|TUESDAY 17 AUGUST 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Both Viagogo and StubHub have responded to yesterday's report from the UK's Competition & Markets Authority which proposes new laws regarding the regulation of the secondary ticketing market... [READ MORE]|
Viagogo and StubHub respond to CMA's proposals for new ticket touting rules
The two main resale platforms would obviously prefer not to face new obligations under law, but are pleased that the competition regulator has rejected the idea of an outright ban of for-profit touting. They also both call for the primary ticketing market to be included in any future investigations of the sector.
The CMA is one of two government agencies that has a role in regulating the secondary ticketing business. Its focus is generally the platforms used to resell tickets - such as Viagogo and StubHub - while National Trading Standards has led the charge in enforcing the law against the actual touts, in particular those who buy and sell tickets on an industrial level.
Launching his agency's report yesterday, the CMA's Senior Director For Consumer Protection, George Lusty, noted that - as a result of the ticket touting regulations introduced in the 2015 Consumer Rights Act and the subsequent efforts of the CMA and NTA to enforce those regulations - "the secondary ticket websites are now worlds apart from those we saw before [we] took action".
However, he added, "it is clear that concerns about the sector remain". But addressing those concerns is tricky because, Lusty said, "there are limits to what the CMA and other enforcers can do with their current powers". To that end, the CMA's report proposes some new rules that Parliament could make law, and an alternative approach for regulating the sector long-term.
Lusty concluded: "With live music and sporting events starting back up we want the government to take action to strengthen the current laws and introduce a licensing regime for secondary ticketing platforms. If adopted, these proposals will help prevent people getting ripped off by unscrupulous resellers online and we stand ready to help the government to implement them".
While anti-touting campaigners have welcomed the proposals for new rules and ramped up regulation, supporters of the ticket resale sector have noted that the CMA's report specifically rejects the idea of banning for-profit touting out-right, an approach that has been taken in some other countries, and which is currently being implemented in Ireland.
The report states: "We have considered whether a ban on the uncapped secondary ticket market would resolve the issues [we have] identified. In summary, we believe that such a ban would not significantly diminish the incentives to buy up tickets for popular events and resell them at a profit and that it would be very difficult to enforce".
For such a ban to work, it adds, "it would likely require a significant ongoing resource commitment to, for example, i) take down or block access to overseas secondary ticket websites that UK consumers may seek to buy from, ii) take down tickets being offered for sale through social media websites and iii) tackle other alternative ticket resale methods, such as street selling".
The big secondary ticketing platforms have long argued that outright touting bans wouldn't stop the resale of tickets online, but would instead push sales to social media platforms and foreign websites where consumers have less protection and are more likely to be victims of fraud. And Viagogo revisited that classic argument in its response to the CMA's report yesterday.
"The CMA's report into secondary ticketing offers an interesting insight into the effectiveness of current regulation", a spokesperson said, before adding: "The CMA notes their report is not as a result of customer complaints and, moreover, that a ban on secondary platforms would lead to an explosion in black market sources for tickets".
Another argument often presented by those in the secondary ticketing market is that campaigners and regulators have too often focused their attention exclusively on resale, and ignored issues within the primary market. That argument, of course, is a classic distraction tactic, although at least some of the criticism of the primary ticketing business is nevertheless valid.
"We have argued strongly that the UK should grasp the opportunity of the COVID-19 recovery to improve the events industry and strengthen market collaboration between all players including event organisers, venues, primary and resale platforms", Viagogo's statement continued yesterday.
"We are open to all ideas as to how that is achieved, but it must be carefully considered and focused on improving the industry’s service for customers", it added. "There is a need to address the failings of the primary market and we need to explore the risks of new and unregulated online resale channels".
The need to also investigate primary ticketing was echoed by StubHub, which remains a rival of Viagogo in much of the world despite the two companies' merger, as a result of the intervention in that deal by the CMA.
