|MONDAY 27 SEPTEMBER 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: As the 30th anniversary of the release of Nirvana's 'Nevermind' album passed on Friday, lawyers for the man who was photographed as a baby for the record's famous cover have demanded that the image be edited on all future re-releases, basically redacting his genitalia... [READ MORE]|
Nevermind baby demands that the album's artwork be edited on all future re-releases
The demand follows the recent litigation filed by Spencer Eldon against the band, their label, and other people involved in creating the 'Nevermind' artwork.
Although in the past Eldon has been somewhat blasé about his nude baby photo appearing on the album cover - even recreating the image on a number of occasions (albeit wearing shorts) - his lawsuit says Nirvana's use of the photo over the last three decades has actually caused him "extreme and permanent emotional distress with physical manifestations".
Claiming that Eldon's guardians did not know how the photo would be used when it was originally taken, the legal filing argues that the 'Nevermind' artwork "constitutes commercial child pornography" under US law – and that the defendants "knowingly produced, possessed, and advertised commercial child pornography depicting Spencer, and they knowingly received value in exchange for doing so".
Regarding future re-releases of 'Nevermind', Eldon’s lawyers said on Friday: "Today, like each year on this date, our client Spencer Elden has had to brace himself for renewed unwanted attention from the media and fans alike throughout the world".
"This is a choice that he has never had", they added. "It has been thrust upon him, and for 30 years he has dealt with its devastating and painful consequences. Our message to Nirvana is clear - redact the image of Mr Elden's genitalia from all future album covers".
Given the 30th anniversary, another re-release is imminent. It remains to be seen if anything is now done to honour Eldon's request.
WOW hits back in movie producer led repeat infringer case
The movie companies - many linked to Millennium Media - have recently been following the music industry's lead in trying to hold American ISPs liable for their users' copyright infringement.
That's based on the argument that the net firms haven't done enough to deal with repeat infringers among their respective user bases. Internet companies need to have and enforce repeat infringer policies in order to benefit from the safe harbour protection that is available under US copyright law, which allows them to avoid liability for any infringement that occurs on their networks or servers.
After BMG and then the majors successfully held Cox Communcations liable for its customers' infringement, a number of lawsuits against other ISPs followed, initially filed by the majors, and more recently from Millennium Media and its fellow film-makers.
The film firms' lawsuit against WOW followed the format of the earlier label-led litigation, although it also included evidence from a BitTorrent service which it said proved the ISP's customers had infringed the plaintiffs' copyrights. It also demanded that WOW instigate a three strikes system for dealing with infringers and block some websites, as well as paying the movie producers damages.
Responding, WOW presents many of the same arguments put forward by other ISPs targeted with lawsuits of this kind. However, it also makes some big allegations against the anti-piracy agency the film producers are working with, called Maverickeye, while bigging up its own anti-piracy credentials.
Basically the ISP dubs the plaintiffs and Maverickeye as "copyright trolls", accusing them of sending out a stack of stern legal letters to suspected file-sharers with the aim of getting a quick payment from the recipients rather than actually pursuing any infringement cases through the courts.
According to Torrentfreak, WOW states: "Plaintiffs and Maverickeye are part of a well-known web of copyright trolls. Until now, plaintiffs' modus operandi has been to file John Doe lawsuits in the hope of securing quick settlements and to dismiss them at the slightest resistance".
"Additionally", it adds, "courts and litigants in these cases have persuasively accused Maverickeye of serious wrongdoing, such as submitting fraudulent 'expert' declarations from fictitious persons, violating state law by engaging in unlicensed surveillance, and even conspiring with copyright owners to offer copyrighted content over BitTorrent and then sue anyone who tries to download it".
As for its own record in tackling piracy among its userbase, the ISP goes on: "WOW has a robust programme under which it notifies account holders of infringement allegations, suspends their internet access if the allegations continue, and then permanently terminates the account upon receipt of additional complaints".
We now await a response from Millennium, Maverickeye et al.
CTS Eventim enters North American market
The launch of a new Eventim ticketing service and website for North America follows the company's new joint venture last year with US-based promoter Michael Cohl, which was announced just before the COVID shutdown but is now getting properly started with the Genesis reunion tour in North America.
Meanwhile, Eventim's first ticketing client Stateside is New York’s Big Apple Circus, which Cohl is also currently co-producing.
Announcing all this, CTS Eventim CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg says: "North America is the most attractive market in the world for live entertainment and ticketing. The platform eventim.com puts us in an ideal position to benefit from the restart there. The sale of tickets for Big Apple Circus is a first step on this journey. We are already in discussions with potential partners and customers about making our cutting-edge ticketing systems available to them soon".
Dice raises $122 million in new finance
"We believe Dice's technology has the capacity to transform the future of live entertainment", says Yanni Pipilis, Managing Partner for SoftBank Investment Advisers. "Alongside the flexibility and security of seamless ticketing, the platform connects fans, artists and venues in a completely new way... We are excited to partner with Dice to help create remarkable event experiences for fans all over the world".
