|FRIDAY 14 JUNE 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Hot on the heels of Tuesday's FTC-organised debate on the American ticketing market, a member of the US House Of Representatives is having another go at introducing a bunch of new rules to regulate the sale of tickets Stateside. And while some of that regulation would impact on ticket touts (aka scalpers) and the resale sites they use, the proposed act would be as much about regulating the primary market as the secondary... [READ MORE]|
Ticketing regulation back on the agenda in Congress after FTC debate
The Federal Trade Commission's big ticketing debate earlier this week put the spotlight on various common gripes, including the use of bots by touts to harvest tickets from primary sites, the steep fees charged by both primary and secondary ticketing services, and the lack of transparency in the wider ticketing market, especially about fees and how tickets are allocated to different parties by promoters.
Congressman Bill Pascrell is a long-time critic of the US ticketing sector and especially its biggest player, Live Nation's Ticketmaster. He has proposed fiercer regulation of the market previously, usually - like this time - under the guise of the BOSS Act, so named because the original version came in the wake of the scandal that erupted over the sale of tickets to some Bruce Springsteen shows in 2009. On that occasion Ticketmaster was accused of directing consumers to touted tickets on its own resale site Tickets Now even though its primary site hadn't yet sold out.
In order to get to the BOSS Act name Pascrell's legislation has the full title of Better Oversight Of Secondary Sales And Accountability In Concert Ticketing. Which should really be the BOSSACT Act. And it doesn't really work anyway because, actually, a lot of the proposed new rules relate to better oversight of primary rather than secondary ticket sales. But still, all the best Congressional legislation has a laboured name in order to create a snappy acronym.
In terms of what the act proposes, some of it would apply to both primary and secondary ticketing websites, in particular the new rule to force up-front declarations of all and any booking fees across the board. At Tuesday's FTC session, reps from both primary and secondary ticketing firms implied they'd actually welcome such a rule.
It seems most people now agree that consumers should be told the full price of buying a ticket up front - so no booking fees are added at the final stage of the purchase process - but no one wants to be the first ticketing platform to do that, because it would make it look like their tickets were more expensive to people casually browsing around for options.
On the primary side, the BOSS Act also seeks full transparency on how a promoter is allocating tickets. Or, more specifically, it would demand that all primary ticket sellers "disclose the total number of tickets for sale to the general public within seven days of tickets becoming available for sale".
This has always been a bigger talking point in the US where many more tickets to in-demand shows might be allocated to commercial and brand partners so that - once music industry and fan club allocations are also taken into account - a minority of tickets actually go on general sale. Tickets are sometimes allocated in this way for shows outside the US too, but generally not on the same scale.
Supporters of the secondary ticketing market are often critical of this practice - and the fact that promoters and primary sellers don't reveal how many tickets are actually going on general sale - arguing that it is these holdbacks and commercial partner allocations that really make it difficult for fans to access tickets. Though arguably the secondary market benefits from these practices, because savvy touts also sign up to brand partner and fan club pre-sales to access tickets to then sell on at a hiked-up price.
When it comes to ticket resale, Pascrell's act would actually protect the right of customers to sell their tickets on, and ban promoters from seeking to restrict touting or cancel touted tickets. However, it would also force some transparency onto the secondary market - similar to measures already introduced in the UK - so that resellers and the sites they use would have to declare the original face value of any tickets being resold, the seats or zones that tickets relate too, and the fact the seller is a reseller not a primary ticket agent.
There would also be a new rule about speculative selling, where a tout advertises for sale a ticket they don't currently possess. "Secondary market companies must verify that the secondary ticket reseller is in possession of a ticket", the proposed act says, "or has made clear the secondary ticket reseller does not possess the ticket with an explanation on how to obtain a refund if the purchaser receives a ticket that does not match the description".
It remains to be seen if Pascrell's bill progresses further this time round, though Tuesday's big FTC debate suggests that there would be support for at least some of the Congressman's proposals within the ticketing sector. And, actually, more opposition may come from the primary ticket agents than the touts and websites they use to resell.
