|MONDAY 4 MARCH 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Childish Gambino has settled with his former label Glassnote in a legal dispute that - had it got to court - could have tested whether industry conventions regarding the distribution of SoundExchange income can prevail when contracts are ambiguous on the matter... [READ MORE]|
Childish Gambino settles with Glassnote in SoundExchange royalties case
Gambino - real name Donald Glover - released three albums with the American indie label before switching allegiances to Sony Music at the start of last year. Glassnote went legal last July in a dispute over income generated by those three records but collected by US collecting society SoundExchange, which licenses online and satellite radio stations Stateside, and some personalised radio services too.
Under US copyright law, any monies collected by SoundExchange are automatically split between copyright owners (50%), main artist (45%) and session musicians (5%), oblivious of what any record contract might say. Which meant that Glover had directly received the 45% artist share of SoundExchange money linked to his Glassnote-released albums.
Glover, whose deal with the label was a 50/50 revenue share arrangement, argued he was also due a cut (or possibly all) of the copyright owner's share of the SoundExchange money. Glassnote countered that the industry convention was that the performer share allocated by SoundExchange to Glover and his session musicians constituted the 50% he was due under his record contract with the label.
Glassnote was quite forthright when filing its litigation, declaring that: "Apparently unsatisfied with the approximately $10 million in royalties already paid or due to him by Glassnote and the 45% of the public performance royalties from SoundExchange ... [Glover] has continued to demand from Glassnote payments corresponding to SoundExchange royalties which he is legislatively and contractually precluded from receiving".
Glover counter-sued the label in September disputing the label's claims and listing various general royalty gripes. Had the case gone all the way, it would have been interesting to see if the dispute centred on specific wording in the Glassnote/Glover contract, which was a licensing deal, or whether it tested more widespread industry conventions that could have applied to other artist/label agreements.
But we will never know. According to both Variety and Pitchfork, papers filed with the court on Friday confirmed that an out-of-court settlement had now been reached. Terms are not known, though both side's lawsuits have been dropped, and each side has committed to pay its own legal costs. Which is no fun at all for the rest of us, but probably the best outcome for Glover and Glassnote.
Copyright lawsuit filed over Netflix's Fyre Festival documentary
Clarissa Cardenas says that the Netflix doc featured, without permission, footage that she filmed from inside one of the tents at the doomed Fyre Festival event. According to Law 360, the actual lawsuit doesn't include much detail, except to say that "Cardenas took video of the Frye Festival" and that the "defendants ran the video in the film".
She is being represented by a New York-based lawyer called Richard Liebowitz who is a prolific filer of copyright infringement litigation, something that has been noted and at times criticised by New York judges. It remains to see how they respond to this case.
But hey, at least this is one Fyre Festival-related lawsuit that the festival's co-founder - champion fraudster Billy McFarland - doesn't have to worry about.
Qrates will store your unsold vinyl
"Our mission is to make vinyl as easy to press, sell, distribute and play as digital music, and Qrates Storage and Shipping is a huge step forward in achieving that goal", says the company's CMO Taishi Fukuyama. "Our existing crowdfunding and pre-order services allow artists of any size to sell their music on vinyl without worrying about their budget, and now they don't need to worry about ending up with crates of unsold records taking up space in their garage".
Offering vinyl pressing services supported by crowdfunding, pre-orders or on-demand, Qrates already offers some storage at its London and Michigan warehouses to artists who sign up to its retail distribution option. However, this new move will allow any records pressed through Qrates to be stored, with online tools to track sales and stock levels.
Channel 4 says it will air Leaving Neverland this week, despite pressure from Michael Jackson's family and fans
The broadcaster noted that it has been "sent messages" by the estate and fans urging it to drop the film, which focuses on two men who claim they were abused by the late king of pop when they were children. However, a spokesperson for the broadcaster said: "There is no change in our commitment to airing the documentary".
