|WEDNESDAY 6 OCTOBER 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Plans to force nightclubs and some other venues in Wales to check COVID Passports at the door are going ahead after the proposals were yesterday passed by the country's assembly, or Senedd as it is now known. But the vote was very close - with 28 for and 27 against - with one member of the Senedd who would have opposed the proposals not able to vote due to technical problems. As a result, the night-time sector is calling for a revote... [READ MORE]|
Night-time sector criticises Welsh COVID Passport scheme, as technical problem in Senedd impacts on vote
While the UK government last month abandoned plans to force clubs and venues to check the vaccination or COVID status of customers at the door across England, ministers in both Scotland and Wales confirmed they were going ahead with their similar schemes.
In Scotland, those proposals were passed by the country's Parliament last month and the new requirements went into force last weekend, albeit with some flexibility in the rules for the first two weeks.
A new app created to allow Scottish clubbers to show that they have been vaccinated against COVID was launched at the very last minute last week and experienced various technical problems over the weekend, resulting in new calls from the night-time sector for the Scottish government to abandon the COVID Passport scheme entirely.
The new COVID Passport requirement in Wales still needed to be approved by the Senedd, with the vote taking place yesterday. All the opposition parties decided to vote against the Labour-led Welsh government's plan, though - with some members still accessing Senedd sessions via Zoom - one Conservative member, Gareth Davies, was unable to vote due to technical problems.
The Senedd's Presiding Officer Elin Jones ultimately decided to go ahead with the vote, despite those technical issues, stating: "We have made every opportunity possible for that named member to get in, including sharing my personal phone". Had Davies voted against the proposals, that would have resulted in a tie, which, it's thought, would have forced Jones to back either the status quo - so no new entry requirement - or further debate.
Given the controversy surrounding the COVID Passport scheme - and how close the vote was - reps for the night-time sector have called for a revote, keen to still force the plan to be abandoned before it comes into force next week.
The NTIA said in a statement yesterday: "The NTIA has long campaigned against the introduction of COVID Passports due to the operational barriers these measures will cause. We were pleased to see the number of [Senedd members] that listened to our concerns today and voted against these proposals".
"It is a democratic outrage that one [member] who wanted to vote, and who would have voted against the proposals, could not, due to a mere technical error", it added. "This shambles will cause even more uncertainty for our businesses. There must be an urgent revote so that the will of the Senedd can be fairly expressed and businesses have some clarity about the future".
Whereas under Scotland's rules, only those who have been fully vaccinated can enter clubs and venues covered by the COVID Passport requirement, in Wales a negative COVID test will also be sufficient to gain entry.
BMG announces wide-ranging rights deal with Tina Turner
Like many of the recent big deals with heritage artists, this arrangement is a little bit complicated, requiring you to navigate the differences between copyrights, royalty rights, remuneration rights on the recordings side and writer share royalties on the songs side.
Warner Music will still be Turner's record company, but BMG gets involvement in her recording royalties, both from her past record contacts and her performer equitable remuneration rights. The deal also covers the writer's share of her songs catalogue, plus Turner's "name, image, and likeness".
Says Turner of the deal: "Like any artist, the protection of my life's work, my musical inheritance, is something personal. I am confident that with BMG and Warner Music my work is in professional and reliable hands".
Meanwhile, BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch adds: "Tina Turner's musical journey has inspired hundreds of millions of people around the world and continues to reach new audiences. We are honoured to take on the job of managing Tina Turner’s musical and commercial interests. It is a responsibility we take seriously and will pursue diligently. She is truly and simply, the best".
Yeah, we see what you did there Hartwig, we see you.
YouTube deletes two official R Kelly channels
During Kelly's headline-grabbing trial, jurors heard testimonies from nine women and two men who had been abused by the star. Most of the women had been lured into Kelly's inner circle, moving into his home where he then controlled pretty much every aspect of their lives, punishing them if they ever broke his rules.
