|MONDAY 10 AUGUST 2020||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: TikTok hit back on Friday at Donald Trump's executive order that will instigate a US ban against the video sharing app next month... [READ MORE]|
TikTok says Donald Trump's big ban ignores legal process
It claimed that the US government had resisted multiple efforts on its part to address the concerns of American politicians about its platform and had instead relied on unsubstantiated reports and hearsay. Trump also failed, TikTok added, to go through due process before issuing last week's order. Legal action is now likely to follow.
Trump's executive order bans American citizens and companies from transacting with TikTok's China-based owner Bytedance from 15 Sep. The President's missive cited widespread concerns that the Chinese government has access to data on TikTok's platform, and can also use the app to spread misinformation around the world.
TikTok has long denied those allegations and insists that it complies with the data protection laws of each country in which it operates. Responding specifically to Trump's statement, it said on Friday: "We have made clear that TikTok has never shared user data with the Chinese government, nor censored content at its request".
It added that it had reached out to the US government several times over the last year to address the various data concerns that been raised, while also considering a sale of its US business to an American company in a bid to placate its critics among the political community in Washington.
But, it said, rather that the Trump team conversing with TikTok on the issues, "what we encountered instead was that the administration paid no attention to facts, dictated terms of an agreement without going through standard legal processes, and tried to insert itself into negotiations between private businesses".
Meanwhile, it added, the executive order was issued without first going through the due process required by American law, thus setting a "dangerous precedent".
Confirming its lawyers were now busy preparing a response, TikTok stated: "We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly - if not by the administration, then by the US courts".
While the lawyers get busy with all that, talks continue regarding that somewhat simpler solution, ie the sale of TikTok's American business. Microsoft remains the frontrunner in those sale talks, though it wants control of the app in multiple markets, not just the US. And possibly all markets other than China, where TikTok operates as Douyin.
Twitter is also said to be bidding, albeit only for the US. It would also likely need to find other investment partners to finance any acquisition.
It remains to be seen how both the legal battling and the sales talking go in the week ahead. But the one thing Trump definitely did last week is set a clear deadline for one or the other of those options to succeed. And now the clock is TikToking... tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.
Appeals court orders Copyright Royalty Board to reconsider some of its decision on streaming rates
An appeals court in Washington is sending back to the US Copyright Royalty Board the decision that increased the royalty paid to songwriters by streaming services under the compulsory licence that covers the mechanical copying of songs Stateside.
That follows the super controversial decision of various streaming services, including Spotify, to appeal the CRB's original ruling. That appeal went ahead even though the overall increase in what is paid to songwriters and music publishers by the streaming services pretty much brings the US compulsory licence in line with what has happened in the open marketplace in other countries.
For its part, Spotify insists that - despite objecting to the royalty hike in various hearings that preceded the CRB's ruling - it isn't actually opposed to that increase in principle. Rather it, and the other streaming services who appealed, have issues with some of the technicalities in the revised compulsory licence, and also the process the CRB went through in reaching its conclusions.
Once the streaming services had appealed, the music publishers also raised some issues from their side with the CRB's ruling. Which means - while most people in the music community would have preferred the CRB's original judgement to stand - any new hearing could also address the issues songwriters and music publishers have raised.
However, for now, we don't actually know which elements of the CRB ruling the DC Circuit appeals court has issues with. All it said on Friday was that that ruling had been "affirmed in part" and "vacated in part", and that parts would be "remanded to the board for further proceedings, in accordance with the opinion of the court filed herein this date". The there cited opinion has not yet been made public.
The music publishing sector and songwriter community has been extremely critical of the streaming services involved in the appeal, and especially Spotify.
Some of the industry's lobbyists also feel betrayed, because they collaborated closely with those services on the US Music Modernization Act, which addresses some of the issues with the administration of the compulsory licence, reducing the risk of streaming companies getting sued over unpaid royalties.
After all that collaboration, the services then went to court to try to reduce the rates paid under the now-easier-to-administrate compulsory licence.
To what extent the re-run of the CRB's deliberations will cause controversy depends to an extent on which elements of its previous decision the appeal judges want reconsidered.
