|MONDAY 6 SEPTEMBER 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK government's vaccines minister has defended the decision to force nightclubs and some other indoor venues in England to start checking the so called COVID passports of all customers from the end of the month, arguing that it is the best way to ensure that the night-time sector isn't subject to any future COVID-related shutdowns... [READ MORE]|
UK vaccines minister defends new COVID Passport requirement for clubs
The clubbing sector - and a number of MPs - have been very critical of that decision. Since COVID rules lifted in July and clubs could reopen, it has been left to each venue to decide whether to check the COVID vaccine status of customers at the door. However, as those rules lifted, Prime Minister 'Boris' Johnson said that it would become compulsory for clubs to confirm punters were vaccinated from October, allowing a couple of months for clubbers to get their vaccines.
There had been speculation that that policy might not actually go into effect as a result of criticism in Parliament. However, last week a spokesperson for Johnson insisted nothing had changed, and that clubs would need to check COVID Passports from the end of the month.
Despite being critical about the idea of vaccine passports on the BBC's 'Andrew Marr Show' earlier this year, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi yesterday said on the same programme that now was the right time to force certain venues to check the vaccine status of their customers.
He said: "When the evidence that you are presented is so clear-cut - and [you] want to make sure the industry doesn't have to go through [an] open-shut, open-shut sort of strategy - then the right thing to do is to introduce [the vaccine passport requirement] by the end of September when all over eighteen year olds have had their two jabs".
"One thing that we have learnt is that in large gatherings of people, especially indoors, the virus tends to spike and spread", he added. Though reps for the night-time sector dispute that clubs and other venues are any more likely to result in spikes than other kinds of businesses, providing certain safety measures are employed.
They'd also note that such measures are less likely to be instigated at unofficial events and private parties, which will likely increase if too many restrictions stop people from going to clubs and other night-time entertainment venues.
Last week the Night Time Industries Association said: "The government needs to listen to real operators who can give them real feedback on these challenges [because] these policy decisions will have a catastrophic impact on people's livelihoods and careers".
Ministers in Scotland have confirmed that similar COVID Passport requirements will be introduced there later this month. It's thought that Wales won't follow suit, while it's not yet clear what position the executive in Northern Ireland will take.
R Kelly trial hears from more former girlfriends and the minister who officiated musician's marriage to Aaliyah
The witness, referred to as Kate, is one of a number of women to confirm that they contracted herpes while in a sexual relationship with Kelly. The jury previously heard that the musician knew he had the sexually transmitted disease, and yet continued to have unprotected sex with multiple women, without revealing that diagnosis.
Kate told the court that she was 27 when set first met Kelly in 2001 through a mutual friend. As their relationship progressed, she did ask the musician whether he planned to use protection during sex - she added - but in response "he first looked at me quizzically" and subsequently said "no". After she contracted herpes, she challenged Kelly about it, but he remained "tight-lipped" about any accusations that he had infected her. Her lawyer then negotiated the $200,000 settlement.
Although Kate's testimony echoed earlier claims regarding Kelly's alleged willingness to knowingly and secretly infect his partners with a sexually transmitted disease, she did not add to the evidence regarding the strict rules the musician enforced, sometimes violently, over his girlfriends. She had a different relationship with the star in that domain, she revealed, and he was never violent towards her.
Another former girlfriend who testified last week also refrained from accusing Kelly of abuse, even though her relationship with the star had more parallels with those discussed by earlier witnesses. Referred to as Alexis, she had meet the musician at a concert when she was fifteen and had an on again off again relationship with him over the next nine years. She told the court that she was reluctant to testify in this case and couldn't remember what age she was when her relationship with Kelly turned sexual.
Prosecutors hope that Alexis's testimony will nevertheless help in their bid to show that Kelly ran a long-term and well organised enterprise designed to allow him to meet and subsequently abuse teenage girls and young women. Though the defence declined to cross-examine Alexis, suggesting that they didn't feel her testimony had added much to the prosecution's case.
Alongside the additional women who have had relationships with Kelly, the court also heard last week from some forensic experts, and the minister who officiated at Kelly's 1994 marriage to an under-age Aaliyah.