Its spokesperson said yesterday: "We have a long history of collaborating with regulators in the interests of our fans and will continue to support measures that promote a secure, transparent, and competitive ticket marketplace. We believe that the tools are in place today, through existing law, to protect consumers and address the potential issues highlighted by the CMA".
"We encourage any ongoing regulatory discussions to be comprehensive", they went on, adding that any such discussions should, "include a review of practices by primary ticket sellers that disadvantage fans such as restrictions on transferability or the way tickets are allocated for sale".
All parties will now await with interest to see how the UK government responds to the CMA's report.
Bob Dylan denies 1960s sexual abuse claim
The claim is made in a lawsuit which was filed at the New York Supreme Court last week. The plaintiff, identified only as JC, says that she was abused by the musician several times in his room at Manhattan's Chelsea Hotel. She claims that he plied her with alcohol and drugs, and also threatened her with physical violence.
As a result of this abuse, the lawsuit claims, the woman "suffered and continues to suffer from emotional and physical injury, including, but not limited to, serious and severe mental distress, anguish, humiliation, and embarrassment, as well as economic losses".
A spokesperson for Dylan says in a short and simple statement: "The 56 year old claim is untrue and will be vigorously defended".
The lawsuit was filed shortly before the closing of a temporary window allowing childhood sexual abuse cases dating back to the 1960s to be filed with the courts in New York.
Made law in 2019, the Child Victims Act temporarily raised the age by which people who experience abuse under the age of eighteen could file claims from 23 to 55. The window on that extended statute of limitations closed on 14 Aug, the day after the Bob Dylan lawsuit was filed.
James Newman successfully defeats song-theft claim over his Rudimental hit James Newman has successfully fought off a legal claim by another songwriter who accused him of ripping off her work on Rudimental's 2013 hit 'Waiting All Night', which Newman co-wrote.
Kelly-Marie Smith initially also sued all three members of Rudimental and another co-writer, Jonny Harris, in relation her claim that 'Waiting All Night' infringed the copyright in her 2007 song 'Can You Tell Me?' However, it was her claim against Newman that was the focus by the time the matter reached the the high court in London, because he had penned the elements of 'Waiting All Night' that were similar to Smith's song.
Smith claimed that, although her song never had a commercial release in 2007, it had been posted online and circulated around the music industry, providing an opportunity for a copy to ultimately reach Newman. Meanwhile, she added, key elements of 'Waiting All Night' and 'Can You Tell Me?' were so similar that copying was the only explanation.
In his judgement, judge Antony Zacaroli acknowledged those similarities, which involve both lyrics and melody. He noted how both songs contain the line "tell me that you", and that this lyric "is repeated a number of times, in each case sung to four semi-quavers, followed by one of a variety of two word phrases: in 'Can You Tell Me?' these are 'love me', 'need me' and 'won't leave'; in 'Waiting All Night' these are 'need me' and 'want me'".
However, he added, while those similarities are noteworthy, they are not beyond coincidence. "I do not find it surprising that two people writing a popular song could independently alight on the phrase 'tell me that you need me'", he wrote, referencing the fourteen other songs the defence had identified that also contain the phrase. Plus, "given the genre of music involved, I do not think it is surprising that the words are set to similar melodies".
As for how Newman might have heard 'Can You Tell Me?' before writing 'Waiting All Night', the judge said that Smith's theories in that domain were based on "tenuous connections".
There was no evidence that Newman had seen a video containing the earlier song when it was posted to MySpace and Vimeo. And while a copy of the work was circulated around the industry, there was no evidence that it ever reached Newman, directly or via Rudimental, despite Smith claiming she had some contacts in common with the group.
"It is not likely that [Smith's track] was still being promoted within the music business five years later", Zacaroli added. "[And] it is most unlikely that anyone would have passed it to Mr Newman who, prior to and at the time of writing 'Waiting All Night', was working in a restaurant. Although he had by this time developed links with the band members of Rudimental and Mr Harris, some of whom were established in the business, he was hardly the sort of person anyone would be pitching songs to".
