|WEDNESDAY 6 MARCH 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK's Competition & Markets Authority has confirmed that it is preparing new legal action against big bad Viagogo. The government body has concluded that the always controversial secondary ticketing site has still not complied with all of its demands to bring the touting platform in line with British law... [READ MORE]|
CMA says Viagogo still not compliant with the law, plans new legal action
Early last year the CMA made a number of demands of all the big ticket resale websites in the UK, which at the time included eBay's StubHub and Ticketmaster's Seatwave and Get Me In!, as well as Viagogo. StubHub agreed to comply, while Ticketmaster decided to shut down its resale sites in Europe.
For its part, Viagogo failed to voluntarily agree to meet the CMA's demands, forcing the government agency to secure a court order last November.
The deadline for addressing the CMA's big list of required changes was in January. On deadline day, Viagogo bragged on Twitter that it was now compliant, but a week later the CMA confirmed that wasn't the case and called on the rogue resale site to urgently ensure every requirement of its court order had been met.
Yesterday the government agency said that, while some changes have been made, Viagogo is still not fully compliant, hence the need to return to court to enforce last year's injunction. A spokesperson said: "The CMA has today warned Viagogo it is still not compliant with the court order we secured, requiring improved information be displayed about the tickets listed for resale on its site".
"Although some improvements have been made since we first demanded action to address areas of non-compliance", it went on, "further checks have shown there are still issues of concern. For a company not to comply with a court order is clearly very serious. We are therefore now preparing to take legal action to ask a court to find Viagogo in contempt".
Contempt of court is a pretty big deal and can result in jail time for a company's leadership. Which is possibly why Viagogo was slightly less bullish in its response to this latest development, although it still insists that it believes it is now in line with UK law.
"We take the CMA's concerns very seriously", a spokesperson for the ticketing set-up insisted. "However, we strongly believe we are not in breach of the court order. As the CMA indicated, we have successfully made several improvements to our platform to meet the compliance requirements of the order".
However, the spokesperson added: "We remain committed to working closely with the CMA and to achieving the highest standards possible on behalf of the thousands of people who use Viagogo every day".
Those who have been campaigning against ticket touting - and who have long been calling for relevant laws to be enforced against Viagogo - obviously welcomed yesterday's announcement from the CMA.
A spokesperson for the FanFair campaign stated: "The FanFair Alliance welcomes today's long-awaited announcement from the CMA. We also share concerns about Viagogo's compliancy with its court order, and that the site continues to facilitate large-scale breaches of consumer law. All UK music fans should avoid this site".
Meanwhile Sharon Hodgson MP, who heads up the All-Party Parliamentary Group On Ticket Abuse, said: "I am pleased that the CMA have today announced that they are preparing to take Viagogo to court to find them in contempt. This has been a long time coming, so I feel that it is only right that Viagogo are held to account for their parasitical actions, that have ripped off fans for far too many years".
"As the Chair of the APPG On Ticket Abuse, I will of course be watching this very closely", she went on. "As will thousands of fans who have fallen victim to Viagogo. I echo the warnings of ... Fan Fair Alliance that fans should avoid buying from Viagogo".
If you're interested in how we got to this point, don't forget we had a recent special edition of Setlist telling the secondary ticketing story from its shift onto the internet, up to around about now.
Global music publishing group backs Warner in its Spotify spat in India
Warner, of course, went to court in India last week ahead of Spotify's long-awaited launch in the market. The mini-major is yet to agree a deal with Spotify for India, and that deal would cover Warner's Anglo-American songs repertoire as well as its recordings catalogue.
Although it's annoying for Spotify not to be able to include Warner's recordings in its Indian service, not having a licence for the Warner/Chappell songs catalogue is more problematic.
The issue is partly because it means that the digital firm can't stream recordings owned by other labels that are of songs that are owned - or co-owned - by Warner. And partly because the streaming services don't really know what songs they are streaming, making it really hard to quickly remove any one songs catalogue.
Spotify's solution to that problem was to argue that there is a compulsory licence available under Indian copyright law which means it can utilise Warner's songs without a bespoke direct deal, providing it pays the royalties due under that compulsory licence. Warner argues that the compulsory licence Spotify is relying on doesn't apply to on-demand streaming services, and it wants a court order confirming that fact. The legal spat is ongoing.
Statements issued by both sides in the dispute were pretty blunt last week, with Spotify pointing out that Warner's refusal to license at least its songs catalogue could stop it from streaming recordings and songs owned or co-owned by other labels and publishers, to the detriment of said other labels and publishers.
Given that fact, you might expect those publishers which do have deals with Spotify in India to be on the streaming service's side. Except, Spotify's interpretation of Indian copyright law extends the reach of compulsory licensing in India. And if there's one thing all labels and publishers hate more than anything else, it's the idea of the reach of compulsory licensing being extended.
