|THURSDAY 14 MAY 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The full programme has been announced for the AIM House virtual conference that takes place online tomorrow. It's the sessions that the Association Of Independent Music would have presented as part of the Great Escape Conference in Brighton had COVID-19 not shutdown all the real-world festivals and conferences. CMU Insights - curators of the core TGE Conference strands - will also present six discussions within the virtual AIM House... [READ MORE]|
Full programme announced for AIM House virtual conference
Among the things now confirmed for the wider AIM House programme is the winner of the One To Watch prize at last year's AIM Awards, Georgia, discussing the making of her album 'Seeking Thrills' with its producer Mark Ralph and DJ John Kennedy, an interview that will also be recorded for the podcast Tape Notes. Elsewhere, the new boss of Merlin, Jeremy Sirota, will provide his first on-stage update to the indie label community (albeit via a virtual stage) since becoming CEO of the digital rights agency earlier this year.
Elsewhere, the British Council will present market insight sessions on East Asia and Latin America; there'll be discussions about live streaming and direct-to-fan - both more important than ever since the COVID-19 shutdown began; plus you can access a visas workshop from Viva La Visa and a vinyl workshop from Key Production.
Meanwhile, in the CMU Insights room, the spotlight will be put on music media, teaching creative entrepreneurialism, streaming in key emerging markets, taking artists global, the business of podcasts, and the ups and the downs of being an artist in an age where you are constantly connected to the wider world through digital platforms.
Among those joining the CMU conversations are Cliff Fluet from Lewis Silkin and Eleven; Farhana Aboo from AEI Group; Nikki McNeill from Global Publicity; Rupert Vereker from DIY Music; the artist Eckoes; Fiona McAuley from YMU; Mark Lippmann from Scuff Of The Neck; Alex Taggart from Outdustry; Daniel Campello Queiroz from Orb Music; and Vladimir Philippov from Broma 16 / Heaven 11.
Plus Adam Tudhope from Everbody's; Cecilie Torp Holte from Circle Management and the European Music Managers Alliance; Meg Symsyk from Entertainment One; Ric Salmon from ATC; Joe Copeman from Acast; Sophie Paluch from Blueprint Pods; Xanthe Fuller from Mixcloud; Marla Altschuler from Cantine, Martha Kinn from YMU; and Rafaella DeSantis from Harbottle & Lewis.
AIM's Paul Pacifico and Gee Davy will also join the debates, while CMU's Chris Cooke, Sam Taylor and Phil Nelson - as well as streaming and music rights expert Becky Brook - will be moderating the conversations.
You can check out more information about the CMU Insights sessions - including short articles providing context for each debate - on the CMU Insights website here. Meanwhile the full AIM House programme is available here.
Tickets are free to all this - book your place here.
Sound Diplomacy says cities should put music at the heart of the post-COVID-19 recovery
A report published by the company begins with a foreword from the CEO of the UK's Association Of Independent Music Paul Pacifico, who explains: "The opportunity to listen to music, practice an instrument, take a dance class or participate in Zoom choirs has been an anchor to many of us in this time of crisis. Music, like almost nothing else, has fostered and perpetuated a sense of community and connection in moments of our most profound isolation".
He goes on: "For decades, sport has successfully made the case that it delivers unarguable returns on investment in terms of public health and wellbeing. But music has never quite managed to make its case in that arena. Now, in the most bleak moments of this current crisis, we see clearly the need, the impact and the results of music and culture in delivering positive outcomes in both physical and mental health. Music has demonstrated the power and benefits of social prescribing like never before".
Cities, governments and music communities around the world should embrace this, Sound Diplomacy's report argues. The consultancy's founder Shain Shapiro says: "There are few music offices in cities around the world. Music education is in decline. Many relief programmes to support creatives are challenging for musicians to access. In some countries, there are little intellectual property protections for musicians".
"Yet, we all need music", he adds. "The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates music as a global unifier - from balconies in Europe to bedrooms live streaming raves around the world. But music - as an ecosystem - lacks investment. We can change this and together, build #BetterMusicCities".
