|TUESDAY 19 NOVEMBER 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Taylor Swift has the all-clear to sing Taylor Swift songs during a Taylor Swift honouring section of the upcoming Taylor Swift Awards. I mean, the upcoming American Music Awards. That much is now abundantly clear. I think. Maybe. Very little else about the ongoing beef between Swift and her former label Big Machine is clear, though... [READ MORE]|
Taylor Swift's AMA medley is all cleared insists Big Machine
Except that Swift hates the Big Machine. We know that. Everyone knows that. There are tribes in the deepest Amazon cut off from the rest of humanity for centuries who must know that. Swift hates the fact that artist manager Scooter Braun's Ithaca Holdings now owns Big Machine and its recordings catalogue, including all but her most recent album. She plans to channel that hatred into re-recording those records just as soon as her old record contract allows. You know, in a marvellous "fuck you" to Braun and the Big Machine.
The hatred cuts both ways though. As do the "fuck you" sentiments. Probably. And so - or at least according to Swift - the Big Machine has been trying to fuck with her projects until she promises to not fuck with the Big Machine by re-recording her old albums. That included the Big Machine exercising a veto it may or may not have over her upcoming appearance at the aforementioned AMAs. If the makers of the AMAs film Swift performing a hits medley, that's a recording, and the Big Machine can still stop new recordings of her old hits.
But Big Machine doesn't want to do that. We can't stress that enough. I mean, Swift says it wanted to. And it probably did want to. I mean, why wouldn't you? It would be a super "fuck you" to a relentlessly moaning pop star. But, as of yesterday, the Big Machine was very clear on this. Swift's AMA hits medley has the all-clear to go ahead. In fact the Big Machine has done a specific deal with AMA makers Dick Clark Productions to ensure it is so.
"The Big Machine Label Group and Dick Clark Productions announce that they have come to terms on a licensing agreement that approves their artists' performances to stream post show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms", the two companies said yesterday, after a weekend of endless chatter about the latest Swift v Big Machine hoo haa.
Sort of clarifying what vetoes the Big Machine may or may not have over its artists singing their songs at the AMAs, the statement went on: "It should be noted that recording artists do not need label approval for live performances on television or any other live media. Record label approval is only needed for contracted artists' audio and visual recordings and in determining how those works are distributed".
So, that's all clear right? Oh, except, and this is important, Dick Clark Productions hasn't announced anything. Yes, it was the co-announcee of that announcement. But at the same time it wasn't. AMA maker Dick Clark Productions isn't in the business of announcing things. It's been making telly shows for 60 years. You don't have 60 years of success in making telly shows by going around announcing things.
"At no time did Dick Clark Productions agree to, create, authorise or distribute a statement in partnership with Big Machine Label Group regarding Taylor Swift's performance at the 2019 American Music Awards", the company, well, erm, announced yesterday. "Any final agreement on this matter needs to be made directly with Taylor Swift's management team. We have no further comment". A further comment, after all, would be an announcement.
"The Big Machine Label Group informed Dick Clark Productions today that they have agreed to grant all licences of their artists' performances to stream post show and for re-broadcast on mutually approved platforms", the Big Machine then said in a subsequently amended statement.
It then added, once again, in case anyone missed it first time round, that "it should be noted that recording artists do not need label approval for live performances on television or any other live media. Record label approval is only needed for contracted artists' audio and visual recordings and in determining how those works are distributed".
So that's all that cleared up. I think. Maybe.
Swift should now instigate another big "fuck you" to the Big Machine by using her AMA slot to perform a medley of Prince songs. Which would also be a nice reminder that pop stars spectacularly falling out with their labels is hardly a new phenomenon. By Prince standards, Swift and the Big Machine are due to become friends again in 2039.
Or maybe Braun can negotiate some sort of truce sooner. Although we said the hatred and "fuck you" shenanigans cut both ways, he is apparently busy trying to distance himself from the ongoing Swift v Big Machine bust up, insisting he has no active control over the label or the statements it issues. It's Big Machine founder Scott Borchetta who is still in control.
"Scooter is frustrated because his name is being dragged in the mud", an unnamed source has told E! News. "He doesn't run Big Machine or have operational control of [the] company. He hasn't taken part in these negotiations".
So who's to blame? Who do we believe? Whose side should we take? I know, let's believe no one and blame them all. Fuck Big Machine. Fuck Dick Clark. Fuck Taylor Swift. Fuck Scooter Braun. Fuck you, one and all!
