|FRIDAY 28 JUNE 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Live Nation's Ticketmaster will pay CAN$4.5 million to settle a legal action pursued by the Canadian Competition Bureau over allegations that the ticketing firm misled consumers by not declaring all of its booking fees upfront. The payment to the regulator breaks down as a CAN$4 million fine and CAN$500,000 to cover the Bureau's legal costs... [READ MORE]|
Ticketmaster Canada pays $4.5 million to settle case over misleading pricing
Booking fees and commissions in the ticketing sector have long been controversial, of course. All the more so when they are added at the very final stage of the ticket purchasing process, increasing the total cost as the transaction is completed.
In the UK, this practice has most recently been in the spotlight in the context of the secondary ticketing market. Last year the Advertising Standards Authority demanded that ticket resale sites like StubHub and Viagogo - where fees and commissions are often significantly higher - declare the full cost of buying a ticket upfront.
However, in many countries both primary and secondary ticketing firms are accused of misleading customers with incomplete pricing information. For example, the issue came up in a recent debate on the ticketing business at large in the US.
There representatives from both primary and secondary ticketing sites indicated that they would welcome new regulations forcing the upfront declaration of the total cost of any one ticket. That was on the basis that such transparency is consumer friendly, but no one wants to be first to adopt that practice because, to consumers casually browsing the internet for ticket buying options, it would make the early-adopter sites look more expensive.
North of the border in Canada, the Competition Bureau reckoned there were already legal grounds to force ticketing firms to declare all their fees upfront. It called on the ticketing sector to do just that in July 2017, subsequently taking Ticketmaster to the Competition Tribunal seeking an injunction forcing the major ticketing agent to fall in line.
In a statement yesterday, the Bureau said that its "investigation concluded that Ticketmaster's advertised prices were not attainable because they added mandatory fees during the later stages of the purchasing process. In the Bureau's view, the price representations were misleading even though the amount of the fees was disclosed before consumers completed their transaction. The Bureau concluded that the additional fees often added more than 20% and, in some cases, over 65% to the advertised prices".
Confirming it had reached a settlement with Ticketmaster, it went on: "As part of a consent agreement registered with the Competition Tribunal, [Ticketmaster] will also establish a compliance program to ensure their advertising complies with the law and will implement new procedures to prevent advertising issues in the future".
The regulator also added that "Ticketmaster has already made a number of changes to its websites and mobile applications, and has applied these changes across Canada".
The Live Nation ticketing business honed in on that fact when responding to yesterday's confirmation of its multi-million dollar settlement with the Competition Bureau. "Last July, Ticketmaster was the first ticket company to voluntarily ensure total prices were displayed upfront to Canadian consumers", it said in a statement. "We look forward to the Competition Bureau and individual provinces ensuring that all other ticket marketplaces in the live event industry meet the same standards".
It went on: "Ticketmaster welcomes new consumer protection legislation across Canada to improve transparency, fight cheater bots that steal tickets, and reduce fraud in the secondary sales market and will continue to actively participate in federal and provincial conversations to create the safest ticketing environment for fans and event owners alike".
Spotify settles two lingering mechanical royalty lawsuits in the US
Both music company Bluewater Music Services and songwriter Bob Gaudio sued Spotify in July 2017 over unpaid mechanical royalties for songs they control that had been streamed by the digital firm's users.
Although a compulsory licence applies to the mechanical rights in songs in the US, Bluewater and Guadio claimed that Spotify hadn't complied with the formalities of that licence. They argued that this meant it was streaming their songs without permission, which is copyright infringement.
The two cases followed the same lines as various other lawsuits filed against Spotify and other streaming services. In the main, the claimants in those actions were correct. The streaming firms hadn't providing the required paperwork and payments for the compulsory licence to apply, and therefore there was definitely an infringement case to answer.
However, the streaming firms argued that they hadn't sent paperwork or payment to the writers and publishers now suing because they didn't know who owned the songs in question. In fact, they didn't even know which songs had been streamed.
