|TUESDAY 9 APRIL 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: More details have been announced today about this year's TGE Conference programme at The Great Escape. This includes the launch of a brand new day aimed at early-career artists and future music industry talent, plus confirmation of the keynote in-conversations which will wrap each of the three CMU+TGE conferences that are due to take place this year... [READ MORE]|
In-Conversations and all-new DIY programme added to Great Escape Conference
CMU+TGE will present three full day conferences as part of the TGE delegate programme next month. On Wednesday 8 May the focus will be music education, on Thursday 9 May the streaming market and digital royalties, and on Friday 10 May the evolution of music marketing campaigns caused by the rise of new digital channels and the shift to streaming.
Each of these conferences will finale with an in-conversation. On the Wednesday, Chilly Gonzales will provide an artist perspective on the state and future of music education. Last year he launched his own ground-breaking music education programme The Gonzervatory, which will return later this year and is currently inviting musicians to apply to take part. He'll discuss what that programme involves, and also explain how we can build bridges between musical disciplines and in doing so ensure music education works for everyone.
On the Thursday, the full-day focus on digital dollars will conclude with an in-conversation with Justin Kalifowitz, Founder and CEO of Downtown Music. The leading independent music publisher also owns Songtrust, which will feature earlier in the day as the spotlight is put on ways to ensure songwriters actually receive their digital royalties. Downtown also recently acquired CD Baby and its sister digital companies, and during the conversation Kalifowitz will discuss what it takes for a music rights company to fully support and nurture each individual artist and songwriter business in the streaming age.
At the end of the Friday music marketing conference, Cassandra Gracey, President of Sony Music's 4th Floor Creative division, will take to the stage. During the day the conference will look at the ever-expanding music marketing toolkit and the increasing importance of content, partnerships and analytics in each artist marketing campaign. Sony created 4th Floor in recognition of how music marketing is evolving, and Gracey will talk about how the division works, and what she thinks is key in ensuring artists truly stand out.
In addition to the three CMU+TGE strands that sit at the heart of the TGE Conference, on Saturday 11 May there is a whole extra programme aimed at early-career artists and future music industry talent. This new talent day will shift to a whole new level this year thanks to support from O2, with a series of panels on topics like distribution, gigging, social media and getting your big break. Called O2 Presents DIY Academy, this part of the TGE Conference will be open to festival wristband holders as well as delegates.
The Saturday DIY line-up will also include the Elevate Seminars. Curated by CMU:DIY, these six sessions are part of Elevate, TGE's new professional development programme funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. These seminars, open to all, will provide concise and practical guides to putting on shows, getting music streamed, building a direct-to-fan business, employing social media and getting paid when your songs and recordings are played. Plus the top five music industry fuck ups and how to avoid them.
Full schedules for the three CMU+TGE conferences and the O2 Presents DIY Academy day are now online here, with the very final elements of the full TGE Conference programme due to be announced very soon. Meanwhile, get your TGE tickets here.
UK government proposes regulator to deal with online harms, though not piracy matters
Launching a white paper on the topic, culture minister Jeremy Wright said at an event at the British Library: "We propose a duty of care for those online companies which allow users to share or discover user-generated content, or that allow users to interact with each other online. A duty to do all that is reasonable to keep their users safe online. That duty will be enforced by an independent regulator".
Of course the term 'online harm' covers all sorts of misbehaviour that can occur on the net. The white paper does list what ministers are grouping under that term but it's quite a long list. It includes cyberbulling, cyberstalking, disinformation, revenge porn, incitement of violence and the distribution of terrorist or violent content, or of images of child abuse. Children accessing pornography and other unsuitable content is also included, as is the online sale of illegal goods.
From a music industry perspective, the obvious thing that is missing from the list is copyright infringement. Ministers possibly think that the responsibility of online platforms to restrict the distribution of unlicensed content has been dealt with elsewhere - not least in the soon-to-be-passed European Copyright Directive - though the copyright industries had hoped that intellectual property would also have been part of this new discussion.
Noting the exclusion of copyright matters from the government's list of online harms, the boss of record industry trade group the BPI, Geoff Taylor, said yesterday: "The BPI welcomes the global lead the UK government is taking to make the big tech platforms much more accountable for the content they host and the online harm they enable".
"However", he went on, "after all the promises made around the Digital Charter [that the government published last year], it is disappointing that the opportunity has been missed to create a framework that also reduces economic harm online, and the damage this causes to consumers and to business. IP infringement is one of the biggest inhibitors to the growth of our creative industries - at a time when they should be one of the UK's top priorities after Brexit. We strongly urge the government to listen to the many concerned voices across the wider creative community, and to think through its approach again".
