|FRIDAY 22 JANUARY 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Hey, everyone, the moment you've all been waiting for has finally arrived. Well, the moment you've been nervously anticipating and grimly discussing with everyone you've spoken to over the last couple of months. Yes, that's right, Glastonbury has cancelled its 2021 edition... [READ MORE]|
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Glastonbury 2021 cancelled, as Culture Recovery Fund term extended
This is the second year in a row that the festival has been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, of course. In a statement, Michael and Emily Eavis said yesterday: "With great regret, we must announce that this year's Glastonbury Festival will not take place, and that this will be another enforced fallow year for us".
"In spite of our efforts to move Heaven and Earth, it has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the festival happen this year", they added. "We are so sorry to let you all down".
As happened when the 2020 festival was cancelled last March, all tickets and the £50 deposits already paid for them will be rolled over to 2022. "We are very appreciative of the faith and trust placed in us by those of you with deposits, and we are very confident we can deliver something really special for us all in 2022", the Eavises concluded.
Anyone who does not wish to attend the festival in 2022 will be able to claim a refund. If they do so before 31 Dec 2021, they will not incur any admin fees.
Back in June last year - when the 2020 edition of the festival should have been taking place - Michael Eavis said that he was not confident about the event's future if forced to cancel for a second year in a row. "We have to run [in 2021], otherwise we would seriously go bankrupt", he said. "It has to happen for us, we have to carry on. Otherwise it will be curtains. I don't think we could wait another year".
By August he was somewhat more optimistic, however. He admitted that it might be "wishful thinking" that the COVID-19 situation would be under enough control to allow a major event such as Glastonbury by summer 2021. But fears that the enterprise might collapse if a second cancellation occurred had seemingly passed, with Eavis saying: "I am confident that [the festival] will survive, it will come back – probably stronger actually".
Despite Eavis's doubts, many were confident at that point that summer 2021 would see some sort of triumphant return for human interaction. However, that has seemed less likely as time has gone on. Even with COVID vaccinations being administered, it is becoming ever more clear that life will not be returning to anything close to 'normal' very quickly.
While many still hoped that festivals would be able to take place in some form this year, many in the industry and the public have talked about seeing the status of Glastonbury 2021 as the key indicator of what this summer holds.
It's true that smaller festivals can likely wait longer before making a final decision, although issues around getting cancellation insurance might make even that tricky. Either way, with the UK's big festival now off the cards, it is probable that others will begin to follow with cancellation announcements.
Commenting on the Glastonbury news, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association Michael Kill said: "Devastating announcement today from Glastonbury Festival, [it's] such an important date within the festival calendar for many, and [the cancellation] will be devastating for festival-goers, and businesses looking at the summer season and the opportunity to trade in 2021".
"The government must recognise the impact of the negligible levels of support given to the festival and events sector, and work through a solution that will safeguard the sector, and allow the 2021 festival and events season to take place across the UK", he added.
Whether a solution that will allow events to take place this summer can be found remains to be seen. Government-backed insurance would help of course, and the industry continues to campaign for that. Though fears that the shutdown of live music - and certainly larger scale events - could continue into the summer will prompt industry reps to seek other kinds of additional government support too.
In October last year, the UK government's Department Of Culture, Media & Sport's Arts Council England administered Culture Recovery Fund handed out grants to live music companies aimed at allowing them to remain in business while still being closed until April this year. Yesterday, it was announced that any of that grant money not spent by the end of April could now be used up to the end of July. Previously, the terms of the grants meant that unspent money would have to be handed back.
In a statement, Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Dayvd said: "This offer from DCMS and ACE to permit Culture Recovery Fund One applicants to carry projects and financing into the next quarter is a real common sense approach to making the best use of public funding. We want to thank our colleagues at DCMS and ACE for working so hard to get this very important opportunity over the line".
CEO of live music trade body LIVE, Greg Parmley, added: "We're delighted that the government has agreed to extend the deadline for spending Round One CRF funding. LIVE, along with our members such as MVT, has worked hard to make the case for extending the deadline to government and we are grateful to the DCMS for listening to the music industry and ensuring this vital lifeline remains fit for purpose".
