|WEDNESDAY 5 AUGUST 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Neil Young has followed up on his threat to sue Donald Trump by, you know, suing Donald Trump... [READ MORE]|
Neil Young sues Donald Trump
The lawsuit over Trump's use of Young's music at his political rallies has been a long time coming. Young first complained about this when Trump used 'Rockin In The Free World' at an event to announce that he had decided to stand for President all the way back in 2015.
Since then, Young has repeatedly said in public that he'd quite like Trump to stop using his music, while Trump has mainly done his best to ignore the musician.
Until recently, Young generally seemed to accept that there wasn't much he could do about Trump continuing to use his tracks at his rallies, but then in June he posted an update on his website saying that he now reckoned there were grounds to sue. Despite that, he said, he would not go legal, because it would distract the President and his team from tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, last month - Trump having apparently given up on even pretending to care about the pandemic, instead focusing on sending quasi-soldiers onto the streets of certain American cities to battle Black Lives Matter protesters - Young said that he was now re-thinking his stance on taking legal action. And that, my friends, brings us up to right now. Or at least this week. Because Neil Young has filed legal papers and they are a lot of fun.
"This complaint is not intended to disrespect the rights and opinions of American citizens, who are free to support the candidate of their choosing", the lawsuit begins. "However, plaintiff, in good conscience, cannot allow his music to be used as a 'theme song' for a divisive, un-American campaign of ignorance and hate".
Yes! Strap the fuck in. The suit relates to Trump's use of both 'Rockin In The Free World' and 'Devil's Sidewalk', and argues that by playing those tracks "numerous times" for the "entertainment and amusement" of attendees of various political rallies and events, Young's copyright was in-fuckin-fringed, mate.
"Plaintiff has continuously and publicly objected to the use by the campaign of the songs", it goes on, noting - as did we - that the first such objection was after the 2015 launch event. "In response, the campaign issued a statement saying that it had procured a licence to do so, thus acknowledging that it knew a licence is required".
Most of the venues Trump uses for his events have blanket licences from song right collecting societies like BMI and ASCAP (and, in the US, no licence is actually required on the recordings side). Usually, events in those venues would be able to play Neil Young songs under their ASCAP licence.
That said, the Trump campaign also has its own political event licences from BMI and ASCAP too, mainly because sometimes it stages rallies in non-traditional venues that do not have their own blanket licences from the collecting societies.
Crucially, songwriters can opt out of those political licences. Plus the terms of said licences ban licensees from relying on venue licences where writers have decided to specifically exclude their songs from any one politician's licence - as the Rolling Stones have done.
Presumably Young has withdrawn his catalogue for use under the political licence too, although the lawsuit does not make this clear, or indeed deal with any of the ins and outs of blanket licences at all. It just states that when Trump used Young's songs at his disastrous rally in Tulsa, the campaign did not have a licence to do so. Nor has it had on any other occasion since.
Young is seeking statutory damages of $150,000 per infringement, plus legal costs and any other damages the court sees fit to award him. And most importantly, obviously, he wants Donald Trump to bloody well stop using his bloody songs.
Hipgnosis signs Blondie's Debbie Harry and Chris Stein
Anyway, this is a slightly long-winded way of announcing yet another deal being struck by the Hipgnosis Songs Fund. This time with the rather marvellous Debbie Harry and Chris Stein of Blondie fame. The deal covers the duo's writer royalty share on songs and their performer share of so called neighbouring rights income from recordings.
The real achievement was completing the double sticker shot of the Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker lightsaber fight, because Panini had made sure the world was awash with the left hand sticker but had seemingly only printed nineteen of the right hand one. Imagine the glory that unfolded the day I opened that little packet of stickers and found the right hand lightsaber fight sticker inside.
It's like Hipgnosis boss Merck Mercuriadis says: "I have followed every move that Debbie and Chris have made since day one. Their singles have been not only massively successful but era and genre-defining. Equally well they have made cultural albums of the greatest importance. I am delighted to welcome Debbie and Chris to the Hipgnosis family and look forward to working with them for years to come".
I should add I was eight years old when 'Return Of The Jedi' came out. That's the right age to be obsessively trying to fill a pointless Panini sticker album with shitty stickers right? That wasn't weird? And rest assured, all the other sticker albums that came free with my weekly edition of Look-In magazine never got much of a, well, look in really. Which was kind of ironic.
What do Debbie Harry and Chris Stein think about all that? Well, let's ask them. "We are so happy to be working with a progressive company", say they, "and are looking forward to the future with Hipgnosis' forward-thinking team".