Even without copyright being included, the white paper will receive push back from the tech sector, especially given that the proposed new regulator will have the power to fine digital companies that fail to meet this new duty of care. It might have other powers too, including the power to instigate web-blocks against offending sites.
Of course, no one denies that mainstream and widespread internet usage has created an assortment of challenges for society at large, and many of the things on the government's list of online harms are serious problems that need addressing. And while some tech giants are now talking up how they are trying to meet these challenges themselves, some would argue that such voluntary initiatives are too little too late.
There is a parallel with all the recent debates around copyright online here as well. In that many tech companies turned themselves into content distributors and media platforms without dealing with any of the tricky issues that traditional content distributors and media platforms had always had to contend with, like copyright, fact-checking, defamation and decency.
By ignoring those tricky issues, the tech firms were able to distribute content and launch media channels on the cheap, gaining competitive advantage in the process. Then, when finally forced to address these entirely foreseeable problems, the tech firms argued that doing so could destroy their business models. Even though those are business models that only ever really worked because of the initial cheat, ie they ignored all the tricky issues of content distribution.
However, at the same time, law-makers have often proven themselves to be pretty damn ignorant of how the internet actually works, while also being very optimistic indeed about what automating filtering can really achieve. Which means that government-led attempts to regulate the internet and the distribution of harmful content have had mixed results to date.
Plus, while copyright critics often exaggerate the impact enforcing IP rights has on the freedom of expression, once you start regulating hateful posts, fake news and indecent content, you quickly hit upon significant free speech issues. Because who is to decide what is actually hateful, fake and indecent? Can a government regulator really be trusted with making such judgements over the tidal wave of content that appears online every day?
In its response to the online harms white paper, the Open Rights Group stated: "On the positive side, the paper lists free expression online as a core value to be protected and addressed by the regulator. However, despite the apparent prominence of this value, the mechanisms to deliver this protection and the issues at play are not explored in any detail at all. [And] in many cases, online platforms already act as though they have a duty of care towards their users".
With that in mind, the Open Rights Group added, if the proposed new duty of care for net firms is "drawn narrowly so that it only bites when there is clear evidence of real, tangible harm and a reason to intervene, nothing much will change. However, if it's drawn widely, sweeping up too much content, it will start to act as a justification for widespread internet censorship".
Although Wright, like his white paper, didn't go into many specifics, he did acknowledge that the big challenge here is getting the balance right between stopping online harms while protecting free speech.
He said: "The regulator will take account of the need to promote innovation and freedom of speech. It will adopt a risk-based approach, prioritising action where there is the greatest evidence of threat or harm to individuals or to wider society. It will also adopt a proportionate approach - taking account of a company's size and resources. It will be regulation designed to be intelligent, but most of all designed to be effective".
The Mighty Boosh announced as UK Record Store Day ambassadors
"We are approaching singularity, when computers will overtake and replace us", says Barratt of why they chose to support the event. "Therefore, it suddenly felt prescient to outwit them and somehow save our precious early recordings onto a format that the dawning artificial intelligences will not see as a threat".
Pearl Jam, of course, were named overall RSD ambassadors for 2019 back in February. As far as I'm aware though, they don't plan to leave the US as the event takes place this Saturday. Even though there's five of them. Lazy fuckers. I'm sure the Boosh will do us proud over here in the UK though.
Broadwick Live announces new London live music complex, The Drumsheds
It was actually announced last year that Field Day would take up residence at the live music complex within Enfield Council's in development regeneration area, which goes by the name Meridian Water. Broadwick Live reckons that, with its industrial buildings and trees separating it from residential areas, The Drumsheds will be able to overcome the sound issues that London-based festivals usually suffer from, allowing events to run much later and much louder than elsewhere in the capital.
Broadwick Venues Managing Director, Bradley Thompson says: "The Drumsheds is [our] most ambitious project to date and a huge boost for the capital; multiple warehouse spaces, the largest of which has 10,000 plus capacity, along with a ten acre outdoor festival space, complete with a late night licence - unprecedented in London. It epitomises both Broadwick Venues' dedication to quality, innovation and creativity, and Meridian Water's commitment to be a true 24 hour destination. We're confident that people will be as blown away by it as we are".
London's Night Czar Amy Lamé is also delighted. "I'm delighted", she says, "that The Drumsheds is the latest venue to open in our capital and proud that it shows Enfield's commitment to delivering the Mayor's 24 hour vision for London. London has the most diverse night-time culture in the world and this innovative new event space, at the heart of a major regeneration project, will be a great addition to our wide range of entertainment venues".
Field Day will launch the venue on 7-8 Jun. Tickets are on sale now.
Universal signs licensing deal with Nigerian streaming service uduX
"We have created a new platform to bring value to the music ecosystem both here in Nigeria and the wider world at large", says the CEO of uduX's parent company, Chidi Okeke. "uduX Music is excited to be working with Universal Music Group to help shape the future of digital music consumption in Africa and provide Nigerian music fans with access to their favourite artists from around the world".
