|WEDNESDAY 26 FEBRUARY 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Streaming accounted for nearly 80% of record industry revenues in the US last year, with the ongoing streaming boom helping the world's biggest recorded music market grow its overall revenues by about 13%. Which means, according to new stats from the Recording Industry Association Of America, the estimated retail value of recorded music in the US last year was $11.1 billion... [READ MORE]|
Streaming now 80% of the $11.1 billion US recorded music market
In terms of the record industry's different revenue streams, streaming accounted for just over 79% of income, with downloads generating 8%, physical product 10% and sync 2%. Though the streaming category does cover a wide range of services, including paid-for and free on-demand streaming platforms, and also royalties collected for the labels from personalised, online and satellite radio services via collecting society SoundExchange.
Some of the online radio royalties would probably be categorised differently in other markets, where the record industry also earns when music is played on AM/FM radio and in public spaces like pubs, clubs, bars and cafes. That money, alongside online radio income, would then usually sit under a broadcast and public performance revenue stream. But US copyright law does not provide a general performing right for the sound recording copyright, hence why that revenue stream is missing in America.
Not that taking the online radio royalties out of the streaming figure would make a huge difference, given paid-for premium streaming services - rather than free or radio-style services - generate by far the most money for the music industry. Total 2019 subscription revenues in the US were up 25% year-on-year to $6.8 billion, meaning those services alone account for 61% of total revenues.
According to the RIAA's report, that growth in subscription revenue was the result of paid-for platforms across the board signing up more than a million new subscribers each month, meaning more than 60 million Americans now pay to access a streaming music service.
Given the continued growth of the American recorded music business, we can probably accept a little light bragging from RIAA boss Mitch Glazier. Just a little.
"It is worth taking this moment to reflect on what we have accomplished", he wrote in a blog post yesterday. "By investing in a vibrant music culture of diverse voices, music companies have driven a fourth consecutive year of double digit growth and continued to build a digital-driven industry with a focus on the future".
He bragged on: "We are working in partnership with the entire music community to provide expanded opportunities for both artists and fans, and to keep the heart of American culture beating for another generation".
Although, of course, keeping things happy happy requires some help from lawmakers and the tech sector because, you know, it always does. Elsewhere in his blog, Glazier wrote: "We still have not realised the full value of music on all digital services. Music is by far the biggest draw to tech platforms, gaining views and listens that generate enormous revenues for distributors, but in many cases this happens without an appropriate share for creators".
That's the customary safe harbour dig, in case you wondered. And now for the piracy gripe. "Our technology partners", Glazier went on, "also need to commit themselves to protecting and promoting artists' work by doing more to stop stream-ripping and other forms of piracy. That requires the platforms to work more productively with the music community as partners to stop theft and respect the true value of music".
But still, double digit growth, 60 million subscribers, boom, boom, boom, woo!
Chrysalis Records relaunches as frontline label, co-signs Laura Marling with Partisan
Its first new signing is Laura Marling, via a partnership with fellow independent label Partisan Records. The two companies will jointly release Marling's next album.
"There is a unique synergy between the diverse, immediately identifiable voices of Partisan and those of Chrysalis decades prior to our existence", says Partisan MD Zena White. "We're THRILLED to come together on its relaunch, and even more so to be working with the unmatched talent of Laura Marling".
Chrysalis CEO Jeremy Lascelles adds: "Laura Marling, Chrysalis Records, Partisan Records. A match made in heaven".
Founded by Chris Wright and Terry Ellis in 1968, the Chrysalis record label was acquired by EMI in 1991. Though Wright retained his interest in the other Chrysalis businesses, most notably the Chrysalis music publishing company, which was then acquired by BMG in 2010.
Shortly after the BMG deal, then Chrysalis CEO Jeremy Lascelles stepped down, and in 2014 co-founded new music company Blue Raincoat, with backing from Wright.
Then, in 2016, Blue Raincoat acquired the old Chrysalis catalogue and brand from Warner, which had in turn acquired it from Universal as part of the mega-major's divestments following its acquisition of the EMI record company. You're keeping up, right? Blue Raincoat them subsequently acquired some other Warner catalogue for the all new Chrysalis label to represent.
