|THURSDAY 18 FEBRUARY 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: British recorded music exports reached £489 million in 2019, but could top a billion pounds a year by 2030 as global recorded music revenues continue to expand, mainly fuelled by the streaming boom... [READ MORE]|
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BPI calls for government support to realise potential of billion dollar recorded music exports
That's according to a new report from record label trade group BPI, which also makes a number of requests of the UK government to help power that future export growth. Key among those requests is that, as Brexit Britain seeks to negotiate new trade deals with countries around the world, ministers include on their priority list making it easier for British artists to both tour and fully enforce their copyrights in other markets.
The BPI's stats crew begins with the prediction that continued growth of the digital market could see global recorded music revenues rise to $40 billion by 2030. If the UK record industry's exports continue to grow at their current rate during the same period, they would more than double to that billion pounds a year point.
Digital revenues continue to grow in mature music markets in North America and Western Europe, though - of course - streaming also opens up opportunities in numerous emerging markets too. That said, streaming also makes the global music market more competitive, and arguably reduces the advantage Anglo-American artists have traditionally had when it comes to export potential.
"The expansion of the global streaming market means stiffer competition, with smaller countries such as the UK having to work harder to gain a share of listening on streaming platforms worldwide", states the BPI. Therefore, to ensure that the UK industry can achieve that target of doubling its exports in a decade, the government should "strike a new strategic partnership with the music industry to seize this exceptional opportunity, so that the full economic and cultural potential of British music can be realised".
As for what that "new strategic partnership" might involve, the BPI provides a list of its top five priorities. That includes renewal of the government-funded Music Export Growth Scheme that helps independent artists and labels capitalise on export opportunities, and the introduction of incentives like tax-breaks to make it more attractive to produce recorded music in the UK.
There are two copyright-related demands too, one seeking top quality copyright enforcement at home, and the other "raising standards of copyright protection and enforcement in key export markets through trade negotiations, and not accepting any watering down of UK copyright in deals".
And finally, the BPI backs the wider industry's call that the government do everything it can to make it as easy as possible for British artists to tour globally, that being a very newsworthy demand, of course, given the massive backwards step in that domain caused by Brexit.
Commenting on the BPI's latest stats, predictions and demands, the group's CEO Geoff Taylor says: "We are at a pivotal moment for British music on the global stage. As the UK works to build back from COVID-19 and forge its future as an independent trading nation, music can play a vitally important cultural and economic role".
"Because of streaming", he adds, "our country has a huge opportunity to connect artists with fans in ways never before possible. There is a £1 billion prize to be gained for the UK, which would benefit artists, fans and the UK economy alike".
"We are today putting forward a plan to work with government to support touring and showcasing by more UK artists and deliver substantial growth in music exports", he continues. Music companies of all sizes, he says, "will directly benefit and amplify the extensive work record labels do to develop and promote British music globally".
Soundgarden sued over valuation of Chris Cornell's share in the band
In the lawsuit filed in Seattle earlier this week, Vicky Cornell says that the band offered to buy her late husband's interest in the band for $278,000. This despite them being offered $16 million by an unnamed party for just their master recording rights.
Part of the reason for the lawsuit, she says, is that the band have denied her access to financial documents that would allow her to properly value Chris Cornell's stake. After the band made their offer for the share she now controls, she says she offered the other members $12 million for their shares. When this was declined, she says she upped her offer to $21 million, adding that it could increase further if she was provided access to the documents she wants to see.
In a statement, the band say: "As requested by the estate of Chris Cornell and as required by the laws of the state of Washington, the surviving members of Soundgarden submitted to the Cornell estate four months ago a buyout offer of the estate's interests in Soundgarden calculated by respected music industry valuation expert Gary Cohen".
"Since then", they go on, "the band members have continued to try to settle all disputes with the Cornell estate and in their several attempts to settle, the band members have elected to offer multiple times more than the amount calculated by Cohen. This dispute has never been about money for the band. This is their life's work and their legacy".
However, Vicky Cornell's attorney Marty Singer counters: "The band's contention that this dispute is somehow not about the money for them is absurd and hypocritical. Of course this is about money and their greed".
"They received a third party offer to buy just a portion of their interests for $16 million, and yet subsequently offered to buy out Chris' interest for a mere $278,000", he adds.
