|FRIDAY 13 AUGUST 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Britney Spears father has agreed to step down from his role as conservator of his daughter's estate "when the time is right", insisting that an "orderly transition" is required. The musician's lawyer has welcomed that commitment as a "major victory" for his client, although called for Spears Senior to step aside with immediate effect... [READ MORE]|
Britney Spears father will voluntarily resign as her conservator "when the time is right"
Attorney Mathew Rosengart, who was hired by Britney last month, recently began legal proceedings to have Jamie Spears forcibly removed from his conservator role. Jamie has played a key role in the conservatorship that runs his daughter's professional and personal affairs ever since it was set up by the courts thirteen years ago, and is currently in sole control of Britney's finances.
However, his continued role came under the spotlight after he temporarily stood down from his conservator duties due to ill health, after which Britney attempted, unsuccessfully, to block his return.
As part of the legal wrangling around that dispute, Britney gave her headline-grabbing testimony in court in which she described the conservatorship as "abusive", confirmed that she wanted the entire arrangement brought to an end, and was particularly critical of her father.
The musician's court-appointed attorney quit in the wake of that testimony, after which she hired Rosengart. He almost immediately filed paperwork pushing for Jamie to be removed from his conservator role, adding that "serious questions abound" concerning Spears Senior's "potential misconduct" during the conservatorship.
Jamie then hit back at those claims last week, saying in a legal filing that there were "no grounds whatsoever" for removing him from the conservatorship, and that he had "dutifully and faithfully served as the conservator of his daughter's estate without any blemishes on his record".
But in a new legal filing yesterday, Jamie's lawyer wrote that his client "does not believe that a public battle with his daughter over his continuing service as her conservator would be in her best interests". With that in mind, "Mr Spears intends to work with the court and his daughter's new attorney to prepare for an orderly transition to a new conservator".
Actually, the legal filing added, discussions of such a transition had already been underway with Britney's previous lawyer. And, while Jamie supports such a transition, "Mr Spears continues to serve dutifully, and he should not be suspended or removed, and certainly not based on false allegations".
To that end, the court should deny Rosengart's petition to have Jamie forcibly removed from the conservatorship. "Mr Spears is willing to step down when the time is right", the legal filing added, "but the transition needs to be orderly and include a resolution of matters pending before the court".
In a statement to The Guardian, Rosengart said that the latest legal filing on behalf of Jamie was "a major victory for Britney Spears and another step toward justice". However, he added, Spears Senior should really "step aside immediately".
He continued: "We look forward to continuing our vigorous investigation into the conduct of Mr Spears, and others, over the past thirteen years, while he reaped millions of dollars from his daughter's estate, and I look forward to taking Mr Spears' sworn deposition in the near future".
Warner announces new partnership with Lightbox on film and TV projects
Confirming the deal, Simon Chinn and Jonathan Chinn from Lightbox said: "This deal with WMG will open up the vaults to an archive of amazing musical talent and rich history of songwriters and performers. We are THRILLED to have the opportunity to bring some of Warner Music's extraordinary artists and their stories to audiences around the world".
Meanwhile Kate Shepherd, who heads up the UK side of Warner Music Entertainment, added: "This is a really exciting partnership for us at Warner Music. We have such an incredible array of artists whose stories deserve to be told, and Simon, Jonathan and the Lightbox team are experts in storytelling and film-making. Partnering Warner Music Entertainment with Lightbox will further enhance our productivity and enable us to create unrivalled content. We have a slate of projects that we're incredibly excited about".
And Charlie Cohen, who is President of Warner's music and telly projects Stateside, chipped in: "I'm delighted that we've been able to expand Warner Music Entertainment's reach and expertise with this partnership. Warner Music Group is a global company and within Warner Music Entertainment we're focusing on expanding our film and TV content into markets around the word with an emphasis on local artists and local language production. This partnership with Lightbox is an important part of this expansion".
ADA Asia announces partnership with Cambodia's Baramey Production
ADA Asia says that Baramey is "a pioneer in Cambodia's music industry" which "formed as part of the country's 'original music movement'" and "created a platform for artists to release their songs in a domestic market that had been dominated by music piracy".
