|FRIDAY 19 JUNE 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK's Music Venue Trust has this morning called on the government to provide an urgent £50 million cash injection to prevent the closure of a plethora of venue businesses over the next three months. The trade group says that sector-specific support is now required to help the UK's network of grassroots music venues survive the ongoing pressures of the COVID-19 shutdown... [READ MORE]|
Government needs to make a £50 million cash injection to save the UK's grassroots venue network, says MVT
Those pressures, MVT says, are having a "catastrophic effect" on its membership and beyond. As a result, the UK music industry is facing "a substantial loss of infrastructure, with 90% of venues and festivals currently facing permanent closure".
It goes on: "This would result in the total collapse of the sector and thousands of job cuts including promoters, production companies, managers, agents, artists and others, which form part of an inter-dependent eco-system that is the UK music industry, alongside the loss of very substantial VAT and income tax receipts by [the UK] government".
Although some music companies, and freelancers working in the industry, have been able to access the UK government's general financial support schemes during the COVID-19 shutdown, there hasn't been any specific support for the music or wider creative industries to date.
Plus, the specifics of those general support schemes mean plenty of independent music businesses and self-employed music industry professionals have so far received no support at all. Even those that have benefited from the general support schemes fear that support will dry up before their businesses are back up and running, given all the uncertainties that remain regarding when shows of different levels will be able to return post-shutdown.
The £50 million cash injection proposed by MVT would, it says, ensure the survival of 800 grassroots music venues around the UK, many of which will otherwise go out of business between now and the end of September. It is also proposing a three-year VAT holiday for the wider live industry - benefiting festivals, promoters and bigger venues too as they seek to rebuild their businesses post-shutdown.
Noting the UK Music stat that says that the music industry delivers a gross value add of £5.2 billion to the UK economy, MVT says that a £50 million cash injection would be a relatively small investment to ensure the survival of a grassroots venue network that plays a crucial role in the development and growth of all the new music talent on which the future of the wider music industry depends.
MVT CEO Mark Davyd adds: "When we eventually emerge from lockdown, grassroots music venues, the absolute bedrock, the foundations, the cornerstone on which our world beating £5.2 billion per year industry has been built, are going to be essential to live music bouncing back. It is therefore economically short sighted and frankly ridiculous to put a £5 billion a year industry at long term risk for lack of a short term £50 million investment".
MVT and its member venues have been running various fundraising initiatives in recent months under the #saveourvenues banner to provide short-term financial support to those venues, with more than £2 million raised so far. But relying on donations in the longer term isn't viable, MVT says, both as shutdown extends, and as venues deal with the various challenges of getting things back up and running once lockdown rules are sufficiently relaxed.
Says Davyd: "The generosity shown towards our #saveourvenues campaign since we launched it in April has been staggering. The £2 million we have raised to date has saved literally hundreds of venues in the short term, but the situation is still dire and relying on donations simply isn't sustainable as we move into a recovery phase. With that in mind let's act now and protect what we have, because what we have is incredible and it is ridiculous to put ourselves in the position where we might permanently lose it for less than 1% of the income it generates for us every single year".
"£50 million in financial support and a temporary tax cut, that's all we are asking", he concludes. "Who loses if this doesn't happen? Not just the venues, not just the artists, not just the audiences, not just our communities. The government is the biggest loser of all here; billions of pounds of future tax revenues is on the line. Every other serious cultural country in the world is acting to protect its future talent pipeline, and they don't even have the incredible talent and the vibrant pipeline we have in the UK. We need our government to step up, we need them to do it now".
The UK government is under increasing pressure to provide significant and specific support to all the creative industries, all of which have been seriously impacted by the COVID-19 shutdown, with those based around live performance hardest hit. Earlier this week the Creative Industries Federation said that - without urgent government intervention - the COVID-19 pandemic would result in a "cultural catastrophe", with the creative industries set to be hit twice as hard by COVID than the economy overall and a fifth of all creative sector jobs - a total of 406,000 - under threat.
