|THURSDAY 23 SEPTEMBER 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Musicians' Union and Tom Gray's #brokenrecord campaign have both welcomed the UK government's response to the parliamentary inquiry into the economics of streaming, but argue that ministers must "go much further in committing to the implementation of a package of copyright reforms"... [READ MORE]|
MU and #brokenrecord welcome government's economics of streaming response, but want more commitment on copyright reforms
For both the MU and the #brokenrecord campaign, the key ask during the parliamentary review of the streaming business was that the principle of performer equitable remuneration - that currently applies when recordings are broadcast and played in public - also be applied to streams. This would mean that at least some streaming money would flow directly to artists and musicians through the collective licensing system.
Currently what share of streaming monies artists and musicians receive is entirely dependent on the deals they have done with any record labels or music distributors they work with.
Those deals vary hugely across the industry. Artists could receive a majority of the money. Though on a more conventional record deal, they are likely to receive a minority share. On older deals relating to increasingly lucrative catalogue recordings, the artist's share will usually be even lower. Plus artist royalties will initially be used to pay off some of the costs associated with the release of their records.
Any monies that flowed through an ER system would not be subject to those contract terms, with royalties being shared out at industry standard rates. Some of that money would also go to session musicians, who earn nothing under the current system.
Which all sounds very attractive for artists currently seeing little to no payments when their recordings are streamed, although quite how ER on streams would work in practice is very much up for debate. And while session musicians and artists stuck in less favourable old record deals would almost certainly be better off under that system, artists on newer deals could be worse off.
Nevertheless, in its big report published in July, Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee recommended that an ER system for streaming income should be introduced. And committee member Kevin Brennan MP will make formal proposals to that effect through a private members bill later this year.
Both propose that UK copyright law be rewritten so that a performer ER right applies to the making available element of the sound recording copyright, which is an element of the copyright exploited by on-demand streaming services.
However, in its response to the select committee's report, the government yesterday stated: "Many testimonies to the inquiry noted that [ER on streams] might not be in the interests of all performers and could result in lower revenues for some. For example, some featured artists may receive better revenue under the current arrangement than they might under an equitable remuneration right. This suggests that changes could have significant impacts which are difficult to predict and must be investigated and better understood".
That's not to say the government is definitely opposed to the committee's ER proposal, just that it reckons more research is needed into the possible impact of such a system being introduced, including in relation to who would be winners and losers within the artist community.
The select committee made other recommendations regarding additional copyright law reforms that could result in artists getting a bigger cut of streaming monies, including the introduction of contract adjustment or reversion rights, as well as measures to force record labels and music publishers to be more transparent about the digital deals they negotiate. As with ER, the government wants further research on all those proposals before making any actual changes to copyright law.
The MU, via its #fixstreaming campaign with the Ivors Academy, and alongside the #brokenrecord campaign, lobbied hard last year for the parliamentary inquiry.
The two campaign groups said yesterday that while they welcomed the government's response to the select committee's report, which "recognised the importance of ensuring that the UK's artists and songwriters are fairly rewarded for their talent and work", they were nevertheless calling "for firm action now to put the value of music back in the hands of music-makers".
Noting the government's commitment to convene a music industry contact group and commission new research to further investigate the issues with streaming, they added: "[We] are keen to see how this research might further illustrate the importance of a right to equitable remuneration. It is essential that the ... working groups and further research include creator representation and input to ensure that the interests of the UK's fantastic artists, musicians and songwriters are not ignored".
They then stated: "The government must, however, go much further in committing to the implementation of a package of copyright reforms which will ensure UK creators do not fall behind other countries who have measures which enable creators to be protected from bad contracts, unfair payment, lack of transparency with increased ability to undertake contract reversion and adjustment. Reforms such as these would go a long way to transforming the UK into the best place to be a musician, songwriter or composer in the world".
The other big ask of both the #fixstreaming and #brokenrecord campaigns was that the Competition & Markets Authority investigate the dominance of the major record companies in the music industry, and the select committee also recommended that such an investigation should take place. In its response, the government said that it was for the CMA to identify what investigations it should pursue, but that ministers had nevertheless requested that the competition regulator consider that recommendation.
Commenting on government's response yesterday, MU General Secretary Horace Trubridge said: "We are pleased that the government has responded positively to the select committee's report into the economics of music streaming, and has understood why we are seeking equitable remuneration for musicians. While we are disappointed that there isn't an immediate commitment from the government on this point, we are pleased that the door is open to explore it in more detail".
