|THURSDAY 29 JULY 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The live sector has welcomed the news that the UK government is relaxing current COVID rules regarding people entering England from abroad, reducing the requirement to quarantine on arrival... [READ MORE]|
Live industry welcomes relaxation of COVID travel rules in the UK
For the live music sector - even as venues are able to reopen and full capacity shows can resume as COVID rules lift - ongoing restrictions on international travel remain a problem for artists planning multi-territory touring activity, and for festivals and venues looking to book international talent.
Currently the rules regarding quarantining when entering England from countries on the government's 'amber list' are different for those who have been fully vaccinated in the UK and those who have been fully vaccinated abroad. While the former only need to get COVID tests before and after travel, the latter are required to quarantine for ten days and take an additional test eight days after arrival.
Obviously for non-British performers the quarantine requirement can make playing here unviable, even when a performer is fully vaccinated and taking regular COVID tests.
However, from next week those travelling to England from the US or amber list countries in Europe - and who have received vaccines approved by the European Medicines Agency or US Food And Drug Administration - will no longer need to quarantine on arrival. So, basically, the same rules will apply as for those who have been vaccinated in the UK.
Announcing the change, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "We've taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel and today is another important step forward. Whether you are a family reuniting for the first time since the start of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade – this is progress we can all enjoy".
"We will of course continue to be guided by the latest scientific data", he added, "but thanks to our world-leading domestic vaccination programme, we’re able to look to the future and start to rebuild key transatlantic routes with the US while further cementing ties with our European neighbours".
Welcoming this development, Greg Parmley from live industry trade group LIVE said: "We are extremely pleased to see that government has taken the decision to allow people into the UK without the need to quarantine, if they have been fully vaccinated in Europe or the USA".
"This will allow international artists to perform at our world-leading festivals and venues over the coming months", he added, "and will provide a vital boost to our iconic live music industry as we come out of lockdown".
Cox Communications settles with BMG over takedown notice spat
A previous legal battle between BMG and Cox proved very significant, of course. BMG accused Cox of having a deliberately shoddy system for dealing with copyright infringers among its user base, and argued that as a result the net firm should not be protected by the copyright safe harbour, in turn allowing it to be held liable for its users' infringing ways.
BMG won that case and - although the ruling was overturned on appeal because of a technicality, resulting in a subsequent out-of-court settlement - it set a precedent regarding the liabilities of internet companies with mediocre systems in place to deal with copyright infringement and repeat infringers on their networks.
The majors subsequently sued Cox and won a billion dollars in damages, although the appeal of that ruling is still going through the motions. The major music companies also filed similar lawsuits against a flurry of other American ISPs.
But in May, it was Cox going legal, filing a complaint about BMG, its anti-piracy agent Rightscorp, and the copyright takedown notices that they continue to submit to the internet firm.
In that new lawsuit, Cox took issue with the systems employed by Rightscorp when sending takedowns on behalf of BMG, in particular the email address the anti-piracy agent is using.
Cox changed the email address for takedowns to be sent to back in 2017, basically introducing a specific email account for such notices to make it easier to identify and respond to them. But, it said, Rightscorp continued to use the old generic email address.
The lawsuit said: “Despite Cox's public notice [about the email address change], and despite multiple subsequent requests and warnings, Rightscorp persisted in sending on behalf of BMG tens of thousands of notices to Cox's old address. As Cox advised defendants on numerous occasions, including through outside counsel, Rightscorp's actions rendered the notices invalid and unactionable as a matter of law".
The legal filing then proposed something of a conspiracy theory as to why Rightscorp hadn't started using the new email address for its takedowns.
"It is clear that defendants have persisted in this blatant non-compliance in a calculated effort to manufacture evidence to support a massive secondary infringement action against Cox", it stated. "Plainly, defendants intend to claim that Cox's decision not to process these invalid notices renders it ineligible for the DMCA safe harbour protections and, therefore, subject to potentially astronomical monetary damages".
