|FRIDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Fitness firm Peloton has reached a deal with the American music publishers that sued the company last year over the unlicensed use of music in its videos... [READ MORE]|
Peloton settles with indie music publishers ending copyright litigation
Peloton makes fitness machines that come with screens via which users can access workout videos. In the lawsuit filed by more than a dozen music publishers, it was alleged that some of those videos contained unlicensed music controlled by the plaintiffs.
Following the music publisher lawsuit, Peloton then countersued mainly on competition law grounds. It alleged that it had previously had good relationships with most of the publishers involved in the legal dispute and was negotiating licensing deals with many of them.
Those relationships only fell apart, it then claimed, because of interference by America's National Music Publishers Association. The NMPA hit back, arguing that Peloton knew that it had no grounds to defend the copyright infringement claims, so was desperately trying to conjure up a bogus competition law complaint instead.
Last month a judge dismissed the competition lawsuit, mainly on the basis that - while fourteen publishers may have been involved in the Peloton litigation - in the wider scheme of things those companies only controlled a relatively small songs catalogue. The fitness firm, therefore, had plenty more songs to choose from, so the plaintiffs allying around their litigation didn't create any competition law concerns.
At the time, NMPA boss David Israelite declared: "We are pleased that Peloton's attempts to divert attention from the heart of the issue - properly paying creators for the music on which its billion-dollar business was built - have been defeated".
Meanwhile, Peloton itself said that it "respectively disagreed" with the ruling, adding that it was now considering its options. One option, of course, was to try to settle. And given that last September the court allowed the publishers to expand their case, boosting any potential damages pay out to $300 million, that presumably seemed like quite an attractive option.
That is possibly why yesterday the two sides announced that they had "fully settled the litigation brought last year by fourteen NMPA members. In addition, Peloton and the trade association have entered into a joint collaboration agreement and will work together to further optimise Peloton's music licensing systems and processes".
Despite having been pretty forthright in their criticism of each other over the last year while both sides' lawsuits went through the motion, yesterday - with the settlement deal done - both the publishers and the fitness fanatics were much more chummy.
"Peloton is an innovative company", he added, "and we are impressed with its investment in technology and commitment to delivering a powerful, authentic music experience. We look forward to our ongoing collaboration to find solutions that will benefit all songwriters".
Meanwhile Paul DeGooyer, Head Of Music over at Peloton, chipped in: "Music is an important part of the Peloton experience and we are very proud to have pioneered a new revenue stream for recording artists and songwriters".
"We're equally proud to partner with David and the NMPA to ensure that songwriters are, and continue to be, fairly compensated", he went on. "With the NMPA's input, we are confident our proprietary, state-of-the-art music system will provide an even more dynamic fitness experience for our millions of members worldwide".
The Association Of Independent Music Publishers also welcomed the settlement deal. Its National Chair - Reel Muzik Werks CEO Teri Nelson-Carpenter - said: "The AIMP applauds the settlement between the NMPA and Peloton, and looks forward to seeing the results of their joint collaboration agreement. Going forward, it is imperative that all publishers and songwriters be compensated for the use of their works, and we will be monitoring the situation closely to ensure that independents are treated fairly and equitably".
UK Music responds to government's Brexit talks 'negotiating mandate'
The UK government and its bullshitter in chief 'Boris' Johnson continue to pretend that Brexit has "now been done" - after the UK left the EU at the end of January. Actually, all the really tricky negotiations regarding the UK's future relationship with the rest of the European Union are still to be done.
Working out what the UK and EU's future trading, logistical and political relationships will look like would be a massive task whatever. However, the pressure is really on because Johnson has randomly picked the end of this year as a deadline for everything to be in place. He also wants a 'broad outline' of a deal to be confirmed by June.
Johnson's threat remains that, if a deal cannot be done on that timeline, the UK will happily walk away from the negotiating table with no deal in place. Though that remains something of a hollow threat given that, while it's entirely possible to have no deal, it's not possible to have no future relationship. And while Johnson and his clique continue to insist that World Trade Organisation agreements can fill the gap, most experts argue that that would result in, at best, a mild clusterfuck.
Speaking for the music industry yesterday, acting UK Music boss Tom Kiehl said that he endorsed the UK government's primary aim of securing a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU, but warned of the likely negative consequences if negotiations fail and Johnson opts for the no deal option.
"UK Music fully supports the need to secure a comprehensive free trade agreement between the UK and EU", Kiehl said. "Market access is vital. We need to avoid a cliff-edge at the beginning of next year which could spell disaster for music".
