|TUESDAY 14 JANUARY 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Warner Chappell has signed a new multi-territory licensing deal for its Anglo-American repertoire with Spotify, and one of the territories covered is India. Which means the ongoing legal squabble between the major and the streaming company in that country is now over. So that's no fun at all... [READ MORE]|
Warner Chappell and Spotify end legal battle in India
Spotify finally launched in India, a key emerging market for the streaming firm, last February. However, it didn't have deals in place with Warner as it launched in the country, meaning it has been unable to make the mini-major's recordings available to its users in that market.
It also meant that it didn't have a license to stream Anglo-American works published by the Warner Chappell music publishing business, which has chosen to do direct deals with the streaming services for that repertoire in India, rather that licensing via the local collecting society.
The lack of a songs licence was a bigger problem for Spotify. While it's annoying to have to block all of Warner's recordings from its users in India, technically that's quite easy to do.
However, Warner Chappell will have stakes in all sorts of songs contained in recordings pushed into the Spotify system by other labels. Technically those recordings would need to be blocked too. That is extra annoying but also more tricky, because of the widely documented problems around music rights data, meaning Spotify wouldn't necessarily know which tracks it had to block.
Faced with that challenge, Spotify looked for a get-out. And the get-out it found was a statutory licence under Indian copyright law which, it reckoned, covered on-demand streaming. That - Spotify said - meant that, although Warner Chappell still needed to be paid when its songs were streamed, it couldn't actually force those works off the Spotify platform.
Although there are statutory licences covering both the mechanical copying and broadcast of songs under the Indian copyright system, Warner Chappell and the wider music publishing community argued that those definitely don't cover on-demand streaming, and Spotify was therefore deliberately misinterpreting Indian copyright law to claim that they did.
Both sides issued terse statements, with Spotify alleging that Warner was playing hardball in India as part of wider deal negotiations not actually relevant to that market. Meanwhile, Warner went to court seeking confirmation that the statutory licences cited by Spotify did not apply to an on-demand streaming service.
That legal squabble has been working its way through the system ever since. But no more! Warner Chappell now has a deal with Spotify that covers India, meaning no statutory licences are being relied upon. And to that end, both sides have asked the court to dismiss the ongoing legal action.
Confirming all that, a spokesperson for Warner said this morning: "We're happy with this outcome. This new deal appropriately values our songwriters' music and expands our licensed partnership with Spotify to include India".
Meanwhile, Spotify said in a statement: "In less than a year, millions of Indian listeners have joined Spotify, listening to their favourite artists and songwriters from across the globe. We're pleased with this agreement, and together with Warner Chappell Music, we look forward to helping songwriters and artists connect with more fans, and for more fans to enjoy and be inspired by their music".
The new deal is specifically with Warner Chappell, not the Warner Music record labels, which means negotiations regarding streaming the recordings catalogue in India continue.
Former Guvera boss banned from managing Australian corporations for two years
Digital music platform Guvera was founded by Claes Loberg and Herft in 2008 and operated in numerous markets during its ten years in business. It often stated that its main focus was on the yet-to-be-realised potential of ad-funded music streaming, although it also offered paid-for options.
Things really started to fall apart for the Guvera business after its failed bid to enter the UK market in 2015 via an acquisition of Tesco's Blinkbox Music. A year later a proposed Initial Public Offering was knocked back by the Australian Securities Exchange over concerns with the Guvera business plan.
In the wake of that knock-back Guvera's operations were scaled back with two of its Australian companies being put into administration. A year later Guvera ceased operations entirely, with various companies in the Guvera Group falling into liquidation. The Australian Securities And Investments announced an investigation shortly after.
Herft's actual role at Guvera varied over the years, but among other things he led on raising finance for the company via a separate investment vehicle he headed up called Amma. Much of the finance that paid for Guvera came from smaller, less sophisticated investors, leading to criticism of its fundraising approach, especially after the company had collapsed.
In a statement published earlier today, ASIC sets out a number of ways in which it believes different Guvera companies failed to meet their statutory obligations. Herft also, the regulator states, "improperly used the Guvera Group structure for his gain and the gain of others in circumstances where there were significant conflicts of interest in the operation of the companies within the group".
Confirming the ban, the regulator's statement goes on: "ASIC has disqualified Mr Darren Russel Herft, of Sanctuary Cove, Queensland, from managing corporations for a period of two years. The disqualification follows the failure of four companies within the Guvera Group, which operated and developed a worldwide music streaming platform. An additional three failed companies were also considered by the ASIC".
"Mr Herft's disqualification", it adds, "took effect from 19 Dec 2019 and will continue until 18 Dec 2021".
Sentric Music acquires Big World
"I loved building up this wonderful catalogue of excellent music but felt the time was right for me to move on", says Meads. "After a long search for the right music publisher to continue representing the fantastic artists and writers in the catalogue, I found Sentric, who I firmly believe will continue the catalogue's growth and success in the future".
Sentric Creative Director Peter McCamley adds: "We are delighted that Patrick has entrusted us with the great writers and artists in the Big World catalogue and welcome them to the Sentric family. We will continue the fantastic work that has been done and look for even more opportunities moving forward".
The deal covers songs in multiple genres, including Big World's classic reggae catalogue Music Like Dirt. Meads will initially stay on in a consultancy role in order to oversee the integration of Big World into Sentric.
