|WEDNESDAY 6 NOVEMBER 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The creators of 'This Is Spinal Tap' yesterday confirmed that they had reached a settlement in their legal battle with Universal Music, although their original lawsuit against the major's sister company StudioCanal continues to go through the motions... [READ MORE]|
Spinal Tap settle with Universal Music, though StudioCanal litigation continues
Harry Shearer originally sued StudioCanal and its owner - French entertainment conglomerate Vivendi - back in 2016, accusing the movie studio and its parent company of misreporting financial information about the film and its spin offs in order to under-pay him royalties due from the franchise. His Spinal Tap co-creators Christopher Guest, Michael McKean and Rob Reiner subsequently came on board as co-plaintiffs.
Through a series of mergers and acquisitions back in the day, the two Vivendi companies - StudioCanal and Universal Music - ended up respectively controlling the 'Spinal Tap' movie and soundtrack rights. Although the Universal music firm was mentioned in the original lawsuit against Vivendi and StudioCanal, it was then formally added as a defendant in its own right in 2017 when Shearer et al expanded on their list of allegations.
The lawsuits against both StudioCanal and Universal Music included various claims of misconduct on the part the two Vivendi businesses, as well as asking the court for "a declaratory judgment over the creators' inalienable right to reclaim their copyright in the film, screenplay, musical compositions, sound recording and characters relating to the band".
The latter part of the litigation relates to the so called termination right under US copyright law which gives creators a one-time opportunity to reclaim copyrights they previously assigned to a third party 35 years after said assignment.
This is an area of American law of particular interest to Universal Music just now because, while music publishers accept songwriters enjoy this termination right, most labels continue to insist it doesn't apply to recordings. Universal is a defendant on one of the ongoing lawsuits seeking to test that argument in court.
It's the later specific legal claim against Universal Music that has now been settled. And while the terms of that settlement are confidential, a statement from the creators alludes to the termination rights point, suggesting a deal has been done over the future ownership of the cult movie's soundtrack.
That statement reads: "The creators of the iconic mockumentary film 'This Is Spinal Tap' have resolved their dispute with Universal Music Group regarding the film's soundtrack recordings. Under the agreement, Spinal Tap's recordings will continue to be distributed through UMG and eventually the rights will be given to the creators. The parties look forward to making these beloved recordings available to existing and new Spinal Tap fans for years to come".
Having previously been quite scathing of Vivendi and StudioCanal when speaking about this legal dispute, Shearer had much more positive things to say about dealing with Universal on its side of the dispute.
Commenting on the settlement he told reporters: "I must admit, from the moment we first began mediation with them to now, I've been impressed by UMG's respect for creatives and their distinctive desire to seek a prompt and equitable solution to the issues".
Guest concurred, adding: "It was refreshing to be treated so constructively and with such courtesy by UMG and I'm pleased we have been able to resolve this".
But, of course, while the dispute over the movie's soundtrack is now resolved, the legal wrangling continues over at StudioCanal regarding the film itself. It remains to be seen whether any common ground and, therefore, a settlement can be found there too.
Radiohead call on Live Nation to "admit their part" in 2012 death of drum tech Scott Johnson
Johnson died when the roof of an open air stage set up at Downsview Park in Toronto collapsed shortly before doors were due to open for the Radiohead concert. The show's promoter Live Nation, production firm Optex Staging & Services Inc and an individual engineer working on the show, Domenic Cugliari, were all charged under Ontario's Occupational Health And Safety Act in relation to the incident.
The case eventually reached court in 2015, but after various delays it was then abandoned in 2017 due to a new legal precedent in Canadian law designed to stop criminal cases from dragging on indefinitely. At the time, Radiohead said that the decision to call off the case was "an insult to the memory of Scott Johnson, his parents and our crew. It offers no consolation, closure or assurance that this kind of accident will not happen again".
A subsequent inquest in Canada made various recommendations as to what regulators could do to stop such a tragedy from occurring again in the future. However, nothing as yet has come of those recommendations.
A separate inquest then took place in the UK last month in Johnson's hometown of Doncaster, at which coroner Nicola Mundy was pretty forthright on what led to the drum tech's death back in 2012. She stated: "Inadequate advice coupled with wholly inadequate construction techniques led to the collapse of the roof system which led to Scott Johnson's death. It's quite clear from what I have heard that the design and construction itself had inherent deficiencies within them".
Noting that conclusion, Radiohead said in a statement on Twitter yesterday: "After seven years, two inquests and a trial that, as a result of a technicality, was never concluded, we finally have an answer".
They then went on: "At the beginning of the process, Scott's father Ken said that all he wanted was for those responsible to hold their hand up, admit responsibility, and to make sure that it never happens to anyone else. We all acknowledge that no one intended for Scott to die".
"To date, only Optrex staging company owner Dale Martin has taken any ownership of his role in the tragedy", they continued. "At the Toronto inquest, he said: 'The system failed. Not just the truss. My people. Me. I'm responsible'. It is time for those others responsible to finally and publicly admit their part in this terrible incident".
