|THURSDAY 13 FEBRUARY 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: CMU today publishes the first in a series of new guides based on its Pathways Into Music research project, which is mapping music careers and exploring the respective role of music education and the music industry in supporting future music talent. The guide is being launched at the Output conference in Belfast, alongside the findings of a major piece of work mapping the local music industry in Northern Ireland... [READ MORE]|
From hobbyist to headliner in ten steps, CMU maps music careers and local music industries with new Pathways Into Music guides
The Pathways Into Music project was launched at The Great Escape in 2018, with the aim of more closely aligning music educators and the music industry. A major multi-year initiative, it seeks to help those pursuing a career in music - and everyone educating and supporting those people - to better understand the journey music-makers will likely take, and what skills, knowledge and resources they will need along the way.
That work is being documented through a series of free guides which will then come together to form the Pathways Into Music book. CMU is also running a series of webinars alongside the guides, and the Music Education Conference on day one of The Great Escape in May will summarise all the key findings, fleshing them out with case studies, expert insights and plenty of lively debate.
The first guide reviews the frontline artist career, breaking that pathway down into ten steps, from hobbyist to headliner. The traditional music industry gets involved in a focused way at around about step four, making steps one to three the DIY Phase. A key question being tackled by the wider project is: what do artists need to do to progress through the DIY Phase, and what support is available to help with that process?
The guide identifies DIY services, industry organisations, mentors, peers and educators as all playing a key role during those first three steps. One way to ensure that more DIY Phase artists have access to that support is to enable them to identify and connect with a local music industry. To help with that process, Pathways Into Music has also developed a taxonomy and methodology for mapping local music communities.
That taxonomy and methodology has been developed and tested in Northern Ireland via a major mapping project enabled by support from Help Musicians NI. The results of that work - which will also see the launch of a new Northern Irish music industry directory - will be unveiled during a session at Output later today. The taxonomy will then be shared and explained in more detail in the second of the Pathways Into Music guides.
Pathways Into Music is being led by CMU's Chris Cooke and artist manager and music consultant Phil Nelson, who will co-host today's Output sessions, as well as the upcoming series of webinars and the Music Education Conference in May.
Cooke says: "This project grew out of the observation that, here in the England, the government regularly acknowledges the economic and social impact of the music industry, yet at the same time has spent a decade down-grading music education in schools".
"We wondered if part of the disconnect in government came about because of the disconnect between music education and the music industry", he adds. "Which is why we created the Music Education Conference at The Great Escape, and began on the eye-opening adventure that has become the Pathways Into Music project".
Nelson adds: "I had already embarked on mapping the music industry in Northern Ireland before we started work on Pathways Into Music, inspired by the global music cities movement, and believing that truly supporting local music communities has to begin with understanding what that local community looks like".
"But this mapping work quickly began inputting into and informing the wider Pathways project", he goes on, "allowing us to see the gaps in education and infrastructure that hinder DIY Phase artists. We hope that by sharing our research - and by working with partners on solutions to the challenges we identify - we can level the playing field and help more artists progress on their pathway into music".
You can download the first Pathways Into Music guide for free here. There is more information about the accompanying webinars - which take place in March and June - here. And you can find out how all this work will come to life at the Music Education Conference in Brighton on Wednesday 13 May here.
Music industry again calls on UK government to include copyright in online harms debate
The UK government published a white paper on so called online harms last April. Part of what is often called the 'platform responsibility' debate, it considered possible legal reforms in relation to a whole load of issues created by the rise of the net, including cyberbullying, cyberstalking, disinformation, revenge porn, incitement of violence and the distribution of terrorist or violent content, or of images of child abuse. The big question is, to what extent should the responsibilities of the big digital services and platforms be increased?
Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan and Home Secretary Priti Patel yesterday published an update on the consultation that followed that white paper. They acknowledged that some are concerned that proposed new rules to deal with these online harms might threaten free speech, or put a disproportionate strain on smaller tech companies.
On the latter point, the ministers said: "Analysis so far suggests that fewer than 5% of UK businesses will be in scope of this regulatory framework". Any new responsibilities would only apply to specific groups of companies, mainly those that "facilitate the sharing of user-generated content, for example through comments, forums or video sharing".
From a music industry perspective, some of the sector's lobbyists are hoping that the platform responsibility debate might be extended to also include copyright matters, and the responsibilities of tech giants and content-sharing platforms to tackle ongoing piracy.
The music industry was lobbying for copyright and related issues to be included in all this online harms work last year, but the whole thing has become more pressing since the UK government confirmed it does not intend to implement the new European Copyright Directive. If online harms legislation was to be extended to include copyright, things like the safe harbour reform contained in that directive could be lobbied for at a UK level.