Cox then requested that the court confirm that all the takedown requests sent by Rightscorp to the old email address were invalid. It also asked for "an order enjoining defendants from continuing these abusive practices, monetary damages, and any other such further relief that the court may deem just and proper".
However, no such confirmation or order seems to be required, because Cox has reached a settlement with BMG and Rightscorp, and as such has told the court it is voluntary dismissing the case. Specifics of the settlement are not know. Though, if nothing else, presumably Rightscorp has agreed to update its email address book.
Marilyn Manson moves to dismiss Esmé Bianco sexual assault lawsuit
Bianco was the first of four women to file a lawsuit, after another of Manson's former girlfriends, actor Evan Rachel Wood, went public with abuse allegations against the musician. Bianco says in her lawsuit that she "felt like a prisoner" during her relationship with Manson, accusing him of using "drugs, force, and threats of force to coerce sexual acts".
According to TMZ, the central argument of Manson's move to have the case dismissed is that, with the alleged incidents happening more than a decade ago, the statute of limitations on Bianco's claims has expired.
However, his filing also claims that Bianco "spent months plotting, workshopping, and fine-tuning" her story into "twisted tales that bear no resemblance to reality". She and the other accusers, it is claimed in the new legal papers, are attempting to make people believe that the shock rock character Manson plays on stage is actually who he really is in his private life.
Earlier this month, Manson handed himself in to police in relation to assault charges stemming from allegations he spat on a videographer during a live show in 2019.
The musician denies all the allegations of assault and sexual abuse that have been made against him.
Bryan Adams signs with BMG for his next album
The delight might be partly caused by the novelty. As BMG notes in its official announcement, this is the musician's "first new label deal in more than 40 years". In fact, Adams had been working with previous label Universal Music for so long, Universal Music didn't even exist when he first signed with the major. It wasn't even a major back then. And not just because it didn't exist.
Basically, Adams signed to A&M Records in 1978. A&M Records got bought by Polygram. Polygram got bought by Seagram. Seagram got bought by Vivendi. And somewhere in the middle of all that the Universal Music Group was created. And then it got sold to Tencent. Well, a bit of it did. The rest got listed on a stock exchange. Although, now this story has somehow got itself into the future.
So forget all that. The point is, throughout all that corporate shenanigans, Adams continued to play his guitar and sing his songs, oblivious to it all, until one day, four decades later, he declared to the world: "Fuck this, I'm going to BMG". Or words to that effect.
"I'm delighted to join the BMG team", says he. "I can't wait for everyone to hear the new music".
“I look forward to working with the BMG team in this next chapter of Bryan's career", adds Adams' longtime manager Bruce Allen.
And now here's BMG's Thomas Scherer with a quote: "As soon as we met with Bryan and his team to listen to the album, we instantly connected with the songs. This record is the perfect showcase of his exceptional artistry, performing all the music while also producing. We are very proud to welcome him to BMG, his first new label home in 40 years, and provide our best-in-class global service to a global superstar of his stature".
Boohoo ends partnership with DaBaby following controversial festival remarks
The online clothing retailer's decision follows the controversy surrounding widely criticised comments that the rapper made during a performance at the Rolling Loud Miami festival on Sunday, which were both homophobic and spread misinformation about HIV and AIDs.
Earlier this week, as the controversy was building, Boohoo told reporters that it was reviewing its previous brand partnership with DaBaby following his remarks. Then yesterday the fashion brand said in a statement: "BoohooMAN condemn the use of homophobic language and confirm we will no longer be working with DaBaby".
It added: "Diversity and inclusion are part of the Boohoo Group's DNA and we pride ourselves on representing the diverse customers we serve across the globe. We stand by and support the LGBTQ+ community, and do not tolerate any hate speech or discrimination in any form".
During his Rolling Loud set at the weekend DaBaby declared: "If you didn't show up today with HIV, AIDS, or any of them deadly sexually transmitted diseases that'll make you die in two to three weeks, then put your cellphone lighter up. Ladies, if your pussy smell like water, put your cellphone lighter up! Fellas, if you ain't sucking dick in the parking lot, put your cellphone lighter up!"
