|WEDNESDAY 5 FEBRUARY 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Soundgarden have hit back at the lawsuit filed by the widow of their late frontman Chris Cornell. Stating in a new legal filing that they "categorically deny every material contention lobbed against them", the band want Vicky Cornell's litigation dismissed or, at least, moved to another court... [READ MORE]|
Soundgarden hit back at Chris Cornell's widow in dispute over masters
Vicky Cornell went legal in the Florida District Court in Miami last year. She claims that the other members of Soundgarden have been withholding royalties and making false statements in a bid to force her to hand over seven recordings of new songs that her late husband made before his death in 2017.
The band want to turn those recordings into a new Soundgarden album. Cornell says that she supports that plan. However, only on the condition that she has a role in choosing the producer who works on the project and in planning any subsequent marketing, so that she can ensure the new record release "respects her late husband's legacy and wishes".
At the heart of the dispute is who owns the copyright in those recordings. The band say that they were all collaborating on the new material, so the masters belong to the band's partnership company. Cornell argues that her late husband mainly worked alone on the tracks and therefore the rights sit with his estate.
In her lawsuit, Cornell also accused Soundgarden and their business manager Rit Venerus of resorting to "strong-arm tactics" to force her to hand over the recordings. This included, she said, "withholding royalties undeniably owed to Chris's estate" and "on which Chris's three surviving children are dependent", and also suggesting in media interviews that she is blocking a new Soundgarden album.
However, in their new legal filing the band say that Cornell is wrong about both the rights ownership and the withheld royalties. "Vicky Cornell is not the owner of the recordings at issue, which are provably Soundgarden's and intended for a new Soundgarden album" they state.
"This is easily provable by abundant evidence", they add, "including emails between the band members (including Cornell) exchanging audio files and lyrics, file metadata through Dropbox, and other tangible evidence such as full 'live' audio recordings of the band working on and performing the songs at its Seattle studios".
Not only that, they say, "defendants even have evidence directly from Vicky Cornell, including an email from March 2017 in which she states that Chris is traveling for the 'SG record'". Therefore, "the album files were not exclusively 'recorded' by Cornell in Florida in 2017, nor were they 'solely recorded' by him".
As for Cornell's royalty payments, the band say that no members of Soundgarden have been receiving monies pending a band vote on what income should be distributed when. They write: "Vicky Cornell is entitled to distributions from the Soundgarden partnership for Cornell's share of band revenues, but only on the vote of the partnership which has not taken place. There is no 'conspiracy' with the band's financial manager".
As well as disputing the allegations in Cornell's lawsuit, the band also spend quite a bit of their legal filing arguing that the case - if it goes ahead - should not be heard in the Florida court where she chose to go legal. The band is based in Seattle, they argue, and most of the band's operations happen there. They also claim that, while Vicky Cornell has a base in Florida, she seems to spend more of her time in New York.
It now remains to be seen how the court in Miami responds to the band's requests.
PRS Deputy Chair hits out at expansion of buyout deals in audio-visual commissions
Buyouts are where a company commissioning original compositions seeks ownership of the copyright in the music the commissioned music-maker creates. The composer still gets paid an upfront fee, but - as the copyright owner - the commissioning company won't have to pay future royalties to the music-maker whenever their music is used.
Deals of this kind aren't new, especially in the UK and US. However, there has traditionally been a distinction between the mechanical rights and the performing rights in the music created, with the commissioner grabbing the former, but the latter remaining with the composer's collecting society.
The newer trend is commissioners seeking ownership of the performing rights too, something which - in Europe - requires manoeuvring around collecting society rules designed to stop such things.
This all became a big talking point last year after Discovery Networks in the US announced plans to force all the music-makers it works with to assign the company performing as well as mechanical rights. The TV firm subsequently dropped those plans, but music creators say they are seeing a trend of media, movie and gaming companies seeking ever more music rights, while upfront fees remain - at best - static.
Darlow has, among many other things, composed music for numerous TV programmes, hence his interest in this particular music rights debate. Speaking at the event organised by the European Composer And Songwriter Alliance, he said: "The transfer of these rights is all too often a precondition of the commissioning process".
"The buyout of the mechanical right has become standard practice in the US and the UK. Although there are still companies which will share mechanicals with the composer, buy-outs are becoming increasingly common here in [Continental] Europe. More and more, however, we hear of composers also being forced to surrender their performing rights. This is also against a background of shrinking fees, which makes the situation intolerable".
Referencing stats gathered by UK songwriter organisation The Ivor's Academy, he went on: "The most striking results of the survey are those which show the true nature of the relationship between producers and creators. For example, 41% of creators said they had been required to give away more of their mechanical rights than they wanted and a further 35% said they have been subject to full buyouts or work for hire commissions in the last five years".
"Young composers are the most at risk of being exploited", he added, "eager as they are to get work and build their careers. The next generation of composers face a bleak future, where they no longer own their rights and their works generate no income for them".