So, that's all clear then, isn't it? It's not the end of the story though, because late last year Chrysalis Records was acquired by Reservoir - although it continues to be run by Lascelles and Blue Raincoat co-founder Robin Millar. They also remain in charge of the artist management and music publishing divisions of Blue Raincoat, which were not part of the Reservoir deal.
When Lascelles and Millar acquired Chrysalis in 2016 they were clear that they planned to sign new artists to the label as well as managing the catalogue, although to date the latter has been the main focus. But the investment from Reservoir has seemingly enabled the frontline label ambitions to be properly kickstarted.
Details of Laura Marling's new album and further new Chrysalis signings are expected in the coming months.
Reservoir expands in Middle East via PopArabia partnership
As a result of the new partnership, Spek will return to the role of President at PopArabia, while also leading Reservoir's international and emerging markets strategy, with a remit to sign and develop "local talent and export Arabic and international music around the world". PopArabia will also act as Reservoir's sub-publisher in the region.
Announcing the new partnership, Reservoir COO Rell Lafargue said: "The United Arab Emirates and the Middle East are becoming increasingly important global markets and we're eager to expand our operations to include a renewed focus in these territories".
"There are over 420 million Arabic speakers in the world but less than 3% of content available online is in Arabic" he added. "We intend to grow that number through the signing, development, and export of local talent, while using PopArabia and Abu Dhabi as gateways to other emerging markets including India, Asia, and Africa. Our partnership will work both ways, as we will bring additional exposure of Western music to those emerging markets, also".
Spek, who joined Reservoir in a New York-based A&R and creative role in 2015, said: "I'm THRILLED about this next phase in the PopArabia story, and very bullish about the opportunities internationally for Reservoir. It has been a pivotal five years working closely with [the Reservoir team] through an incredible period of growth. I could not have found a better partner to help expand PopArabia and am excited to drive Reservoir's next steps into new markets".
Duffy says horrific assault led her to withdraw from public
Following the huge success of her 2008 debut album 'Rockferry', Duffy released a second LP in 2010, but then went on a long career hiatus except for her involvement in the 2015 film 'Legend'.
In the post on her verified Instagram account, Duffy writes: "Many of you wonder what happened to me, where did I disappear to and why". She then explains: "The truth is, and please trust me I am OK and safe now, I was raped and drugged and held captive over some days".
She goes on: "Of course I survived. The recovery took time. There's no light way to say it. But I can tell you in the last decade, the thousands and thousands of days I committed to wanting to feel the sunshine in my heart again, the sun does now shine".
"You wonder why I did not choose to use my voice to express my pain?", she then asks. "I did not want to show the world the sadness in my eyes. I asked myself, how can I sing from the heart if it is broken? And slowly it unbroke".
Explaining why she had decided to speak about the assault now, she says: "A journalist contacted me, he found a way to reach me and I told him everything this past summer. He was kind and it felt so amazing to finally speak".
She concludes by writing that she would be "posting a spoken interview" in the coming weeks and invited fans to submit questions saying, "I would like to answer them ... if I can".
Placido Domingo says he is "truly sorry", after leaked performer union investigation confirms sexual harassment allegations
However, it also emerged that the union had been negotiating a deal to keep this information confidential in return for a payment of $500,000 by the musician. The deal was scuppered after the results of the investigation were leaked yesterday.
In an email to members, obtained by the New York Times, the union's National Executive Director Leonard Egert and its President Raymond Menard said: "Based on this flagrant breach of confidentiality Domingo's counsel has withdrawn the agreement, which was expressly premised on AGMA's promise to maintain confidentiality over the details of the investigatory report".
"As a result of their actions", they said of the whistleblower who leaked the document, "AGMA has lost $500,000 that not only would have covered the costs of the investigation, but also would have funded an extensive sexual harassment prevention training programme that is so desperately needed in our industry".