Among those expressing concern about the remarks was the US-based Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, which explained: "The rhetoric that DaBaby used is inaccurate, hurtful, and harmful to the LGBTQ community and the estimated 1.2 million Americans living with HIV. It is critical that DaBaby and his fans learn that people living with HIV today, when on effective treatment, lead long and healthy lives and cannot transmit HIV".
Having initially further fuelled the controversy with comments on social media on Monday, the rapper kind of half apologised on Tuesday, saying on Twitter: "Anybody who done ever been effected by AIDS/HIV, y’all got the right to be upset. What I said was insensitive even though I have no intentions on offending anybody. So my apologies. But the LGBT community… I ain't trippin on y'all, do you. Y'all business is y'all business".
However, he then made things worse again yesterday with a long waffly post on Instagram, and a new video on YouTube which ends with the caption "Don't Fight Hate With Hate" in rainbow colours, and then, "my apologies for being me, the same way you want the freedom to be you". This echoes comments made by TI earlier this week, where he basically suggested that if Lil Nas X is allowed to be openly gay, DaBaby should be allowed to be openly homophobic.
ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill dies
In a statement, guitarist Billy Gibbons and drummer Frank Beard said: "We are saddened by the news today that our compadre, Dusty Hill, has passed away in his sleep at home in Houston, TX".
"We, along with legions of ZZ Top fans around the world, will miss your steadfast presence, your good nature, and enduring commitment to providing that monumental bottom to the Top", they went on. "We will forever be connected to that blues shuffle in C. You will be missed greatly, amigo".
Hill co-founded ZZ Top with Gibbons and Beard in 1969, releasing their debut album the following year. Following initial success, the band took a hiatus in the late 70s, but returned to enjoy some of their biggest successes in the 1980s, particularly with their 1983 album 'Eliminator'.
Amid tour dates that were set to run to the end of the year, on Friday the band announced that Hill would temporarily bow out of upcoming shows to make "a short detour back to Texas to address a hip issue". He was replaced by "trusted guitar tech" Elwood Francis.
Although no cause of death has yet been announced, Gibbons did reveal in an interview with SiriusXM last night that Hill's dying wish was for the band to continue.
"Dusty emphatically grabbed my arm and said, 'Give Elwood the bottom end, and take it to the top'", he said. "He meant it, amigo. He really did".
A show last night in South Carolina was cancelled. It remains to be seen how soon they will get back on the road, with Elwood Francis now a permanent member of the band.
Concord Music Publishing, Creative Nation and Pulse Music Group have all teamed up to sign singer-songwriter Lori McKenna. "I'm THRILLED and thankful to keep doing what I love most with my Creative Nation family in Nashville", she says. "I'm so excited to add Pulse and Concord in this next chapter and I look forward to what’s to come".
Primary Wave has acquired the catalogue of songwriter and producer Steve Kipner. "We are excited to acquire this incredible catalogue of music that Steve has spent a lifetime creating", says Primary Wave President Justin Shukat. "Steve's great catalogue has proven that hit songs will continue to be heard for generations to come. 'Physical' by Olivia-Newton John was the biggest song of the 80s and the evergreen copyright is a hit again this year, using that infectious melody in the worldwide smash 'Kiss Me More' by Doja Cat featuring SZA".
Music publisher Warner Chappell has opened a new office in Vietnam, appointing Vince Kobler as its General Manager. "I am very excited by the opportunity to steer Warner Chappell Music's efforts in Vietnam. This is a historic moment for the local music industry which is just getting started here. Our expertise and reach will help propel Vietnamese artists, composers and songwriters to new heights and empower more of them to turn their passion into a profession".
Universal-owned distribution and label services firm Ingrooves has named Anne Sofie Jeremiassen as its Country Manager for Denmark. "Anne Sofie has built a reputation within Denmark as one of the most forward-thinking and respected executives in music", says Ingrooves UK MD Nick Roden. "Her expert knowledge of independent music in the region and her deeply rooted relationships within the industry make her the ideal person to lead our business in Denmark".
