TODAY'S TOP STORY: Spotify has hit back at Apple's response to the competition law complaint it has filed against its rival in Europe, saying that the tech giant's counter arguments are pretty much what it expected and that "every monopolist will suggest they have done nothing wrong"... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES "Monopolists" always deny wrongdoing, Spotify says of Apple's competition complaint response
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Campaigners say free-speech loving YouTube should pass on the music industry's article thirteen arguments too
Warner/Chappell calls on songwriters to back campaign against Spotify's rate rise appeal
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Session aims to embed credits in songs at the point of creation
MEDIA Competition regulator investigating Bauer's recent flurry of acquisitions
ARTIST NEWS Beastie Boys to film book show
GIGS & FESTIVALS Clean Bandit and Aurora to play Youth Music's Give A Gig Week
AND FINALLY... MySpace loses pre-2015 archive
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"Monopolists" always deny wrongdoing, Spotify says of Apple's competition complaint response
Spotify has hit back at Apple's response to the competition law complaint it has filed against its rival in Europe, saying that the tech giant's counter arguments are pretty much what it expected and that "every monopolist will suggest they have done nothing wrong".

After Spotify filed its long-expected complaint with the European Commission last week - a filing accompanied by a blog post from founder Daniel Ek and a whole micro-site setting out the company's arguments - Apple quickly published a reaction statement.

Disputing most of its rival's allegations - including the key claim that Apple exploits its operating system and App Store to give Apple Music an unfair advantage - the tech giant said that Spotify simply wanted to make use of its platform and technologies without paying for the privilege.

It then connected its dispute with Spotify with its competitor's concurrent run-in with the songwriters and music publishers of America, ie the one over the Copyright Royalty Board's decision to increase the royalties streaming firms must pay for the song rights they exploit.

Apple is one of the few digital music companies not appealing that rate increase, which allowed it to include a sneaky extra dig in its response to the competition law complaint, to the effect that Spotify is keen to short change all of its key business partners.

The Apple statement last week concluded: "Spotify wouldn't be the business they are today without the App Store ecosystem. But now they're leveraging their scale to avoid contributing to maintaining that ecosystem for the next generation of app entrepreneurs. We think that's wrong".

Responding, Spotify said on Friday: "Every monopolist will suggest they have done nothing wrong and will argue that they have the best interests of competitors and consumers at heart. In that way, Apple's response to our complaint before the European Commission is not new and is entirely in line with our expectations".

Standing its ground, Spotify went on: "We filed our complaint because Apple's actions hurt competition and consumers, and are in clear violation of the law. This is evident in Apple's belief that Spotify's users on iOS are Apple customers and not Spotify customers, which goes to the very heart of the issue with Apple. We respect the process the European Commission must now undertake to conduct its review".

As do we all, I'm sure.


Campaigners say free-speech loving YouTube should pass on the music industry's article thirteen arguments too
As the very final vote on the European Copyright Directive gets ever closer, music industry campaigners have sent an open letter to YouTube boss Susan Wojcicki. In it they suggest that - given her company is so keen on freedom of expression - she should deliver the music community's position on the incoming copyright reforms to all the YouTube users who have had the Google position pushed into their apps in recent months.

Opponents to the Copyright Directive - and especially to the music-industry-supported safe-harbour-reforming article thirteen - often cite free speech concerns when criticising the new liabilities the copyright reforms will put on platforms like YouTube.

The music industry has long argued that those concerns are not justified. In the new letter, the Europe For Creators campaign group goes one step further by stating that, if Google is really concerned about free speech, it would surely want its users to hear both sides of the argument around the directive.

Google and YouTube, of course, went into campaigning overdrive on article thirteen late last year. They dropped their previous strategy of back-room lobbying and allowing supposedly grass roots groups to lead the public facing communications, and instead pushed out messaging directly to consumers.

In its letter to Wojcicki, the Europe For Creators campaign - which is led by GESAC and backed by various music industry organisations - writes: "You have taken advantage of your considerable influence over 1.8 billion monthly users as the biggest media entity in the world to circulate your own message to video makers and YouTubers".

And also to YouTube's users, of course, via "a portal comprising all videos defending your position... [and by running] banners, pop-ups and push notifications on YouTube defending your point of view and directing traffic to your unique webpage".

"This is unprecedented and raises ethical questions", the letter goes on, before accusing the web giant of including misleading statements in all that communication that constituted "scaremongering". It then states: "We believe it is totally unfair and unacceptable that your service, which dominates the online market, is exclusively used as a media service to promote your own commercial interests in a debate over European legislation".