According to the Associated Press, which first broke the news of accusations against Domingo last year, AGMA investigators spoke to 27 women who said that they had been subject to his inappropriate behaviour.
Among the allegations were unsolicited kissing and groping, and late night phone calls inviting women to his house. Two women said that they'd had sex with Domingo for fear of the consequences for their career if they didn't, and some said that they felt like he was stalking them.
Having previously denied all accusations - as recently as December he said that his "gestures of gallantry" had been misconstrued as harassment - Domingo said in a statement yesterday: "I have taken time over the last several months to reflect on the allegations that various colleagues of mine have made against me".
"I respect that these women finally felt comfortable enough to speak out", he went on, "and I want them to know that I am truly sorry for the hurt that I caused them. I accept full responsibility for my actions, and I have grown from this experience".
"I understand now that some women may have feared expressing themselves honestly because of a concern that their careers would be adversely affected if they did so", he went on. "While that was never my intention, no one should ever be made to feel that way".
He concluded: "I am committed to affecting positive change in the opera industry so that no one else has to have that same experience. It is my fervent wish that the result will be a safer place to work for all in the opera industry, and I hope that my example moving forward will encourage others to follow".
Also speaking to the AP, Debra Katz - a lawyer representing two women who previously went public with accusations against Domingo - said that she was "distressed" to learn that the AGMA had been attempting to negotiate confidentiality for Domingo in return for money.
"The fact is that AGMA was trying to enter into a secret deal with Placido Domingo that was conditioned on confidentiality, and in exchange he gave a tepid apology and offered to pay some money that is a fraction of what he earns", she said. "And what are the women getting out of this?"
Spanning two decades, the women involved said that they had previously felt pressure not to speak out due to Domingo's powerful positions in the industry, including as General Director and co-founder of the Los Angeles Opera - from which he resigned in October. An investigation there is ongoing.
The AGMA announced that it was launching its own investigation a month after the first report, saying that it was not confident that the opera organisations with a direct connection to Domingo could be trusted to properly scrutinise the allegations. Though given its subsequent decision to offer to cover up its findings in return for cash, it seems slightly ironic that the AGMA felt only it was qualified to properly investigate Domingo's past conduct.
As for what the leaked AGMA report and Domingo's response to it means for his professional activities moving forward remains to be seen. His career in the US has been more or less halted since the original accusations were made, but he has continued to perform regularly in Europe.
Various venues, including the Royal Opera House in London, have already said that booked performances will go ahead as planned, despite the publication of the AGMA's findings. However, the Salzburg Festival in Austria - which hosted Domingo's first appearance after the initial allegations last year - has said that it is now reconsidering his 2020 appearance.
Katherine Jenkins announces movie songs album and 2021 tour dates
"I've always loved movie soundtracks", says Jenkins. "I wanted to create an iconic movie moment with this record: all the best film musical themes that we know and love, all together on one album. The last few albums I've made have been inspired by what's happening in my own world. This one in particular was inspired by the things that were going on around me. Having played my first movie role last year, it felt like a natural transition for me".
The album includes a recording of 'I'll Never Love Again' from the 2018 version of 'A Star Is Born', which serves as the first single. "The hope with this album is that each song conjures up an iconic image from cinema", she says. "'A Star is Born' is quite a recent film, but the scene where Lady Gaga sings 'I'll Never Love Again' is so touching and memorable that it felt completely right to include it as one of my favourite movie musical moments".
Jenkins was recently heard performing the song on ITV show 'The Masked Singer'. Jenkins explains: "In a bid to disguise my voice on 'The Masked Singer', I chose songs that weren't the norm for me: and so this track is a happy experiment for me and after ['Masked Singer' panellist] Ken [Jeong] said it was the performance of the season, I felt it deserved a place on the album!"
It's been a busy couple of weeks for Jenkins who - as well as announcing the new album and being unmasked on 'The Masked Singer' - also had the premiere of that aforementioned film. Based on the book of the same name, 'Minamata' is the second movie directed by Jenkins' husband Andrew Levitas. It tells the true story of a journey by war photographer W Eugene Smith to document the effects of mercury poisoning in a Japanese fishing village.
