|FRIDAY 12 JULY 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: A flood of music companies - including promoters, managers, agents, venues, festivals, labels and publishers, and all three majors - have teamed up with some fired-up artists, including Savages, Wolf Alice, Nadine Shah, Ezra Furman, Radiohead, Beth Orton, Suede, Ed Harcourt and Nitin Sawhney, to collectively demand action on what it calls the "climate and ecological emergency". You know, so we have fewer floods and fires. Which would be nice... [READ MORE]|
Artists and music companies come together to demand action on the climate emergency
The collective has been brought together by a new not-for-profit organisation which calls itself Music Declares Emergency. The aim of the group being to enable the UK music community to formally declare a climate and ecological emergency. Though, given that no one was really waiting for the music industry to do such a thing, it's more about rallying said community behind the wider and increasingly vocal campaign that is calling for urgent and significant government action on climate change.
The new organisation will also urge its supporters to do everything they can to ensure that the music industry itself becomes truly "ecologically sustainable and regenerative", including sharing information between competing businesses on how that can be achieved in the most efficient way.
Among those leading the campaign is Alison Tickell, MD of Julie's Bicycle, a charity that has been championing and facilitating initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of the music and wider arts industries for more than a decade.
In a statement issued this morning, she says: "It has never been more important to understand the gravity of the climate crisis and to do more. Music Declares Emergency was created to enable the UK music industry to declare a climate and ecological emergency, to accelerate collaboration and ambition in order to meet critical targets, and to call on government to use their policy and investment tools to help us to reach those goals".
In that declaration, artists and their business partners call on governments across the world to "act now to reverse biodiversity loss and reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions by no later than 2030". It also calls on governments and the media "to tell the truth about the climate and ecological emergency", before adding "we recognise that the emergency has arisen from global injustices and will work towards systemic change to protect life on Earth".
Also recognising that the music community can only really start making such demands of others if it is taking action itself closer to home, the Music Declares Emergency statement adds: "We acknowledge the environmental impact of music industry practices and commit to taking urgent action". To that end, those involved in Music Declares Emergency will "jointly support one another, sharing expertise as a collective industry and community" and "work towards making our businesses ecologically sustainable and regenerative".
Among those on the MDE working group is Fay Milton of Savages, who says of the new campaign: "As I sat at a music festival in the desert, watching Extinction Rebellion's action unfold so beautifully in London, I realised that something had to change. It seemed like the music world had lost touch with reality, partying like there's no tomorrow, when 'no tomorrow' has become the forecast".
"On realising I wasn't alone with these thoughts", she adds, "Music Declares Emergency was born. The momentum of support has been huge and making a declaration is just the first step to creating real change. We face a climate and ecological emergency and the only proportionate response is to act boldly and act now".
Among the industry supporters is Warner, where Mike Smith, MD of the Warner Chappell publishing business, says: "It's vital that we back this campaign. The threat from climate change is real and we all need to play our part in combating it. Music may not have the impact of some other industries, but we can still do more to reduce our own carbon footprint and use our platform to spread the message that action needs to be taken".
Numerous independent music firms are also backing the campaign, and the CEO of the Association Of Independent Music, Paul Pacifico, adds: "There is no doubt that we are facing a global climate emergency, the effects of which are becoming ever clearer in our daily lives. It is crucial that we do everything we can to change our own behaviours and the behaviours of the world's biggest corporations, and that we influence governments in order to secure a positive future for our planet".
For more information on the campaign and all the people and companies backing it, check www.musicdeclares.net.
R Kelly arrested on sex trafficking charges
These are, of course, just the latest in a series of charges that have been made against Kelly since a TV documentary put the spotlight back on numerous allegations of sexual abuse that have been made against the musician over the years. Further details of the new charges are due to be announced later today.
Meanwhile, the musician faced a grand jury in Chicago upon his arrest and is now expected to be taken to New York, where the sex trafficking case originates. He is also accused of attempting to influence a case in Atlanta.
Speaking to the BBC last month, journalist Jim DeRogatis - who has long documented the abuse allegations against Kelly - said he was aware of other ongoing investigations into the musician's alleged conduct, in addition to those that had already resulted in charges.
That included, DeRogatis said, an investigation into allegations of sex trafficking. Kelly, he explained, was accused of breaking the Mann Act, a 1910 law that made it illegal "transport any woman or girl" across state lines "for any immoral purpose". Whether or not it is that specific investigation that has led to this latest arrest isn't yet clear.
