|THURSDAY 26 SEPTEMBER 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Musician Robert Fripp, best known as founder and longest serving member of King Crimson, has taken to Facebook to discuss an ongoing dispute with the David Bowie estate and collecting society PPL about how his contributions to Bowie's 'Heroes' and 'Scary Monsters' albums have been classified. Which may seem like mere semantics, but such classifications impact on how PPL royalties get shared out... [READ MORE]|
Robert Fripp goes public about dispute with David Bowie estate and PPL
PPL licenses the use of recorded music on behalf of the record industry in scenarios like radio and when tracks are played in pubs, clubs, bars and cafes.
In copyright terms, this is when the so called performing or neighbouring rights of the sound recording copyright are being exploited. Because of a thing called performer rights, in these scenarios, any performers who appear on any one record have a statutory right to share in the money generated, even if and especially when they are not the copyright owner.
So when PPL collects royalties, it pays half of the money out to the copyright owner (often a record label) and half to the performers who appear on the record. All performers who appear on a track (pretty much) then share in that latter payment, including the main artist whose name appears on the record - what the music industry traditionally called the 'featured artist' - and any backing singers and session musicians.
Quite how that money gets shared out between the performers is set out in PPL's own rules. There are some complexities, but generally more is allocated to the featured artists than the session musicians. So therefore it's generally better to be listed as a featured artist than a non-featured artist in terms of how PPL monies get distributed.
Which brings us to the dispute involving Fripp. He says that he is classified as a session musician on the Bowie tracks on which he played guitar, even though it's generally agreed that his contribution to those records was more significant than what you would usually expect from a session player. So much so, were those records released today there's a high chance they'd be billed as David Bowie featuring Robert Fripp, which would be sufficient to get Fripp featured player status. But such billing was not so common way back when.
In a blog post on the dispute, Fripp's business partner David Singleton explains: "There is a huge injustice in the way that current rules are applied to historic recordings. In particular to those who would now be called 'other featured artists' - outside artists who made defining contributions to recordings. This would include Robert Fripp's performances on David Bowie's albums, but could also extend, for example, to Eric Clapton on 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' or Duane Allman on 'Layla'".
"We argue", he goes on, "that such historic iconic performances should rightly be categorised as 'other featured artists', as they almost certainly would be if they were recorded today. That category, however, had not been invented at the time - so PPL insists on downgrading them to 'non-featured artist', an honourable but very large category, where they also place all session musicians and backing singers".
In his Facebook post, Fripp says that the Bowie estate and PPL have been basically passing the buck back and forth to each other regarding his status on these recordings, sending him in a loop that is stopping any resolution from being reached.
He writes: "Essentially, the David Bowie Estate argues that [my] featured performer status is not acknowledged by PPL rules; and PPL argues that as the David Bowie Estate does not accept [me] as a featured performer, [I am] therefore not a featured player - and their rules confirm this. Anyone read 'Catch 22'?"
Responding to the posts made by Fripp and Singleton, PPL says that it distributes royalties to more than 100,000 performers and labels "according to a set of 'distribution rules' that have been in place for some time and were approved by individuals representing a broad cross-section of the recorded music industry including both featured and non-featured performers".
The society's spokesperson adds: "Whilst we are unable to comment on individual cases, performers are classified using a performer classification system set out in PPL's published distribution rules. All classification is made based on applying the information we receive from the relevant parties to these rules".
"It is important to point out", they go on, "that the classifications within these rules do not seek to make any value judgement on the quality, importance or extent of a performer's contribution on a recording. PPL is always mindful of the different ways in which all of our members can be affected by our policies and we remain committed to operating a fair and straightforward system of distributing revenue to all performers".
It's possible that PPL might be concerned about opening the flood gates if it introduced new flexibilities in the definition of featured artist. At the moment, a musician's status as a feature performer - as set out in those distribution rules - is generally linked to their contractual relationship with the copyright owner and/or whether or not they got formal billing on the record's release.
Of course, where the other featured artists who appear on a track do not object to someone else being granted featured status, even if that person doesn't currently qualify under PPL's definition, then having some new flexibility in the system need not be a problem. But if it led to disputes about each musician's relative contribution, you can understand why the society wouldn't want to get involved in any of that.
