|MONDAY 13 JULY 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Singer-songwriter Lady A has commented on the lawsuit filed against her by the band formerly known as Lady Antebellum. The band claimed in a court filing last week that the singer, real name Anita White, had made an "exorbitant monetary demand" from them after they changed their name to hers. They want a judge to confirm that the trademarks they already hold for the name makes it legally theirs... [READ MORE]|
Lady A the singer says she can't co-exist with the band Lady A
Lady Antebellum recently announced that they were changing their name in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests, due to the connection between their former moniker and the slave trade. This came as a surprise to blues and soul singer White, who had been using the name since the late 1980s. The band had not contacted her prior to their announcement.
Once reports of the name clash surfaced, the band quickly defended themselves, saying that they were not aware of the other Lady A.
Seemingly, they had not thought to check if anyone else was using that brand because it had been a nickname used by their fans, journalists and the band themselves for almost as long as they had been performing. They also own the trademark in the name for various activities, them having made their first Lady A registration in 2010.
Shortly after White came forward, both Lady As spoke in a video call to discuss their options, and seemingly concluded that both acts could co-exist happily - even agreeing to work together on a song, so basically Lady A featuring Lady A.
The band's lawyers then put together a draft agreement based on the call. However, White seemingly wasn't happy with that contract. She hired new legal reps who then sent back their own version of the agreement, which included that "exorbitant monetary demand" of a $10 million one-off payment to their client.
In an interview with Vulture, White confirms that figure and says that it is an entirely reasonable amount of money to ask for, given she is expected to give up her name to the band and relaunch her decades-long career under a new brand. In fact, she says, she only intends to use half of it to counteract her music being buried by a much larger act, while the remaining $5 million will be donated to charities of her choice, including organisations supporting other black independent artists.
"The first contract they sent [on 30 Jun] had no substance", she says. "It said that we would co-exist and that they would use their best efforts to assist me on social media platforms, Amazon, iTunes, all that. But what does that mean? I had suggested on the Zoom call that they go by The Band Lady A, or Lady A The Band, and I could be Lady A The Artist, but they didn't want to do that".
Far from being able to "co-exist" with the band, she says that she is already running into problems with her music no longer showing up prominently online when you search "Lady A". On digital music services, she always shows up somewhere below the band, and sometimes not at all. And if you search 'Lady A singer' on Google, an information box prominently tells you that the person you are seeking is Lady Antebellum frontwoman Hillary Scott.
And it's not just issues with her name not showing up in searches, she says. There are problems with getting her music out at all when there's a more famous band using her name. "I attempted to upload my single [through digital distributor DistroKid] and couldn't verify my name, Lady A, for several days", she says. "It finally went through and now I'm just waiting until my July release to see if my single will be buried".
In a statement to Billboard after filing their lawsuit, the band said: "We hope Anita and the advisers she is now listening to will change their minds about their approach. We can do so much more together than in this dispute".
White retorts: "$5 million is nothing, and I'm actually worth more than that, regardless of what they think. But here we go again with another white person trying to take something from a black person, even though they say they're trying to help. If you want to be an advocate or an ally, you help those who you're oppressing. And that might require you to give up something because I am not going to be erased".
The issue for White now is that the band do own the trademark in the Lady A name, and have done so for a decade without any objection from her. They claim that White should have been aware of their use of the name and related trademarks.
White is winning the PR battle so far - there has been a backlash against the band since they went legal, with their lawsuit seemingly at odds with their reasons for changing their name in the first place. However, in purely legal terms, the band are in the stronger position.
For more on the legal dispute over the Lady A name, listen to this week's edition of our Setlist podcast.
Xtra Mile partners with The Orchard
"It's a challenge to do any kind of deal in these unprecedented times but it's testament to the UK team and the global HQ in NYC that we got it done", says Xtra Mile boss Charlie Caplowe. "We are massively excited about the new global set up and can't wait to get cracking with our upcoming releases later this year and into 2021".
Upcoming releases from the label including a Frank Turner rarities compilation, and albums from Guise, Skinny Lister, Brand New Friend and Johnny Lloyd.