Kelly is already awaiting trial of course, with eleven further charges being added to the original ten back in May. Three of the four women those charges related to were underage at the time the alleged crimes took place. Already facing potential sentences of more than 200 years, the latest charges reportedly carry potential jail time of up to 30 years each.
On bail until his arrest yesterday, Kelly continues to deny all of the charges against him.
UK regulator raises concerns about Live Nation's MCD acquisition
Live Nation's purchase of MCD is slightly confusing because LN-Gaiety Holdings is the live giant's joint venture with the Irish company Gaiety, which is best known for, well, owning MCD Productions.
Live Nation has had a long-standing partnership with Gaiety, the company owned by Denis Desmond and his wife Caroline Downey, and many of its UK acquisitions in recent years have actually been via the LN-Gaiety joint venture. Desmond himself now heads up Live Nation's UK and Ireland operations.
However, MCD, the concerts company Desmond co-founded in 1980, has not previously been part of the partnership. Until last August, when LN-Gaiety announced its intention to acquire MCD. That deal has since been investigated by competition regulators in both Ireland and the UK.
The CMA said yesterday that its concerns with the proposed deal relate to the Northern Irish music market and centre on Live Nation's ownership of ticketing giant Ticketmaster. "Following the initial investigation", the regulator said, "[we are] concerned that the deal could result in less competition in the music promotion industry in Northern Ireland.
"There are only a few rival music promoters in the region and they mainly rely on Ticketmaster to sell tickets to their events", it went on. "As Live Nation already owns Ticketmaster, the CMA is concerned that if it were to acquire MCD, it may be able to stop rival promoters selling tickets through that platform post-merger".
It's an interesting concern because usually - when Live Nation is buying up yet more venues, promoters and artist management outfits - the concern is that it might use that market dominance to pressure or force more people into using Ticketmaster. Not stop them.
However, the CMA said, it was still concerned that the closer link between MCD and Ticketmaster "could result in less competition in promotion services to artists, leading to higher prices for concert goers, as well as a smaller variety of live music events to choose from".
In a short statement yesterday, Desmond said, simply, that "we will work with the CMA to allay any concerns they have".
Earlier this week the Irish regulator confirmed that a number of legally binding commitments made by Live Nation and MCD had overcome its concerns and it was therefore approving the deal. Desmond et al will be hoping for a similar outcome in the UK, so to get the green light without additional investigations by the CMA.
Australian firm Astral People partners with [PIAS] on new label venture
Astral People Recordings will become part of the [PIAS] Co-operative network, that being a collective of independent labels that [PIAS] forms long-term commercial partnerships with and which, it says, creates "a unique label group, in which every member benefits from [PIAS]'s worldwide network and business support".
Confirming the new label venture, Astral People's Vichara Edirisinghe and Tom Huggett said in a joint statement: "We've never been a company that's been pigeonholed into a certain genre and we certainly won't be with this label. However, what we can say is that the artists we choose to represent will be ones of the highest calibre and an exciting prospect in their respective genre or scene".
On the [PIAS] tie-up, they went on: "We are incredibly proud to align ourselves with such a leading voice in independent music - along some of our favourite labels like Phantasy, DFA, Mute and Transgressive Records - in the Co-op model. It's an honour to have Astral People Recordings sit amongst this group".
Confirming the deal from his side, [PIAS] Group MD Edwin Schroter said: "I am THRILLED that Astral People is joining our worldwide roster of outstanding independent labels. Vic and Tom have built something very special in Australia and their entrepreneurial drive, A&R instinct and international outlook make them a perfect fit for our Cooperative label offering. We are proud that they have chosen [PIAS] as a global partner for their new label venture and we can't wait to start working together on the exciting new artist roster they are developing".
Bon Iver announce new album, I, I
"It feels very much like the most adult record, the most complete", says band leader Justin Vernon. "It feels like when you get through all this life, when the sun starts to set, and what happens is you start gaining perspective. And then you can put that perspective into more honest, generous work".
"The title of the record can mean whatever it means to you or me", he adds. "It can mean deciphering and bolstering one's identity. It can be how important the self is and how unimportant the self is, how we're all connected".
HTRK announce new album, Venus In Leo
The follow-up to 2014's 'Psychic 9-5 Club', the album includes the band's two singles released last year - 'Dying Of Jealousy' and 'Mentions' - as well as the newly released 'You Know How To Make Me Happy'.
Although maintaining their sparse sound, there is a new warmth breathed into the band's music. Listen to 'You Know How To Make Me Happy' to see what we mean here.
