|FRIDAY 8 NOVEMBER 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The boss of the BBC's Children In Need charity has said that he is "deeply saddened" that the Official Charts Company has chosen to class his organisation's new 'Got It Covered' record as a various artists compilation, making it ineligible for the main albums chart... [READ MORE]|
BBC criticises Official Charts Company, after reclassification knocks Children In Need album out of number one race
Adding insult to injury, that classification was confirmed after the music industry's chief counters announced on Monday that the fundraising record - released ahead of next week's Children In Need telethon - was on course to, well, top this week's main albums chart.
'Got It Covered' features various celebrities covering pop hits - so, Olivia Colman singing Portishead's 'Glory Box', David Tennant doing The Proclaimers' 'Sunshine On Leith', that sort of thing - and is on track to be this week's biggest selling album. It will not now, however, feature at the top of the official UK albums chart, because various artists compilations have their own weekly countdown separate from the main one.
According to current OCC rules, the only compilations allowed in the main album chart are greatest hit outings from single artists, or concert and soundtrack recordings where all the music is performed by a single orchestra or cast.
Those involved with the project would possibly argue that 'Got It Covered' meets these requirements, it being a project conceived as a whole rather than a series of individually released tracks lumped together on one record. The BBC Concert Orchestra also features on all eleven tracks, which were recorded by Guy Chambers at Abbey Road Studios.
The OCC initially agreed with this view of the project, until yesterday when it announced that it had decided that - actually - having different vocalists on each song definitely made this record a various artists compilation.
Children In Need chief exec Simon Antrobus said of the decision to list the album in a chart that few people outside of the music industry even know exists: "I'm deeply saddened that the industry has chosen to pull the album from the number one race after announcing it was well on its way to securing the top spot [in the main album chart] this week".
"'Got It Covered' is the result of an inspiring collaboration by some of the UK's biggest stars in support of disadvantaged children and young people and this very special project has clearly captured the public's imagination", he went on. "It's sad that a charity album solely for the benefit of children should be denied the chance of further promotion and celebration which inevitably would lead to more money being raised".
In a separate statement, the BBC said: "This is extremely disappointing, we know many of the contributors are also saddened by the news. It's important to remember what this album is about - helping the lives of disadvantaged children in need. The public have been buying the album in huge volumes and that should be recognised. [The OCC] should think again".
In its own statement, the OCC stuck by its decision and said: "We understand and sympathise with Children In Need's concerns that their album will no longer feature in the UK's artist albums chart. The album is on course to take the number one spot on the compilation albums chart and be the biggest selling album of the week - which is a huge achievement, while raising money for such a deserving cause".
"'Got It Covered' was described to us pre-release as an artist album, but on release it was clear that it was a various artists compilation, as it is widely credited as across retail and music services", it continued, explaining why it had undergone a change of heart. "We are sorry this fact was not picked up sooner, and we are huge supporters of all the incredible and important work Children In Need do and would urge everyone to continue to go out and buy the album".
Many of the critics of this decision - including celebrities who sang on the record - have expressed concern that by not appearing in the main album chart, certain shops - particularly supermarkets - will not stock the record after it ceases to be a new release. Although, if it's flying off the shelves as fast as we're led to believe, this would seem like an odd decision on the shops' part. Plus, of course, there's no better promotion for a release than a good old chart dispute.
The annual Children In Need telethon will be broadcast on BBC One next Friday.
Judge pauses arbitration order in Michael Jackson Estate v HBO dispute
The Jackson estate sued HBO back in February over the media firm's airing of 'Leaving Neverland', the headline-grabbing documentary that put the spotlight back on allegations of child abuse made against the late musician by Wade Robson and James Safechuck.
The lawsuit centres on a 1992 contract between Jackson and HBO signed when the latter broadcast footage of the former's live shows. The contract included a clause in which HBO promised to never "disparage" the musician, a commitment the estate claims the broadcaster breached by airing 'Leaving Neverland'.
As the dispute progressed, the estate filed a motion seeking to force the matter to arbitration, rather than a proper court hearing. HBO opposed that move by filing what is known in American legal circles as an anti-SLAPP motion, basically seeking to stop arbitration on free speech grounds.
However, judge George H Wu said he couldn't find any previous relevant precedent to support the idea that HBO could avoid arbitration by citing free speech rights under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
This meant that he was prone to support the estate's motion to force the whole matter to an arbitration hearing. However, he conceded that this was a very unusual case that could probably do with the input of a higher court.
HBO's subsequent decision to take the case to the Ninth Circuit appeals court was, therefore, unsurprising. Even though the estate declared that this was a "bogus appeal" from a broadcaster keen to pursue every legal technicality to avoid scrutiny of its "shoddy journalism".
Wu has now agreed to stay his earlier order requiring arbitration, allowing HBO to proceed with its appeal. The estate tried to persuade the judge to keep said order in place on the basis that this was, in fact, a simple contractual dispute that HBO was deliberately trying to complicate.
