|TUESDAY 31 MARCH 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK's Music Venue Trust yesterday called on the music industry, the wider cultural sector and Britain's most successful musicians to come together to create a million pound 'fighting fund' to prevent the closure of hundreds of grassroots music venues in the UK as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 shutdown... [READ MORE]|
Music Venue Trust says a million in emergency funding is needed to ensure grassroots venues can survive the COVID-19 shutdown
The enforced shutdown of the live sector is causing chaos across the wider music community of course. However, for grassroots venues - which are already operating on incredibly tight profit margins - that short-term shutdown may result in long-term closure, despite the various government measures to support small businesses.
The MVT said yesterday: "Despite government action, over 550 grassroots music venues remain under immediate threat of closure, representing the potential permanent loss of over 5000 jobs, over 100,000 concerts, over 300,000 performances by musicians, and over one million temporary employment opportunities for gig economy workers".
"These devastating outcomes for musicians, production and touring crew and everyone who relies on the grassroots sector would be per annum and permanent", the MVT went on. "Any grassroots music venue permanently closed by this crisis will not be reopened".
Beyond the direct impact of those potential closures, the grassroots venue network remains key in allowing new talent to develop their sound and find an audience. Initial shows at these venues allow artists - who are usually operating on a DIY basis at that point - to build sufficient momentum to ultimately interest the music industry. The grassroots venue network, therefore, is a crucial part of the wider industry's talent pipeline.
MVT already has an emergency response service that supports venues which are, for one reason or another, in risk of closure. The organisation says it needs to raise a million pounds to put that fund "on a crisis footing". Noting that last year its emergency response service helped prevent 91 venue closures, it adds: "In the next three months alone, MVT needs the resources and financial backing to prevent over 550 potential closures".
If it can raise a million, MVT says it will "be able to respond directly and dynamically to every threatened closure and provide emergency financial support when required to prevent the permanent closure of grassroots music venues. With your help, Music Venue Trust believes we can prevent every closure. We won't accept that this crisis should result in 500 closures. Or 200. Or even 100. With your help, we can fight every single one".
IMPEL expands into Latin America via LatinAutor partnership
Sometimes also known as the One Stop Shop, LatinAutor is similar to the ICE, Armonia and Polaris licensing initiatives in Europe, seeking to reduce the total number of deals streaming services need to do in order to license all the necessary song rights.
LatinAutor involves song rights collecting societies from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama and the Dominican Republic.
The tie up between IMPEL and LatinAutor will allow the former's publisher members to employ the direct deal approach for their Anglo-American repertoires in Latin America, which includes some key emerging markets for the music rights business.
Confirming the new alliance in the region, IMPEL CEO Sarah Williams said: "The IFPI Global Report for 2019 states that, for the fourth year in a row, Latin America has experienced the largest regional growth, with streaming up 39.3%. We want to be sure that, in partnership with LatinAutor, our members can benefit from that growth".
"IMPEL's goal in Latin America", she went on, "is to learn, build relationships and maximise benefits for independent publishers, and this is another step forward in our strategy to provide global licensing opportunities".
Official Charts Company moves to ensure all indie store home delivery sales are counted
A number of indie record stores already offered home delivery services and reported those sales - alongside in-store transactions - to the official chart compilers. However, many more shops are now offering home deliveries after being forced to close their doors on the high street as measures to restrict and delay the spread of COVID-19 escalated earlier this month.
Those home delivery services will be crucial for many indie record stores who face an uncertain future as the enforced shutdown extends. Various online campaigns have been launched encouraging people to order new releases from their local record shop's website in order to support those businesses, including the #loverecordstores initiative that went live last week, and a #recordstoreoftheday scheme that kicked off yesterday.
Seeking to support and acknowledge the sudden increase in home delivery services, the OCC and Entertainment Retailers Association have joined forces to ensure all indie shops can get their online sales data into the official music charts.
The OCC explains that the technical system for reporting that data - aka Colossus - "is free of charge and simply requires each retailer to have internet access and a web browser. Retailers processing significant numbers of sales can also be supplied with a scanner which makes the system even more user friendly".
OCC boss Martin Talbot says: "We have already seen the launch this week of the brilliant #loverecordstores initiative and it is crucial that the entire industry rallies round to support the independent sector. At the Official Charts, we are proud to have one of the biggest independent retail panels of any chart systems worldwide - and this is because of the crucial role that independent retail plays in the music and the broader culture in the UK".
"We are delighted to open up the Colossus system to help stand united with this sector at this incredibly difficult time", he goes on. "We will also be doing everything we can to support independent retailers through the coming weeks by promoting them via OfficialCharts.com and our social media".