This is because the record industry provides the streaming firms with their music, but the labels and distributors do not usually control the copyrights in the songs contained in their recordings. Nor do they tell the digital platforms what specific songs are in said tracks (there's the track title, of course, but some songs have the same name), let alone which writers and publishers control those works.
In most other countries a collecting society ultimately takes responsibility for working out what songs have been streamed and ensuring that everyone gets paid. Which means that, even in countries where some publishers license some of their repertoire directly to streaming services, there is still a society that can provide a 'mop-up' licence covering any songs that are not part of a direct deal.
In the US, while there are collecting societies who do just that for the performing right royalties, there was no society able to offer a blanket licence for mechanical royalties, and a stream exploits both the performing and mechanical rights in the song. Hence the extra responsibilities on the streaming firms in the US, and the unpaid royalties and subsequent lawsuits.
The music community was somewhat divided by all this. Some blamed the streaming firms, saying that they knew their obligations under law and that they should have set up better systems for paying mechanical royalties. Said people would also usually point out that the compulsory licence actually provides a process for music users when they don't know who owns any one song copyright.
But other music types conceded that the real problem was a fucked up song licensing system in the States. And therefore it would be better for everyone if - like in most other countries - a collecting society was set up to take responsibility for the payment of mechanical royalties where direct deals with publishers didn't exist.
That's what the aforementioned Music Modernization Act - passed last year - sets out to do. In negotiating that act, the streaming firms pledged to fund the creation of a new collecting society and licensing system, providing it meant they could no longer be held liable for copyright infringement whenever they don't know what songs they are streaming.
The MMA meant an end to the steady stream of new multi-million dollar lawsuits being filed on this issue in the US. But it didn't mean an automatic end to those that had already been instigated, like the lawsuits of Bluewater and Gaudio.
Those cases continued to go through the motions, with some acrimonious back and forth as both sides put together their respective arguments. However, a settlement has now been reached, with a joint motion filed with the court on Wednesday postponing the so called discovery stage of the case. Terms of the settlement are not known.
Spotify will be pleased that it is slowly but surely putting to rest its various mechanical royalty legal woes, able to draw a line under that whole debacle thanks to the MMA. Although, of course, the debate has moved on somewhat regarding what and how the streaming firms pay songwriters and publishers.
And while the music industry was divided on who was really to blame when mechanical royalties went unpaid under the old system, it feels like pretty much the whole songwriter and publisher community is fully united in its outrage over Spotify's decision to appeal the Copyright Royalty Board ruling on what those royalties should actually be. So at least the songs business is now united on something. That's progress of a kind.
BMG sues Hilton over promotional videos on YouTube and Facebook
The music firm claims that Hilton used four recordings from its library - two directly registered with the US Copyright Office, two unregistered in America - in an assortment of videos published on its promotional YouTube channel and Facebook page.
Because this is a library music case, BMG controls both the recording and song rights in the four tracks Hilton allegedly used, which go by the names 'Start Moving', 'I'm On It (Instrumental)', 'Collar Popper Holiday Mix' and 'Cookie Duster'.
The lawsuit adds that BMG - via its agent TuneSat - alerted Hilton that it was using its music without licence on multiple occasions. But the alleged infringement continued.
"Despite being notified that they were using BMG's copyrighted music and/or unregistered music without authorisation or licence", the legal filing reads, "and despite months of exchanges of correspondence with TuneSat, the defendants ultimately began wilfully and intentionally ignoring TuneSat's correspondence and continued to use the copyrighted music and unregistered music without authorisation or licence from BMG".
That Hilton has been "wilfully" infringing BMG's rights is important because it can have an impact on any damages that may be due. US copyright law provides statutory damages of up to $150,000 where any one infringement is wilful, oblivious of any actual losses incurred by the copyright owner as a result of the infringing activity.
Technically statutory damages are only available when works are registered with the US Copyright Office, so would only apply to two of the tracks in this case. Though BMG's lawsuit points out that each track contains both a recording copyright and a song copyright - both of which have been infringed - so the total statutory damages that could be awarded in this case are still $600,000.
In addition to damages and legal costs, BMG is also seeking an injunction ordering Hilton and all its subsidiaries and agencies to stop using its lovely tunes without a licence.