Still, that is not new money, and in order to receive the grants, businesses had to calculate their overheads until the end of April. So, even if some do have remaining funds at the end of the original term, others will not. In which case, the question must be asked, what will happen to the live music sector if venues and other businesses cannot begin operating in the spring or summer?
With that in mind, yesterday chief exec of cross-sector trade group UK Music, Jamie Njoku-Goodwin, said that it was "absolutely critical" that the government begin looking at new options for financial support in the live music space.
"[Glastonbury's] cancellation is devastating for all of us on both on a personal and professional level", said Njoku-Goodwin. "It will have a serious impact on thousands of jobs right across the country and many jobs in the supply chains for Glastonbury. There is now a huge cloud of uncertainty hanging over the whole summer festival and live music season with the entire industry left in limbo and thousands more jobs in jeopardy".
"It is absolutely critical that the government look at more financial support for the music industry and those who work in it as a matter of urgency", he continues. "Without more government help, there is a real risk that some of our world-leading music scene will disappear forever".
"The music industry is desperate to get back on its feet when we can operate safely. When the time comes for the post-pandemic recovery, we can play our role in our country's economic and cultural revival. But until that point, we need more financial support to keep us going".
"If that support is not forthcoming", he concluded, "we will risk losing some of our finest emerging talent with the fear that COVID could rip a giant and permanent hole in the UK's music scene and our cultural fabric".
Not everyone is pessimistic, however. Following the announcement of Glastonbury's cancellation, organisers of the Isle Of Wight Festival - which is due to take place from 17-20 Jun, the week before Glastonbury weekend - tweeted that they are currently planning to go ahead with the event.
"Rest assured we're continuing to work behind the scenes to get ready for the Isle Of Wight Festival this summer and hope to have more news for you soon", they said.
Some artists have begun announcing new tours in the autumn too, although others in the live industry are not convinced that full capacity live shows will be taking place this year at all.
Either way, if the extension of the CRF term is an acknowledgement that shows will not be taking place before August at the earliest, calls for new financial support for the sector will start arriving more frequently yet again in the coming weeks and months.
Soulja Boy sued by former PA over allegations of assault and abuse
In the lawsuit, the unnamed accuser says that she started working for Soulja Boy - real name DeAndre Way - in late 2018, in a role that included cooking, cleaning and driving for the musician.
It's alleged that within a month of her taking on the job, Way started to act in an inappropriate way, including sending her unsolicited photos of his penis. The two then began a romantic relationship in January 2019, after which he became increasingly abusive and ultimately violent.
The lawsuit says that Way punched, kicked, spat at, threatened and sexually assaulted his accuser throughout their relationship. It also describes specific violent incidents, including one in August last year which left her unconscious.
She says that following that incident she woke on the lawn outside Way's home and quickly fled. Subsequent attempts to retrieve her belongings from his property resulted in further threats and violence.
Among other things, Way is accused of assault, sexual battery, false imprisonment and infliction of emotional distress, as well as various complaints relating to his accuser's employment agreement, which Way is accused of breaching.
The lawyer representing Way's accuser told The Blast: "[Soulja Boy]'s treatment of our client, as an employee and as a person who deserves respect, has traumatised and filled her with fear. His abuse imprisoned her physically, mentally and emotionally. When she mustered the courage to flee, he impoverished her. His exploitation severely hampered our client's ability to re-establish herself in the workplace and in society. We believe he should be held accountable".
Responding to the lawsuit, a spokesperson for the rapper told TMZ: "Soulja would never put his hands on a female - he wouldn't beat a woman or put his hands on a woman ... this is nonsense".
Pearl Jam tribute act change name following legal threats
The tribute act revealed earlier this week that they received a cease-and-desist letter from Pearl Jam's lawyers back in September, ordering them to stop infringing the band's trademarks with their very similar moniker, particularly on merch. This despite them having been performing as Pearl Jamm for five years and even having direct contact from Pearl Jam in the past.