GM of Universal Music Nigeria, Ezegozie Eze Jr, adds: "This partnership extends our reach and makes our artists' music even more accessible to Nigerian music lovers. We are delighted to be the first global music company to partner with uduX and look forward to bringing the extraordinary creativity of our artists to as many Nigerian users as possible".
Music companies are increasingly turning their attention to Africa as a continent with potential for major revenue growth in the future - now that previous targets like China, India and South America are finally taking off. Universal and Warner have both signed agreements with Boomplay, which is gaining ground in a number of African countries, and which now claims to have 42 million users. Last week it was announced that Boomplay had raised $20 million in new finance.
The uduX deal comes less than a year after the launch of Universal Music Nigeria, which was set up to work with artists from Nigeria, Ghana and Gambia. Universal has also launched two live music companies in Africa in recent years.
Khalid announces UK shows
"I'm super excited to announced that I will be coming back to play a couple of shows for you guys", he says. "I will be playing in London, Belfast, Birmingham, Belfast and Leeds. I'm stoked. I'm excited".
I can't vouch for how excited he really is, but he will definitely be playing all those cities. Also Dublin, which he didn't mention but I will. No one can stop me. Not Khalid. Not you. Nobody. Here are the dates (including Dublin):
17 Sep: London, O2 Arena
Madonna, PJ Harvey, Morrissey, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Madonna is going to perform two songs during the interval of this year's Eurovision Song Contest in Israel, one of which is expected to be new. One of the songs, I mean. Madonna, the Eurovision Song Contest and Israel are all not new.
• Morrissey has released his collaboration with Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, 'Wedding Bell Blues'. Originally made famous by 5th Dimension in 1969, the track is taken from Morrissey's upcoming covers album 'California Son'.
• Marina has released the video for 'To Be Human', from new album 'Love + Fear'.
• Courtney Barnett has released new single 'Everybody Here Hates You', a standalone single being released for this year's Record Store Day.
• Zomby has announced that he will release new EP 'Vanta' on 17 May. Here's lead single 'Zexor'.
• Clinic have released new single 'Laughing Cavalier'.
• Show Me The Body have released new single 'Forks And Knives'.
• Madonnatron have released new single 'Goodnight Little Empire'. "'Goodnight Little Empire' observes the apocalyptic events described in the Book Of Revelations from the comfort of a plush, velveteen couch at the back of a 1970's disco lounge", say the band. Their new album, 'Musica Alla Puttanesca', is out on 24 May.
• Josefin Öhrn And The Liberation have released the video for new single 'Feel The Sun'.
• LibraLibra have released new single 'Lover Boy'.
• Tame Impala have announced that they will play three headline shows in the British Isles this June. The O2 Arena on 8 Jun, the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool on 24 Jun and 3Arena in Dublin on 26 Jun. They're also playing various European festivals, including Glastonbury.
• James Bay will play the London Palladium on 23 May. "This will be my first UK show of 2019", he says. "I wanted to play a special, historic London venue for my fans at home".
• Folk singer Shirley Collins has won this year's Penderyn Music Book Prize with 'All In The Downs: Reflections On Life, Landscape and Song'. "This book was my dinner date and it was so difficult to put it down, in favour of a pudding. A read where I constantly felt by the author's side", says Squeeze's Chris Difford, one of the award's judges.
• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Ed Sheeran is selling his own sake in Japan now
Sake brewery Konishi Shuzo says that it learned that Sheeran is "a great fan of Japanese food and sake", so approached him with an offer to collaborate, which was "pleasantly accepted". Each of the two types of sake, put on sale yesterday, is themed on a different Sheeran album. The first, a 'junmai ginjo' style sake, complements the musician's debut album 'Plus'. The second, a more unusual sparkling sake, is made with his most recent album, 'Divide', in mind.
Both designs, as well as featuring a cartoon rendering of Sheeran's face, also include a drawing of his cat's paws. I'm not exactly sure why, but the company says this has made the design "full of warmth". So I guess Sheeran's face and music just weren't doing it.
A bottle will cost you roughly £13.75 each. Although you will have to go to Japan to get it, which bumps up the cost slightly. And there are only 3000 bottles of each being produced, so you'll need to hurry. Unfortunately, you're not going to get there in time to see Sheeran play the Tokyo Dome tonight, but he'll be back to perform at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka on 23 Apr.
It's not clear if Sheeran plans to sell his own alcoholic beverages when he plays a run of UK shows later this summer. Maybe a super strength lager. Or sherry. You don't see sherry so much anymore, do you? Come on Ed, make sherry fashionable again.