|MONDAY 15 MARCH 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK government's Intellectual Property Office and CMU Insights will next week launch a new guide to music rights that will help everyone in the music community better understand the ins and outs of music copyright, music licensing and how music rights make money. The free guide will be available online or to download as a PDF from next Monday. CMU will also present a series of free webinars and panel discussions following the launch... [READ MORE]|
|Expand your knowledge about the inner workings of the music business, best practice across the music industry, and all the latest trends and developments, with CMU's weekly webinars.
Taking place every Tuesday afternoon at 2.30pm London time, these one hour online training sessions are delivered by CMU's Chris Cooke.
Each webinar presents timely and easy-to-understand insights about a different music business topic, with plenty of opportunity to ask questions.
Attendees can also access online resources - including downloadable slides - and a recording of the webinar available for a month after the live session.
BOOK NOW at special rates - access to each individual webinar is just £25, plus there are additional discounts if you book into multiple sessions.
Intellectual Property Office and CMU to launch new free copyright guide for the music community next week
The IPO is the official UK government body responsible for intellectual property rights including copyright. With the shift to digital making it so much easier to record and share music, the IPO recognises that it's more important than ever for all music-makers and other online creators to understand the basics of music copyright and music licensing. That's why it commissioned CMU to create 'Music Copyright Explained'.
Among other things, the easy-to-follow guide explains how copyright gives music-makers control over the songs and recordings they create. It also talks through how music-makers and the music industry generate income out of their music rights, and outlines all the key things music-makers and other creators need to know about music copyright and licensing.
The guide will be available online and as a PDF download from next Monday, 22 Mar. Three editions of the free 'Music Copyright Explained' webinar will take place in the week of launch, with a series of accompanying panels then taking place in early April.
Those will review the key copyright debates in the music community in 2021, explore the challenges for businesses looking to license music, and will consider how music educators can make sure students and early-career music-makers get the copyright knowledge they need.
Anyone making or using music can sign up to receive a free PDF copy of the guide as soon as it is published right now. They can also sign up for places at the free webinars next week, or the panel discussions in April. Check out all the information at musiccopyrightexplained.com.
Ticketmaster successfully forces another COVID refunds dispute to arbitration
American Ticketmaster customer John Tezak went legal last year as the COVID shutdown began and ticketing firms started to deal with the unprecedented number of postponed and cancelled shows.
He argued that the ticketing giant was classifying cancelled shows as postponed in order to avoid offering automatic refunds. This, he alleged, was Ticketmaster, having failed to properly prepare for something like the COVID pandemic, sitting on its customers' money that should have been refunded to provide free cash flow.
As with previous lawsuits over its COVID refund policies, Ticketmaster argued that the case should go to arbitration. That was on the basis that the terms and conditions Tezak signed up to when buying tickets for a postponed (possibly cancelled) Blake Shelton show in Illinois last year clearly stated that any disputes should go to arbitration, rather than being fought out in a court of law.
In a previous case, one ticket-buyer unsuccessfully argued that that arbitration obligation was buried deep within Ticketmaster's terms and conditions and that he hadn't really agreed to be bound by it. But in his case, Tezak argued that the Ticketmaster terms relating to arbitration were ambiguous, in particular because of a mention of the Illinois Ticket Sale And Resale Act.
However, the court hearing the case has ruled that the reference to that legislation only applies to touted tickets bought via Ticketmaster's secondary ticketing sites, not official tickets bought via its primary ticketing service. Therefore there were no ambiguities regarding Tezak's obligation to take his dispute with the Live Nation company to arbitration.
Judge frees WME from legal dispute with Virgin Fest LA over COVID cancellation
VFLA Eventco LLC sued WME and the touring companies of Lizzo and Goulding last year after it was forced to cancel the debut edition of a new Virgin Fest event in LA.
The promoter argued that because the festival was cancelled as a result of COVID restrictions, the artists were obliged to return monies they had been advanced when they were booked to play. However, Lizzo, Goulding and their agents argued that they could keep those payments because they were still "ready, willing and able to perform", despite the big show being called off.
