|FRIDAY 10 SEPTEMBER 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Music Venue Trust and Night Time Industries Association have responded to the vote in the Scottish Parliament yesterday backing the introduction of a COVID Passport scheme covering clubs and some other venues from the start of the next month. The MVT has expressed concern about the ambiguities in the proposals that were voted through, while the NTIA says that an already fragile night time economy in Scotland is now on a "dangerous path to devastation"... [READ MORE]|
Industry responds as Scottish Parliament backs COVID Passport requirement for clubs and 'analogous premises'
New rules will come into force next month in both England and Scotland which will mean that clubs - and some other venues and events - will have to check the vaccination status of customers at the door, only allowing in those who have been double vaccinated and who can prove it via a COVID Passport.
The Scottish government published details of how it sees the COVID Passport scheme working yesterday, ahead of the vote on the proposals in the Parliament. But, says MVT, those details are, well, lacking quite a bit of detail, in particular regarding what specific venues will be covered by the new requirement beyond conventional nightclubs.
MVT explains in a statement: "While we are pleased to see smaller gatherings for live music recognised in the framework as lower risk and therefore excluded from the policy, the statement issued by Scottish government acknowledges that it does not yet contain a definition of the type of premises to which it wishes to apply these entry requirements. It suggests it will apply to 'nightclubs and analogous premises' and that it is 'consulting with the relevant sectors' to create an appropriate definition of the term 'nightclubs'".
Ministers in Scotland have been made aware, by MVT and others, about the problems caused by the current ambiguities regarding which venues will be covered by the new rules. There are also challenges around implementation of those rules that the government's statement did not address, MVT adds.
Regarding the possible scope of 'analogous premises', MVT notes: "The activity the Scottish government asserts presents a serious enhanced risk is dancing closely together in enclosed spaces. The 'analogous premises' in which such activity takes place therefore potentially covers a huge range of pubs, bars, restaurants, wedding venues, hotels, conference centres and pretty much everywhere where celebrations through a community activity are being enjoyed".
It goes on: "As it stands this Scottish government policy amounts to an attempt to exclude some people from going somewhere at some time, without proving adequate information on when, where, who or how. In doing so it potentially disproportionately penalises young people, excluding one in four of them from the late night economy, and people from diverse backgrounds, excluding nearly 50% of them from the late night economy".
"There are no details provided on how exemption should be managed, and we therefore assume that the Equality Act 2010 must be applied in full with the resulting confusion around evidence required to be shown to establish exemption".
As for the impact on those venues which do end up being covered by the new rules, MVT says: "No financial support has been offered to deliver this policy, and none offered to mitigate the impacts it will have on business. This is despite details of the cost of delivery and likely business impact being provided to Scottish government by MVT and many others".
Adding that, as an organisation, it is neither for or against "the imposition of health certification" in this next phase of the COVID pandemic, MVT concludes: "We remain committed to working with Scottish government to ensure the protection of public health through any deliverable, reasonable and equitable control measures that the government believes will have a practical impact on transmission risk".
"The policy as it stands fails all these tests. We hope that Scottish government will now actively engage with the sector to seek to resolve these challenges. This must happen swiftly so that public confidence in the policy, specifically public confidence among the actual participants in the night time economy, is established".
NTIA - the membership of which includes many clubbing businesses that will definitely be covered by the new requirement - was even more critical. Which isn't surprising, given that it has hit out a number of times at the plans to introduce a similar COVID Passport requirement in England.
Its CEO Michael Kill says: "The Scottish government has targeted the late night economy throughout this pandemic. Our industry has gone to exceptional lengths to support the public health strategy in Scotland, and have been led to believe that consultation would be considered and enacted upon, but instead, we have been met with empty promises and hollow words".
"Thousands of people in Scotland's night time economy have lost jobs, businesses are overburdened with debt and many have not survived", he adds. "The call for evidence from the Scottish government has been ignored, and has left us no option but to challenge this, as an industry in the coming weeks, or we will suffer the catastrophic consequences of ill thought out policy".
R Kelly trial resumes with testimonies of two more accusers
Kelly, of course, faces multiple charges relating to allegations of sexual abuse and other related crimes. The prosecution's case is built on the testimonies of numerous women who claim that they were abused by Kelly while in relationships with him. The aim is to show that the star - supported by some allies and associates - ran a long-term and well organised enterprise designed to allow him to meet and subsequently abuse teenage girls and young women.
The second alleged victim to testify yesterday, referred to as Anna, told what is now a familiar story about her interactions and relationship with Kelly. She met the musician at one of his concerts, exchanged phone numbers, met up with him a few times, and was soon living in Kelly's home.
