|WEDNESDAY 10 MARCH 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: In a new study looking at gender diversity in the UK radio industry, 84% of respondents say that they feel it is harder for women to progress their career in the sector. 71% add that their appearance has had an effect on their job opportunities, 61% have experienced sexist comments about their appearance at work, and 59% say that they feel having children has had or would have a negative impact on their career... [READ MORE]|
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Women in radio face sexism and career barriers in the workplace, new study concludes
The study has been undertaken by Radio Silence, which is seeking to elevate the voices of under-representing groups in the radio industry, and Women In CTRL, the organisation representing women working in the music business. They spoke to over 100 women who work in presenting or production roles at radio stations operated by the BBC, Global, Bauer and News UK, as well as a number of smaller local and community stations.
The two groups note that a report from media regulator OfCom last year found that 43% of employees at radio companies were female. However, they add, that top level stat didn't account for the kinds of roles occupied by women, and also didn't include data from the smaller local and community stations. Through their study, Radio Silence and Women In CTRL wanted to "holistically understand the barriers that exist for these women from entry-level roles to positions of power".
Among other stats to come out of the study are that 42% of respondents have experienced sexist comments in relation to their career progression, 27% feel pressure to flirt to get ahead, and 55% say they feel less valued than their male counterparts in the workplace. When asked if there was enough representation of women in the radio sector, the majority of respondents say "no", although the figure is higher for talk and sport radio compared to music radio.
Radio Silence and Women In CTRL have also published some verbatim quotes from the women they surveyed. One told the study: "I was quite shocked how much sexism - and racism - still exists in the radio industry. Over my career I have witnessed some appalling behaviour towards myself and others from men in positions of power, varying from bullying to unchallenged decision-making based on prejudices".
"More than one male manager has purposefully tried to stunt my career in the last ten years", the respondent continued. "I've worked with several characters who were known for 'not liking other people's ideas' or 'not getting on with women'. It's very difficult to speak out about culture as sexism and racism can be so insidious, companies haven't come up with a way to cope with that yet".
Meanwhile another respondent stated: "For women, working in radio can feel like you've sneaked into an all boys club. It doesn't matter what station I've been in, from commercial breakfast shows to underground MC sets, white middle class men are often the majority in the studio. I'm undermined a lot in a studio by male producers. On one occasion, someone mansplained to me how to use Instagram Stories - I'm not joking! I love radio but the lack of diverse representation is seriously affecting the quality of work that is being created and producers' personal creative confidence".
Radio Silence and Women In CTRL are calling on radio companies to sign up to a pledge to change their industry for the better, with a commitment to: diversity training, the publication of gender pay gap stats across the board, clearer processes for reporting harassment, clearer policies on maternity leave, and "holistically protecting the women in your workplace".
Eminem producers argue that UK label's unlicensed pressing of Infinite caused big anniversary re-release plans to be abandoned
The pay-out the producers will receive could depend on whether the court believes that they were planning their own anniversary re-release of the record before Let Them Eat Vinyl started selling its version, and that they incurred various losses when forced to call off those plans.
This week's hearing follows on from a 2019 court battle that concluded that Let Them Eat Vinyl infringed the sound recording copyrights owned by Bass Brothers company FBT Productions by pressing up a short run of 'Infinite' on vinyl.
Although the court also concluded that LTEV owner Stephen Beatty did not knowingly infringe FBT's rights, and therefore neither his label nor its sister company Plastic Head Music Distribution were liable for secondary copyright infringement for distributing the infringing discs.
Before LTEV pressed up the vinyl versions of 'Infinite', Plastic Head had been selling CD versions of the album that it sourced from US-based Boogie Up Productions, having taken over the European distribution of those discs from a German distributor that had gone under. In 2014, Boogie Up told Plastic Head that it had acquired the rights to manufacture vinyl versions of the Eminem record, which resulted in LTEV pressing up 2891 copies that were then distributed by its sister distribution firm.
