|TUESDAY 11 FEBRUARY 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK's competition regulator has served an enforcement order against Viagogo and StubHub banning them from taking any action that could lead to the integration of the two businesses, pending the regulator's investigation of their proposed merger... [READ MORE]|
UK competition regulator bans Viagogo and StubHub from integrating while merger investigation is pending
Viagogo announced it had agreed a $4 billion deal to buy StubHub from its current owner eBay last November. Given Live Nation's Ticketmaster bailed on secondary ticketing in Europe in 2018, a combined Viagogo/StubHub would be hugely dominant in the for profit ticket resale domain in the UK.
Such a deal would likely raise competition law concerns even without Viagogo's reputation for being a champion rule-breaker that has long exploited consumer confusion to sell tickets at hiked up prices, then treated many of those confused customers with contempt.
The Competition & Markets Authority announced in December that it would investigate the proposed merger. That was before it called out StubHub - which has always spun itself as the more obedient of the ticket resale sites - for breaching a bunch of consumer rights laws.
With the enforcement order issued on Friday, the CMA is seeking to ensure that Viagogo and StubHub remain distinct businesses in the UK until its investigation is complete. Basically the regulator wants to ensure that if it ultimately decides to block the merger - or seeks remedies to reduce the negative impact of the transaction - the Viagogo and StubHub businesses aren't already so integrated that the block or remedies would be hard to enforce.
In its order, the regulator said it "has reasonable grounds for suspecting that it is or may be the case that arrangements are in progress or in contemplation which, if carried into effect, will result in [the Viagogo and StubHub] companies ceasing to be distinct". To ensure that that doesn't happen, bosses of the two companies will have to report to the CMA on a fortnightly basis, starting on 21 Feb, to prove that they remain distinct separate businesses.
Responding to the order, Viagogo's Cris Miller told reporters his company was happy to comply with the CMA's request. He said: "The requirement to hold separate the two businesses of Viagogo and StubHub is an expected part of the merger process and we fully acknowledge the importance of the CMA's examination into the deal".
"The acquisition has received regulatory approval in the US, but the businesses will remain separate globally, allowing the CMA to complete its inquiry and consider our evidence that this deal is a positive move for fans", he added. "We will continue to work closely with them through this process, with a view to successful completion soon".
A StubHub spokesperson said more or less the same, though added that they were confident the merger would go ahead as planned and on schedule. They said: "The CMA order is consistent with the approach we have taken throughout this process and eBay and StubHub will continue to cooperate with the CMA".
"As the CMA states in the order itself", they went on, "we do not expect any impact to the planned close of the StubHub and Viagogo transaction. We are on track as previously communicated to complete the sale by the end of Q1 2020. We believe that StubHub and Viagogo will be an excellent combination with significant future growth potential and will offer tremendous value to fans and partners alike".
SoundExchange reckons US performers are being treated unfairly with international ER payments
Regarding the UK, SoundExchange stated: "American performers are denied full national treatment in the UK. They are only paid for certain digital streaming services but denied traditional broadcast and public performance royalties (eg uses in bars and restaurants), unless their recordings were made in the UK or other [qualifying] territories".
The performing rights in sound recordings are commonly exploited by radio stations, TV channels and public spaces that play recorded music. In most countries, those users of music need to get a licence from the record industry, and pay royalties to all the relevant copyright owners and - usually - also to the performers who appear on the recordings. The issuing of said licences and the collection of those royalties is usually handled by a collecting society.
The record industry has separate collecting societies in each country, of course. Those societies generally only issue licences in their home markets. All the collecting societies around the world are then joined up through reciprocal agreements.
So if a label or performer only wants to directly join their local collecting society, they can still be part of all the other blanket licences issued by societies elsewhere in the world, earning royalties whenever their recordings are broadcast or played in other countries.
This set up means that rights and royalties constantly flow around the network of collecting societies across the globe. Except, there are some copyright law complications.
For example, in the US, there isn't a general performing right as part of the sound recording copyright, only a digital performance right. Which means that SoundExchange - as the US collecting society - only collects money from online and satellite radio services, not AM/FM radio stations or the pubs, clubs, bars and cafes that play recorded music.
Therefore there is no general performing rights income in the US for non-American labels and performers to share in. So, should American labels and performers be able to share in the performing rights income that is generated under copyright law in other countries? Quite how this all works depends on various global treaties and how individual countries have chosen to interpret them. The situation may also be different for the copyright owner (usually a label) and the performer, as it is regarding the use of American music in the UK.
SoundExchange's letter explained: "[UK law] ... provides producers of sound recordings [ie the copyright owner] with exclusive broadcast rights and a right of communication to the public (eg a right of public performance) for their sound recordings. The exclusive right applies to American producers as well, so they enjoy full national treatment, equivalent to their British producer counterparts. But, performers are treated differently".