The report provides a nine-point plan for cities to embrace, enhance and support music and the music community. It suggests cities:
1. Put artists to work: Incentivise creation from crisis.
The company says these things will "support cities to better leverage their music economies - from artists to education, venues to local scenes - to create more inclusive, prosperous music communities as we move towards recovery. To do so, we require intentional policy that includes musicians and music representatives in discussions around recovery and resilience".
You can download the full report at bettermusiccities.com
Congressman welcomes FTC report on US ticketing market, says his BOSS Act is the solution
Pascrell is a long-time critic of the US ticketing sector and especially its biggest player, Live Nation's Ticketmaster. He has proposed fiercer regulation of the market at various points over the years, with the latest version of his proposed BOSS Act published in the wake of last year's big FTC-organised ticketing debate.
Those proposals seek to regulate both primary and secondary ticketing. Although - unlike in other countries, where new rules have been considered to restrict the resale of tickets by third parties - the BOSS Act would actually prevent promoters from stopping the resale of tickets to their shows. However, it would introduce new transparency obligations in the secondary market similar to those being considered and introduced elsewhere in the world.
The need for more transparency - across the board - is a key finding in the FTC report, so that customers better understand who they are buying a ticket from and what options are available to them. Linked to that is the need for ticketing platforms to be upfront about the total price of buying a ticket from the off - including in online advertising - rather than adding booking fees and other charges during the ticket buying process.
The report also discusses the effectiveness of the 2016 BOTS Act, which banned the use across the US of software employed by touts to buy up large numbers of tickets from primary ticketing sites. And another issue in the secondary market - speculative selling, where touts advertise for sale tickets they don't yet have - is also considered.
Commenting on the report, Pascrell says: "The FTC's findings show a ticket marketplace in turmoil and in desperate need of changes. My BOSS Act legislation will address, head-on, many of the legitimate complaints and fears raised by consumers and highlighted by the FTC's workshop to impose broad regulation over a wild west market for the first time".
He then thanks the FTC for staging last year's debate and publishing this week's report, adding that he urges the agency to "keep looking and use their full powers to take action on behalf of American consumers".
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted the ticketing debate somewhat, so that the main current concern - in the US and the rest of the world - is how ticketing platforms are handling the huge number of shows and events that have been cancelled or postponed as a result of shutdown. A big question is whether cash refunds are available for cancelled and postponed shows, and how quickly those refunds will be processed.
This has led to some new sparring between Pascrell and Ticketmaster, most recently via the letters page of Billboard. In a letter to the trade mag, co-signed by fellow House Of Representatives member Katie Porter, Pascrell says that thousands of Americans with tickets to events postponed as a result of COVID-19 have been left in "financial limbo" because of "anti-consumer policies at the country's largest ticket sales company: Ticketmaster".
The letter references allegations that Ticketmaster changed its policies on refunds after the COVID-19 shutdown began, allegations that have already led to legal action in the US. For its part, Ticketmaster says it simply clarified its existing policies on its website, which is to say that - with postponed shows - it is ultimately up to each show's promoter to decide if and when to offer refunds, though - it adds - most promoters will make refunds available as soon as a rescheduled date has been announced.
But, Pascrell and Porter say, Ticketmaster should be doing much more to get cash refunds to people who have tickets for cancelled or postponed shows.
The ticketing firm's US President Jared Smith has already responded to that letter, arguing in his own note to Billboard that Pascrell and Porter "either misunderstand or elect to misrepresent the realities of our business and refund policies".
"It is entirely disingenuous and flatly wrong to claim that we have 'pointed the finger at others'", he goes on. "To reiterate, Ticketmaster is a platform that allows event organisers to sell tickets directly to consumers. The fact is, the money we need to refund fans is held by our clients, many of whom are the same independent venues, promoters and arts companies the representatives claim they are trying to help".
Moreover, Pascrell argues, Ticketmaster is doing more than anyone else in the ticketing market to make refunds available and get those refunds paid.