The band concluded: "We invite them to offer their apologies to Scott's family and friends for what they have endured, and to our surviving crew for the physical injuries and the mental trauma they have suffered".
Expanding on the statement, the band's Philip Selway is quoted by CBC as saying: "In some ways, this is our last chance to comment on it. It has been a very long process - in particular for Scott's parents, Ken and Sue - and I think it's addressing our last feelings on what has happened"
"At the heart of it all, there is Scott, there's Scott's parents, who've lost their son, us as a band, and us as a wider kind of touring family, as well as with our crew, who've lost Scott", he added. "And actually having an honest response to that, it would mean just a huge amount. It would feel as though it was honouring Scott's memory".
Johnson's father Ken welcomed the band's call for a public apology from those involved in producing the 2012 show. But, according to CBC, he isn't expecting statements to be forthcoming from either Live Nation or Cugliari, who previously expressed regret but not responsibility for the incident.
However, he added that he nevertheless hopes that the recent clear conclusions reached by the UK inquest would put pressure on all parties to plough ahead with the recommendations made in the aforementioned Canadian inquest. Because doing so would, it's hoped, stop any similar tragedies from occurring in the Canadian live sector in the future.
PRS launches new data and analytics portal for songwriters and publishers
The new portal provides stats for all the song right revenue streams that involve the collecting society, and will allow comparisons between songs, territories and time periods. PRS itself reckons that the new service will be "invaluable" for songwriters and their teams, providing data that can "support career choices, touring decisions and open new markets to songwriter, composer and publisher members".
Announcing all this, the society's Director Of Membership, Claire Jarvis, said: "We're delighted that the new analytics service enables our members to interrogate the global usage of their music in an innovative way. We worked closely with them when building the new application and believe that our continued improvement to our digital offering will ensure that PRS remains one of the leading performing rights organisations in the world".
Glastonbury "planning to build a reservoir" to overcome water issues
"We are doing things all the time at the site", Eavis said at the Yeovil Literary Festival, according to the NME. "We are planning all the time for the future - we are always looking at infrastructure improvements and we are planning to build a new water reservoir. We had a problem with a lack of water this year. We are also talking to Bristol Water now about our connection".
Many punters at this year's Glastonbury complained of a lack of water on site, after the festival introduced a ban on plastic bottles at the event, including banning retailers from selling them. Festival-goers were strongly encouraged to bring their own water bottles which they could fill from taps spread around the festival. However, as temperatures rocketed on the Saturday of the proceedings, many complained of long queues for those taps.
In a statement during the event, organisers said: "There is not a water shortage at this year's Glastonbury. Our supply is running as normal. As always in hot weather, demand for water has increased, so we have put in place the usual restrictions on staff/guest showers and the limited number of public showers".
"We have more than 850 taps on site, all of which provide free drinking water", it added. "These taps all have a ready supply of water. All bars are also offering free tap water. And although we no longer sell water in single-use bottles, all of our food traders are selling both water and soft drink in cans".
Despite those statements in June, it seems Team Glasto nevertheless want to cut tap queues in future years and/or reduce the need for shower restrictions. Hence the talk of reservoirs.
Given the Glastonbury site is in a valley, maybe they could make the whole place one big reservoir and then stage a floating festival on top of it. Then instead of queuing, moaning festival-goers need only reach over the side of their boat for a nice drink or a little clean. And in wash out years, you wouldn't be able to tell.
Stormzy calls on "alien" Jacob Rees-Mogg to resign as an MP over controversial Grenfell comments
Rees-Mogg made his controversial comments in an interview with Nick Ferrari on radio station LBC earlier this week. Noting that the occupants of the building had been told by the fire brigade to stay in their homes even after the initial fire had been discovered - that being standard practice when dealing with tower block fires - he said: "I think if either of us were in a fire, whatever the fire brigade said, we would leave the burning building. It just seems the common sense thing to do and it is such a tragedy that that didn't happen".
In a long string of tweets, Stormzy responded: "Oi Jacob Rees Mogg, you need to resign. You're an actual piece of shit ... in a nutshell saying Grenfell victims should have had the common sense to escape. I can't believe the cheek. Fucking hell, these politicians are actual aliens".
"Let's bear in mind for two seconds how horrifying and terrifying the situation would have been for the victims", he went on. "And then imagine they're being instructed by fire fighters - trusted government authorities - to stay put. This scumbag is saying, 'well boy, you lot are dumb to have listened then'. Can you imagine?! Oi, get this prick out of here. These man are scumbags and they are wicked and evil".
He also accused the government of attempting to shift the blame for the tragedy onto the Fire Brigade, saying: "This is blood on the British government's hands. Grenfell was their fault and their fault alone".