Basically, under UK copyright rules, whether non-British performers are due so called equitable remuneration when their recordings are broadcast and played in public over here depends on their nationality and where a recording was made. And whether their home country, or the county where the track was recorded, offers British performers equitable remuneration when their music is broadcast or played there.
This is often referred to as "reciprocity" or the "mirror test". It means that, if a non-British performer comes from a country where performer ER is not paid - and the recording was likewise made in such a country - then there's a high chance that non-British performer isn't due payment when their tracks are broadcast or played here. So, even if they are fully plugged into the collective licensing system, they aren't due payment, so they won't see any money.
With American performers who appear on tracks recorded in America, the UK system would basically provide them equitable remuneration only in the scenarios where the US copyright system would pay monies back to British performers, ie from digital and satellite radio. This means that UK collecting society PPL - which has to work out and implement British rules - won't pay equitable remuneration over to SoundExchange for American performers on American records when they are played on AM/FM radio or in public.
So that's all rather complicated isn't it? But, basically, SoundExchange reckons that the UK has set it all up wrong and is therefore not compliant with its international agreements.
It concludes: "American performers are not paid at all for broadcasts or other public performances, with the exception of payments for recordings first fixed in the UK or another [qualifying] country. UK performers and producers ... are paid for these uses. The withholding of payments for traditional broadcast and public performances from most American performers is a denial of full national treatment".
Of course, SoundExchange is also involved in the never-ending campaign to try to get US copyright law changed so that American AM/FM broadcasters would have to pay royalties to the record industry - ie labels and artists. If that campaign was ever successful, then that would unlock some new UK payments for American performers.
However, that campaign has mainly been focused on AM/FM radio, rather than pubs/clubs/bars/cafes, which means that - even if US Congress did put an AM/FM royalty into law for sound recordings - there would still be some limitations on what Performer ER American performers are due from their American recordings when played here in the UK.
Dave renews Warner Chappell deal
Warner Chappell UK's Head Of A&R, Amber Davis says: "We are incredibly honoured that Dave and his exceptional managers, Ben [Scarrs] and Jack [Foster], have put their faith in us once again to continue this fruitful relationship!".
Noting the current American skew, she went on: "The US is a market that Dave is close to conquering. He and his team have created a hugely significant project on both of sides of the pond and I firmly believe the innovative ideas from our international team will add value to it. We are excited to support and celebrate each and every step of Dave's career and artistic progression".
Managers Scarrs and Foster add: "Amber is an absolute pleasure to work with, a real force in the publishing game and someone who's shown serious passion and belief in Dave from the very start. We look forward to building with the global Chappell team as Dave continues his journey as a songwriter, producer and an artist".
Dave is currently booked to play Coachella and The Governors Ball this year, with more US shows to be announced in the near future. He also recently met with Warner Chappell co-Chairs Guy Moot and Carianne Marshall in LA to further discuss how the publisher can help with that cracking America thing. Busy, busy.
Bandsintown partners with navigation app Waze
"We want to bring people together via live music", says Bandsintown Managing Partner Fabrice Sergent. "Bandsintown sends millions of fans to concerts and adding Waze to the Bandsintown experience adds another technology layer to make [things] smoother".
After a customer purchases tickets on Bandsintown, the confirmation page will feature a 'Plan Trip In Waze' button, in order to schedule your gig-going journey within the Waze app. So that's nice, if you're driving to gigs, which you probably shouldn't be.
"We always want to make sure drivers reach their destination in the quickest and safest way possible", adds Adam Fried, Head Of Global Partnerships at Waze. "Partnering with Bandsintown through our Transport SDK will make it easy for concert-goers to arrive at their destination on time - spending more time enjoying their favourite band and less time worrying about issues on the road".
I haven't seen the research that suggests people who don't use Waze arrive at venues after the headliner is already on stage, all stressed out by pesky road issues, but apparently that's what they're suggesting the issue is here. I guess they had to find a way to make 'we put a button on a website' sound more exciting.
This isn't Waze's first music partnership. It also allows you to control streaming services, including Spotify, Deezer and Tidal, directly within the app's navigation screen. So that's something to try out, before you realise Waze isn't actually as useful as it first appears and the constant ads trying to get you to turn off and eat fast food are rather annoying.
London Music Fund partners with YouTube Music to support young musicians
Working with music organisation Sound Connections, projects that successfully apply for funding will begin in the spring. The fund's key aim is to support disadvantaged young musicians, with a focus on 'urban' music.
London Music Fund patron, London Mayor, Sadiq Khan says: "Music has the power to transform lives and the support of the London Music Fund has helped so many young Londoners to realise their potential. I'm delighted that this innovative new partnership will enable the fund to expand its work, supporting more young artists and grassroots music organisations".