Things were pretty good at the start, Anna said, adding that the early part of the relationship was "fun" and "cool". But Kelly became more controlling as the relationship progressed, with Anna learning the set of rules she had to follow, and that breaking the rules would result in sometimes violent punishment.
She quickly became cut off from the outside world, she added, with loss of access to her mobile phone one of the punishments Kelly sometimes enforced. When travelling with the star she needed permission to leave his van, even to use the toilet. If Kelly couldn't be reached to grant such permission, she explained, she had to urinate into a cup in the van.
Kelly often recorded the more violent punishments, she then claimed. She was also forced to send him messages insisting that she enjoyed the spankings and that they "turned her on". But, she said, that wasn't true.
The other witness testifying yesterday, referred to as Sonja, recalled a particularly harrowing incident that occurred after she tried to get an interview with Kelly in a bid to help boost her radio career.
She met the musician at a mall in Utah in 2003, she said, and asked him for an interview. He invited her to do said interview at his studio complex just outside Chicago. However, she added, things seemed unusual as soon as she arrived at Kelly's base.
Kelly's associates photocopied her ID, demanded contact information for certain friends and family members, and asked if she needed "protection". She thought the latter query related to security, but the associate meant condoms. She quickly explained to the associates that sex wasn't the reason for her visit.
She was then taken to a locked room, she claimed, where she was left for three to four days waiting for Kelly. Having not been given any food or drink for at least two days, she was eventually offered some Chinese food and a cup of Sprite. However, despite being very hungry, after eating just a little of that food she became very full and very tired, and quickly fell asleep.
When she woke, she said, she became aware that she had been sexually assaulted. Her underwear had been removed and there was a wet, white fluid on her thighs and vaginal area. Kelly, meanwhile, was in the room "doing up his pants".
The star then left Sonja and never returned. An associate subsequently told her to leave the studio, but first had her sign a non-disclosure agreement, stressing that she must not tell anyone about the events that had just occurred, and reminding her that they had contact information for her friends and family. The associate then added: "Don't fuck with Mr Kelly".
With most of the accusers who have testified during the trial, Kelly's defence team have used a similar line of questioning. They are trying to portray the accusers as groupies who knew what they were getting into, and who took advantage of Kelly's fame and wealth. They also argue that all of his accusers could have left Kelly's homes at anytime but chose not to. That latter point was raised again during the cross-examination of Anna yesterday.
Meanwhile, the defence accused Sonja of fabricating her story after watching the 'Surviving R Kelly' documentary that led to the criminal investigation against the star. They also sought to pick holes in her version of events, and questioned why - given that she still had her phone while in Kelly's studio - she didn't call the police for help.
Sonja explained that she didn't think the police would believe her if she did call them, and that she worried what Kelly and his associates might do with the contact information of her friends and family if she took such action.
The trial continues.
Afrika Bambaataa sued over sexual abuse allegations
According to Metropolis, the new lawsuit claims that Bambaataa "repeatedly sexually abused and sex trafficked" the unnamed plaintiff between 1991 and 1995. Both the plaintiff and Bambaataa - in his early 30s at the time - lived in the Bronx.
The legal filing claims that, after knowing the plaintiff for a time, Bambaataa started to "inappropriately touch [the boy] in his private areas". He then began to "encourage [the boy] to watch pornographic videos" which "progressed to mutual masturbation ... and sodomy". Subsequently, Bambaataa would take the plaintiff to other locations and allow other men to sexually abuse the boy.
These experiences, the lawsuit adds, resulted in "physical injury, severe and permanent emotional distress, mental anguish, depression and embarrassment" for the plaintiff, leaving him "unable to keep a steady job".
It's not the first time Bambaataa has been accused of sexually abusing boys. New York-based politician and activist Ronald Savage has also claimed that he was sexually assaulted by Bambaataa in his early teens in the late 1970s.
In 2016, after Savage spoke about those allegations, Universal Zulu Nation - the hip hop awareness organisation created by Bambaataa in the 1970s - initially defended its founder, and said that Savage was an aggrieved former member of the group with an axe to grind.
However, after three more accusers came forward, Bambaataa stood down as head of Universal Zulu Nation and the organisation issued a statement apologising to its founder's alleged victims.
It said: "On behalf of the members of the Universal Zulu Nation worldwide, who have made their voices heard through their chapter leaders, we extend our deepest and most sincere apologies to the many people who have been hurt by the actions of Afrika Bambaataa and the subsequent poor response of our organisation to allegations levelled against him".
Zulu Nation is named as a defendant in the new litigation, although it has insisted that this is a matter for Bambaataa personally. In a statement to Metropolis it said: "Nothing has changed since 2016 when these decades ago accusations first surfaced. This is a personal matter for Afrika Bambaataa and his lawyers to deal with".