However, the judge did not concur, saying that he felt this case did raise some tricky First Amendment free speech issues on which there was little precedent. According to Law360, Wu added: "This case is to my mind quite unique. I've never seen anything like it".
He then noted that he looked forward to the Ninth Circuit offering its opinions on what should be done in a dispute like this one.
UK competition regulator provisionally approves Live Nation's MCD deal
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. Gaiety and its boss Denis Desmond have been in business with Live Nation for years, but MCD was never part of that alliance.
After Live Nation and Desmond announced plans to bring MCD into the JV last year competition regulators in both Ireland and the UK announced that they would investigate the deal. The former then approved the transaction in July after Live Nation and MCD agreed to make a number of legally binding commitments to allay competition concerns.
The same week the UK's Competition & Markets Authority said it also had concerns about the deal, mainly on the basis that Live Nation's Ticketmaster is the leading ticket seller in Northern Ireland, where MCD also promotes shows. The CMA mused that "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 was 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.
This is possibly why, having undertaken a more in-depth investigation since July, the CMA has now concluded that the MCD purchase doesn't raise competition concerns because "Live Nation would not be expected to have the incentive to harm rival music promoters by making it harder for them to sell tickets through Ticketmaster".
However, the CMA investigation process is not fully compete. It said yesterday that it is now "asking for views on these provisional findings by 28 Nov and will assess all evidence provided before making a final decision". The deadline for that decision is 8 Jan.
Music industry organisations partner with Music Support to offer mental health training
The companies and organisations involved are Help Musicians UK, the BRIT Trust, the Association Of Independent Festivals, The Event Safety Shop, the Professional Lighting And Sound Association, Production Park, Backstage Academy, the Production Services Association's Stage Hand Fund and the Thrive mental well-being app. The partnership will see Music Support facilitate training provided by the UK's only licensed provider of the course MHFA England.
"MHFA training is becoming a priority for businesses across many industries and sectors, both nationally and internationally", says Music Support MD Eric Mtungwazi. "We've received a lot of support and encouragement from partners about the prospect of Music Support delivering MHFA".
"MHFA England is currently campaigning for the government to put mental and physical health on an even footing", he continues. "This is gaining traction from politicians and is likely to become an area of statutory responsibility for employers in the future. Now is time for our industry to get in ahead of the curve. We'd like this initiative to be an industry-wide adoption of good practice which will improve mental health literacy and the industry's capacity to prevent and respond".
AIF CEO Paul Reed adds: "Part of AIF's remit is to provide its members with the resources and expertise they need to improve and maintain the safety and wellbeing of both staff and customers at their events. Mental health is obviously a vital part of that, and we're pleased to be partnering with Music Support, alongside a number of other great music industry organisations, to give AIF promoters access to great training in this area".
Those who complete Music Support's Adult MHFA two-day course will become a qualified Mental Health First Aider, accredited by MFHA England.
Tegan & Sara close Warner Music managed direct-to-fan store
The duo released their latest album, 'Hey, I'm Just Like You', in September. However, many fans are still waiting for items pre-ordered online before the release date, including physical editions of the record and other merch.
"Today we've asked Warner Records to shut down the Tegan & Sara online merchandise store", they said in a statement on social media last night. "Their warehouse is experiencing a huge backlog that is affecting all Warner artist stores and there is no definitive answer about when remaining pre-orders will ship and this is just unacceptable to us".
They added: "We have requested Warner not take any new orders for Tegan & Sara merchandise as we have lost faith in their warehouse's ability to fulfil those orders in a timely manner".
"We have spent our career laser focused on giving you the best quality products, at a fair price, with unique designs created in house by our art director Emy", they continued, "so to have the 'Hey, I'm Just Like You' pre-order get fumbled so badly pains us. The changes we are making will allow us to have much more control, so we can avoid situations like this happening ever again".
Those changes include Tegan & Sara setting up their own independent online store to manage new orders. In the meantime, they have said that anyone with an outstanding order can contact Warner Music to cancel and receive a full refund.
Speaking to Billboard, a spokesperson for Warner said: "We are taking these customer service issues very seriously and working with our pick, pack and ship provider Direct Shot, as well as other vendors, to resolve this situation".
This is not the first time this year that issues have been raised with US distribution company Direct Shot, which Warner began using to fulfil its orders in April. In July, a group of independent record stores published an open letter to all three majors in Billboard saying that Direct Shot was failing to properly handle orders they had made.
Among a long list of issues, they said that orders were arriving late, sometimes with fewer items than requested or, in some cases, entirely empty. And this included orders of new releases, meaning they were not in stock on their release dates. In some instances, they said, orders were sent to the wrong stores entirely, and invoices often failed to match either what was ordered or delivered.
Direct Shot has not commented on the ongoing complaints. It's not clear as yet if other artists will now follow Tegan & Sara's lead in pulling their direct-to-fan operations out the company.