Concluding, the judge said there was no evidence that Newman ripped off Smith's work when penning his Rudimental hit.
"While there are objective similarities between the choruses of both songs, there are differences which - in the context of a simple melody which spans only three different tones - are not insignificant", he wrote, "and it is plausible in my view that two persons trying to write a hit song in the genre of 'Waiting All Night' would come up with the lyric 'tell me that you need me' and would set it to music in a way that is similar to 'Can You Tell Me?'"
George Clinton defeats defamation claims made by former producer
Some of the allegedly defamatory statements actually related to claims that had been discussed in previous legal battles between Clinton and Boladin. And, the former's lawyers argued, decisions and testimonies in those past case backed up their client's allegations.
Those lawyers noted in a statement last week that Boladin's defamation lawsuit took issue with statements in Clinton's autobiography to the effect that the producer had "fabricated documents", "fraudulently backdated and altered" agreements, and "robbed" their client of his songs.
"In 1994, a United States district court judge held that Clinton did not sign the document used by Boladian's company to record its rights with the Copyright Office", the lawyers added. "And in 1995, Boladian stated in a sworn declaration that he, in fact, altered the language of a 1982 written agreement with Clinton and added songs to the agreement, but did so pursuant to his power of attorney".
During the recent defamation trial, they went on, the Clinton side "shared with the jury the 1994 district court decision, Boladian's 1995 declaration, and affidavits from two of Boladian's former employees affirming that he altered agreements after they were signed by Clinton and other artists. After hours of deliberation, the jury unanimously held that the statements in Clinton's book were not actionable because they were either true, matters of opinion, or not made with constitutional malice".
Commenting on the judgement, which was made last month but published last week, lawyer Jordan Susman said: "This verdict is a win for George and the First Amendment. No one should be prohibited from sharing their life story, from their point of view, simply because it may paint someone else in a less than flattering light. Especially, as the jury held, when George had no reason to seriously doubt the truth of his statements".
Meanwhile, Clinton himself added: "I am grateful and overjoyed that a jury of my peers agreed that there is nothing defamatory in speaking my mind and sharing my life story. I will continue to speak truth to power, and to fight against the forces that have separated so many songwriters from their music. Investigate. Interrogate. Litigate. Unseal. Reveal. If we don't get this right, then they win".
Past legal run ins between Clinton and Boladin include a 2011 case over whether or not the latter's label Westbound Records owned the copyright in various recordings by former's group Parliament. In that case Clinton's claim in relation to those copyrights was dismissed due to various legal technicalities.
Boladin then sued Clinton in 2015 arguing that the 2011 case had been pursued as a ruse to help the musician promote his autobiography, and therefore he should be held liable for malicious prosecution. That dispute went before a judge in January last year. According to Law 360, in that case Clinton won on summary judgement.
Madonna signs new deal with Warner Music
The deal reunites Madonna with what was her long-time label from the 1980s to the 2000s. That partnership basically ended in 2007 when the musician did one of those mega-bucks 360 degree deals with live music giant Live Nation, which had ambitions to move into recordings at the time.
Though, because she still had records to deliver to Warner under her previous deal, she didn't start working with Live Nation on recorded music projects until a few years later. By which time Live Nation had given up on its plans to move into the record industry, meaning it basically outsourced releasing Madonna's subsequent three albums to Universal Music.
However, as of 2025 those albums will also become part of the Warner catalogue, alongside all the previous Madonna records released by the major, its Sire imprint, and its former joint venture label with the musician herself, Maverick Records.
With Warner Chappell also administering her songs catalogue, you're going to struggle to play a Madonna song without throwing some money in the mini-major's general direction.
The new deal was announced on the pop star's 63rd birthday, and comes ahead of the 40th anniversary next year of her debut single 'Everybody'. As part of the new alliance, Warner will embark of a series of reissues, with special editions curated by Madonna herself.
