|MONDAY 24 FEBRUARY 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The major labels in the US have objected to one of the legal experts hired by internet service provider Charter Communications in relation to ongoing litigation regarding the latter's alleged liability for the copyright infringement of its users. The majors say that, because said expert spent six years earlier in her career as an in-house lawyer for EMI, she should not be granted 'qualified person' status in this case... [READ MORE]|
Labels object to Charter Communications hiring former EMI lawyer
Charter is one of various American ISPs being sued over the copyright infringement of its users. Citing the precedent set in two lawsuits against Cox Communications, the labels argue that companies like Charter should not enjoy safe harbour protection from such liability, because they had shoddy systems for dealing with infringement and infringers on their networks.
Given that Cox was told to pay the record industry a billion dollars in damages when it lost its second case on this point late last year, the other ISPs, like Charter, are fighting their respective lawsuits hard. To help with its defence, Charter has hired the services of Dina Hellerstein as a consultant. Among other things, she spent six years in-house at EMI between 1998 and 2004. The American labels of EMI are now owned by Universal, of course, which is one of the plaintiffs in this case.
Charter wants Hellerstein to be classified as a 'qualified person' in relation to the litigation, which would allow it to share confidential information about the dispute with the lawyer. However, doing so, the labels argue, creates a "risk of serious harm" to their case.
The labels wrote in a legal filing last week: "Ms Hellerstein was a senior legal executive for EMI Music, which encompassed plaintiff Capitol Records, and has since been acquired by Universal Music Group, the umbrella company for several of the plaintiffs in this case".
"In this role", they went on, "Ms Hellerstein acquired six years of confidential and privileged information regarding EMI's ownership and control of the works in its catalogue - now part of the UMG/Capitol repertoire - and regarding the record industry's anti-piracy enforcement and litigation strategies, both of which go to central issues in this case".
"Defendant's engagement of Ms Hellerstein in a case that could implicate confidential
"Because Charter has failed to respond to plaintiffs' request for greater clarity as to the scope of its engagement of Ms Hellerstein in a manner that could allay such concerns", they wrote, "plaintiffs are forced to 'move the court for an order denying the expert or consultant status as a qualified person' under the protective order".
It remains to be seen how the court now responds. Meanwhile, the Charter case continues to go through the motions, alongside similar lawsuits against the likes of Grande Communications and RCN. Plus, of course, Cox is appealing that billion dollar ruling against it.
BMG owner Bertelsmann aims to be climate neutral by 2030
The German media and entertainment group's CEO Thomas Rabe said in a statement: "Protecting the environment is part of our corporate values, the Bertelsmann Essentials. With our decision to achieve climate neutrality by 2030, we are taking responsibility in the battle against climate change and global warming. In this connection, Bertelsmann has become one of around 800 companies worldwide to join the Science Based Target Initiative. The initiative supports companies in setting scientifically sound climate targets".
Slashing the company's emissions will be achieved by switching to 100% green electricity, installing additional solar systems, improving energy efficiency, seeking greener travel options where possible, and working with suppliers in its print and digital supply chains to ensure these green policies are applied across the board.
In addition to the BMG music company, Bertelsmann also owns broadcaster RTL and its production division Fremantle, book publisher Penguin Random House, magazine outfit Gruner + Jahr and logistics firm Arvato, as well as other printing, educational and investment units. The entire group will work towards the climate neutral ambition, although given each division has a different starting point - depending on the nature of its operations - each "will take the path to climate neutrality at different paces".
Rabe continued: "Bertelsmann is a diversified company. This is reflected in our goal, because the diversity of Bertelsmann's businesses requires different, bespoke solutions. In our planning, we assume that individual divisions will achieve the goal of climate neutrality more quickly than others. The first few units, such as the corporate centre in Gütersloh, will already achieve climate neutrality this year, others in the following years. In 2030, Bertelsmann will be a climate neutral company".
