|FRIDAY 2 JULY 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Y Not Festival has become the latest to call off its 2021 edition, due to a lack of guidance and insurance from the UK government. The event was supposed to take place from 29 Jul to 1 Aug... [READ MORE]|
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Y Not becomes latest UK festival to cancel due to lack of government guidance
"We have been placed in an extremely awkward position", say organisers. "We are yet to receive the government's guidance from their pilot schemes and the lack of a government-backed insurance package, amidst rising COVID cases both locally and nationally, makes us unable to fully commit to the next stages of planning needed for this year's [festival] without greatly risking the future of the event".
They went on to say that they had tried "everything possible to make this year's festival a reality". This included applying to be part of the government's ongoing Events Research Programme - which would have provided support in the event of a last minute cancellation - but Y Not was not selected as one of the events to be involved in the next round of pilots.
The decision to cancel had to be made now, they went on, because next week they were scheduled to begin building the festival site.
"We now find ourselves in a position where we are unable to commit to the build of the site, as we have no solid guarantee of [the festival] being allowed to take place", they say. "Despite positive government rhetoric, there is still little information we can rely on. With further delays being a possibility and no guarantees from the government, everything we have built over the last fifteen years could be lost if we carry on this year".
This is just the latest in a string of music festivals forced to cancel their 2021 events due to a lack of support and guidance from the government. That this is happening - and continues to happen - cannot be a surprise to anyone, including ministers, anymore. Which does now imply that it is active and deliberate government policy to allow this year's festival season to almost entirely collapse.
Some festivals have been provided a level of support to go ahead by being included in the Events Research Programme, but that is a very small minority. Also, given that the live industry was expecting to have received guidance on safe opening by 21 Jun - the original target date for full capacity shows returning - it's little comfort that this small lifeline is still in place.
Tickets for Y Not can be rolled over to next year's festival, which will take place on 28-31 Jul. Refunds will also be available.
Financial firm asks to withdraw from Britney Spears conservatorship
In a legal document yesterday, The Bessemer Trust cited Britney Spears' statement in court last month, in which she called the current arrangement for the management of her personal and financial affairs "abusive". It said that it had previously been told that the conservatorship was voluntary on Spears' part, and that the "changed circumstances" as result of her recent statement meant that it no longer wished to continue in its current role.
"As a result of [Spears'] testimony at the 23 Jun hearing ... [The Bessemer Trust] has become aware that [Spears] objects to the continuance of her conservatorship and desires to terminate the conservatorship", says the firm, according to the New York Times. "[The Bessemer Trust] has heard [Spears] and respects her wishes".
Exactly what happens now isn't clear. Earlier this week, the judge overseeing the conservatorship ruled that Bessemer should remain co-conservator of Spears' finances with her father Jamie. This follows lengthy legal wrangling by Jamie Spears to regain full control of his daughter's finances, and by Britney to have her father entirely removed from the arrangement.
The court still needs to approve Bessemer's request to extract itself from Spears' life. Meanwhile, although she has stated that she wants the conservatorship brought to an end, she and her attorney Sam Ingham have not yet filed an official motion to begin that process.
Court dismisses net firm motion that called record industry's copyright takedowns "unfair and fraudulent"
RCN is one of a number of American ISPs that have been sued by the record industry over the copyright infringement of their users. The labels argue that because the internet companies have deliberately shoddy systems for dealing with infringement and repeat infringers on their networks, they shouldn't enjoy protection under the copyright safe harbour, meaning they can be held liable when their customers infringe copyright.
Charter Communications, Bright House Networks and RCN's sister company Grande Communications have all also been targeted with litigation in the wake of BMG – and then the majors – successfully suing Cox Communications on this issue.
All the targeted ISPs have at some point criticised the way the record labels and their anti-piracy agents submit copyright takedown notices to internet companies, generally arguing that the record industry takes a slack approach meaning those notices cannot be trusted and are therefore not solid proof that any one customer has been infringing copyright.
More recently, the ISPs facing litigation from the record industry have often formalised those grievances via counterclaims, accusing the labels and their agents of either not complying with the takedown notice requirements contained in America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and/or of breaking other related rules.
Last October, RCN filed a counterclaim accusing the majors and the anti-piracy firm Rightscorp of "unfair and fraudulent" practices - and of breaching the California Business & Professions Code - by flooding them with so many copyright notices that it creates "an environment in which ISPs, including RCN, have no choice but to indiscriminately terminate the internet access of every customer accused of copyright infringement, or face the wrath of the record labels and the Recording Industry Association Of America".
In its legal filing, RCN added: "The record labels and the RIAA are relying on Rightscorp's copyright infringement allegations not because they are true, but because the nature and volume of the accusations allow [the labels] to use them for the improper purpose of gaining leverage over ISPs. The unspoken threat is RCN's reality: accept the new copyright regime or face the cost and burden of defending against a protracted secondary copyright infringement lawsuit seeking vast sums of damages".