"And then Vicky offered $21 million for their shares, which they turned down", he concludes. "Not because they wanted to preserve their life's work, but because they know that they will make even more off of future exploitation of the music that Chris wrote and the legacy that he created - which has lined their pockets for years".
Chris Cornell died in 2017, taking his own life after a Soundgarden show in Detroit. This is not the first lawsuit between Vicky Cornell and the band's other members since then.
In December 2019, she sued over allegations that the band were withholding royalties and making false statements in a bid to get her to hand over a number of demo recordings made by her husband prior to his death.
That dispute is also still ongoing, and in August last year the band successfully had the case moved from Florida to Washington - on the grounds that Cornell worked on the recordings in Seattle, so it was more appropriate for the case to be heard there.
Universal and Big Hit widen partnership, set to launch "global" K-pop group
The news follows that announcement last week that UMG had invested in KBYK Live - the livestreaming company co-founded by Big Hit last year - and its VenewLive livestreaming platform.
As part of the new deal, Big Hit will launch a new joint venture label in partnership with Universal's Geffen imprint. Together they will hold global auditions for members of a new boyband, who will be managed under the K-pop system that has brought Big Hit success,
Universal will also explore opportunities for its existing artists on Big Hit's Weverse direct-to-fan platform.
"Our two companies indeed share values and visions in that we both pursue constant innovations and are committed to providing our fans with genuine music and content of the highest and uncompromising level of quality", says Big Hit CEO Bang Si-Hyuk. "In this sense, I strongly believe that UMG and Big Hit will create a synergy that will rewrite the global music history".
Universal CEO Lucian Grainge adds: "With their innovative approach to developing artists and embracing new technology, Big Hit has become one of the most dynamic companies in music entertainment. We're THRILLED to be working together as we launch a new joint venture between our companies that will further accelerate K-pop as a global cultural phenomenon".
Auditions for the new boyband are set to begin in 2022 via a TV show being launched in partnership with "a major US media partner". So that's something to look forward to.
CISAC launches new website to educate music-makers about buyout deals
Traditionally when music-makers are commissioned to create original music for a TV show, movie, game or ad campaign, the music-maker would seek to retain ownership of the copyright in the music they create, and then allow the broadcaster, studio or brand to use it via a licence.
Such an approach means that, in addition to any upfront fee, the music-maker receives additional royalties each time a programme, film or advert is broadcast, screened or streamed, paid via the collective licensing system. They can also control use of the music beyond the original production or project it was commissioned for.
However, over the years things have changed. In Anglo-American markets, it has become common for those commissioning music to seek to take ownership of the so called mechanical rights in the composition. The performing rights would not be part of the deal though, and would still be controlled by the music-maker's collecting society, and would therefore generate additional royalties.
More recently, however, especially in the US, you have started to see some broadcasters seek complete ownership of the copyright in the music they commission, including performing rights. That's the complete buyout. It means the music-maker gets a one-off fee and the broadcaster doesn't have to pay any additional royalties each time a programme is aired or streamed.
Launching its new website, CISAC says that the traditional approach to commissions, where music-makers retain their rights, "is increasingly being challenged by companies who insist that composers accept buyouts of their rights - including performing rights - as a condition of being employed or commissioned for a project. In this scenario, composers are expected to create music in exchange for a one-time fee instead of receiving continuing income for their work".
"The works of songwriters and composers - just as of screenwriters and directors - are an invaluable and inextricable part of the storytelling in film, TV and all other audiovisual media", it adds. "Traditionally, royalty income has been the only dependable source of earnings for these creators. The growing practice of buying out their rights changes the remuneration equation with important implications for creators' careers".
This trend towards complete buyout deals became newsworthy in 2019 amid reports that Discovery Networks in the US was planning on forcing that arrangement on all the music-makers it works with. Netflix was also criticised by some for pressuring composers into these kinds of deals. Although Discovery did ultimately say it wouldn't force anyone into complete buyouts.
Around about that time, a group of American music-makers created an initiative called Your Music Your Future to educate the creative community about the ins and outs of different deals, urging composers to be careful about what contracts they agree to when negotiating commissions. CISAC has now teamed up with Your Music Your Future for the new globally-focused website.