That is the reason why, shortly after a board meeting of the ICMP, the trade group's Director General John Phelan stated: "Music publishers worldwide work in the interest of all creators and will fight for appropriate remuneration for all licensed use of their work. At the heart of this problem is the inappropriate use of music and the subsequent undervaluation of songwriters - Indian and international. ICMP and its members express their full support of Warner/Chappell Music in its actions".
So, fuck off Spotify, basically. Oh, and fuck off SGAE too. Because ICMP's post-board meeting statements also included new comments on the ongoing issues around the Spanish collecting society SGAE, an issue that has been a key focus of the global trade group since it became more chatty and pro-active last year.
Since ICMP's last statement on the SGAE problem, the Spanish government has taken an interest in the affairs of the controversial collecting society. And the frequent criticisms of the way it distributes royalties to its members. And the particular allegations over the distribution of TV income that involves a scam known as 'the wheel'.
On all the latest SGAE developments, ICMP Chair Chris Butler said yesterday: "We very much welcome the recent intervention of the Spanish Minister Of Culture on this issue. Minister [José] Guirao and his team have identified the serious changes required in order to secure a sustainable solution to this longstanding problem".
"We must ensure Spanish songwriters and musicians are getting accurate returns for their work", he added, noting that "without fair representation on the board of SGAE and accurate remuneration for their works, the problems of 'the wheel' will persist and SGAE's governance will continue to fall far short of international standards".
Omnian hires Jane Abernathy
If you are wondering what the Omnian Music Group is, well, it owns record labels Captured Tracks, 2MR, Sinderlyn and Manufactured Recordings. It also has a partnership with legendary New Zealand label Flying Nun, and co-owns the No Other Music publishing company with artist management firm We Are Free. Busy busy.
"Jane was always number one on my radar in terms of someone who I really wanted to work with", says OMG CEO Mike Sniper. "Through participating with her on music conference panels and listening to her opinions on the industry and music in general made me realise what a powerhouse she is and how much she can do for our company. Her intelligence, ingenuity and experience will help us rise to the next level and we look forward to learning a lot working with her".
As well as hiring Abernethy, OMG has also made a number of promotions. Pamela Garavano Coolbaugh is now Label Manager at Captured Tracks and, for the group as a whole, Dave Martin is now Head Of Physical and Matt Brinkworth is Head Of Digital.
Now Bauer Media buys UKRD
Following recent deals to buy Celador Radio, Lincs FM Group and the local stations owned by the Wireless Group, Bauer yesterday announced it is acquiring UKRD, a significant smaller player in local radio in the UK. The deal brings to Bauer ten radio stations across Yorkshire, East Anglia and the South and South West of England.
Confirming this, Bauer Media UK boss Paul Keenan said: "These stations are an excellent addition to our business and further extend our reach into completely new areas of the UK. This further demonstrates our long-term commitment and belief in commercial radio which has never been so exciting - for both listeners and advertisers".
Confirming the deal from its side, UKRD CEO William Rogers added: "UKRD's radio stations will make a great addition to the Bauer portfolio and the opportunities that may well present themselves to many of our talented and highly professional people will be greatly enhanced by this acquisition".
It will be interesting to see if Bauer, once it has completed this flurry of local radio acquisitions, looks to make any new economies across its network of local stations. Bauer, like Global, has long shared shows across that network, though not quite to the same extent and - unlike its rival - it still operates an assortment of local brands around the country.
Last week, Global announced that it was capitalising on recent changes to broadcasting rules and would further reduce the amount of local programming on its regional stations, resulting in a lot more shows coming from London. It remains to be seen whether Bauer will try to do the same across its recently expanded network of stations.
R Kelly denies abuse allegations in tense US TV interview
Interviewer Gayle King repeatedly challenges Kelly on the allegations that have been against him and his defence of them, pressing him particularly on the numerous claims that he had sex with underage girls.
"People are going back to my past, and they're trying to add all of this stuff now to that", says Kelly, bringing up the previous child abuse trial he went through, in which he was acquitted. "I beat my case. You can't double jeopardy me like that. You can't. It's not fair. It's not fair to nobody. When you beat your case, you beat your case".
King notes that there are many accusations against him, in addition to that one case that went to trial. She also pushes back on Kelly's insistence that past accusations against him are not relevant to the new abuse charges he is now facing. He again denies that any of the allegations past and present are true, saying: "Whether they're old rumours, new rumours, future rumours, [they're] not true".
As well as pressing him on allegations that he has had sex with numerous underage girls, King also asks him to deny that he has ever held anyone against their will. Several women have said that this is the case, which he also says is not true.
"I don't need to", he says. "Why would I? How stupid would it be for R Kelly, with all I've been through in my way, way, way past to hold somebody - let alone four, five, six, 50 you said - how stupid would I be to do that?"