"Since the very beginning, Warner Music Group has helped bring my music and vision to all my fans around the world with the utmost care and consideration", says she. "They have been amazing partners, and I am delighted to be embarking on this next chapter with them to celebrate my catalogue from the last 40 years".
Warner's CEO of Recorded Music, Max Lousada, adds: "We're honoured to be forming a dynamic new partnership with an incomparable superstar whose influence on our musical and artistic landscape is immense and immutable. Madonna has changed the course of pop and dance music, while taking live performance to new heights of drama and invention".
"At the same time", he goes on, "she uses her fame to amplify some of the most important social issues and movements of our time. Constantly and fearlessly challenging convention, her four decades of music are not only an extraordinary body of work, but a playbook for creative and cultural evolution".
Next up in Madonna's schedule is the release of new documentary 'Madame X' on US streaming service Paramount Plus.
National Album Day announces 2021 ambassadors
"With albums, you go on a journey with the writer", reckons Spiteri. "The moment when the songs become yours, the people and places, the heartaches and nights out in your life, merge into that album and forever stick with you. The album is one of the most important artforms that exist in our times, that is why we need to protect and celebrate it".
Mvula adds: ".The feeling of physically holding an album and listening to an artist paint a full technicolour picture through music and lyrics is magic and unlike anything else. I can credit so many amazing women whose albums have been integral in my life, not just as an artist but as a human being".
And BLK says: "My favourite albums have been the soundtrack to moments in my life. They've made me think, healed me and inspired me as a writer. Hearing a body of work from an artist is an opportunity to see inside their mind and their life, and so to be releasing my own album and sharing my innermost thoughts with my supporters means everything".
"In an era of viral singles", she adds, "of which we rarely know the creators, protecting and supporting albums is so necessary because it's how we truly connect to an artist and emotionally invest in them, and without that attachment there’s no incentive to buy a ticket to their shows or follow their journey - which ultimately leads to the demise of artists, and a soulless industry".
Meanwhile, Crookes comments: "Albums are bodies of work. Journeys, immortalising memories of an artist and packaging it chapter by chapter into a sonic book. I have always been besotted by the adventure of an album. The use of voice notes from people's family members, the atmospheric sounds that never made it to radio mixes to paint a picture, and the orchestras nurturing a rapper's poetry to form a song".
"Ever since I was a child, my favourite possession was an album", she goes on. "My Wednesday evening trips to HMV, cursing at the man at the till for not knowing whether he liked James Blake's voice, slipping an extra three Trojan collection albums - 40 songs for a tenner - into my basket and drooling over Grace Jones' artwork has made me the 'body of work' artist I am today. It is important we protect the album artform as removing it and over saturating our industry with singles removes the stage for musicians to tell their story".
So, that's a whole lot of ambassadoring done, isn't it? And this is just the beginning! They've all got until 16 Oct to keep on ambassadoring away, which is when National Album Day actually happens. On the day, they will be joined by loads of other people generally rambling on about how great albums are and all that, and various exclusive releases will be made available for sale. Enjoy!
Bucks Music Group has signed songwriter Sacha Skarbek to a worldwide administration deal. His best known songs include James Blunt's 'You're Beautiful', Miley Cyrus's 'Wrecking Ball' and Adele's 'Cold Shoulder'. He returns to the company, having previously been signed to Bucks a decade ago.
Radio company Global has appointed Sharon Dastur as Senior Programming And Content Advisor. "I've known Sharon and been a fan of her work for many years whilst she ran Z100 in New York", says Executive President Ashley Tabor-King. "She's a world class programmer and brand and event creator. I'm enormously excited to be working with her".
LABELS & PUBLISHERS
Universal Music Greater China has announced a restructuring of its recorded music division, including the launch of a branch of the major's Republic label in the country. The EMI China, PolyGram Records China and Universal Music China labels are also being relaunched. Universal's EVP Market Development, Adam Granite, says: "The launch of these new labels will help accelerate and strengthen the domestic Chinese music market, which will benefit artists, our many partners and platforms across the region and, importantly, introduce new and exciting artists and music to fans in China and beyond".