"We know how [Pearl Jam drummer] Matt Cameron felt about his heroes, Kiss, when they took umbrage to his own tribute band 'kiss' (lower case)", said Pearl Jamm in a post on Facebook addressing the band earlier this week. "No one has ever confused us or our merchandise with you or your merchandise, and so to say that is 'likely' is clearly nonsense. We have not caused you or your brand any damage whatsoever. In fact, we have done quite the opposite".
"Such was the pressure exerted by the aggressive wording of the legal letters we received, we have questioned whether we even want to continue", they went on. "We know of at least one other tribute band that decided to call it a day over this. It may have been easier, cheaper and more effective for one of you to reach out to us personally. We would have done that for you. But not like this".
Still, after news of their plight went viral online this week, the band opted for a name change that would placate the lawyers, while also acknowledging what has happened. Of course, without context, 'Legal Jam' might just be confusing. But at least it won't be confused with Pearl Jam.
Now, in a new statement, the band say: "We appear to have set the internet on fire this week and it's time to extinguish the flames. A name doesn't define us. We do what we do out of love and respect for Pearl Jam. We have always been clear that we will 'Yield' to Pearl Jam's demands and equally clear that our disappointment was only ever of the timing and manner in which those demands were made".
"We are proud to announce our new name - Legal Jam - which we thought would be fitting and under which we will continue to perform the music of Pearl Jam in the most heartfelt and authentic way. We look forward to reconnecting with our own fans (and other tributes) who have been so supportive through this as well welcoming the new fans who have joined us over the last week, as soon as we are back on the road".
All's well that ends well, then. Although it's still not clear why Pearl Jam took action now, at a time when the tribute act, like most bands, are on live hiatus due to COVID-19.
It's not unheard of for tribute acts to be hit with legal letters like this, though the issue doesn't always lie with the original band themselves. In 2016, Metallica tribute act Sandman were sent legal threats for using Metallica's name and logo to promote themselves. Metallica themselves later put this down to an "overzealous attorney" and did a deal to license their logo to the tribute act for $1 (although they waived the fee).
Pearl Jam themselves have not commented on the threats received by Pearl Jamm. Although it could be that, with less going on in music thanks to lockdown, their lawyers have been trying to find things to do.
Pearl Jamm - or Legal Jamm - are not the only Pearl Jam tribute act to have such a run in recently. In December, Irish tribute act Pearl Jem announced that they would be changing their name to Light Years. In a statement, they said that they had "worked with Pearl Jam on choosing our new name".
Dan Caplen and YMU launch new label Leander Records
OK, the venture has been set up specifically for Caplen to release his own material, and it doesn't seem that there are any plans to sign other artists. The aim is for Caplen to release new music every four to six weeks, starting right now - Caplen's first release on the label, new single 'No Letting Go', is out today.
"Leander Records is a true joint venture between YMU Music and Dan, with both parties investing equally in the label and sharing in its success", says YMU Music Director Chris Dempsey. "Dan is an incredibly talented singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist with a burning desire to control his own destiny and we are excited that he has chosen to partner with us on this ambitious new project".
"We have the infrastructure", he continues, "including our own in-house A&R, streaming and digital divisions, to provide Dan with everything he needs to reach a global audience".
Caplen adds: "I have a body of work that I've being working on in recent times that I'm really excited about and I saw this idea of a joint venture with YMU Music as an amazing opportunity to get my music out there in a way I could have some measure of control over. I've been signed to a major label and I've investigated all the various label services available, but nothing felt like giving me the autonomy I wanted than putting out my own material on my own label".
Independent Venue Week programme published - including three CMU panels
That includes three panel discussions presented by CMU Insights. Taking place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 5pm, these sessions will bring together experts from across the music community to discuss some very timely topics.
On Tuesday we'll look at how the live music industry has come together during the COVID pandemic, collaborating and lobbying in a much more proactive way. Can that collaboration continue beyond the current crisis, and how might that benefit the independent music community? And also, does the live side of the business need to be talking more regularly to labels, publishers and managers?