The first part of said documentary was broadcast in the US last night by HBO, which also resisted pressure to axe the programme, including legal action from the estate. The estate's lawyers claim that HBO is in breach of a contract it signed in the 1990s when it aired one of Jackson's live shows, and which barred it from airing any future programming disparaging of the singer.
As the first part of the film went out last night, the estate announced that recordings of two Jackson live shows had been taken out of the archive and would be made available on YouTube. That includes the show that was part of that 1992 contract recently cited by the estate, which was a performance in Bucharest and which is streaming now. A 1988 performance at Wembley Stadium will go live as part two of 'Leaving Neverland' airs on HBO tonight.
Channel 4 will show 'Leaving Neverland' at 9pm on Wednesday and Thursday night this week. It's not yet clear if the Jackson estate plans further diversion tactics as it airs in the UK, or if it will continue to pressure the channel not to show the film at all.
Following renewed public interest in the abuse allegations made against Jackson in the film (none of which are actually new), BBC Radio 2 has reportedly stopped playing his music. According to The Times, the radio station has not played any solo tracks by Jackson for over a week.
A spokesperson for the BBC said in a statement: "We consider each piece of music on its merits and decisions on what we play on different networks are always made with relevant audiences and context in mind".
US viewers can see the second part of the new documentary on HBO tonight at 8pm ET. Both parts are available to stream via the HBO website now.
IMPALA hands outstanding contribution award to Norwegian journalist who broke Tidal scandal
"In a world of fake news and post-truth politics, facts can be hard to catch", says IMPALA Executive Chair Helen Smith. "The truth is out there, sure, but it's difficult to get. That's why good journalism must be recognised even more. The work of Markus and his colleagues as well as the commitment of DN on investigating streaming data at Tidal is truly outstanding".
The core allegation in that DN report was that Tidal skewed the streaming stats around the release of Kanye West's 'Life Of Pablo' and Beyonce's 'Lemonade', both albums over which the streaming firm enjoyed exclusives. The newspaper said that it investigated after chatter to the effect that the official number of plays for both albums in the weeks following release seemed very high given the size of Tidal's global userbase.
It then got its hands on some internal data from the streaming firm and got in touch with a bunch of Tidal subscribers which the system said had been heavily playing the Beyonce or West releases. DN alleges that some of those subscribers then denied playing either album as often as the official figures suggested. The journalists also got some academics to scrutinise the data it had acquired and they concluded it had been tampered with.
This all led to a criminal investigation in Norway, although Tidal strongly denies all of the claims made against it by DN, and has been quite disparaging about the newspaper and its reporting on this story. The streaming firm has also claimed that DN may have acted illegally in acquiring its usage data and that the data may have been falsified.
With that in mind, it's interesting to see the indie label community praising the newspaper for its reporting on this story, which, IMPALA adds, "was exceptional in pursuing basic principles of transparency and fairness in the online world".
DN Editor Amund Djuve says of the award: "It is nice that our journalism is valued in this way. The flow economy and the new challenges it has given to practitioners and businesses are a new and demanding area for investigative journalism. We expect to have a lot to write about in the next few years".
Tobiassen himself adds: "I'm grateful for the gesture, but more than that I owe thanks to IMPALA and others who've been willing to speak with me along the way and help me shed light on a business plagued by non-disclosure agreements and lack of transparency".
Particular interest in and scrutiny of Tidal's business in Norway stems from the fact that Jay-Z entered the streaming music business by buying the Nordic company WiMP and its Tidal brand back in 2015.
Ryan Adams UK and Ireland tour cancelled, following abuse accusations
Six women spoke of their experiences with Adams for a New York Times article last month, which also included claims that he had engaged in sexual communications with an underage fan. The FBI subsequently launched an investigation into that latter allegation.
The article was published ahead of what had been planned as an active year for Adams, with a new album and tour dates scheduled. The album, 'Big Colors', was due to be released through the musician's own Pax-Am label, distributed by Universal's Caroline International, in April. However, it was withdrawn from those digital platforms already offering pre-orders shortly after the publication of the NYT article.