In the original 2019 court hearing, legal reps for Beatty argued that their client acted in good faith in releasing the record, pointing out that he had secured a licence from collecting society MCPS to cover the song rights in the album, he'd printed his company's name and address on the artwork of the records he manufactured, and he ran an otherwise entirely legitimate vinyl re-release label. None of which pointed to a guy trying to profit from bootleg recordings.
Those arguments were enough for LTEV and Plastic Head to avoid the secondary infringement liabilities, but the label had made 2891 copies of 'Infinite' without a proper licence, meaning it was still liable for primary infringement. Hence this week's hearing on damages.
Now, at this point in the US, FBT would simply push for $150,000 in statutory damages per infringement. But under UK law you can only claim actual damages, which is to say the money the infringer made from the infringement, or the monies the copyright owner lost. You obviously go for whichever is highest.
Which brings us to FBT's claim that it had been planning its own limited run anniversary vinyl re-release of 'Infinite'. The album would have been remastered, it says, plus there would have been some single releases and a super documentary telling the story of the making of the album.
However, once LTEV had put out its pressing of the record, FBT abandoned that project, reckoning that any Eminem fan who might have bought their anniversary releases had now already got a copy of the album on vinyl.
Of course, you might think that - with LTEV only pressing up 2891 copies of the LP - that wouldn't have damaged the big FBT re-release campaign too much.
However, FBT argues, when it first discovered the LTEV pressing it had no idea how many copies had been sold. A copy had popped up in a shop in Detroit, so it was reasonable for FBT to believe LTEV had put out and exported a sufficiently large quantity of records to saturate the market in both Europe and the US. Which is why it called off the anniversary re-issue.
That decision meant that FBT lost out of on nearly $264,000 in record sales income, plus it is out of pocket for the $25,000 it had already invested in the planned documentary. Some legal technicalities means it can't sue for that total amount, but FBT nevertheless believes LTEV should pay it $222,000, or £160,000.
However, according to Law360, legal reps for Beatty told the high court this week: "The evidence that there was a serious intention [by FBT] to actually release this record is tenuous in the extreme. There isn't a single contemporaneous document linking the discovery of the defendants' infringing activity to the abandonment of a project". In fact, "there is very little evidence that there was a project".
LTEV's lawyer also noted that the CD version of 'Infinite' had been available for years in Europe, initially via the German distributor, and that no action had been taken to stop the distribution of those discs.
It remains to be seen how the judge rules on this. Although - Law360 adds - FBT's legal rep concluded yesterday's session by stating it was "bold" for the other side to accuse his client of lying about its anniversary release plans.
America's Re:Create Coalition hits out at proposed safe harbour reform
The coalition of American tech giants, start-ups, libraries, educational organisations and digital rights campaigners recently urged members of US Congress to basically leave the pesky copyright safe harbour alone. So it is not surprising that it doesn't agree with plans to do the opposite.
Proposals put forward by Tillis, says the Re:Create Coalition, "create a system for digital copyright that is clearly unconstitutional and just unworkable for internet creators, users and service providers".
The copyright safe harbour, of course, is the principle that restricts the liabilities of internet companies whose customers use their networks or servers to infringe copyright. The internet firm cannot be held liable for that infringement providing it has systems in place via which copyright-owners can have infringing content removed. In the US the safe harbour is contained in the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
Last year Senator Tillis, as a member of the US Senate's IP sub-committee, led a series of hearings on the safe harbour and whether it was time to review the principle. While those hearings were underway, the US Copyright Office published a report that concluded the safe harbour probably did need some "fine-tuning", but that radical reform wasn't necessary. However, following the hearings, Tillis circulated some proposed legal reforms that would do somewhat more than mere fine-turning.
In particular Tillis's proposed Digital Copyright Act embraces the idea of takedown-and-stay-down. Copyright owners have long argued that a particular problem caused by safe harbour is that as soon as a digital platform responds to a takedown notice against one piece of infringing content, the same piece of content is re-uploaded by another - or the same - user. That requires the rights-holder to issue a new takedown beginning a long-running game akin to Whac-A-Mole.