"Ticketmaster is currently offering refunds on 100% of cancelled events and has already worked with event organisers to begin offering refunds on more than 80% of the nearly 30,000 events that have been cancelled, postponed or rescheduled", he writes. "So far, we have already processed over $600 million in refunds, a number that grows every day".
Meanwhile Ticketmaster's parent company Live Nation - also one of the ticketing firm's most significant clients - is "leading the way" and "offering refunds on 95% of rescheduled shows and working hard to move postponed shows into new dates or cancel them".
"In contrast", he adds, "not a single one of the other major ticket marketplaces (Stubhub, Vivid Seats, Gametime and SeatGeek) are offering cash refunds on postponed or rescheduled events, under any circumstances. Even worse, the largest ticket resale marketplace in the US, StubHub, is now not even providing refunds on any cancelled events".
"Regardless, we will continue to do our work with an entire industry that has come together to overcome these challenges in unprecedented ways", Smith concludes.
It remains to be seen how Pascrell and Porter respond to Smith's critique of their COVID-19 refund complaints. And then, once shutdown is finally over, how the debate around the wider regulation of the US ticketing market proceeds in the future.
Dianne Warren signs to BMG for publishing and recordings
Under the deal, the company will administer her full catalogue, outside North America, and release her upcoming debut album as an artist in her own right.
"I'm THRILLED with my new deal at BMG", says Warren. "I love the BMG team. They have hit the ground running! There is so much already happening that I know this year is going to be amazing. To say I've never felt so much enthusiasm and excitement is an understatement. It's great to have a team behind me like this. This is just the beginning of a fantastic journey filled with hits!"
BMG's LA EVP Of Repertoire & Marketing, Thomas Scherer, adds: "Diane is one in a million. She is exactly what a global publisher like BMG wants and needs. Her catalogue is full of evergreen titles written 100% by herself, a catalogue of beautiful and unreleased treasures, to pitch to artists around the world and for sync at film, TV, and commercials. Every day she is writing new smash hit songs. The entire publishing team at BMG is proud and honoured to be at service for the one and only Diane Warren".
Of the album, Scherer's New York counterpart John Loeffler also comments: "A world-renowned songwriter, with honours in every imaginable category, Diane has never actually placed her own name on the cover of an album before! Featuring a 'who's who' of a-list artists collaborating and performing her new songs, this album is the break-through record she so richly deserves. Fans will remember these songs forever and we are THRILLED to be part of this historic release".
I'm out of breath just reading these quotes.
Labrinth signs to Sony/ATV
"Labrinth is one of a kind - he is a mastermind of lyrics and melody, and his music stands the test of time", says Sony/ATV CEO Jon Platt. "I'm proud to welcome Labrinth to Sony/ATV and support his massive talent moving forward."
Sony/ATV UK's Co-Managing Director David Ventura adds: "I could not be happier that Labrinth is joining the Sony/ATV family - he is one of only few geniuses on this planet, and the music he makes is true art. We all feel immensely lucky to have the opportunity to collaborate with him. Welcome and bienvenu, Lab!"
Labrinth himself says: "I'm really happy to be working with Jon, David and their great teams. I am grateful to have their support and knowledge - I look forward to what the future holds together".
Pacemaker DJ app to directly license music after Spotify drops API access
The first DJ app to partner with Spotify, way back in 2014, Pacemaker is less a tool for serious DJs, and more about automating the mixing of playlists.
Of Spotify's change in policy regarding DJing apps, Pacemaker CEO Jonas Norberg says in a new blog post: "Spotify has been a great partner and we're saddened by the news, but we of course respect their business decision".
He goes on: "For a long time we've been looking at how to bring the Pacemaker experience to more users, and it's now clear that the only viable way forward is by licensing music directly into Pacemaker. We haven't started music licensing before now as it is a daunting task for even the most well versed and something that needs absolute commitment, but we've now been given the perfect reason to do so!"
