|FRIDAY 26 APRIL 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The American government has published its annual piracy report, which is where the US Trade Representative namechecks the countries and websites that it reckons are causing the biggest headaches for the country's intellectual property owners. Canada still appears in the first of those lists, while the super resistant Pirate Bay is still featured in the latter... [READ MORE]|
US government publishes its annual piracy gripe lists
Both of America's closest neighbours - ie Canada and Mexico - appear on the US government's watch list of countries that should be doing more to protect IP rights. Though neither are on the more extreme priority watch list, which calls out Algeria, Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine and Venezuela.
In a statement yesterday, the USTR said: "These trading partners will be the subject of increased bilateral engagement with USTR to address IP concerns. For such countries that fail to address US concerns, USTR will take appropriate actions".
The accompanying Notorious Markets report lists all the websites that the US government reckons are rampantly facilitating copyright or other kinds of IP infringement. Although The Pirate Bay gets its customary mention, the report acknowledges that other forms of piracy are now out-performing good old-fashioned file-sharing. The report notes that "pirate streaming sites continue to gain popularity, overtaking pirate torrent and direct download sites for distribution of pirated content".
The music industry's top piracy moan stream-ripping is also mentioned, with a number of sites that allow users to create permanent downloads of temporary streams among the list. That includes Russian sites Flvto.biz and 2Conv.com, which the US record industry sued last year. In that case, a judge in Florida concluded that he didn't have jurisdiction over the two websites and, earlier this month, the Electronic Frontier Foundation urged the courts to uphold that judgement now that the record labels are appealing.
The USTR says that the aim of its annual piracy bad boys list is "to motivate appropriate action by the private sector and governments to reduce piracy and counterfeiting".
Some sites listed on past lists have been shut down, either as a result of legal action, the threat of legal action, or just because of changing trends in piracy consumption. So maybe this annual naming and shaming works. Though there are also some sites that just keep popping up again every year. Whether The Pirate Bay will ever be removed remains to be seen. Possibly, but mainly because downloads are becoming less popular across the board.
Paste Media Group buys fan data platform NoiseTrade from flagging PledgeMusic
Pledge bought NoiseTrade in 2016 in a bid to extend the range of direct-to-fan tools it offered artists that used its services. Although for music fans NoiseTrade was a source of free downloads, for artists it was all about accessing fan data in return for offering up some freebie content. It also provided a similar service for authors willing to give away ebooks.
There has been much speculation about what the future might hold for NoiseTrade since the Pledge company admitted it was experiencing financial difficulties last year, subsequently suspending artist payments in February. Sources said NoiseTrade was still running pretty much as normal, it operating more or less autonomously from its parent company. But obviously, if Pledge collapsed completely that could cause problems for the subsidiary firm.
A statement posted on the Paste magazine website yesterday confirming the deal began: "Today begins a new era of NoiseTrade with its acquisition by Paste". The media firm then said of its new acquisition, "we've long been fans of the site's ability to connect artists with new fans, and music fans with their new favourite bands".
The statement went on: "We recently combined forces with Daytrotter to become the largest collection of live music performances on the internet, and we'll be adding that library to NoiseTrade in the coming weeks, offering thousands of sessions to NoiseTrade's already abundant offering".
Meanwhile, in a short post over on Facebook, NoiseTrade itself said: "NoiseTrade has officially joined the Paste Magazine family! We'll continue to bring you the best music and books content, including exclusive performances from the Paste Music and Daytrotter studios, along with interviews, reviews and more. The goal to connect artists and fans won't change; we'll just be doing it a whole lot more!"
We still await news regarding the future of the wider Pledge business, which still owes money to a plethora of artists who were running fan-funding or pre-order campaigns on the site when the financial issues got out of control. A co-founder of NoiseTrade recently remarked on Twitter that Pledge founder Benji Rogers had told him that a possible buyer for the business was still going through the due diligence process.
Boiler Room returns to China, announces Southbank Centre partnership
"China is fast becoming a powerhouse in global underground music, and so it's with huge excitement that we announce Boiler Room's return with events in Beijing and Shanghai", says the club and gig streaming site's founder Blaise Bellville.
"Our core mission is to document club and dance floor culture the world over", he goes on. "A big focus for us in the coming months will be to ensure these burgeoning Chinese scenes and artists are part of that story. We want to build a sustained presence for Boiler Room within China, through regular events and content that can be enjoyed both sides of the Great Firewall".
The opening show will take place on 30 Apr at China's first techno club, Lantern. Performing will be New Yorkers Volvox and Berlin's Fadi Mohem, plus Beijing-based artists L+R Wang Lu & Yu Miao, Guzheng and Sun Meng. The live streaming for that will start at a very respectable 3pm in the UK.
After that, on 2 May, Shanghai will get in on the action at 44kw. That show will be headlined by Chinese producer Temple Rat, alongside fellow locals Max Shen and Deep 19, plus Serbian Tijana T.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, Boiler Room has announced a new partnership in London with the Southbank Centre's Concrete Lates for a new monthly night running from May to the end of the year.
