|FRIDAY 8 OCTOBER 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The mental health support line run by Help Musicians has seen demand nearly double this year, the music charity has revealed, confirming the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the well-being of the music community... [READ MORE]|
Demand for Help Musicians mental health support line doubles during COVID shutdown
By the time full capacity shows returned in England in July, the UK live sector had been in virtual shutdown for nearly sixteen months, with only socially distanced shows possible during the slight relaxation of the rules in summer and autumn 2020. The number of such socially distanced shows was relatively low, and many struggled to break even when operating with capacities sufficiently reduced to comply with the regulations.
And, of course, the revival of the live industry has only just begun, with restrictions being lifted slower in Scotland, Wales and especially Northern Ireland, where full-on gigs are still not possible. Meanwhile ongoing travel restrictions, and the variations in COVID rules in different countries and regions, means the business of touring is far from back to normal.
For many artists, live performance is the key revenue stream, meaning that the live music shutdown had a major impact on their income. Plus at various points COVID also stopped the studio work and educational projects that also provide important revenue for music-makers. Making matters worse, some musicians fell into the gap of government-provided COVID financial support for freelancers in the UK.
It is no surprise, therefore, that all the financial concerns COVID created - and the constant uncertainty of how long the pandemic would continue to impact on live performance - has negatively impacted on the mental health of many musicians. Though it's not just financial concerns, with the "career uncertainty" and "loss of identity" caused by the pandemic also key factors.
Help Musicians launched its 24/7 Music Minds Matter phoneline - staffed by accredited therapists - in 2017, and then began expanding the mental health initiative in April this year, including via a new national network of local support groups. Help Musicians works in partnership with organisations like the British Association For Performing Arts Medicine to deliver the programme, while UK collecting society PPL is now a key financial backer.
Commenting on the increased need for services like Music Minds Matter over the last eighteen months, BAPAM CEO Claire Cordeaux says: "Musicians' mental health needs have always been higher than the general population, but over the last eighteen months we have seen a significant increase in requests for mental health support caused by a combination of financial and career uncertainty, loss of identity and difficulty in getting access to mainstream mental health services. The challenge of being performance ready after this period should also not be underestimated".
"We are delighted to be working with Help Musicians and PPL on this important project", she adds. "Our clinical specialists all have experience of the performing arts and are well placed to deliver therapeutic support and to liaise with specialist services where necessary".
Meanwhile, Help Musicians CEO James Ainscough says: "It’s so exciting to see live music gradually return, but the rising number of musicians seeking counselling in 2021 highlights that the mental health impact of the pandemic is far from over".
"In what can already be a very challenging profession, the added pressures of the past eighteen months, and the uncertainty of what lies ahead while careers are re-built, has created the perfect storm for musicians and their teams who are battling to maintain their mental health".
"The expansion of Music Minds Matter continues in earnest and we need as much support as we can get for this vital service to the entire music industry", he goes on. "PPL’s support is crucial to ensuring we can meet the rising demand and we are incredibly grateful for their generosity and leadership".
PPL chief Peter Leathem also comments, noting that the demand for the mental health support line nearly doubling "makes it clear that many in the music industry are still feeling the impact of a very difficult past eighteen months".
"So as live music returns, nightclubs re-open and we return to offices and public spaces, we must continue to support those who are still in need", he adds. "Music Minds Matter is playing a crucial role in this and we are very proud to help the service continue to deliver excellent care and expand its offer".
Court declines to dismiss Esmé Bianco's abuse lawsuit against Marilyn Manson
Bianco was the first of four women to file a lawsuit against Manson after another of his former girlfriends, actor Evan Rachel Wood, went public with abuse allegations. Bianco says in her lawsuit that she "felt like a prisoner" during her relationship with Manson, accusing him of using "drugs, force, and threats of force to coerce sexual acts".
In July, Manson sought to have much of Bianco's lawsuit dismissed based on the statute of limitation rules in California, so basically arguing that she had left it too long to file her legal arguments. However, judge Fernando L Aenlle-Rocha yesterday rejected the motion to dismiss.
The judge ruled: "A reasonable jury could find that the effects of [Manson]'s alleged unconscionable acts, including the perceived threat to plaintiff's safety, immigration status and career, persisted years after her last contact with [Manson]". Therefore, it's not clear at what point the statute of limitations would apply to the case.
The decision was welcomed by Bianco and her legal team. Lawyer Jay Ellwanger told reporters: "Today’s ruling, which allows Ms Bianco’s case to move forward in its entirety, underscores that threats and coercion cannot be used by defendants as both a shield and a sword".
Meanwhile Bianco herself said in a statement: "My hope is that this ruling empowers other survivors to pursue justice for themselves, while signalling to abusers that they cannot bully victims into silence".
For his part, Manson continues to deny the various abuse allegations that have been made against him. In his July court filing, the musician accused Bianco of spending "months plotting, workshopping and fine-tuning" her story into "twisted tales that bear no resemblance to reality".
She and the other accusers, the legal papers then alleged, are attempting to make people believe that the shock rock character Manson plays on stage is actually who he really is in his private life.