Those punishments were sometimes physical or involved humiliation. One of the male victims explained how he was instructed to have sex with different women in Kelly's entourage in order to punish them, with the musician directing and filming the encounters.
The prosecution also successfully argued that beyond the abuse itself, Kelly had built a sophisticated system to allow him to exploit his fame in order to groom and then abuse young people, with most of his victims still in their mid-teens when they first met the star.
Beyond New York, Kelly faces similar charges in other US states, which will result in additional trials, including in his home town of Chicago. For his part, Kelly continues to deny all the charges against him, and says he plans to appeal last week's ruling.
Rumours and allegations about Kelly had circulated for decades, though the only time those allegations resulted in criminal charges prior to 2019 - in 2008 - he was acquitted. New criminal investigations were then launched in 2019 following the screening of the 'Surviving R Kelly' documentary.
Those investigations - and especially last week's guilty verdict - have sparked new debate regarding to what extent the wider music industry was complicit in allowing Kelly to commit his crimes. And also whether Kelly's music should continue to be available to stream, generating new income for the star.
Of course, there has always been much debate regarding to what extent the music and media industries - and indeed music fans - should continue to engage with the music of artists who are accused - or certainly convicted - of violent and abusive crimes.
Though, in the physical era, where exploiting catalogue required active effort on the part of labels, the record industry could quietly and passively boycott shamed artists by just not making that effort. With digital, where the entire catalogue is always available, a boycott requires actively removing music from the digital platforms.
YouTube is not removing R Kelly's music from the catalogue of its streaming service, it should be noted. But the specific R Kelly channels on its main platform have been deleted.
A spokesperson said yesterday: "We can confirm that we have terminated two channels linked to R Kelly in accordance with our creator responsibility guidelines".
Meanwhile, the Google company's Head Of Legal, Nicole Alston, said in a memo: "Egregious actions committed by R Kelly warrant penalties beyond standard enforcement measures due to a potential to cause widespread harm. Ultimately we are taking this action to protect our users similar to other platforms".
Bloomberg notes that - while YouTube channels are usually only deleted because of bad conduct by creators on the platform itself - "deleting a channel for a person's behaviour in the real world is unusual but not unprecedented".
It adds: "The video site introduced a policy in 2018 to penalise creators for behaviour off the platform. Creators have faced punishment if they do anything that could 'cause malicious harm to others' or participating in abuse or violence".
That policy also led to the deletion of the channel of Austin Jones, the musician and YouTuber who was jailed in 2019 after pleading guilty to a child pornography charge.
Music and climate change podcast Sounds Like A Plan returns for second series
Looking at how the music world is responding to the climate crisis, series two of the show will see presenters Fay Milton and Greg Cochrane interview Brian Eno, Charlotte Church, Sam Carter from Architects, Reverb's Lauren Sullivan, ClientEarth founder James Thornton, Clean Scene co-founder Eilidh Mclaughlin, NFT entrepreneur Max Shand and more.
"There are so many positive things happening in the music industry, and yet so many gaps to be filled", says Milton. "There's definitely room for everyone to get involved in promoting sustainability within the music community – hopefully we can inspire people with this podcast!"
Cochrane adds: "The response to series one was brilliant, connecting with so many listeners who share a passion for the planet and music. This series, we're going deeper with more episodes: continuing to reach into different corners of the music world to hear energising stories about the action people and organisations are taking in response to the threat, challenge and opportunity of our climate emergency. This autumn is a decisive period – these conversations capture the urgency of the change we need to see".
The first episode of the new series is out now. You can find it wherever you listen to podcasts.
Democrats using Taylor Swift's catalogue woes as a campaign tool again
Swift called Braun's purchase of Big Machine her "worst case scenario". Although she was no longer actively working with the label by 2019, it still controlled the rights in her first six albums. The musician claimed that Braun had bullied her over the years, and that therefore she was mortified that he and his Ithaca Holdings company now controlled most of her recordings catalogue.
