|WEDNESDAY 3 JULY 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The ongoing Ed v Ed copyright case - the Eds being Sheeran and Townsend - continues to on go. However, a jury trial planned for September has now been postponed pending the outcome of another big song-theft dispute. That being the 'Stairway To Heaven' litigation... [READ MORE]|
Ed Sheeran copyright case postponed pending Led Zeppelin ruling
Sheeran was sued in 2016 over allegations that his 2014 hit 'Thinking Out Loud' lifted "melody, harmony and rhythm compositions" from the Marvin Gaye song 'Let's Get It On'. The lawsuit was filed by the estate of Townsend, who co-wrote the 1973 Gaye classic.
Although the case centring on a Gaye song meant that there were immediate parallels with perhaps the most famous plagiarism case of recent times - that being the 'Blurred Lines' litigation - the copyright battle over Led Zeppelin's 'Stairway' has proven more influential.
A few months before the Townsend family went legal, Led Zeppelin had successfully defeated the lawsuit that claimed 'Stairway To Heaven' had ripped off an earlier song by American artist and songwriter Randy Wolfe. Certain elements of the 'Stairway' ruling arguably aided the Sheeran defence in the 'Thinking Out Loud' action.
Then last year America's Ninth Circuit appeals court overturned that 'Stairway' ruling, concluding that the judge in the original case had made errors, especially in the way he instructed the jurors. In the wake of that ruling, both sides in the 'Thinking Out Loud' dispute filed new papers with the court explaining why conclusions reached by the 'Stairway' judges aided their arguments in the new dispute.
The 'Stairway' case was due to be reheard at a district court level, but then last month the Ninth Circuit announced that it would rehear the case itself, this time 'en banc', which means more judges take part. Cases are only usually granted an en banc hearing where the court reckons a dispute requires detailed consideration of important matters of law.
The Ninth Circuit appeals court covers the Western states of America, while the 'Thinking Out Loud' litigation was filed in New York. Which means that the judge who is overseeing the Ed v Ed case - that being Louis L Stanton - isn't actually bound by any precedents set in the upcoming 'Stairway' en banc hearing.
However, given those appeal judges will be considering some copyright technicalities that are very relevant to the 'Thinking Out Loud' action, Stanton has concluded that to proceed with the Eds case in "wilful ignorance" of their conclusions would be "folly".
According to Law360, the New York judge mused that "whatever the Ninth Circuit says, it's going to be damned educational". And, to that end, he told lawyers respectively working for both Eds to take the summer off, saying he'd regroup everyone as soon as there was a ruling in the 'Stairway' case.
Of course, once the Ninth Circuit has ruled on the 'Stairway' dispute, lawyers for Led Zep or the Wolfe estate might then try to take that case to the US Supreme Court.
Stanton acknowledged that that was a possible outcome and, if it happens, said he might ultimately postpone the Eds case further, because any precedents set in a Supreme Court ruling would be binding on his court too. Which could mean that this ongoing 'Thinking Out Loud' litigation will still be going on for some time yet.
Tidal further enhances its track credits functionality
OK, Tidal is best known for its celebrity owner. But it's probably second best known as the streaming service that has invested the most time and effort into crediting all the music makers. And now even more so!
OK, Tidal is second best known for (allegedly) fiddling the figures. But it's probably third best known as the streaming service that has invested the most time and effort into crediting all the music makers. And now even more so!
OK, Tidal is third best known for that infamous press conference. But it's probably fourth best known as the streaming service that has invested the most time and effort into crediting all the music makers. And now even more so!
OK, Tidal is fourth best known for its high profile spat and then subsequent love-in with the Prince estate. But it's probably fifth best known as the streaming service that has invested the most time and effort into crediting all the music makers. And now even more so!
But how even more so? Well, Jay-Z's (allegedly) stat-fiddling, celeb-mate-bragging, Prince-estate-sparring streaming service has launched what it is calling 'interactive credit pages'. Basically, it is trying to make it easier for users to navigate and utilise the more detailed credit information it has been compiling for all the artists, tracks and songs on its platform.
Examples given by the streaming firm as to how this new functionality might be used include the following: "So, if you want to listen to every Ariana Grande song Pharrell has produced this new feature creates automatic playlists".
What about every Prince song that includes one of Jay-Z's celebrity mates and has had its stats fiddled by Tidal HQ? That would be good, wouldn't it? Except there wouldn't be any results for that search. We must stress Tidal continues to deny that any stat fiddling ever occurred.
"This is a milestone for Tidal which, at the heart of the platform, is a space for music lovers to connect with their favourite artists in unique ways", says the firm's SVP Of Culture & Content Tony Gervino. "As a music streaming service and culture hub, it is important to acknowledge that music is a team sport - it takes a talented crew of sound engineers, lyricists, and band members to make a song stick".
