole of the industry".
Elsewhere in UK Music news, the lobbying group has confirmed that it now has cross-party support in Westminster for music venues being added to a list of company types that benefit from a business rates discount. UK Music and the Music Venue Trust hit out at the government earlier this year when it was confirmed that, while pubs and restaurants benefit from the discount, grassroots music venues do not. Despite a recent rejig of business rates already causing big problems for the grassroots venue network.
UK Music boss Michael Dugher and Labour's Shadow Culture Minister Kevin Brennan have met with the government's top money man, Chancellor Philip Hammond, to discuss the problem. Meanwhile, Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum, including Tories Ed Vaizey and Greg Knight and Lib Dem Jane Bonham-Carter, have all backed the a call for the Chancellor to provide a lifeline to venues facing business breaking rate hikes.
On the recent meeting with Hammond, Dugher said: "I'm pleased that the Chancellor listened to what we had to say about why we need a specific targeted change on business rates to safeguard the future of so many of our cherished grassroots venues. Grassroots music venues are a crucial part of the music ecosystem that generates future talent for an industry that contributes £4.5 billion to our economy".
"The current position discriminates against music venues compared to pubs and bars", the UK Music CEO continued. "Unless the Chancellor revisits this issue, there is a very real danger that too many venues will have to turn off the music or even shut down for good. If UK plc wants to retain its preeminent position as being a world leader in music, our industry needs the strategic support of government".
Meanwhile, Brennan added: "In last year's UK Live Music Census, 33% of small music venues reported that business rates increases had an 'extreme, strong or moderate' impact on their existence in the past twelve months. The Chancellor must recognise the importance of these venues as the R&D of the UK's successful music industry and extend the rates discount given to pubs to protect their future".
"In an age where stadium gigs are increasingly expensive, independent music venues are accessible, inclusive and affordable places for everybody to experience live music", the MP continued. "These venues are the lifeblood of the £4.5 billion music industry, providing much needed opportunities for up and comers and local talent to learn and develop their craft".
Nicki Minaj hits back in Tracy Chapman sample lawsuit
Chapman went legal last October over a sample that appears in a track called 'Sorry', which was originally intended to feature on Minaj's album 'Queen'. The track was dropped from the LP, seemingly because of issues licensing the sample, but it's alleged that Minaj's people nevertheless leaked the record to a US radio DJ who then played it on air. Fans then grabbed the track from the broadcast and shared it online.
Minaj's legal filing confirms that her people did indeed try, unsuccessfully, to license the sample. Something we already knew, because - ahead of the release of 'Queen' - Minaj tweeted about the licensing issues and asked fans whether she should push back the release of her album to allow the issues to be addressed, or just launch the record without 'Sorry'. She subsequently did the latter.
Despite having sought a licence at the time, Minaj's people are now claiming that the sample was in fact covered by the US copyright principle of fair use, meaning no licence was actually required. Also, this week's legal filing argues, Chapman doesn't control the copyright in 'Baby Can I Hold You', so doesn't have the right to sue over the sample anyway.
That latter argument is based on the fact that the copyright in the Chapman song is registered as belonging to two music companies with which she previously had dealings. For her part Chapman claims the copyright reverted to her in 2016. But the Minaj side seemed to be saying that the required admin wasn't done to allow Chapman to litigate.
If the fair use and registration technicality defences fail, Minaj also argues that any copyright infringement that may or may not have occurred was minimal, because 'Sorry' was never released and only had some airplay. The aim there will be keep down any damages if the other defences fail.
We now await a response from the Chapman side.
Glastonbury bans single-use plastic bottles from festival site
"Our partners Greenpeace estimate that, globally, up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year", says the festival in a statement. "Greenpeace advise that by far the best way to avoid plastic pollution is to reduce plastic usage. With more than one million plastic bottles sold at Glastonbury 2017, we feel that stopping their sale is the only way forward".
Recognising that drinking water is important, festival organisers note that there are numerous taps on site connected to the local mains water supply. This year there will also be an increase in WaterAid kiosks, where reusable drinking water bottles can be refilled, as well as free drinking water at all bars on site. The sale of drinking water in aluminium cans will also be permitted - organisers noting that 45 million tonnes of aluminium cans were recycled by its own on-site recycling centre in 2017.