On the specifics of the upcoming negotiations, Kiehl honed in on two key issues of particular concern for the music industry: the copyright framework and the free movement of touring musicians around Europe.
"It is welcome that both the UK government and European Union are prioritising the need to secure high standards of protection for intellectual property rights as part of the new relationship", he added. "A strong copyright regime is crucial for our £5.2 billion music industry".
Meanwhile, on the particularly pressing issue of touring, he went on: "The UK's attempts to seek clarity on allowable activities for short-term business visits should include live touring across the EU. We need certainty as to how artists, musicians and crews can go about international concerts and festivals across the EU from 2021 without administrative and financial burdens".
All sectors will now be watching closely how the real Brexit talks work out. Given that it took three years of talks to agree the deal to allow the talks to agree the deal to begin - and with Johnson's made up deadline thrown in for good measure - it will be quite an achievement if any deal of substance can be done on these timescales. Which makes the chance of every different sector having their specific concerns properly addressed quite slim.
Good times, everybody!
Reach Music signs up to IMPEL
Reach Music represents and administrates a diverse songs catalogue, including music from the likes of Common, Danzig, Ice-T, The Knack, Lisa Loeb, John Mayer and Nate Dogg.
IMPEL is the digital rights agency that began as an initiative of the UK's Music Publishers Association before becoming a standalone entity in 2018. It negotiates direct deals on behalf of its members with multi-territory streaming services in many key markets.
It was created after the big publishers decided to start licensing their Anglo-American catalogues directly to digital platforms, rather than via the collective licensing system. Although, for various technical reasons, the collecting societies are still involved in these deals, with IMPEL working with the French society SACEM.
Confirming his company had now allied with IMPEL, Reach Music President Michael Closter said: "I respect the strong independent publishers that are part of the IMPEL collective, and spoke with many of them to discuss IMPEL and also the servicing by SACEM. Their high marks and recommendations were key to this decision. I'm pleased to join IMPEL and to be an active participant of this collective".
Speaking on the IMPEL side, the organisation's CEO Sarah Williams added: "It's fantastic to be welcoming Michael and Reach Music into the IMPEL collective. Our international footprint is growing all the time and this is great news for IMPEL members. We are truly a global organisation with global ambitions and the impact of our combined expertise and aggregated market share is extremely positive for us all".
Placido Domingo backtracks on earlier statement about sexual harassment accusations
Allegations investigated by the American Guild Of Musical Artists included unsolicited kissing and groping, and late night phone calls inviting women to his house, while two women said that they'd had sex with him fearing that it would damage their careers if they did not accept his advances.
In a new statement yesterday, according to the New York Times, Domingo said that he wanted to "correct the false impression" that he was admitting any wrongdoing in his previous statement.
"My apology was sincere and wholehearted", he said. "But I know what I haven't done, and I will deny it again. I have never behaved aggressively toward anybody, nor have I ever done anything to obstruct or hurt the career of anybody. On the contrary, I have dedicated a large part of my half-century in the world of opera to helping the industry and to promoting the career of innumerable singers".
In his previous statement, he said: "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 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".
The results of the AGMA's investigation only became public after an anonymous whistleblower leaked them to the Associated Press. It transpired that the organisation had been attempting to negotiate an agreement with the music star to keep the report confidential, in return for a payment of $500,000 from Domingo. This despite the AGMA saying last year that it was launching its own investigation because it didn't think opera organisations with direct links to the singer could be trusted to properly scrutinise the allegations against him.
Domingo's backtracking comes as a number of opera venues in Europe confirm that they are considering cancelling planned performances by the star. He told the NYT that he himself had decided to pull out of a run of performances of 'La Traviata' at Madrid's Teatro Real "to prevent my situation from affecting, harming or causing any additional inconvenience". But it later transpired that the venue was already discussing the cancellation of the performances.
Rufus Wainwright announces rule-breaking pop album
"What I would like this album to symbolise is a coming together of all the aspects of my life which have made me a seasoned artist", he says. "My aim is to emulate the greats of yore whose second acts produced their finest work - Leonard Cohen when he made 'The Future', when Sinatra became Sinatra in his 40s, when Paul Simon put out 'Graceland'".
"Pop music isn't always about your waistline", he goes on. "Many songwriters improve with age. I'm flying the flag for staying alive!"