All of that said, Darlow acknowledged that there are scenarios where a complete buyout deal might be appropriate, providing the upfront fee reflected the wider transfer of rights. In particular in markets where the collection of subsequent performance royalties is inefficient or non-existent.
"As an example", he said, "I'm in the middle of some work for a Middle Eastern TV company where performing rights are barely recognised, so a good fee and the maintenance of all my rights should there be any further international exploitation was the best deal I could do".
However, he added, "in general, buyouts devalue the composer's worth considerably. The key is that it must be the choice of the creator to decide, not for the producers to dictate".
Concluding with a rallying call, he said lawmakers should "ensure the copyright protections around the world work in protecting creators and their rights", while "the creative community needs to stand together on this issue and say with one voice that we will not work on these terms".
Krept & Konan sign Concord publishing deal
"Krept and Konan are consistently setting the pace for UK rap", says A&R Director Harri Davies. "We are delighted they have chosen Concord as their global publisher partners and look forward to building on their great success".
The duo add: "We are really looking forward to working with Kim [Frankiewicz, EVP Worldwide A&R], Harri and the whole team at Concord on this next part of our journey".
Krept & Konan released their second studio album, 'Revenge Is Sweet', in November last year. Days before the release, Krept was injured in a knife attack backstage at a BBC Radio 1Xtra show.
Also last year, the duo became high profile defenders of the UK drill scene, appearing in a parliamentary debate on the subject.
YouTube has 20 million premium subscribers, $15 billion a year ad revenue
Having got into a YouTube stats spiel during a quarterly financial update from parent company Alphabet, the company also said that it now has more than 20 million subscribers for its premium YouTube options, which include the platform-wide ad-free premium package and its standalone YouTube Music service. Subscription monies are listed separately from ad income as part of a rather unhelpful income category called "other".
Cynics in the music industry have often suspected that one of the reasons Google was traditionally vague about YouTube's earnings was so that it could down-play the importance of the video site to the wider business when negotiating deals with the companies whose content feed the platform.
Is the new transparency on YouTube earnings a sign that Google is now more willing to admit just how valuable content owned by companies like the record labels and music publishers is to its wider business?
It does come amid chatter that - after YouTube's high profile battle with the music community last year over the European Copyright Directive - bosses at the video site are now seemingly offering some concessions to placate the record companies and music publishers. And the majors had already softened their anti-YouTube stance following the launch of the standalone YouTube Music service.
However, the increased transparency on the YouTube business is really to satisfy demands from investors. It also meant that Alphabet could brag about revenue growth within its YouTube division, which was significantly higher than growth in its core Google search business. Though, while the growth rate may be impressive, most investors were actually disappointed with YouTube's current earnings, which were less than they previously assumed.
Another reason for putting a brighter spotlight on YouTube during Alphabet investor calls is that all the other big tech and media companies are very busy indeed bigging up their new video streaming companies. Google is possibly keen to remind the investment community that it was an early innovator in that market and remains a formidable player in it today.
Hinds announces casting of The Prettiest Curse
That new single I mentioned is 'Good Bad Time', of which the band's Carlotta Cosials says: "You know that part in the movies when two people in a relationship are living complete opposite realities? When one thinks everything is great and the other one is about to drown? 'Good Bad Times' is the struggle of communication, time difference, distance. Like the two sides of a coin. Two sides close together that can't be separated, even though they seem to be completely different".
'The Prettiest Curse' is out on 3 Apr and you can listen to 'Good Bad Times' here.
Will there be tour dates to coincide with the album's release though? Yes, there will be tour dates to coincide with the album's release. Here are the tour dates to coincide with the album's release:
13 Apr: Brighton, Chalk
Inaugural Music Cities Awards to take place in September
"The awards were born out of a desire to further recognise and celebrate the amazing work
"Our goal as a team is to keep on raising awareness of this work in order to stimulate further global development", he goes on. "We have been working very hard behind the scenes and we are THRILLED to finally be able to share the awards with the world!"
There will be a total of nine awards, recognising both small and large city initiatives, and the most significant impacts on tourism, sustainability, music offices and professionals, real estate and the night time economy.
Entries are open now. Find out more about the awards here.
BMG has signed songwriter and performer Erika Ender to a global multimedia partnership deal. And if you're wondering what the hell a "multimedia partnership deal" involves, well, the new agreement with Ender includes publishing administration for her future works, the recording rights for her new album, literary publishing rights for her autobiography, and first refusal on a documentary film. "She is truly an inspiration", says BMG's Thomas Scherer.
Manchester venue Band On The Wall has promoted Santana Guérout to Head Of Programme. "When she originally applied to join the team it was clear that she would be a great asset to the organisation and has proven herself time and again that she can deal with almost any situation with a calm head and tenacity", says CEO Gavin Sharp.
MANAGEMENT & FUNDING
The PRS Foundation has renamed its Momentum Music Fund. From now on it will be known as the PPL Momentum Music Fund. A subtle, but important difference. Take note everybody! The rebranding aims to reflect "a closer partnership between the music licensing company, PPL, and the charity in supporting new music". PPL has been a key financial contributor to the talent development fund since 2017.