Eminem manager to depart Def Jam top job, set up new label
One of the ways Rosenberg will maintain his links with Universal is with the launch of a new label in partnership with the mega-major, to be called Goliath Records, which will sit alongside his existing management firm Goliath Artists. He will also continue to consult for Def Jam in relation to some of its legacy artists, and will remain President of Shady Records, the major's joint venture label with Rosenburg's most prominent management client Eminem.
Confirming his decision to stand down, Rosenburg said that running Def Jam had been "a dream opportunity" for which he will "remain forever grateful".
He added: "I've learned a great deal, but one of the most important things I learned is that my ability to multi-task is not without limits. My new relationship with UMG gives me the ability to continue to sign and develop talent in a more focused and streamlined way, while still dedicating the time necessary to fulfil my management duties and foster the many entrepreneurial endeavours connected with Eminem".
Universal confirmed that it was in the process of recruiting a new CEO for Def Jam Records in the US. In the meantime, the major's EVP of Business & Legal Affairs, Jeffrey Harleston, will oversee the division, while Universal's SVP of A&R Naim McNair will expand his responsibilities so to perform the same role for the Def Jam label.
Decca appoints new MDs and makes other executive promotions
The new MDs take up their new jobs alongside some other promotions within Universal's classical and jazz-focused division. Dominic Fyfe becomes Label Director of Decca Classics; Helen Lewis becomes Executive Producer for the same unit; Gavin Bayliss rises up to Head Of Classical Marketing & Catalogue Strategy; and Cerys Weetch and Hildur Maral become co-Label Managers for Decca's Mercury KX imprint.
Confirming all this, Decca President Rebecca Allen said: "In 2019 Decca celebrated 90 years in the music business. The continued evolution of this incredible label is something I feel hugely excited about and ensuring the future of our artists and music is always top of mind".
"So today I am THRILLED to announce the promotions of Tom, Laura, Gavin, Dominic, Helen, Cerys and Hildur", she added. "Each of these individual promotions enable us to grow as a leading global music company. Congratulations to everyone, and here's to the next decade".
More than 50 people object to XS Manchester becoming Capital Xtra
Rock station XS Manchester is operated by Irish media firm Communicorp, which controls various FM frequencies around the UK, but usually uses those frequencies to pump out content made by Capital-owner Global Radio.
XS Manchester is the one UK station Communicorp directly operates itself. But late last year it emerged that the media firm was seeking permission from OfCom to change the remit of its Manchester frequency, so it could wind down XS and replace it with Global's Capital Xtra.
The regulator invited interested parties - including listeners - to make submissions regarding Communicorp's plans, and Radio Today has gathered those together. Two entitles supported the move, including a local music company and someone who said that the most recent incarnation of XS Manchester was "dreadful", urging OfCom to "put it out of its misery, sooner the better".
However, 51 people asked OfCom to knock back Communicorp's proposal, mainly insisting that urban music fans were already well served by existing stations in Manchester, and that XS offered something distinct while also supporting local artists.
One commenter stated: "If XS Manchester was to cease output, thousands of people in the Greater Manchester region would be deprived of a radio station that supports up and coming indie/rock/alternative artists and provides programming directly relevant to the local music scene".
Others took issue with the suggestion that indie rock fans in Manchester were already serviced on the FM dial by another Global-owned station, ie Radio X. One said "listening to Chris Moyles and Johnny Vaughan on Radio X really isn't an option", while another stated "the comments that my radio needs will be met by Radio X are laughable".
Despite the objections, it seems likely that OfCom will approve the change, given the regulator has become much more flexible regarding broadcasters switching formats and utilising nationally networked programming. Under Communicorp's proposal there would be one locally-made show on Capital XTRA in Manchester.
Apparat wins IMPALA's European Album Of The Year Award
"'LP5' is a great winner", says IMPALA's Helen Smith. "It is a timely reminder of just how the European music market functions - a German artist collaborating with a UK label on a recording in Berlin. The winner and indeed the whole shortlist illustrate the importance of on-going cross-border co-operation in Europe".