The solution to that problem would be for safe harbour dwelling platforms to have a new obligation under law: takedown-and-stay-down. Not only would they have to remove any one piece of infringing content when a rights-holder sends a takedown notice, but they would also have to ensure that the same piece of content is not re-uploaded.
Applying that new obligation to all safe harbour dwelling platforms would be undesirable and unworkable, reckons the Re:Create Coalition, in a letter to Tillis sent last week and published on the organisation's website yesterday. It would result in all internet platforms having to constantly filter all content, and would create a whole load of free speech issues when those filters inevitably blocked private communications and the distribution of copyright material that is, under US law, 'fair use'.
"The notice and staydown provisions in the Digital Copyright Act create a system where sending a single notice suffices as a notice on all uses of that work, past, present and future", the letter states.
"While that is a convenient option for notice senders, it leaves internet services with two options: do their own copyright analysis of the use and hope they get it right, or just take down all future uses, even if they are lawful. This shifts how lawful uses are exercised - it would require sending a counter-notice to have lawful uses on the internet, especially fair uses".
The current system for issuing counter-notices - whereby a user hit by a takedown notice from a copyright owner can object, usually to claim they are covered by the fair use principle - is already "flawed", the Coalition then argues. And takedown-and-stay-down would greatly increase the need for such counter-notices to be issued.
Elsewhere the Coalition notes: "By creating a one size fits all approach, the [DCA] does not capture all of the ways the DMCA applies online. Additionally, it reads to only combat illicit uses of intellectual property online and does not consider e-commerce and other uses of platforms. If considering changes to the DMCA, it's prudent to consider every usage of the internet. The internet is more than simply an entertainment machine, it's an economic engine - an important point that the original drafters of the legislation understood".
Of course, any reform to the copyright safe harbour is going to be strongly lobbied against by big tech, as we saw with the safe harbour reforms in Europe, which only specifically affect user-upload platforms. And some of the concerns raised by the Re:Create Coalition are legitimate.
However, for the copyright industries takedown-and-stay-down is becoming a top lobbying priority, and while Tillis's proposals may well still need plenty of work, the basic principles he proposes will be widely supported by the creative and entertainment industries.
For an overview of the copyright safe harbour, the controversies around it, and proposed reforms - including Tillis's Digital Copyright Act - download this free white paper from Friend MTS and CMU Insights as part of the new 'Building Trust' series.
US politicians cite Britney Spears as example of need for review of conservatorship system
Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan are calling on House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler to hold hearings on the subject "to examine whether Americans are trapped unjustly in conservatorships". In a letter to Nadler, they say that there is "growing public concern about the use of conservatorships to effectively deprive individuals of personal freedoms", with Spears being the "most striking example".
"There are countless other Americans unjustly stripped of their freedoms by others with little recourse", they go on. "Given the constitutional freedoms at stake and opaqueness of these arrangements, it is incumbent upon our Committee to convene a hearing to examine whether Americans are trapped unjustly in conservatorships".
In a statement, Gaetz added: "If the conservatorship process can rip the agency from a woman who was in the prime of her life and one of the most powerful pop stars in the world, imagine what it can do to people who are less powerful and have less of a voice".
Spears, of course, has been held in a conservatorship since 2008, with no control over her personal and financial affairs, after her father was appointed by a court as his daughter's conservator following her very public breakdown. However, in recent years there have been increasing calls from fans to release Spears from that system.
More have joined those calls during the well publicised legal battle between the musician and her father as he has sought to regain sole control of her financial affairs following some temporary changes that were made to the conservatorship when he had to temporarily stand down due to ill health. That move was knocked back by the court overseeing the case last month.
The #FreeBritney movement received a boost earlier in February with that new documentary, 'Framing Britney Spears', made by the New York Times and aired on FX and Hulu. The film looks at Britney's treatment in and by the media, and also examines the conservatorship system.
ASCAP's 2020 royalty collections were up in 2020 despite COVID
Increased international and streaming monies helped counterbalance the inevitable drop in royalties from live shows and the public performance of recorded music.