Katy Perry has been announced as a new ambassador for the British Asian Trust's Children's Protection Fund. Her new role was officially announced yesterday by the charity's founding patron, the Prince of Wales, at its annual dinner. "India has long held a special place in my heart, and on my last visit, I was able to meet with the Prince of Wales and other leaders in Mumbai, and I was impressed by their strong plan - from on-ground initiatives to fundraising - that will aim to cut child trafficking in half", she says.
Adam Lambert has announced that he will release his new album, 'Velvet', on 20 Mar. Here's new single 'Roses', featuring that Nile Rodgers. He'll play Wembley Arena in London on 1 Sep too. Lambert I mean. Don't know about Rodgers.
Khalid and Disclosure have released their second collaboration, 'Know Your Worth'. The single follows last year's 'Talk'.
Ahead of UK tour dates in April, Danny Brown has released the video for '3Tearz', his collaboration with Run The Jewels.
Asian Dub Foundation have announced that they will release new album, 'Access Denied', on 24 Apr, featuring guests including Stewart Lee and Greta Thunberg. From it, this is new single, 'Can't Pay, Won't Pay'.
Rustin Man has announced that he will release new album, 'Clockdust', on 20 Mar. Here's new single 'Jackie's Room'. He'll also play London's Union Chapel on 14 Nov, as part of his first run of live dates since 2003.
Rudi Zygadlo has released new single 'Selotape'. "I want to baffle, infect, temporarily annoy and ultimately heart warm the listener", he says. "The new songs are wry commentaries on affairs of the world and affairs of the heart from an apprehensive, disaffected and amused millennial".
GIGS & TOURS
Becky Hill has announced that she will tour the UK and Ireland in November this year. "I can't wait to go back on tour, playing in some of my favourite cities of the UK and Ireland", she says. Though she will have to wait until November, just like everyone else. No special treatment for her, no way.
Lizzo and Dave have been added to the list of performers at this year's BRIT Awards, joining the previously announced Billie Eilish, Celeste, Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi, Mabel and Stormzy. "I'm very grateful and looking forward to the opportunity", says Dave. "I'm going to give everything I can to give you my best performance". And I should think so too. The ceremony will take place on 18 Feb, hosted again (AGAIN?) by Jack Whitehall.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Jay-Z says sitting during Super Bowl national anthem wasn't a protest, just forgetfulness
Beyond America itself, the Super Bowl seems to have gone by relatively unnoticed this year, except, presumably, by the nineteen American football fans who live outside the States. But that does not mean it was without controversy - and much of it related to Jay-Z.
The big talking point has been his apparent protest, what he might be protesting, and why he staged a protest at a show he helped to organise. Especially as the deal between the NFL and his Roc Nation company to produce the sport's entertainment output was so controversial in itself.
The obvious assumption, of course, was that he and Beyonce were refusing to stand during the national anthem in support of Colin Kaepernick. Quaterback Kaepernick sat during 'The Star-Spangled Banner' before playing in an American football game in 2016 in a protest against police brutality. The protest saw him pushed out of the sport, and also prompted wider protests, seeing other players kneel during the national anthem.
That Jay-Z would choose to sit during Demi Lovato's 'Star-Spangled' performance at this year's Super Bowl was an unexpected move though. And not just because he was involved with the event. When announcing his deal with the NFL last August he said that "we're past kneeling", adding that protests should move more actively onto bringing about change.
However, this comment, and the fact that he did the NFL deal at all, was seen by many as an unhelpful dismissal of the protests and Kaepernick himself, who has still not been able to return to the NFL as a player. So many thought that the rapper had now seen the error of his ways and decided to protest at Super Bowl 2020 anyway, despite his involvement with the event and despite his previous comments on such protests.
But no! Jay-Z has cleared everything up. Turns out he wasn't protesting, he just forgot.
In a Q&A with students at Columbia University last night, he said, according to Billboard: "It actually wasn't [a protest]. Sorry. It really wasn't ... It was not premeditated at all".
Actually, he said, he and Beyonce were so wrapped up in the show, that it totally slipped their minds to stand. He explained: "So we get there, and we immediately jump into artist mode. So I'm looking at the show. 'Did our mic start? Was it too low to start?' ... 'Is it too many speakers on the floor?' ... So the whole time we're sitting there and we're talking about the performance. And then right after that, Demi comes out, and we're talking about how beautiful she looked and how she sound[ed], and what she's going through in her life for her to be on the stage and we're so proud of her".
He later added that there was no need for him to protest, because the diversity of talent he had booked to perform at the event was a big enough statement, saying: "We were making the biggest, loudest protest of all. Given the context, I didn't have to make a silent protest".
As well as Lovato, prior to kick-off gospel singer Yolanda Adams performed 'America The Beautiful'. Then Jennifer Lopez and Shakira headlined the halftime show, with J Balvin and Bad Bunny as guests.