|WEDNESDAY 15 SEPTEMBER 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK government yesterday said that - while clubs and events in England will not be forced to check the COVID Passports of all customers from next month - that requirement could be introduced with just a week's notice if any future surge in COVID cases puts too much pressure on the NHS... [READ MORE]|
COVID Passports remain in UK government's Plan B for tackling the next phase of the pandemic
Since most remaining COVID lockdown rules lifted in England in July, allowing clubs to reopen and full capacity shows to resume, it has been up to each individual venue and promoter to decide whether to check the vaccination or COVID status of customers at the door.
However, as those rules lifted back in July, Prime Minister 'Boris' Johnson said that, from October, clubs and some other venues would be required to check the COVID Passports of punters, only allowing in those who have been double vaccinated.
But, amid criticism of that plan from the night time sector and plenty of MPs, over the summer some in government seemed to doubt that any such requirement would actually come into force. Johnson's COVID Passport commitment, some said, was just more bullshit from the Bullshitter In Chief.
Not so, said the Bullshitter's spokesperson earlier this month, insisting that the COVID Passport plan was going ahead. And to prove it, vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi popped up on BBC One's 'Andrew Marr Show' to defend the policy. Except, a week later Health Secretary Sajid Javid then appeared on the same telly programme to confirm that the plan had now definitely been abandoned.
Nonetheless, rumours circulated at the start of the week that the government was, in fact, still considering the COVID Passport requirement. However, it was confirmed yesterday, that's as part of a Plan B that is now in place in case there’s another surge of serious COVID cases requiring hospitalisation over the winter months.
Plan A, currently being employed, is to persuade everyone to get vaccinated and keep taking COVID tests. Plan B, if needed, could involve COVID Passports, and the return of compulsory face-masks and official guidance to work from home if you can. The government said yesterday that those Plan B measures could be introduced with just a week's notice.
A formal statement on the latest plans states: "If Plan B is implemented, it could be at short notice in response to concerning data. Therefore, in order to help businesses prepare their own contingency plans, the government will shortly publish more detail about the proposed certification regime that would be introduced as part of Plan B. The government would seek to give businesses at least one week's notice before mandatory vaccine certification came into force".
Reps for the night time sector continue to oppose any COVID Passport requirements in law, and yesterday criticised the government for keeping vaccination checks in its Plan B. Especially given the speed with which that plan could be employed this winter.
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, says: "On Sunday, the sector was rejoicing that our campaigning efforts had paid off and that the policy around COVID Passports was dead. Today, businesses up and down the country are once again thinking they may have to make an enormous and detrimental change to their operating model in the future, if infection rates increase".
"The idea too, that a vast and logistically challenging policy can be kept in 'reserve' and implemented at one week's notice ... is absurd. It is no way to treat a sector that has already been so badly hit. Sometimes it feels like ministers have no idea what it is like to run a business, let alone the types of businesses we represent".
"We have already seen the impact of the potential implementation of COVID Passports, with an estimated 30% drop in trade, ticket sales flatlining for events and workforce displacing to other industries with less stringent restrictions. This policy would do so much damage".
He concludes: "The government needs to recognise the sacrifices made by businesses within hospitality and the night time economy against the public health crisis, being one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic. Businesses need certainty if they are to have the confidence to invest and rebuild our industry. To give them this certainty, the government should be clear that vaccine passports have been scrapped completely and aren't part of any Plan B".
James Vincent McMorrow extends Sony publishing deal
"Sony Music Publishing has been my home since I was literally a kid on MySpace uploading songs, the first people to believe in my songwriting", says McMorrow. "They've helped me find collaborators over the years for my records when I needed them, basically any mad idea I've had they've been down to help make happen”.
"This last year and a half has obviously been fairly rubbish [and] songwriting was one of the few things in my life I could control", he adds. "So, having someone like David Ventura ready to take some of the songs I'd written and find homes for them has been fairly amazing. Coming out of all this I realise how much I do want to write and work with others, I'm excited I'm able to do that with a group of people I genuinely like and trust".