Commenting on the latest incarnation of his BOSS Act, Pascrell said yesterday: "Even though it's 2019, the $9 billion live events ticket market resembles the Wild West: bereft of regulation and order, with bad actors around too many corners making a living by ripping people off. The BOSS Act would finally impose hard regulation and transparency to the ticket market so that fans can find affordable tickets and enjoy some live entertainment in these uneasy times without fear of being taken to the cleaners".
"Americans have been gouged and gouged and then gouged some more", he went on. "Ticket buyers don't know how many tickets are going on sale or how many are being held back, can't see what fees will be tacked on, and sometimes don't even know if the tickets they are purchasing exist yet. For too long on these issues, our government has failed to hear the ghost of Tom Joad, the common man and woman. It's high time government stands up for him and for them. My legislation is for the fans, not Ticketmaster".
Also supporting the proposed legislation in Congress are Frank Pallone Jr and Albio Sires in the House Of Representatives, and Richard Blumenthal in Senate. Organisations speaking in favour of the proposals include the National Consumers League, Consumer Federation Of America and Consumer Reports, as well as the National Association Of Ticket Brokers.
Britney Spears secures new restraining order against former manager
James Spears has managed his daughter's financial affairs via a court ordered conservatorship since 2008, following her very public breakdown. Lutfi worked with the singer at that time, claiming to be her manager - although that position has been disputed. Since then, he and the Spears family have had various run-ins, which included a restraining order being secured against him in 2009.
The new restraining order comes after James Spears accused Lutfi of harassing the family, in particular through a series of postings on Twitter using the hashtag #FreeBritney. Much of the hearing centred on whether this could be considered harassment when the messages were directed at any member of the Spears family. The judge decided that it could, and that some posts were direct incitement for Britney fans to act against the her family members.
Lutfi argued that the only member of the Spears family who has a problem with him is James - although he has had other run-ins with various members in the past. He said that he had not had direct contact with Britney herself, but admitted recently contacting her mother Lynne and brother-in-law James Watson.
James Spears meanwhile admitted that his relationship with Britney "has always been strained", according to Billboard. However, of Lutfi's recent actions, he said: "I worried that he was trying to take down the conservatorship. I was very angry. I was worried that we were right back in 2008".
The five year restraining order extends a temporary order put in place last month. Lutfi is reportedly considering an appeal.
Woodstock 50 venue cancelled over after payment deadline missed
The Watkins Glen International motor racing track announced on Monday that it would no longer be hosting the event, stating that it had "terminated the site licence for Woodstock pursuant to provisions of the contract. As such, WGI will not be hosting the Woodstock 50 Festival". Reps for the Woodstock company quickly announced that they were already in talks with an alternative site.
The loss of its venue was the latest setback for Woodstock 50, which is embroiled in a legal battle with former backer Dentsu over monies the marketing company took out of the event's bank account when it bailed on the project in late April. In its latest submission to the court, Dentsu said that it was now impossible for Woodstock 50 to go ahead on the originally planned August dates, and therefore its dispute with the Woodstock company over the withdrawn $18.5 million was "moot".
But possibly more interestingly, the Dentsu filing also included correspondence from Watkins Glen International regarding its decision to cancel. According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, that correspondence revealed that the cancellation came after Woodstock 50 failed to make a $150,000 payment that was due on 15 May.
Letters terminating the venue contract were then sent by registered mail to Dentsu and the Woodstock company on 3 Jun. The latter was returned by the post office, so WGI sent an email to both parties on 7 Jun confirming the cancellation. A separate notification of said cancellation was then set to various local authorities, including the mayor, the police and the department of transportation.
Team Woodstock have remained bullish about their event - adamant it will go ahead - throughout all the various setbacks. Though without a venue, and having lost a key backer and production partner, and with tickets still to go on sale, a 16 Aug kick off seems increasingly ambitious.
Krept & Konan launch petition calling for police to stop criminalising drill rappers
"The police are using laws made for terrorists and sex offenders to criminalise musicians who sing violent lyrics", the duo say on the page set up for the petition. "It means that the police no longer have to prove any link between an artist and a specific act of violence to secure a conviction for 'inciting violence'. This is a threat to freedom of speech. Nobody in a free society should be imprisoned for words".