Kim Bayley, ERA's CEO, adds: "Indie record shops have faced the double blow of the postponement due to coronavirus of Record Store Day to 20 Jun and now the closure of their stores. With their obsessive focus on music and catering to their local audiences, indie record shops are part of the DNA of the music industry. That's why we have long worked to ensure that as many of them as possible are represented on the chart panel. It is great that we have been able to fast-track this process to support indies through the coronavirus crisis".
Indies wanting to report their home delivery sales to the charts should send an email with their store name and contacts to firstname.lastname@example.org, requesting access to Colossus.
UK Music announces former MP Tom Watson as its new Chair
He takes over from Beggars Music boss Andy Heath, who has been chair of UK Music since the organisation was created in 2008. A trade body of trade bodies, UK Music seeks to bring together all the strands of the wider music industry, allowing the business to speak as one - especially to the political community - whenever there is consensus. It grew out of an earlier organisation called British Music Rights which united the songs side of the industry.
Watson was consistently seen as a supporter of the music industry during his nearly two decade career in Parliament, even before his stint as the Labour Party's culture spokesperson, making him a popular appointment among many in music community.
Though his political career was not without controversy, of course. His interventions on the phone hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's UK newspaper business in 2011 and in relation to the allegations of sexual abuse made against former MPs linked to the Elm Guest House in London both created enemies for him in some parts of Conservative Party. He was also Deputy Leader of Labour during a period of inner turmoil for the party, as those loyal to top man Jeremy Corbyn battled with those who opposed the leadership's agenda.
Nevertheless, Watson is incredibly well connected across Westminster and Whitehall, and with existing contacts across the wider music industry too, UK Music clearly reckons he is the right person to bridge the gap between the music business and the political decision makers.
He also becomes Chair of UK Music at a time when both British politics and the music industry are in significant flux as they navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Which means the priority agenda at the music industry organisation as Watson arrives will be quite different to what it would have been just two months ago.
Something Watson acknowledged when commenting on his new role. "The cancellation of live music events has devastated the sector", he said. "Thousands of jobs are now in peril and threaten the long-term bottom line of the UK economy. Our urgent task is to work with our colleagues and partners in government to support the national effort to defeat coronavirus, whilst protecting the jewel in the crown of British culture - commercial music".
Then, once this crisis is over, there'll be that other crisis everyone's forgotten about, bloody Brexit. "When we're through this crisis", Watson continued, "UK Music has an important part to play in Britain's developing new role in the world. We believe we can be the Prime Minister's calling card to every country on the planet".
"There will be much to say about this in the months ahead", Watson added, "but first, let's deal with [the COVID-19] crisis. I will be seeking urgent talks with ministers and officials to ensure that we support the music-makers of Britain and the industry that always sustains us through the good times and the bad".
Also on Watson's agenda as Chair of UK Music will be appointing a new CEO. His former colleague on the Labour benches in Parliament, Michael Dugher, stood down from that role in January after a three year stint. Now a new Chair is in place, recruitment for a new chief exec for UK Music will begin, with interim CEO Tom Kiehl continuing to run the organisation day to day in the meantime.
Sam Smith announces album delay and title change
"I have done a lot of thinking in the last few weeks and feel that the title of my album and imminent release doesn't feel right", says Smith. "So I have come to the decision to continue working on the album and make some important changes and additions".
"I will be renaming my album and pushing back the release date - both of which are to be confirmed after this time", they go on. "Don't worry though, there will be an album this year, I promise! But until then I am still going to bring out some new music over the next few months, which I'm incredibly excited about".
The album was originally scheduled for release on 1 May.
Hanni El Khatib announces new album, Flight
Speaking on the inspiration for the new song, he says: "Last April, I was in a pretty serious car accident. Our vehicle was rear ended at high speed leaving the car crumpled up and flipped over. Miraculously we were all ... relatively unscathed with only a few minor injuries. It was definitely a close call. Even the paramedics and police officers on site were in shock that we were all standing there, given the severity of the crash".
"The whole experience gave me some much needed perspective on life", he goes on. "I knew I wanted to touch on that somehow on this record. When the instrumental came together for the track it immediately felt like the perfect backdrop for this story".
'Flight' is set for release on 15 May through Innovative Leisure. Watch the video for 'Alive' here.
COVID-19 CANCELLATIONS & POSTPONEMENTS
Set to take place in June, music industry conference Midem has announced that it is cancelling this year's edition, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. "In the rapidly-evolving context and with the various government guidelines on travel, public gatherings and home confinement, coupled with companies' concerns for their staff, holding Midem in June is simply not possible", said the event's Director Alexandre Deniot. Parts of the conference programme will now be streamed online instead.
