|WEDNESDAY 4 MARCH 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Marvin Gaye estate has filed new legal papers that accuse Pharrell Williams of having committed perjury during the big 'Blurred Lines' copyright case. That allegation relates to an interview the producer gave to GQ last year and - in the new legal filing - the Gaye estate disparages the excuses Team Williams have provided over comments that he made in said magazine feature that seem to contradict what he previously said in court... [READ MORE]|
Marvin Gaye estate say Pharrell Williams' response to perjury claims "lacks credibility"
Williams and Robin Thicke were, of course, accused of ripping off Gaye's 'Got To Give It Up' when they wrote their 2013 hit 'Blurred Lines'. Williams and Thicke went legal in a bid to get court confirmation that no rip off had occurred. But that venture backfired big time when a jury ruled that the duo had indeed infringed the copyright in the Gaye song by lifting elements of it for 'Blurred Lines'. The Gaye estate scored a neat $5 million in damages.
That controversial ruling came up during a GQ-instigated conversation between Williams and fellow producer Rick Rubin last year. Williams insisted that it was a bad judgement because he had only borrowed a "feeling" from 'Got To Give It Up' and you "can't copyright" that.
But he also said "What [we'd] always try to do was reverse engineer the songs that did something to us emotionally and figure out where the mechanism is in there, and as I said to you before, try to figure out if we can build a building that doesn't look the same but makes you feel the same way".
"I did that in 'Blurred Lines'", he added, "and got myself in trouble ... I really made it feel so much like it ['Got To Give It Up'] that people were like, oh, I hear the same thing".
It's those quotes that the Gaye estate have taken issue with. Because, they say, Williams' more recent remarks contradict what he said in court, when he outright denied going into the studio on the day 'Blurred Lines' was written with "the intention of making anything feel like 'Got To Give It Up' or to sound like Marvin Gaye".
In an earlier deposition he also said: "When I am searching for music, which I don't expect you to understand this, but we look into oblivion. We look into that which does not exist".
These statements under oath are "irreconcilable" with the GQ interview, the estate argue, "and it is thus clear that Mr Williams' testimony under oath in the courtroom and in deposition was untruthful. The interview statements speak undeniably to the process Williams went through during the very time that he was composing 'Blurred Lines'".
They go on: "Dead contrary to Gaye and 'Got To Give It Up' not entering his mind, Williams, well after the trial was concluded, and while mistakenly believing he was now free to tell the truth, admitted in the interview that he reverse engineered 'Got To' in composing 'Blurred', and that he 'does that all the time'".
The estate also point out that one of the reasons people first started saying 'Blurred Lines' ripped off Gaye's song - well before any legal action - was because Robin Thicke, while promoting his hit, said that the song originated in him suggesting to Williams that they write something like 'Got To Give It Up'.
Given what Williams subsequently said in his deposition and during the trial, the duo had to play down those previous comments during the big court case itself.
The Gaye estate's new legal filing notes that doing so "required Robin Thicke to explain in sworn testimony that he was 'drunk and high' in each interview in which he said that he told Williams to create a song like 'Got To'. Alternatively, Thicke and Williams explained that those statements were made solely to promote 'Blurred'".
That's relevant now because legal reps for Williams have used a similar explanation for last year's comments in the GQ feature.
The Gaye estate pointed out the alleged contradictions between Williams' various remarks on the writing of 'Blurred Lines' shortly after the GQ piece was published.
Lawyers for Williams then responded in January, mainly arguing that any alleged contradictions were irrelevant anyway as they didn't justify reopening up the old litigation. However, they also added again that things said in promotional interviews should not be taken as legal statements.
But, the Gaye estate say, the claim that Williams' "recent interview statement was just an additional out of court 'promotional' falsehood" is "utterly lacking in credibility".
They go on, "'Blurred Lines' was not being promoted. The interview was not an effort to sell the song, and 'Blurred Lines' was not the focus of it. Williams was instead replying to a question in a setting in which he felt that he could comfortably tell the truth about
You might wonder why the Gaye estate - having won the 'Blurred Lines' case and that $5 million in damages - even care about all this. But at the time of their big win, the Gaye side reckoned that, in addition to the damages, they should have been awarded legal costs, which totalled about $3.5 million. That request was denied. But the alleged perjury, they now say, should be grounds for reversing that particular decision.
In an earlier filing on this side dispute, the Gaye estate's attorneys wrote: "As a result of Williams's new admissions, which amount to nothing less than an admission of fraud on the court, and show a disregard for the sanctity of these proceedings, the court should amend the judgment in order to revisit and reverse its denial of attorneys' fees and costs".
It now remains to be seen how the court responds.
UK Music welcomes government's albeit loose commitments on copyright reform
Artists, songwriters, labels, publishers, managers and collecting societies in the UK allied with their counterparts across Europe to lobby hard for several of the reforms contained in the final draft of that directive. Most notably, of course, the safe harbour reforms that increase the liabilities of user-upload platforms like YouTube.
With the UK government deciding not to implement the directive post-Brexit because - you know - it's European so is definitely smelly and wrong, the British music community will have to lobby anew to try to secure similar reforms to UK copyright law.