Outside the US, collecting society rules actually usually stop complete buyouts, certainly when it comes to performing rights, and sometimes for mechanical rights too. And in some countries, copyright law itself prevents such deals from happening.
However, in an increasingly global marketplace, and with increasingly global video-on-demand streaming services, US-style practices are being exported. Society rules and even local copyright laws can also potentially be circumvented to an extent by deals signed in the US that include co-publishing or work-for-hire arrangements.
The new website considers technicalities and trends in different markets around the world, seeking to make music-makers aware of the things they need to be looking out for when making deals, and identifying protections the music community at large might want to seek through copyright reform.
Supporting the new global site, the founder of Your Music Your Future in the US, Joel Beckerman says: "This is a movement, for composers by composers, to educate our community on the choices with respect to performing royalties. The aim is to bring this vital educational message to all music creators everywhere. As music creators we are all in this together, and education is the key to ensuring their ability to support their families and put food on the table".
CISAC President Björn Ulvaeus adds: "In the post-COVID world, the issue of copyright buyouts matters more to creators than ever before. Artists, composers and authors have to be aware of their rights, understand their options and make informed choices on the way they are paid. Their future livelihoods depend on it".
RightsHub adds DataDoktor tool
Among other things, the tool will identify any problems with a music company's rights data which could negatively impact on that music being discovered through streaming services, or being properly attributed on different platforms, or even result in lost payments.
The firm's CEO Lee Morrison says that the new tool has been created after he saw "the difficulties rights-holders face in ensuring their catalogues are enriched and fully monetised", as well as the challenges created by changes in the way streaming services use data, especially when it comes to moving distribution partners and negotiating new deals.
"By creating these tools", he adds, "we save content owners time and money and help increase revenue whilst in turn creating a clean data flow to recipients, saving them valuable resource costs".
RightsHub has also recently launched a twelve week education programme called Catalogue Academy to help rights-owners stay on top of all the trends and developments in rights data and catalogue management. It includes an interview with CMU's Chris Cooke about the opportunities streaming has created for labels to generate more revenue out of catalogue, and the impact rights data has on those opportunities. Info here.
Prime Minister urged to include live music and nightlife in 'roadmap' for lifting lockdown
UK Music boss Jamie Njoku-Goodwin says in a new statement that live music companies need "urgent clarity" in order to plan for the all-important summer festival season. Meanwhile, the All Party Parliamentary Group for the Night-Time Economy has published a report warning that the night-time sector is at imminent risk of "extinction" without rapid action.
"We are fast reaching a critical point for the live music industry", writes Njoku-Goodwin in a statement. "If festivals and large events are forced to cancel for another year, many will go under and thousands of jobs are at risk of being lost forever".
He insists that the industry is "not asking to re-open a moment before it is safe to do so", but says that "if our sector is to survive through this pandemic then we require urgent clarity about the months ahead and some indication of when live music will be able to return".
In its survey of 20,000 consumers, employers, employees and freelancers involved in the night-time sector, the APPG found that 85% of people working in the night-time economy are considering leaving the industry, and businesses have on average already made 37% of their total workforce redundant.
Meanwhile, only 36% of self-employed nightlife workers have been able to claim financial support from the government's Self Employment Income Support Scheme.
Chair of the APPG, Jeff Smith MP, says: "Our findings today reveal this industry is on its knees, in desperate need of additional support from the government and a concrete plan for re-opening. Without these interventions, many of these viable businesses will go under, leaving city and town centres resembling ghost towns. If the government is serious about its 'levelling up' agenda it must act now to save this sector and avoid untold damage to the social fabric of this country".
As well as government providing a roadmap for the re-opening of night-time businesses, the APPG says that further financial support will also be required in order to ensure that those businesses can make it through and out of lockdown.
Earlier this week, the Night Time Industries Association said that 88% of nightclub businesses are behind in rent payments by more than six months. That is a particularly big problem because a COVID-related 'forfeiture moratorium' that bans evictions is set to expire at the end of March, and that could result in venues that have not reached deals with their landlords losing their premises.