"It's paramount for our planet that we all reduce our plastic consumption", says Glastonbury's Emily Eavis. "Together, we'll be able to prevent over a million single-use plastic bottles from being used at this year's festival. I really hope that everyone - from ticket-holder to headliner - will leave Worthy Farm this year knowing that even small, everyday changes can make a real difference. It's now or never".
A Glastonbury branded reusable steel water bottle is now on sale via the festival's website. Proceeds from sales of these will go to WaterAid and sustainability charity The Raw Foundation.
The Jacksons talk about Leaving Neverland
The Jackson estate, of course, has called on HBO to cancel the film, which tells the story of two men who allege they were abused by Jackson as children. After the broadcaster declined to dump the show, the estate's lawyers went legal, citing a 1992 contract signed when HBO aired one of the pop star's live shows, in which the media firm committed to not disparage Jackson in any future programmes.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Jackson's oldest brother Jackie said that, when he first heard about the new film, "I thought, 'oh here we go again'".
Jackson's nephew Taj then added: "It's going to be the ten year anniversary [of my uncle's death]. I remember, a year ago, I was like, 'this is too appetising for the media - they're going to do something'. This is the time when everyone comes out of the woodwork, the same cast, the same characters that have been discredited throughout the years. They have a platform now to talk about Michael Jackson".
Another of the Jackson brothers, Tito, said that the family would have definitely spoken to the documentary's makers if given the chance. "Oh, we definitely would have come and talked to them about the situation ... to protect our brother", he said. "He's not here no more. He's passed, and, we're his brothers, we're supposed to do this".
Marlon Jackson was also part of the interview and went on: "I look at it as yes, you're protecting your brother, but you're telling the truth, and we want people to understand the truth. And I do not understand how a filmmaker can make a documentary and not want to speak to myself or some of the other families that were at Neverland".
The documentary will start airing this weekend on HBO in the US, while in the UK it will be screened by Channel 4 next Wednesday and Thursday.
Ukraine pulls out of Eurovision, after more acts refuse to take part
UA:PBC said in a statement yesterday that it could not find "any performer from among the participants" who took part in the search for this year's entrant now willing to take part.
The contract at the heart of the dispute required the country's Eurovision entrant to cancel all shows in Russia and commit to not tour there for three months after the contest. It also stated that the artist could not say anything on stage or to journalists without prior approval from the broadcaster.
Ukraine's Eurovision contestant is chosen via TV show 'Vidbir', with public and jury votes.
UA:PBC said it would move on by offering Ukraine's place in the contest to another act. Although the broadcaster wasn't clear on who this might be at the time, in its statement yesterday it explained that the rules of the selection process state that if the first place artist cannot take part, the position is offered to the second and third place contestants. But those artists, vocal group Freedom Jazz and dance trio Kazka, both declined.
In a Facebook post, Freedom Jazz said that they had "refused to take part" after being asked. Kazka said on Instagram that they had turned down the offer to represent Ukraine because their "mission is to unite people with our music, not to sow discord".
UA:PBC said the selection process rules meant that it would now have to withdraw the country from the competition, blaming as "excessive politicisation of the national selection process". As it was, the next act on the list, rock band Brunettes Shoot Blondes, had already issued a statement saying that they would not accept if asked. "Our band did not win", they said. "This trip is not ours".
Twin sister pop duo Anna Maria, who came sixth in 'Vidbir', issued a statement following the announcement of Ukraine's withdrawal from Eurovision, welcoming the news.
"Ukraine is looking for its way", they wrote on Facebook. "How many times has our country been wrong? We so want Ukraine to find its way! The way to happiness of your people. People who first want to live in this country and develop. People who will respect each other's opinions".
"We are glad that ... the whole situation with us at Eurovision has become a kind of catalyst and revealed the true essence of many people", they went on. "The abscess, which has long been growing, has finally burst. And it exposed people as they are - with their shortcomings, courage, cowardice, anger and kindness".
"Music is stronger than politics", they concluded.
Putting a less positive spin on what has happened, UA:PBC said in its statement that this process had highlighted "systemic problem of the music industry in Ukraine". Namely, musicians continuing to perform in "the aggressor state" of Russia, five years into a conflict between the two countries.