But, with parts of the artist and songwriter communities already very vocal with a plethora of criticisms against streaming in general and Spotify in particular - some of those criticisms more justified than others - arguments presented to the CRB this time round will be much more widely scrutinised.
And that could create plenty of PR headaches for Spotify et al.
Missy Elliott sues producer over early-1990s recordings
In the lawsuit filed last week, Elliot says that, in the early 1990s, she spent time in the studios of a number of record producers as she developed her songwriting, creating songs for both herself and others to perform.
Among those studios was that of defendant Terry Williams. Elliot says that she was mainly interested in accessing William's database of beats, and that she never collaborated with the producer on any songwriting at the time.
The story then resumes in 2017 when a representative of Williams reached out to Elliot trying to sell her the rights to about 34 recordings that were made in his studio back in the 1990s. That representative seemingly implied that if she didn't buy those masters, the producer would try to shop them to someone else.
Elliot insists that he can't do that because she alone owns the rights in songs contained in those unreleased recordings.
A back and forth followed, after which Williams sued Elliot for, among other things, breach of contract and unjust enrichment. She managed to get that case dismissed earlier this year, and is now going legal herself in a bid to get court confirmation regarding her ownership of the song rights, and that that prevents Williams from selling on or otherwise monetising the early 1990s recordings.
Having described in some detail Elliot's creative process, and how Williams never played any role in that, the lawsuit asks the court to declare that she is "the sole author and sole owner of the lyrics, vocal arrangements and melodies underlying and embodied within the subject recordings, in addition to any other recordings defendant Williams possesses or maintains, or ever possessed or maintained, featuring the vocal performance of plaintiff Elliott".
And also that, "as a result of plaintiff's sole authorship and ownership of the lyrics, vocal arrangements and melodies underlying and embodied within the subject recordings, any and all assignments, transfers and/or licences by Williams of any of the recordings are null and void".
And for good measure, Elliot would like the court to confirm that "defendant Williams, and his agents, officers, servants, employees, successors and assigns, and all others acting in concert or in privity with defendant Williams, are preliminarily and permanently enjoined and restrained from directly or indirectly exploiting any of the recordings, including, without limitation, displaying, reproducing, transferring or distributing the recordings in any respect".
We now await to see how Williams responds.
Charlie Sloth allies with Roc Nation
The deal was confirmed on Friday as the DJ put live a new single called 'Purple', featuring Polo G and Deno, which is seemingly pre-empting an album release later in the year, that will also be supported by Roc Nation
Announcing the deal, Sloth said: "I'm super excited to be working with what is the biggest brand in hip hop, Roc Nation. The vision for what we can achieve together gives me goosebumps! Everyone knows how much British culture means to me and now we take it to the world".
UK government urges creative businesses to apply for COVID support
Those funds will spend some of the £1.57 billion of financial support that UK minsters committed to the creative and and heritage sectors last month. They include the £500 million Culture Recovery Fund being administered by Arts Council England, and a separate £30 million scheme supporting independent cinemas via the British Film Institute. Both ACE and the BFI will start accepting applications today.
Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said yesterday: "We know how important our culture is to our nation's success, wellbeing and confidence. It is this creative magic that for centuries has put our island on the world stage - from Dickens to Disclosure. That is why we are supporting our arts, culture and heritage sectors with a £1.57 billion recovery package to ensure these industries can survive now and thrive again in the future".
"From tomorrow a share of more than half a billion pounds worth of funding is open for applications from theatres, museums, music venues and independent cinemas across the country", she added. "I urge those that need help to come forward so we can help as many as possible get back to doing what you do best. We want this funding to reach far and wide and its impact to be felt in communities across the country to ensure that our cultural sectors are able to bounce back strongly".
The music industry has previously welcomed the fact ACE is employing a very wide definition of 'cultural organisation' for this scheme, meaning many music companies that would not usually receive government funding will be eligible.
However, concerns remain that - while venues and events may get support - individual music-makers and freelance music industry workers, who can not directly apply, will not benefit. Meanwhile the other general COVID support schemes that many of those people have been relying on are set to wind down.