The unnamed accuser who has filed the new lawsuit has utilised the recent lifting of the statute of limitations in New York state regarding allegations of childhood sexual abuse. The state's 2019 Child Victims Act meant that alleged victims of such abuse dating back as far as the 1960s had an opportunity to file litigation against their abusers.
For his part, Bambaataa is yet to respond to the lawsuit, but has previously denied the other allegations of abuse.
Kano collaborates on white rum with Duppy Share
It's the company's first 100% Jamaican rum - its others being blended from Jamaica and Barbados - and, it says, the "the entire design process" for the new drink was inspired by Kano's "heritage and experiences". The label also depicts scenes from his life in Jamaica and London.
"For me, whatever I do has to be the real deal", says Kano. "This drink comes from me. This is my life, my family's story inside this bottle, and wrapped around this bottle. This is something I believe in and genuinely love as a product".
Duppy Share founder George Frost adds: "Making a rum is all about creating a great-tasting liquid and standing out from the crowd. Working with Kano felt like a natural and authentic fit for The Duppy Share and his genuine enthusiasm for the brand made it really exciting to create something from scratch together".
Duppy White will be sold online and in Tesco stores. Find out more here.
Apple Music confirms it is using Shazam technology to expand its catalogue of mixes
Licensing DJ mixes for streaming is no simple task. For a time SoundCloud was something of a hub for DJ mixes, until its audio ID systems started to spot unlicensed tracks forcing many mixes to be blocked.
Various other platforms have launched over the years with a specific focus on DJ mixes, DJ sets and/or mixtapes, most unlicensed or under licensed, meaning that - even if they can operate under the radar for a time - they are likely to hit copyright problems if they start to gain too much momentum. Though some of those platforms have been able to navigate the licensing challenges, most notably Mixcloud.
In terms of getting DJ mixes into more mainstream subscription streaming services, Apple Music actually began working on that in 2016 via a partnership with Dubset, a start-up with grand plans to develop the technology and negotiate the licences that would make the uploading of DJ mixes to the net a much simpler process. Dubset was then bought by audio ID and content management company Pex last year.
Meanwhile, in late 2017, Apple boosted its own audio ID capabilities, of course, through the Shazam acquisition. Apple using that technology to create its own in-house solution for spotting what tracks are contained in any one mix - making it easier for those mixes to be included in the Apple Music catalogue - always seemed like an obvious outcome of that deal.
Though, spotting the tracks is just one part of the process. Getting permission from rights owners to use each track in the mix - and an agreement on how royalties should be shared out across the mix, and with the DJ or producer who did the mixing - is the other crucial component.
Apple has been liaising with its label partners on all that for a while now, allowing the slow expansion of the mixes available on Apple Music.
That is also resulting in deals being done with companies that are sitting on catalogues of DJ mixes and DJ sets. A partnership with Boiler Room was announced last year, while Tomorrowland, Mixmag and Cercle are all now seemingly pushing mixes from their archives into Apple's streaming catalogue. Users accessing those mixes can also see tracklistings and skip between tracks in the mix.
Unlike most of the various mix-centric platforms that have launched over the years, Apple Music won't be allowing bedroom DJs to uploaded their mixes any time soon. However, it will seemingly be partnering with individual DJs and producers to further expand its mixes catalogue, including Charlotte de Witte, who has issued a statement bigging up Apple's work in this domain.
"Apple Music is the first platform that offers continuous mixes where there’s a fair fee involved for the artists whose tracks are included in the mixes and for the artist making those mixes", says she. "It's a step in the right direction where everyone gets treated fairly. I'm beyond excited to have the chance to provide online mixes again".
And these developments will also help labels sitting on mixes that they have struggled to license for streaming, like !K7's 'DJ Kicks' series. Says !K7 boss Horst Weidenmueller: "Through the partnership with Apple we finally have a place to celebrate 'DJ-Kicks' with an additional fourteen editions which haven't been in the market for over fifteen years".
So, if mixes are your thing, maybe Apple Music should be your streaming service of choice now.
Arlo Parks wins the Mercury Prize
"It took a lot of sacrifice and hard work to get here", she said while accepting the award. "There were moments where I wasn't sure whether I would make it through - but I am here today, so thank you very much".
The judging panel added in a statement: "It was extremely difficult to choose a winner of the 2021 Hyundai Mercury Prize. There were so many strong albums, of such diversity and character. But in the end we decided that Arlo Parks was an extremely worthy winner".
"Addressing such complex issues as mental health and sexuality with real empathy, displaying a lyrical wisdom that belied her 21 years, with 'Collapsed In Sunbeams' Arlo Parks has created an album that has captured the spirit of the year in a positive, forward thinking fashion", they went on. "It has the ability to reach out and remind a wider audience of the timeless art of the album. Arlo is an artist who connects deeply with her generation and reflects the plurality of contemporary British life".