DistroKid has received new investment from private equity firm Insight Partners, boosting the DIY distributor's valuation to $1.3 billion. Which is nice. For them. "My goal since founding DistroKid was to build great things for musicians", says DistroKid CEO, Philip Kaplan. "I'm excited to partner with Insight Partners as we continue building amazing things to help musicians and empower creators worldwide".
Disclosure have released new single 'In My Arms', the first of five new songs set to arrive this week. "The spark that ignited the creation of this body of work came from a place of wanting to revitalise a very fractured and uncertain dance music scene and club culture that has changed so much all over the world for obvious reasons in the last eighteen months", says the duo's Guy Lawrence.
Perfume Genius has released a cover of Gloria Gaynor's 'I Will Survive'. "I recorded this at home for a commercial pitch, but they didn't give me the money", he says. "I suppose the cover is a little deathbed-y, I was very serious that day, but I like how it turned out. In particular the last moment, I might stretch that into something new".
Angel Olsen has released her latest 80s cover, this time Billy Idol's 'Eyes Without A Face'.
The Wombats have announced that they will release their fifth album, 'Fix Yourself, Not The World', on 7 Jan 2022. Here's new single 'If You Ever Leave, I'm Coming With You'. They'll also be touring UK arenas in April.
Pip Millett has released new EP 'Motion Sick', including new single 'Sad Girls' featuring Gaidaa.
Deep Throat Choir will release their second album, 'In Order To Know You', on 3 Dec. Here's new single 'Alchemilla'.
Anna B Savage has released new single 'Since We Broke Up'. The track is taken from her upcoming new EP, 'These Dreams', which will be out on 24 Sep.
Indigo De Souza has released new single 'Real Pain'. The song, she says, "is about facing grief and loss and having compassion for yourself in that space. It's about learning to be unafraid of experiencing a full spectrum of emotion, and welcoming the way it teaches you and changes you".
HTRK have released new track 'Kiss Kiss And Rhinestones'. The track is taken from new album, 'Rhinestones', which is out on 17 Sep.
GIGS & TOURS
The Foo Fighters have announced that they will play stadium shows in Manchester, Birmingham and London in June and July next year. Tickets go on sale on Friday.
George Ezra has announced that he will play a one-off show at Finsbury Park on 17 Jul 2022. Tickets go on sale on Friday. Support will come from Blossoms and Holly Humberstone.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Museum says Rammstein frontman's NFT sale breaches agreement
Lindemann was given permission to film at the museum for the music video for his solo single 'Beloved Town' earlier this year. Last week, however, he launched a collection of NFTs - or NFTills as he's billing them - featuring images and footage gathered during the video shoot. This, says the museum, is not something covered by their agreement.
"The use of images of objects from the collection and interiors of the museum in the token collection, furthermore with the designation 'Hermitage Edition', was not and could not have been agreed upon with the museum", it says in a statement.
"A warning about a violation of the museum's licensing policy, sent to Mr Lindemann at the announcement stage of his project 'NFTill', was not reciprocated - and the illegal tokens have been uploaded to the marketplace", it goes on. "Now the Hermitage - probably one of the first museums in the world - has been confronted with the unfair use of its name and works in the NFT sphere".
"One could refer to the lack of global legislation in this area or trivial ignorance", it muses. "But the fact is that Mr Lindemann personally signed a contract with the Hermitage, which clearly states permission to use images of the Hermitage and all the materials prepared exclusively in the music video".
The NFTs range in price from 299 euros to 100,000 euros. Ten purchasers of the 100,000 euro digital artworks will also be able to join Tillmann for dinner in Moscow. Maybe Hermitage Museum reps will show up at said dinner to express their frustration face to face. Which would certainly make the proceedings more entertaining (though still not worth 100,000 euros).