Taylor Swift joins Stormzy as Capital FM Jingle Bell Ball headliner
But what do you need in order to have headliners? That's right, support acts. Playing second fiddle to Stormzy will be Harry Styles, Liam Payne, Rita Ora, Jax Jones, Jonas Blue, Ava Max, Aitch, Lauv, Young T & Bugsey and Regard. Then warming the room up for Swift will be Sam Smith, Anne-Marie, Tom Walker, AJ Tracey, The Script, Sigala, Mabel, Sam Feldt and Joel Corry.
Quite the line-up. However, I'm sure you all want to know what the boss of Capital parent company Global - that's Ashley Tabor-King - thinks about Taylor Swift playing the CFMJBB2019.
Well, this is what Ashley Tabor-King thinks about Taylor Swift playing the CFMJBB2019: "We're so THRILLED to welcome Taylor Swift back to Capital's Jingle Bell Ball this Christmas. She is one of the biggest stars on the planet and always puts on an incredible show. The countdown to the UK's biggest Christmas party is officially on!"
That's true, because it hasn't happened yet but it has been announced. That's really how countdowns work. Tickets are available now, if you were wondering.
Jack White was on Malcolm Gladwell and Rick Rubin's 'Broken Record' podcast (required listening, by the way) earlier this year saying how much he likes Billie Eilish. Now she's popped into his Third Man studios to record a live show straight to vinyl. The acoustic set will be out in December.
Dave has released new single 'Paper Cuts', which sees him delving into drill, as first previewed on tour earlier this year.
Savages' Jehnny Beth has released a new solo single titled 'I'm The Man'. The track was first heard in an episode of 'Peaky Blinders' back in September and will feature on the show's new soundtrack album that is out next week.
Black Lips have announced that they will release new album 'Sing In A World That's Falling Apart' on 21 Jan. From it, this is new single 'Gentleman'. The band begin a UK tour at EartH in London tonight.
Now into their fourth decade, black metallers Mayhem have finally got around to releasing their first proper music video, for 'Falsified And Hated' from their recently released album 'Daemon'.
Andy Stott has released what he's calling a double EP (but which looks rather like a mini-album) through Modern Love under the title 'It Should Be Us'. From it, this is 'Versi'. A new full-length album is due out next year.
Spinning Coin have announced that they will release a new album, 'Hyacinth', on 21 Feb. From it, this is 'Feel You More Than World Right Now'. They will also be touring the UK in March.
The excellent Katie Gately has announced that she will release her long-awaited second album, 'Loom' - her first for Houndstooth - on 14 Feb. From it, this is 'Bracer'.
GIGS & TOURS
DJ Shadow has announced that he will play Galvanizers in Glasgow on 27 Feb, Manchester's Albert Hall on 28 Feb and Brixton Academy in London on 29 Feb. Hey, next year's a leap year. Thanks for the reminder, Mr Shadow. Here's a reminder in return: His new album's out next week.
Mystery Jets have rescheduled their postponed UK tour, starting at Manchester's Academy 2 on 10 Apr. A new release date for their album, which along with the tour was delayed after frontman Blaine Harrison was hospitalised in September, will be announced shortly.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Sinitta says she invented pop group TV show format, not Simon Cowell or Little Mix
Earlier this week Simon Cowell made a last minute change to the next planned outing of his 'X-Factor' franchise in the UK, so to make it a direct rival to Little Mix's new BBC talent show, in which they will create a new pop group.
But now, as the battle heats up between these two pop group creating telly programmes, Sinitta claims that she has been working on a similar show since last year - and that Cowell is well aware of this.
In The Sun earlier this week, Cowell said that he was approached last year by Little Mix's management company Modest - with whom he has collaborated a lot over the years - to co-produce 'Little Mix The Search' for broadcast in 2021. However, he claims, he turned it down because he was already planning to launch 'X Factor: The Band' in late 2020.
Then Cowell and Modest fell out for some reason. And last month BBC One announced it would air 'Little Mix The Search' as part of its... 2020 season. Had Modest and the Mix brought forward their show to gazump his? No one knows. But Cowell says it was that announcement that prompted him to bring forward 'The Band' into an early 2020 slot originally intended for a version of 'X-Factor' featuring former winners of the show.
So, Cowell is now set to get his pop group search on air first. But did he come up with the idea first? Or was Modest actually first with this concept? Neither actually. Because, according to The Mirror, Sinitta started working on a talent show that puts together new girl groups and then pits them against each other before either of them. She even filmed a pilot a year ago, which she then pitched to the MD of Cowell's Syco company, Tyler Brown.
"We created our show late summer 2018", she tells the newspaper. "I showed the original idea to Tyler at Syco Music, then a little bit to Simon".
They didn't take her up on the offer to get involved, but she has nevertheless since filmed the entire series, apparently, and is now attempting to sell it to TV networks.
I'm pretty sure that isn't how you're supposed to do it. But whatever, she came up with the idea first. No one had ever before thought to put a show on TV where a new pop group emerges the victor. Except that one that created Girls Aloud all those many years ago, of course. Not to mention all the others.
Basically, there are now three sides arguing over who came up with an idea in 2018 that someone else did better in 2002. And people say the pop talent show format is dead.