'Venus In Leo' will be released on 30 Aug. The duo are also set to play two UK shows in September. Here are the dates:
6 Sep: London, Fold
Warner Music in the US has hired Wayne 'Wayno' Clark to head up A&R for its Asylum Records label. "Wayno is an authority in the hip hop community, having spent years climbing the ranks and working with some of the biggest names in the space", says Asylum GM Gabrielle Peluso. "I'm THRILLED to welcome Wayno into the family".
Radio 1 launches a new chart-based show this Sunday in what - for old people who don't listen to Radio 1 anymore - is the "classic" chart show slot. 'The Official Chart: First Look' will run through the stats already gathered in the new chart week, ie since new releases went live on Friday. The station's main chart show will continue to go out on Friday afternoons.
Metallica are publishing a children's book, because everyone has a children's book now. Just fucking let children's authors have a go and fuck off with your celebrity children's books. This one looks properly shit too. Stop trying to force your tastes on your children, parents. You're all to blame for this. Is this a good time to add that profits from this book will go to charity?
Devendra Banhart has released new single 'Abre Las Manos', taken from upcoming new album 'Ma'.
Banks has released new single 'Contaminated', taken from her new album 'III', which is out today. "'Contaminated' is about being addicted to a toxic relationship", she says. "The more you give, the less of yourself you become".
Phoebe Ryan has released new single 'Build Me Up'. "'Build Me Up' is about a friend I met on Tinder a few years ago", she says. "He was my spirit animal from the start, and inspired me to feel good about life and living it to the fullest at a time when that wasn't so easy for me. It's a bop about friendship and wanting to feel good, what more could you ask for?" Well, that's the killer question, isn't it? Ice cream?
Maria Usbeck has released new single 'Nostalgia'. "'Nostalgia' is about the moment when you slowly start realising that you miss everything that was around you at a certain point in life", she says. "The music, the people, all of it. Feeling more and more out of touch with what's currently popular".
GIGS & TOURS
Mount Forel have announced a launch gig for their debut album 'In The Dark'. In-keeping with the title of the record, everyone in the audience will be blindfolded for the duration of the performance. The show will take place at Walthamstow's Grade II listed Mirth, Marvel And Maud building on 30 Jul. Tickets here.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Mattel announces David Bowie Barbie
I feel you're all waiting for me to mock this Bowie-based Barbie doll now. But, I don't know, it kind of seems OK. In a world full of shitty things that companies sell to children, this is not all that bad. Actually, it might be quite a nice item for a parent to give to a child.
Except this obviously isn't aimed at children. This is for the increasingly large market of grown-ups who think owning this sort of thing for themselves - THEMSELVES - is acceptable. See also the insane amount of stuff Lego makes for you people.
We're talking about toys - TOYS - that are purchased so that they can be kept on shelves and never touched. Admit it, you have a shelf in your house full of novelty items still in their boxes and you weep if a child so much as looks at them.
Children don't give a shit about David Bowie. Not even one shit. Nor do they care about any of the other artists who have been made into dolls as part of Mattel's celebrity collection. These include Frank Sinatra, Diana Ross, Barbra Streisand, a Tim McGraw and Faith Hill set, and no less than four - FOUR - Cher dolls. Who needs four Cher dolls? No one.
The blurb for the Bowie doll states: "In a definitive celebration of two pop culture icons, Barbie honours the ultimate pop chameleon, English singer, songwriter and actor David Bowie, whose dramatic musical transformations continue to influence and inspire. With a career spanning over five decades, David Bowie was at the vanguard of contemporary culture as a musician, artist, and icon".
"He was, and remains to be, a unique presence in contemporary culture", it goes on. "Dressed as Bowie's fantastic sci-fi alter ego, Ziggy Stardust, in the iconic metallic 'space suit', this collectible Barbie doll honours the cultural legacy of the musical genius who redefined rock and roll".
If you're still thinking, even after all that, 'hey, this might be fun for a child', let me also point out that in the box you will find a doll stand. What child has any use for a doll stand? It should come with felt tips that can be used to draw on the doll's face and scissors with which to haphazardly cut off all its hair.
Also, if you're going to mark the anniversary of 'Space Oddity', why dress the doll as Ziggy Stardust? 'Space Oddity' wasn't part of the Ziggy Stardust thing. Why not wait for the 50th anniversary of Ziggy Stardust in 2022? It's not that long. Make another Cher doll instead, if you need something to occupy your fucked-up mind for the next three years. Or you could just fuck off. That might be better. Everyone just fuck off.