"The label has also helped shape local practices, establish new benchmarks and introduce a level of professionalism to the nascent Cambodian music sector", it goes on. "Today, Baramey has a roster of some of the hottest artists in the country, including popular hip-hop duo Kmeng Khmer; new rising R'n'B singer Sophia Kao; and the country's top hip-hop star Vann Da".
Baramey's roster also includes Laura Mam, the artist who founded and heads up the company. She says of the new deal: "It's a great honour for Baramey to join forces with ADA Asia to distribute our music around the globe. This deal is not only monumental for Cambodia's music industry, it'll also be transformational for Cambodian artists".
"When we started our company", she goes on, "distributing music outside of Cambodia was unheard of and we're excited that this partnership will enable us to amplify our team's achievements. I'm personally humbled and delighted that Baramey will be the first label in Cambodia's history to partner with a major music company to bring the music of our country to the world".
Speaking for ADA Asia, MD Chee Meng Tan adds: "I believe that ADA Asia and Baramey will create a synergy that'll write a new chapter in Cambodia's music history. Music transcends borders and exceptional Khmer stars belong on the world stage. This partnership underscores ADA Asia's unparalleled efforts to be the best-in-class partner to forward-looking labels across the region".
Universal disputes Hipgnosis's Christine McVie deal statements
So what's going on there? Well, it's always important to remember when considering anything to do with music copyright ownership that these things are, to use the legal term, "mind-fuckingly complicated".
There are recording rights and there are song rights; there are mechanical rights and performing rights and sync rights; there's an artist or songwriter's contractural royalty rights; there's the 'writer's share' of any song right monies collected via the collective licensing system; and there's the performer's equitable remuneration rights on their recordings, aka the 'neighbouring rights'.
Rights can also be sliced and diced by control or revenue or market; can be shared between people and companies; can change ownership over time; and any one music-maker's catalogue may be split work-by-work between an assortment of labels, distributors, publishers and collecting societies, each of which might actually own the rights in any one song or recording, or simply monetise and/or administrate them.
Which means that whenever a catalogue acquisition deal is announced, a question worth asking is "well, hang on there for one tiny second, what exactly is being acquired in this damn deal?"
Actually, it's usually best not to ask that question, because the answer will often give you a headache. Though - perhaps aware that it has investors who [a] really want to know what's been acquired and [b] have an ample supply of paracetamol - Hipgnosis often provides quite a lot of detail about what specific rights have been acquired with each of its deals.
It's the detail and the specifics that Hipgnosis included in its announcement of the McVie deal that Universal has seemingly taken issue with, perhaps because that statement also talked up the music rights firm's now quite extensive involvement with and interest in the Fleetwood Mac catalogue, thanks to both the new McVie deal and its previous deal with Lindsey Buckingham. And Universal also likes to talk about its involvement with Fleetwood Mac via its past deals with McVie.
According to Variety, it was Hipgnosis's talk of acquiring 100% of McVie's catalogue that seemingly irked Universal. Not that that statement was incorrect, just possibly confusing. Because, while it is true that Hipgnosis has acquired 100% of McVie's interest in her catalogue, that doesn't mean it has acquired 100% of the catalogue itself, because Universal already owns elements of it.
In a statement to Variety, the Universal music publishing company stated: "UMPG owns and exclusively administers the global copyrights of the vast majority of Christine McVie's catalogue. This includes, and is not limited to, McVie's composition shares on the albums 'Fleetwood Mac', 'Rumors', 'Tusk', 'Mirage', 'Tango In The Night' and more".
Responding, Hipgnosis founder and boss Merck Mercuriadis clarified thus: "They own their share and we own ours. They may own their share of some songs and we own our share, plus the writer's share and the neighbouring rights".
So, please consider all that now 100% clarified. To conclude, we're talking about music copyright ownership here, and that's always "mind-fuckingly complicated".
AEG will require proof of COVID vaccine to enter any of its US venues or festivals from October
AEG Presents CEO Jay Marciano says that policy decision has been made as the delta variant of COVID continues to spread and with the low uptake of the vaccination in some parts of the US.