"As highlighted by the committee's report, now is the time for a 'complete reset' of the system to ensure that our fantastic musicians are fairly and properly rewarded for their work", he added. "A private members' bill will be put before Parliament in December which will present legislative solutions to ensure artists get the rewards from their work which they deserve".
Meanwhile, Deputy Secretary General Naomi Pohl added: "It is fantastic that the government is willing to further investigate streaming economics with a view to ensuring performers and songwriters get a fairer deal. The government's response to the DCMS select committee's report shows a willingness to engage with our key concerns around unfair remuneration and address what the report described as 'deep concerns' around the dominance of the major music companies".
And Gray from the #brokenrecord Campaign said: "The government have accepted that our critique and the inequities facing music-makers are all too real. But the tens of thousands of British musicians, songwriters, producers and artists are not merely 'stakeholders'. Unlike multinational corporations, we are citizens, constituents and taxpayers. Now is the time to redouble our efforts and challenge our political leaders to truly represent us. Change is possible and should be made real".
In related news, the UK's Intellectual Property Office has published the report 'Music Creators' Earnings In The Digital Era', which was referenced by the government in its response to Parliament's economics of streaming inquiry yesterday.
More on that tomorrow - but you can download a copy here.
Closing arguments begin in R Kelly trial
The five men called to testify in Kelly's defence had all worked with the musician in one form or another over the years, and basically took to the stand to say they'd never witnessed the star abusing any of the people in his entourage.
For their part, the prosecution questioned how much time each defence witness actually spent in Kelly's company, the argument being that the abuse likely occurred when they simply were not present. In some cases they also argued that the witnesses had personal reasons for wanting Kelly acquitted - either professionally or simply as fans of his work - or were otherwise unreliable witnesses.
The first defence witnesses, who testified on Monday, were aspiring rapper and self-declared Kelly protege Dhanai 'Da-Ni' Ramanan, and former police officer Larry Hood, a school friend of Kelly who also worked in a security role for the star. The former struggled to identify which of Kelly's tours he'd been on, despite claiming to be a "constant presence" in the star's life. The latter admitted that he left the Chicago police department after being convicted of using forged banknotes.
On Tuesday, testimony came from audio engineer Jeff Meeks who worked with Kelly for fifteen years. Although there to say he'd never seen any abuse when in Kelly's company, his testimony wasn't especially strong. He denied that women were held against their will at Kelly's studio, but the prosecution reminded him that he once told a federal agent about an incident when a woman requested to leave said studio, and the stress that had caused. He wasn't sure what to do, he'd admitted, and felt relief once permission was granted for the woman to leave the building.
Asked whether Kelly enforced control over the lives of his girlfriends, for example over when they were allowed to eat - as has been repeatedly alleged - Meeks ultimately admitted that he wasn't sure whether such rules existed. He assumed everyone ate when at Kelly's studio, he said, but added: "I guess I don't know... I'm sure everybody was eating".
The other defence witnesses were music consultant Julius Darrington and accountant John Holder. The former also said he'd never witnessed Kelly abusing anyone, but then admitted that he'd never been present when Kelly engaged in sexual activity.
The latter was really testifying to counter the allegation that his client ran a criminal enterprise designed to enable him to abuse young women and men.
However, the prosecution presented a diagram prepared by Holder that confirmed Kelly was, at least, running an enterprise, the diagram outlining the organisation of the star's company RSK Enterprises LLC. The allegation is that this organisation - although also existing to manage Kelly's commercial operations - had another more sinister objective.
It had been speculated that the defence might call to testify a former girlfriend of Kelly's who would give a more positive spin on being in a relationship with the star. The most likely candidate would have been Joycelyn Savage, who defended the musician multiple times when the criminal charges first started to mount in 2019. She also distanced herself from a Patreon account set up in her name that made allegations of abuse against the star similar to those made by other alleged victims.
However, in the end, no such witness was called, and after Kelly confirmed he did not intend to testify himself, the defence wrapped up its case.
In closing arguments, the prosecution told the jury that it had delivered on its promise to prove that Kelly had, for decades, run a criminal enterprise in which close associates were ordered to help him target, groom and exploit girls, boys, and young women for his own sexual gratification.
Proving that Kelly built and ran an organisation to facilitate and hide his prolific abuse of young people, often teenagers, within his inner circle is key to convicting the star of all the charges he faces, which include things like federal racketeering charges in addition to those directly linked to the abuse itself.