It also criticised Rightscorp for not sharing or even storing the evidence of infringement for each copyright notice it issues on behalf of the labels.
The ISP's lawsuit continued: "[The labels'] intentional destruction of evidence that supports or contradicts millions of conclusory and unsupported accusations of copyright infringement against users of RCN's network, and their scheme to wield that evidence against RCN and others solely for monetary gain, significantly harms competition, is immoral, unethical, oppressive, unscrupulous, and substantially injurious to consumers and competition. These business practices are in violation of the California Business & Professions Code".
However, the judge overseeing the case has now ruled that RCN failed to prove in its counterclaim that the flood of copyright complaints from Rightscorp and the labels actually caused it "cognizable economic injury" under California's Unfair Competition Law. Yes, it incurs the cost of running a system to deal with the copyright notices issued under the DMCA, but that isn't directly caused by the record industry's submissions.
According to Law360, the judge wrote: "At no point does RCN allege that it created its DMCA system specifically because of Rightscorp's infringement notifications or that Rightscorp's infringement notifications imposed any additional costs on RCN. These costs cannot therefore be fairly attributable to either Rightscorp or plaintiffs".
The labels had dubbed RCN's counterclaim "legally baseless", arguing that it was just a distraction tactic designed to "deflect attention from RCN's manifest liability" for copyright infringement. So, needless to say, they will welcome this week's ruling. Although RCN has been given until 20 Jul to file an amended counterclaim if it wants to.
Amazing Stories sync dispute settled
Apple was sued last year over an episode of its 2020 revival of the 1980s US TV show. The lawsuit was filed by JED Productions and its owner Darrell Jackson, who said that the second episode of 'Amazing Stories' featured a track his company owns, 'Side Show', recorded in 1989 by a hip hop outfit called 415.
The production company behind the programme, NBC Universal, had got a licence to synchronise the track from a company called Nakamiche Muzic Publishing. However, Jackson claimed that he owns both the song and recording rights in 'Side Show', and therefore Nakamiche was in no position to provided any such licence.
In his lawsuit, Jackson noted: "Beginning sometime after plaintiff registered the copyrights in 'Side Show' [with the US Copyright Office] and continuing thereafter, the Nakamiche defendants falsely represented and continue to falsely represent that they own the copyright in the composition and the sound recording of 'Side Show', including by … falsely and publicly registering the composition as their own with [US collecting society] ASCAP".
Despite Jackson's real beef being with Nakamiche - and him conceding that Apple and NBC Universal had got a licence from that company - he nevertheless named the tech giant and the media firm as defendants, on the basis that he'd provided both of them with "proof of the registration" for the track, demonstrating that they were using it without licence in their programme. However, they had failed to cease and desist in using the track without permission.
However, the dispute is now at an end. A court in California approved the settlement deal reached by all parties earlier this week. Court papers provide no details about that settlement except that all claims against Apple, NBC Universal and Nakamiche have now been dismissed.
Bang Si-hyuk stands down as HYBE CEO with executive rejig at expanded music business
At this point I am both legally and ethically obliged to point out that HYBE used to be called Big Hit Entertainment and is the company behind the K-pop phenomenon that is BTS. But you knew that already. Damn tedious legal and ethical obligations
The biggest bit of the big old rejig is that the company's founder - your old mate Bang Si-hyuk - is standing down as CEO so that he can spend more time on music production projects. Music production gubbins being his original focus back in the day. However, he will still chair the South Korean entertainment firm's board. Park Ji-won, who joined HYBE last year, takes over as CEO.
HYBE America became much bigger news in April, of course, when it acquired Scooter Braun's Ithaca Holdings, including his SB Projects management business and the Big Machine record label group.
Braun has been confirmed as co-CEO of HYBE America, overseeing all the Ithaca assets and also taking responsibility for establishing a "solid foothold" for the wider company in the US. The other co-CEO is Lenzo Yoon, who will lead on efforts to establish the glorious K-pop business model in America, in part via the partnership with Universal Music that the company announced earlier this year.
Meanwhile, in Japan, a new regional division is being launched bringing together two standalone businesses HYBE already runs in the country. It will be run by CEO Han Hyunrock and will aim to both sign Japanese talent - initially by creating a boy band - and to rep other HYBE artists in the market.
If you're super interested in such things, among HYBE's big rejig announcement it was also confirmed that the company's Lee Jaesang, who played a key role in the Ithaca acquisition, will relocate to the US to become COO of HYBE America. Meanwhile, back at the South Korean HQ, Kim Taeho becomes COO and Lee Jinhyeong chief comms officer.