"Let's not forget that before the police spotlight was turned on drill, it was focused on road rap, grime and garage", Konan writes in an article for The Guardian. "The controversial 696 live music risk-assessment form was accused of disproportionately stifling youth and black music culture since it was introduced in 2005 until it was finally scrapped in 2017".
"The police trying to censor young, black, working-class British kids is nothing new", he goes on. "Rather than attempt to talk to young people caught in a cycle of violence, they talk to each other and decide among themselves what's best".
"They see black kids running around stabbing each other and, rather than try to understand the root of the problem - the actual cause - the kneejerk reaction has been to ban their music, their expression, the very thing helping them leave this environment", he continues.
"I don't think the police understand that criminals don't make music", he concludes. "You make music to leave the criminal life behind, so focusing your efforts on the musicians is pointless. The problem isn't with the music, it's with the issues that the music is expressing. It's like looking at the symptom while totally ignoring the cause".
Why? announces new album, Aokohio
"When I started this project, I decided I needed to try a new approach in creating music and how I work", says Yoni Wolf - aka Why? - of the record. "I wasn't feeling the idea of going back in and making another ten or twelve song album. It felt arduous. It felt like too much. So I wanted to pare the process down and make it manageable".
"I thought, 'Why don't I make small five or six minute movements and finish up each movement before I move on to the next'", he goes on. "That's how I started approaching it. The whole process took over five years, I'd start working on something and set it aside for awhile. The earliest songs on this album started in 2013".
He adds: "I initially wanted to release the music as I progressed through the project. When I finished a movement I wanted to put it up digitally on Bandcamp or SoundCloud. I just wanted to make little pieces of music and put them out there".
"But I had a call with my manager and the label and they said, 'We can release stuff through time like that, but we want to do it properly'", he says. "So the idea of the project changed after that, but it retained the integrity of working in movements. It's definitely a very different way of working for me. I think it has yielded some interesting results".
That idea of releasing the movements gradually over a period remains in some form, though. Following the release of the video for the first movement last month, the second now follows, with plans for all the videos to be made available in turn before the album's release on 9 Aug.
Oram Awards winners announced
The awards, named after legendary producer Daphne Oram, recognise female music creators innovating in music, sound and related technologies. This is the third time the awards have taken place and this year the programme expands into a full day of events at King's Place in London.
At the awards ceremony on Saturday evening, two of the winners will be announced as recipients of development bursaries of £1500 from the PRS Foundation, while the remaining four will each receive £500.
A number of the finalists have commented on their Oram Award wins...
"It is brilliant to see so many woman flourishing in the electronic/experimental music scene as a consequence of such dedicated initiatives [such as this]", says Steph Horak. "I like to think that people like Daphne Oram and [fellow pioneer at the BBC Radiophonic Workshop] Delia Derbyshire were not dismayed at the lack of formal recognition they received, because they were just busy getting on with the job".
"They were so enthralled by the possibilities of the technology around them that they didn't stop to consider how their gender might prevent them from accessing those research spaces", Horak adds. "This is probably not true. [But] we owe them a debt for treading that path - the best contribution I can make today is to continue to produce and be visible. This support makes that possible, thank you so much".
Cee Haines says: "It's great to be acknowledged as a non-binary person winning an Oram award. Given the state of transgender healthcare in the UK, and subsequent financial pressure of pursuing private treatment, it often feels like I'm having to choose between my health and my musical career. Winning an award gives me hope that I can still move forward musically, even under that pressure".
Andie Brown says: "It is wonderful to have the recognition and support of The Oram Awards which I hope will allow me to draw attention to newer and lesser known strands of my practice in working with glass and electronics in sculptural sound installation. I am really excited to put the bursary towards a new collaboration with a glass studio to create pieces for a new installation".
And Ain Bailey comments: "As an older queer Black woman, somewhat 'late' to sound art life, it's a genuine pleasure to be recognised by The Oram Awards for not only the work that I am doing, but those who I am working with. The bonus that comes with the recognition is that it will probably lead to more work in the short term, and hopefully contribute to the development of a sustained practice".