Turning to the camera, he then addresses the viewing audience with tears in his eyes, saying: "That's stupid! Use your common sense. Forget the blogs, forget how you feel about me. Hate me if you want to, love me if you want, but just use your common sense ... Quit playing. I didn't do this stuff. This is not me. I'm fighting for my fucking life!"
King also asks Kelly about the recent shift in attitudes towards him in the music industry, asking: "How do you feel about how people view you in the industry? You know, John Legend has called you a serial rapist. People in the room, some of the top executives were saying he's over, he's done, no one will work with him. Lady Gaga has said, has apologised for working with you. Spotify has pulled you off of its playlists. How does all of this sit with you, how you're viewed now in the industry?"
Calling Lady Gaga a "very great talent", he says that "it's unfortunate that her intelligence goes to such a short level when it comes to that".
"I have nothing against none of these artists", he goes on. "But I think it's not professional for them to do that. Because something like this can happen to any artist. Anybody famous. Anybody famous can get accused of so many different things".
King disagrees that the situation Kelly now finds himself in is something that could happen to "anybody famous", to which he replies: "This could happen to anybody.".
The first part of the interview will be aired on 'CBS This Morning' at 7am ET (midday in the UK), with the second part to be shown at the same time tomorrow.
The National announce easily discoverable new album
As well as frontman Matt Berninger, the album will feature vocals from Lisa Hannigan, Sharon Van Etten, Mina Tindle, This Is The Kit's Kate Stables and The Brooklyn Youth Choir. First single and album opener 'You Had Your Soul With You' includes vocals from longtime David Bowie bassist Gail Ann Dorsey.
Noting one connection between all of these vocalists, Berninger notes: "Yes, there are a lot of women singing on this, but it wasn't because, 'Oh, let's have more women's voices'. It was more, 'Let's have more of a fabric of people's identities'. It would have been better to have had other male singers, but my ego wouldn't let that happen".
The album will be accompanied by a short film bearing the same name, directed by Mike Mills and staring Alicia Vikander. You can, and maybe even will, watch a trailer for the film and album here.
The band recently announced five "unique events" in Paris, New York, London, Toronto and LA in April. The London one will take place at the Royal Festival Hall on 18 Apr. 'I Am Easy To Find' will then follow a month later on 17 May.
[PIAS], The Prodigy, Kate Bush, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• [PIAS] has hired Vanessa Picken, founder of digital agency Comes With Fries, as its new Head Of Digital For America, Asia Pacific, Australia & New Zealand. "I've always wanted to challenge myself and keep evolving my business, so this growth with [PIAS] feels like a perfect next step", she says.
• Artistic and Commercial Director of the Royal Albert Hall, Lucy Noble has been elected chair of the National Arenas Association in the UK. "I'm especially looking forward to lead on discussion around women in the industry, accessibility and diversity, and how we can keep ahead of changes in technology", she says.
• The Prodigy have confirmed that they are cancelling all scheduled live shows, following the death of Keith Flint. US shows in May had already been pulled.
• Kate Bush has made the video for 'The Man I Love', directed by 10cc's Kevin Godley, available online for the first time.
• Billie Eilish has released new single 'Wish You Were Gay'.
• Ibibio Sound System have released new single 'Guess We Found A Way'.
• Clinic have announced that they will release a new album, 'Wheeltappers And Shunters', on 10 May. From it, this is 'Rubber Bullets'.
• Trixie Whitely has released new single 'Long Time Coming'.
• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Mac DeMarco channels Mitski (a bit, sort of) for new album
"This one is my cowboy record", says DeMarco of the album. "Cowboy is a term of endearment to me. I use it often when referring to people in my life. Where I grew up, there are many people that sincerely wear cowboy hats and do cowboy activities. These aren't the people I'm referring to".
So, that's nice isn't it? But, maybe we should stop quoting the man and address the elephant in the room instead. You've possibly already noted that Mitski also released an album called 'Be The Cowboy' last year, the first single from which was also titled 'Nobody'. Or maybe you've haven't. That's DeMarco's story, at least.
A rep for DeMarco tells Pitchfork that he only learned of the similarities between his and Mitski's album after he'd come up with the title and decided on the first single. Seemingly he didn't think it was important enough to make any changes at that stage. Is Mitski angry though? No, why do you always want people to be angry? She thinks it's funny.
"I'm 100% sure Mac and I just went fishing in the same part of the collective unconscious", she tweeted. "Anyway thanks for the laugh, Mac! Happy release!"
"My god, why is everyone mad", she later added. "I'm laughing!"
DeMarco will play UK shows following his album's release, just like Mitski did, the big copycat. Here are the dates:
26 Jun: Glasgow, Kelvingrove Bandstand