UK and Ireland shows due to begin at the end of this month had remained on sale. Some ticketholders had complained that, in the light of the abuse allegations, they no longer wanted to attend, but that promoters were not offering refunds while the shows were still going ahead. But now they are not.
Primary ticketing firms announced on Friday that refunds for all tickets will be processed today.
Bruno Mars & Cardi B, Dido, Christina Aguilera, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Bruno Mars and Cardi B have released the video for 'Please Me'.
• Dido has released 'Still On My Mind', the title track from her new album, which is out this Friday.
• Alphabeat have returned with new single 'Shadows'. The track is taken from a new album due out in the autumn, their first since 2012's 'Express Non-stop'.
• The Noisettes' Shingai has released new solo single 'Coming Home', taken from upcoming EP 'Ancient Futures'. She will also headline the Jazz Café in London on 17 Apr.
• Guided By Voices have announced that they will release new album 'Warp And Woof' on 26 Apr. From it, this is 'Angelic Weirdness'.
• Sebadoh have announced that they will release their first album for six years, 'Act Surprised', on 24 May. From it, this is 'Celebrate The Void'.
• The Comet Is Coming have released new single 'Unity'. They've also announced that they will play Shepherd's Bush Empire on 5 Dec.
• K Flay has released new single 'Bad Vibes'. "With everything going on in the world right now, I wanted to make some positive music", she says. "The goal isn't to be happy every minute; it's just to move away from negative energy. Sonically, it's the perfect introduction to the record. Fuck being sad all the time!"
• Show Me The Body have released new track 'Madonna Rocket', from their upcoming album 'Dog Whistle'.
• Sam Evian has released two new songs, 'Cherry Tree' and 'Roses'. He's also just announced UK shows in August.
• Praa has released new single, 'Infinite Regress'.
• Christina Aguilera will be touring over this way in November. She'll play four shows at arenas in Glasgow, London, Manchester and Birmingham. Tickets go on sale this Friday.
• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Morrissey collaborator pleads ignorance on controversial political views
Ed Droste of Grizzly Bear, Broken Social Scene's Ariel Engle and Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong are among the artists who will appear on the record.
The collaborations with mainly left-leaning - although exclusively North American - artists seemed odd given the various controversies around things Morrissey has said in recent years. Remarks that have proven sufficiently controversial that a Love Music Hate Racism fundraiser was planned as a protest to run alongside a later postponed Morrissey show in Manchester last year.
When those collaborators were asked about this by The Guardian, most were unwilling to comment. However, Canadian Engle said that she was simply not aware of Morrissey's past remarks, saying: "It's a very weak argument to claim ignorance, but it is my argument. It's not an excuse but it happens to be the truth. The inflammatory things he says are not my politics. I think he's completely out of line. I grew up around multiculturalism and I am the product of multiculturalism and immigration. I feel like I've been had, but it's my fault".
Giving his take on it all, Morrissey's manager Peter Katsis, who is American, reckons that it is his client's British fans who are most aware of the controversial opinions. "I don't think [US fans] know enough about it to care about it", he said. "I don't feel knowledgeable enough to comment on British politics, therefore it's probably not as important to me or the international fans as it is to UK fans. This whole thing has had me perplexed. The subjects are very complicated and dividing".
It wouldn't be the first time that controversy here in the UK over a British artist has failed to travel to the US. And sometimes that's controversies around criminal conduct rather than simply right-wing politics. For example, Gary Glitter's 'Rock N Roll Part 2' remained a fixture of American sports games long after he was convicted obtaining images of and later engaging in child abuse. Although in recent years its use has tailed off.
So, Morrissey choosing to collaborate with North American artists on the new record might have been a canny way to ensure there wasn't any kind of embarrassing boycott from the artist community. Although it will be interesting to see if, by working with US artists, awareness of his more controversial statements increases among his American fanbase.