It's alleged that a then 27 year old Kelly instigated his short-lived marriage to a fifteen year old Aaliyah - his protege at the time - because he believed he had got her pregnant. It was thought that the marriage would protect Kelly from any legal ramifications resulting from any pregnancy.
Nathan Edmond said that he was asked to officiate at the wedding by a friend he shared with Kelly, but that he didn't initially "think it was anybody special - I didn't understand it at all". The wedding took place in a hotel room and "the door opened to the bedroom and out stepped Aaliyah and Mr Kelly".
Edmond wasn't asked about whether Aaliyah looked particularly young at the time, the court having previously been shown a marriage licence that listed the singer as being eighteen, which in turn had been secured with fake ID.
The minister added that he hadn't spoken publicly about the wedding, or his role in it, before, because he gave his word to keep the proceedings confidential. That was after he'd declined to sign a non-disclosure agreement presented by Kelly's people which, he reckoned, "wasn't worth the paper it was written on".
The trial is due to continue later this week.
Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance publishes its proposals for beefed up anti-piracy measures in EU's Digital Services Act
The DSA looks to increase the obligations of digital platforms regarding the content and communications stored on and delivered over their networks. It's not specifically focused on copyright matters, but many copyright owners hope that those new obligations will nevertheless boost copyright protections online.
Among the demands being made by AAPA is that a takedown-and-stay-down obligation be introduced for safe harbour dwelling companies, which is to say platforms that avoid liability for copyright infringing - and otherwise illegal - content on their servers and networks by relying on safe harbours in law.
Although the 2019 European Copyright Directive increased the obligations of safe harbour dwelling user-upload platforms, the copyright industries - including the music industry - continue to have gripes with the wider safe harbours used by internet companies.
The biggest gripe is that, although safe harbour dwelling platforms must remove copyright infringing content as soon as they are made aware of it, said infringing content usually pops back almost as soon as it is removed. This requires copyright owners to constantly issue new takedown requests.
To that end, the copyright industries have long called for all and any platforms utilising safe harbour to have a takedown-and-stay-down obligation - and therefore systems similar to YouTube's Content ID - so that once a piece of content has been removed once, the platform needs to stop it from being re-uploaded.
The AAPA urges the European Parliament to add to the recitals at the start of the Digital Services Act the following statement: "In order to effectively and meaningfully address the proliferation of illegal goods and services online, intermediary services should implement measures to prevent illicit content from reappearing after having been taken down. Such measures, undertaken horizontally by all intermediary services, will contribute to a safer online environment".
It then proposes a new article in the Act that would make it law that "where an intermediary service detects and identifies illegal goods or services, it shall prevent this content from reappearing on its service". Though, said proposed article does add: "The application of this requirement shall not lead to any general monitoring obligation".
Another interesting proposal in AAPA's submission to the Parliament's Internal Market And Consumer Protection Committee is that user-upload platforms should have obligations not just to deal with infringing content on their own servers, but also uploads to their sites that promote or link to infringing content on other servers.
That would include videos about how to access infringing content or circumvent anti-piracy measures online. But also videos and comments that link to unlicensed content elsewhere on the net.
An increasing problem in the audio-visual space is posts to platforms like YouTube and Facebook that then direct users to infringing material on other less rights-savvy platforms. Such posts allow infringers to benefit from YouTube and Facebook's search engine and algorithm, without having their content blocked by those platform's rights management systems.
AAPA states: "One of the major issues with the online content sharing platforms is not just the illegal content stored on [those platforms], but rather the material posted ... that directs users to other places which supply illegal content (eg by listening to tutorial video and/or by following hyperlinks in the videos, or in the comments, to streaming websites). Today, indirect access to illicit contents via hyperlinks shared on online content-sharing platforms prevails over the consumption of video stored on such platforms".
These proposals were made to the IMCO committee earlier this summer, but have now been published on the AAPA website here.