7digital heading into administration next month, unless £4.5 million of new funding found
"The company currently believes that it still needs to raise additional funds of at least £4.5 million by 31 Jul 2019", said 7digital in a statement, following the meeting. "Failing which it is highly likely that the company would need to be placed into administration".
The refusal of shareholders to allow the issue of new shares "creates greater execution risk for any subsequent equity raise by the company since further shareholder approval would be required in order to implement this", it went on.
"Clearly, the directors are extremely disappointed with this unsatisfactory outcome and therefore intend to engage with the relevant shareholders, where possible, with a view to securing their support for [issuing more shares]".
President of eMusic, Tamir Koch, has already pledged £1.3 million of the money required, on the condition that the remaining amount needed is found in time. 7digital has powered eMusic's download store since 2016.
Jess Glynne cancels upcoming shows after haemorrhaged vocal cord
Earlier this month, Glynne cancelled her Isle Of Wight set minutes before she was due to go on stage. In an initial statement her management put this down to "exhaustion", and she later told fans that she had felt "incredibly weak and full of anxiety".
The Mirror, however, discovered that she'd been drinking until the early hours the previous night after the last show of the Spice Girls tour, on which she had been the support act. The newspaper then ran off to tell Isle Of Wight Festival boss John Giddings, who said it was "shocking behaviour" and promptly banned Glynne from ever playing his event again.
Now, it turns out, she was right to feel anxious about performing, because she's haemorrhaged a vocal cord. This is not the first time she has damaged her voice, having undergone vocal cord surgery in 2009 and 2015. As a result of the recurrence of this problem, she has cancelled all shows until mid-July, including this weekend's TRSMT festival in Glasgow.
In a statement, she says: "It absolutely kills me to say this - especially given what has happened in the past few weeks - but on the advice of my throat surgeon, I am going to have to cancel my next shows through until 14 Jul and I hope to be back as soon as possible after that. I know many of my fans feel I let them down so badly when I pulled out of the Isle Of Wight Festival, but the reason I knew I just wasn't going to be able to make that performance has now been made clear to be by my doctor, Dr Zeitels".
Addressing earlier criticism, she goes on: "It is true that I went out and celebrated the end of the Spice tour. That was a massive high for me and I wanted to mark it with the women who'd become friends and mentors to me. But I had also been suffering on and off for weeks with anxiety about my voice. It wasn't right. I wasn't sounding my best and I felt there was something wrong".
"Two days ago", she adds, "I came to Boston to see my surgeon who told me my vocal cord has haemorrhaged and that if I wanted to remain as a performer I needed to urgently take a break, rest my voice completely for the next ten days, and try [to] remain in total silence to give my vocal cords a chance to recover".
This means that Glynne has also been forced to cancel the rest of her shows in the Forestry Commission's Forest Live series. She had already played the first two of those dates, but the remaining three - in Sherwood Pines, Dalby Forest and Cannock Chase Forest - will not now go ahead.
A replacement act for her Sunday set at TRNSMT is set to be announced in due course.
Liam Gallagher has released a single, is going on tour, isn't performing with The Killers
The new single is called 'The River' and it's got a video and everything. It's the second track released from Gallagher's second solo album, 'Why Me? Why Not', which is out on 20 Sep.
But what about this Killers thing though? Well, Gallagher is apparently a big fan of the band, despite them being the sort of squeaky clean rock stars he's always moaning on about. Gallagher has appeared on stage with them a couple of times before, although not always sober and never to sing.
The Sun claimed earlier this week that Gallagher was now lined up to properly collaborate with the band when they follow his Pyramid Stage set at Glastonbury on Saturday night.
However, a spokesperson for the band has now told the NME that those claims are not true. Except, of course, that's exactly what they would say, isn't it? If you're there and want to find out if The Killers are liars or not, you'll have plenty of time to get to their performance after you've watched Thom Yorke's secret set on the Park Stage. Which I may or may not being lying about. Can you really trust anyone?