Rees-Mogg has since apologised for his comments, saying that he'd accidentally claimed that those who died lacked "common sense". He told the Evening Standard: "What I meant to say is that I would have also listened to the fire brigade's advice to stay and wait at the time. However, with what we know now, and with hindsight, I wouldn't and I don't think anyone else would. I would hate to upset the people of Grenfell if I was unclear in my comments".
Stormzy, of course, has long been a vocal critic of the government over its response to the Grenfell tower block fire that occurred in West London in June 2017. At the 2018 BRIT Awards, he broke up a performance of his tracks 'Blinded By Your Grace Part 2' and 'Big For Your Boots' with a freestyle directed at the then UK Prime Minister.
He rapped: "Yo Theresa May, where's the money for Grenfell? What, you thought we just forgot about Grenfell? You're criminals, and you've got the cheek to call us savages, you should do some jail time, you should pay some damages, you should burn your house down and see if you can manage this".
In his latest barrage of tweets on the subject he added that he would "never ever ever ever ever ever stop talking bout Grenfell".
The total number of deaths caused by the fire was officially recorded as 72. More than 70 others were injured and 233 escaped. Whereas a small fire in a tower block would usually be contained - hence the stay-put policy - in this case the blaze spread quickly throughout the building due to the cladding on the outside of the tower being extremely flammable. In total the fire burned for two and a half days before being extinguished.
An inquiry into the disaster was launched in September 2017 and its initial findings were published last month, which is what Rees-Mogg was commenting upon.
Unreleased George Michael song gets first airplay
Of the opportunity to give the track its first play, Ball said: "I was, and am, a huge Wham! and George Michael fan and, even though he is no longer with us, his music remains a joy to us all. I'm honoured to be premiering this previously unheard song from George on my breakfast show".
Jeff Smith, Head Of Music at Radio 2 and 6 Music, added: "Ever since they burst into the pop charts in 1982 with 'Young Guns', the music of both Wham! and George Michael has been loved by Radio 2 listeners, so I'm THRILLED that they will be the first to hear this very special record".
Alongside Emilia Clarke, 'Last Christmas' stars Emma Thompson, who also wrote the screenplay. The film is directed by Paul Feig, best known for 'Bridesmaids'. The soundtrack features twelve of Michael's solo songs, including this new one, and three Wham! tracks.
So called Harry Styles has announced that he will release his new album, 'Fine Line', on 13 Dec. He'll mark the release with a show at LA's Forum on the same day. What's the artwork all about then?
Rufus Wainwright has released the video for his new single, 'Trouble In Paradise'. It sees him transform into a new persona, inspired by Vogue's Anna Wintour. "She reflects on the true price of glamour, and weighs its spiritual costs while eyeing her future legacy, and eternity", he says.
Best Coast will release their first album for five years, titled 'Always Tomorrow', next year. Here's first single 'For The First Time'.
Yann Tiersen has released a newly recorded version of his song 'Rue Des Cascades', taken from his upcoming album of newly recorded versions of his songs 'Portrait'.
Au Revoir Simone's Annie Hart will release new solo album 'A Softer Offering' on 13 Dec. She describes the record as "a soundtrack for painting or lying in the grass". Here's new single 'Wilderness Hill'.
Band-Maid have released new single 'Rinne', taken from their upcoming album 'Conqueror'.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
My Chemical Romance predicted 2019's Chilean unrest in a 2011 tweet and we're freaking out
So, anyway, My Chemical Romance recently announced their long-awaited reunion. So clearly someone searched their Twitter timeline to see if they'd ever hinted that they might get back together this year. Because that's the sort of thing people do. But what that person or persons found was a tweet from 14 Jan 2011 saying, "Hola Chile! Te amamos! Stay safe in 2019".
Skip forward eight years and there's now political unrest and rioting in Chile. What the fuck?! MCR are a bunch of modern day Nostradamuses. Of course, while the political situation in Chile is currently particularly bad, the band could also have picked 2016, 2017 or 2018 and still had their tweet be correct. Except none of those years where the year where the story of their last album, 'Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys', was set.
Why did they specifically mention Chile though? Well, My Chemical Romance have a fairly big fanbase in the country. So that's probably it. There were also protests going on in the country when they posted that tweet. So that might be it too.
Although the band did also post new year messages to other countries around the time of the Chile tweet, including telling the Philippines to keep "2011 drac free". And you know what? The Philippines were entirely drac free for the whole rest of the year. Dracs being another thing related to the 'Danger Days' album and also entirely fictional (as was 2019 back then).
Now, how about this reunion? The band have already announced a show in LA on 20 Dec, and said of the response to that announcement: "It is truly unbelievable to us the happiness we have experienced over the past two days. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for the warm welcome back. We truly did not expect this". So clearly they're not that clairvoyant.
But will there be more shows? I predict that there will. Mainly because they've just announced some
They'll headline Australia and Japan's Download festivals, and a standalone show in New Zealand, in March. The band will also play the UK's Download festival. Maybe. They haven't announced that one yet. But imagine if I'm right! Anyway, chin up in 2024, Peru.