CIF boss Caroline Norbury said: "We urgently need a cultural renewal fund for those in the creative sector who will be hit hardest, including those industries who will be latest to return to work, those businesses unable to operate fully whilst maintaining social distancing and those creative professionals who continue to fall through the gaps of government support measures".
Citing a report CIF published this week, she added: "Our creative industries have been one of the UK's biggest success stories but what today's report makes clear is that, without additional government support, we are heading for a cultural catastrophe".
Little Simz renews AWAL deal
"Simbi is a multi-talented creative force - rapper, songwriter, performer, producer and actor - and as an artist with a singular vision for her career, she is a perfect artist for the AWAL model", says the Kobalt division's President Paul Hitchman.
"It has been hugely rewarding for the AWAL team to be involved in her growth as an artist over the last few years", he goes on. "We firmly believe that she is now poised to break through to global success. We look forward to working with Simbi and her team to make that success a reality".
Her manager, Starwood Management's Robert Swerdlow, adds: "Renewing her relationship with AWAL felt like the natural move for Little Simz. She is a true independent artist, and has her own creative vision in every aspect of her career. The team at AWAL completely understand this way forward and we feel very positive about keeping a winning partnership".
Little Simz released her third album, 'Grey Area', last year. In May, she put out new EP, 'Drop 6', written and recorded on lockdown. Her next album is set for release in 2021.
Downtown launches new neighbouring rights division
So, neighbouring rights, hey? That, in case you wondered, is the term used to refer to the performing rights element of the sound recording copyright. Why neighbouring rights? Good question! Why can't the record industry just call its performing rights performing rights? Nobody knows. Not one person. I checked once. I asked everyone. Nobody knew. Neighbouring rights! What a stupid name. Though I have just incorporated a company called Flip Flop Groovy Tunes Limited, so maybe I'm not one to comment on stupid names.
And just to stress, I'm not saying Downtown Neighbouring Rights is a stupid name. Given the record industry's insistence on calling its performing rights neigbouring rights, it's an entirely sensible name. I mean, boring. But sensible. And to be fair, I've already incorporated Flip Flop Groovy Tunes Limited, so all the fun names are gone.
"With revenue from touring and live performance dramatically reduced, artists and record labels are bringing added scrutiny and focus to important income sources like neighbouring rights", says Downtown's EVP of Global Business Development Andrew Sparkler. Hence the creation of Downtown Neighbouring Rights, the slightly dull but nevertheless sensibly named new addition to the Downtown group of music companies.
That new division will be headed up, by the way, by Dean Francis, who has spent the last two years running neighbouring rights operations at, oh, hang on, Downtown Music!
Ah yes, I should probably mention, Downtown already offers neighbouring rights management services. Twice, actually. Up until now it's been a service offered by Downtown's music publishing business and the music distribution firm FUGA, which Downtown acquired earlier this year. But now there'll be a super duper standalone one-stop division for helping artists and labels collect all their neighbouring rights money.
As Sparkler explains: "By centralising the neighbouring rights expertise from across Downtown-owned companies into a single business unit, and with oversight by an executive with deep industry knowledge of the space, we can more efficiently support our clients who want the same kind of professional management and transparency available through other Downtown companies".
All this neighbouring rights income - which usually includes monies paid by radio, TV and any public space that plays recorded music - is actually collected at first instance by the record industry's collecting societies. But neighbouring rights agencies - like Downtown Neighbouring Rights and Flip Flop Groovy Tunes Limited - help to manage those rights and royalties, ensuring artists and labels get all the money they are due as quickly as possible.
To do that those agencies need direct connections with each collecting society. Downtown Neighbouring Rights is currently connected to more than 50 around the world. Flip Flop Groovy Tunes Limited isn't currently affiliated to any. But it still has a much better name.
Francis has hands-on experience on the society side of all this too, having previously spent more than a decade with the UK record industry's collecting society PPL - or Phonographic Performance Limited. Not Phonographic Neighbouring Rights Limited you'll note. There's none of that neighbouring rights nonsense over at PPL HQ. Good old PPL HQ. Hey PPL HQ, fancy rebranding as Flip Flip Groovy Tunes Limited? I just registered the dotcom domain if you're interested.