The whole thing brought the ins and outs, and rights and wrongs, of record deals back into the spotlight, while also prompting Swift to start re-recording her old albums as soon as the re-record restrictions in her Big Machine record contract started to expire.
The musician also made specific reference to The Carlyle Group's involvement in the Big Machine acquisition while ranting about the deal, meaning - alongside Braun and Big Machine - the private equity firm also felt the heat as Swift's fans rallied to her cause. At the time, the FT reported how that had "left Carlyle employees nervous and questioning internally how they got involved in the spat”.
In the end, Braun sold on the Swift masters to another private equity outfit called Shamrock Holdings. That calmed things down a little, though didn't stop the musician from proceeding with her big re-record project.
Anyway, back to Virginia, where polls have Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin pretty much neck and neck as campaigning continues ahead of next month's governor election. McAuliffe is now hoping that Swift fans among the electorate might help him swing it.
In a new ad campaign targeting Swift fans in the state on Facebook and Instagram - and anyone who searches for the musician on Google - the Democrat is pushing out images of the pop star alongside Youngkin with the hashtag #WeStandWithTaylor.
It's not the first time Democrats have sought to capitalise on Swift's run in with private equity. At the time of the 2019 Big Machine acquisition, then Democrat presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren - a notable critic of Wall Street and the private equity sector - jumped on Swift's big beef with Braun and his mates at The Carlyle Group.
She tweeted: "Unfortunately, Taylor Swift is one of many whose work has been threatened by a private equity firm. They’re gobbling up more and more of our economy, costing jobs and crushing entire industries. It's time to rein in private equity firms – and I've got a plan for that".
That didn't help Warren win the Democrat nomination for last year's Presidential election of course. Though maybe more Swift fans vote in actual elections than in the primaries, and this latest political attempt to utilise the musician's catalogue woes will pay off for McAuliffe.
Olivia Rodrigo comments on rip-off accusations: "Nothing in music is ever new"
That formal crediting of an artist who wrote a song that has heavily influenced the writing of a new song isn't new, but is arguably becoming much more common, possibly in reaction to some high profile song-theft legal battles in the US courts, and in particular the 'Blurred Lines' case.
However, it's all still part of the classic "when does inspiration become infringement?" debate. The music community generally seems pretty divided on when artists should get a credit - and possibly a share of the copyright - in a new song that sounds rather like one of their old songs.
While Rodrigo has often spoken quite openly about other artists who have inspired her, she says in a new interview with Teen Vogue that most of the criticism she's received over her songs sounding like other songs has been unfair.
"I think it's disappointing to see people take things out of context and discredit any young woman's work", she says. "But at the end of the day, I'm just really proud and happy to say that my job is being a songwriter. All music is inspired by each other. Obviously, I write all of my lyrics from my heart and my life first. I came up with the lyrics and the melody for 'Good 4 U’ one morning in the shower".
'Good 4 U' is now co-credited to Hayley Williams and her former Paramore bandmate Josh Farro, due to its (debatable) similarity to their song 'Misery Business'. Although their credit was added to Rodrigo's hit after it came out, according to the Teen Vogue article, conversations about formally acknowledging Williams and Farro started before it was released.
Rodrigo continues: "What's so beautiful about music is that it can be so inspired by music that’s come out in the past. Every single artist is inspired by artists who have come before them. It's sort of a fun, beautiful sharing process. Nothing in music is ever new. There's four chords in every song. That's the fun part - trying to make that your own".
She found one supporter in particular in this domain earlier this year in the form of Elvis Costello, after similarities between her song 'Brutal' and his 'Pump It Up' were pointed out. "This is fine by me", he tweeted. "It's how rock and roll works. You take the broken pieces of another thrill and make a brand new toy. That's what I did".
For a deeper examination of the claims against Rodrigo - and why songwriters are increasingly being credited on songs they didn't actually write - listen to this recent episode of The Verge's Decoder podcast.