Telling such businesses when they will be allowed to re-open would provide clarity on when they will be able to start bringing in income again in order to pay off those debts. Meanwhile, although many night-time businesses, such as bars and clubs, could begin operating again pretty quickly - live music venues require time to plan and promote shows.
In his statement, Njoku-Goodwin goes on: "A restart date for live music would be hugely welcome. The long lead time involved in planning festivals and other events makes this crucial. At the very least, we need clarity about the conditions under which we would be allowed to get live events underway again".
With the "huge success" of the vaccine rollout and COVID case rates falling nationwide, now is the time to give some indication on when live music might be able to return. Not least, says Njoku-Goodwin, because of the part music can play in restarting the economy.
"Live music brings massive economic benefits right across the country, often to communities where [it is] crucial to local employment and trade by creating extra business for hotels, taxi firms, restaurants, bars and many more", he says. "But for us to play that positive role in the post-pandemic recovery, and help provide the economy with the shot in the arm it will desperately need, our industry requires urgent clarity on the likely road ahead".
Johnson has already indicated that rapid on-site testing for the coronavirus could be used to ensure that clubs, theatres and other venues can re-open even while some COVID restrictions are still in place. Although he has not given any indication on when such testing might be implemented. While government support for using on-site testing to allow the safe opening of venues has been widely welcomed, there have been calls to put this into practice quickly.
In a statement earlier this week, CEO of the Music Venue Trust, Mark Davyd, said: "How rapid testing might work to deliver such events safely needs to be tested, and we look forward to working with the government to undertake that work as soon as possible".
"Rapid testing and other forms of health passporting, including vaccination certification, represent one of a range of opportunities to deliver events safely, which we have been discussing with the government since July 2020", he went on.
"A vital element of that work, for our sector, is ensuring that it recognises everyone's right to privacy in balance with music venues' need and duty to protect our staff and customers. Any plan for a health passport must contain rigorous safeguards against excluding people unable to be vaccinated or take part in rapid testing".
"It's unclear to us why the government supports rapid testing and certification to enter music venues but apparently does not wish to see exactly the same process used to understand and manage risk using the vaccination process", he added. "This presents the possibility that someone who has been vaccinated might need to also be rapid tested, which seems counter-intuitive. If there is going to be a need to show evidence of being a 'safe customer' surely we want to provide people with the most number of opportunities to do that?"
As for schemes that plan to test approaches that would allow people to demonstrate they are 'safe', next month ticket security app You Check is to pilot new technology that would provide a "digital health passport" with socially-distanced gigs at London's 100 Club and Bristol's Exchange. The aim is to link ticketholder information with proof that they are COVID-free. Other similar schemes are also being tested.
It is hoped that through testing and technology, at least some venues can begin to re-open sooner rather than later. But with no indication so far on when re-opening might be allowed, the live industry is still held in limbo.
Some kind of clarity, even just a "not before" date, would be welcome for the industry. Although recent indications from Downing Street are that lockdown will be eased cautiously and exact dates may not be forthcoming in Monday's 'roadmap' statement.
Artist marketing and distribution platform Beatchain has announced a partnership with Downtown's rights administration service Songtrust, providing users of the former with 20% off the registration fee for the latter. "You could look at it as a one-two punch in moving from unknown artist to full-time professional musician", says Beatchain CTO Luke Mendoza, slightly overstating things.
Audoo, a start-up employing audio ID technology to monitor music being played in public spaces, has hired former Shazam and LyricFind exec Will Mills as its new Chief Commercial Officer. "I'm delighted to be joining Audoo at this huge growth stage for the company in its mission to revolutionise performance royalties", he says.
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES
Spotify, Apple and Amazon will face MPs in the next select committee hearing on the economics of streaming, which should be fun. Digital And Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage will also appear; she will likely be asked about possible copyright reforms, especially in light of the government's decision not to implement the EU Copyright Directive, despite the UK music industry lobbying so hard for those reforms in Europe. It all takes place on 23 Feb at 3.15pm.
Vevo has launched something called 'Moods'. Oh, that sounds nice! Yeah, it's "an AI-powered product that identifies and groups Vevo music videos by mood for more effective ad targeting". Oh. "With Moods, we can not only curate Vevo programming to better match a person's mood, but we can also directly ensure advertisers that their campaigns are more meaningful and impactful in the same way that we guarantee a high-quality, brand-safe environment", says Vevo's Kevin McGurn. "Therefore, it's the logical step that we have synergy between the ad creative and the mood it evokes with the music video it surrounds". Fuck you all.