If you're not there, or you turn up in time for The Killers only to find that Gallagher is definitely not getting involved, you'll still be able to catch him on tour in November. Tickets go on general sale on 12 Jul. Here are the dates:
11 Nov: Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
LABELS & PUBLISHERS
Pete Tong has been named President of Three Six Zero Recordings. "Pete has been a supporter of Three Six Zero since our first record was played on the radio", says the music group's CEO Mark Gillespie. Because Tong is a radio presenter and presumably it was him who played the record. It's not that he just wasn't all that bothered until they got airplay.
Apple Music now has 60 million subscribers - including those on free trials - which, it has to be said, is a pretty poor show for a company that has its music software pre-loaded on hundreds of millions of mobile devices. I hope everyone at Apple is ashamed of themselves.
Rolling Stone's much hyped new music charts seemed to launch briefly yesterday, but the webpage comes up as a 404 now. So there you go. No charts. Probably for the best.
Ed Sheeran has released another track off his collaborations album called 'Beautiful People'. Who's he working with this time? It's Khalid. "I knew he would be perfect for this track", says Sheeran of why he wanted to work with the singer. Cool story.
Sony's RCA label is releasing a new eleven disc Elvis compilation called 'Live 1969', featuring eleven full shows from his Las Vegas residency that year. Obviously Sony is keen for fans to be able to hear these shows, two of which have never been previously released. It's surely only incidental that making the unreleased material publicly available is required to ensure that those recordings remain in copyright in Europe. There will also be a condensed vinyl release.
Babymetal have released new single 'Pa Pa Ya', featuring Thai rapper F Hero.
Mika has released the video for his latest single 'Ice Cream'. It features him driving an ice cream van and hanging out at the beach. It's not particularly abstract.
James Bay has released the video for his latest single 'Bad'. "I was handed a video treatment", he says of the pop promo, giving a behind the scenes look into the world of an international pop star.
Novelist has released new single 'Rhythm & Gash', coinciding with the release of his new album 'Reload King' today.
Meg Myers has released an animated video for her cover of Kate Bush's 'Running Up That Hill', hand coloured by over 2000 primary school children. It's not child labour, it's for charity. They did classes and everything. No, look, it's fine. Completely above board. Don't write in.
GIGS & TOURS
Enter Shikari's Rou Reynolds will play a solo show at Omeara in London on 18 Jul in aid of the Mental Health Foundation.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Snoop Dogg declares himself better looking than Gazza
While each man's heavy use of the drugs referenced is well known, the post does use techniques you'll have seen in before and after pictures on dieting adverts many times before. For both men's photos aged 20 the rapper has used professionally taken pics. The same is true for Snoop's second photo. But for Gascoigne, the second shot is an unflattering paparazzi picture in which he's seemingly unaware that a photo is even being taken.
Quite why Snoop would pick on Gazza has been questioned by many - some suggesting that his previous claims to be a Celtic fan might have made him aware of the former England player. Him supporting a Scottish club might have given him a distaste for anyone associated with the English national team. Although the actual answer is a bit more boring. The image is a meme that's been doing the rounds for several months, which Snoop just grabbed to keep up the prolific post rate on his Instagram account.
Snoop actually turned 47 in October last year, while Gascoigne is currently 52. Though the second Gazza picture in the meme was indeed taken in 2014 when he was 47, and at a time when he was particularly struggling with alcoholism.
Snoop isn't the only one with a well-stocked Instagram account though. These days, Gazza has cleaned up his act again and perfected the art of the selfie pout to give himself a more youthful look. For example here, here and (my personal favourite) here.
Actually, the rapper could learn a thing or two from Gazza's recent selfie frenzy. Despite Snoop also taking many a selfie, rather than pouting, he just opts for looking a bit sad. He does always make sure he's looking down at the camera though, which is expert stuff. Although he doesn't always pull it off quite right.
Anyway, it doesn't appear that Snoop has any direct beef with Gazza. Maybe this accidental association could lead them into a new business venture together offering photography tips. Although the potential for this meeting of minds seems unlikely now, as this morning Gascoigne responded on Twitter with a picture of a dog resembling Snoop, captioned with the message: "Morning @SnoopDogg, get your lazy arse out of bed, it's walkies time. Woof woof, you ugly twat".