"You advocate freedom of expression", the letter then says, "but what we have seen is a media service dedicated to the promotion of its own views, based on false information and scare tactics. We believe in pluralism and open, democratic debate. We believe our views also need to be voiced to your audience. That is what freedom of speech is all about. This is why we are asking you to let us ... send a message to the same YouTubers so we can share with them our vision of article thirteen".

Although the short-term objectives of the letter are obvious, interestingly the concerns it raises feed into the next big web-related debate in the EU once all the current copyright matters are addressed.

And that is platform responsibility, a debate that includes concerns over the ability of tech giants to exploit their platforms to their own commercial advantage. Which in turn includes the kind of anti-competitive tactics Spotify accuses Apple of employing, but also the exploiting of platforms to skew political debate, as YouTube is accused of in this letter.

You can read the full message to Wojcicki here.


Warner/Chappell calls on songwriters to back campaign against Spotify's rate rise appeal
Warner/Chappell has joined Sony/ATV in asking its songwriters to back the US National Music Publishers Association's PR offensive against Spotify in the dispute over the new mechanical royalty rates Stateside.

Spotify, of course, is appealing the recent Copyright Royalty Board ruling that will increase the streaming service revenue share allocation paid to the song copyright from 10.5% to 15.1% by 2022. So are Amazon, Google and Pandora, although Spotify is getting most of the heat so far.

The streaming firm published a blog post last week defending its position, and arguing that it didn't object to the rate rise in principle, but that it had some issues with the specifics of the revised compulsory licence. The company is now reportedly planning face-to-face meetings with songwriters in America to present its case.

The NMPA argues that Spotify's blog post was full of misinformation and spin and that the streaming firm just doesn't want to pay a fair rate to songwriters. The trade group is now also appealing the CRB ruling, but says its preferred option would be for the tech firms to back down so that it didn't have to go ahead with said appeal.

Sony/ATV boss Marty Bandier last week urged songwriters signed to the major to get up to speed on the dispute and to speak out in favour of the NMPA. Warner/Chappell's COO Carianne Marshall has now done likewise.

In her letter, she writes that the CRB ruling on mechanical royalties "came after rigorous consultation with many parties, including a wide range of tech companies, as well as songwriters and music publishers. There were strong arguments made on both sides, and the resulting rate increase was fair as well as overdue".

"That is where the debate should have rested", she adds. Noting the appeals that have now been filed by the streaming firms, she goes on: "We value our relationships with the companies who help us deliver music to fans, but we have to draw a line on this issue. Their attempt to roll back rates fairly determined through the CRB process is unacceptable. As such, we will vigorously seek to protect the value of music and passionately promote the rights of songwriters".

Concluding she says: "We are working with NMPA and policy makers in [Washington] DC to defeat the appeal. We also encourage you to lend your support to NMPA", mainly by passing on the trade body's messaging to fans.

If you're still a little confused as to what this dispute is all about, we go back through all the basics on this week's edition of our Setlist podcast.


Session aims to embed credits in songs at the point of creation
Music data start-up Auddly has a new name and is expanding its service. Previously focussed mainly on ensuring that songwriters agree and log royalty splits at the point any new song is created, the company - now called Session - will also seek to ensure that recordings of songs have full credit information attached to them from the moment they enter the world.

The aim is to embed this information into digital music files, which is something that other groups have been championing for a while, with mixed success. Session will be integrated with the Pro Tools software, allowing for both the logging and - crucially - the verification of various music industry identifiers. The IPI code for songwriters and IPN for performing artists can be included, as well the ISNI, which identifies content contributors of various types. It will also record the ISRC recording identifier and ISWC composition identifier.

The result, it is hoped, will help to overcome the various metadata issues of the digital music age, where proper credits are often not available on tracks uploaded to digital services. If it locked ISWC to ISRC, it could also help with royalty processing challenges.

"I'm convinced that the best way to involve the creators in the data collection is as early as possible in the creation process", says Session CEO Niclas Molinder. "Session's technology performs a short handshake with music society systems to authenticate creators and associate their vital industry identifiers with their account. When a creator walks into a Pro Tools powered studio their presence will be automatically detected and their identifiers, along with their typical contributions, can be easily added to a song".

Director of Pro Tools maker Avid, Francois Quereuil, adds: "With Pro Tools software at the core of many of today's music production environments around the world, the Avid team shares in the vision that all contributors to a piece of music or any audio work should be clearly identified, recognised and rewarded appropriately throughout the production and distribution process. We are particularly excited to enter a technology collaboration with Session and work with key players in the music industry to provide a durable solution to the challenges associated with capturing and recognising creators' credits in an increasingly complex digital world".

Universal Music is also among the partners at the initial stages of getting Session's product off the ground.