The there mentioned David Ventura, President of Sony Music Publishing UK, chips in: "We are all delighted to continue working with the one and only James Vincent McMorrow. After years of collaboration, we have seen James become a complete artist and unstoppable songwriter. We are excited for the world to discover his new album 'Grapefruit Season', which is a masterpiece".
Alright, David. You got to hear the album early. No need to boast. It's out this Friday, so it's not like everyone else has to wait very long. And look, here's the latest single from it, 'Tru Love'.
Prospectus for Universal Music stock market listing approved
As expected, as UMG lists 60% of the shares in the music major will be distributed to Vivendi's current shareholders. Vivendi will keep 10% of UMG for itself, with 20% controlled by a Tencent-led consortium and the final 10% owned by entities linked to Bill Ackman's Pershing Square Holdings.
The management board of Vivendi also approved the necessary measures to allow the distribution of the UMG shares to its shareholders yesterday.
The music company will officially arrive on the Dutch stock exchange on 21 Sep, with the "technical reference price of UMG shares" expected to be confirmed the previous day. The distribution of UMG shares to Vivendi shareholders will then take place by 23 Sep.
French trade body says Believe is hindering its stats gathering
French record industry trade group SNEP said yesterday that it would love to pump out some record industry statistics for everyone to enjoy, especially now that it's working with the UK's Official Charts Company on all the mathematicals, which will make its stats all the finer. But it can't. And all because of France-based music distributor Believe.
"SNEP's statistics are published in accordance with international accounting and professional standards, developed to the highest international standards for the analysis of trends in all segments of the music market", the trade group said in a statement.
"The market data published by SNEP is an essential tool for the recording industry and its partners. As such, it is essential that this data is definitive and reliable. In order to achieve this, SNEP is this year is investing in changes to further improve its procedures, helped by the expertise of its new service provider, The Official Charts Company".
It went on: "The methodological changes involved in this transitional phase call for enhanced cooperation from all companies in the sector. However, unlike the other main distribution companies - be they the major or independent labels - Believe has until now shown no willingness to be transparent about its activities in France".
Which means, SNEP claimed, "[it is] impossible for the first time to publish reliable data. In view of the need for accurate analysis of the annual figures, and in the best interests of the industry, we have no doubt that Believe will promptly comply with the rules established by all the distributors contributing to market data".
No doubt indeed. Although the fact that it is the recently IPOed Believe that is holding up SNEP's half year stats pack is news to Believe. Or so says Believe.
"Believe was surprised to learn through a press release and without having been informed beforehand that the SNEP needed Believe's data for the publication of their market figures", the music firm said in a response statement.
"Like a number of other independent players, Believe hasn't been providing its data to the SNEP for the last several years, and it was never an issue", it added. "We understand that Believe's significant market position in the French market makes its data necessary to the completeness and reliability of the market data published by the SNEP".
"Believe is always ready to participate in the production of market data and artist rankings when produced in an independent, honest and transparent way, in all of its operating countries", it concluded. "We are available to discuss with SNEP how best to achieve these goals in France".
So that's fun. Is Believe implying that SNEP's stats gathering isn't "independent, honest or transparent"? Or is it just me inferring that to increase the fun times? Maybe Believe missed a memo about how SNEP is all about independent, honest and transparent data. We'll see, I guess.
Alanis Morissette hits out at new HBO documentary Jagged
As the documentary, called 'Jagged', premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, Morissette, who was interviewed for the film, said in a statement: "I was lulled into a false sense of security and their salacious agenda became apparent immediately upon my seeing the first cut of the film".
She went on: "This is when I knew our visions were in fact painfully diverged. This was not the story I agreed to tell. I sit here now experiencing the full impact of having trusted someone who did not warrant being trusted".
"Not unlike many 'stories' and unauthorised biographies out there over the years, this one includes implications and facts that are simply not true", she added. "While there is beauty and some elements of accuracy in this/my story to be sure – I ultimately won't be supporting someone else's reductive take on a story much too nuanced for them to ever grasp or tell".
