|TUESDAY 3 DECEMBER 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The big dispute between the American record industry and US internet service provider Cox Communications will soon be in court for a full-on showdown, but ahead of that the judge overseeing the case has ruled on flurry of pre-trial motions by both sides. Despite the record industry's objections, the ISP will be able to discuss how its anti-piracy procedures compared to the label-approved Copyright Alert System. However, it won't be able to present one of the bold claims it has previously made about those procedures... [READ MORE]|
Industry-approved anti-piracy system will be discussed as Labels v Cox Communications case finally heads to trial
The record industry, of course, is seeking to hold Cox Communications liable for the copyright infringement of its customers. The ISP reckons it should have safe harbour protection from such liability. But the labels say that the net firm ran a deliberately shoddy system for dealing with repeat infringers among its customer base and, therefore, does not meet the requirements of safe harbour under American copyright law.
That's the same argument BMG successfully pursued against Cox, and it was the ruling in the BMG v Cox case that prompted the Recording Industry Association Of America to pursue its own litigation against three American ISPs. Cases are ongoing involving Grande Communications and Charter Communications as well as Cox itself.
One thing that links those three ISPs is that they all declined to take part in the Copyright Alert System, a voluntarily anti-piracy programme that was put together by the music and movie industries and an assortment of net firms, and which ran for about four years.
However, Cox nevertheless wants to talk about the CAS when its legal battle with the labels gets to court, because it argues that its own anti-piracy procedures were as good as or better than the CAS which the labels previously endorsed. The record industry argues that the CAS - or the anti-piracy policies of any other ISP - are irrelevant to this case, which is simply concerned with whether the Cox procedures met the obligations under US copyright law.
Countering that viewpoint, Cox said in a legal filing earlier this year: "The effectiveness of CAS - which was endorsed by the RIAA and many of the [label] plaintiffs - at combating online copyright infringement is undeniably relevant to the underlying litigation in light of the ... plaintiffs' claims that Cox's more stringent graduated response was an insufficient response to the infringement notices at issue".
In a recent ruling, the judge concurred with Cox on this point. He said: "Defendants are permitted to put on evidence about the Copyright Alert System as well as its own graduated response system, the Cox Abuse Ticket System. Evidence about other ISPs ... will also be admissible to the extent that it is relevant and there is proper foundation".
However, the judge also ruled that Cox would not be allowed to present in court a bold claim that its anti-piracy procedure, which involved sending warning letters to suspected infringers, was sufficiently successful that "96% stop [infringing] by five notices". The labels have argued that that statement, based on some internal Cox research done a decade ago, was "misleading and unsupported".
The judge wrote "there is no adequate foundation for the information presented in the '96% stop by five notices' evidence. Defendants have had ample time to produce such foundation and failed to do so".
Also in favour of the labels, the judge confirmed that they will be able to present evidence gathered by anti-piracy outfit MarkMonitor and audio-ID firm Audible Magic which seeks to prove Cox customers were accessing or distributing music files without licence.
Cox argued that the labels had not kept all the relevant data gathered as part of that work and therefore the MarkMonitor evidence should not be allowed in court. The judge previously indicated that he would nevertheless allow this evidence to be presented. And he confirmed this in his recent rulings, saying "the MarkMonitor evidence will be admissible at trial should plaintiffs lay a proper foundation at that time".
With all those technicalities and motions from both sides dealt with, we now await the full-on RIAA v Cox trial. While BMG v Cox seemingly set a precedent regarding the criteria internet companies must meet to enjoy safe harbour protection in the US, there were some complications in that particular dispute that arguably blur things a little.
Initial pre-trial rulings in the subsequent Cox, Grande and Charter cases have nevertheless seemed to uphold the key elements of that BMG v Cox ruling. But, given that copyright safe harbours remain a big talking point across the music industry, it will be very interesting to see how the RIAA v Cox dispute proceeds once the battle really begins in court.
Birmingham's NEC Group involved in plans for new arena venue in Edinburgh
The 8000 capacity venue will be built on a site in Straiton to the south of the Scottish capital alongside conference facilities, a cinema, hotels and retail operations. The two companies say that the new venue complex will be "a much-needed addition to the capital, complementing Edinburgh's cultural and entertainment offering and providing a significant tourism and jobs boost for the region".
Announcing the project, Dave Fowler of LLD told reporters: "These exciting proposals showcase the modern, indoor arena that Edinburgh deserves, and with operating partner NEC on board the capital is assured a pipeline of the world's greatest entertainment talent. We see this as a revolution in entertainment provision for one of the world's most cultural capitals - and one which will benefit all sections of the community".
Meanwhile, NEC Group's Phil Mead added: "We host over 700 events per year in the Birmingham area and have always planned to take our successful events model to new cities with the backing of our majority shareholder, Blackstone. Edinburgh is well known for its wonderful cultural offering but remains one of the only European capital cities without an indoor arena and so we're excited by the thought of being able to bring some big names in entertainment to the region".
The project is still in an early phase at the moment, but the two partners hope that they will have a planning application for the new complex ready by the end of next year.