BMG has promoted Maximilian Kolb to EVP Repertoire & Marketing, Continental Europe. "There could be no better time to take on this new role", he says. "Streaming is opening up the market for local repertoire right across Continental Europe, not only boosting domestic successes, but also creating new cross-border opportunities. We want to be a home for all kinds of music right across Europe".
UK record industry collecting society PPL has hired Titania Altius as Head Of Member Relations. She joins from Help Musicians, where she was Creative Programme Manager. "I am very excited to be joining PPL at such a pivotal time", she says. "It's a fantastic opportunity to work with a great team to build on the successes of the last few years and continue to deliver for the performers and recording rightsholders who are at the heart of what we do".
RCRDSHP - a dance music centric platform selling "digital collectibles" (so, it's an NFT thing) - has hired Peter Wohelski as Head Of Creator Relations. He has previously worked for Beatport and Symphonic Distribution. "I'm excited to join the team at RCRDSHP as we flip the industry on its head by restoring a living wage to millions of talented electronic music professionals globally through our digital collectibles platform", he says.
We're all saved! Adele is releasing a new single, called 'Easy On Me', on 15 Oct. You can hear a little bit of it here.
Ronan Keating is going to release an album exploring Ireland's musical history. Lucky old Ireland. 'Songs From Home' will cover everything from traditional music to U2. It's out on 12 Nov.
Kim Petras is back with new single 'The Future Is Now'. "Things are going to change whether you want them to or not and you can either roll with it and make the best out of it or let it drown you", she says. "The pandemic changed the world in bad ways but good ways too. It's about not letting life sink you and to have fun and celebrate the world – whatever it becomes".
Mitski has released new single 'Working For The Knife'. She's also announced UK and Ireland tour dates in April next year, finishing up at The Roundhouse in London on 28 Apr.
Pulled Apart By Horses have signed to Alcopop! Records ready to release their fifth album next spring. Here's new single 'First World Problems'.
Warmduscher have signed to Bella Union and released new track 'Wild Flowers'. "I kept doing that freaking track over and over, trying to do a kind of Talking Heads 'Once In A Lifetime' thing", says the band's Clams Baker Jr. "Then I just got to a point where I was like, 'Ugh! Fuck this and fuck these motherfuckers!' I sent the demo to the guys and they were laughing really hard. It's a blessing and a curse, because if we start laughing, then we know we're happy with the song". The band's fourth album will be coming out at some point.
Rival Consoles will release new album, 'Overflow', on 3 Dec. New single 'Monster' is out now.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Justin Bieber launches Peaches packs of pre-rolled joints
"In collaboration with Justin Bieber, Palms is excited to introduce a high-end line of indoor pre-rolls celebrating Justin's song 'Peaches'", says the company. That's indoor, as in the plants were grown indoors. You can take these joints outside, if you like.
"The hybrid strain features a white runtz strain that provides a mellow body buzz and pairs perfectly with an art project or hanging with friends", it goes on. "It has a flavour profile of sweet fruit and cream with an earthiness on the finish".
Sales of the seven joint packs of Peaches will also support the charities the Last Prisoner Project and Veterans Walk And Talk. So that should give you a warm feeling. As will the free Peaches-branded lighter that comes with each pack. If you're not careful.
Bieber himself says, er, nothing. He just posted a picture. Maybe he was too stoned to say anything. Although that's probably a stereotype that Palms wouldn't appreciate. The company says that its "goal is to make cannabis more approachable and help destigmatise its use". Its website is full of pictures of people who look like they're blazing up after a workout.
That said, straight after sharing a picture of his drugs, Bieber posted a load of pictures of people playing Uno, which seems like something a stoned person would do. It looks like that was another brand partnership thing, but again, he didn't say anything about it.
Anyway, each pack of seven Peaches pre-rolls will cost you $50, so I'm not sure you can afford to get high on this stuff. Also, you probably don't live somewhere where buying such things is legal. Maybe have a nice cup of tea instead.