Either way, it has to be said that in Fripp's case there is a very strong argument for his featured artist status on these tracks. As Singleton notes: "In Robert's case ... there is abundant evidence from all those involved - the producer, Tony Visconti, the co-writer, Brian Eno, and David Bowie himself - who described the performance as a 'duet' between him and Robert. They [are] all on record as describing Robert Fripp's performances as far more than that of a session musician. Even so, PPL are determined to categorise him in that way".
It remains to be seen whether going public over this dispute aids Fripp's case to have his contribution to the Bowie tracks reclassified.
Campaigners put pressure on festivals to reject facial recognition technology
The campaigners are responding to growing concerns over the employment of facial recognition technology and the privacy implications that its use raises.
When launching its facial recognition 'scorecard' earlier this week, Fight The Future stated: "Several major festivals - including SXSW, Coachella, Electric Daisy Carnival and Pitchfork Music Festival - along with all properties of the major events conglomerate AEG Presents, did not respond to repeated requests from organisers, and have made no commitments, causing concern among fans that they may be currently experimenting with facial recognition or planning to use it in the future".
As for the other live music giant, Live Nation, it previously invested in a start-up developing a facial recognition system for large-scale events. Though, in the midst of the current backlash, it insists that it is not currently using any such system at any of its shows.
Fight For The Future say this confirmation "is a positive step given that they previously invested in the technology. But troublingly, they explicitly left the door open to future use on an 'opt-in' basis, something security and human rights experts warn does not alleviate the concerns with mass collection of sensitive biometric information".
Tom Morello, Amanda Palmer, Thievery Corporation, Gramatik, Anti-Flag and Melissa Ferrick are among the artists who are supporting the campaign to pressure live music firms to reject facial recognition tech at their venues and events.
For his part, Morello said in a tweet: "I don't want Big Brother at my shows targeting fans for harassment, deportation or arrest. That's why I'm joining this campaign calling on [the live sector] not to use #facialrecognition at festivals and concerts".
VMS announces Bert Van Horck as new CEO
Forster's widow Kate, who is also joining the company as a non-executive director, says: "I am focusing on the opportunity to preserve and continue to grow the legacy of my late husband. This is the appropriate time to extend a huge thank you all the staff, suppliers, clients and other stakeholders who all contributed to keeping VMS Live running in the difficult past five months".
Van Horck himself says: "VMS Live is in a great space in this dynamic sector and I am very much looking forward to working with the new team to build on the incredible foundations and legacy Steve Forster, Richard Maides and Carl Bathgate have put in place".
He continues: "We'd also like to give special thanks to Richard and Carl, who led the company over this difficult recent period. Both have now resigned following a transfer of their duties. The company is grateful for their long-standing service and contribution to its growth, particularly their special efforts over these five last months".
"They played a major part in developing the USPs which make VMS Live such a unique group of companies", he concludes, "blending venue management, promoting and ticketing into a one-stop-shop entertainment organisation".
During his career, Van Horck has had various roles in and out of the live events industry, including as CEO of security company Showsec.
Years & Years' Emre Türkmen revives Exit Kid project
The new track, which heads in a more poppy direction than previous releases, is, they say, "a song about allowing yourself to be swept up in life and love, right here right now".
Directed by Joe Baughman, the video features a digital Emre and claymation Dylan and Jasmine. The director explains: "The video is a lighthearted exploration of how miraculous it truly is for two people, out of all the possible people in all the possible universes, to join together in love".
A Winged Victory For The Sullen announce new album and tour dates
Along with the announcement they have released two new singles: 'The Haunted Victorian Pencil' and 'The Rhythm Of A Dividing Pair'.
Of the latter, the duo's Adam Wiltzie explains: "We were looking to create some melodic palettes within simple but different analogue sounds and were fortunate to procure two vintage and extremely overpriced synthesizers: a Korg PS 3100 and Roland Jupiter 8. Plus Dustin [O'Halloran, the other half of the duo] has a vintage Prophet 5 in his studio. So there we were and suddenly we did something we almost never do... we started jamming".
"As you know, jamming has become sort of an icky word in these 'we-are-serious-composer times', but on this particular occasion the resonance of the sounds that were coming out of the machines led us to something we were both quite pleased with", he continues.