Gervino concedes that ensuring every single team player is credited on every track is still a work in progress. But to be fair, Tidal has done way more in this domain than anyone else in the streaming space. "We recognise the challenges ahead in creating a thorough and extensive catalogue", he adds, "but we are excited to take this important step".
Rolling Stones puts its charts live, reveals the math
In the first set of charts from Rolling Stone, the top five albums and top two singles are the same as in the corresponding Billboard lists. But after that, there are differences.
Why? Well, because they are applying a different kind of math. And Rolling Stone reckons that its math is a better indication of popularity. Of course, it would be better if they both did some maths, but what are you going to do with these Americans?
The main differences between the math done by Rolling Stone and Billboard relate to how different kinds of music consumption stats - physical sales v downloads v free streams v premium streams - are weighted.
In the new Rolling Stone charts, 120 subscription streams count as one single track unit, compared to 360 ad-funded streams. As with Billboard, it assumes all albums contain ten tracks, so 1200 paid and 3600 ad-funded streams equate to one album sale. For Billboard it's 1250 and 3750.
There are also differences with sales-based formats too. So a standard CD or download sale count as one sale, but a standard vinyl sale counts as two. A deluxe CD is 1.3, while deluxe vinyl is 2.5. A cassette is just one, however much you talk the retro format up. Poor cassettes. On top of all that, there is a cap on the number of bundled albums and tracks sold that can count towards the chart.
With all the thinking that has gone into these metrics and all the sums that will have to be done to compile each list, you'd almost think we weren't in an age where nobody cares about the charts except for the artists and labels who appear in them.
Louis Tomlinson comments on animated Larry Stylinson sex scene in HBO show Euphoria
The scene is exploring the online phenomenon of erotic fan fiction through a character called Kat who, in the universe of the show, writes a story about One Direction that results in the real world Larry Stylinson craze. That being, of course, the fan theory that - during 1D's peak - Tomlinson and Styles were in a secret romantic relationship.
Tomlinson has previously discussed the negative impact that conspiracy theory had on his real world friendship and working relationship with Styles. After the HBO show animated the Larry Stylinson fanfic story its Kat character had written, one 1D fan wrote on Twitter "you can just TELL Louis [is] not gonna like it".
The same tweeter also mused: "Just going to sit and hope that they [Tomlinson and Styles] for some reason approved it, because surely they had to [in order] to get it [on] air". It was in response to that remark that Tomlinson himself tweeted: "I can categorically say that I was not contacted nor did I approve it".
In the wake of the programme's airing and Tomlinson's short response, some have speculated whether he or Styles could go legal over the animated portrayal of their fictional sexual liaison. Privacy and defamation laws have been mentioned, although neither really apply in a case like this.
There are the 'personality rights' that exist in US law which are possibly more relevant here. Though those are designed to stop people profiting off other people's personal identities and, even though HBO is a pay-to-view TV channel, it would probably be hard to argue that it had directly profited from portraying Tomlinson and Styles in this way in this show.
First amendment free speech rights would also likely scupper any legal action Stateside. Though, we should add, the idea of Tomlinson calling his lawyers on this is also currently fictional.
Elsewhere, the actress who plays Kat, Barbie Ferreira, has spoken about the fanfic storyline. She told the Hollywood Reporter: "When I first read the script, that was the first thing that popped out to me, because I can relate to that as a 22 year old woman who lived through the One Direction age. It's such a reality for so many people, and so many children and teens that are fans just have this escapist world".
She went on: "You completely give yourself to this persona of a person you don't even know, or five guys, and imagine the way they interact, escaping from your own reality. It's really interesting to me because I was definitely a part of that, where I wanted to escape my own life and focus on others because it was easier and felt more meaningful".
Styles has not as yet commented on his animated guest spot in the HBO show.
Belle And Sebastian to release soundtrack to new Simon Bird film
Based on a graphic novel (also of the same name), the film is the directorial debut of Simon Bird, best known for his roles in 'The Inbetweeners' and 'Friday Night Dinner'. Bird, a longtime fan of Belle & Sebastian, personally asked them to write the film's soundtrack.
In preparation for the project, frontman Stuart Murdoch reveals he first read the original graphic novel, saying: "Its style and its atmosphere set me off straight away. I read it on a Friday and by Monday I pretty much had all my ideas lined up. What was great was that Simon hadn't shot anything then".
Wasn't that all a bit premature? Apparently not. "You want to get in early, because that way you can start having late night conversations with the director about 'The Graduate', or whatever. We all have fantasies about those great movies of the 60s and the 70s. If you going to get involved with a project like this, you want to do it right".
"We're quietly pleased with how the collaboration went", he says of the finished product. "But the truth is that you don't know what's going to happen when it goes out into the world, and people hear it".