Blue Mink's Melting Pot causes another radio station reprimand from OfCom
Global Radio's Gold station was likewise reprimanded by OfCom for airing the song earlier this year. A number three hit in the UK back in 1970, 'Melting Pot' ultimately promotes a message of racial harmony. But it does so while referring to "yellow Chinkies", "red Indians" and "curly Latin kinkies".
Black Diamond FM aired the track just days after OfCom ruled on Gold's broadcast of the record. The community station admitted that its presenter was aware of that ruling when choosing to play the song without providing any context in his links. The station has now removed 'Melting Pot' from its music library and says its presenters are getting refresher training on broadcasting regulations.
In its ruling on this latest airing of the Blue Mink track, OfCom is keen to stress that it is not forcing anyone to ban the record. However, when playing tracks that contain racial slurs that may be considered much more offensive today than when the record was released, this context should be provided by the presenter.
This was all the more important for Black Diamond FM, OfCom then reckoned, because the community station targets a younger audience which, the regulator says, are less likely to be aware of the historical context behind a song like 'Melting Pot'. It added: "We were concerned that no attempt had been made to provide sufficient context when the track was played on Black Diamond FM".
Elsewhere in the latest round of OfCom rulings, another community station, this time Doncaster-based Sine FM, was reprimanded for playing a very sweary mix on an early evening radio show featuring unedited tracks by the likes of Kano, Donell Jones, Ol Dirty Bastard, Lenny Ducano, Mystikal, Lucy Pearl, Snoop Dogg, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Styles P and Missy Elliot.
Between them, the artists who appeared in the early-evening mixtape managed one hoe, one motherfucker, two dicks, two pussies, six bitches, six bullshits, eight shits, sixteen fucks and no less than 23 uses of the 'n' word.
Sine FM said that the presenter who aired the mix did so by mistake after being pulled away from his urban music show by an urgent family phone call. He left the mix playing without realising how sweary it would prove to be.
The broadcaster added that that presenter had voluntarily stepped down after the incident and that it had given training to all the other volunteers who work at the station on all those tedious broadcasting rules. And I should fucking think so too.
Five Finger Death Punch announce new album and UK tour dates
The making of this record was preceded by "an extremely successful, yet tumultuous couple of years as a band", guitarist Zoltan Bathory says. "We didn't just weather the storm but came out on the other side better than ever. It was a focused sober group recording, our most important album to date and without a question it shows. This album represents rebirth, progression, transcendence both personally and musically".
Vocalist Ivan Moody adds: "This record to me is 'absolution' - everything I've done in my life has led up to this moment".
You can catch the band live in the UK at the following dates:
30 Jan: Cardiff Arena
Stormzy announces 2020 tour dates
Tickets for the shows will go on general sale this Friday. You can get access to a pre-sale before that if you pre-order the upcoming album from Stormzy's website.
If tickets aren't your thing, or you need something to distract yourself with while you wait, here's the video for Stormzy's new single 'Own It', featuring Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy.
And here are all the UK and Ireland dates:
3 Sep: London, O2 Arena
Dua Lipa announces 2020 tour dates
"What I wanted to do with this album was to break out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to make music that felt like it could sit alongside some of my favourite classic pop songs, whilst still feeling fresh and uniquely mine", she says of being simultaneously nostalgic and futuristic. "I was inspired by so many artists on the new record from Gwen Stefani to Madonna to Moloko to Blondie and Outkast, to name just a few.
She continues: "Because of the time that I'd spent on the road touring with my band I wanted 'Future Nostalgia' to have a lot more of a live element, but mixed together with modern electronic production. My sound has naturally matured a bit as I've grown up but I wanted to keep the same pop sensibility as I had on the first record".
"I remember that I was on my way to a radio show in Las Vegas thinking about the direction for this new record", she adds, returning to the 'Future Nostalgia' theme, "and I realised that what I wanted to make was something that felt nostalgic but had something fresh and futuristic about it too".
Here are the UK and Ireland dates on the tour:
26 May: London, O2 Arena
The good old Hipgnosis Songs Fund has acquired yet another song rights catalogue, this time that of songwriter and producer Fraser T Smith, who has worked the likes of Adele and Stormzy. "Every time I hear one of Fraser's songs they always feel special", says fund founder Merck Mercuriadis. "He writes and produces enormously successful songs that make popular music not only special but culturally important".
Alice Hogg has joined booking agency ATC Live as an agent. She was previously at UTA, though spent the last three years on the other side of the live music business as a talent buyer at Live Nation. She says she's "pumped" to be returning to an agent role.
Price-capped ticket exchange TicketSwap has hired Chris Carey, founder of Media Insight Consulting and the FastForward conferences, to be its Head Of International Marketing bringing "his expertise in marketing, research, data analysis and consumer insights to TicketSwap's marketing and growth strategy". The ticketing company will also join the conversation at the next edition of FastForward in Sydney in April.
LABELS & PUBLISHERS
UK and US song right collecting societies PRS and BMI have announced the signing of a new reciprocal agreement. Societies around the world routinely collaborate so that they can rep each other's catalogues when licensing broadcasters, venues and other licensees in their respective home countries. "Agreement", says PRS boss Andrea C Martin. "Commitment", adds BMI chief Mike O'Neill. Very reciprocal.