How will Dice spend all this new money? A big old party? COVID tests all round? A free steak dinner for any enthusiastic music business journalists feeling a bit hungry? Maybe.
But mainly Dice "will significantly grow the company by expanding reach to artists, fans and venues, while hiring new team members, adding to its live stream offering, and launching an ambitious artist development program that will see the platform work with even more artists directly on their live strategy". Good times!
"Dice is rewiring the live experiences industry. We have proven that if you treat fans well, they go out more", says founder and CEO Phil Hutcheon. "We're overhauling an unfair, inefficient system by pioneering a transparent, data-led, fan-first approach - building a scalable ecosystem that helps artists, promoters and venues thrive. To have SoftBank as a partner enables us to expand into every market".
In addition to the new investors, Dice has also added a new board member in the form of Tony Fadell, who heads up Future Shape and is best known as the inventor of the iPod. For younger readers, the iPod was a bit like those record players you all like so much, but used these things called MP3s instead of vinyl records, and was much less inconvenient.
"The concert business is a tangled mess of archaic tools and taxing 'industry standards' where artists are paid last", Fadell says. "Venues shell out for marketing and are beholden to ticket conglomerates. Fans have to hunt for shows and regularly buy overpriced tickets from secondary markets or scalpers. This doesn't make sense!"
"Dice re-engineers the entire live industry, not just a part of it", he goes on. "Venues are connected to fans and artists. Artists get transparency, access and control. Fans easily discover local shows and global live streams, and buy scalper-safe tickets with a single click. I'm ecstatic to be joining the Dice board and to be part of another entertainment revolution".
X-ray Touring's Steve Strange dies
In a statement on Saturday, X-ray Touring - the agency he co-founded in 2005 - said: "X-ray Touring are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Strange, one of the founding partners of the agency, has passed away after a short illness. We have lost a legendary figure in our personal and professional lives that we will all deeply miss".
"Steve was a unique individual within our industry, his overwhelming love of music lead to a 30 year plus career guiding the touring of an eclectic mix of artists from all genres of music that he adored", it went on. "A universally known, hugely respected and loved character - if you hadn’t already seen him at a gig or festival, you'd most certainly hear his infectious and infamous laugh".
"Steve had the best ears in the agency business, signing and developing the careers of countless world class artists from small club venues to vast international multi-stadium tours", it concluded. "He will always be remembered with love by his friends and colleagues at X-ray and the world over".
Among those to pay tribute were Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Garbage, The Script, My Bloody Valentine, The Charlatans, Snow Patrol, Mark Lanegan, Kodaline and Ash, as well as many people from across the music industry.
Coldplay tweeted: "We are devastated by the news of our dear friend Steve Strange's passing. A giant of the music industry and the cornerstone for so many bands' and artists' careers, including ours. Never afraid to talk straight and fight for his artists, you always heard him before you saw him and you knew you were in for a good evening".
"We spent a bittersweet hour with him last week", they added. "Despite his illness he was still taking calls and watching ticket counts. We send all our love to Steve's friends and family and his colleagues at X-ray. We will miss you dear Steve, no doubt you are at The Aftershow to end them all".
Among those on the industry side paying tribute was Head Of Worldwide Touring at the agency UTA, Neil Warnock, who said in a statement: "I can't believe we have lost Steve Strange. He was an absolute icon in the world of music. He was a fan of all music genres who was at the top of his game. I've lost a true friend and the industry has lost a larger-than-life character.".
Strange began his career in the music industry as a drummer in the band No Hot Ashes in the late 80s and early 90s. After the band's split he moved to the industry side, and worked for a number of booking agencies - most notably Solo Agency and Helter Skelter. Then in 2005, he teamed up with Ian Huffam, Scott Thomas, Jeff Craft and Martin Horne to launch X-Ray Touring.
New Britney Spears documentary claims singer has been under "intense surveillance" during conservatorship
It claims that Spears was placed under "intense surveillance" that monitored her every move and every telephone conversation. Almost everyone she worked with was forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement, with many of those who agreed to appear in the new film breaking said agreements in order to speak out.
"Almost everyone we talked to had signed an NDA", the documentary’s director, Samantha Stark, tells Variety. "That was a big concern. A lot of people who saw things were really [intimidated] because they could see how much money these lawyers cost that were working for the conservatorship and they were thinking, 'How could I ever go up against these people?'"
What changed - prompting both the making of this second documentary and convincing people to speak out - was Spears' own testimony in June, in which she made various claims about her poor treatment.
Producer Liz Day adds that she hopes that Britney's case will prompt a wider examination of the conservatorship system in the US. "I'm really curious to see if it sparks a broader examination of the conservatorship system", she says. "One of the trickiest things with this story was figuring out whether some of this stuff is legal or not, like monitoring text messages and recording someone in a private place. That could be a violation of the law, but it's really hard to know if the court was aware of this".
