TUESDAY 1 JUNE 2021 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK Parliament's culture select committee this weekend published a report based on its inquiry into the future of the music festival sector. MPs on the committee again called on the UK government to urgently instigate a state-backed insurance scheme for large-scale events due to take place in the coming months as COVID restrictions lift, otherwise, they said, the festival industry would face another "lost summer"... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Culture select committee says government inaction on insurance will result in another "lost summer" for the festival sector
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LEGAL Marilyn Manson receives another sexual assault lawsuit
Capitol v Vimeo case back in court yet again
Stream-ripping site Yout gets web-blocks in Brazil dropped
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Symphonic Distribution expands into Mexico and Africa
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MEDIA Simon Cowell pulls out of X Factor Israel
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ONE LINERS Marshmello, Wretch 32, Download Festival, more
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AND FINALLY... Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted "is not joining Megadeth"
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Culture select committee says government inaction on insurance will result in another "lost summer" for the festival sector
The UK Parliament's culture select committee this weekend published a report based on its inquiry into the future of the music festival sector. MPs on the committee again called on the UK government to urgently instigate a state-backed insurance scheme for large-scale events due to take place in the coming months as COVID restrictions lift, otherwise, they said, the festival industry would face another "lost summer".

In theory, from 21 Jun full capacity events will be possible in England again as part of the government's current plan to remove COVID restrictions. However, there still remains a risk those restrictions could as yet extend. Which means any festivals due to take place in July or beyond still face the risk of having a last minute cancellation.

With no cancellation insurance available on the commercial market, that has forced many independent promoters to already cancel their 2021 editions, which could have gone ahead if the 21 Jun target is actually met.

For months the music industry has been urging UK ministers to follow the lead of governments in some other countries by offering large-scale events state-backed insurance. That way, as soon as COVID restrictions lift, there will be flurry of festivals ready to proceed.

However, to date the government has resisted all those calls. It has been indicated that some sort of insurance will likely be offered once COVID restrictions have actually lifted, but not while there remains uncertainty about the 21 Jun target date. But for many events, that will be too late.

The urgent need for such insurance was the key finding of the select committee's report, with committee Chair Julian Knight saying this weekend that "festivals have been treated as the poor relation by the government" during the COVID pandemic.

He added that few festival promoters had benefited from the culture-specific COVID funding that was made available last year, and that festivals would not have featured in the government's Events Research Programme into how to safely get full capacity shows back up and running - where shows do get state-backed insurance - without the committee's efforts.

Knight added: "It has been made very clear to us that the vast majority of music festivals do not have the financial resilience to cover the costs of another year of late-notice cancellations. If the commercial insurance market won't step in, ministers must, and urgently: events need to know now whether the government will back them, or they simply won't take place this year".

"We repeat our call for the government to announce an insurance scheme to cover festival organisers if events need to be cancelled as a result of COVID-19 restrictions continuing beyond 21 Jun. There's still time to get the music playing, but no more room for excuses".

The committee's conclusion has been welcomed by the live sector. Paul Reed, CEO of the Association Of Independent Festivals, said: "AIF welcomes the findings of the committee and appreciates its efforts over the past few months. We are pleased that MPs have again echoed our repeated calls for government-backed insurance for festivals".

Noting that state-backed insurance might be made available post 21 Jun, he added: "We expect swift intervention at that point with an insurance scheme that protects festivals that may need to cancel after 21 Jun, should the trajectory of the pandemic dictate new lockdown, enforced reduced capacity or social distancing measures. As it will take some time for such a scheme to become operational, it is imperative that it is retroactive so that all festivals scheduled to take place after 21 Jun are protected".

Meanwhile, Greg Parmley from live industry trade group LIVE said: "The select committee is right when it says that the government is letting UK festivals down by refusing to deal with the absence of commercial insurance. After months of fruitless discussions with the Department For Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Treasury, the sector is exasperated at the government's unwillingness to step in to help prevent the collapse of the festival sector for a further twelve months".

"Without some form of insurance the risk of going ahead will simply be too great for many festivals this year", he added, "and, whatever happens with the reopening timetable, the vast majority of events could pull the plug in the coming weeks".

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Marilyn Manson receives another sexual assault lawsuit
Another former girlfriend of Marilyn Manson has filed a lawsuit against the musician. The woman, listed on the legal filing as Jane Doe, accuses him of raping and threatening to kill her, as well as showing her a video which she alleges showed him attacking a young fan.

The lawsuit says that the woman and Manson began dating in 2011, initially enjoying a good relationship. The turning point, she says, came when he showed her a video which he called 'Groupie' and kept locked in a safe. She claims that it was filmed backstage at a show in 1996, and features a young female fan being tied to a chair, forced to drink urine and being threatened with a gun.

However, a source has told both Pitchfork and TMZ that the video was actually a "scripted short film" made with director Joseph Cultice for a project that was ultimately not released.

Manson was also sued last month by former assistant Ashley Walters, who accuses him of sexual harassment, abuse and battery. Meanwhile in April he was sued by 'Game Of Thrones' actor and former girlfriend Esmé Bianco, who accuses him of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. He was also accused of abuse by another former girlfriend, actor Evan Rachel Wood.