And it was because of that carefully orchestrated and managed organisation, Assistant US Attorney Elizabeth Geddes told the court yesterday, that this abuse could continue for so long. "The defendant set rules, lots of them, and he demanded complete obedience", she told the jury. As a result "for many years what happened in the defendant's world stayed in the defendant's world ... but no longer".
Britney Spears calls for "immediate and necessary" removal of her father from conservatorship
In the new filing, Britney's attorney Mathew Rosengart calls for the "immediate and necessary suspension of Mr Spears, by no later than 29 Sep" - the date of the next status hearing in the case.
"While the entire conservatorship is promptly wound down and formally terminated, it is clear that Mr Spears cannot be permitted to hold a position of control over his daughter for another day", says Rosengart. "Every day Mr Spears clings to his post is another day of anguish and harm to his daughter".
As well as again accusing Spears Senior of financial mismanagement in relation his daughter's affairs, Rosengart says that his client's father's continued involvement in the conservatorship is impeding the negotiation of a prenuptial agreement following Britney's recent engagement to boyfriend Sam Asghari.
"The prenuptial agreement process will require communications with and cooperation from the conservator of her estate", says Rosengart. "Given that Ms Spears's relationship with that conservator is broken, Mr Spears's continued involvement would impede the ability to negotiate and consummate a contract that all can agree is in Ms Spears' best interests".
In a surprise move earlier this month, Jamie filed a request with the court to end his daughter's conservatorship after thirteen years, something she herself had started calling for earlier this year. In the new filing, Rosengart reiterates claims that that request was not made in the best interests of Britney, but rather it was an attempt by Jamie to protect himself.
Rosengart claims that Jamie wants to end the conservatorship in order to begin rebuilding his damaged reputation and to avoid an investigation into his "evident and ongoing" mismanagement of his daughter's finances. In his filing, Jamie requested an initial hearing on his petition to end the conservatorship in January. This latest submission to the court seeks to get the jump on that, and push forward with an earlier request to have Jamie suspended and investigated.
In a statement to Rolling Stone, Rosengart says: "We are pleased by Mr Spears's recent forced concessions, and my client looks forward to the prompt termination of the conservatorship, and to her freedom. Britney Spears will no longer be bullied. We are moving forward with our 26 Jul 2021 petition for the suspension of James P Spears, which is a prerequisite to the immediate restoration of my client's dignity and fundamental rights".
Jamie Spears has not yet responded to the latest filing.
Meanwhile, Netflix has announced a new documentary looking at Britney's thirteen year conservatorship. This follows two other documentaries - Hulu's 'Framing Britney Spears' and the BBC's 'The Battle For Britney: Fans, Cash And A Conservatorship' - both of which Spears herself accused of being "hypocritical".
Set for release on 28 Sep - the day before the next hearing in the case - 'Britney v Spears' will examine the legal and ethical issues surrounding the conservatorship. Watch a first trailer for the show here.
Billy Corgan renews Warner Chappell deal
"William has always gone against the grain to create his distinctive and unique sound", say CEO Guy Moot and COO Carianne Marshall in a joint statement. "His music is wildly captivating and consistently pushes the boundaries of what's possible. He's a true creative genius, and we're so excited to continue to partner with him and support his incredible work".
"William's musical contributions in the early 1990s laid the groundwork for the explosive grunge era that followed", adds SVP A&R, Greg Sowders. "As one of alternative rock's greatest legends, his wide-reaching influences have persevered for more than three decades. We're extremely proud to be on this journey with him and look forward to collaborating on exciting new projects and Smashing Pumpkins releases".
Old Bill himself comments: "I'm pleased and honoured to be among the greats who make up the great tradition and legacy of Warner Chappell. To even stand in the shadow of the great Harry Warren, who one could argue helped build this rich company from its inception, is all I needed to know".
The deal covers Corgan's full catalogue and all future material. That will include a new 33 track Smashing Pumpkins concept album he's working on, which will apparently be a sequel to 1995's 'Melon Collie And The Infinite Sadness' and 2000's 'Machina' albums.
Merck Mercuriadis responds to NMPA chief and UK government on impact of majors on song royalties
Mercuriadis has been increasingly vocal about the way streaming monies are split between recording rights and song rights in the last year, as the economics of streaming has been very much in the spotlight, especially in the UK as a result of the inquiry instigated by Parliament's Digital, Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee.
Under the current system, approximately 50-55% of streaming revenues are allocated to recording rights, while 10-15% go to the song rights. Compared to the split on physical discs, the share allocated to songs on streams is about double. However, on things like radio and sync, the split between recordings and songs is normally more like 50/50.
