|MONDAY 12 AUGUST 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The deadline for submissions to the US Department Of Justice's latest review of the consent decrees that regulate collecting societies BMI and ASCAP passed on Friday, with both music users and music makers submitting their views on the best way forward... [READ MORE]|
American music industry and its B2B customers clash in BMI/ASCAP consent decree review
The consent decrees, of course, are the agreements BMI and ASCAP reached with the DoJ decades ago to overcome the competition law concerns that are always raised when large groups of copyright owners decide to license collectively.
Although other collecting societies representing music makers elsewhere in the world are often subject to some sort of regulation, the BMI and ASCAP consent decrees are particularly severe. And despite the fact that the American societies representing the performing rights of songwriters are much less powerful than their European counterparts, having no exclusive rights over their members' works.
The American music community has been calling for the consent decrees to be rewritten or abandoned entirely for years. Though when the DoJ last reviewed the regulations just a few years back, it decided to keep everything in place as it is. However, the government department announced a new review earlier this year.
BMI and ASCAP's position is that the consent decrees should be rewritten for now, though with the insertion of a sunset clause, meaning that DoJ regulation of their respective operations could be phased out entirely in the future. But plenty of music users have been busy telling the DoJ in recent weeks why that is a terrible idea, insisting that the consent decrees are as important today as they ever were.
Also supporting that position were a bunch of organisations that usually lobby against government regulation, campaigning - as they do - for an ever freer free market. But the BMI and ASCAP consent decrees are required, those free market lobby groups argued, because the market for music licences is "inherently anti-competitive" and therefore "traditional free market principles do not necessarily translate".
As the deadline for submissions passed on Friday, the MIC Coalition - another lobbying group that brings together broadcasters, tech giants and the hospitality sectors - also, unsurprisingly, spoke out in favour of keeping the current consent decrees in place.
It said in a statement: "It is no surprise that businesses around the country have let the Justice Department know - clearly and plainly - that the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees are as important today as ever and should be preserved without modification".
"The music marketplace has been built around these consent decrees", it went on, "and if they are terminated or sunset without first establishing a new legal framework to protect these businesses and other licensees, chaos will result".
The DoJ regulations, it went on, have resulted in a marketplace "where music is valued, creators are compensated, innovation flourishes and consumers enjoy greater choice in music enjoyment than ever before - and ASCAP and BMI are bringing in record revenues".
"The message from hundreds of businesses to the Justice Department is clear", it concluded, "without these decrees, the music marketplace would be thrown into chaos and music across the country would be silenced".
BMI, ASCAP and the music community obviously do not agree. The former dealt with the argument that removing the decrees would create chaos in its submission to the DoJ. It wrote that it "strongly disagrees with the assertion by some music users that their businesses
"The core elements of BMI's decree that users claim to rely on", it went on, "such as the automatic licence and rate court provisions, were not incorporated into the decree until 1994. Traditional industries such as radio and television were able to licence BMI's works for decades prior to the additions of these provisions".
"These and other provisions of the decree are not necessary for the industry's survival", the BMI submission added. "Legacy users have shown that they were able to grow and thrive absent these provisions. New, innovative media services should be able to do the same".
That said, the collecting society noted that it would nevertheless support maintaining a revised decree in the short-term, complete with sunset clause, so to help transition the industry over to any future system where the DoJ didn't intervene at all.
ASCAP also reconfirmed its commitment to that strategy on Friday, with its CEO Elizabeth Matthews telling reporters: "The way music is made and consumed has changed dramatically since the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees were implemented nearly eight decades ago. The time has come to modernise these decrees so we can move toward a more innovative, flexible, and competitive marketplace that is fair to both music creators and licensees".
It remains to be seen which way the DoJ swings this time round.
Cyndi Lauper settles copyright dispute over Kinky Boots musical
Lauper wrote both the music and the lyrics for the stage show, which first premiered in Chicago in 2012 before transferring to Broadway and, subsequently, London's West End. In 2017 she was accused by pop singer Benny Mardones of ripping off his 1980 hit 'Into The Night' for the finale song in the musical.
She denied those claims, but that didn't stop Mardones and his co-writer on 'Into The Night' - Robert Tepper - from going legal. They alleged that 'Kinky Boots' number 'Raise You Up' was "substantially similar" to their song, claiming - among other things - that it had "identical harmony, harmonic and rhythm progression, and emphasis of chords in the guitar and keyboard accompaniments".
The lawsuit has been working its way through the system for two years now, at one point being shifted from the courts in California over to New York. But last week a legal rep for Mardones said that provisional settlement had now been reached.
According to Law360, attorney Michael Steger wrote in a court submission: "The parties have agreed on a settlement in principle of this case. We request that the court vacate all dates in this matter and allow the parties 30 days to consummate the settlement".
Terms of the proposed settlement are not known.
Stone Temple Pilots sign new publishing deal with Warner Chappell
"Stone Temple Pilots helped to define a distinct rock sound of a decade through their incredible songwriting and eclectic performances, and we're THRILLED to be bringing their catalogue back to Warner Chappell Music", says the firm's SVP A&R US Greg Sowders. "Their work has left an impact on American culture that continues to resonate today".
President of A&R US Ryan Press adds: "There's no overstating the role Stone Temple Pilots played in developing the landmark sound of their era. But it's the quality of their songwriting perhaps more than anything that has stood the test of time".