Festival and music conference Primavera Sound in Barcelona has announced that it is postponing its 20th anniversary edition to the end of August. Explaining the decision to postpone rather than cancel, organisers said: "We feel obliged and responsible to contribute insofar as we can to the survival of the live music scene, whose role will be key to the return to normality after this absolutely unprecedented situation that has never been faced before by the cultural sector and all its agents". Primavera was among the members of Yourope who last week put out a statement saying that they are expecting to go ahead with their events.
COVID-19 SUPPORT INTIATIVES
Universal Music has announced a number of initiatives to support its employees, artists, songwriters, distributed labels and other partners during the COVID-19 pandemic. That includes interest-free royalty advances and fee waivers and speedier payment of invoices. It's also making financial contributions to COVID-19 funding schemes such as those run by MusiCares in the US and Help Musicians in the UK.
French collecting society SACEM is the latest to announce COVID-19 support measures for its members. An announcement on Friday included a six million euro rescue fund that will issue cash grants to those most in need, plus the provision of exceptional royalty advances and the expansion of an existing support programme for publishers.
Music publisher Sentric has hired Loren McShane as Head Of Legal And Business Affairs and Joe Watson as Data Scientist. "These are two key hires that really benefit our company at all levels, both in terms of our business development and the way we boost our clients' business through cutting edge research and data analysis", says CEO Chris Meehan.
Bright Light Bright Light has released new single 'This Was My House'. "The song is about how the safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community have been fractured of late with a palpable uprising of anti-LGBTQ+ and xenophobic rhetoric, which is scarily even more real now as these public spaces are closed for the foreseeable future due to the COVID-19 pandemic", he says. His new album, 'Fun City', is out on 18 Sep.
Yves Tumor has released new single 'Romanticist/Dream Palette'. New album 'Heaven To A Tortured Mind' is out this Friday.
Bishop Nehru has released new single 'Emperor'. His new album, 'Nehruvia: My Disregarded Thoughts', is out on 8 May.
Everything Is Recorded have released new track '11:55am / This World'. New album, 'Friday Forever', is out this, well, Friday.
Martin Grech has released new album 'Hush Mortal Coil' on his Patreon page. The record will also be available on streaming services in two weeks.
Haiku Hands have released new single 'Let It Burn (World's Gone Mad)'.
Bloodywood have released new single 'Yaad'. The title is Hindi for 'remember' or 'in memory', and the song is "about the power of accepting the loss of a loved one and moving on", explains guitarist Karan Katiyar. "I lost my dog ten years ago and I still feel the loss to this day".
Tennin has released new single 'Guys In Tears' through Kitsune.
Minais B has released new single 'Weaver'. His new album, 'Quiet Bloom', is out on 24 Apr.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Jon Bon Jovi and fans writing COVID-19 anthem thousands of verses long
Bono and Will.i.am have had a go and Lionel Richie is working on a new version of 'We Are The World'. Jon Bon Jovi, meanwhile, is working with fans on a song called 'Do What You Can'. The only issue is that that song now has over 6000 verses.
Earlier this month, Bon Jovi shared a video on YouTube with the first verse and the chorus of the song, asking fans to write their own stories to make up the second verse.
"Tell me what you're going through, tell me how you're feeling, tell me if you're hurting", he said. "Talk about that high school graduation that's going to be cancelled. Talk about that prom you just might not have. Talk about that baby coming and there's nothing you can do about that. Talk about the pay cheque that you're losing".
"Talk about being afraid", he went on, "looking out your window and wondering what to make of all this. Just remember, we're gonna get through it. So sing your song, you and me together, and remember, when you can't do what you do, you do what you can".
His own verse covered many of those topics and since then fans have added even more. Then last week he shared another video, performing a few of the 6000 submissions he'd received in the first two days. "Keep your thoughts coming through, everybody", he said at the end of the video. "And I'll be here to sing them for you".
Speaking to 'Good Morning America' yesterday, he added: "It's the nurses and the doctors and the EMT workers and the truck drivers. They're the ones that are writing this song for me. It's their lives that we're writing about and my heart goes out to each and every one of them, because this is that great time in America when we all come together as one. We're all in this together".
Further updates are planned for the song in the coming weeks. Whether he'll eventually consolidate it all down into a more traditional pop song format - or he's going for a song that will take the length of a significant lockdown to sing once - isn't entirely clear.
Elsewhere in Bon Jovi news, the band have released a new version of their song 'Unbroken' featuring the Invictus Game Choir. Recorded last month at Abbey Road, the song is being released in support of the Invictus Games Foundation. They're also set to release new album, 'Bon Jovi 2020' - from which the original version of 'Unbroken' is taken - on 15 May.