"We have come to the conclusion that, as a market leader, it was up to us to take a real stand on vaccination status", he said in a statement yesterday. "Just a few weeks ago, we were optimistic about where our business, and country, were heading. The delta variant, combined with vaccine hesitancy, is pushing us in the wrong direction again".
"We realise that some people might look at this as a dramatic step", he added, "but it's the right one. We also are aware that there might be some initial pushback, but I'm confident and hopeful that, at the end of the day, we will be on the right side of history and doing what's best for artists, fans and live event workers".
There will be a little flexibility in the new company-wide vaccines policy. Shawn Trell, COO and General Counsel of AEG Presents, explained: "Certain states' regulations may override our mandate, or a few artists may not want to immediately get on board with the plan, but we know that using our platform to take a strong position on vaccinations can make an impact. The message we want to send is simple and clear: the only way to be as safe as possible is to require everyone to be vaccinated. And we're confident that others who haven't been ready to make this full commitment yet will follow our lead".
Providing more background to the policy position, AEG added: "The vaccination policy, limited only as required by law, will be in full effect nationwide no later than October 1, 2021. Several venues have already been following local government vaccination mandates, with others anticipated to come in the weeks leading up to October 1. The date was chosen specifically to allow time for any eligible unvaccinated ticketholders and staff to reach fully vaccinated status should they choose to do so".
"Leading up to October 1", it went on, "AEG Presents will be implementing a policy of showing proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of show date where permitted".
AEG's main rival Live Nation recently stated that individual artists can decide on COVID-related entry rules for any shows the company is promoting or hosting in the US, which means any artist can likewise require proof of vaccination for entry, or the vaccine-or-negative-test option, or choose not to have any such requirements in place. It's thought that policy is likely to be adopted by Live Nation in other markets too. It's not yet clear if the AEG vaccines policy will be extended worldwide.
UK Music and ISM say government must reverse decline in students studying music in English schools
Although the numbers of students studying music at GCSE and A-Level in 2021 were pretty similar to 2020 - indeed, the number of students taking music GCSE went up slightly - figures for the last decade show a steady decline.
In its statement, UK Music compares 2021 figures to 2014. In that time there has been a 16.8% decline in the number of students taking music GCSE, despite an overall rise in the number of students taking GCSEs in general. In the same time period there was a 32.1% decline in students taking music A-Level.
In its review of the exam stats, ISM compares the 2021 figures with 2011, with declines over the full decade of 19% for GCSE and 44% for music A-Level.
The music community has long blamed the declines in students taking music at GCSE and A-Level on funding cuts and curriculum priorities in the country's schools. And, in England in particular, the EBacc scheme used to assess the academic performance of English schools, which completely ignores creative subjects like music.
Commenting on the stats, ISM CEO Deborah Annetts said: "Despite the deeply concerning trend of declining music entries at GCSE, this year saw a slight uplift. That increase should be a benchmark to build on".
Citing a report published last week by the UK's Department For Education that aims to inform a new national plan for music education, Annett's continued: "Music education brings so much to students [but] last week's report from the Department For Education showed that while students appreciated music education ... young people were under pressure to choose other subjects or it simply wasn't available at their school".
"Despite the mounting evidence", she added, "the government continues to preside over a dramatic decline in music education and is clinging onto its EBacc agenda, no matter the consequences. It's time for urgent reform of the EBacc to include music and creative subjects, or it should be scrapped altogether. High quality music education should be available to all students and the government must work to ensure that they do as an urgent priority. Only by fully embracing music and creative subjects can we build an education system fit for the opportunities and challenges of the 21st Century".
Meanwhile, UK Music boss Jamie Njoku-Goodwin said: "While the numbers of students taking music GCSEs and A-Levels is broadly similar to last year, the long-term trends are deeply concerning. We need action to support and grow music education in schools and reverse this worrying decline".
"The music industry relies on a talent pipeline of accomplished and dedicated music students to produce the highly skilled professionals of the future", he added. "Many of them will go on to play in top orchestras, become music teachers or contribute to world-class recordings. It is vital we continue to nurture music students and ensure children from all walks of life and every background have access to music and the chance to make a good living from it".