BBC changes position and apologises for use of n-word in news report, after 1Xtra DJ resigns
Despite widespread criticism, the BBC had previously defended its use of the n-word while reporting on a violent assault that took place last month against a musician and NHS worker known as K or K-Dogg.
He sustained serious injuries - including a broken leg, nose and cheekbone - after being hit by a car. It's believed that he was the victim of a deliberate racially-aggravated attack, in part because of the racist language used by the occupants of the vehicle.
It was while citing that racist language in its report that the BBC decided to have its reporter say the n-word.
Amid the initial criticism of that report, the BBC said that its news team had decided the use of the word "was editorially justified given the context"; that the victim's family had approved of its reporter citing the racist language employed by the attackers in full; and that while "we accept that this has caused offence ... we would like people to understand why we took the decision we did".
But yesterday the broadcaster officially changed its position. Hall wrote to staff: "The BBC now accepts that we should have taken a different approach at the time of broadcast and we are very sorry for that. We will now be strengthening our guidance on offensive language across our output. Every organisation should be able to acknowledge when it has made a mistake. We made one here".
He also stressed that "the BBC's intention was to highlight an alleged racist attack", adding that that was just the kind of important journalism that the BBC should undertake. However, "despite these good intentions, I recognise that we have ended up creating distress amongst many people".
Hall's statement followed increased criticism of the BBC News report by presenters and executives within the corporation and, most notably, the resignation over said report by BBC 1Xtra presenter Sideman.
When confirming he had quit his role at the broadcaster on Instagram, he stated: "The BBC sanctioning the n-word being said on national television by a white person is something I can't rock with. This is an error of judgement where I can't just smile with you through the process and act like everything is OK".
The BBC's Director Of Creative Diversity, June Sarpong, welcomed Hall's statement, saying on Twitter that she was glad the Director General had "personally intervened to unequivocally apologise over BBC News's use of the n-word".
However, DJ Target was among those stating that the apology should have come sooner. Also writing on Twitter, he said: "It's a total shame [that] it's taken a young black broadcaster to resign, in turn causing a media frenzy, for this to be acknowledged. BBC News and the wider BBC as a corporation MUST do better".
Madonna might go back to Warner for her next album
The major label released all of Madonna's music for nearly three decades - starting with her eponymous debut album in 1983 - and was also in business with the musician for some of that time via the Maverick joint venture.
But then Madonna did one of those mega-bucks 360 degree deals with Live Nation, which included recordings as well as live activity.
Except that by the time Madonna had fulfilled her contractual commitments to Warner, Live Nation had gone off the idea of launching a record label, and so instead a deal was done with Universal Music's Interscope. It then handled the release of 2012's 'MDNA', 2015's 'Rebel Heart' and last year's 'Madame X'.
Madonna's commitments to the Universal division are now fulfilled, hence why she is in talks for a new label deal, and hence the gossip about a grand return to Warner.
Such a move would be a nice coup for the mini-major, albeit presumably an expensive one in the short term. And so expensive can it be to secure new deals with superstars, often they aren't that lucrative down the line either, even if they result in successful album releases.
But still, for fans of circular journeys, seeing Madonna back under the Warner banner would be nice. Yay circular journeys!
Jimi Hendrix guitar sells for $180,000 at auction
Not that this isn't a genuinely historic instrument. According to GWS Auctions, Hendrix used the early 1960s Japanese sunburst electric guitar "after he returned home from the US Army in 1962".
He then performed with it regularly while living in Clarksville, Tennessee "where he played on the Chitlin Circuit with the likes of Wilson Pickett, Slim Harpo, Sam Cooke, Ike and Tina Turner and Jackie Wilson", and also when he subsequently moved to New York in 1964, "playing venues such as Cafe Wha and the Cheetah Club".
However, when Hendrix moved to London the guitar remained in New York "at the apartment of one of his best friends, Mike Quashie", ultimately falling into the hands of the seller who put it up for auction. And who is now $180,000 richer. So, some genuine musical history. But still silly money.