Prior to Morissette's statement, the film's director Alison Klayman said that while the musician wasn't attending her documentary's premiere, she hoped that she might appear at a future event linked to the project.
The Great Escape announces First Fifty shows
All those acts will also play the annual First Fifty mini-showcase event in November, taking place across eight venues in East London, as well as at an extra show in Brighton itself. Plus, this year, you'll also be able to access an online First Fifty showcase too.
The First Fifty shows will take place as follows...
17 Nov (London)
Night Tales: Enny, Tems, Finn Askew
Studio 9294: Priya Ragu, Sipho, Lime Garden, Daisy Brain
Hackney Social: Kam-Bu, Deema, Conor Albert
NT's: Miso Extra, BXKS, Dreya Mac
Oslo: Mysie, Delilah Montagu, Jada, Kwaku Asante
Paper Dress Vintage: Keg, Wu-Lu, Hussy
Sebright Arms: Unschooling, Powerplant, Hamish Hawk
The Victoria: Malady, The Clockworks, Gallus, Dea Matrona
18 Nov (Online)
Wallice, Maple Glider, Crown Lands, Gustaf, Charmaine, CV Vision, Sycco, Lunar Vacation, TEKE::TEKE, Kills Birds, DORA, Gabriels, Adam Melchor, Enumclaw, EFÉ, Ur Monarch, Someone, Alice Pisano, Johanna Warren, and Conchúr White
19 Nov (Brighton)
Chalk: Sam Ryder, Isabelle Brown, Heights
The 2022 Great Escape - including the CMU curated conference strands - takes place in Brighton from 11 - 14 May. You can order delegate passes here.
Round Hill has acquired publishing rights and recording royalties linked to 30 songs from producer / songwriter / guitarist Tim Palmer, which includes his work with Pearl Jam and Ozzy Osbourne.
St Vincent's new mockumentary 'The Nowhere Inn' is out this Friday, and ahead of it she's released a song of the same name. The full soundtrack album is also out this week.
Jarvis Cocker has announced details of an album of French language cover versions that will accompany Wes Anderson's film 'The French Dispatch'. 'Chansons D'Ennui Tip-Top' will be released on 22 Oct. Here's Cocker's version of Christophe's 'Aline'.
GIGS & TOURS
Rick Astley and Blossoms have teamed up to play two Smiths tribute shows next month. I mean, of course they have. They'll play the Albert Hall in Manchester on 8 Oct and The Forum in London on 9 Oct. Tickets go on sale on Friday.
Clairo will tour the UK and Ireland in January next year, finishing up with a show at Brixton Academy in London on 23 Jan. For the dates, she has partnered with SafeTour and Calling All Crows to provide a safe and harassment free concert experience. "Now that shows are starting to come back into our everyday lives, it's important to prioritise everyone's experience to the fullest", she says. "Everyone deserves a resource and everyone deserves to enjoy the show in peace. I want the audience to know that there is someone who will listen and believe them at every show".
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Nicki Minaj "should be ashamed" after tweeting vaccine myths, says UK's chief medical officer
This all started with the big old Met Gala, which took place on Monday. Although initially scheduled to attend, Minaj pulled out on Sunday, noting COVID-19 concerns. She revealed that she had recently contracted the disease and said that, with a young child to care for, she was unwilling to come into contact with it again and risk her health just in order "to be seen".
So far, so sensible. Although it then emerged that Minaj has not yet received a COVID-19 vaccination. And being vaccinated was a requirement of attendance for the Met Gala.
"They want you to get vaccinated for the Met", she tweeted. "If I get vaccinated it won’t [be] for the Met. It'll be once I feel I've done enough research. I'm working on that now".
OK, fine. But what research is she doing that's taking so long? Well, she did a Twitter poll to find out what the best vaccine is. She also admitted that she'll almost certainly have to get vaccinated if she wants to tour.