Pussycat Dolls founder sues Nicole Scherzinger
Scherzinger agreed to take part in the tour in 2019, following two years of negotiations, says Antin's lawsuit. A 'memorandum of understanding' was signed that year, in which it was agreed that Scherzinger would take part in 45 tour dates, in exchange for 49% of profits. Upon making this agreement, Live Nation provided a $600,000 advance for the tour.
With dates originally scheduled to begin in 2020, Scherzinger actively took part in promoting the tour, the lawsuit adds. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the shows were postponed. They were rescheduled for May and June this year, but were again pushed back. Antin now says that it has not been possible to reschedule the dates again because Scherzinger is refusing to take part unless her new terms are met. As a result, Live Nation is now calling for its advance to be returned.
In the lawsuit, it is claimed that in April this year, Scherzinger's attorney proposed the new terms, citing "the growth of her personal brand and the opportunities she would have to forego to continue to engage in the partnership with [The Pussycat Dolls], despite being already contractually obligated to be an 'active partner' under the terms of the MOU".
"The position that Scherzinger will not participate in any planned tour now or in the future unless she receives 75% of PCD Worldwide [the company set up to manage the tour] has been repeated and Scherzinger has refused to perform her obligations under the MOU as late as the week before this complaint has been filed. Tour dates were planned but are unable to be confirmed because of Scherzinger's extortion and Live Nation has demanded the return of its $600,000 investment".
Antin is suing Scherzinger for breach of contract and fiduciary duty, as well as California business law. She is seeking "damages including all profits lost as a result of Scherzinger refusing to perform, and the value of their cautiously bargained-for consideration constituting nearly half of the prolific business entity Antin created".
Scherzinger is yet to respond.
Climate scientists make low carbon live music recommendations based on Massive Attack touring data
In its report, the Tyndall Centre For Climate Change Research recommends that artists travel by train where possible and reduce the amount of equipment they travel with. It also urges venues to switch to renewable energy, offer better bike storage, and incentivise fans to travel to gigs by public transport.
The study was commissioned by Massive Attack in 2019, with the band saying that they had budgeted for carbon offsetting in their touring accounts for years, but no longer felt that that was enough.
While the report makes numerous recommendations for artists and the wider live music business, the group's Robert Del Naja has specifically criticised the UK government for not doing enough to support the industry to make these changes.
"The [British] live music industry, especially after Brexit, is so important to national identity and self-esteem", he said. "It's one of the few areas you could describe as genuinely world-class and has a vast social and economic value, as well-reported, generating over £4.6 billion for the economy every year and employing thousands of dedicated people".
"But where is the government planning to support the rate of adaption we're going to need to hit compatibility with [the Paris agreement]?" he goes on. "It doesn't seem to exist. The [findings of the report are] not surprising, it's the strategy that's missing here".
Professor Carly McLachlan, who led the research, also comments: "We've been met with a lot of enthusiasm in the sector and lots of [artists] are already doing lots of [what the report recommends]. When people make a lot of those adaptations it starts to become normal practice, for example, to think about routing a tour from a carbon point of view. Basically, as is the case with much climate action, we actually know what we need to do, we just need to get on with doing it".
Girls Aloud's Sarah Harding dies
In a post shared on Harding's official Instagram profile yesterday, her mother Marie Hardman said in a statement: "It's with deep heartbreak that today I'm sharing the news that my beautiful daughter Sarah has sadly passed away".
"Many of you will know of Sarah's battle with cancer and that she fought so strongly from her diagnosis until her last day", she went on. "She slipped away peacefully this morning. I’d like to thank everyone for their kind support over the past year".
"It meant the world to Sarah", she added, "and it gave her great strength and comfort to know she was loved. I know she won't want to be remembered for her fight against this terrible disease – she was a bright shining star and I hope that's how she can be remembered instead".
In her own statement, Girls Aloud bandmate Nicole Roberts said: "I'm absolutely devastated and I can't accept that this day has come. My heart is aching and all day everything we went through together has raced round my mind. Especially this last year since her diagnosis, as hard as the year has been, our new memories are strong in my heart".