An argument frequently made by the songwriting community - and Mercuriadis - is that songs should be getting a bigger slice of streaming monies, but that the current system is favoured by the majors, meaning it's hard to push for a re-slicing of the digital pie in the favour of songs.
That's because the majors are big players in both recordings and songs. However, under industry conventions, record deals tend to result in labels keeping the majority of recordings income, whereas with publishing deals, the majority of the money goes to the writer. Therefore it's in the interest of Universal Music, Sony Music and Warner Music for more streaming money to flow through their respective record labels, rather than their respective music publishing businesses.
With Mercuriadis being particularly forthright in presenting this argument of late, the boss of the US National Music Publishers Association, David Israelite, recently hit back in defence of his major publisher members: Universal Music Publishing, Sony Music Publishing and Warner Chappell. Those companies, he argued, fight hard in the interests of songwriters, and are not swayed by the interests of their parent companies or their sister record companies.
Writing in Billboard, he stated: "Whether it is in the halls of Congress, in courtrooms across the country, or behind the scenes in board meetings that set the agenda for the industry, I can attest without equivocation that 'major' music publishers fight equally as hard to promote songwriters and the value of songs as their independent publisher colleagues. In fact, I have never experienced a single instance when the interests of a record label or parent corporation in any way inhibited that advocacy".
Israelite then ran through various efforts by the American music publishing industry to boost song revenues over the years, including where that meant battling against the interests of record companies.
Responding to that op-ed in his new open letter, Mercuriadis wrote: "[David] feels I am 'dead wrong' in my opinion that the major publishing companies are not advocating adequately for songwriters as a result of being owned and controlled by their recorded music parent companies. David took this to be a criticism of those publishing companies. It is not. It’s a condemnation of a paradigm that limits this industry's collective ability to advocate for songwriters to be paid more".
"Many people working in the 'major' publishing companies are my friends, and people I am proud to know. I am sure they would like to do more to improve the earnings of songwriters they identify, sign, and develop - and who deliver hits to recorded music divisions within the same companies. Yet I believe the ability for many of these people to do so is limited by the recorded music divisions that control them".
"I note that none of the major music publishers gave evidence at the recent [Parliamentary] hearings on the 'economics of streaming' in the UK", he went on. "I'm certain the leaders of those companies would have been eager to contribute. Perhaps it wasn't deemed in the best interest of their parent companies? My question for David is this: if I am 'dead wrong', then why does the songwriter remain the lowest paid man or woman in the music industry’s economic equation?"
Later in his letter, Mercuriadis wrote: "Songwriters and publishers have alignment with each other about 70% of the time. Within that 70%, we fight side by side and are a united force in harmony: see the Copyright Royalty Board or Music Modernization Act [in the US] as but two excellent examples. But crucially there is 30% of the time when what's in the best interest of the publishing company - and the recorded music company that owns and controls it - is not in the best interest of the songwriter. And that's where my focus is".
The dominance of the majors in both recordings and songs - and the potential impact that has on how monies are shared between the different music copyrights - was a key reason why the Ivors Academy, and others, used the recent Parliamentary inquiry to call for the UK's Competition & Markets Authority to investigate the control the major players have over the music rights business.
The select committee recommended such an investigation, and the UK government yesterday urged the CMA to consider a market study focused on music rights and the majors. That happened shortly after the publication of Mercuriadis's open letter.
Commenting on this latest development, Mercuriadis said: "The government's decision to refer the major music companies to the CMA is a very positive next step in our collective efforts to rebalance the industry in favour of songwriters and artists. The government's recognition of the imbalance that exists for the songwriters, artists and producers, without whom there is no music business ... gives us many reasons to be cheerful".
"The CMA and the government must now act rapidly to tackle these issues", he added, "and Hipgnosis is committed to playing an active role in the important discussions ahead advocating on behalf of songwriters and artists to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to give them a bigger slice of the pie. It's a timely response with Universal's very successful IPO yesterday and the positive knock on effect it has had on Warner Music".
"This demonstrates there is plenty of abundance in our industry to share with the creators that are our lifeblood", he concluded. "In the wake of that, I also believe those companies will come to the conclusion that it's in their own best interest to be important catalysts for the changes that are critical not only to songwriters and artists, but to their own future wellbeing".
Polish collecting society to allow music publishers to become members
Most song right collecting societies - especially those representing the performing rights in songs - have both songwriters and music publishers as members.