American distribution and label services agency Human Re Sources has launched a UK office to be headed up by Amal Omari and Matt Ott. The firm - which is allied to Troy Carter's Q&A business - has also just signed London-based rapper Lancey Foux.
Spotify's done its annual 'Wrapped' thing, totting up the most streamed artists and songs of the year and also, for the first time, the decade. So, Drake is the most streamed artist of the decade and Post Malone is the most streamed artist of the year. Ed Sheeran's 'Shape Of You' is the most streamed track of the decade and 'Señorita' by Camila Cabello and Shaun Mendes is the most streamed track of the year. In the UK, Ed Sheeran pushes Post Malone down to number two in the 2019 artist chart, and our favourite song is 'Someone You Loved' by Lewis Capaldi.
Apple Music's also done an end of year thing, but it's calling it the Apple Music Awards. "The musically diverse group of inaugural winners have sparked deep social conversation, influenced culture and inspired our customers around the world", reckons Apple's Oliver Schusser. "We couldn't be more excited to celebrate them". So, Artist Of The Year is Billie Eilish, Breakthrough Artist Of The Year is Lizzo and Song Of The Year is 'Old Town Road' by Lil Nas X. Glad someone's finally celebrating all of those.
Harry Styles has released the video for new single 'Adore You'. His new album, 'Fine Line', is out on 13 Dec.
Liam Payne has released the video for his Christmassy Christmas song, 'All I Want (For Christmas)'.
Another Ex-1Der? Sure, why not. Louis Tomlinson's got a new video out too, for his recent single 'Don't Let It Break Your Heart'.
Another Christmas song? Sure, why not. Katy Perry has released new Christmas single 'Cozy Little Christmas'.
Madness have released politically charged new single 'Bullingdon Boys'.
Låpsley has released new track 'Ligne 3'. Her new EP, 'These Elements', is out on Friday.
Skinny Living have released the video for recent single 'No Messiah', directed by Charlotte Regan. "'No Messiah' is a song written from the perspective of someone frustrated with a loved one's ability to see their own strength", says frontman Ryan Johnston. "It reaches out to remind them the power they have to make a change. It was clear that Charlotte was the perfect director to bring across authentic real life stories in a way that both suits the song and the band that we are".
Lung Dart have released the video for 'AV Duet' from their new album 'Slouching Towards Meridian'.
Nardeydey has released new single 'Slippin'. "I wrote 'Slippin' with the message of not worrying about other people's approval, which is something I do a lot", she says.
Here's the last decade in pop in just under three minutes, courtesy of DJ Earworm.
GIGS & TOURS
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds are the latest act to be added to Forestry England's Forest Live line-up for 2020. The band will play three forest dates next summer. More details here.
The Quietus has announced a Christmas fundraiser to help keep the website in operation into 2020. Performing will be a supergroup called Sly And The 77 Snapped Harrga Teeth Of The UKAEA, featuring members of Sly And The Family Drone, Snapped Ankles, Harrga, Teeth Of The Sea, Nostalgia 77 and UKAEA. Details here.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Billie Eilish doesn't have to know who Van Halen are, says Wolf Van Halen
This all stems from an interview on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' last month, where the seventeen year old Eilish was asked if she'd heard of various things that were popular in 1984, which is when the chat show host was the same age as she is now.
For the record, while she was aware of Madonna and Cyndi Lauper, she did not know about Huey Lewis, Run DMC, 'The Cosby Show', Cabbage Patch Kids, Mr T and 'Gremlins', and hadn't seen the original 'Ghostbusters' movie.
The one that has caused the most controversy online, however, is that she was completely perplexed when asked to "name a Van Halen".
Apparently this is a terrible thing. Van Halen fans believe that the band are so ubiquitous and such a big part of American culture that it can't be possible to be unaware of them. And said fans have been saying as much on social media over and over again since this all happened a week and a half ago.
Well, now Wolfgang Van Halen has spoken.
"If you haven't heard of Billie Eilish, go check her out. She's cool", he tweeted. "If you haven't heard of Van Halen, go check them out. They're cool too. Music is supposed to bring us together, not divide us. Listen to what you want and don't shame others for not knowing what you like".
If Wolf(gang) wasn't the member of the band who immediately sprung to mind when you were trying to "name a Van Halen", that's fine. The son of Eddie Van Halen, he only became the group's bassist in 2007, when they kicked off a reunion that may or may not now have ended. The band haven't done anything since 2015.
This isn't the first time Eilish has failed to be fully aware of everything that happened in the history of pop culture. While aware of the Spice Girls, until recently she thought they only existed as a fictional group in the film 'Spice World'.
Meanwhile, Wolf Van Halen's Twitter feed is quickly becoming a study of Van Halen's disappearance from the collective consciousness.
Recently he tweeted that someone at a Tool show had asked his dad to take a photo of them standing in front of the stage. The Tool fan remained oblivious that he could be having his picture taken with the guy who did that stupid 'Jump' song.