WME sought to have itself removed from the legal battle on the basis that its agreement with the promoter said that it could not be sued as part of any dispute that was basically between the festival organiser and an artist. And the court last week agreed that that was the case here. Although it also said that VFLA could refile its litigation if it believed it had a claim against the agency not covered by that contractual exclusion.
The judgement stated: "The court agrees with plaintiff that the contract does not protect WME from liability for its own wrongs. It only protects WME from being sued for what is essentially a dispute between the artists and the promoter. But that is essentially what is at issue here".
WME objected to VFLA being given the option to re-file, arguing that that would just be a waste of everyone's time and money. But the judge said that, while he understood the defendants' frustrations, it was nevertheless appropriate to give the festival company "leave to amend" in this scenario.
Meanwhile, VFLA's lawsuit against the artists' touring companies was allowed to proceed.
New organisation launched in Germany to allow web-blocking without court orders
Dubbed a "clearing house for copyright on the internet", the new set up, called CUII, is a joint venture between the biggest German ISPs and the country's copyright industries. It means that web-blocks can be instigated against piracy sites without court action being required.
Web-blocking, of course, has become an anti-piracy tactic of choice in those counties where such blockades are an option for copyright owners. The process usually means getting a court to issue an injunction ordering ISPs to block access to copyright-infringing websites. Though in some countries government agencies, or similar, are empowered to directly issue web-blocking orders.
Although the CUII circumvents the need for court action, a committee - including retired judges with knowledge of German copyright law - will review each complaint submitted by a copyright owner. Germany's telecommunications regulator BNetzA will also review each complaint to confirm that any one web-block does not breach the European Union's net neutrality rules.
The new body will issue web-blocking orders against websites that are "structurally infringing". That is defined as a website where mass infringement is key to its business model, and where - by providing access to infringing material - it is causing significant economic harm to the creative sectors.
Specific examples given of sites that would fall under that definition include the good old Pirate Bay, which is often one of the first to be subject to web-blocking whenever it is introduced in any one country.
Although the first site to be put on the CUII blocking list, according to BNetzA, is TV streaming set-up s.to - which is already blocked by some ISPs in Germany and has a nice guide to circumventing the blockades at the top of its home page as a result.
RIAA increasingly targeting content on legit streaming services with takedowns
The music industry issues a constant flood of copyright notices, of course, requesting that content or links be removed from an assortment of websites and digital platforms.
That includes outright piracy sites, as well as otherwise legitimate social media and content-sharing platforms where users regularly upload videos containing other people's music. Another stack of takedowns are then sent to search engines that index and list pirated content.
Those websites and digital platforms are obliged to respond to any takedowns if they want to avoid liability for copyright infringement on the back of the copyright safe harbour. Most piracy sites ignore them, obviously, which is why search engines linking to those piracy sites are also a top target.
Torrentfreak has been monitoring the database of takedown notices managed by Lumen, a Harvard University project that is focused on takedowns and other cease-and-desist letters issued in relation to online content.
"Takedown requests are generally aimed at pirate sites and stream-rippers, but in recent weeks the [Recording Industry Association Of America] went after legitimate streaming services as well - apparently Spotify, Deezer, Amazon, Tidal and Apple Music host 'copyright infringing' content too", it notes.
Some of that definitely relates to podcasts. As the streaming services have been pushing podcast content ever more prolifically, the spotlight has fallen on the fact that most music podcasts are not properly licensed, mainly because it's really hard to license music for podcast programmes.
Crucially, the music licences of Spotify et al do not cover music within any standard podcasts that appear on those platforms, which means technically they shouldn't be on there. As a result, said platforms have filters that try to stop such content getting through. However, in some cases, fans have actually managed to use podcast feeds to add tracks not officially available on Spotify to the service, which suggests that those filters are not always very effective.