On Wednesday we'll be looking at how the COVID-caused rise of online concerts and performances has actually made live music more accessible - one of the few upsides of the pandemic. How can that be maintained beyond COVID? And how can live streaming be enhanced to make sure it can be fully utilised and enjoyed by disabled and deaf music-makers and music fans?
On Thursday we'll be looking beyond the pandemic and considering what the future live music industry looks like. How much talent and infrastructure will have been lost by the time live music returns? And will live streaming and other digital innovations become part of the live music experience long-term?
Among the experts taking part in these panels are Bush Hall's Betsy Harley, Drake Music's Carien Majer, Arts Council England's Claire Mera-Nelson, Featured Artists Coalition's David Martin, artist manager and MMF board member Ellie Giles, Sage Gateshead's Emily Jones, Attitude Is Everything's Jacob Adams, artist John Kelly, Brudenell Social Club's Nathan Clark, Marauder's Rev Moose, ATC and Driift's Ric Salmon, artist Ruth Patterson and Sybil Bell from Independent Venue Week.
The CMU panels are just one part of the IVW programme. In terms of streamed performances, there are programmes curated by Gruff Rhys and Music Feeds, while independent venues around the UK will present sets from the likes of Alasdair Roberts Trio, Eädyth, Connor Fyfe, Emily Rhodes, Cowgirl, Gerry Lyons, Lau.ra, New Pagans, New Model Army, Tom Hingley, Natalie McCool and Pixey. Plus there'll be a performance from IVW ambassador Arlo Parks streamed from London's Bush Hall.
There are also a series of in conversations and a premiere screening of a new documentary called 'On The Road With Independent Venue Week'.
Village People comment on "bully" Donald Trump's use of YMCA
"We have no ill will towards the president, but we asked him to cease and desist [using our music] long ago", they say in a statement given to Billboard. "However, since he's a bully, our request was ignored. Thankfully he's now out of office, so it would seem his abusive use of our music has finally ended".
Trump, of course, made 'YMCA' something of an official theme tune at the political rallies where he was attempting to gain him a second term as president, often closing his events with it. In the days before the election, he posted a video of himself dancing to the song on Twitter, which was taken down following legal threats by the label that released the song, Scorpio Music.
The group, in particular lead Village Person Victor Willis, have made no secret of their dislike of their music being used in this way. In March last year, Willis pleaded with Trump to stop using 'YMCA' and also 'Macho Man' at his rallies, but to no avail.
In a more recent interview with the BBC, Willis lamented that there was little he could do beyond asking nicely, due to copyright law. Use of music at public events is usually covered by blanket licences issued by the music industry's collecting societies.
Such licences would often be held by the venues where the event was taking place, or by a specific political campaign organisation (as was the case with Trump's rallies).
Noting this, in their new statement, the Village People said: "We hope to spearhead a change in copyright law that will give artists and publishers more control over who can and cannot use our music in the public space. Currently, there is no limit to blanket licensing".
Some argue that there are actually legal ways to stop music being used at political events in the US because of the rules of collecting societies BMI and ASCAP. However, it's all a bit ambiguous. So there are probably many other artists who would join Willis in any campaign to get more clarity on all that. Although, with Trump gone, it will likely become less of a prominent issue again.
Warner Chappell has promoted Natalie Madaj to SVP Digital Licensing (Americas) and Daniel Lang to VP Digital Licensing (EMEIA). "Natalie and Daniel have been instrumental in strengthening our relationships with digital service providers and helping to ensure that our songwriters get paid fairly and quickly", says EVP Global Digital Strategy, Eric Mackay.
Warner Music has named Dallas Martin as President of Asylum Records. "It's always been my dream to head a label as iconic as Asylum", he says. So that's nice.
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES
All of the submissions made to the UK Parliament culture select committee's inquiry into the economics of streaming have now been made public - all 197 of them. We'll be reviewing some of the key themes in those submissions each day next week, but you can read them all here. If you want to. Did we mention there are 197 of them?
Billie Eilish and Rosalía have released new collaboration 'Lo Vas A Olvidar'. The Spanish-language track will feature in a new episode of HBO show 'Euphoria' next week.