Responding to yesterday's update from Morgan and Patel, the boss of UK record industry trade group BPI, Geoff Taylor, said: "The BPI welcomes the global lead the UK government is taking to make big tech platforms more accountable for the content they host and the online harms they enable. As these proposals are taken forward, we would encourage government to consider extending them to encompass other forms of harm, including fraud and intellectual property theft, which have a serious negative impact on the public and on creators".
He went on: "The creative industries now account for £111 billion of UK GVA and are growing five times faster than the rest of the UK economy. Fuelling their success should be a priority for the UK, and the online harms proposals present a key opportunity to turbocharge growth from this sector and give the UK a strategic economic advantage".
Those sentiments were echoed by the interim CEO of cross-sector trade group UK Music, Tom Kiehl, who said in a statement: "UK Music strongly supports efforts to protect people from online harm. The government should also deal with harms that damage our economy and people's jobs. The scope of any legislation needs to be widened to ensure big tech takes greater responsibility for the activities and actions it supports online to protect our culture and creativity".
He added: "The UK music industry is worth £5.2 billion to the economy, generates export revenues of £2.7 billion and employs 190,000 people, but the continued threat of piracy and failing to properly value copyright protected works online risks damaging the investment, innovation and future talent on which our world-leading music industry depends".
Spotify launches songwriter profiles
Basically the new service means that Spotify users will be able to click on the songwriter credits of a track and, for each writer, will be taken to a bespoke page that curates all that person's music. It will only initially work for writers involved in the beta project, but the hope is that it will eventually work for any songwriters on the platform.
The innovation is in response to long-term frustration in the songwriting community that, first of all they didn't get credited at all in the streaming domain, and then when credits started to appear on some platforms, there was no accompanying interactive functionality.
Addressing that songwriting community, Spotify said yesterday: "Since we began publicly displaying song credits on Spotify in 2018, we've seen a 60% increase in how often labels and distributors credit songwriters on their new releases - allowing artists and fans to dig deeper and recognise your work. With the launch of songwriter pages we're continuing to evolve how your music is discovered, appreciated, and enjoyed by the world".
Meanwhile Spotify's Head of Publishing & Songwriter Relations, Jules Parker, added: "Spotify is always working to create new and better ways to promote music discovery - for artists, for songs and, increasingly, for songwriters".
"The launch of publicly visible songwriter credits on Spotify in 2018 was merely a first step", he went on. "Together with the publishing industry, we've continued to evolve our data sharing and analytics efforts, and are proud to unveil this next iteration".
"Clicking on the credits in this pilot will take users to dedicated songwriter pages", he explained, "providing a home for a songwriter's work. [It will also] present listeners with 'written by' playlists, a new series of playlists dedicated to songwriters. We're excited to see how the world interacts with these new features, and look forward to enabling them for more and more songwriters".
The new functionality will be widely welcomed by the music industry. Although it's unlikely to placate the American songwriter community too much, it still being in a legal stand-off with Spotify over the US Copyright Royalty Board's decision to increase the rates streaming services pay for the use of songs. Spotify, among others, is appealing that decision.
To that end, the boss of American's National Music Publishers Association, David Israelite, said of Spotify's big announcement yesterday: "It is always a good thing to give songwriters more credit - so this is good. But it is such a tiny thing compared to the fact Spotify is in court trying to slash what they pay songwriters".
You Me At Six release song in aid of Australian wildfire relief effort
The song, say the band, was inspired by the increasingly apparent effects of climate change - not least the particularly extreme wildfires we've recently seen in Australia - and their concerns about the future of the planet in the absence of any imminent dramatic action.
Frontman Josh Franceschi explains: "In March 2019 we were coming back from a North American tour. I was sat talking to a geologist who was returning from a summit in Atlanta, where it was confirmed that by 2050 large parts of heavily human populated areas would be uninhabitable".
"He said something to me that has seemingly stuck with me: 'I'll be long gone by then, but perhaps you, your children and grandchildren will have to live the devastation left for them by previous generations'", Franceschi adds. "My interpretation of this is that we are all part of the problem if we aren't actively trying to do something to contribute to the issue of climate change".
"We finished the song whilst recording in Thailand in October 2019", he goes on. "We were inspired to address the issue of climate change, but equally by the hope that the youth have given me. Never in my life have I seen a younger generation take to the streets to have their voices heard than on this subject. They want change, they want their futures back because our house is on fire, and we must act now".
You might question the logic of travelling thousands of miles to record a song about climate change but shush, we've discussed that before, let's just let the man speak: "Seeing footage of what has been happening in Australia, we felt compelled to do something to help those who are in need, both humans and wildlife. It's for that reason we are using the most powerful tool at our disposal to help, music".
"We are releasing this track as a standalone single with all proceeds donated to the charity WIRES, who are committed to rescuing native Australian wildlife in distress", he concludes. "Our hearts go out to a country that means so much to us".