It's generally felt that the likes of Google will have a stronger negotiating hand in London than they did in Brussels, which might make getting safe harbour reform trickier. Although the UK government was generally supportive of those reforms when it was still involved in the negotiating process for the EU directive.
That is something IP Minister Amanda Solloway acknowledges in her response to a letter on copyright reform from cross-sector trade group UK Music. She writes: "I understand your concerns that music creators need to be fairly remunerated by platforms when their works are used online. This is something I agree with, which is why the government worked hard in the directive negotiations to secure a good outcome for our creators".
She goes on: "Although the UK will not be implementing the directive now that we have left the EU, our support for creators has not changed. This government recognises the importance and value of our successful music industry. The UK copyright framework must provide fair rewards for creators in the online ecosystem, while taking into account the needs of consumers and ensuring a thriving digital economy".
So, there's the loose commitment. The government's business and culture departments are expected to host a series of roundtable events later this year involving the music industry to discuss copyright issues. For artists and songwriters, that will also be an opportunity to lobby for the transparency and fair deal provisions that sit in the EU directive alongside the safe harbour reforms that ended up in article seventeen.
Welcoming Sollway's remarks, interim UK Music boss Tom Kiehl states: "It is very encouraging to get such strong support from the new minister for IP for the music industry and to hear that she believes that creators must be fairly paid for their talent".
"We look forward to continuing to press the case for copyright safeguards and the other issues facing the music industry at the forthcoming roundtables with the government", he adds. "This is a critical time for the UK music industry which faces a number of challenges in the months ahead. We will continue to work with the government to drive forward our world-leading industry".
German 'stream manipulation' site ordered to shut down
Followerschmiede.de has now been ordered by that court to stop enabling the manipulation of streaming stats, following legal action pursued jointly by global record label trade body IFPI and its German counterpart BVMI.
IFPI chief exec Frances Moore said in a statement: "Those who create music must be remunerated fairly and accurately for their work and investment. Stream manipulation undermines this - whether by undermining the accuracy of charts, royalty payments to music creators or otherwise - and cannot be tolerated".
"Streaming platforms need to find a robust technical solution to this issue", she continues. "For our part, we are prepared to take legal action against these sites, as shown by this action in Germany, and we will continue to do so wherever necessary worldwide".
BVMI CEO Florian Drücke added: "We took this action as part of our commitment to protect the legitimate legal market for music and to hinder any fraudulent services seeking to undermine it. This should be seen as a signal to other manipulation services that we are prepared to take action against them".
There has been manipulation of the music industry's popularity measures for as long as there have been measures of popularity, of course. The difference with the manipulation of streaming stats is that it not only falsely boosts the perceived popularity and royalty payments of the artist whose plays are increased, but - due to the way streaming money is shared out each month - it also reduces the income of everyone else.
Last summer, a load of record labels, music publishers, industry trade bodies and streaming services signed up to a new code of conduct, basically agreeing that scamming streaming stats is bad and promising not to do it.
Crockford Management and Friends At Work announce transatlantic partnership
The seeds of the new agreement were sown when Crockford's Lily Crockford and Friends At Work's Adina Friedman met at a Grammy event last year.
"In a very competitive industry it's hard to find people you both want to work with and trust", says Crockford. "Crockford Management has always been an independent company, and that hasn't stopped us having global success, but partnering with other managers who share our values and drive can only further benefit our roster. Upon meeting Adina I knew instantly that this was the kind of team that we could build something special with".
"We are so happy to be partnering with Crockford Management", adds Friedman. "When I met Lily I realised we shared the same vision and was impressed by her experience with high-powered artists like Jessie J and Iggy Azalea. When it came time for us to find a partner on the other side of the Atlantic, I knew Crockford would be the perfect team to provide our clients the level of service to further set them up for global success".
Currently, Crockford is working with FAW clients John Legend, Raphael Saadiq and Ruth Anne under the new deal. Crockford's own clients include Mark Knopfler, Youngr and Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly. Crockford Management was founded by Lily Crockford's father Paul in 1987, while FAW was launched by Ty Stiklorius in 2015.
Lorna Clarke reveals management rejig at top of BBC's pop stations
The creation of the new roles follows some big departures at the top of the BBC's radio network. Radio 1 and 1Xtra Controller Ben Cooper announced he was leaving last October. Then last month, Radio 2's de-facto chief Lewis Carnie confirmed that he will depart later this year.
The rejig will mean that each of the pop-centric stations will have a similar leadership structure. Various previous rejigs meant there were inconsistencies between the stations, with Cooper being more senior than his counterparts at Radio 2 and 6Music.
With the five new station heads forming a team that reports into Clarke, the latest restructure could also finally achieve a long-held ambition for there to be more synergy between the various national BBC music stations.
Such joined-up thinking is arguably more important than ever as all the stations now come together in the BBC Sounds app. And even more so given it seems likely an increasing number of listeners will start to navigate that app by content type and genre, rather than station brand.
In an internal memo announcing the rejig, Clarke writes: "I've created a new single Head Of Station role for each of the music networks so there are five exciting, industry leading opportunities within the BBC Pop Portfolio team".