"There are so many things to say and at first it felt too personal to put them here and then I remembered that there are so many other people grieving her too", she continues. "A part of me or us isn't here anymore and it’s unthinkable and painful and utterly cruel. Electric girl, you made us. You gave it everything and still with a smile. A white butterfly flew past my window this morning before I knew, it must have been you".
Nadine Coyle added: "I am absolutely devastated! I can't think of words that could possibly express how I feel about this girl and what she means to me!"
Harding became a member of Girls Aloud as part of ITV talent show 'Popstars: The Rivals' in 2002. She was the final singer to secure a place in the group and had been considered the underdog in the competition up until that point. After the show, the group went on to have 21 top ten singles, including four number ones, between 2002 and 2013 when they disbanded.
Aside from her music career, Harding also worked as a model and had a number of acting roles in films and TV, including in 'St Trinian's 2: The Legend Of Fritton's Gold', 'Run For Your Wife' and 'Coronation Street'.
Back in the music domain, Harding also recorded a number of solo tracks - largely appearing on the soundtracks of films in which she appeared. Her most recent solo single, 'Wear It Like A Crown', was released in March this year.
Energy company Utilita has acquired the naming rights to the Sheffield Arena, so now you have to call it the Utilita Arena Sheffield until at least 2026. "To be able to agree a deal for this length of time and value is always fantastic news", says Dom Stokes, Head Of Live Events And Venues for Sheffield City Trust. "To do so after the eighteen months that the world has just gone through is simply phenomenal!"
James Blake has delayed the release of his new album, 'Friends That Break Your Heart', "as a result of vinyl factory delays caused by COVID". He seemingly wants the vinyl version of the record to come out the same day it becomes available elsewhere, noting in an Instagram post to fans that "so many of you have requested it". The album will now be released on 8 Oct.
If you're going to put out a single called 'The 90s', you might as well make a Friends-inspired video for it. That's what Finneas has done, anyway. Have a look here.
Following the release of the single last month, Sigrid has now put out the video for 'Burning Bridges'.
Billy Bragg has released new single 'Pass It On', taken from his upcoming new album 'The Million Things That Never Happened'. "I read somewhere that the second most googled thing after pornography is ancestry", says Bragg of the single. "Too many of us rue the fact that we are left to piece together family stories from fragments we recall because we never asked our elders those questions".
With her debut album set to arrive next month, Upsahl has released new single 'Lunatic'. "The day I wrote 'Lunatic', I was having such a shit day that I almost didn't show up to the studio", she says. "I ended up going in pyjamas, no makeup, angry as fuck at the world. I walked into the studio and started venting about the whole situation to [co-writers] Jonny [Shore] and Will [Jay], and I just kind of ended up going into the vocal booth and screaming into the mic".
Methyl Ethel have returned with new single 'Matters'. "I was living in LA while writing this song", says band leader Jake Webb. "After being there a while, I realised that I knew nothing about what to do if there was an earthquake. It occurred to me that there is the ever-present danger lurking beneath your feet. I thought it would be interesting to explore the frenetic, reactive feeling, of danger".
GIGS & TOURS
Elton John has been announced as one of the headliners of British Summer Time 2022. Forming part of his ongoing farewell tour, the show will see John play in London's Hyde Park on 24 Jun 2022. "Elton John has provided the soundtrack to the lives of so many of us and to know that his last tour is coming to Hyde Park, possibly the last time many of us will ever see him play, is one of the most important and ‘must see’ nights of BST Hyde Park ever", says Jim King, CEO of European Festivals at AEG Presents.
With her debut album due out next month, Joy Crookes has announced that she will tour the UK in November, including two nights at the Forum in London on 8-9 Nov. Tickets go on general sale this Thursday.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Andre 3000 addresses appearance on leaked Drake diss track by Kanye West, Drake producer comments on R Kelly credit on Certified Lover Boy
With both having new albums to promote, of course, the ongoing feud between Drake and West has again reared its head in recent weeks. And the track played by Drake on his show, called 'Life Of The Party', features a whole verse-worth of Drake dissing from West, plus a slightly incongruous verse from Andre 3000, in which he pays tribute to his late mother.