Björk joins Bandcamp for Juneteenth fundraiser, donating income to Black Lives Matter UK
Marking Juneteenth - which commemorates the anniversary of slaves in Texas being freed in 1865 - Bandcamp itself will today donate 100% of its income to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. It has also announced it will donate a further $30,000 annually to organisations that fight racism.
"The current moment is part of a long-standing, widespread, and entrenched system of structural oppression of people of colour, and real progress requires a sustained and sincere commitment to political, social, and economic racial justice and change", says Bandcamp in a blog post.
"We'll continue to promote diversity and opportunity through our mission to support artists, the products we build to empower them, who we promote through the Bandcamp Daily, our relationships with local artists and organisations through our Oakland space, how we operate as a team, and who and how we hire", it adds.
Björk and OLI are among a number of artists and labels also making their own fundraising commitments on Bandcamp today. As well as offering her records digitally, they are also being sold in various physical editions, including a number of new limited edition versions. See her full catalogue here.
You can find a full list of other artists and labels - including Perfume Genius, Deerhoof, Tunde Adebimpe, Sunn o))), Wilco, Yumi Zouma, 4AD, Ninja Tune, Domino Records, Erased Tapes Records, and Ghostly International - donating Bandcamp income to charity today here.
Vera Lynn dies
A statement from her record label - Universal's Decca - on her official Facebook page says: "Dame Vera Lynn, forever known as 'The Forces' Sweetheart', was one of Britain's best-loved and most enduring entertainers. We thank Dame Vera for her invaluable contribution to the world, and for the joy and warmth she has spread to so many through her music and the charitable causes she has championed. Keep smiling and keep singing".
Lynn's career began in the 1930s, releasing her first solo single, 'Up The Wooden Hill To Bedfordshire', on Crown Records in 1936. The label merged with Decca two years later and she remained there for the remainder of her long career.
It was during the Second World War, performing to frontline troops in various countries, that she got her nickname 'The Forces' Sweetheart'. And songs such as 'We'll Meet Again' and 'The White Cliffs Of Dover' made her famous back at home too, long after the war ended.
In 1952, she became the first British singer to top the US singles chart, with 'Auf Wiedersehen, Sweetheart'. Two years later, she scored her only UK number one single with 'My Son, My Son'.
She made her final official public performance in Hyde Park in 1995 as part of a concert to mark the 50th anniversary of VE Day. However, she continued to have chart success. In 2009, she became the oldest artist ever to have a UK number one album, aged 92. A record she scored again just last month, when her 2017 greatest hits compilation '100' topped the chart, following the most recent VE Day celebrations.
Duffy posts second new song of 2020 on social media
In March, the musician aired her first new music in more than a decade, 'Something Beautiful', on Jo Whiley's Radio 2 show. However, she said that she had no plans to release it, and in an essay the following month she explained: "As liberating as it's been to finally speak and to finally sing, albeit on radio, I will now return to quietness".
Two months on, she has emerged from that quietness once again with 'River In The Sky'. Only available on her Instagram and Facebook profiles, she posted the new song with the caption, "For the better days to come".
Yumi Zouma have signed a new deal with Sub Pop Publishing. "We're so excited to be joining the Sub Pop Publishing family, an organisation that has been responsible for music that has literally been the soundtrack of our lives", say the band. "From Beach House to The Postal Service, Sub Pop's catalogue is one we would most certainly be stashing in our desert island rucksacks".
LABELS & PUBLISHERS
Global record industry trade group the IFPI has opened a new division in Sub-Saharan Africa, based in Nairobi. "The opening of our office in Nairobi demonstrates IFPI's focus and commitment to the region and will enable us to better champion issues affecting the local recording industry and support the further development of the music market in these countries", says IFPI CEO Frances Moore. Overseeing IFPI operations in the 46 countries covered by the office will be Angela Ndambuki. She was previously CEO of the Kenya National Chamber Of Commerce And Industry.