"Britney's security said that everything was in the bounds of the law, but we don't know if that's true", she goes on. "We spoke to conservatorship experts and we couldn't really get a clear answer - people we spoke to thought that shouldn't be legal, but the fact that we couldn't say one way or the other because the records are sealed, I think is interesting and speaks a lot about the unknowns of conservatorships, in general".
This is not the first time the legality of the actions of Spears' conservators have been called into question, of course. Earlier this year it emerged that she herself had asked police to investigate possible illegal conduct.
The next court hearing to decide the future of Spears' conservatorship is set to take place on Wednesday. Last week, her attorney Mathew Rosengart filed a petition to have her father Jamie Spears immediately removed from managing his daughter's financial affairs. He also said that he will be pushing for the entire conservatorship arrangement to be ended by this autumn.
'Controlling Britney Spears' is not the only new documentary hitting screens in the run up to that court hearing. Tomorrow, Netflix is due to release its own film, 'Britney v Spears'.
Raye discusses becoming an independent artist after being released from Polydor contract
The musician made headlines in June this year when she tweeted angrily about her relationship with Polydor, saying: "I have been signed to a major label since 2014 and I have had albums and albums of music sat in folders collecting dust, songs I am now giving away to A-list artists because I am still awaiting confirmation that I am good enough to release an album".
"I know this is the kind of thing I'm suppose to keep behind closed doors", she went on. "But I have worked and waited and hustled and given everything I have and if I am going to suffer I am not going to do it in silence anymore".
Raye is certainly not the first artist to experience this problem. Many artists before her have been signed in a flurry of excitement and then, once locked into a deal, found themselves at the back of the queue, with no enthusiasm at the label to get some music out there.
It happens for various reasons, including shifts in a company's priorities or key personnel leaving. But whatever the reasons, it's a major issue for any artist who is eager to get releasing but struggling to get a slot in their label's release schedule. And, of course, the exclusivity clause in the record contract means they can't go elsewhere.
She tells the Guardian that - five years after being signed - she was told by an exec in 2019 that her position at the label was "like you're 6-0 down at half-time". Eventually she was able to release 2020 mini-album 'Euphoric Sad Songs'. However, despite it being popular with fans, the record was apparently deemed a flop by the record company.
"What actually should matter is having artists who build fanbases and sell out shows and stream music, regardless of what genre it is", she says. "Having a top ten is not defining. What it showed me was that we were aiming for two completely different things and we always have been. What makes them proud isn't what makes me proud".
What is unusual in this particular story is that - three weeks after complaining about her label's lack of support - she was released from her contract. Having initially said it was "saddened" by her social media comments, Polydor confirmed the "decision to part ways", saying that it had been "amicable and mutual".
"Raye is an incredible artist and we have very much enjoyed working with her over the years, achieving some great things together", the label said in a statement. "We wish her all the very best for the future".
"The fact that they did let me go, I'm so grateful, because it could have gone all matters of dark", she says now. "The shit I have been through, I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies. I am just beside myself about how the beautiful songwriters that I know, a lot of whom are women, and a lot of whom are women of colour, are just hustling out here. I'm angry, I'm raging".
"I am not trying to sign anything for a very long time", she adds. "I do not want to see a contract. I don't want to care about stats. I just want to build a fanbase and release my album. My time is coming".
Daniel Ek and Thierry Henry spotted watching Arsenal match, prompting rumours of new takeover bid
It emerged earlier this year that Ek was working on a bid to acquire the club alongside Henry and two other former Arsenal players, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira.
Henry confirmed this shortly after Ek publicly stated his interest in buying the football team, saying: "It is true. Daniel is an Arsenal fan. He did not say it for any publicity, he has been an Arsenal fan for a very long time. He approached us, we listened to him. And we knew, first and foremost, that he wanted to involve the fans. He wants to re-inject the Arsenal DNA, the identity that I think is long gone".
A bid worth a reported £1.8 billion was presented to current Arsenal owner Kroenke Sports & Entertainment in May, but it was promptly rejected.
Ek tweeted at the time, "This week an offer was made to both Josh Kroenke and their bankers that included fan ownership, representation at board and a golden share for the supporters. They replied that they don't need the money. I respect their decision but remain interested and available should that situation ever change".
The Kroenke family's ownership of Arsenal has been unpopular - exacerbated further by their support for the Super League proposal that was made and ultimately failed earlier this year. The sighting of Ek and Henry together sparked rumours that their takeover bid is still on. Josh Kroenke was also seen at the match (albeit elsewhere in the stadium), leading some to put two and two together (and quite possibly make five).
Following the Super League debacle, Kroenke said that he would be more visible at the club and promised to listen to the wishes of fans more. Although many still feel that he has not done enough.
Whether or not Ek plans to propose buying the club again, or just went to watch a match with his new mate Thierry Henry, remains to be seen.