|FRIDAY 18 OCTOBER 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Vivendi yesterday provided an update on its deal to sell 10% of Universal Music to Chinese web giant Tencent, confirming that the transaction should be finalised in the coming weeks. It also confirmed that talks are still ongoing with other parties interested in taking a minority stake in the world's biggest music rights company... [READ MORE]|
Vivendi confirms other parties still interested in Universal stake alongside Tencent
The French entertainment conglom first revealed the specifics of its potential deal with Tencent back in August, a year on from it announcing plans to sell a minority stake in its music business.
In an investor update yesterday, Vivendi re-presented the top line figures: the deal values Universal at 30 billion euros, and Tencent will take a 10% stake in the company, with an option to acquire another 10% down the line.
In its update on the transaction, Vivendi said that "due diligence on UMG and negotiation of legal documentation are ongoing and should be finalised in the coming weeks".
We knew that other parties had also expressed an interest in taking a slice of Universal, and Vivendi added yesterday that those other conversations were also ongoing and that "some have already expressed an interest in investing at a similar price-level".
As for what Vivendi will do with all the cash generated by these deals, it said "proceeds may be used for a significant share buyback programme and bolt-on acquisitions". What fun!
The French firm, of course, is seeking to capitalise on renewed interest within investment circles in music rights as the recorded music market continues to grow thanks to the streaming boom.
There remain plenty of risks for big music rights owners, like the fact the streaming sector is dominated by a really small number of loss-making services, and that labels and publishers aren't securing the same level of rights from their artists and songwriters anymore, and that some landmark cases around the termination right in US copyright law could have a significant impact on the majors' increasingly important old music catalogues.
But in the short term the stand-out stats coming out of the record industry remain positive, which double digit growth for all the key Universal revenue streams in its latest financial report.
Jason Aldean expands partnership with BMG
Aldean first began working with BMG in 2017 when it acquired his Broken Bow label. Under the new deal, BMG will distribute his new album '9' - due out on 22 Nov - all around the world. As the aforementioned global nature of the deal probably suggested.
"I'm glad to have had BMG on board as part of the team the last couple years", says Aldean. "It's good to have them in my corner and I'm looking forward to keeping this thing going - and it'll be cool if we get to pick up a few new fans overseas along the way".
BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch adds: "An artist of Jason Aldean's stature has the choice of any label he wants. It was far from a given when we acquired Broken Bow that Jason would agree to extend his relationship with us. We are delighted that he has not only extended but expanded his partnership with BMG. We look forward to working with him and his exceptional management team".
Little Mix to front new BBC One talent show
As I think I made abundantly clear in the previous paragraph, Little Mix are to front a new BBC One talent show called 'Little Mix The Search'. In it, they will seek out singers to form a load of new pop groups. One overall winning group will then support them on their UK tour next summer.
The programme is being made for the BBC by new production company ModestTV, which is coincidentally a division of Little Mix's management company, Modest! Management. The new TV firm is a partnership with producer Andrea Hamilton, who has overseen successful (if tedious) shows such as 'Strictly Come Dancing', 'The Voice' and 'So You Think You Can Dance'.
"Modest! Management look after some of the most popular and successful music artists in the business", says Hamilton. "Whilst television has always been about talent, it's more prevalent than ever and so starting a company together to help maximise the opportunities for the talent, along with other format ideas, is an exciting place to be".
Modest! Management co-founder Harry Magee adds: "Entertainment TV is an area we've been interested in expanding into for a while ... this feels like an obvious way to combine our creative skills to help discover opportunities for the existing Modest! talent roster and beyond".
Also name-checking the new venture's Creative Director, Stefan Iriarte, he goes on: "With Andrea and Stef's production and development credentials in entertainment formats and event television, this feels like a natural and exciting fit".
Meanwhile, Little Mix chip in: "We want to create lots of incredible groups who really gel. As we have been there and done it ourselves, we know what it takes to make a group successful, and will be there to mentor them every step of the way. We want solo artists to audition as well as groups and every type of genre is welcome too. It's going to be really exciting and people can apply right now!"
'Little Mix The Search' will run over seven Saturday night episodes at some point next year. As well as this, ModestTV has got itself another BBC commission too. This time it's for BBC Three, with a programme concept called 'Football Stars In Bad Cars', which sounds... it sounds... well, it certainly does sound, and on that I think we can all agree.
John Rostron to lead Making Music Wales
"We are THRILLED that John, with his wide-ranging knowledge and experience of the Welsh music scene, is joining us to support and represent Making Music members in Wales", says the group's Chief Executive Barbara Eifler. "His senior-level experience, combined with a track record of providing a national platform for grassroots music, presents an exciting new chapter for our current, and future, Welsh membership".
Rostron adds: "Leisure-time musicians are the greatest contributors to the music ecology of Wales, numbering in their many thousands of groups, collectives and individuals. Making Music is a fantastic membership organisation, providing so much invaluable support to help them do what they do. I'm delighted to now be a part of the team".
As well as co-founding the Sŵn Festival - the latest edition of which is happening right now complete with a CMU-curated conference - Rostron has held a number of roles supporting both the Welsh music industry and the live music sector at large. He also runs the Welsh Music Prize and serves as Chair of the Association Of Independent Promoters.