"We're working on licensing a deep catalogue based on the tracks that are used in Pacemaker mixtapes", he goes on. "This will ensure that the majority of the hundreds of thousands of mixtapes in Pacemaker that our users have invested so much time and energy into will continue to work. There will be a few tracks missing occasionally, but should this happen, our AI will step in and mix the neighbouring tracks together, smoothing the experience. And we're going to continue our licensing efforts, filling the gaps".
Once Pacemaker switches to its own catalogue, the free version of the app will effectively be shut down - requiring users to sign up to its existing £4.49 a month premium option after a seven day free trial. While it will no longer source content from Spotify, it plans to offer the option to match playlists from that streaming service and Apple Music.
Spotify will actually withdraw access to its API for DJ apps on 1 Jul. Whether this is an indication that Spotify plans to launch a service like this itself isn't clear. Earlier this week it did launch a new feature allowing users to sync their listening remotely.
Music publisher Sony/ATV has named Katie Welle as its Senior Vice President, Creative A&R. She will be based in LA. "I've been a huge fan of Katie Welle for a very long time", says CEO Jon Platt. "Jon Platt is a legendary music publisher and a worldwide industry leader", adds Welle. Jeez guys, calm down.
Secretly Distribution announced earlier this week that it has hired Kristian Davis-Downs - formerly of AWAL and Beggars Group - as Head Of Digital Content.
LABELS & PUBLISHERS
UK song rights collecting society PRS For Music has put out its annual figures, confirming that it collected £810.8 million on behalf of its songwriter and publisher members in 2019, an increase of 8.7% compared with 2018. Online monies saw the fastest growth, even though only a portion of streaming income passes through the collecting society, the rest going direct to the publisher. That fact also means that, when it comes to money passing through PRS, royalties from the live sector still outperform all things digital. Though, of course, that revenue stream will take a big hit this year as a result of COVID-19.
Katy Perry will perform live on Amazon Music's new 'Friday Live' series this Friday. Among other things, she'll play new single 'Daisies', which is also out tomorrow. "'Daisies' is an anthemic celebration of the resilience of the human spirit", says Perry. "I wrote this song as a call to remain true to the course you've set for yourself, regardless of what others may think. I'm looking forward to joining Amazon Music this week to perform 'Daisies' for the first time ever".
The 1975 have released new single 'Guys'. One day they'll release their new album. Maybe. Who knows?
That Slowthai just can't stop dropping new tracks this week. Here's another one, 'Magic'.
Enter Shikari have released the video for 'The Great Unknown', from their latest album 'Nothing Is True And Everything Is Possible'.
Alison Mosshart has released new solo single 'It Ain't Water'.
Nadine Shah has released new single 'Buckfast'. Her new album, 'Kitchen Sink', will now be released on 26 Jun.
Chai have released new single 'Ready Cheeky Pretty'. "Keep it real - go back to the real you", say the band. "It's all about moving forward and living by instinct! To go forward with the voice of your heart! Nothing symbolises this more for us than the carefree nature, strength, and purity of a monkey. We pay homage to this in 'Ready Cheeky Pretty', because we feel that animals have the ability to be real more than humans. It's this type of song! Take a listen!" OK then, whatever you say, we will.
Agar Agar have released two new tracks, 'Nap' and 'Aaaaah', both created by the duo remotely during lockdown.
Ohmme have released new single 'Selling Candy'. Their new album, 'Fantasize Your Ghost', is out on 5 Jun.
GIGS & TOURS
Bo Ningen have, perhaps optimistically, perhaps not, announced UK tour dates for October. Things are set to kick off at Ramsgate Music Hall on 3 Oct. Tickets go on sale tomorrow.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Matt Lucas joined by drumming weather presenter Owain Wyn Evans for Baked Potato duet
Lucas released a new recording of the song, originally written for comedy gameshow 'Shooting Stars', in support of his Feed NHS charity project. Since then, the project has spawned a children's book and toy, and Lucas has been performing the song on Twitter with various celebrities - the latest being Evans.
"I loved my little sing and drum along to the iconic 'Thank You, Baked Potato' song with the incredibly lovely Matt Lucas", says Evans on Twitter.