Max Richter has announced his second album based on the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, titled 'Voices 2'. "A document like the Declaration is very challenging because, while it is full of potential, and an extraordinarily wise and impressive piece of writing and thinking, it's also largely unrealised", he says of where this new album takes the project. "So we mostly think about the ways in which we've failed to achieve what it sets out to do. There is a melancholia about it in some ways". The album is out on 9 Apr. From it, this is 'Mirrors'.
Arab Strap have released new single 'Here Comes Comus!', which comes accompanied by a dark and disturbing video. The track is taken from the duo's new album, 'As Days Get Dark', which is out on 5 Mar.
Iceage have announced that they will release new album 'Seek Shelter' on 7 May. From it, this is new single 'Vendetta'.
Man On Man, featuring Faith No More's Roddy Bottum, have announced that they will release their eponymous debut album on 7 May. From it, this is '1983'. They've also launched LGBTQIA+ community project Chosen Family.
Barbarossa has released new single 'Hide'. "While making this album, I realised how, when you let go and show your vulnerability, you get so much back", he says of the album on which this track appears. "I'm definitely guilty of hiding [vulnerability], I guess I'm afraid that if I show my true self people might not like what they see. I'm less afraid of this now and much happier for it". That new album, 'Love Here Listen', is out on 5 Mar.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Ed Sheeran will be "back" with "fourth installment" at some point "later this year"
Sheeran shared this news on Instagram yesterday, as he celebrated his 30th birthday "dressed the same as I was on my third birthday". That's in a Postman Pat jumper with additional pirate accessories, if you were wondering. Although he only provides photographic evidence of him wearing the outfit 27 years ago. That jumper would be far too small by now, but I guess Ed's rich enough that he could have a new one adult-sized one commissioned.
He did provide some photographic evidence of the current birthday celebrations though, mainly the cake he was about to "chow down on". That being a pirate-themed Colin The Caterpillar cake. For anyone outside the UK, Colin The Caterpillar is the type of cake everyone has on their birthday for some reason, even though it's not actually that nice to eat.
Anything else of note? Oh yes, there's a pirate flag on the table underneath the cake that could do with an iron and there are gold coins strewn about. The quality of the photo makes it impossible to tell if these are plastic coins or chocolate coins. I don't think they're real coins. I guess they could be chocolate coins wrapped in real gold. As noted, Ed's pretty rich, so he could probably afford to have those made. Unless you can just buy them. Hang on, I'll check.
Well, I googled it and I couldn't find any evidence that anyone has ever made chocolate coins wrapped in real gold. So I guess Ed would have had to have had them made specially. If that's what he did. As I say, the coins might be plastic. But there are some foil-wrapped chocolate eggs on the plate around the cake, so I think the chances are that the coins are chocolate too.
I didn't even know you could get a pirate-themed Colin The Caterpillar cake, did you? Actually, I just checked that too and you can't. Now I look closer, the pirate hat, eyepatch and beard on said cake do look a bit homemade. I hope Ed didn't pay someone to do that. Unless he paid them in chocolate coins, because that would probably be fair.
Three year old Ed doesn't have an eyepatch, by the way, despite being dressed as a pirate. Seems like a bit of an oversight, even if he is wearing glasses in the photo. He's got a pirate hat and a massive sword, sure. But no eyepatch. I would have got him an eyepatch. Maybe his parents did get him one and then he didn't wear it. Maybe he didn't like it. We may never know.
It's weird that pirates are something we encourage children to celebrate, isn't it? I mean, they just went around stealing things and murdering people. That's generally the sort of thing we discourage children from. And yet when it comes to pirates we're all like, 'hey put on this eyepatch and wave this sword around. Pretend one of your legs was severed in order to stop an infection reaching the rest of your body'.
That's all I've really got to say about this picture that Ed Sheeran shared on Instagram. Except that there seems to be a napkin under the plate that the cake is on. Interesting choice.
Oh yeah, what about that "fourth instalment in the series"? Probably his new album.