For published writers, when the society collects money, it will then pay some of the royalties directly to the writer and some to the writer's publisher, respectively referred to as the 'writer's share' and the 'publisher's share'. Both writers and publishers then also have a role in overseeing the governance of the society and how it distributes the monies it collects.
However, in Poland, to date, music publishers have not been able to actually join ZAiKS, which represents both the performing and mechanical rights of its members songs.
Publishers have been able to collect the publisher's share of monies since the 1990s, but have had no role in the governance of the society, which is by far the biggest collective management organisation in Central Eastern Europe.
Thanks to the new deal - also supported by CISAC, the global grouping of song right collecting societies - publishers will now be formally represented within ZAiKS, with two seats on the society's board and one on its audit committee.
Welcoming the move, Andreas Schubert of Schubert Music - also Chair of Polish music publishing trade organisation PSWM - says: "Music publishers have not had membership or representation at ZAiKS since the early 1950s. It has taken years of work to right that wrong. Only with the help of our colleagues at IMPF and great support from CISAC could we finally change the situation".
"Now music publishers are back at ZAiKS and ready to work alongside other members. We will add our different business perspective and approach to continue the success story of this powerful collection society, helping ZAiKS to adapt to the future market and changing legislative environment".
Another publisher who campaigned for this change, Paulina Golba of Golba Music, adds: "This is a huge day for the whole publishing community. This achievement wouldn't be possible without the engagement of many colleagues both here at PSWM and internationally. I especially value the support of CISAC and IMPF and hope that publishers' presence at ZAiKS can open a new chapter in the relation between societies and publishers in Poland, benefiting all composers and authors".
Also welcoming the change at ZAiKS, IMPF President Annette Barrett says: "We are really pleased that this long overdue moment has arrived. It was great to have worked so successfully with CISAC; our strategic alignment and excellent relationship allowed us to jointly help get this through. IMPF actively supported its members on this historic issue and was able to bring strong political and advocacy resources to the table. We are delighted for our members, colleagues, and friends in Poland".
Wise Music Group has acquired the Emily Music Corporation, which includes in its catalogue songs by Lee Pockriss like 'Catch A Falling Star' and 'Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini'. "Wise Music is honoured to have been trusted with the important musical legacy of Lee Pockriss and will ensure his timeless classics such as 'Itsy Bitsy', 'Catch A Falling Star' and 'Johnny Angel' remain part of America's great musical heritage for many generations to come", says Wise Music USA CEO Tomas Wise.
Kobalt has announced the signing of Modest Mouse's lead singer and songwriter Issac Brock to a global publishing deal. "I'm THRILLED to be partnering with Kobalt to represent my writing on our new album 'The Golden Casket'", says Brock. "I really value the passion the whole team have shown for Modest Mouse and the transparency with which they run their business".
Producer/writer duo Goldfingers have signed a worldwide publishing agreement with BMG. "We are really excited to be joining such a creative company at BMG and can't wait to get to work with the incredible team of people who, like us, put their love for music at the core of everything they do".
IMPALA has elected its new board, set to steer the pan-European organisation for the independent music sector for the next two years. Companies and organisations with a rep on the board include Beggars Group, AIM, AIM Ireland, Better Noise, Cooking Vinyl and Epitaph. Under a new scheme, each entity on the board will also have a second representative from within their company or membership, to help bring in younger executives who will contribute new ideas to the association.
Jenny Swiatowy has been promoted to SVP of Creative Sync Licensing & Brand Partnerships for Universal Music's Capitol Music Group in the US. "I'm honoured to lead this exceptionally dynamic, talented and seasoned team that has executed game-changing partnerships for artists across every CMG label, and has performed magnificently during these especially challenging times", she says.
EDUCATION & EVENTS
Music Declares Emergency, Adapt and Bird On The Wire have announced a new conference called Climate Music Blowout. Taking place at EartH in London on 17 Oct, the event will see climate experts, music industry executives and artists discuss ways to ensure the sustainable development of the UK music industry. "The UK music industry has taken a leading role in responding to the climate emergency in word and deed", says the event's organisers. "We look forward to welcoming all those who believe that music can help create safer, better, greener futures to Climate Music Blowout to decide on what we need to do, who we need to do it, and how we can bring everyone together to ensure it happens". More info here.
St Vincent's mockumentary 'The Nowhere Inn' is to receive its UK premiere at this year's Doc N Roll Festival on 29 Oct at the Barbican in London. St Vincent will also be on hand for a Q&A. Various other screenings will follow around the UK. More info here.