EDUCATION AND EVENTS
Scottish music convention Wide Days has announced that this year's event will now take place online from 23-25 Jul with panels, speed meetings, hang-out rooms and plenty of other things too. CMU Insights will be popping up in the conference programme as normal – more details about all that will be going live very soon. Meanwhile, tickets are on sale and a bursary scheme has been launched – all the info is here.
Noname has responded to J Cole's track that may or may not be about her with a track that may or may not be about him, called 'Song 33'.
Swae Lee has released new single 'Reality Check'.
Saweetie has released new single 'Tap In'. Her new album, 'Pretty Bitch Music', is out later this summer.
Selfie sticks are a blot on human history, right? But now Robyn has made a music video with one. So I don't know what to think anymore.
Following the release of her Finneas-produced single 'I Can See The Change' last month, Celeste has now put out a video for the track. "The song was written from a very personal and introspective place", she says. "However, it has taken on a new and more powerful meaning because of what has been happening with COVID-19 and the global reinvigoration of the Black Lives Matter movement".
Angel Olsen has released a new Mark Ronson remix of her track 'New Love Cassette'. "A song can go in so many directions if you let it", she says. "I love hearing what Ronson hears in this remix of 'New Love Cassette'".
Back with their first new music for eleven years, Doves have released new single 'Carousel'. "It's a reminiscent of the times that we'd go to places like North Wales on holiday as kids", says the band's Andy Williams of the song. "Places where you had your first experience of sound systems and music being played really loud".
Everything Everything have release new single 'Planets'. Says frontman Jonathan Higgs: "[It] is a song about calling out to be loved, feeling unworthy and finding the love of the universe instead". The band's new album, 'Re-Animator', is out on 21 Aug.
Julianna Barwick has released new single 'In Light', featuring Sigur Rós's Jónsi. Her new album, 'Healing Is A Miracle', is out on 10 Jul through Ninja Tune.
Creeper have released new single 'Be My End', the opening track of upcoming new album 'Sex, Death & The Infinite Void'. "Thematically it introduces the 'apocalyptic romance' that the album deals in", says frontman Will Gould.
Amy Shark has released new single 'Everybody Rise'. "The whole idea of writing a song about unrequited love feels overcooked and everyone's done it, I know", she says. "But I don't feel like anyone's done it like this before. I wanted it to sound like all these broken hearts getting together and being like, 'We all wonder what it's like to be with you'".
Former Carter USM frontman Jim Bob is releasing his first solo album for seven years in August, titled 'Pop Up Jim Bob'. From it, this is new single 'Jo's Got Papercuts'.
Sabiyha is back with new single 'Love Me Alone'. "I'm someone who embraces sexuality, however, that does not give people a free pass to treat me like an object", she says. "This song basically says 'I'm over this bullshit, I'm not letting this affect my self-worth; I'll love me'".
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Eurovision updates rules "to be more flexible" when the next global crisis comes
Many of the changes are somewhat vague, but will basically allow for more flexibility in the format of the event if and when another global crisis occurs. When the event returns next year, there will also be a trial of lifting rules requiring backing vocals to be performed live - meaning countries could travel with smaller delegations in the future, if necessary.
"The lessons learned from the spring of 2020 are that we need to plan for a global crisis, and we have tailored the rules of the contest to that effect", says Martin Österdahl, the Eurovision Song Contest's new Executive Supervisor. "We must be able to be more flexible and to make changes even to the format itself and how we organise the event in these challenging times".
He adds: "When making the rule change, maintaining authenticity and fairness has always been front of mind. [But] we have to adapt, even if, as preferred, we are able to come back with our A-scenario; a contest as we know and love it, in a packed arena with fans and delegations".
This year's Eurovision, of course, was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic - it was the first time it had not been held since it launched in 1956. The 2021 edition in May next year will take place in Rotterdam in The Netherlands, as had been planned for this year. However, this year's songs will not be eligible for the competition.