Last year, global collecting society grouping CISAC warned that song right societies could see their collections drop by 35% in 2020, equating to 3.5 billion euros of lost income.
Unlike the record industry, music publishers and songwriters have a vested interest in the live sector because they earn royalties when songs are performed live in public. Therefore they are affected by the COVID-caused shutdown of live music.
And while in most countries artists and labels, as well as publishers and writers, earn when recorded music is played in public - and therefore everyone loses when pubs, clubs, bars and cafes are closed, so no music can be played - that income stream is generally more significant for the songs side of the business than the recordings side.
Which is why CISAC's report was full of doom and gloom regarding the impact COVID would have on the societies that make up its membership, and the music publishers and songwriters those societies represent.
In its figures for 2020, ASCAP confirms that its income from live music and public performance in the US was down 30% last year because of the COVID shutdown. However, monies coming in from the use of ASCAP repertoire overseas rose 9% over the year. And within the US itself, royalties from audio streaming was up 28%, while revenues from audio-visual use of the society's music was up 8%. Those trends all helped ensure the overall increase in revenue.
It remains to be seen whether that trend is replicated elsewhere in the world. It may not be. Collecting society regulations and copyright law in the US mean that the royalties due to songwriters and music publishers from the live and public performance of music are not as significant on a show-by-show or venue-by-venue basis as in Europe. Therefore the negative hit caused by COVID on live and public performance income will be more damaging for European societies.
It's also worth noting that the ongoing shift from discs and downloads to streams is resulting in more song royalties flowing through societies like ASCAP. In the US, when CDs or downloads are sold, all song royalties are paid directly to the publisher, so don't appear in ASCAP's stats. Whereas with streaming, some money still goes direct to the publisher (or now via the new mechanical rights society MLC), but some of the money also flows through the performing right societies like ASCAP.
That isn't to say that streaming income for the songs business at large isn't growing year-on-year - it definitely is - but it's worth remembering that some of that growth is replacing old revenues that didn't factor in the stats of performing right societies like ASCAP.
Nevertheless, for US publishers and songwriters, the ASCAP figures are good news. COVID has still had a significant impact on the sector, but other revenues should soften the blow to an extent.
Commenting on the new stats, ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews says: "2020 challenged all of us unlike any other year in modern history. It also defined ASCAP's dedication to our members. That meant strengthening our commitment to our mission to serve our songwriters, composers and music publishers by taking every step necessary to secure their livelihoods and careers. Inspired by our members each and every day, the ASCAP team proved that innovation, efficiency and progress really can be escalated in a crisis".
Meanwhile the society's President, songwriter Paul Williams, adds: "The team worked extremely hard and under incredibly difficult circumstances to make up for revenues lost due to the pandemic and to deliver the financial security and support that music creators need to survive the crisis of our lifetime. Their work will have an impact for years to come and as an ASCAP member, I am deeply grateful. Together, we have met the demands of this challenging time period and we look to 2021 with greater hope and strength as a community".
Mumford & Sons' Winston Marshall "taking time away from the band" following right-wing book endorsement
In a now-deleted tweet referencing Ngo and posted over the weekend, Marshall wrote: "Finally had the time to read your important book. You're a brave man".
The book in question, 'Unmasked: Inside Antifa's Radical Plan To Destroy Democracy', was published in February. In a scathing review, the LA Times called it a "supremely dishonest" book that "has the ridiculous feel of a warning about the dangers of German communism issued in 1939".
Wilson's support of the book drew public derision from Mumford & Sons fans, and seemingly the same in private from the rest of the band.
In a statement posted this morning, Wilson says: "Over the past few days I have come to better understand the pain caused by the book I endorsed. I have offended not only a lot of people I don't know, but also those closest to me, including my bandmates and for that I am truly sorry".
"As a result of my actions I am taking time away from the band to examine my blindspots", he goes on. "For now, please know that I realise how my endorsements have the potential to be viewed as approvals of hateful, divisive behaviour. I apologise, as this was not at all my intention".