Bandmate Sarah Martin adds: "It's more consistent, probably, than most of our albums. Soundtracks are a deeper cut. They're not a big pop statement".
The film is not set for release until next year, but the album will be out on 13 Sep. The first track from it, 'Sister Buddha', is out now.
Conor Maynard announces October tour dates
Currently working on a new album, Maynard reckons that new single gives an inkling of the direction he's now heading in. "It's been around five years since I released my last solo original material, and it feels like I've been through just about everything to finally get this music out so people can hear it", he says.
"I was nineteen when I released my first album, and even though I'll always be proud of that music, this new material feels like it really comes from me", he adds. "I have written every song you will hear with all of my close friends. So, with that being said, I hope you enjoy".
Here's the video for the track. And here are those tour dates I mentioned:
20 Oct: Glasgow, SWG3
Indie label digital rights agency Merlin has extended its partnership with data and analytics platform Otto. The company will continue to power the organisation's member dashboard, pumping it full of sales and streaming stats from all the DSPs. The companies have worked together since 2013.
LABELS & PUBLISHERS
Charlotte de Witte has announced that she is launching a record label, KNTXT, the same name as her radio show and club night. "A label has always felt like the logical and natural next step for KNTXT, both as a place to shine the light on the music that I love and as a home for my own productions", she says. "In time, I hope the label will become a respected breeding ground and safe haven for unique talent, both new and established, as well as the main output for my own material". The first release is expected September.
Sony/ATV in the UK has promoted Andrew Spence to Head Of Legal & Business Affairs. "Andrew is an exceptional lawyer", says his boss Tim Major, which is probably how he got the job.
With Spence promoted at Sony/ATV, there have been a load of other promotions to get him a top team of people to manage. Penny Duncanson becomes Director Of Contract Administration, Andy Dowie becomes Senior Business Affairs Manager, Safra Deen Farook becomes Business Affairs Manager, and Jack Robson joins the company as another Business Affairs Manager. "I'm delighted to take up this new role and to lead such a fantastic team", says Spence. Isn't that nice?
Concord has made Fred Gillham the UK MD of its recorded music division. He was previously at Universal, where he worked closely with Concord thanks to the two companies' distribution deal. "I couldn't be more excited", he says. Ah go on, just try.
The Association Of Independent Festivals' Festival Congress will return to Sheffield for its second consecutive year in November. On 7-8 Nov, to be exact. The event will take place at The Abbeydale Picturehouse and Picturehouse Social. More info here.
Brooke Candy has released new single 'XXXTC', featuring Charli XCX and Maliibu Miitch. Her debut album, 'Sexorcim', is set for release later this year.
Snow Patrol have released new song 'Time Won't Go Slowly'. It marks the band's 25th anniversary together. Well, mainly it's just their new single, but the anniversary is also upon us, so might as well double it up.
Bat For Lashes has released the video for her new single, 'Kids In The Dark'.
Bonobo has released new single 'Linked'.
WSTRN have released new single 'Maggie & Stargdawg'.
Kokoko have released new single 'Kitoko'. "We recorded 'Kitoko'", they confirm.
GIGS & TOURS
Blonde Redhead's Kazu Makino will play a solo show at the Moth Club in London on 20 Nov. Her album, 'Adult Baby', is out on 13 Sep.
Balthazar have announced that they will play London's Electric Ballroom on 26 Nov. Tickets went on sale this morning, no need to hang about.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Tyler, The Creator unveils macadamia-nut-free ice cream
"As much as I love chocolate chip cookies, I can't get over the fact that someone made the universal rule that they always have to come with those useless macadamia nuts", says the rapper, for no apparent reason.
Focusing on what is - rather than is not - in his new product, he then continued: "For as long as I can remember mint ice cream seemed to always come with every chocolate chip but white. I finally got the two away from their clingy friends and set up a play date for my mouth".
Are white chocolate chips always paired with macadamia nuts? Would people have assumed that there were macadamia nuts in this ice cream if he'd not confirmed otherwise? Someone in this story is overthinking things, and I'm not sure who at this point.
But who even made this all happen? Well, it was Jeni Britton Bauer, artisan ice cream maker and boss of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. But how? Well, here's her explanation if you'd just stop asking questions and let someone else get a word in.
"Tyler, The Creator and I collided in the cosmic ether sometime in 2017", she says. "We met in person a year later and discovered, through ice cream, a shared love of people, colour, scent and flavour. [This ice cream] is the result of that meeting - an idea from Tyler made into an ice cream. It's cool and warm. Ivory green. Peppermint with a whiff of spearmint. A little buttery with flakes of white chocolate. Like a huge snowfall that warms the air".
US-based ice cream fans (and/or Tyler, The Creator fans) will be able to buy the ice cream via the Jeni's website and in physical shops later this week. And if you take nothing else from this, just bask in the discovery that online mail order ice cream is a thing.