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES
Spotify has published its Q2 stats especially for all you eager stat lovers out there (and its investors), announcing that premium subscribers were up 20% year-on-year, monthly active users were up 22%, and revenues were up 23%. "Q2 was a strong quarter for Spotify overall, with the majority of our major metrics performing better than expected", says CEO Daniel Ek. "While MAU growth was softer than expected in the first half of the year, we are seeing that trendline reverse and all the leading indicators show that we are back on track. By accelerating our pace of innovation and investing for the long term, we continue to cement our standing as the preferred audio platform around the world".
Big news, everyone! Kanye West has a new album coming out. It's called 'Donda' and it'll be out next Friday, 6 Aug. For sure. No backsies.
Bleachers have released new single 'Secret Life', featuring Lana Del Rey. The band's new album, 'Sadness Out Of Saturday Night', is out this Friday.
Jungle have released new single 'Truth'. Their new album, 'Loving In Stereo', is out on 13 Aug.
Soft Cell have announced that they will release their first album for 20 years, '*Happiness Not Included', in spring 2022 through BMG. "In this album I wanted to look at us as a society: a place where we have chosen to put profits before people, money before morality and decency, food before the rights of animals, fanaticism before fairness and our own trivial comforts before the unspeakable agonies of others", says Marc Almond. "But in the album there is also a belief that there is a utopia if we can peel back the layers and understand what really matters". Here's a tiny taste.
The Lottery Winners have released new single 'Sunshine'. "This song reminds me of the songs I grew up with", says the band's Katie Lloyd. "It's got that nostalgic 2000s pop sensibility, it sounds like bright colours and bubbles. It's also my debut Lottery Winners single on lead vocals, so I really need it to go down well to shut Thom up once and for all!"
Dream Theater have announced that they will release their fifteenth studio album, 'A View From The Top Of The World', on 22 Oct. "We just love to play our instruments", says guitarist John Petrucci. "That never goes away. I love to be creative, write, and exercise that part of my mind. We've been able to do this for a long time, and we don't take it for granted. Whenever we get together, we know we can't disappoint ourselves or our fans, so we manage to try even harder".
Sleigh Bells will release new album 'Texis' on 10 Sep through Lucky Number. Here's new single, 'Locust Laced'.
Ragz Originale has released new single 'No Doubt', featuring Knucks and Lady Donli.
Pepe Deluxé will release new album 'Phantom Cabinet Vol 1' on 22 Oct. Here's new single 'Big Fat Woodpecker'.
Zella Day has released 'Golden', a new track taken from her upcoming second album. "The genesis of 'Golden' happened as a tornado was tearing through Nashville and whispers of a global pandemic were evolving past a rumour", she says. "In the stillness of the studio, 'Golden' was written communicating with powers beyond my control, expressing and coping with the magnitude of the situation by creating art; singing a melody into the moment to address its fragility and infinite beauty".
More nominations have been announced for this year's AIM Independent Music Awards. Arlo Parks get two more nominations, in the Most Played New Independent Artist and Best Live [Streamed] Act categories, bringing her up to six in total. Meanwhile, Tricky and Adrian Sherwood have been named winners of the Pioneer and Innovator awards.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
FKA Twigs directs skateboarding video
"I had the honour of directing this dance video about the longboard community and how they have used a Facebook group to share moves and grow their longboard family", says FKA Twigs. "It was so amazing being immersed into their world and as a movement artist and obsessor myself I felt humbled by the skill levels and beautiful athletes that I shot".
The whole thing, as you possibly suspected, is a promotion for Facebook. Its VP Global Marketing, Andrew Stirk, says: "Skateboarding is a grassroots sport and culture, centred around connection and community. This work celebrates the authentic stories of skaters using our platforms to find each other, broaden the culture, and push the sport forward".
The short film features choreography by Mike Tyus. Music is provided by Brent Faiyaz, who has recently released singles with Drake and Tyler, The Creator.