Starring Johnny Depp and Bill Nighy, it received mixed reviews from critics at the Berlin Film Festival. "For a film about photography", says the Telegraph's Tim Robey, "it often has bizarrely wrong-headed notions of where the camera ought to be". But The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw called it "a forthright, heartfelt movie, an old-fashioned 'issue picture' with a worthwhile story to tell". Anyway, here's a clip, in which you can see Jenkins playing the role of Millie.
As well as appearing in the film, Jenkins also co-wrote and performed its title track with Skylar Grey, and appears on the film's score by Ryuichi Sakamoto. It's is set for release later this year, while the 'Cinema Paradiso' album is out on 17 Apr through Decca.
That's not all though. Jenkins has also announced tour dates in January and February next year. Tickets go on general sale on Friday. Here are all the dates:
24 Jan: Southampton, Guildhall
Booking agency Paradigm has promoted Len Chenfeld and Brittany Miller to agents in its New York music department. Both were previously coordinators. "We are delighted", says CEO Sam Gores.
Coldplay have released the video for 'Champion Of The World', from their latest album 'Everyday Life'. "The video is about this magic power that kids have to switch off from reality and jump into their own world", says director Cloé Bailly.
A new video has been released for Leonard Cohen's 'Thanks For The Dance' - taken from the musician's posthumous album of the same name.
Richard Russell's Everything Is Recorded will release a new album, titled 'Friday Forever', on 3 Apr through XL. New single, '03:15am/Caviar', featuring Ghostface Killah and Infinite Coles, is out now.
Hanni El Khatib has released new single 'Stressy'. A new album is scheduled for release later this year.
Noga Erez has released new single 'Views', featuring Reo Cragun and Rousso. "In my verse, I tried to voice that insecurity that can lead to people faking or buying views to portray an appearance of success", says Erez. "I wanted to relate to that feeling, not criticise. We thought it would be more interesting to have a counter perspective to mine, so we reached out to Reo and he came back with his magnifying verse about - as I understand it - how this sort of stuff comes back to haunt you in the end".
GIGS & TOURS
Mogwai have announced that they will play three UK shows in London, Glasgow and Manchester in February 2021. That's a whole bloody year away.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Is Justin Bieber on a mission to destroy all nature?
The first video, for 'ETA', was released last week, and it is now followed by a second for the album's title track. Two more are set to follow in the coming weeks, all of them exclusive to Apple Music. Biebo explains: "These videos were all shot in places in nature that meant something to me over the years and I'm THRILLED that my fans get to experience the music with these concepts in mind".
The 'Changes' video sees him sitting on logs, dancing around a campfire and larking about on a frozen lake in his native Ontario, Canada. The locations are somewhat vague, which is perhaps a sign that Bieber is being careful after last time he did this sort of thing.
Back in 2015, Bieber filmed the video for 'I'll Show You' in Iceland's Fjaðrárgljúfur canyon. The subsequent tourist rush to the canyon's unspoiled landscape began to put it at risk of being very much spoiled, resulting in the Icelandic tourist board closing it to visitors in March last year. It reopened a few months later, but some tourist guides still refer to it as 'Bieber's Canyon', which probably isn't helpful.
Iceland's Environment Minister Gudmundur Ingi Gudbrandsson said at the time of the closure that it would be "a bit too simplistic to blame the entire situation on Justin Bieber". But now he's at it again, so let us ask this: is Justin Bieber on a mission to destroy all nature?
OK, as noted, this time he's been somewhat vague about the exact filming locations of his new videos. But that probably means that his fans will now trample over larger areas of natural beauty in order to find them, causing even more damage. Come on Justin, what's wrong with filming videos in a warehouse or by some bins?
You can watch the full 'Changes' video on Apple Music. Or you can watch 44 seconds of it on YouTube. Even that's probably too much. I can feel nature dying as I write this. Probably better to just listen to the song on Spotify and look at some bins. Or - our default in any given situation - watch this classic video of Justin Bieber walking into a door.