Released last March through Mute, Apparat - aka Sasha Ring - has been touring the record with his live band. "It's been a great last year for the band", he says. "We've been playing all over Europe and once again realised how awesome it is to be able to travel around like that and play for all these people. We never really felt like a 'German band' and that's why it's awesome to receive this truly European award!"
A total of 22 albums by artists from around Europe were nominated to receive the award this year, including UK rapper Little Simz's 'Grey Area'.
Bon Jovi have announced that they will release imaginatively-titled new album 'Bon Jovi 2020' on 15 May. "It encompasses life, love, and loss", says Jon Bon Jovi. Not sure which of those new single 'Limitless' covers, but here it is anyway.
Five Seconds Of Summer have released new single 'Old Me'. It "carries a youthful spirit and follows the narrative of a young person's life growing up, for better or for worse", says frontman Luke Hemmings. "Sometimes it's important we look back in order to appreciate the journey we've been on together".
Pearl Jam have released the video for new single 'Superblood Wolfmoon'. Their new album, 'Gigaton', is out on 27 Mar.
Mark Lanegan has announced that he will release new solo album 'Straight Songs Of Sorrow' on 5 May. The album is inspired by his upcoming memoir, 'Sing Backwards And Weep', he explains: "Writing the book, I didn't get catharsis. All I got was a Pandora's box full of pain and misery. I went way in, and remembered shit I'd put away 20 years ago. But I started writing these songs the minute I was done". Here's first track 'Skeleton Key'.
Sufjan Stevens and Lowell Brams have released the second track from their upcoming 'Aporia' album, out on 27 Mar. Here's 'The Runaway'.
Joan As Police Woman has announced that she will release a new album of covers, titled 'Cover Two', on 1 May. Her versions of Blur's 'Out Of Time', Outkast's 'Spread', and 'There Are Worse Things I Could Do' by Warren Casey and Jim Jacobs are out now. She'll also play Union Chapel in London on 16 Jun.
Dan Deacon has released the video for 'Fell Into The Ocean', from his new album 'Mystic Familiar'.
Tokimonsta has released new track 'One Day', featuring Bibi Bourelly and Jean Deaux, to coincide with International Women's Day on 8 Mar.
Yves Tumor will release new album 'Heaven To A Tortured Mind', through Warp on 3 Apr. Here's new single 'Gospel For A New Century'.
Metronomy have released the video for 'Whitsand Bay' from their 'Metronomy Forever' album.
Rina Sawayama has released a new Brado remix of her recent single 'Commes Des Garçons (Like The Boys)', featuring Pabllo Vittar.
Elle Exxe has released new single 'Rose Gold', the first track in a new series of releases on the 20th of every month in 2020.
Bullion has released new track 'We Had A Good Time'. His new EP is out this Friday.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Neil Young tries to book venues he played 40 years ago, finds that many are gone
Problem is, they've discovered that a lot of the venues they performed in over the last 40 years no longer exist.
"Many of the old places were used to play are gone now, replaced by new coliseums we have to book [a] year in advance and we don't want to [play] anyway", he writes in a new post on Neil Young Archives.
"That's not the way we like to play", he goes on. "It sounds way too much like a real job if you have to book it and wait a year, so we have decided to play the old arenas - not the new sports facilities put up by corporations for their sports teams. Largely soulless, these new buildings cost a fortune to play in".
"We wanted to play in a couple of months because we feel like it", he adds. "To us, it's not a regular job. We don't like the new rules".
To be fair, the new rules have been in place for so long now, they're pretty much the old rules. But Young likes the old old rules. And also the old old venues.
But, as he shows in a list in his new post, many of those simply aren't there anymore, with 30 of the venues contacted about the tour turning out to have been demolished. Although he also lists slightly more venues that are still there - albeit some of them renovated and made more shiny - so it looks like the tour is going ahead.