The track was previewed at one of West's public listening parties for 'Donda', but didn't make it to the final tracklisting, amazing as it is that anything was left on the cutting room floor in the making of that 27 track album. Although, apparently, it wasn't West's decision to remove the track, you know, perhaps concerned all this Drake dissing is getting rather tiresome. I mean, of course it wasn't. Instead, it seems, it was actually cut at Andre 3000's request.
The Outkast rapper's objection wasn't being dragged into a feud he otherwise has no part in, though - seemingly not having even heard that particular verse prior to Drake's airing of it. In a statement, he said that he'd recorded a verse that was quite sweary, but that this had been edited, because West wanted the album's lyrics to be completely clean, and he felt that his contribution no longer worked as a result.
"A few weeks ago Kanye reached out about me being a part of the 'Donda' album", Andre 3000 says in his statement. "I was inspired by his idea to make a musical tribute to his mom. It felt appropriate to me to support the 'Donda' concept by referencing my own mother, who passed away in 2013. We both share that loss".
"I thought it was a beautiful choice to make a clean album but, unfortunately, I didn't know that was the plan before I wrote and recorded my verse", he goes on. "It was clear to me that an edited 'clean' format of the verse would not work without having the raw original also available. So, sadly, I had to be omitted from the original album release".
Addressing all the Drake dissing on the track, he adds: "The track I received and wrote to didn't have the diss verse on it and we were hoping to make a more focused offering for the 'Donda' album, but I guess things happen like they are supposed to".
"It's unfortunate that it was released in this way", he goes on, "and two artists that I love are going back and forth. I wanted to be on [new Drake album] 'Certified Lover Boy' too. I just want to work with people that inspire me. Hopefully I can work with Kendrick on his album. I'd love to work with Lil Baby, Tyler and Jay-Z. I respect them all".
So, there you go, Andre 3000 isn't on Drake or Kanye's new albums. But not because he's siding with either of them. And if any of those other rappers listed there would just get in touch, hopefully we will get to hear some Andre 3000 guest moments on some other upcoming albums soon enough.
Talking of guest spots and notable collaborators, both the new Kanye and Drake albums have plenty of those, of course. And both have courted some controversy in that domain as well. Maybe that's part of the feud too. Though Drake seemingly made less actual effort to recruit controversial collaborators.
After West was criticised for featuring recently controversial DaBaby and Marilyn Manson on the final version of 'Donda', there was much chatter last week about one of the people credited in the small print of 'Certified Lover Boy'. And it wasn't anything to do with the absolutely hilarious sampling of Right Said Fred's 'I'm Too Sexy' on the track 'Way 2 Sexy'.
The thing that obviously got many people talking was the appearance of R Kelly's name as a co-writer of another track - 'TSU' - just as his first criminal trial over multiple allegations of sexual abuse against teenage girls and young women is going through the motions.
Addressing that controversy, Drake producer Noah '40' Shebib confirmed that Kelly did not directly work on the track when commenting on a post on Instagram: "On a song called 'TSU' at the beginning is a sample of OG Ron C talking. Behind that faintly, which you can't even hear, is an R Kelly song playing in the background. It has no significance, no lyrics are present, R Kelly's voice isn't even present but if we wanted to use Ron C talking we were forced to license it".
"Doesn't sit well with me, let me just say that", he goes on. "And I'm not here to defend Drake's lyrics, but I thought I would clear up that there is no actual R Kelly present and it's a bit misleading to call him a co-lyricist. It's kinda wild cause I was just reading 'Baby Girl' by Kathy Landoli and the recounts of some of that stuff is horrific and disgusting. Then I saw this post and just had to say something because to think we would stand beside that guy or write with him is just incredibly disgusting".
Elsewhere on the album, John Lennon and Paul McCartney are also credited as co-writers of opening track 'Champagne Poetry'. Turns out - funnily enough - that they didn't directly collaborate with Drake either, but got the credit due to an interpolation of Beatles song 'Michelle'. So, like R Kelly, their involvement was indirect. But, also like R Kelly, they will profit from the immense success of 'Certified Lover Boy'. Albeit without causing any controversy in the process.