Californian law change will likely revive child abuse lawsuits against Michael Jackson companies
Allegations made by James Safechuck and Wade Robson have, of course, come to much wider attention this year because of their involvement in the HBO documentary 'Leaving Neverland'. They both sued entities linked to Jackson in the years following the pop star's death in 2009 claiming that they had been abused by the musician as children.
Both their legal cases were ultimately dismissed in no small part because of the statute of limitations that exists for such lawsuits in California. Under previous laws, victims of child abuse needed to file their lawsuits by the age of 26. Both claimants had passed that age by the time they went legal.
However, a change was made to Californian law on this point recently, so that victims can now make a legal claim against alleged child abusers up to the age of 40.
The politician who led on that amendment to the state's statute of limitation laws, Lorena Gonzalez, noted that: "The idea that someone who is assaulted as a child can actually run out of time to report that abuse is outrageous".
Both Safechuck and Robson now hope that their respective cases against Jackson-linked companies can be reinstated as a result of the amended law. And yesterday an appeals court in California basically agreed in a provisional ruling. It was a decision that was, unsurprisingly, welcomed by the two men's legal rep Vince Finaldi who told the Associated Press: "All they've ever wanted is their day in court".
Reps for the Jackson estate have been disparaging of the two men's allegations ever since they went legal, arguing that both Safechuck and Robson spoke out in support of Jackson in relation to other claims of child abuse prior to the star's death. The estate has repeatedly alleged that the two accusers are motivated by the possible damages they might receive, while also arguing that the aforementioned HBO documentary was entirely one sided.
However, the estate's lawyers yesterday accepted that Safechuck and Robson's cases would probably have to return to the court that originally dismissed them as a result of the change to Californian law. But, they said, this week's ruling was on that point of law alone, and said nothing about the substance of the two men's allegations. Nor did it mean that the lower court would allow the cases to go to full trial second time round.
They also stressed that only the lawsuits against MJJ Productions Inc and MJJ Ventures Inc were being reinstated. Safechuck and Robson had originally also sought to hold the estate itself liable for the abuse they claim they suffered.
Estate attorney Howard L Weitzman said: "This new law extends the time for genuine victims of abuse to file legal claims. The appellate court's tentative ruling is not on the merits of Robson and Safechuck's allegations and the court in no way said that these cases will go to trial. Neither does it reverse the 2015 rulings dismissing Robson and Safechuck's claims against the estate, which are final and no longer subject to any appeals".
Weitzman added: "We are confident that the claims against Michael Jackson's corporate entities will, once again, be dismissed as has happened before".
Web-blocking begins in Canada
Web-blocking is where courts or government agencies issue orders that force internet service providers to block their customers from accessing websites that prolifically infringe other people's copyrights. Such blockades aren't yet available in every country but, where they are, they have become a preferred anti-piracy tactic of the music and movie industries.
Some ISPs object to the idea of web-blocks, but some actually support them as a reasonable and balanced approach to tackling online piracy. That includes in Canada where many - though not all - ISPs previously backed a proposal that government regulator the CRTC should set up a web-blocking agency. Though it ultimately declined to do so.
It was some of those same ISPs - involved in GoldTV.ca case because they are also cable TV companies - that asked the Canadian Federal Court to issue a web-block against that particular piracy site. And last week a judge agreed to order an assortment of ISPs, well beyond those requesting the injunction, to block access to the GoldTV.ca site.
The Canadian court was seemingly influenced in its decision making by web-blocking here in the UK, the Canadian and British copyright systems being very similar. Critics of the anti-piracy tactic always point out that it is relatively easy for web-savvy people to circumvent the blockades. But the judge hearing the case ruled that - while that is true - web-blocking has still had some success in other countries.
According to Torrentfreak, judge Patrick K Gleeson said: "It's clear from the evidence that site-blocking will not eliminate user access to infringing services. However, the evidence does establish that in those jurisdictions where site-blocking measures have been implemented there has been a significant reduction in visits to infringing websites".
To that end, he added, "I am satisfied that a site-blocking order is an effective means of limiting access to GoldTV Services.
It remains to be seen if any of the other ISPs affected by the injunction appeal Gleeson's ruling. In the main, in most other countries, once web-blocks are in place even those ISPs that previously criticised the approach fall in line.
Either way, in the absence of any appeal it would seem that, while the CRTC may not be empowered to instigate web-blocks on copyright grounds, the Canadian courts - like their UK counterparts - are.
