|THURSDAY 11 JULY 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: A number of popular stream-ripping sites stopped ripping YouTube videos yesterday. This was seemingly because of changes made behind the scenes by the Google video site, which meant that the systems employed by stream-rippers to do the ripping just stopped working... [READ MORE]|
Stream-ripping sites no longer stream-ripping because of YouTube block
Stream-ripping, of course, has been at the top of the music industry's piracy gripe list for a number of years. These are the services that allow people to turn a temporary stream into a permanent MP3 download. And although they usually work with streams from a variety of sources, ripping audio off YouTube videos is particularly popular.
The music industry has successfully forced a number of stream-ripping services off the internet, either through actual legal action, or the mere threat of litigation. The first big victory in this domain was against YouTube-MP3 in 2017, while just last month another stream-ripping site, Convert2MP3, agreed to cease operating following label-led legalities.
In addition to all that legal action, the music industry has long argued that sites like YouTube should be doing more on their platforms to hinder the operations of the stream-rippers. However, Google - as whenever it is asked by the music industry to do more to combat piracy - tends to argue that it is doing all it can, and that meeting the music industry's anti-piracy demands isn't quite as easy as the labels seem to think.
In terms of combatting stream-ripping, YouTube has at times talked tough, making its own threats against the stream-rippers, though it hasn't generally taken any steps to stop the ripping in recent years. But it seems like that is what might have happened yesterday.
It was Torrentfreak which noticed that several popular stream-ripping sites - including Dlnowsoft.com, MP3-Youtube.Download and Onlinevideoconverter.com - were now currently displaying error messages when people attempted to rip audio from YouTube videos. The operators of two of those services have confirmed that their servers are now being blocked by YouTube's platform.
As of this morning, all three of those sites were still unable to rip audio from YouTube. However, not all stream-ripping sites have been affected, and at least one that was has found a way around the blockade. Which is always the problem with tactics of this kind, in that people can often find a way to circumvent anti-piracy blocks that are instigated by internet companies. A fact that some internet firms use as an excuse for not even bothering.
The music industry's anti-piracy teams recognise that no one tactic is a panacea. But for a long time now the strategy with tackling online copyright infringement has been to try and make the illegal distribution of music as tricky as possible, for both users and those operating the piracy-enabling platforms, so to push more people to legitimate digital set-ups.
It remains to be seen whether this latest development has any effect in that domain.
Ja Rule gets himself removed from Fyre Festival class action
The rapper, real name Jeffrey Atkins, was very much presented as a co-founder of the luxury music event in the Bahamas, and its accompanying talent business. Until, that is, the festival fell apart just as it was getting started, when it became clear that organisers hadn't put in place the infrastructure required for even a bargain basement party, let alone the luxurious celeb-packed millennial music extravaganza that had been promised.
A plethora of lawsuits followed the collapse of the Fyre Festival. The Fyre company and its boss man Billy McFarland were the main targets, but when that company collapsed and its chief was jailed for fraud, the lawyers needed other people to go after for damages.
Atkins was an obvious candidate and he was duly named as a defendant on a $100 million class action lawsuit being pursued by Fyre Festival ticket-buyers. The rapper then filed papers with the New York courts last September seeking to have the case against him dismissed. And, in the main, the judge overseeing the litigation has done just that.
Judge P Kevin Castel ruled that Atkins and Fyre's CMO Grant Margolin - who was also listed as a defendant on the class action - couldn't be held liable for the big Fyre fuck-up.
Castel concluded that, while Atkins and Margolin were in part responsible for building hype around the failed event - and may have been aware months before it was due to begin that key infrastructure wasn't in place - there was no proof that they knew the promises they were making about the festival would never be met.
According to Law 360, the judge said: "The complaint states that defendants were aware for 'months' that there were no showers, electricity, bathrooms, medical services, or activities on the island. This, without more, does not plausibly allege that defendants, months before the event, intended not to hire or contract for such services".
While the case against Margolin has been dismissed in its entirety, the judge has given the ticket-buyers involved in the lawsuit the opportunity to submit new papers in relation to one specific allegation against Atkins.