Not all podcasts containing music on the streaming services are infringing. The platforms' own podcasts will have secured licences, of course, and Spotify is developing a tool to allow podcasters to pull in tracks from its licensed music library. But many third-party music-based podcasts that do appear on those streaming service are very likely not properly licensed. And some of those were targets of some of the recent takedowns against Spotify.
But, Torrentfreak points out, some of the takedowns relate to individual tracks on the music side of the service, rather than podcasts. That includes some remixes and karaoke versions of songs, but also some original recordings.
Those could have been uploaded via podcast feeds, as noted. Although the presence of allegedly infringing tracks on the streaming services possibly relates to another debate that has rumbled on in recent years. Which is, to what extent people are uploading other people's music via DIY distribution platforms, and what efforts those platforms and the streaming services themselves are going to in order to spot and block such uploads.
According to Torrentfreak, although those takedowns have been sent to Google so that links to the podcasts or tracks can be removed from its search engine, the web giant doesn't seem to have acted on those notices. Very possibly because it reckons the streaming services are in a better position to assess if that content is indeed infringing and, if so, to actually remove it. Certainly, some of the identified podcasts and tracks are no longer available on Spotify.
6 Music Festival to go ahead without live audience
Nine new audience-free performances have been recorded: Bicep, Michael Kiwanuka and Laura Marling playing at Alexandra Palace in London; and Poppy Ajudha, Black Country New Road, Dry Cleaning, Nubya Garcia, Shame and Working Men's Club getting on stage at the BBC Radio Theatre in Broadcasting House.
Samantha Moy, Head Of BBC Radio 6 Music, says: "With venues closed across the UK, we are determined to celebrate live music, as we know 6 Music listeners are missing gigs as much as we are. So, we've raided the 6 Music Festival archives and moved heaven and earth to record some new performances, to ensure that the festival will go on!"
Commenting on his performance, Kiwanuka - who had to cancel his set last year due to laryngitis - says: "It feels great to be playing the 6 Music Festival this year, especially because I missed last year - I was so sad and gutted not to perform. This year is a special year because there are very few opportunities to get to play live, with the situation we're in in the world. So it's great to be able to express myself the way I know how and with the 6 Music family. It means a lot".
BBC Radio 6 Music will broadcast all the new performances, along with eighteen classic sets from festivals past, from 26-28 Mar. Highlights from Bicep, Kiwanuka and Marling's sets will also be shown on BBC Four on 26 Mar, while BBC iPlayer will also present an eight hour stream of back to back new and old sets from 2pm to 10pm on 28 Mar.
Socially distanced Grammy Awards take place in LA
The sparsely-attended event was set up outside the Staples Center in LA, with spaced out tables each populated by one or two masked celebrities, to ensure COVID safety. Performances were pre-recorded, allowing artists to get more creative than usual. Lil Baby in particular went all out, with a large-scale production protesting police brutality. For his performance of 'The Bigger Picture', he was also joined by Killer Mike, who rapped a section of Run The Jewels' 'Walking In The Snow'.
As well as winning for her contribution to 'Savage' - which won Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance - Beyonce took home Best R&B Performance for 'Black Parade' and Best Music Video for 'Brown Skin Girl'. She now ties with Quincy Jones in second place for the winner of the most Grammy trophies ever. They both trail conductor Georg Solti, who has 31.
It was also notable that all of the big artist awards this year were taken by women. Megan Thee Stallion added to her haul with Best New Artist; Billie Eilish took Record Of The Year with 'Everything I Wanted; Taylor Swift's 'Folklore' won Album Of The Year; and HER took Song Of The Year with 'I Can't Breathe'.
Fiona Apple took away two awards too, her first wins in 23 years, despite consistent nominations throughout her career. She won Best Rock Performance for 'Shameika' and Best Alternative Music Album for 'Fetch The Bolt Cutters'. Her last win before that was Best Female Rock Vocal Performance for 'Criminal' in 1998.
Apple did not attend the ceremony, saying in a video message before the event: "I don't wanna be on national television. I'm just not made for that stuff anymore. I wanna stay sober and I can't do that sober. It doesn't feel safe to me to be in that exposure/scrutiny/comparison to people".