Louis Tomlinson splits from Syco
"Syco Music and I have agreed to part ways", he said in a tweet. "I'm really excited for the future and to be back in the studio writing the next album".
Tomlinson released his debut solo LP, 'Walls', in February this year, peaking at number four in the UK albums chart before dropping to number 76 the week after, and then out of the top 100 altogether.
And although his debut solo single 'Just Hold On' in 2016 - a collaboration with Steve Aoki - went to number two in the UK singles chart, subsequent singles have faired less well. The single that preceded the album, 'Two Of Us', peaked at number 64.
He fared better in the US though, where he releases through Sony's Arista label and his album went to number one.
Amazon says memo banning staff from using TikTok was sent by mistake
Of course we know. Well, we can guess. Probably. Can we? I mean, we could ask Amazon about its motivation for the TikTok ban. Except when people started doing just that, the word came back from Amazon HQ that TikTok wasn't, in fact, banned. "We love them TikToks!" declared the Amazon comms team, basically, presumably somehow cleverly lip-syncing their statement to the latest Doja Cat track.
Of course, plenty of concerns about the China-owned TikTok app - and principally what happens to all the data that it gathers - have been expressed in both corporate and political circles at various points over the last year.
Owner Bytedance continues to insist that it complies with all data protection laws around the world, that it isn't handing over any information about its global userbase to the Chinese government, and that it's non-China operations are fully autonomous from its in-China operations.
In a bid to further that narrative, the company has been concurrently boosting its offices and workforce outside its home country, not least by hiring former Disney exec Kevin Mayer as CEO. Meanwhile, it has also ramped up its efforts to court the global music industry.
However, the data concerns never went away, and the recent decision of the Indian government to ban the app entirely has pushed those concerns back up the agenda. Even though it was one of 59 Chinese mobile apps to be banned by Indian ministers, who were mainly responding to recently increased tensions between India and China linked to a very long-running border dispute.
Though there has also been plenty of chatter to the effect that the US government could follow India's lead in cracking down on the app, not least because of comments made by the country's Secretary Of State Mike Pompeo.
And while tough talk from Donald Trump's team could be seen as a petty backlash to all those young TikTok users trolling the President by booking up tickets for his recent Tulsa rally with no intention of attending, concerns about the Chinese app in Washington are hardly new. And in Congress, concerns have been expressed on both sides of the political spectrum.
Hence why the news that Amazon had sent a memo out to its staff announcing a TikTok ban late last week quickly grabbed the headlines. But almost as soon as said headlines had been grabbed, the web giant announced that the memo had gone out by mistake. Amazon employees are welcome to carry on TikToking on any mobile device also running the company's email client.
"There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok", a spokesperson said. No explanation was given for why the memo went out by mistake. Some have speculated it was intended for a smaller team of Amazon employees, rather than all corporate staff.
But while the headline-grabbing Amazon ban of TikTok turned out to be a mistake, US bank Wells Fargo has asked some of its employees to remove the app from their company devices. Partly for security reasons. And partly because, well, hey bankers, what are you doing TikToking on your corporate device?
The bank told reporters: "Due to concerns about TikTok's privacy and security controls and practices, and because corporate-owned devices should be used for company business only, we have directed those employees to remove the app from their devices".
For its part, TikTok has said that it wasn't approached by Wells Fargo about its concerns. It would more than happy to have a reassuring data discussion with the bankers, the company added. And, presumably, if necessary, with Amazon HQ. And the Indian government. And Trump and Pompeo.
They're going to be busy. If only you could allay data security concerns with some kind of viral dance move gimmick. Then TikTok would be sorted.
Third Edition of 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar' to be published this week
MMF has been working with CMU Insights on its 'Digital Dollar' project for five years. From the start, the aim was to help managers get to grips with the complex licensing deals and royalty processes that sit at the heart of the streaming music business.
By understanding how it all works, managers can better advise the artists and songwriters they represent; ask all the important questions of the record labels, music distributors, music publishers and collecting societies they work with; and play an informed role in all the debates around the business model, how it is evolving, and where problems remain.