This is not the first controversy facing the band in recent years. In 2018, they were criticised after members of the band, including Marshall, were photographed in the studio with psychologist and right-wing commentator Jordan Peterson. In an interview with CBC Radio, Marshall said that it was him who had invited Peterson to visit the band while they were recording.
In that interview, Marshall denied that he and the band agreed with Peterson's controversial views on feminism, white privilege and other political topics, saying: "I don't think [Peterson's] psychology is controversial, but the quasi-political stuff... I think it's a conversation we're having a little bit as a band and, do we want to get into the political stuff? Probably not".
Though, it seems, Marshall has still been getting into "the political stuff" himself. Whether he will return to the band with his "blindspots" filled remains to be seen.
Artist management company TaP Music has signed Little Mix's Leigh-Anne Pinnock for all of her solo activity in music, TV and film. "I'm so excited to reveal I am now being represented by TaP Music for all of my solo projects", she says. "This is such an incredibly exciting time for me and my career and I can't wait to show everyone what I've got coming up. I will continue to work on my solo endeavours alongside my Little Mix commitments".
Reach Music Publishing has acquired a 50% stake in the songwriting catalogue of Judas Priest's Glenn Tipton. The company will also administer his full catalogue worldwide. "I deliberated for a long time on whether to relinquish 50% of my publishing to another company", says Tipton. "I believe I now have a team who understand and are geared up to deal with metal and look forward to working together in the future!"
Livestreaming platform Driift has announced Claire Mas as its COO. "Since formally launching Driift in August 2020, Claire has played an absolutely pivotal role in our successes - combining creative zeal, commercial acumen and an innate understanding of the digital landscape", says CEO Ric Salmon. "She's an absolute linchpin of our team, and we're over the moon to appoint her formally as COO as we enter what's going to be another hugely exciting year filled with incredible shows".
Sony Music Publishing in the US has promoted Tom Foley to SVP Worldwide Portfolio Management & Analysis. Now that's a job title! "Tom has been a vital and dedicated member of our team since he began at EMI Music Publishing in 1998", says CFO Tom Kelly, referencing the music publisher Sony acquired in 2012. "His knowledge and expertise have helped us adapt to the industry's ever-changing landscape and I'm confident he will create more growth opportunities for our roster in this new role".
Warner Chappell in the US has named Micki Stern as its SVP Clearance And Sync Licensing. "Micki brings with her a wealth of experience and strong relationships from the music supervision world", says Rich Robinson, the publisher's EVP And Global Synchronisation Leader. "In less than two years, she's already accomplished so much and continues to bring invaluable insights on the market, current trends, and the challenges that our clients face. I'm very excited to see what she does next in her new role".
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES
TikTok has launched itself a feature called the Music Hub for users in the UK. It will "supercharge music discovery and showcase the top trending music content on the platform", apparently. It will do this by highlighting "the latest music trends, videos, viral tracks, playlists and artists making waves on TikTok" in a new section of the app.
EDUCATION & EVENTS
Pan-European independent music trade group IMPALA has announced Campus, an EU-funded training programme for recorded music professionals and self-releasing artists. Four workshops will take place in the spring and summer of 2021, each one in partnership with a leading music conference across Europe. More info here.
James Vincent McMorrow and Rudimental have released new single 'Be Somebody'. "It's been great to work with James McMorrow", say Rudimental. "He's got an incredible voice. This track is getting us excited for festival season. Let's Go!"
AG Cook has released a cover of The Smashing Pumpkins' 'Today', taken from a new collection of remixes and collaborations, titled 'Dream Logic', set to be released on SoundCloud this Friday.
Bülow has released new single 'First Place'. "It's about somebody who wants your attention but isn't very genuine", she says. "Quarantine was a big light to see who was actually in my life for the right reasons and who cares about what was going on. Sonically, it pushed me in the direction I'm headed".
Lucy Dacus has released new single 'Thumbs'. "Like most songs I write, I wasn't expecting it and it made me feel weird, almost sick", she says. "It tells the story of a day I had with a friend during our freshman year of college, a significant day, but not one that I had thought of for years".