Also up for the prize this year were Berwyn, Black Country New Road, Celeste, Floating Points, Ghetts, Hannah Peel, Laura Mvula, Mogwai, Nubya Garcia, Sault and Wolf Alice. As winner, Parks takes away a cheque for £25,000 and a nice big trophy.
Warner Chappell has named Santiago Menéndez-Pidal as President, Southern Europe. He will also continue to run Warner Chappell Spain. Because, well, why not? "It's a huge honour to be asked to step into this new role", he says. "Our local teams have been doing such great work in discovering, nurturing and supporting our writers, and I can't wait to help them do even more to break talent across borders and champion our brilliant roster".
With the release of his new album '=' still seven weeks away, Ed Sheeran has released another single from it, 'Shivers'. "It was written over the course of three days which is very different for me, but I felt it was too special to get wrong", he says in an Instagram post. "It was originally meant to be the first single but I just didn't see a world where 'Bad Habits' existed if it didn't come out in the summer. 'Shivers' always felt more autumnal. I hope you like it, I bloody love it".
Lorde has released an EP of tracks from her 'Solar Power' album sung in te reo Māori. "I'm not Māori, but all New Zealanders grow up with elements of this worldview", she says. "I know I’m someone who represents New Zealand globally in a way, and in making an album about where I'm from, it was important to me to be able to say: this makes us who we are down here. It's also just a crazy beautiful language - I loved singing in it".
Alicia Keys has released new single 'Lala', featuring Swae Lee.
Troye Sivan has released his first solo track of the year, 'Angel Baby'. He says the song is "my crack at an adoring, doting, love struck, mega pop, gay, power ballad. I thought we needed a few more of those".
Mastodon will release their new album, 'Hushed And Grim', on 29 Oct. First single 'Pushing The Tides' is out now.
Lisa is the latest member of Blackpink to go solo, with new single 'Lalisa'. Jisoo is now the only member of the group who hasn't gone it alone outside the group.
Sega Bodega is back with new single 'Only Seeing God When I Come'.
With their new album 'Rhinestones' out next week, HTRK have released new track 'Valentina'.
Logic1000 has shared new single 'What You Like', featuring Yunè Pinku. The track is taken from new EP 'The Sweetness Of You', which is out on 12 Nov.
Including former Dillinger Escape Plan drummer Billy Rhymer among their number, Thoughtcrimes have released new single 'Misery's A Muse'. The track will feature on an expanded edition of their debut EP, 'Tap Night', which is out on 8 Oct.
MSOM and Crabs have released a double A-side featuring two versions of the same song, 'Inspector Morose'. Electronic producer MSOM, who originally wrote the track, explains: "Not wanting to front the song up myself, I turned to Crabs - whose spot-on social commentary and profound cynicism is a constant source of inspiration - for vocal support from lead singer Chris. Given the considerable overlaps between the song lyrics and the universe typically explored by Crabs, having them cover the song seemed a no brainer".
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Kings Of Leon to launch NFT into space
The band are set to auction off a pointless certificate of ownership for a previously unreleased live performance of their song 'Time In Disguise'. But before that happens, the video will be played by SpaceX's Inspiration4 mission while orbiting around the Earth. Yes! This is your opportunity to pretend to own a piece of digital content that someone who wasn't you once watched in space!
What makes it a little harder to mock all this nonsense, though, is that it's all being done for charity. For sick children, no less. So at least something positive will come of this otherwise entirely pointless venture. It is part of a number of fundraising activities by Inspiration4 in aid of the St Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
One of the four people who will fly into space in the SpaceX Resilience spacecraft next week, medical officer Hayley Arceneaux, is a former patient of St Jude and now works at the hospital. The Kings Of Leon NFT forms part of a drive to raise $200 million to go towards the treatment of children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
"We have a long standing relationship with St Jude and they approached us after seeing what we did earlier this year releasing our album as an NFT", Kings Of Leon's Caleb Followill tells Billboard. "We are big supporters of their mission, and always happy to help support their mission, but this is the first time our music is part of the story and that makes it even more special for us. The fact that we're also all making history together in the process is just a wild bonus".
"It is another positive example of how the old music industry is changing", he goes on. "New ideas, like NFTs, and new ways to engage and connect and give back, are crucial to the future of music and the role we play in making things better. We've been around a while, we are on album eight, but things like this make us feel like we are just getting started".
Yeah, whatever, NFTs are fucking stupid. But if it gets people to part with a load of money for sick children, maybe this one is worth it. You can bid on KoL's space NFT here (assuming you have more than $50,000 burning a hole in your pocket) or you can just watch a video of the band talking about it here.