"I'm looking for leaders who can deliver a compelling vision for the individual networks in the 21st century competitive landscape", she adds, "with advanced digital skills and experience, and a genuine passion for music and radio. Each Head will be responsible for the brand, budget and culture and will set the strategic direction of their radio station and music in BBC Sounds".
Cadet's debut album completed for April release, under guidance of Krept
Titled 'The Rated Legend', Krept acts as executive producer, and has helped bring together guests on the record, including Wretch 32, Chip, Young Adz, Konan, Swarmz, Tion Wayne and Deno.
"I am determined and driven to keep Cadet's name alive and to making sure I can continue what he started and achieved, because I know how much this meant to him", says Krept. "It was a labour of love and passion to create this project from just hearing random tracks he recorded and turning it into a full body of work".
"Cadet recorded so much good music that it would have felt wrong to have not done this", he goes on. "Cadet was so loved that filling missing verses or hooks from guest artists was easy to do to finish this album. All producers and artists have done this all for free. That's love. Cadet would love this album just as much as we do. It has versatility and really shows his range as an artist".
"With this album Cadet's legacy will keep going, his name will live on", he concludes. "I have enjoyed every moment of putting this album together with our family. You will hear why he is no longer underrated".
The album is set for release on 10 Apr.
UK record industry collecting society PPL has promoted Mark Douglas to Chief Information Officer and Matt Phipps-Taylor to Chief Data Officer. "Data has long been at the heart of PPL's operations and we have invested significantly in it over the years", says CEO Peter Leatham. "In Mark and Matt, PPL has two incredibly able individuals who have driven this agenda within PPL and more widely across the industry".
The Independent Music Publishing Forum has elected Reservoir UK MD Annette Barrett to the role of President. "Annette was a founder member of the Forum and together we have overseen its growth and programming since its inception", says current IMPF president Pierre Mossiat. "Having a strong advocate is of huge importance to independent music publishers and having Annette as the incoming President is a tremendous advantage for all of us". She will officially take up the role later this month.
LABELS & PUBLISHES
Amuse - the free digital music distribution service - has launched a premium offer called Amuse Pro. At $7.99 a month, the enhanced service will, the firm says, include "features like royalty splits, team accounts, multiple artist profiles, quicker releases and support".
Bauer Media and News UK's Wireless have announced the launch of new joint venture radio advertising company, Octave Audio, focussing on digital audio services. "Octave Audio will combine the expertise of two major forces in audio bringing together the best of broadcast advertising and the advantages of digital targeting", says Bauer Radio MD Dee Ford. "This is what will make it stand out in the market".
Rina Sawayama has released new single 'XS'. It's "a song that mocks capitalism in a sinking world", she says. "I wanted to reflect the chaos of this post-truth climate change denying world in the metal guitar stabs that flare up like an underlying zit between the 2000s R&B beat that reminds you of a time when everything was alright".
Moaning have released new single 'Make It Stop'. "The song is about questioning negative thoughts but struggling to find a solution", he says. "There was a period of time where I thought everyone hated me and was out to get me. Now I realise no one actually is putting that much energy into thinking about me at all. Depression can be extremely narcissistic. I encourage people who relate to this song to call someone and ask for help".
Mr Ben And The Bens have released new single 'Beast In The House'. They've also announced that their debut album, 'Life Drawing', will be out on 10 Jul.
Pinty has returned with new single 'It's Just Life', produced by DJ JD Sports (aka King Krule).
All We Are have released new single 'Bad Advice'. "In this jungle of half-truths, pseudo-science and vagina scented candles, what seems like the best advice isn't always given with the best intentions", says the band. "That is bad advice and it's just not good enough".
GIGS & TOURS
Genesis have announced that they are reforming for tour dates in November and December this year. "It feels great, it feels the right time, we're looking forward to doing it", guitarist Mark Rutherford said on Zoe Ball's Radio 2 show this morning. "A lot of our contemporaries have been playing a lot - we've done two shows in the UK in the last 28 years".
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Sophie Turner "hated" Jonas Brothers before meeting Joe Jonas
"My friends and I were not Jonas Brothers fans", she tells Elle. "There was this band in the UK called Busted. They had a hit called 'Year 3000'. It was amazing, and we were huge Busted fans. Then the Jonas Brothers covered the song and made it massive. And Busted broke up. We thought it was all the Jonas Brothers' fault. So we hated them".
She also revealed that her first date with Jonas Brother Joe was in a "shitty bar" in Camden "with great music and people throwing up everywhere". It happened after he DM'ed her on Twitter asking if she'd like to meet while the Jonas Brothers were on tour in the UK.
"I thought, 'He's gonna be such a dick'", she says, having been convinced to meet him by her flatmates. "I brought all my guy friends to come with me to meet him, because in the back of my mind I still worried that he could be a catfish - or I don't know what. I just wanted my guy friends with me. I had my rugby boys. I was safe".
It turned out alright though, and - as various people had previously predicted - they did get on well, subsequently marrying last year. Last month they confirmed that they are expecting a child. And, of course, Busted reformed in 2015. So many happy endings!