What the fuck? I don't think Debbie or Chris have been listening to anything I said. And now I come to think about it, Merck pretty much glossed over my 'Return Of The Jedi' sticker book achievements too. Bastards.
Maybe they're pissed off that I didn't include any of the 850 words of the press release explaining why Harry, Stein and all things Blondie are brilliant. Although, if you need me to explain that to you, I'm not sure what you're doing here. Maybe just fuck off and fill up a sticker album instead.
Loyle Carner signs to Transgressive Publishing
"This feels like a beautiful homecoming", say Transgressive co-founder Toby L and A&R Manager Mike Harounoff in a joint statement. "Transgressive had the great pleasure of releasing Loyle Carner's first single five years ago and we have watched on with pride as he's gone on to take over the country and further afield with his deeply affecting and powerful songs. With a landmark third album in the works, our reunion feels like perfect timing".
"Feels like I've come home", adds Carner. "Transgressive has always had a special place in my heart, and with the added power of Warner Chappell it feels like the right move at the right time".
Carner's last album, 'Not Waving, But Drowning', was released last year.
Sony/ATV and TwentySeven sign Jimmie Allen
"[TwentySeven founders] Barry [Weiss] and Jenna [Andrews] continue to be first-rate creative partners for Sony/ATV and I'm eager to continue our work together", says Sony/ATV CEO Jon Platt. "It is also an honour to support the career of Jimmie Allen, as he continues to break down barriers in music and inspire a new generation of fans".
Weiss and Andrews add: "We're delighted to continue our relationship with our partners at Sony/ATV – Jon Platt and [SVP A&R] Jake Fain are model partners. Jimmie Allen is a generational talent that has a huge career ahead of him. He's just getting started".
Allen himself, meanwhile, says: "I have been a fan of Barry Weiss for years. I've seen the great artists he has worked with and is working with. Super fired up about signing with his company. I'm looking forward to working with the entire team at TwentySeven Music Publishing and Sony/ATV and seeing what kind of timeless music magic we can create to inspire future songwriters and artists for generations to come".
COVID challenges for freelancers in the music community back in the spotlight
As well as seeking assurances that orchestras will benefit from the sector-specific COVID support being provided by government to cultural businesses, both organisations have again called on ministers to extend and expand support for freelance music-makers.
It follows another social media push by the music industry yesterday under the #LetTheMusicPlay banner, this time putting the spotlight on the crews that work on tours and festivals, many of whom are freelancers who will not directly benefit from that sector-specific COVID support.
With the government's general COVID schemes set to expire in the next couple of months, but with live shows unlikely to properly return until 2021, the industry wants ministers to ensure freelance workers in the live sector will still be able to access financial support. That could be achieved partly by extending the current Self Employment Income Support Scheme, and by subsidising loss-making socially-distanced live events that could pay artists to play and employ freelance crew.
Back with the MU and ABO, they noted this morning that while the government's sector-specific support for cultural organisations is appreciated, "there is no certainty at present as to which orchestras will benefit". And, they added, "it will certainly not help, in the short-term, the many freelance musicians who depend on earnings from concerts and recordings".
They then stated: "This parlous state for a vital part of our cultural landscape is exacerbated by the concern that the last payment under the SEISS will be in August, yet a return to concerts with full audiences is not expected until 2021".
Of course there is also the additional issue that many freelancers haven't even been able to access the SEISS support to date because of the way they have structured their businesses.
On that point, ABO's Mark Pemberton explained: "The many thousands of freelance musicians who have helped to make UK orchestras world-renowned are on their knees hoping that the government will finally recognise their plight, and step in with much needed funds to tide them over until the concert halls can reopen. Our own research suggests that up to a third of freelance orchestral musicians have been unable to access the government's SEISS and, with no work on the horizon, they are contemplating a very, very bleak future".
Meanwhile, MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge added: "The MU and the ABO are both deeply concerned about the future of the UK's orchestras and the highly-talented musicians who rely on that work and who are at the heart of this key sector. For our orchestral members the ship is sinking and there isn't a lifeboat in sight. This government either doesn't understand the damage that is being done to the orchestral sector, or it doesn't care. We have repeatedly called upon the government to offer a lifeline to freelance orchestral musicians, but they simply choose not to listen".
UB40's Duncan Campbell hospitalised after stroke
"We can confirm that our lead singer and brother Duncan Campbell was taken to hospital after suffering a stroke", said the band in a statement on Twitter.