That relates to a tweet he posted the day before Fyre Festival was due to kick off, in which he wrote: "The stage is set!!! In less than 24 hours, the first annual Fyre Festival begins. #festivallife". That statement, made when it was already clear that the festival site was simply not ready to stage the event, could have been relied upon by ticket buyers when making their final preparations to leave home for the Bahamas.
However, Castel stated, there was no evidence that any of the ticket-buyers involved the class action had actually relied on that tweet in that way.
But, he added, "plaintiffs may move to amend to set forth in a proposed pleading allegations of reasonable reliance and causation as to each plaintiff". Which means they can resubmit claims against Atkins, but only in relation to that tweet, and they'll need to show ticket-buyers made a decision to travel to the Bahamas for the failed event on the basis of that message.
Following the ruling, a legal rep for Atkins said that his client "is thankful for today's ruling and for the court's time and attention. Justice was done today".
The class action will proceed with the defunct Fyre company, the incarcerated McFarland and various unspecified investors still listed as defendants.
Japanese music mogul Johnny Kitagawa dies
Kitagawa founded his company - Johnny & Associates - in 1962 with his first boy band, Johnnys. However, his first successful group was Four Leaves, who emerged closer to the end of that decade, after Johnnys had disbanded. After that, Kitagawa's business went on to control many - if not most - of Japan's most successful boy bands, including SMAP, Arashi, Kat-Tun and Hey! Say! Jump.
Remaining the head of the company until his death, Kitagawa was known as a controlling figure with significant influence across the whole Japanese music industry. At times he pushed that industry in new directions, although in recent years he was better known as a long-term hold out from digital music services, both downloads and later streaming.
There were also allegations of harassment and sexual assault, including against some of his acts. In 1999, Shukan Bunshun magazine published various accusations against him. He successfully sued for libel, although the judgement was partially overturned on appeal. There were other allegations too, although he was never charged with any crime.
Johnny & Associates last made international headlines in 2016 when the company's most successful group, SMAP, split after 25 years together. The split came after a rumoured dispute with the company, after their direct manager was forced to resign.
Kitagawa died in hospital in Tokyo on Tuesday where he had been since 18 Jun. He was reportedly surrounded by senior staff and trainees. What his death means for the future of Johnny & Associates is currently unclear.
Beyonce curates compilation of Lion King-inspired songs
Beyonce stars in the new remake and has curated the album 'The Lion King: The Gift', which features new songs recorded by a collection of still-to-be-announced US and African artists. It also includes a new song performed by Beyonce in the film called 'Spirit'.
"I wanted to do more than find a collection of songs that were inspired by the film", says Beyonce. "It is a mixture of genres and collaborations that isn't one sound. It is influenced by everything from R&B, pop, hip hop and Afro Beat".
"I wanted to put everyone on their own journey to link the storyline", she goes on. "Each song was written to reflect the film's storytelling that gives the listener a chance to imagine their own imagery, while listening to a new contemporary interpretation. It was important that the music was not only performed by the most interesting and talented artists but also produced by the best African producers. Authenticity and heart were important to me".
Anna Meredith tells Fibs
The record is named, she claims, after "lies - but nice friendly lies, little stories and constructions and daydreams and narratives that you make for yourself or you tell yourself". A likely story.
The album is supposedly out on 25 Oct and it's alleged that the first single is called 'Paramour'. One thing's for sure though, the video for it is brilliant.
There will be tour dates in February next year too, if any of this is to be believed. Here are the purported dates:
3 Feb: Leeds, Belgrave Music Hall
Jenny Hval announces new album, The Practice Of Love
"This all sounds very clichéd, like a standard greeting card expression", says Hval. "But, for me, love, and the practice of love, has been deeply tied to the feeling of otherness. Love as a theme in art has been the domain of the canonised, big artists, and I have always seen myself as a minor character, a voice that speaks of other things".
She continues: "In the last few years I have wanted to take a closer look at the practice of otherness, this fragile performance, and how it can express love, intimacy, empathy and desire. I have wanted to ask bigger, wider, kind of idiotic questions like: What is our job as a member of the human race? Do we have to accept this job, and if we don't, does the pressure to be normal ever stop?"
The album is out on 13 Sep, and you can listen to first single, 'Ashes To Ashes', here. Hval is also set to play London's Milton Court on 29 Sep.