However, the piece of Minaj's vaccine research everyone focussed on was contained in this tweet: "My cousin in Trinidad won't get the vaccine cuz his friend got it and became impotent. His testicles became swollen. His friend was weeks away from getting married, now the girl called off the wedding. So just pray on it and make sure you're comfortable with your decision, not bullied".
It's not clear what her cousin's friend's medical credentials are, but now people with actual proper letters after their name have been asked to waste their time responding to this tweet.
The United States' top medical scientist Dr Anthony Fauci was asked on CNN if there was any basis to the claim that COVID vaccines could make you impotent. "The answer to that is a resounding 'no'", he said. "There’s no evidence that it happens, nor is there any mechanistic reason to imagine that it would happen. So the answer to your question is 'no'".
Meanwhile, yesterday afternoon the UK's Chief Medical Officer Dr Chris Whitty was asked to comment on Minaj's claims. He said that she and others spreading such rumours "should be ashamed".
"There are a number of myths that fly around, some of which are just clearly ridiculous and some of which are clearly designed just to scare", he said during a press conference yesterday. "That happens to be one of them. That is untrue".
"There are a group of people who've got strange beliefs and [that's] fine, and they make their own choices [which is] in a sense, also fine. Adults are allowed to make their own choices, that is a basic principle of medical ethics, actually. But there are also people that go around trying to discourage other people from taking a vaccine which could be life-saving or prevent them from having life-changing injuries to themselves”.
“Many of those people, I regret to say, will know they are pedalling untruths but they still do it", he concluded. "In my view, they should be ashamed".
Minaj then responded to this on Twitter by saying that, although "I guess that was a diss", she really liked his accent.
Piers Morgan also has a British accent, of course. And although he made the mistake of writing down his criticism of Minaj instead of saying it out loud on national TV, she did also initially give him some leeway as a result.
"Professor Whitty beefing with the ghastly Nicki Minaj (one of the rudest little madams I've ever met) is not the breaking news that I expected today - but it's most welcome", he tweeted. "She's peddling lies that will cost lives".
"Sir, I've never met you", she responded. "I know… we all look alike. 'Rudest little madam'. I like it. Has a special ring to it. Thanks Pierce. Love the accent. I'd love to come chat. Scones. Tea. Clown nose and big red shoes for you. Lmk babe".
So, Morgan pretty much got a pass on calling someone a "little madam". Let's not dwell on that though, this story is already long enough. And there are more important things to be discussed at length here. What's that? Vaccine myths? No, I think we've covered that. What we need to know now is when and where Piers 'Pierce' Morgan thinks he met Minaj.
"Madam", he began, "we met on ['America's Got Talent'] when you appeared as a guest act - but you refused to say hello to my three young sons because you were 'too busy'. Oh, and it's 'Piers' - I know, we Brit names all sound alike".
Right, right, I'm going to ignore the car crash that is that final quip as well. Because, to be fair, it does seem that Morgan is pretty clear about when and where he met Minaj, and what she did to upset him. Although, at the same time, it is quite possible that she really was too busy to meet his children when guesting on the telly show, which would also be fair enough.
That said - as the tweets started to go back and forth - Minaj refused to accept this version of events, saying that she would "never turn down pics with kids", and that if one of her team said otherwise, they were "out of line".
However, she then denied that she had ever been on 'America's Got Talent', adding that the performance Morgan was thinking of was actually on 'American Idol'. Then presented with video evidence of her 'AGT' performance in 2011, she subsequently responded: "That's not me".
I think she's probably just trolling by this point, but it may also be that she's not spoken to enough distant relations yet in order to fully confirm the truth.
At some point during all this, you might be thinking, it would have been a good idea for Minaj's manager to suggest she step away from Twitter for a little while. That would require Minaj to have a manager though, which - according to Variety - she does not.
The magazine says that Minaj parted ways with Irving Azoff and his Full Stop Management company earlier this year, just two years after signing with the firm. She is now apparently in talks to join Sal Slaiby's Salxco. No word on what Morgan thinks about that. But he has an opinion on everything, right? Minaj's cousin's friend is also yet to comment.