"While we can report that he is already up and about, we ask fans to respect Duncan and the family's privacy as he works his way back to what we all hope will be a strong and speedy recovery", they continued. "We look forward to seeing you all on the road next spring".
Duncan Campbell is the brother of original UB40 frontman Ali Campbell. Duncan took over frontman duties in 2008, after his brother left in a dispute over the band's finances.
Ali Campbell subsequently set up a rival UB40 with other former members of the group, going by various names before settling on UB40 Featuring Ali Campbell & Astro.
Mojo Music & Media has acquired a 50% stake in the catalogue of Cheap Trick's Rick Nielsen. "I'd almost given up on the chance of finding a publisher who actually knew all my songs and had a vision for how to keep them alive for another 1000 years or so", says Nielsen, not completely understanding how copyright terms work. The deal covers more than 400 songs.
Arjun Pulijal has been promoted to SVP Marketing for Universal's Capitol Records in the US. "Arjun has a remarkable ability to bring an artist's vision to life and to create the impactful moments that are key to any successful marketing campaign", says Capitol Music Group President Jeff Vaughn.
BMG has promoted Tim Reid to SVP Repertoire & Marketing for BMG Recorded Music in the US. "He is an exceptional and highly respected executive inside the artist and management community", says his immediate boss Thomas Scherer.
McFly have released the video for new single 'Happiness'.
The Streets have released the video for 'None Of Us Is Getting Out Of This Alive', featuring Idles.
Toddla T has teamed up with Miraa May for an ode to the Notting Hill Carnival, 'Carnival Love'.
Kelly Lee Owens has released a new collaboration with John Cale, 'Corner Of My Sky'. "I knew with this album I needed to connect with my roots and therefore having the Welsh language featured on the record felt very important to me", she says. "Once the music for the track was written and the sounds were formed, I sent the track straight to John and asked if he could perhaps delve into his Welsh heritage and tell the story of the land via spoken-word, poetry and song".
Hudson Mohawke has released a new collection of rarites and unreleased tracks, titled 'BBHE'.
FKA Twigs features on new 645AR single 'Sum Bout U'.
All We Are have released new track 'Heart Of Mine'. Their new album, 'Providence' is out on 14 Aug.
Cults have released new single 'No Risk'. Their new album, 'Host', is out on 18 Sep.
Sean Nicholas Savage has released new single 'I Believe In Everything'. His new album, 'Life Is Crazy', will be out on 2 Oct.
Sad13 - aka Speedy Ortiz's Sadie Dupuis - has released new single 'Oops...!' "I wrote the song to process ways in which I've used people's assumptions about me and my body to wield my own version of toxic masculinity", she says.
GIGS & TOURS
The Great Escape has announced a series of gigs in multiple venues around Dublin and Glasgow in the run up to next year's festival in Brighton in May. "We're really pleased to announce we will be heading on tour to Glasgow and Dublin to launch our brand new music showcase The Road To The Great Escape in May 2021", says the CEO of TGE promoter MAMA Festivals, Rory Bett. The line-up will be revealed in November.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Dates set for closure of Google Play Music
As soon as Google launched YouTube Music as a standalone service it was expected that the music streaming product that already existed under the Google Play brand would eventually be phased out.
The web giant then confirmed that was indeed the plan in May, while also providing tools to allow those people still using Google Play for music streams - or, of that matter, as a digital locker for their MP3s, old school style - to transition over to the YouTube Music platform.
No deadline was initially given for making that transition, but yesterday it was announced that Google Play Music would be turned off in New Zealand and South Africa in September, and then all other markets where it operated the following month.
Users will no longer be able to upload, download or pre-order music via Google Play Music from later this month, while the final deadline for transitioning playlists and music libraries over to YouTube is December. After which, it's all agreed, no one will ever mention Google Play Music ever again.
"Over the last few years, we've worked to build a fantastic fan experience on YouTube Music, merging the very best of Google Play Music with the very best of YouTube", Google told all seventeen of the remaining Google Play Music users yesterday. "We can't wait for you to start exploring YouTube Music features and discovering new music favourites along the way".
The one person I know who actually used Google Play Music, who has now transitioned to YouTube Music, is constantly complaining about what a poor replacement it is and how there's "so much to fix" with the newer set-up. So, yeah, lots of exciting stuff to explore and discover. RIP Google Access All Play What The Fuck Music. You'll be missed. By seventeen people. But that's something.