What about British artists though? Did any of them win anything? I'm glad you asked. Harry Styles won Best Pop Solo Artist for 'Watermelon Sugar'; Dua Lipa won Best Pop Vocal Album for 'Future Nostalgia'; and Jacob Collier won Best Arrangement, Instrument And Vocals for 'He Won't Hold You'.
And if you're wondering why I haven't mentioned Best Immersive Audio Album yet, that's because, remember, "due to complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic", the 2020 nominations for that category will not be announced until next year. Happy to clear that up for you.
Anyway, below are some of the key winners from this year's ceremony. For the full (still very long, despite everything) list, have a look here.
Record Of The Year: Billie Eilish - Everything I Wanted
Album Of The Year: Taylor Swift - Folklore
Song Of The Year: HER - I Can't Breathe
Best New Artist: Megan Thee Stallion
Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical: Andrew Wyatt
Best Music Video: Beyonce, Blue Ivy & WizKid - Brown Skin Girl
Best Pop Solo Performance: Harry Style - Watermelon Sugar
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande - Rain On Me
Best Pop Vocal Album: Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia
Best Rap Performance: Megan Thee Stallion feat Beyonce - Savage
Best Rap Song: Megan Thee Stallion feat Beyonce - Savage
Best Rap Album: Nas - King's Disease
Best R&B Performance: Beyonce - Black Parade
Best R&B Song: Robert Glasper featuring HER and Meshell Ndegeocello - Better Than I Imagined
Best R&B Album: John Legend - Bigger Love
Best Dance Recording: Kaytranda feat Kali Uchis - 10%
Best Dance/Electronic Album: Kaytranada - Bubba
Best Rock Performance: Fiona Apple - Shameika
Best Rock Song: Brittany Howard - Stay High
Best Rock Album: The Strokes - The New Abnormal
Best Metal Performance: Body Count - Bum-Rush
Best Alternative Music Album: Fiona Apple - Fetch The Bolt Cutters
Best Progressive R&B Album: Thundercat - It Is What It Is
Best Contemporary Christian Music Album: Kanye West - Jesus Is King
Best Song Written For Visual Media: Billie Eilish - No Time To Die
Kid Cudi "not flattered" by TikTok meme but urges fans to "keep doin your thing"
It's not the first time one of his tracks has become popular on TikTok, but on this occasion he's not especially happy that the way the track being used. The meme takes a line from the song, but cuts out lyrics dealing with the death of his uncle and feelings of regret at not patching up differences before he passed away.
In the TikTok trend, users are seen mouthing the line "now look at this", before cutting away to a clip of something funny. And it's that which the rapper finds a little bit jarring - it being so far removed from the original intent behind his words.
"I don't fuck with what they did to my song on TikTok, takin out the lyrics", he wrote on Twitter. "We live in a strange time. I'm not flattered".
When one fan said he shouldn't be concerned about something that wasn't "that deep", he added: "I don't think I'm makin it 'deep' by tweetin how I feel. Now, if I was ranting, that's another thing. Nothing wrong with me stating I don't approve. Plus, if you are such a fan, you know my lyrics are most important to me. I'm passionate about my shit so [I don't care] who has a problem with that".
Although this latest TikTok trend is not his favourite thing to ever happen, last night he stressed that he wasn't actually "angry" about it, seemingly recognising that artists generally have little control over how others see their music once it's out in the world.
"I am not 'pissed' or 'angry'", he said, in reference to several media reports on his tweets. "I don't have a problem with TikTok at all and what kids do on there. When 'Memories' and 'The Scotts' went viral, I thought it was pretty cool. When I made 'Day N Nite', I wanted it to help people. I never imagined it would be used in a jokin manner. It threw me off a lil bit. As long as the song is still helpin you guys and the lyrics aren't forgotten, keep doin your thing".
With all that in mind, and for people with long enough attention spans, here is the full track.