"Launching Concrete Lates a year ago was an experiment for Southbank Centre, but one that is central to our dedication to be for everyone", says the venue's Senior Contemporary Music Programmer Bengi Ünsal. "London's nightlife and culture is one of the most diverse and varied in the world, and it's right that the UK's largest arts centre is taking its place within the capital's clubbing scene".
"After a promising first year, having Boiler Room come on board is a huge vote of confidence for us", she goes on. "Their reputation with both artists and audiences for quality live music experiences is unrivalled the world over. With our two talented teams working together, I'm super excited for what Concrete Lates has to offer in the year to come".
Details of the first three parties in the Southbank Centre's Queen Elizabeth Hall will be announced on 1 May.
BBC to appoint one big boss of pop
In an internal memo, BBC Director Of Radio & Education James Purnell explains: "We currently have a mix of controllers and heads in the pop music area, so I'm planning to create a new role - Controller, BBC Pop Music - to bring our portfolio of pop stations and music output under one umbrella".
There have been attempts to more closely align the BBC's various music operations before, although with mixed success. Indeed, many initiatives intended to streamline management at the top of the radio stations and music telly projects have instead added extra personnel and bureaucracy into the mix. Often this results in the BBC finding new things to keep those people busy, which is in part why the Corporation has increasingly started to compete with the music industry it's meant to support by becoming a festival promoter.
Explaining what specific divisions will be part of this latest effort at joined up thinking, Purnell goes on: "The pop stations - Radio 1, 1Xtra, Asian Network, Radio 2, 6 Music - [and] BBC Music and the music TV commissioning heads will report into the new controller. This is a great opportunity for the pop music stations to work more closely together and for the BBC to maintain its effective voice with the music industry".
In some ways the new position could be seen as a replacement for Bob Shennan, the Beeb's former Director Of Radio And Music, who has been promoted to an overall MD role. The new role won't have quite as wide a remit, but such roles often expand at the BBC, so could ultimately do so. A current favourite for the pop boss job is Radio 1 chief Ben Cooper.
Meanwhile, the second newly announced executive position will put one person in charge of the BBC Sounds app. Launched last year with mixed success, the app brings together all of the BBC's radio and podcasting activity, and has been made a top priority by Director General Tony Hall.
Purnell notes that the broadcaster is "launching into a competitive, relatively mature market" in terms of offering ever more enhanced on-demand music experiences through an app, and therefore "gaining audiences is going to require determination and focus".
However, he says, "we have something none of our competitors do - the breadth of our creativity. The streamers don't have radio stations - yet. We are local, national and global. We have a unique public purpose - to serve the public by informing, educating and entertaining. And we have some of the best marketing and product teams in the world".
"To succeed", he goes on, "we need to make Sounds more than the sum of those parts. We are therefore going to have a single person accountable for the service - a new Controller of BBC Sounds. They will develop the strategy for Sounds, and oversee its delivery, coordinating our editorial, product development and marketing teams. The Controller will develop the editorial strategy for Sounds with the networks, who will do the majority of the commissioning".
Applications are being accepted for both roles now, if you fancy having a crack at it. Although, I'll just point out again that everyone is expecting the top pop job to go to Ben Cooper, so maybe don't bother for that one unless you really like writing job applications. There is an opening for a new Radio 4 Controller at the moment though. But I think the deadline's passed for that. Sorry, this paragraph has been a real downer, hasn't it?
Elsewhere at the Beeb, the organisation has put in a request to media regulator Ofcom for a change to the rules to allow a big revamp of the iPlayer service. Keen to better compete with Netflix and Amazon, it wants to keep shows streaming via the on demand video platform for twelve months after their original telly broadcast, rather than the current one month. Also, it wants to make more full series and archive films available.
"Audience expectations have changed dramatically, viewers are now used to being able to watch what they want when they want, and they expect much more from BBC iPlayer", says Director Of Content Charlotte Moore. "We want to make the best UK programmes available to audiences for longer and provide a range of series and box sets for everyone to enjoy. This will bring the BBC iPlayer in line with what other services already offer and give audiences even greater value for their licence fee".
Ofcom has not yet given an indication of how long it will take to make a decision on the BBC's request.
Bruce Springsteen announces new album, Western Stars
"This record is a return to my solo recordings featuring character driven songs and sweeping, cinematic orchestral arrangements", says Springsteen. "It's a jewel box of a record". A jewel box! How lovely.
His nineteenth studio album, the bulk of the record was played by Springsteen himself at his home studio in New Jersey with producer Ron Aniello. Various guests made contributions later, including Patti Scialfa and Jon Brion.
The album will be released on 14 Jun. It's got a real nice picture of a horse on the cover.
Chrissie Hynde announces jazzy covers album
"A few years back when I saw an obit in the paper for the valve-trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, I mailed my jazz sax-playing brother saying 'RIP Bob Brookmeyer'", explains Hynde. "Terry, a man of few words, responded with 'Valve Bone Woe', a kind of Haiku beatnik prose".