Fyre Festival ticketholders fail to get Ja Rule added back onto lawsuit
The rapper, real name Jeffrey Atkins, was very much presented as a co-founder of the luxury music event until it fell apart just as ticketholders started to arrive. When the Fyre company collapsed and its boss Billy McFarland was jailed for fraud, those who went legal in relation to the festival needed to find other people to sue who might actually have some money with which to pay damages. Atkins was an obvious candidate.
However, back in July, the judge overseeing a $100 million class action lawsuit involving people who had bought tickets to the Fyre Festival agreed to remove Atkins as a defendant.
The judge said that there was no evidence that, when hyping up the festival, the rapper knew that the promises he was making could not be kept by the chaotic Fyre company. And while, by the time he posted one last tweet just before the festival was due to start, he must have known all was not well, there was no evidence that anyone had departed for the island in the Bahamas hosting the event specifically based on that message.
After that judgement lawyers leading on the lawsuit filed new papers trying to get Atkins relisted as a defendant. They argued that they had found ticketholders who did, in fact, depart for the Fyre Festival because of the rapper's late in the day tweet confirming the event was going ahead. Attorneys also argued that the two documentaries made about the whole Fyre debacle suggested that Atkins was more aware of the chaos behind the scenes than previously thought. And yet he continued to promote the show.
According to AllHipHop.com, the judge hearing the case has now rejected those latter arguments, reckoning there was still insufficient grounds to conclude that Atkins' role in promoting the failed event constituted fraud.
A legal rep for Atkins welcomed the ruling, telling AllHipHop.com: "This ruling is nothing short of a total vindication of Mr Atkins".
NEC Group rolls out mental health support to more shows
The company currently has 20 employees trained as mental health first aid providers who can offer support to other staff and attendees of shows at its Arena Birmingham and Resorts World Arena venues. Their input can include simply listening or helping people find a quiet space to relax, as well as highlighting sources of further support.
Ellie Coombes, Senior Event Manager at Arena Birmingham, says: "Mental wellbeing is hugely important to us at the NEC Group. Over recent months we've put a real emphasis on making sure our employees' mental health is looked after - and it's just as important that we look after those visiting our venues".
"We always hope everyone has a great time with us", she adds, "but ... we're there on hand to help if anyone needs it. We want our visitors to come and talk to us about their mental health and know that if they're struggling, they don't have to do it alone".
Earlier this month, various music industry and live event organisations partnered with the charity Music Support to offer discounted places on the Mental Health First Aid programme, a training course designed to help people recognise the signs of mental illness and addiction so that they can better support those who are affected by them.
StoriesGene Simmons signs new merch licensing deal
Already they're planning to have things like Simmons-related clothing, homeware, car stuff, travel accessories, video games and electronics on sale by next year.
"Gene Simmons is a branding and merchandising maven and we are so excited to be working with him", says IMG's VP Licensing Gary Krakower. "Together, we will use our extensive skills base, relationships and experience to showcase Gene's iconic style and personality".
"Maven". That was the word I was looking for. You don't see that word enough. He could also have gone with 'doyen'. Or 'passionate sell out'.
Management outfit YMU Group has named Fiona McAuley its new UK Head Of Digital. "Fiona joins YMU Group at an exciting time for the company and will lead our thinking on digital strategy across our expanding roster of artists", says UK MD Ian Watt. "She is a well-respected innovator in her field with a strong track record of success. Her experience, expertise and insight into this increasingly important area will ensure she becomes a valuable addition to our senior leadership team".
Spotify has launched a new daily updated personalised podcasts playlist, called Your Daily Podcasts. It'll tell you what podcasts you should be listening to every day. Presumably it only features our Setlist podcast, because what else is there?
At 27 minutes, Kanye West's 'Jesus Is King' album is already a bit on the long side. Now he's announced 'Jesus Is King Part II'. Although this time he's working with Dr Dre, which might help.
Haim have released new single 'Hallelujah', accompanied by yet another Paul Thomas Anderson directed video. "We've always wanted to write a song about our bond as sisters", says Danielle Haim. That's what this is, you see, she's not just lamenting.
Harry Styles has released new single 'Watermelon Sugar'. The release date for his new album, 'Fine Line', remains 13 Dec.
The Pet Shop Boys will release their new album 'Hotspot' on 24 Jan. "We've written much of our music over the last ten years in Berlin and it was an exciting experience to work on this album in the legendary Hansa studios there and add a new dimension to our sound", they say. Here's new single 'Burning The Heather'.