Beck announces Pharrell-produced new album, Hyperspace
The new album follows Beck's 2017 LP 'Colors', as well as 'Tarantula' - his song on the spin-off album of music inspired by the movie 'Roma' - and 'Super Cool' - his collaboration with Robyn and The Lonely Island from 'The Lego Movie 2'.
'Hyperspace' will be released on 22 Nov. The first taste comes in the form of new single 'Uneventful Days', which you can listen to here.
Idles announce live album recorded at Paris' Bataclan
"Our show at Bataclan was the end of a very long journey for us", says frontman Joe Talbot. "On that tour we learnt so much about ourselves, each other and the audiences we have grown with over the past ten years. That show was nothing short of catharsis and nothing more than love".
"We love what we do and the people who have carried us here", he goes on. "There was no hiding that at Bataclan and we are so very grateful that the moment was captured in all its glory, love and fatigue. Long live the open minded and long live the moment".
The album will be released on 6 Dec though Partisan Records. It'll provide you with a chance to hear the band live that you might not otherwise get. At least that week, as all their UK shows around the release date are sold out.
Hootie & The Blowfish have signed a worldwide publishing administration deal with Big Deal Music Group, in a joint venture with veteran music exec Rick Krim. It comes ahead of their first album for fifteen years, 'Imperfect Circle'. "We are very honoured to be working with them, as well as Rick, and are excited for their fans all over the world to hear this amazing new album", says Big Deal Co-President Jamie Cerreta.
BRANDS & MERCH
Champagne maker Veuve Clicquot will set up a sneaky champagne bar in Covent Garden in London next month, and its interior will be the "creative vision" of St Vincent. It'll be "part speakeasy, part sensory space". If you want to experience that, it'll only be there on 22-23 Nov. After that you'll just have to drink your champagne in the street.
Robbie Williams is releasing a Christmas album. It will feature 28 tracks. 28! He's splitting them over two discs titled 'Christmas Past' and 'Christmas Future', so it doesn't seem quite so bad. The first is all Christmas classics, while the second is original songs. Guests on the record include Jamie Cullum, Rod Stewart, Bryan Adams and Williams' own dad Peter Conway. It's out on 22 Nov.
Missy Elliott has released the video for 'DripDemeanor', from her recent 'Iconology' EP.
The National's Matt Berninger has released the video for solo track 'Walking On A String', featuring Phoebe Bridgers.
Perfume Genius has released new single 'Pop Song'. "I imagined an ecstatic pile of bodies preparing to be consumed by the gods", he says of the song. "A joyous communal sacrifice of the physical to spiritually level up. The lyric is like a conjuration spell to be sung when the mountain of bodies settles in position and is held still as an offering".
Flight Facilities have released new single 'Better Than Ever', featuring Aloe Blacc on vocals. Here's the video.
Black Lips have released new single 'Odelia'. The band will release a new album via a partnership with Vice and Fire Records next year.
Twin Atlantic have announced that they will release new album 'Power' on 24 Jan. Here's first single 'Novocaine'. The band will also be touring the UK in March, including a show at London's Electric Ballroom on 20 Mar.
Catholic Action have released new single 'One Of Us' as they begin a UK tour. Their new album, 'Celebrated By Strangers', is out on 27 Mar.
Porches has released new single 'Rangerover'.
Liam J Hennessy has released 'Emerge', the first single from his debut album, 'In The Half Light', out on Bigo & Twigetti on 14 Nov.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Justin Bieber sued for posting a picture of himself on Instagram
Bieber posted the photo of himself and celebrity church pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr in the back of a car on Instagram in March. The lawsuit filed in New York this week notes that the post received almost four million likes - and presumably considerably more views - with Barbera receiving no payment for the use of his work.
Many would assume that there is no issue with someone posting a photograph of themselves wherever they like - not least the vitriolic Beliebers now filling the comments of that particular Instagram post. But the default owner of the copyright in a photo is the photographer not the being people photographed.
And while as the subject of the picture you could try to block commercial use of the image on privacy or image right grounds, that doesn't mean you own the picture. So technically use of the image still needs the permission of the photographer, unless you can justify fair use grounds under American copyright law.
This sort of lawsuit is not actually that uncommon. Many celebrities have been sued for using photos of themselves without the photographer's permission, particularly since the rise of social media. In May this year, Barbera also sued Ariana Grande for using two of his photos on Instagram without permission.
That case was interesting because she had used the photos to promote the release of her 'Sweetener' album. Therefore Barbera was seeking $25,000 in damages for each photo used or the profits she had earned from their use, whichever was the higher amount.
Had the case reached court, Barbera would presumably have argued that he had a claim to some of the profits from 'Sweetener' because his images had helped promote it. It never came to that though, as Grande agreed an out of court settlement two months later.
Bieber's Instagram post was not directly promoting anything, though. So his legal team will probably argue that posting the picture was protected under the aforementioned wonderfully vague concept of fair use.
Barbera is being represented by Richard Liebowitz, a lawyer recently described by a judge as a "known copyright troll". Liebowitz has filed hundreds of copyright lawsuits in recent years, capitalising on both unlicensed use of photographs on social media and unauthorised use of social media posts in other media. He has also filed two lawsuits relating to videos posted on social media that made their way into Netflix's Fyre Festival documentary.
It's unlikely that this case will get to court, unless Bieber is in a mood to stand up against this sort of litigation. It's far more likely that he'll encourage future such legal wrangling by settling out of court too.