It noted that there are no laws in Ukraine prohibiting artists from travelling to Russia and that society is split on whether or not this is an acceptable situation. In order to gauge public feeling on this, it will "initiate a public dialogue in the format of talk shows, forums and discussions with the participation of leading experts in the field". Although it added that it would also propose new laws regulating Ukrainian artists' activity in Russia.
The ongoing tensions between Ukraine and Russia have spilled over into Eurovision a number of times in recent years. Russia threatened to boycott the 2017 event after Ukraine won in 2016. Then, when Russia did put forward an entry, Ukraine barred singer Julia Samoilova from entering the country to perform at the contest in Kiev.
BBC and ITV confirm plans to launch video-on-demand service in UK
It's the latest attempt by traditional telly-makers in the UK to launch a joint video-on-demand platform, previous alliances resulting in the short-lived SeeSaw and the still going YouView. The new project will actually extend an existing BBC/ITV joint venture service called BritBox, currently operational in North America, back onto home turf.
This is obviously an attempt by the traditional broadcasters to try to take a slice of the now buoyant video streaming market from dominant players Netflix and Amazon Prime. Though, whereas the SeeSaw venture was probably too early, the big UK launch of BritBox has possibly come too late. We'll see. You know us, always the optimists, never the naysayers.
Bosses at the Beeb and ITV say that they have agreed a creative vision for the new UK-based service and are now talking legals. They will also discuss their plans with other British broadcasters and media regulator OfCom.
Adam Lambert, Offset, Wiley, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Adam Lambert has released a new live performance video of new single 'Feel Something'. "This was written about me climbing out of the low period, defying my disillusionment, owning my needs, and opening my heart", he says of the track. "The life of a bachelor can be a laugh, with plenty of flings, but after a while it starts to feel empty. Between frustrations with my career and many lost connections, I felt numb - and though I wanted to fall in love, I knew I wasn't ready".
• Offset has released a video for his track 'Quarter Milli' featuring Gucci Mane.
• Skepta and Wiley's beef continues, with the latter releasing new diss track 'Don't Bread Me'. It follows Skepta's 'Wish You Were Here'.
• Deafheaven have released new track 'Black Brick'.
• Self Esteem has released new single 'Girl Crush'. "'Girl Crush' is a reaction to the term itself", she says. "It should just be known as a crush. This isn't a ground-breaking gender and sexuality statement; it's just common sense. Women aren't a fun new cool thing for straight women to try - and in an age of pop songs about 'kissing girls' and 'trying it on for size', I felt like saying 'well you know, that's not much fun for the person you're experimenting on?' It's a difficult thing to talk about but it's something I can make a banging pop song about".
• Flohio is back with new single 'Bandage'.
• Octo Octa has released another new track from her upcoming EP 'For Lovers', ahead of its release tomorrow. Here's 'Bodies Meld Together'.
• Tahiti 80 have released the video for new single 'Hurts'.
• Popcaan has released the video for 'Firm & Strong', from his 2018 album 'Forever'.
• The shortlist for this year's Penderyn Music Book Prize has been announced. And the nominees are: Shirley Collins' 'All In The Downs', Brett Anderson's 'Coal Black Mornings', Danhancox's 'Inner City Pressure - The Story Of Grime', Garth Cartwright's 'Going For A Song - A Chronicle Of The UK Record Shop' and the 'Beastie Boys Book'. The winner of the £1000 prize will be announced on 7 Apr at music book festival the Laugharne Weekend.
• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Ed Sheeran among artists considered too "pornographic" for Indonesian radio
The West Java branch of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission earlier this week announced a list of seventeen Western and Western-influenced songs deemed too racy to play outside of late night broadcasting. Airing of these songs - including Sheeran's 'Shape Of You', The Killer's 'Mr Brightside' and Makes Me Wonder' by Maroon 5 - was recommended to only take place between 10pm and 3am.
"In this case, what is banned is not the songs, but the lyrics of the songs that contain pornography, pornographic association and obscenity", explains Deputy Chair of the broadcaster's central office, Rahmat Arifin, according to Tempo.
This follows the proposal of a new law put forward to the Indonesian government last month, which aimed to restrict "pornographic content" and "negative foreign influences" in music. The bill was heavily opposed by Indonesian musicians.
Ed Sheeran, by the way, is set to perform his pornographic music in Jakarta in May.
The full list of songs deemed offensive is as follows:
88Rising - Midsummer Madness