Nevertheless, Bianco's case against Manson will now proceed in full, allowing her allegations to be heard in court.
South By Southwest sues its insurer over costs linked to 2020 cancellation class action
SXSW was one of the first major music events to cancel as the COVID pandemic gained momentum in early 2020. Following the cancellation, ticket-buyers were told that they could defer their 2020 tickets to the 2021, 2022 or 2023 edition of the festival, but that cash refunds were not available.
What the law says about cash refunds for cancelled events varies from country to country and - in the US - state to state. The rules are also often different for postponed events as opposed to cancelled events, and where that's the case, there can then be some debate about whether an annual event like SXSW has been cancelled or postponed.
Either way, most people took up the offer to defer their SXSW tickets to another year. But some did not and argued that cash refunds should be offered. A class action lawsuit was then filed against the event in April 2020 by disgruntled ticket-buyers seeking a refund.
According to Law360, a preliminary settlement has now been reached in that class action, which will see those who defer their tickets eligible for a $30 cash payment, while those who choose not to defer will be able to claim back in cash 40% of whatever they paid for their original ticket.
As the class action seemingly comes to a close, another dispute has begun between SXSW and its insurer Federal Insurance Co over the costs the festival incurred fighting the class action. The event argues that its insurance policy covers such costs, but the insurer says a professional services exclusion in SXSW's policy means it is not obliged to pay up. For its part, SXSW says that the insurance firm is incorrectly interpreting that exclusion.
And so, now SXSW is suing the Federal Insurance Co. No word yet on whether Federal Insurance Co should be covering any legal costs incurred by SXSW while suing Federal Insurance Co.
TikTok adds music agencies to its approved suppliers for brands
The video-sharing app launched its TikTok Marketing Partners programme last year, via which it endorses various agencies that can offer creative, content, campaign and measurement services to brands doing the TikTok thing. The latest additions all provide audio services of one sort or another because, let's never forget, TikTok is - and I quote - a "sound-on" platform, and brands everywhere need help building "sound-on strategies" when using the super popular app as a marketing channel.
TikTok already has its own library of pre-cleared music that brands can use when making videos to go on the platform (definitely not to be confused with the main library of music within the TikTok app which is only for user-generated content).
But it is now also directing brands towards what it is calling its Sound Partners, which are: production music outfit Epidemic Sound, sync licensing platform Songtradr, DIY music distributor UnitedMasters, and three agencies that can create a brand some original music - or maybe even some "sonic brand identifiers" - those being KARM, MassiveMusic and The Elements Music.
"In addition to our Commercial Music Library - a pool of over 150,000 pre-cleared, royalty-free tracks sourced from emerging artists and top-tier music houses - we're excited to connect brands with trusted partners who can help them leverage the unique potential of TikTok's sound-on environment at scale", says TikTok HQ.
The company's Head Of Ecosystems, Melissa Yang, adds: "Sound is the universal language of TikTok, and brands need to embrace music and sound in order to show up authentically on the platform. Our new Sound Partners have a proven track record of helping marketers develop strategies for TikTok, and offer scalable options for brands of all sizes. We're excited to see more brands tap into sound on TikTok and make meaningful connections with the community through creative, sound-on strategies".
Massive Attack's Robert Del Naja contributes short film to No More Wars campaign
The first in a series of collaborations with photographer and Legacy Of War founder Giles Duley, Del Naja's film - for which he has also composed new music - focusses on the stories of civilian casualties in Afghanistan and the work of the Italian NGO Emergency at their Surgical Centre For Victims Of War in Kabul.
"Now is the moment to reflect on 20 years of failed western intervention and say - no more war", says Duley. "Rather, let's look to a more nurturing foreign policy that increases foreign aid. Every dollar that feeds the industrial military complex starves a generation of education, healthcare and safety".
Scottish Album Of The Year Award shortlist announced
Ten albums are now in the running for the award, with the artists behind the nine records that don't get the top price also getting £1000. One of the shortlisted albums is chosen by the public, with that spot this year going to Stanley Odd's 'Stay Odd'.
The Scottish Music Industry Association's Robert Kilpatrick says of this year's shortlist: "The SAY Award shortlist comprises ten of the best Scottish records of the last year, all released throughout the pandemic. With some of the biggest names in Scottish music featured alongside some of our nation's most exciting rising talents, 2021's shortlist showcases the exciting, diverse and resilient nature of our music community despite eighteen months of significant challenges".
"It firmly recognises music's cultural impact and life-changing value, and brings to the forefront a recorded output that all of us in Scotland can - and should - feel proud of", he adds.
The full shortlist is:
AiiTee - Love Don't Fall
Arab Strap - As Days Get Dark
Biffy Clyro - A Celebration Of Endings
Joesef - Does It Make You Feel Good?
Lizzie Reid - Cubicle
Mogwai - As The Love Continues
Rachel Newton - To The Awe
Stanley Odd - Stay Odd
The Ninth Wave - Happy Days!