Songkick appoints joint MDs, Aaron Randall and Bill Ashton
Randall already works at Songkick, and will also continue in his role as Chief Technology Officer. Ashton, meanwhile, moves over form the main Warner Music business, where he was SVP Artist Services.
"This is a hugely exciting time for Songkick", screech Anston and Randall together giddily. "We've got ambitious expansion plans and we're delighted to lead the team as we set about implementing them. Building connections between fans and artists is what really excites us and that ethos is at the heart of Songkick's business. We want to keep developing our technology and products so we can super serve and further grow our community of passionate, engaged users".
Emmy Lovell, who is EVP of WEA Europe, the Warner artist services division that directly oversees Songkick, adds: "Bill was instrumental in helping bring Songkick into Warner Music and aligning its strategy with ours, while Aaron has developed its unbeatable tech that makes it such a user friendly experience. Together, they're the perfect choice to take the lead as we seek to further accelerate Songkick's growth".
Randall and Ashton together replace current Songkick CEO Mark McIntyre, who will step down this summer. He will remain involved in the company in an advisory role, as well as working on other Warner projects.
While Warner acquired the gig recommendations part of Songkick in 2017, it did not take on the accompanying ticketing business. That meant it wasn't lumped with the ongoing legal action between the then independent Songkick business and live giant Live Nation. That action was settled six months later.
Dan Deacon releases mountainous new single
"During the four years over which I composed the songs that became 'Mystic Familiar', I began going to therapy and started a meditation practice", says Deacon. "I felt raw and vulnerable while making this album, and I wanted the music to reflect that".
"When I would try to embrace having positive thoughts", he adds, "they didn't feel like my own, but rather another entity's thoughts trying to speak to me. While writing, I began thinking of these thoughts as a 'Mystic Familiar' - my own personal supernatural companion - trying to communicate with me. Externalising the thoughts made them easier to fully realise and reflect upon".
"Meanwhile, our Mystic Familiar, in verse two and the pre-choruses, tries to help guide the transformations of our narrator through mantras coaxing me to be present in the now, even while also being an element of chaos itself".
Deacon will also be touring from the end of the month:
31 Jan: Dublin, Grand Social
Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs announce visceral new album
"We booked dates in [guitarist Sam Grant's] studio before we'd written 80% of the album", says the band's Adam Ian Sykes of how the record came together. "We definitely thrive under pressure. It's stressful but that stress seems to manifest itself in a positive way".
Here are the band's upcoming tour dates too:
27 Jan: Sunderland, Independent
Downtown Music Publishing has hired Kate Sweetsur as Head Of Creative for the UK. "I am so inspired by Downtown Music Publishing's unique vision and am very excited to join the company", she says. "We are all THRILLED to have Kate on our team", adds Global Head Of Creative, Andrew Gould.
Sherry Alaghehband has been named Senior Director, Promotion for Warner's Atlantic Records in the US. "A veteran executive, Sherry has been a member of the Atlantic family for eight years and her drive, creativity and strategic vision continuously brings new opportunities to the promotion fold", says President of Promotion Andrea Ganis.
Charli XCX has released a theme song for the Super Nintendo World attraction opening at Universal Studios Japan this summer. Here is 'We Are Born To Play'.
Pearl Jam have announced that they will release their eleventh album, 'Gigaton', on 27 Mar. "Making this record was a long journey", says guitarist Mike McCready. "It was emotionally dark and confusing at times, but also an exciting and experimental road map to musical redemption".
Mura Masa has released new single 'Live Like We're Dancing', featuring Georgia. His new album, 'RYC', is out on Friday.
The Boomtown Rats have released new single 'Trash Glam, Baby' - the first to be taken from their first new album since 1984, 'Citizens Of Boomtown', which is due out on 13 Mar.
US Girls - aka musician Meg Remy - has announced that she will release her seventh album, 'Heavy Light', through 4AD on 6 Mar. From it, this is a reworked version of previously released song 'Overtime'. She's also announced that she will play Queen Elizabeth Hall in London on 14 Oct.
Oh Wonder have released new single 'Happy'. Their new album, 'No One Else Can Wear Your Crown', is out on 7 Feb.
GIGS & TOURS
Kurt Vile has announced that he will play the Islington Assembly Hall on 2 Jun. And, as a special treat, I'll let you watch this documentary about him from last year too.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Sia and Diplo "trying not to have sex"
In that article, Sia explains: "Much of our relationship is just being spent trying not to have sex so that we wouldn't ruin our business relationship, because he's super-duper hot".
It doesn't sound like she's actually trying that hard though. She goes on: "This year I wrote him a text, and I said, 'Hey, listen, you're like one of five people that I'm sexually attracted to, and now that I've decided to be single for the rest of my life and I just adopted a son, I don't have time for a relationship. If you're interested in some no-strings sex, then hit me up'".
Diplo doesn't address any of this directly during his interview, but does say later in the piece: "Kids are very sexual, with these weird apps, and they lose the accountability of their emotions because they don't really connect with people. So sex becomes a little too mundane. I've probably got the same problem. But I am very into the women I'm with, and sex, so it's not just sex with them".
So there's a thing that can sit in your head for the rest of the day. You are so welcome.