Grimes has released new single 'So Heavy I Fell Through The Earth'. Her new album, 'Miss Anthropocene', will finally arrive on 21 Feb.
DJ Shadow has released the video for his De La Soul featuring single 'Rocket Fuel'. His new album, 'Our Pathetic Age', is out now and he'll be playing UK shows in February.
Princess Nokia has released new single 'Balenciaga'.
Confidence Man are back with new single 'Does It Make You Feel Good?' They've also announced that they will be playing UK shows in April next year.
Haleek Maul has released new single 'Halo', featuring Mick Jenkins. The track is taken from his debut album 'Errol', which is out on 14 Feb through Lex Records. "'Errol' is dedicated to my late grandfather in both name and subject matter", explains Maul. "With this project I'm really working through a lot of the things that I've learned about myself and the world in the period since I lost him".
Okay Kaya has announced that she will release her new album, 'Watch This Liquid Pour Itself', on 24 Jan through Jagjaguwar. From it, this is 'Little Baby Tween'.
Is it time for Christmas music yet? No, but here's some anyway. IDKHOW have released a whole EP of the stuff, titled 'Christmas Drag'. "I wrote 'Christmas Drag' over a decade ago", says the duo's Dallon Weekes. "I've always been a sucker for Christmas music, and this was one of the first Christmas songs I ever wrote for myself. I'm happy I got a chance to give it a proper recording and release".
GIGS & TOURS
Paul McCartney is the first headliner announced for the 50th anniversary edition of Glastonbury in 2020. So well done if that was your guess. He last played the festival in 2004. "Having Paul McCartney coming back to headline the Pyramid next year is an absolute dream come true", says Emily Eavis. "There really was no one that we wanted more for the 50th anniversary".
Coldplay aren't just playing album launch shows in Jordan. No. They will also play the Natural History Museum in London three days later on 25 Nov. To get access to tickets you'll have to pre-order the new album from their website before Thursday is over.
The Killers have announced a tour of UK and Ireland stadiums next summer. Support will come variously from Blossoms, Sam Fender and Manic Street Preachers. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.
Kelis is going to tour to mark the 20th anniversary of her debut album 'Kaleidoscope' next year. There are two UK dates at Manchester's Albert Hall on 16 Mar and London's Roundhouse on 17 Mar. Tickets go on sale on Thursday.
Will Young and James Morrison have announced co-headlining dates in a selection of British forests next summer as part of the Forestry England's Forest Live initiative. More info here.
Dutch Uncles' Robin Richards has announced that he will play his debut solo show at Band On The Wall in Manchester. When? 20 Sep next year. So you've got a bit of a wait. Here's a new track though, 'Gefail Yr Ynys'.
Katie Melua has announced that she will be touring the UK and Ireland in October and November next year. She's also putting out a new live album on 15 Dec, featuring a performance from last with the Gori Women's Choir.
Stephen O'Malley of Sunn o))) will play doom metal yoga event Do.oomyoga on Friday and Saturday this week. Yes, that's a thing.
Squid have announced a UK tour in March to precede their already sold out show at The Scala in London on 2 Apr.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Mötley Crüe destroy "touring cessation" agreement in order to come out of retirement
I think we all wondered how long that would last at the time. And now we know. Five years. Nearly six. Which is probably longer than anyone expected. Anyway, they're back now, and planning to tour again next year.
The band signed their "cessation of touring agreement" in 2014, playing what was supposed to be their last ever show on New Year's Eve 2015.
However, something happened since then that no one could have predicted: Netflix. Well, OK, they could, because Netflix was very much up and running as a streaming service by then, and was already funding its own shows. So this was entirely predictable.
What I'm trying to tell you is that the band's autobiography 'The Dirt' was turned into a show for Netflix, which has brought their music to a whole new audience. Tens of thousands of young people who never got the chance are now apparently clamouring to see them play. What's a band to do? Let these poor kids down?
"Since playing Tommy Lee in 'The Dirt', so many of my fans have said how they wish they could've seen the real Mötley Crüe play live", says Colson Baker (aka Machine Gun Kelly). "I never thought I would see the day when this would become a reality. But the fans spoke and Mötley Crüe listened!"
The band are reportedly set to tour US stadiums with Def Leppard and Poison in 2020. Dates are still to be announced. What about that contract though? Does no one remember the contract! That thing was legally binding. Probably. Well, it doesn't matter now, because the band have blown it up, as shown in this video announcing their return.