Fresh from receiving a pardon from Donald Trump, Lil Wayne has released new track 'Ain't Got Time', which seemingly references the FBI raid on his private jet in 2019 that, until this week, saw him facing up to ten years in prison. Yesterday he thanked Trump for "recognising that I have so much more to give to my family, my art, and my community".
Yungblud has released a new video for his track 'Acting Like That', featuring Machine Gun Kelly.
Royal Blood have announced that they will release their third album, 'Typhoons', on 30 Apr. Here's the title track.
Novelist has released a video for his 2018 track 'Calm'.
Django Django have released new single 'Free From Gravity'. New album 'Glowing In The Dark' is out on 12 Feb.
Fryars has announced that he will release new album 'God Melodies' later this year. He's released the video for the title track on TikTok.
Mike Patton-fronted band Tomahawk will release a new album called 'Tonic Immobility' on 26 Mar. The band's Duane Denison promises that it will be "an escape from the realities of the world". Here's first single 'Business Casual'.
Bad Religion have released new song 'Emancipation Of The Mind', to mark the end of Donald Trump's US presidency. "The track's upbeat messaging calls for reason and open-mindedness as a new administration is welcomed into the White House", say the band.
Efterklang frontman Casper Clausen has released the video for '8 Bit Human', from his new solo album 'Better Way'.
Moonspell have released new single 'All Or Nothing'. Their new album 'Hermitage' is out on 26 Feb.
Balthazar have released new single 'On A Roll'. Their new album, 'Sand', is out on 26 Feb.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Brexiteer Roger Daltrey attempts to justify being against what he wished for
In an interview with Sky News in 2019, Daltrey reacted angrily to a question about how Brexit might affect musicians. "What's it got to do with the rock business?" he asked. At the suggestion it might make touring in Europe more difficult, he spat: "Oh dear, as if we didn't tour in Europe before the fucking EU". He then suggested that being an EU member was like being governed by the mafia.
Given those comments, many expressed confusion and derision when Daltrey's name appeared on an open letter to the government, alongside a plethora of other artists and industry reps, all dismayed at the issues now facing touring artists as a result of Brexit.
When the last minute post-Brexit UK/EU trade deal was published last month it quickly became apparent that there was no provision in it ensuring visa-free touring for British artists in the EU, or EU artists in the UK. That was despite previous assurances from ministers and officials that, providing a trade deal was agreed, musicians would not face any new bureaucracy when touring Europe once the UK was no longer a member of the EU.
With no provision for visa-free touring in the deal, UK musicians must now comply with the rules of each individual EU country when touring there. In some of those countries, that means musicians and crew will need to get travel permits and/or equipment carnets. It's feared that the cost and hassle of doing so will make some European tours unviable. To that end, the music community has been calling on UK ministers to urgently negotiate a bespoke deal with the EU to allow paperwork-free touring.
In a statement to Sky News yesterday, Daltrey insisted: "I have not changed my opinion on the EU. I'm glad to be free of Brussels, not Europe. I would have preferred reform [of the EU], which was asked for by us before the referendum and was turned down by the then president of the EU".
"I do think our government should have made the easing of restrictions for musicians and actors a higher priority", he continued. "Every tour, individual actors and musicians should be treated as any other 'goods' at the point of entry to the EU with one set of paperwork. Switzerland has borders with five EU countries, and trade is electronically frictionless. Why not us?"
By "electronically frictionless", Daltrey might mean that Switzerland - a non-EU member right in the middle of the EU - introduced digital carnets in 2019. That did make things easier. But not as easy as it was touring the rest of the Europe while the UK was an EU member.
If there was one set of paperwork for musicians that applied to the whole EU, that would be better than the current situation. Although it would still be a backwards step compared to what went before.
Either way, with the UK choosing to give up any control over the way the EU works, there was always the risk that Brexit would create new bureaucracy that would set back a modern UK touring business that had been built to specifically benefit from EU freedoms.
Because, while Daltrey was technically right to say "as if we didn't tour in Europe before the fucking EU", he then (and seemingly still now) didn't take into account how the freedom of movement enabled by EU membership had changed the live music industry over the last 40 years.