The DeLeos and Kretz have something to say too. In perfect unison. On three - one, two, three: "The support of Greg, Ryan and the whole team at Warner Chappell means so much to us. We're very excited about the future of this creative collaboration".
Since 2016, the band have been working with vocalist Jeff Gutt - a former winner of the US version of 'X Factor' - releasing an album with him in 2018. Gutt signed a publishing deal on his own with Reservoir last year.
Warner signs Chinese rapper VAVA
Confirming the deal, Warner Music China CEO Andy Ma said: "VAVA's an incredible artist who has been instrumental in developing hip hop in China. This is a landmark signing for Warner Music and we think that VAVA has the potential to become a truly global star. Seeing artists such as VAVA collaborate with her peers from around the world makes you feel the Chinese music scene is really coming of age".
VAVA herself added: "Signing with Warner Music is a dream. Creating music that I love is a life-long business for me, and I'm so honoured that Warner Music Greater China is giving me a greater chance to do what I enjoy. I can't wait to partner with this industry-leading team!"
Eventbrite appoints new CFO
Confirming the hire, the firm's CEO Julia Hartz said: "I can't think of a better partner than Lanny to help lead the company through our next phase of growth. His experience scaling high-growth public companies and deep knowledge of how technology platforms can transform industries will be instrumental in helping us continue to drive sustainable long-term growth and value for our shareholders".
"I'm excited to join Eventbrite at such a critical point in the company's journey," Baker himself added. "The team has built a robust platform where the interests of the business are directly aligned to the interests of customers. I'm inspired by the opportunities to build upon the position Eventbrite has already established and look forward to helping further the company's mission by building a self-serve, business enablement platform for event creators".
Eventbrite's finances have been under much greater scrutiny since it became a publicly listed company last year, of course. It's first year on the New York Stock Exchange has not been without controversy, with some investors claiming that the business made misleading statements ahead of its IPO, failing to reveal the challenges it was facing integrating the operations of Ticketfly, the rival in bought in 2017.
Peaches opens art show 'Whose Jizz is This?'
Said blurb adds that the multi-media show takes a "bold and unexpected approach to the topics of sex, feminism, queerness, gender, and new millennium politics", to create something that Peaches herself apparently calls "a deconstructed musical with fourteen scenes".
"At the heart of this presentation are the 'fleshies'", the gallery goes on, "who have renamed themselves as such to rewrite their narrative, break away from humans and human interactions, do away with words like sex toys and masturbators in a quest to find sexual equality amongst themselves". So now you know. You should probably look at some photos of the exhibition for any of that to make sense.
This is all set to run until 20 Oct. There'll also be an accompanying show later this month, also being staged in Hamburg, called 'There's Only One Peach With The Hole In The Middle', which will feature thirteen musicians, ten performers and other guests.
After their controversial reunion with frontman Tim Lambesis last year, As I Lay Dying have announced their first new album since then, 'Shaped By Fire'. It'll be out on 20 Sep. Here's the title track.
Yebba has released new single 'Where Do You Go'. Following collaborations with Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Rudimental, Mark Ronson and more, she is currently working on her debut album.
Cashmere Cat has announced that he will release new album, 'Princess Catgirl', on 20 Sep. From it, this is first single 'Emotions'.
CocoRosie have released their first new song for two years, 'Lamb And The Wolf'. "It's a sweltering summer jam to funk to", they say. You have been told.
Hellyeah have released new track 'Perfect'. Their final album, 'Welcome Home', is out on 27 Sep.
Rapper Lyrics Born has teamed up with soul-rock band Con Brio to release new collaboration 'Mistakes'. "There are very few bands that can pull off a quality blend of equal parts rock, funk, and soul, and Con Brio are one of the few", says Lyrics Born. "I couldn't wait to work with them because I feel like I, too, have been living and thriving in that exclusive space for so long".
Church & AP have released new single 'Roulette'. "We wanna be evolving constantly, ultimately hoping that it brings a new energy into the scene", say the duo. "So that's where Roulette comes from. Us carving out our own spot".
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Kim Dotcom hopes to get revenge on Joe Biden as former VP pursues his presidential ambitions
Dotcom has long blamed Biden for instigating the US shutdown of the MegaUpload business back in 2012, supposedly as a favour to his mates in Hollywood.
American authorities have been trying ever since, of course, to extradite Dotcom from New Zealand to face charges of criminal copyright infringement. Meanwhile, those who had files stored on the old MegaUpload servers before they were cut off without warning have so far failed to get reconnected with their uploaded content, copyright infringing or otherwise.
As a stack of Democrats compete to represent the party in the 2020 election, Dotcom tweeted this weekend: "Still waiting to get access to your Megaupload files? I will email 30 million former US Megaupload users a video link in 2020 explaining how @JoeBiden destroyed your favourite website. Most of you were teenagers or students then but now you're voters. Let's retire Biden together".
Noting his dissing of Hillary Clinton during the last US presidential election, he added, rather grandly: "Those of you who followed me long enough understand my role in preventing Hillary. But @JoeBiden will be my biggest pleasure. Like @HillaryClinton he's corrupt to the core and can never become US President. Watch me in 2020".
Elsewhere in a busy day for Dotcom tweets, the MegaUpload founder also predicted that - even if the New Zealand Supreme Court rules against him in the aforementioned extradition case later this year - other routes of appeal could further delay that process by up to seven years. Fun times.