"In the end it turned out to be a valid stylisation as we found a way to anchor it within the context of the sound of the record", he goes on. "The second half of the song takes a big swing in the direction of a large string ensemble, but as things go when you're making music sometimes improvisational jams need company".
The album will be out on 1 Nov. The duo will also be touring the UK and Ireland early next year. Here are the dates:
26 Feb: Bristol, Trinity Centre
King Creosote announces new tour for live film soundtrack
Last performed in 2015, the musician's score accompanies director Virginia Heath's film made up of archive footage from the National Library Of Scotland and Scottish Screen Archive.
On his decision to revive the show, King Creosote says: "Even without the use of a TV, mobile phone and the internet, I am all but overwhelmed by the ongoing chaotic upheaval that is 2019, and alas there looks to be little reprieve come 2020. So what better a tonic than to revisit the daily lives of our grand, great grand, and great great grandparents' generation as they go about their work and play?"
Tickets go on sale tomorrow. Here are the dates:
7 Mar: Edinburgh, Usher Hall
Bucks Music has signed producer and songwriter Seton Daunt to a worldwide publishing deal. His credits include songs performed by Sub Focus and Five Seconds Of Summer. "Seton is such a musically rich and versatile producer and songwriter that we jumped at the opportunity to work with him", says Bucks A&R consultant Flash Taylor.
Puerto Rican duo Buscabulla have signed to Domino, marking the occasion by releasing new single, 'Vámono'. Their debut album is due out next year.
Kobalt's AWAL has hired Sam Potts to be its VP Promotion. Potts was previously Head Of Radio Promotions at Sony's Columbia label. "I'm absolutely THRILLED that Sam is joining the AWAL team", weeps AWAL GM Paul Trueman.
The Public Affairs Director of record industry trade group BPI, Ian Moss, is leaving the organisation after eight years. He will take up a new position as CEO of the International Association For Scientific, Technical And Medical Publishers.
Slayer have released a live video of 'Repentless', taken from upcoming live film 'The Relentless Killogy'. The film, recorded in 2017, will be released on 8 Nov, just weeks before the band play their final shows.
Foals have released new track 'Into The Surf', from upcoming new album 'Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost Part 2', which is out on 18 Oct.
Korn have released a live video for 'You'll Never Find Me', from new album 'The Nothing'.
Askjell has released the video for 'To Be Loved', featuring Aurora, the title track of his new EP.
Liz has released new single 'Lottery'. "I wanted to make a track as an ode to Nadia Oh", she says. "I feel like her work with Space Cowboy really paved the way for a lot of future pop girls today. But she was doing it in real time, and probably had no idea the kind of influence she would have on underground pop culture in the future, including collectives like PC Music".
Honeyblood have released new single 'Bubble Gun', the first release featuring ex-Charli XCX drummer Debbie Knox-Hewsom and bassist Anna Donnigan, formerly of Pins. The band will be on tour in the UK in October and November.
Alexander Tucker has released the video for 'Montag' from his new 'Guild Of The Asbestos Weaver' album. He plays The Social in London tonight, followed by Kazimier Stockroom in Liverpool tomorrow.
GIGS & TOURS
Queen and Adam Lambert have announced 2020 UK tour dates. They'll play five nights at the O2 Arena in London on 2-3, 5-6 and 9 Jun, followed by two nights at the Manchester Arena on 11-12 Jun. I suppose you can call that a tour.
Julia Holter has been commissioned by Opera North to compose a new score for 1928 silent film 'The Passion Of Joan Of Arc'. It will premiere in Leeds and London next June. Tickets here.
Los Campesinos will play two shows at Islington Assembly Hall on 14-15 Feb to mark the tenth anniversary of their second album, 'Romance Is Boring'. Said album will also be re-issued on 14 Feb.
Rozi Plain is heading out on a tour of the UK next month, including a show at the Old Blue Last in London on 23 Oct. As well as that, she's just released a new remix EP.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Nine ways to celebrate BBC Music Day - you won't believe number six!
We know it can be daunting though, with so much going on. That's why we've put together this quick guide to getting the most out of the next twelve hours...
1. Turn on the radio
2. Go outside
3. Morn 'Top Of The Pops'
4. Call in sick
5. Nile Rodgers
6. Stay inside
7. Get the kids involved
8. Say 'John Peel' three times into a mirror
9. Take the bus