A lot has changed in the five years since the 'Digital Dollar' project began. Some issues have been addressed, but others have newly emerged as the market has matured. Meanwhile, additional MMF 'Digital Dollar' guides also put the spotlight on evolving record deals, transparency issues, fan data and the complex royalty chains that can stop songwriters from getting paid.
'Dissecting The Digital Dollar: Third Edition' brings together all of this work in one place, while the core section explaining the business model has been fully updated to include the latest market trends, copyright reforms in the US and Europe, the impact of Brexit on British artists, the Deezer-led user-centric royalty distribution debate and much more.
The third edition will be launched this Thursday at an MMF event called 'Dissecting The Digital Dollar Five Years On: How Streaming Works And How It Could Work Better'.
CMU's Chris Cooke will run through the five biggest changes that have happened in streaming since the original 'Digital Dollar' report was published, while MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick will set out her organisation's current priorities for making further change happen.
Plus, a panel of artists, managers and industry experts will discuss how they are successfully incorporating streaming into their business strategies, and what further reforms of the market and the business model could deliver even greater benefits for the artists and songwriters they work with.
Taking part in the debate will be artist Laura Bettinson, Sammy Andrews of Deviate Digital, Shauni Caballero of The Go 2 Agency, Shaurav D'Silva of 2-Tone Entertainment and Matt Johnson of Red Light Management.
The one-hour session will take place via Zoom on Thursday 16 Jul at 5pm. You can reserve a place here.
BMG partners with sister companies on new podcasting venture
The music firm is teaming up with other businesses in Bertelsmann group for all these podcasting fun times, namely telly show maker Fremantle and the book publishers Penguin Random House and DK. The new venture is called Storyglass and is part of a programme that seeks to facilitate collaborations between different Bertelsmann businesses in the UK called the Bertelsmann Content Alliance.
Storyglass will, says the official blurb, "operate as a standalone Bertelsmann company and focus on developing and producing podcasts of all genres, complementing the output of each of the [Bertelsmann UK] businesses across TV, media, books and music".
For BMG, it means being able to offer podcast services to artists and songwriters that work with the music firm. "At BMG we put the artist and their brand at the centre of our business", says the company's UK President of Marketing & Repertoire, Alistair Norbury.
"We are always looking for new ways to foster their creativity, and the Content Alliance opens up a unique infrastructure to do so. The launch of Storyglass offers a significant extension of our services to artists". Good times.
But if you want a top quality podcast that's been riding that bandwagon for fucking ages, get yourself over to Setlist.
Will.i.am says Kanye West's presidential bid is "dangerous"
"It's a dangerous thing to be playing with", he tells the Mirror. "If you're not serious, you don't play with that, especially now. Like what the fuck, seriously, I don't even know what, like, community service you do".
The Black Eyes Peas member adds that he's not interested in entering politics himself. He says he's happy to focus on his own charity project supporting poor children from where he grew up in Los Angeles so that they can go to university.
"There's so many ways to help our communities other than politics and you don't have to run for office to change people's lives for the better", he says.
"Our kids have gone off to colleges they probably never thought, or anyone thought, they'd go to", he goes on, "like Dartmouth, Brown, Stanford, UCLA – studying things you probably never thought they would study, like bioscience, engineering, autonomy, robotics and computer science. So you don't have to be a politician to protect the youth".
Which is very true. Though, to be fair to West, when he outlined his policies in a Forbes interview last week, protecting the youth wasn't one of them.
Jarvis Cocker likens fame to porn
"It was a very strange time for me because I'd achieved my lifetime's ambition and then found that it didn't satisfy me", he tells the Sunday Times. "[It] reminded me of pornography. Of how pornography takes an amazing thing – love between two people expressed physically – and kind of grosses it out".
What if you're famous for making pornography though? What's that like? I mean, can fame be like pornography if it is pornography? Is it twice as gross? Or does it cancel itself out?
Maybe these are not questions for right now. Not least because - and I can't stress this enough - Jarvis Cocker has not started making pornography. He is, in fact, preparing to release a new album with his non-pornographic band, Jarv Is.
Titled 'Beyond The Pale', that album is out this Friday. From it, this is 'Save The Whale'.