Competition regulator investigating Bauer's recent flurry of acquisitions
The Competition & Markets Authority is investigating Bauer Media's recent flurry of local radio acquisitions, which will significantly boost the media firm's portfolio of local radio stations around the UK.

The competition regulator confirmed last week that it is now looking into the most recent of those purchases, of the UKRD company. An investigation into the acquisitions of Celador Radio, Lincs FM Group and the local stations of the Wireless Group was already underway. It means those four businesses will remain standalone concerns until the CMA's investigations are complete.

Bauer tells Radio Today that "this is a standard procedural step and [we are] co-operating fully with the CMA".

The regulator will be looking into whether any of the acquisitions gives Bauer too much dominance in any one region, in particular regarding the local advertising market.


CRB appeal, closing venues, Kanye
CMU’s Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last seven days, including Spotify’s appeal of the US Copyright Royalty Board’s new mechanical royalties rate, ongoing challenges for grass roots music venues in the UK and EMI’s counter-suit in its contract battle with Kanye West. Setlist is sponsored by 7digital.

Listen to Setlist here, and sign up to receive new episodes for free automatically each week through any of these services...

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Beastie Boys to film book show
Michael Diamond and Adam Horovitz have announced plans to film three upcoming shows on their ongoing 'Beastie Boys Book: Live & Direct' tour.

Outings at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia on 5 Apr and the Kings Theater in Brooklyn on 8-9 Apr will be filmed by director Spike Jonze. In what form these recordings will eventually emerge isn't clear.

On how the live show developed, Diamond said at SXSW last week, according to Billboard: "We wrote this book, and instead of going to book stores and us reading chapters, which probably would've kind of sucked, we did these shows where we were on stage, coming together".

"It was kinda like a production, and we forgot to film the things we did before", Horovitz added. "We were like 'fuck, why don't we just film it?'"

During the SXSW interview, the pair also revealed that there is already a sequel to their book, although it's unlikely to be made available publicly. "We have a whole other book called 'Funny To Us'", said Horovitz. "The three of us together for so many days and weeks and months and years and traveling all over the place, you encounter so many super-weird people. And it's not funny to everybody else, but to us it's funny".


Clean Bandit and Aurora to play Youth Music's Give A Gig Week
Clean Bandit and Aurora are among the artists to perform in aid of Youth Music this year, as part of the charity's Give A Gig Week.

Each year, Youth Music asks artists, managers, promoters and other music companies to put on a gig to raise money for the charity. This year, Give A Gig Week will take place from 5-14 Apr.

Aurora's show will take place at the Courtyard Theatre in Shoreditch on 8 Apr, while Clean Bandit will place Omeara in Southwark on 7 Apr. Tickets for both shows will be allocated as part of a prize draw - entries costing a £5 donation to the charity.

"Our lives would have turned out very different if we didn't have access to music but we are aware we have been very fortunate in our opportunities", says Clean Bandit. "It's a position not everyone finds themselves in, so we see the work of Youth Music as incredibly valuable. Music really can improve lives so we are THRILLED to partner with the charity in raising money to help them with their many music-making projects across the country".

Aurora adds: "I am so happy to have been invited to 'give a gig' at the Courtyard Theatre. I played there back in 2015 before my first album came out and so much has changed since then, so this is going to be a very special show".

Enter the draw for Clean Bandit tickets here and Aurora here.

Find out more about Give A Gig Week here.


MySpace loses pre-2015 archive
MySpace - which is still going, by the way - seemingly lost twelve years of data when it moved to new servers. Although I'm sure everyone will be relieved to hear that everything put up on the site in the last three years is completely safe.

A notice on the website now reads: "As a result of a server migration project, any photos, videos, and audio files you uploaded more than three years ago may no longer be available on or from MySpace. We apologise for the inconvenience".

A previous note, suggesting that people should "retain ... back up copies" of uploaded files, appears to have been removed from this notice. Possibly because that's really not the most helpful thing to say after you've just lost someone's stuff.

While MySpace has fallen out of the public consciousness since other social and streaming services rose up and took its place, it was once the biggest social network, of course, with a particular focus on music. Noting that importance in its heyday, the LuckMe label said on Twitter of the data loss: "They had demos. First songs. They had communications. Connections between artists. An important archive of youth culture. And completely fucked it".

Then observing how services come and go, so that artists can never assume one platform will be a route to their fanbase forever, the label added: "Jumping from MySpace to SoundCloud was the first time we realised that this wasn't a given. That there's no audience a musician can build on these platforms that guarantee you reach forever. And that ultimately they can just sorta... disappear".

Reminisce further about the rise and fall and fall and fall of MySpace in this special edition of CMU's Setlist podcast.


ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
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