Ibeyi have released new single 'Recurring Dream', written for new film 'How To Stop A Recurring Dream'.
Gary Numan has released new single 'I Am Screaming'. His new album, 'Intruder', is out on 21 May.
Colleen has released new single 'Implosion-Explosion'. Her new album, 'The Tunnell And The Clearing', will be out through Thrill Jockey on 21 May.
GIGS & TOURS
Kano and Jamie XX have been announced as the Saturday night headliners at this year's All Points East festival in London. Other acts on board include Tom Misch, Slowthai, Little Simz and Arlo Parks.
Charlie Simpson has announced a show to mark the tenth anniversary of his debut solo album, 'Young Pilgrim'. He'll play The Forum in London on 5 Nov. "I can't believe it's been ten years", he says. "That album will always have a special place in my heart, as it's the first time I had ever released music under my own name. It's so lovely to see ten years on how much that record still resonates with my fans. Listening to it now, really takes me back to a happy time". Tickets for the show go on sale on Friday.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
The Weeknd's Blinding Lights named world's most successful single of 2020
"'Blinding Lights' was undoubtedly one of the year's biggest record breakers and most loved songs", says IFPI chief exec Frances Moore. "It caught the attention of music lovers all over the world. We would like to congratulate The Weeknd on his success, and it is an honour to award him this title".
Just as the IFPI announced the global success of 'Blinding Lights', it also hit an impressive milestone in the US. It is the first single ever to spend a full 52 weeks in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100. And having also just gone platinum for the seventh time, it is now one of the top ten most certified digital singles of all time as well.
So many accolades and prizes. And yet, let's not forget, The Weeknd has not one Grammy nomination this year. He, of course, put that down to corruption, when complaining about the snub after the Grammy shortlists were published last year.
Several other artists have joined him in making such claims, with Zayn Malik the latest to do so - yesterday tweeting: "Fuck the Grammys and everyone associated. Unless you shake hands and send gifts, there's no nomination considerations. Next year I'll send you a basket of confectionary".
It's been widely pointed out that Malik himself only released one track that would have even been eligible for this year's Grammys - November 2019's 'Flames' - which largely sank without a trace upon release.
However, he later clarified: "My tweet was not personal or about eligibility but was about the need for inclusion and the lack of transparency of the nomination process, and the space that creates and allows favouritism, racism, and networking politics to influence the voting process".
Anyway, we may have strayed from the point here a little. We were here to talk about stats, right? And didn't I say that the IFPI was in the process of drip-feeding some lovely stats for us all to enjoy? Well, yes, I did and it is. Last week the trade group named BTS as the most successful recording artist in the world overall in 2020. I wonder how close they came to getting this single track award.
I mean, fair enough, it would be hard for anyone to compete with the success of 'Blinding Lights', but surely the K-pop outfit came in at number two in the IFPI's big 2020 global singles chart?
Actually, no. They just scraped into the top ten with 'Dynamite', which scored 1.44 billion fewer "subscription stream equivalents" than The Weeknd's track. Number two is actually 'Dance Monkey' by Tones & I.
The global singles top ten is somewhat more international than the overall recording artist list. After BTS, all nine other artists on that latter chart were North American - three from Canada and six from the US. The singles are slightly more diverse.
Aside from BTS repping South Korea, Tones & I is from Australia and Dua Lipa represents the UK in the middle of the chart. And one possibly unfamiliar name to many reading this is Xiao Zhan, a Chinese artist who comes in at number seven with his single 'Made To Love'. The track scored huge success in Zhan's home country, breaking various sales records.
Back to the Americans, and 2019's number one, Billie Eilish's 'Bad Guy', is still in the top ten for 2020, at number nine. Meanwhile, Roddy Ricch gets onto the list twice, first with his own track 'The Box', and with his feature on DaBaby's 'Rockstar'.
Now, here's the top ten in full (with subscription stream equivalents in brackets):