"Music is vital to our economy, our culture and our society", he went on. "It is one of our greatest national assets and will play a crucial role in our post-pandemic recovery - so it's more important than ever that we invest in music education and reverse this worrying decline".
B2B digital music provider 7digital has announced a partnership with artist asset database Muzooka so that, and I quote, "content delivered via 7digital's music-as-a-service platform is now pre-mapped with Muzooka's pre-approved database of artist images, links and other media assets, allowing brands to deliver a highly visual experience to their users via a simplified integration".
US collecting society SoundExchange - "the premiere technology solutions company building the future of music" apparently - has appointed Stephanie Werner to the role of VP Brand Marketing And Industry Engagement and Barry LeVine as VP Marketing And Entertainment Partnerships. Both will report to Chief Marketing And Communications Officer Esther-Mireya Tejeda.
Katy B is back with new single 'Under My Skin', co-written and produced by P2J.
Lex Records has released an alternative Thom Yorke remix of MF Doom's 2010 track 'Gazzillion Ear'. The original release of the track also included a remix by Yorke, but it turns out he did a second remix at the time that was never put out. It's being released now as part of the Lex XX series that is celebrating the label's 20th anniversary.
The Black Keys have posted a new video for 'Poor Boy A Long Way From Home' from their most recent album 'Delta Kream'.
Courtney Barnett this week unveiled another track from her forthcoming album 'Things Take Time, Take Time' that goes by the name 'Before You Gotta Go'.
More tracks from the upcoming Metallica tribute album 'The Metallica Blacklist' have gone live - this time versions of 'Nothing Else Matters' from both Phoebe Bridgers - here - and Chris Stapleton - here.
AJ Tracey has posted a video for his T-Pain featuring track 'Summertime Shootout'.
The new Trivium album 'In The Court Of The Dragon' will be released on Roadrunner Records on 8 Oct including this here new track 'Feast Of Fire'.
Danny Elfman has released an alternative version of a track from his recent not-a-soundtrack album 'Big Mess' featuring that Trent Reznor. The new version of 'True', the official blurb states, "melds vocals from Reznor and Elfman with vicious industrial percussion, cinematic piano flares and walls of feedback".
We Were Promised Jetpacks have posted a track from their forthcoming album 'Enjoy The View' called 'Not Me Anymore'.
If the thing you thought was controversial about Lil Nas X's recent 'Industry Baby' video was the infectious looping horns - well, good news, this week he posted a version with all the horny elements removed. All those scandalous horns are replaced with some good old fashioned sound effects.
Pirate Bay dotcom domain up for sale again
Last September it emerged that two domain names previously owned by the legendary piracy site - piratebay.org and thepiratebay.com - were up for auction.
Seemingly the current owners of The Pirate Bay had forgotten to renew said domains. A company that snaps up popular lapsed domain names had then bought them, and it was that company that was auctioning them off. That auction then went ahead and piratebay.org went for $50,000, while thepiratebay.com fetched $31,500.
Neither had ever been the main domain of The Pirate Bay, which has mainly used its thepiratebay.org and Swedish URLs over the years, except for a brief period when it kept switching to a series of alternative addresses amid unfounded fears the .org and .se domains could be seized by the copyright police.
So why would you want to own one of these old never-really-properly-used Pirate Bay addresses? Well, plenty of people are likely to land on these domains by mistake, which is possibly an audience you can monetise. And - according to Torrentfreak - that's what the guy who bought thepiratebay.com intended to do, initially running ads at the domain, but ultimately intending to launch some sort of legitimate download service.
However, said guy has told Torrentfreak, he's too busy to get that plan off the ground, and while the ads are still bringing in alright money with all the people accidentally landing on thepiratebay.com, he thinks just doing that is a "waste for such a valuable domain, so I decided to list it for sale".
So, if you have a spare $38,000, that domain can now be yours. Or, alternatively, the current owner is also willing to rent it out at $7,000 per month. Yes, a mere seven grand a month! It's a steal! Just like The Pirate Bay itself, I guess.