Well, that's quite a bold set up for this new record. Its first single is 'Damsel In Distress', of which he says: "[It's] an homage to Joni Mitchell in some ways, particularly the structure. My husband and I now live in Laurel Canyon. I wasn't that familiar with Joni's music but Jörn became obsessed and took me on a journey into her music".
"We ended up hanging out with her and I get now why she's one of the greats", he explains. "So it's part Laurel Canyon, part a song about a personal relationship that I'm trying to come to terms with, but mostly my Mitchell virginity being broken".
The album will be out on 24 Apr, and three days later Wainwright will play two shows in one evening at the Islington Assembly Hall in London. Tickets are on sale now - a snip at £70 a piece. Right now, you could watch the video for 'Damsel In Distress'.
Riz Ahmed announces album for people "dumped by the place we call home"
"The record is a break-up album", says Ahmed. "But [a break-up] with your country. So many of us feel like we're being dumped by the place we call home, a home that we built. This album takes you on the journey of this break-up; through the stages of denial, anger, acceptance, and finally self-love to counter the hate".
Recorded in London with producer Redinho, the album's nine tracks - as with much of Ahmed's work - explore identity and belonging. He will premiere a new live show based on the album at the Manchester International Festival on 27, 28 and 29 Mar.
The album is out on 6 Mar. You can't listen to any music from it yet, but you can look at the artwork on this dedicated website.
LABELS & PUBLISHERS
Record industry trade group BPI has published a report on its Music Export Growth Scheme, the government-funded initiative which supports independent artists and labels as they pursue new opportunities in new markets. Since its launch in 2014, MEGS has supported 242 projects with a total of £3.8 million in grants issued over sixteen funding rounds. The economic impact of the first fourteen rounds are measured in the report, estimating that "£36 million in exports revenue has been generated for the British music economy - £12 for every £1 invested in the scheme". Download the report here.
Lady Gaga has released new single 'Stupid Love'. Its video was shot entirely on an iPhone, which may or may not be a thing that's still interesting these days. Steven Soderbergh made a whole feature film on iPhones two years ago, so probably not. But hey, discussing this non-novelty has sent me way over my word limit for this 'one liner', so if higher word counts was the aim, maybe there's something in it. Or maybe I should just have said it's the first single from her forthcoming sixth album.
Taylor Swift has released the video for 'The Man', in which she takes her beef with Scooter Braun visual.
Gorillaz have release their second 'Song Machine' track, 'Désolé', featuring Fatoumata Diawara.
Christine And The Queens has surprise released new EP 'La Vita Nuova', along with a short film of the same name.
The National have covered INXS's 'Never Tear Us Apart' for new charity compilation 'Songs For Australia'. The album is curated by Julia Stone, who also covers Midnight Oil's indisputable classic 'Beds Are Burning'.
Thundercat has shared the video for 'Dragonball Durag' from his new album 'It Is What It Is', out on 3 Apr.
Daniel Avery and Alessandro Cortini have released 'Enter Exit', the second track from their upcoming album 'Illusion Of Time'.
Laurel Halo will release her soundtrack to the film 'Possessed' on 10 Apr. From it, this is 'Hyphae'.
Valentina has released new single 'You Know Where My Happiness Went'. "I wrote this song after a five year relationship had just ended and I was looking for a place to live, staying on friends sofas", she says. "With no microphone, the whole vocal was recorded into my laptop in my friends living room in one take as I wrote it. I didn't change it as I liked that it captured that precise moment in time".
GIGS & TOURS
Best Coast have announced that they will tour the UK in May, starting at The Great Escape in Brighton before taking in Manchester, London and Birmingham.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
New Oasis-only clubnight to launch in London next month
Billing itself as "the world's only non-stop Oasis night", Back To Back's website also suggests that it plans to repeat the idea with other bands' catalogues.
"With a reunion looking unlikely, it's a chance for [Oasis] fans to get their fix, for four hours", organisers tell the NME.
As well as crowd pleasing anthems, the night promises to roll out some b-sides and live tracks. Well, they've got to fill the time somehow.
The DJ will apparently take requests too, so it'll be a competition on the night to see who can think of some Oasis rarity that said DJ doesn't have. Or you could keep requesting Noel's solo tracks and see where that gets you. No one wants to hear those, Joe. Shut the fuck up.
Anyway, if you're the sort of person who would like to attend this Oasis-only night - and social media tells me that there are actually quite a few - here are the relevant dates:
13 Mar: London, Dingwalls