Elton John and Charlie Puth have released new collaboration 'After All'. The song is taken from John's upcoming collaborations album, 'The Lockdown Sessions'. Obviously. "Charlie is an amazing musician; we just hit it off", says John. "With 'After All', Charlie and I were in the studio, just the two of us. I played electric piano and actually wrote the song all the way through and then Charlie wrote the lyrics pretty quickly. He's incredibly quick, Charlie. We just had an amazing chemistry in the studio".
Tom Morello has released new single 'Let's Get The Party Started', featuring Bring Me the Horizon. Says Morello: "Bring Me The Horizon is really the current standard bearer of hard rock/metal today, and thank God for them for that. I had a couple of huge riffs and we just started mashing it up with Zakk Cervini, who has worked with them before. This song also has one of my favourite guitar solos that I've played in quite a while, as I was really digging deep to make a solo as devastating as the track".
Vic Mensa is back with new single 'The Taste', featuring longtime collaborator CJ The Chicago Kid.
Having recently announced that they will be putting out their new album, 'The Myth Of The Happily Ever After', Biffy Clyro have released its first single, 'A Hunger In Your Haunt'.
Alt-J are back with new single 'U&ME'. "It's about being at a festival with your best friends, having a good time, togetherness, and the feeling in life that nothing could be any better than it is right now", says the band's Gus Unger-Hamilton. But does this mean there's a new album on the way? No. Oh wait, yes. 'The Dream' will be out on 11 Feb 2022.
Damon Albarn has released another track from his upcoming solo album 'The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows'. Here's 'Royal Morning Blue'.
With their new album 'Bright Magic' out this Friday, Public Service Broadcasting have released one more single from it, 'Der Rhythmus Der Maschinen' featuring Blixa Bargeld.
Let's Eat Grandma are back with their first single for three years, 'Hall Of Mirrors'.
Former Maccabees frontman Orlando Weeks will release his second solo album, 'Hop Up', on 14 Jan 2022. First single 'Look Who's Talking Now' is out now. "[This] is a love song", he says of it. "A song about expectations being fulfilled and exceeded. About knowing what's coming and still being exultant when it actually happens".
Alabama 3 release 'Step 13' - their first album since the death of founding member The Very Reverend D Wayne Love in 2019 - this Friday. From it, this is 'Petronella Says'. The release coincides with new 'Sopranos' prequel movie 'The Many Saints Of Newark' hitting cinemas, which, like the series, uses the band's song 'Woke Up This Morning' as its theme music.
Dream Theater have released new single 'Invisible Monster'. The band's fifteenth studio album, 'A View From The Top Of The World', is out on 22 Oct.
Full Of Hell have released new single 'Eroding Shell'. Their new album, 'Garden Of Burning Apparitions', is out on 1 Oct.
T Evann has released new single 'Pointing The Finger', featuring Oscar Lang. His new EP, 'Pocus', is due on 22 Oct.
Mandy, Indiana are back with new single 'Bottle Episode', and news that they will release their debut EP - '...' - on 19 Nov. "I wanted to build up on the military style of the track, but in a very slow crescendo, and not in a very obvious way", says vocalist Valentine Caulfield of the single. "The lyrics talk of men waiting, moving forward; war is never mentioned, yet it is obvious that the men are waiting for death. The song ends with the men almost dancing as the bullets hit them".
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Kelly Clarkson wants to cancel you this Christmas
The track is taken from Clarkson's second Christmas album, 'When Christmas Comes Around', which features collaborations with Ariana Grande and Chris Stapleton. It's out on 15 Oct, by which time we'll all be thinking about Easter. So you should probably get listening to that first single right now.
Speaking about the title of the album, Clarkson says: "My purpose for choosing this lyric for being the title of this project was to bring forth a sense of reality to the fact that we are probably all in very different places emotionally 'when Christmas comes around'".
"Some of us consumed with a new love, some of us reminded of loss, some filled with optimism for the coming new year, others elated for some much deserved time away from the chaos our work lives can sometimes bring us", she goes on.
"Wherever you are, and whatever you may be experiencing, I wanted everyone to be able to connect to a message on this album. Each year you may even have a new favourite depending on where you are in your life, but while change can be unpredictable there is no better time of year, in my opinion, to breathe hope into one's life and let possibility wander".
How lovely. And, if where you are in your life means that you're looking to use Christmas to settle a personal vendetta, well, this new single's for you. Here's the lyric video for 'Christmas Isn't Cancelled (Just You)'. Merry Christmas and a happy new year!