Head of EMEA Music Partnerships at Google, Christina Matteotti, adds: "We are so proud to be continuing our partnership with The Mayor of London to support The London Music Fund. Making music more accessible, empowering young artists, and supporting innovative work in communities are important priorities for us at YouTube, and we look forward to seeing their future success".
Launched in 2011, the main London Music Fund offers instrumental scholarships to children from low income families, and works with arts organisations and music hubs to provide greater access to music education.
Paul Gambaccini to revive America's Greatest Hits show on Greatest Hits Radio
Originally launched in 1975 on BBC Radio 1, 'America's Greatest Hits' later moved to commercial radio, and then spent several years on and off on BBC Radio 2. Its last airing on that particular BBC station was in 2016. It is now set to return to commercial radio once again, airing on Saturday afternoons, starting this weekend.
"I give three cheers for joining Greatest Hits Radio with 'America's Greatest Hits'", Gambaccini says. "First, I get to bring my most personal and most rewarding show back to national radio. Second, I am honoured to be on the same day's schedule as two radio legends who have been friends for decades, Pat Sharp and Janice Long. Third, I join a network that believes as fervently in the value and permanence of radio as I do. Hip, hip, hooray!"
With anyone else, I'd say they'd overthought that quote, but I imagine that's the sort of thing Gambaccini says about his breakfast every morning too.
'America's Greatest Hits' will be on from 5-7pm every Saturday, starting on 15 Feb. As hinted at in one of Gambaccini's cheers, it will be preceded by shows fronted by Janice Long and Pat Sharp.
Ticketing firm Eventim has appointed John Gibson as UK Managing Director. "I am delighted to have John on board in his role of Managing Director", says Eventim UK Chairman Nick Blackburn. "He brings a wealth of experience with him; which includes an in-depth knowledge, and understanding, of all aspects of our industry".
Skunk Anansie have released the video for new single 'This Means War'. It's also been announced that they will play the Grace Jones-curated Meltdown Festival in London in June.
Flohio has released new track 'Heavy (Freestyle)'.
Wesley Gonzalez has announced the follow-up to his 2017 debut 'Excellent Musician'. Titled 'Appalling Human', the album will be out through Moshi Moshi on 12 Jun. New single, 'Change', is out now.
Featuring former Dillinger Escape Plan bassist Liam Wilson, Azusa have released new track 'Monument'. "'Monument' is a mid-tempo banger about false idols, hypocrisy, and the shortcomings of faith systems as a one-size-fits-all recipe for the 'correct' ways of living", say the band.
My Dying Bride have released new song 'Tired Of Tears'. "The track touches upon the most terrifying, stressful and harrowing period of my entire life - the near death of my only child", says frontman Aaron Stainthorpe. "I have been down before but it never hurt like this. This was true darkness and I was not sure my mind could take it".
Kvelertak have released new single 'Fanden Ta Dette Hull'. The song, explains vocalist Ivar Nikolaisen, is inspired by a museum in the band's hometown of Stavanger, Norway. "The first thing you could see was ... a real skeleton of a man who grew up in my neighbourhood in the nineteenth century", he says. "This guy was buried last year, in 2019. 'Fanden Ta Dette Hull' is the story of his life. And what a life!"
Mount Forel have announced that they will release their debut album, 'Small Worlds', on 3 Apr. Their next single, 'Silicon Valley', is out on 20 Mar.
GIGS & TOURS
Nadine Shah has announced that she will play a one-off show at the Moth Club in London on 24 Feb to preview new songs from her fourth album, 'Kitchen Sink', which is out on 5 Jun.
M Ward has announced three UK shows in October, playing Edinburgh, Liverpool and London. His new album, 'Migration Stories', is out on 3 Apr. Here's new single 'Unreal City'.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
"I was playing a snippet for my crazy fans and they made me put it out", she claimed in a Twitter Q&A with said crazy fans. "They are bullies. I only had one verse done. The label bullied me too. I've been bullied".
Of how the track was actually written, she went on: "I made up the hook with no paper. Just freestyled in the booth cuz I loved the beat. So the 'yikes' part is me hearing the beat for the very first time. The verses I wrote down. The outro was a freestyle".
She also revealed that she has developed a new alter-ego for the new album she's working on (oh, and she's working on a new album), called Queen Sleaze.
The character is quieter but angrier than past incarnations, apparently. "She's more calm but way deadlier", says Minaj. "My husband always says he's more afraid when I talk quiet than when I yell. He said that's how he knows when I'm dead serious".
Prior to releasing 'Yikes' last week, Minaj re-emerged on Meghan Trainor's new single 'Nice To Meet Ya'.