"I often bemoan what I regard as a decline in melody in popular music and I wanted to sing melodies" she adds. "Plus, I have a penchant for cover songs, it's the surprise of singing something that I didn't think of writing myself that turns me on".
Rock is dead then. Long live jazz. Listen to jazzed up versions of The Beach Boys' 'Caroline, No' and already pretty jazzy jazz standard 'You Don't Know What Love Is' here.
Fierce Panda, Taylor Swift, Chvrches, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Fierce Panda has signed Desperate Journalist to a publishing deal with its Fierce Panda Songs company, in partnership with Bucks Music. "We're delighted to be plugging into the Bucks system for this opportunity for Fierce Panda Songs, and trust that many more acts will follow in the shadowy footsteps of Desperate Journalist in the months and years ahead", says FP founder Simon Williams.
• BMG has promoted Marian Wolf to VP Global Writer Services & China. He will remain based in LA.
• Management firm TaP Music has hired Aimee Jessiman as Senior Day-To-Day Artist Manager. She joins from Modest Management.
• Amanda Playle and Jho Oakley have founded a new artist management company, Decade Management, with an initial roster of Pendulum, Knife Party and Cameron Hayes. The pair previously worked together at Oakley's former company, Jho Management.
• Chvrches have spoken out against recent collaborator Marshmello, after he released a new track with Tyga and Chris Brown yesterday. "We like and respect Mello as a person but working with people who are predators and abusers enables, excuses and ultimately tacitly endorses that behaviour", they said in a statement on social media. "That is not something we can or will stand behind".
• 'IS TAYLOR SWIFT ABOUT TO RELEASE NEW MUSIC?!', everyone has been screaming for weeks. The answer is yes. Well, not "about to" anymore, because she already has. Here's 'ME!', featuring Panic! At The Disco's Brendon Urie. And that completes our exclamation mark ration for today.
• The Black Keys have announced that they will release their ninth album, 'Let's Rock', on 28 Jun. Here's first single 'Eagle Birds'.
• Kelly Clarkson has released the video for 'Broken And Beautiful', taken from the soundtrack of the upcoming Uglydolls movie.
• Loyle Carner has released the video for 'Angel', featuring Tom Misch, from his new album 'Not Waving, But Drowning'.
• Idris Elba has released new track 'Ballie', featuring Kah-Lo. "Bong Ballie is slang for everything is good", he says. "Kah-Lo and I wanted to fuse hip hop and house and she was so easy to work with. I played this tune out for the first time at Coachella and it went off. I knew I had to put it out immediately".
• Rico Nasty and Kenny Beats have released new mixtape 'Anger Management'.
• LoneLady has released a cover of New Order's 'Cries And Whispers'. "This is a really special, magical era of New Order for me and has definitely had a big influence on me", she says. "I love that early awkwardness; I find it beautiful somehow. There's value in showing fear and discomfort".
• Yumi Zouma have released the video for 'Crush (It's Late, Just Stay)'. The track is taken from new EP, 'III'.
• FKA Twigs will play Alexandra Palace in London on 28 May. Tickets go on sale at 5pm on Monday.
• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Mathew Knowles announces Destiny's Child musical
"I want to pull back the curtain", says Knowles. "I feel it's time to give the world an opportunity to hear, see and feel the victories and failures that I've had as a husband, father and manager who risked everything in pursuit of fulfilling dreams - those of mine and others".
Knowles founded Destiny's Child and managed the group throughout their career. He also initially managed Beyonce's solo career, although they severed ties "on a business level" abruptly in 2011. Although Beyonce has never commented publicly on the split, a lawsuit filed by Knowles Snr later revealed that he had been accused of stealing money from her tour revenues.
Mathew Knowles has subsequently worked in other areas of the music industry and written books on racism and marketing. He also earned a PhD in Business Administration in 2016. However, his connection to Destiny's Child and Beyonce has remained a large part of his public persona too. Last month, he announced that he is also writing a book looking behind the scenes of the group.
What about the musical, though? Knowles is working on it with producer Je'Caryous Johnson. His credits include Snoop Dogg musical 'Redemption Of A Dogg', in which the rapper himself starred. It remains to be seen if he can convince any members of Destiny's Child to take part in this new show. Probably not, eh?
"I am ecstatic to be working with Mr Knowles on the development of 'Survivor: The Destiny's Child Musical'", says Johnson. "It is a unique and inspiring story that will fearlessly tackle hard truths, while bringing both vindication and healing to all who lived it. It's fair, it's real and it's an absolute honour to know that Mr Knowles trusts me to pen and produce such an iconic piece of American history".
It has apparently been planned that the show will premiere in Houston in the spring next year, before taking up residence on New York's Broadway and in London's West End, and then heading out on a world tour. Although, I'm not sure if those are 'plans' so much as 'things that someone has said'.