He has previously denied the accusations made by Bianco and Wood, but has not yet commented on any of the recent lawsuits.

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Capitol v Vimeo case back in court yet again
The legal battle between Capitol Records and Vimeo is somehow still ongoing. And last week there was another ruling as part of the music industry's so far unsuccessful attempt to hold the video-sharing site liable for unlicensed music that appeared in videos uploaded to its platform.

The Capitol label - then still part of EMI - first sued Vimeo all the way back in 2009. The case was a test of the copyright safe harbour, of course, which says that internet companies cannot be held liable for the copyright infringement of their users providing they are unaware of the infringement, and that they have systems in place via which copyright owners can get infringing content removed.

Various side debates have been had as the case has slowly worked its way through the system, including whether the copyright safe harbour in federal US law even applies to sound recordings released prior to 1972 that are protected by state-level copyright law. It does. The labels then had a go at suggesting that Vimeo, by hosting videos with infringing music in them, had violate unfair competition rules under New York state law. They had not.

But the core debate, really, has been whether Vimeo had so called "red flag awareness" that videos on its platform contained unlicensed music, meaning it had an obligation to act in order to retain its safe harbour protection.

When the case reached the Second Circuit appeals court, it mainly ruled that, even though certain individual Vimeo employees may have known there were videos containing other people's music on the company's platform, that in itself didn't constitute red flag awareness. Because the employees wouldn't necessarily know whether the music had been licensed, or if the use of the music in the video constituted 'fair use'.

However, Capitol went back to the district court saying it had additional evidence that Vimeo's employees knew that videos on its platform contained music in a way that infringed copyright. However, according to Law360, last week the judge there ruled that the label hadn't cleared the "high burden" imposed by the Second Circuit to prove that there was any red flag awareness.

There is one element of the case still left unresolved, though. That relates to 26 infringing videos uploaded to the Vimeo by its own employees. It is still to be decided whether those employees uploaded said videos as agents of Vimeo - in which case the company would lose safe harbour protection - or as private users of the service - in which case it would not.

While this particular Vimeo dispute is now more than a decade old, the video site is also facing some brand new litigation in this domain. Last month the Italian record industry announced it was suing the video-sharing site for failing to meet its obligations in order to benefit from the European copyright safe harbour.

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Stream-ripping site Yout gets web-blocks in Brazil dropped
The stream-ripping site that has sued the record industry in the US has also successfully had a web-blocking order issued against it in Brazil overturned, for now at least.

Usually it's record companies that sue stream-ripping operations, which are accused of enabling copyright infringement by helping people turn temporary streams into permanent downloads. But last October Yout sued the Recording Industry Association Of America, accusing the US trade body of misrepresenting the service it provides when trying to get Google to delist the Yout.com website from its search engine.

However, in Brazil last year, things were proceeding in a more normal fashion, with music industry group APDIF formally complaining about Yout and other stream-ripping services - including Flvto and Y2mate - resulting in web-blocking orders being issued against those sites by a court in the country. Those orders, of course, force internet service providers to block their customers from accessing targeted sites.

According to Torrentfreak, the operator of Yout wasn't too happy about that development and hired lawyers to investigate what had led to the web-block order being issued.

Helped in part by references made to the Brazilian action by the RIAA in its response to the US lawsuit, those lawyers discovered that the web-block had been secured by the Public Prosecutor's Office in Brazil, which was investigating the stream-rippers based on the complaint by APDIF.

It turned out the PPO had requested a 180 day web-block while it investigated Yout et al, which it reckoned were facilitating copyright infringement by allowing people to circumvent digital rights management protections employed by the streaming platforms that were being ripped.

With those 180 days now up, Yout's lawyers requested that the web-blocks be formally lifted. The PPO then requested that the blockades be extended while it continued to investigate, but the São Paulo Criminal Court ruled that an extension was not justified because prosecutors had so far failed to file any criminal charges against Yout et al.

As a result, the PPO was obliged to alert ISPs in Brazil that they no longer needed to block their users from accessing Yout and the other targeted stream ripping sites. Meaning those temporary web-blocks are no longer in force.

That said, the PPO's investigation is still seemingly ongoing and, if it were to file charges, it would presumably seek a new web-blocking order from the courts. However, Yout's legal team told Torrentfreak: "We are confident that Yout's activities cannot be included in the same category of conduct attributed to other website owners, as its tool is lawful and its usage falls within the very exceptions provided by copyright law".

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Symphonic Distribution expands into Mexico and Africa
US-based music distribution firm Symphonic last week announced an expansion into both Mexico and the African market.

The company announced that it had appointed Tamsanqa Ngxeketo to lead a team in South Africa that would offer A&R and marketing services to clients in various African markets. Meanwhile, industry veteran Ariel Etbul will head up the firm's operations in Mexico. Symphonic is already active in Latin America, having previously expanded into Colombia and Brazil.

Announcing the latest appointments, Symphonic CEO Jorge Brea said: "I am THRILLED to see Symphonic expanding in these very exciting markets".