Leah Kardos announces new EP, Bird Rib
The new material reworks and reuses old material. Three tracks on the EP are built from offcuts from her 2017 album 'Ricocochet', while the other three are composed on top of older pieces played in reverse.
"After working on 'Rococochet' I had a lot of fragments and sketches which for one reason or another I decided not to include", she says. "Tape transfer experiments, small snippets of performances, room tones and offcuts. I always thought I would eventually get around to assembling something from these parts".
She then adds that "while working with tape I really got into reversing my recordings, and a lot of compositions started out that way - listening to what I had on my tapes backwards and seeing what ideas would spark from that".
With all that in mind, "three of the pieces on 'Bird Rib' are cobbled together from those remaining sketches from 'Rococochet'. The other three were written into and on top of older pieces that have been reversed: 'Open Again Eventually' uses 'The Closeness of Distance', 'Brundle Beat' uses sections of 'Highly Active Girls', and 'Bird Rib' was written to 'DFACE [Practice This Video]'".
She concludes: "I feel like I've uncovered rather than composed these pieces, opting to work intuitively in creating music that the raw materials seemed to suggest for themselves".
The EP is out on 19 Mar. Watch the video for 'Deedee' here.
Anna Netrebko and Diane Warren to receive Polar Music Prize
"When I get on stage, something happens and the quality of the performance is ten times better, like I have a voice telling me what to do", says Netrebko. "It's always been with me. You are entering the stage to give everything you have. You have to put your soul, your heart and all of your knowledge to reach the souls of the audience. Receiving the Polar Music Prize is a big honour. I am very much looking forward to coming to Stockholm in June".
Warren adds: "I don't have confidence in myself as a human being, but I have unshakeable confidence in my music. When I know something is right, when I know a song is right for somebody I believe, and it's unshakeable. Getting the Polar Music Prize is amazing, I'm so honoured. When I looked at the past recipients of it, that I could be in that company is mind-blowing".
The ceremony will take place on 9 Jun in Stockholm and will be broadcast on Swedish national TV. The night before, Netrebko will also perform at Konserthuset Stockholm.
Camila Cabello has released a new video for her single 'My Oh My', featuring Da Baby.
Kim Petras has released new single 'Reminds Me', ahead of UK dates supporting Camila Cabello later this year.
Mystery Jets have released new single 'A Billion Heartbeats', from their upcoming new album of the same name, which is out on 3 Apr.
Nathan Fake has announced that he will release new album 'Blizzards' on 3 Apr. From it, this is 'Tbilisi'.
Girl Ray have released the video for 'Friend Like That'. "This is a friendship anthem", say the band. "Reminds us of a really smashing high five with great contact. In music, friend love is often overshadowed by romantic love and IT'S JUST WRONG. This one goes out to the mates of the world".
Arlo Parks has released new single 'Eugene'. Its video is directed by The Coyle-Larner Brothers (one half of that duo - Ben Coyle-Larner - is better known as rapper Loyle Carner).
Ultraísta - so that's Nigel Godrich, Laura Bettinson and Joey Waronker - have released new single 'Anybody'. Their new album, 'Sister', is out on 13 Mar.
Skalpel have released new single 'Arrival'. The track is taken from their fourth album, 'Highlight', which is out on !K7/No Paper on 20 Mar.
GIGS & TOURS
My Chemical Romance have announced that they will play the Eden Project in Cornwall on 16 Jun as part of the biodome's annual Eden Sessions. "It is incredibly exciting to be able to announce a band of this stature", says Eden Sessions boss Rita Broe. "My Chemical Romance playing our stage this summer promises to be a night no one lucky enough to be here will ever forget". Tickets go on sale on 19 Feb.
Beck has announced that he will play Manchester's Victoria Warehouse on 9 Jul and London's Brixton Academy on 11 Jul. Don't say we didn't tell you. Tickets go on sale tomorrow. We told you that too.
After Joey Kramer was legally blocked from performing with Aerosmith as part of a Grammy Awards celebration last month, you might be wondering how long it would be before they did let him play again. A little over two weeks, it turns out.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Backstreet Boys admit I Want It That Way makes no sense
Taking part in a fan phone-in on 'Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen', the band were asked: "In your song 'I Want It That Way', why do you sing 'I never want to hear you say/I want it that way'? What way do you not want it to be?"
"First of all, the song makes no sense", replied AJ McLean. He then admitted that this was something they'd known all along, and that they'd even considered rectifying it in the studio.
"There was a completely different version of the song that actually made sense", he went on. "Thankfully we decided to go back to the one that didn't make sense. I don't think the song would have been as big as it was had it made sense".
So, there you go pop songwriters. Today's top tip: If you want a hit, don't not rewrite some or none of the words of it.