The Snuts - WL
This year's ceremony will also see the introduction of a new Modern Scottish Classic Award, which celebrates "an outstanding album from Scotland's past" and is voted for by the 20 acts that made up the longlist for this year's main award. They chose Frightened Rabbit's 'The Midnight Organ Fight'.
"'The Midnight Organ Fight' by Frightened Rabbit is a record that many of us hold close to our hearts, and for it to claim the inaugural [Classic Album] prize is a special moment for both The SAY Award and Scotland's music community as a whole", says Kilpatrick. "It's a record we're proud to be honouring this year, and one we know will continue to be both celebrated and cherished for many years to come".
The SAY Awards ceremony will this year take place at Usher Hall in Edinburgh on 23 Oct.
Five Seconds Of Summer have signed a new record deal with BMG. "We are both proud and excited to be sharing this next chapter with the team at BMG", say the band. "Their ambition and drive to partner with us was clear from the very beginning and they very much supported our vision for the future. They encourage our independence as recording artists and we love how collaborative this relationship will be, which feels important for us in our tenth year as a band".
Kobalt has promoted Jeannette Perez from Chief Experience Officer to the role of President and Chief Operating Officer. She will work in partnership with CEO Laurent Hubert in running the company day-to-day. Hubert is "THRILLED" about the development. Adds Kobalt founder and Chair Willard Ahdritz: "The music industry needs more leaders like Jeannette, and I am excited to have her work alongside Laurent and take on the post of President and COO, a role that will allow her to play an even more important part in our success".
Universal Music-owned label services business Ingrooves has appointed Amsterdam-based Sarah Hildering Van Lith to the newly created position of Director Of Dance & Electronic. She will also increase the firm's presence in the Benelux region. "Sarah brings with her deep relationships within dance and electronic music and will play an important role in advancing Ingrooves' presence in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg", says MD of Ingrooves UK Nick Roden.
Warner Music Finland has appointed Ramona Forsström to the role of General Manager. "I'm honoured to take on this role in a company I love", she says. "I'm so proud of the work we've done for our artists over the years, and I can't wait to continue to champion our artists and employees in this new role".
Jesy Nelson has finally released her first post-Little Mix single 'Boyz', now that Nick Minaj has got around to recording her part. Minaj also appears in the video, which I'd say you can watch here.
Justin Bieber teams up with Diane Keaton in the video for 'Ghost', from his latest album 'Justice'. The actual Diane Keaton. "Am I dreaming?" she asked on Instagram. "What an honour it was to work with Justin Bieber and his incredible team".
Nas has released new single 'Big Nas'. The track was made during his new MasterClass series on "the essence of hip hop storytelling".
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are back together again on new single 'High And Lonesome'. The song is taken from new album 'Raise The Roof' - the follow-up to 2007's 'Raising Sand' - which will be out next month.
Bugzy Malone has released new single 'War Mode'.
Soft Cell have released new single 'Bruises On My Illusions'. The track is taken from the duo's first album for 20 years, 'Happiness Not Included', which is out on 25 Feb 2022.
Bonobo will release new album 'Fragments' on 14 Jan. From it, this is 'Rosewood'.
Vaccines keyboard player T Truman is back with new single 'Vanity Jones'.
Following five hour single 'The Things They Did For Me Out OF Love', Yeule has released a more manageable three minute track, 'Don't Be So Hard On Your Own Beauty', and announced the release of new album 'Glitch Princess' on 3 Feb.
GIGS & TOURS
Those Red Hot Chili Peppers will play Manchester's Old Trafford, London Stadium, Marlay Park in Dublin and Glasgow's Bellahouston Park in June and July next year. Tickets go on sale next Friday.
Liam Gallagher has announced a second Knebworth Park show on 3 Jun 2022. Tickets are on sale now.
Meet Me @ The Altar have announced that they will be touring the UK in May and June next year. They've also released the video for 'Now Or Never' from their 'Model Citizen' EP.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Kanye West accepting admissions for his new school
The school is accepting admissions through its website now, although it doesn't provide much information on why you'd want to go there. In fact, it doesn't say anything about what it will teach, who will teach it, what age range it accepts, or even where it is. But surely the school being set up by Kanye West is enough to convince you that your child's education is in safe hands.
Last month, it was reported that West was looking at a plot of land near Simi Valley in California, just outside Los Angeles, as a site for the school. So that's probably where it is. The Simi Valley Acorn reported that West's Academy would take over the site of the former Simi Valley Stoneridge Preparatory School, which comprises "classrooms, labs, offices, kitchen, restrooms, storage, a basketball court and an open field".
That basketball court is seemingly key, as several big future hopes for the sport - Zion Cruz, Jahki Howard, Robert Dillingham and Jalen Hooks - have already reportedly committed to transfer to the Donda Academy.
Hooks told the Indianapolis Star: "It's just one of those things you can't pass up. It was more of a family decision too. All of us just felt like it was a chance to reach my full potential and grow and get ready for the college level".
So, presumably they've all been told a bit more about what a Donda education will entail. Although that may just have been "we're going to throw a shitload of money at our basketball training".
If you want to know more, well, don't bother going to look at the Donda Academy website.