"The individuals we've brought on board have a lot of experience in the territories and understand the needs and wants of creators in their respective regions", he went on. "Having them on board will not only mean a great service offering for creators but it additionally means that we, as a company, will get better by building tools that can help super serve in these markets. What we are doing is only the beginning".

Ngxeketo added: "I am excited to join Symphonic with key personnel aimed at shining a light on new and exciting talent in South Africa and beyond". And Etbul chipped in: "Symphonic's Latin roots and presence is very exciting. My team members and I are THRILLED to be a part of this dynamic, growing company. We are excited to show the world what we can do together".

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Simon Cowell pulls out of X Factor Israel
Simon Cowell has cancelled plans to join the judging panel of this year's series of 'X Factor Israel'.

In a statement to Variety, a spokesperson for broadcaster Reshet said that Cowell had pulled out of the show "for his own reasons".

A source then told Jewish News: "Simon won't be going to Israel after all. I know it has already been announced that he was one of the judges, but for a number of reasons he just can't be there in Israel to film the show now. Of course he is bitterly disappointed – but it was a decision he had to take".

The issue being skirted in both those statements, of course, is the recent renewed fighting between Israel and Hamas. Although last week a spokesperson for Reshet did tell Variety that Cowell's team had raised "legitimate concerns" about his appearance on the show, following the recent violence in Gaza.

However, that doesn't mean his decision to bail was entirely down to the political situation in the region. Apparently there have also been concerns about Cowell's work schedule as he continues to recover from breaking his back last year. And he is also currently appearing as a judge on 'America's Got Talent'.

Had it gone ahead, this was due to be Cowell's first appearance on one of the talent shows he created outside of the UK or US. When his judging role on 'X Factor Israel' was first announced in December last year, he said: "Over the years the 'X Factor' format discovered amazing talents from all over the world, I can't wait to see what Israel have to offer".

Cowell was also actively involved in putting the rest of the judging panel together - which includes 2018 Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai - with the winner of this series of 'X Factor Israel' due to represent the country at Eurovision next year.

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Setlist: The music industry's "war on the internet"
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including US ISP Cox Communication's claim that the music industry is "waging war on the internet" as it appeals the 2019 safe harbour ruling against it, plus a new survey from the Musicians' Union and the Incorporated Society Of Musicians showing that 77% of UK music-makers expect their income to fall as a result of new post-Brexit touring bureaucracy.

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RELEASES

Marshmello and Carnage have released new track 'Back In Time'.

Wretch 32 released surprise new album 'Little Big Man' on Friday. "I was trying to put myself in a seventeen year old's body and trying to see how they feel", he says of the idea behind it. "How does it feel to come out of prison at that age? What struggles do I face? As a senior, I'm seeing a pattern and a cycle and this was about me trying to understand their experiences". Here's a short film to introduce the project.

At The Gates have released new track 'The Paradox'. It's the second single from their upcoming new album 'The Nightmare Of Being', which is out on 2 Jul.

Girli has released new single 'More Than A Friend'. "I wrote this song about crushing hard on a girl who didn't want me back", she says. "It's about the sexual frustration of wanting someone so bad but knowing they just don't like you like that".

Mei has released new single 'See Us'.

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GIGS & TOURS

Enter Shikari have been announced as the Saturday night headliners for next month's mini Download Festival, which is being run as a COVID test event. "After eighteen months trapped inside, we cannot wait to be back in our favourite element; playing music beneath an open sky", says vocalist Rou Reynolds. "We're incredibly proud to be headlining an event that helps to get live music back on its feet in the UK".

Little Simz has announced UK tour dates in November and December this year, finishing up at Brixton Academy in London on 16 Dec. Tickets go on sale on Friday.

Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.

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Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted "is not joining Megadeth"
Former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted is not joining Megadeth. So you can stop telling all your friends that he is. In a post on Instagram, Newsted's wife Nicole wrote: "Jason is not joining Megadeth. Peace to them. Listen to metal".

There was a certain logic behind the recent rumours that Newsted had joined the band. Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine is also an ex-member of Metallica, so there's a link there. And Newsted's former band Newsted supported Megadeath on tour in 2013, with Newsted himself joining the headliners for one song at the tour's final show in Toronto that year.

And, of course, Megadeth is currently in need of a new bassist having fired founder member David Ellefson last week. That decision to part ways with Ellefson followed accusations of sexual misconduct. Though in a statement, Mustaine also cited a "strained relationship". Ellefson, meanwhile, wished his former bandmates well and said that he is planning to launch legal action against the person who leaked sexually explicit videos of him online last month.

All of which means we are expecting some sort of announcement regarding a new Megadeth bassist, what with a co-headline tour with Lamb Of God less than two months away and a new album "almost complete". But, and please do write this down, it won't be Newsted.

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ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU Daily, website and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column.
andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Founder & MD
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and CMU Trends. He also leads the CMU Insights consultancy unit and the CMU:DIY future talent programme, as well as heading up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and also heads up business development at CMU Insights and CMU:DIY.
sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
   
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media as a Director of 3CM UnLimited, as well as heading up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supporting other parts of the business.
caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
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