MMF doubles membership in two years
At the organisation's Annual General Meeting yesterday, CEO Annabella Coldrick put the rapid increase in members down to various outreach and development programmes, as well as the organisation's emergency funding scheme for artist managers during the pandemic.
"It's been a ludicrously tough twelve months and throughout the MMF has rallied to support the management community with initiatives like ReBuild, Unite and Accelerator, extensive virtual learning sessions, and tireless campaigning and advocacy work", said Coldrick.
"I've no doubt it's why we've seen such a huge and rapid increase in our membership", she goes on. "Music management can be an isolating and highly pressurised way of making a living, and I'm proud of the way the MMF continues to be an organisation where knowledge is shared and everyone is welcome".
The boost in membership numbers has also resulted in an improvement in diversity, with 38% of members now female or non-binary, and 29% from black, Asian or other ethnic minority backgrounds.
As part of the AGM, four new members were elected to the MMF board. Big Drum Entertainment's Adenike Durosaro, Whole Entertainment's Ross Patel, This Much Talent's Sandy Dworniak and William Orbit manager Karl Nielson will serve for three years on that committee.
They replace Everybody's Adam Tudhope, Red Light's Lisa Ward, ATC's Ric Salmon and Iluvlive's Rachael Bee. Vice-Chair, Ferocious Talent's Kwame Kwaten, was also re-elected.
Taylor Swift features on a new track by Aaron Dessner and Bon Iver's Big Red Machine project, titled 'Renegade'. Dessner, of course, co-wrote Swift's two lockdown albums, 'Folklore' and 'Evermore'. The duo's new album, 'How Long Do You Think It's Gonna Last', which includes another track featuring Swift, is out on 27 Aug.
Janelle Monáe has released new song 'Stronger', taken from new Netflix series 'We The People'.
The recently un-retired Logic has released new track 'Vaccine'.
J Balvin and Skrillex have teamed up for new track 'In Da Ghetto'.
Villagers have released new single 'So Simpatico'. "It's a song of devotion; whether to a person, the self, or the art of being, a struggle for authenticity is at its core", says Conor O'Brien. "We all jammed and recorded an early version with too many words and I took it home and simplified it until it was as pure an expression as possible. It's a pop song about the essence of love". New album 'Fever Dreams' is out on 20 Aug.
We Are Scientists will release new album 'Huffy' on 8 Oct. Here's new single 'Contact High'. "Love songs can easily be goofy and embarrassing, and so I sometimes have a hard time writing songs that are unambiguously romantic", says frontman Keith Murray. "'Contact High' really nails that heady rush of full-throttle infatuation for me, though, because it evokes my trifecta of mood-altering stimuli - dizzying romantic interaction, rousing music, and second-hand contact with psychoactive chemicals - in descending order of personal preference".
Sin Fang has released new single 'An Angel At The Mall', featuring SinfoniaNord. It completes a trilogy of tracks released by Icelandic label Inni in collaboration with the orchestra, with previous singles by Atli Örvarsson and Skúli Sverrisson. "I have been working with SinfoniaNord for the past few years on my film work as well as my solo album, 'You Are Here', and this new and exciting series from Inni is a wonderful addition to that body of work", says Sin Fang.
Childcare have released new single 'Little Secret'. "It's one of those songs which has taken years to come together", says frontman Ian Dudfield. "We've had the chorus for a long time but could never quite get the verses or feel of the song right. It wasn't until I started interviewing friends and asked them to each share a secret with me that the song clicked into place".
Club Paradise have released new single 'Do You Feel The Same?' "It's the first time I've opened up about how I can often feel this nauseating self-doubt and weight", says frontman Ryan Young. "I get these days where, for whichever reason, I feel excluded or like I'm not doing enough and my mind spirals. This feeling of being high, as a protagonist in my own life, leads to the low of wondering if anyone even notices".
GIGS & TOURS
Glassjaw have announced two shows at The Forum in London, performing 2000 album 'Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Silence' and 2002's 'Worship And Tribute' in full. The shows will take place on 27 May and 28 May. Tickets go on sale on Wednesday.
Gojira have announced UK tour dates in March next year, kicking off at Alexandra Palace in London on 4 Mar. Tickets go on sale on Monday.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Paul McCartney praises Tenacious D's "imaginative" Beatles cover
The track released by the duo - actors Jack Black and Kyle Gass - combines two songs from The Beatles' 'Abbey Road' album, 'You Never Give Me Your Money' and 'The End'.
Tweeting about the release, McCartney said: "This Tenacious D cover of our song is fantastic! It's so imaginative and so well performed. What a great tribute to the original. Guys - I love it".
So that's nice then. Even if it does read a bit like he's praising a four year old for banging on an ice cream tub they've decorated. And I'm not sure an ice cream tub is banged even once during the whole the track.