Closing off Saturday's celebrations there will be live performances and DJ sets from past and present Oram Award winners. Find out more about this year's winners and everything that's happening on Saturday here.
Warner Chappell has signed a new global publishing deal with hip hop producer Turbo. "His signature sound is a game changer, attracting trailblazing artists and influential fans alike to his music", says the company's US A&R President Ryan Press.
Concord Music Publishing has acquired Sikorski Music Publishing. It will be combined with the company's existing Boosey & Hawkes division. "The union of Boosey & Hawkes and Sikorski under the Concord family of companies is a real signal to the continued value of classical repertoire", says Concord President John Minch.
Universal's Republic Records in the US has signed Anthony Ramos. He will release his debut album later this year.
Sony/ATV has promoted Dale Esworthy to EVP Worldwide Administration. You want some administrating doing? He'll do it for you. And worldwide! "This promotion underscores the critical role that administration plays in providing Sony/ATV's songwriters with an unrivalled level of service", says Jon Platt, CEO of the Sony music publisher.
Taylor Swift has released new single 'You Need To Calm Down'. It's true, you do.
Netflix has released the music video for the 'Black Mirror' rework of Nine Inch Nails' 'Head Like A Hole', performed by Miley Cyrus and retitled 'On A Roll'.
Chari XCX has announced that she will release her new album, 'Charli', on 13 Sep. From it, this is new single 'Blame It On Your Love', featuring Lizzo.
Octavian has released new mixtape, 'Endorphins'. From it, here's 'Feel It', featuring Theophilus London.
Marking the 40th anniversary of Joy Division's 'Unknown Pleasures' album, there's a new video for 'I Remember Nothing'. A series of other videos will be released over course of the year.
King Princess has released the video for 'Cheap Queen'.
Will Young has released the video for 'My Love', from his new album 'Lexicon', which is out next week.
Kaiser Chiefs have released new single 'People Know How To Love One Another'. They've also announced UK arena shows at the beginning of next year, which will wind up at London's O2 Arena on 1 Feb.
Marika Hackman has released new single 'The One'. "It's probably the poppiest song I've ever written", she says. "I loved the idea of inhabiting this ridiculous arrogant rock star character who has totally fucked their career by writing too many sad songs".
Tallsaint has released new single, 'Skin Deep'. Her debut EP, 'Hard Love', is out on 16 Jul.
Killdren have released a more palatable version of the song get got them booted off the Glastonbury line-up. Here's 'Tickle Tory Chums (Before They Tickle You)'.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
50 Cent claims Bow Wow stole $1000 meant for strippers
The story goes that 50 Cent recently held an event at a strip club for "a ton of his celebrity friends", at which he handed each of his buddies $1000 in dollar bills "to make it rain on the dancers". But instead of doing that, Bow Wow just went home with the cash. And now Fiddy wants his money back.
"We came there like this", 50 Cent wrote in a tweet with a video showing the money being wheeled into the venue. "Bow wow stealing ones - why the fuck you ain't throw that to the dancers? You better get me the fucking money by Monday".
Bow Wow responded with a video on Instagram in which he refuses to lend money to various people, before the last one reminds him that it's 50 Cent's money anyway. "This has been my life for the past 24 hours", he captioned the video. He later posted a second clip informing 50 Cent that he has plenty of money of his own and doesn't need to steal a pitiful amount like $1000, before counting that amount out in $100 bills and throwing it on the floor.
In the meantime, 50 Cent has also pulled Jermaine Dupri into all this, claiming that it was he who brought Bow Wow to the party. His Twitter post to Dupri also includes a video showing Bow Wow with the money stuffed into his trousers.
At the very least, it seems like that money was a gift that Bow Wow could do what he liked with. If anyone has a claim to it, it's perhaps the strippers, rather than 50 Cent. Whatever, I can't shake the feeling that this is all a charade designed to promote something. The champagne and cognac brands 50 Cent tagged in one of his posts seem quite suspicious.
Whatever, both men got to make videos proclaiming how rich they are, so that's nice. And all the more fun for 50 Cent, now that he's out of bankruptcy and that sort of thing hopefully won't land him in court anymore.