Music publisher Bucks has signed Zand to an exclusive worldwide deal. "Zand is one of those rare people that simply embodies art and creativity", says the firm's Director Creative A&R, Sarah Liversedge Platz.
Members of the UK's Music Managers Forum voted in five new board members at their AGM yesterday, in the form of Jill Hollywood (Echo Beach Management), Merck Mercuriadis (Hipgnosis Songs Ltd), Rebekah Tayler (ie: music), Sammy Andrews (Deviate Digital) and Liza Buddy (Chaos & Bedlam Management). They take over from departing directors Andy Edwards, Claire Southwick (Primitive Management), Diane Wagg (Deluxxe Management), Stephen Budd (Stephen Budd Management) and Tom Burris (ie:music).
Rotterdam city council has voted down a motion barring Madonna from performing at next year's Eurovision Song Contest. The ban was proposed as a reaction to her use of the Palestinian flag during her performance at this year's grand final in Israel. As far as we know, Madonna has no plans to perform at the 2020 edition of Eurovision anyway, and the Contest might not even happen in Rotterdam. Five Dutch cities are currently bidding to host the big show after the Netherlands won Eurovision 2019.
Ed Sheeran has released a live performance video for his Yebba collaboration 'Best Part Of Me', recorded at Abbey Road studios.
Mark Ronson and Camila Cabello have released the video for their ode to the game of hide and seek, 'Find U Again'.
Gruff Rhys has released new single 'Pang!' from his new solo album 'Pang!' It's all about pangs. Pang!
SebastiAn has released new single 'Beograd'. "I wrote the track while I was in Belgrade for a few days", says the producer. "I was inspired by the idea of making a festive clubbing track, somehow empowered by the Slavic intensity". His new album, 'Thirst', is out on 25 Oct.
Burna Boy has announced that he will release new album, 'African Giant', on 26 July. He's also set to play Wembley Arena on 3 Nov.
Alexander Tucker has released new single 'Energy Alphas'. The track is taken from his new album, 'Guild Of The Asbestos Weaver", which is out on 23 Aug.
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets have released the video for 'Hymn For A Droid', from their latest album, 'And Now For The Whatchamacallit'.
Pip Blom have released the video for 'Tired', taken from their new album 'Boat'.
Aldo have released new single 'Papermaze'. Their EP, 'Trembling Eyelids', is out on 30 Aug.
GIGS & TOURS
Rammstein have announced that they will play Coventry's Ricoh Arena on 20 Jun 2020. How's that for a heads up? Tickets go on sale tomorrow.
Dragonforce have announced UK tour dates in November this year, including a show at The Forum in London on 8 Nov.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Lady Gaga launches make-up brand with exclusive Amazon deal
She launched the new Haus Laboratories range yesterday with a video in which Gaga proclaims: "The last thing the world needs is another beauty brand. But that's too bad".
Having acknowledged that there is absolutely no need for her to do this, she then adds: "They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But at Haus Labratories we say beauty is how you see yourself".
Could you not behold yourself? Well, whatever, Haus Laboratories will start selling make-up kits through Amazon - and only Amazon - in September. They will be available in nine countries at launch, including the UK. Although initially limited, it's expected that a larger collection will follow, presumably if this initial offering proves successful.
But why Amazon? Well, because Amazon didn't mess the Gaga around. She tells The Business Of Fashion: "There are companies that see me and what I stand for and the way that I view the world, and if it's not perfectly in line with what they do they'll be like, 'Can you just change half of the equation?' The answer is no. No deal. No message of self-acceptance, no deal".
However, "this [deal with Amazon] was so wonderful because this was like, 'Let's make a deal, let's make a deal to change the world with their beauty'".
I don't know if that's exactly what Amazon said in the meeting. Maybe changing the world with beauty was second on the agenda after the big plan for total liberation.
Because, as for why she wants to get into flogging some make-up, Gaga explains: "I have a platform in the world. God gave me this voice for a reason, I don't know why, I ask myself that question all the time, but I'm sure as hell not going to put out a beauty brand that is going to drive insecurity and fear into people. This is about liberation".
Well, that's all that cleared up then. It's nice that no one seems to have got into this make-up malarkey just to make money. So I'm sure they'll all be delighted if it's a financial flop.