|MONDAY 11 OCTOBER 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Around 86,000 jobs were lost in the UK's night-time cultural economy as a result of the COVID pandemic, according to new research published today by the Night Time Industries Association. The trade group also makes a number of demands of the UK government to protect a sector which, it says, accounted for 1.6% of the country's GDP prior to the COVID shutdown... [READ MORE]|
UK night-time economy lost 86,000 jobs during COVID shutdown, says new NTIA report
The new report from the NTIA seeks to quantify the economic impact of the wider night-time economy - and specifically the night-time cultural economy, so night-time businesses driven by cultural and leisure activities - prior to COVID-19 and the lockdown measures that forced many of those companies to shutdown completely and/or operate at limited capacity over a sixteen month period. It then also looks at the impact those lockdown measures have had and the challenges ahead as the night-time sector slowly swings back into action.
According to the group's figures, the vale of the UK's night-time cultural economy in 2019 was £36.4 billion - or 1.6% of GDP - and the sector also generated 425,000 jobs. Since the sector's 2019 high, some 86,000 jobs have been lost, it then states.
"[These] revelations have implications for the wider economy’s recovery from the pandemic, with clear evidence of significant economic 'scarring'", says the NTIA. "While the government is portraying shortages in many sectors as being 'transitional' on the path to a high wage economy, there are fears that many of the jobs lost to the pandemic in the night time economy sector will lost for good, with businesses closing and persistently lower demand for services".
The trade group also says that its research further backs its argument that the COVID Passport schemes put in place by the Scottish and Welsh governments - whereby clubs and some other venues are obliged to check a customer's COVID vaccination status at the door - are unjustifiable. Although a similar scheme in England was abandoned, ministers have said it could still be introduced over the winter if future surges in the coronavirus lead to a spike in hospitalisations.
Commenting on the new report, NTIA CEO Michael Kill says: "We are pleased to be able to present today this important and timely piece of work quantifying, for the first time, the size of the night-time economy in the UK. Important, because in my 25 year career working in UK nightlife, it has always struck me as so odd that we did not have a proper accounting of the value of this important sector. Today's report puts that right, and is long overdue".
Linking the report to COVID Passports, he adds: "It's timely because at this moment, governments in Scotland and Wales are pressing ahead with chaotic vaccine passport plans, and the UK government refuses to rule out their use in England. It is the worst possible time to introduce vaccine passports, which will further damage a sector essential to the economic recovery".
Meanwhile, Kill says, the report also justifies the UK government providing new COVID-related support to night-time business. "It is crucial the Chancellor use the upcoming budget to support this beleaguered sector", he argues. "We are calling for him to extend the 12.5% rate of VAT on hospitality until 2024, include door sales in that reduced rate of VAT, because the present system punishes nightclubs that rely on door sales rather than selling tickets, and for him to ensure there are no increases in alcohol duties – our sector really cannot afford any additional burdens".
US appeals court backs The Weeknd in song-theft dispute with British songwriters
The British songwriters theorised that The Weeknd and his creative collaborators had got access to their earlier song via Universal Music Publishing. That was on the basis that they had been signed to the publishing wing of London management firm Big Life, which was bought by Universal in 2008. Meanwhile, a co-writer on 'A Lonely Night', Jason Quenneville, had links to Universal Music Publishing via a Canadian music firm he works with.
But Tesfaye denied having ever heard 'I Need To Love' before writing his song. Meanwhile, his lawyers argued, Quenneville's co-write credit on 'A Lonely Night' actually stemmed from a verse he'd originally written for an earlier unfinished song that was then inserted in the 2016 track. And that earlier unfinished song had been written before Quenneville had any connections with Universal.
Tesfaye's team also argued that 'I Need To Love' and 'A Lonely Night' were not as similar as Clover, McCulloch and Smith claimed, citing the precedent on similarity in song-theft cases that had been set in the headline-grabbing 'Stairway To Heaven' copyright litigation.
Those arguments questioning both Tesfaye's access to the earlier song, and the similarities between 'I Need To Love' and 'A Lonely Night', proved successful, with the judge hearing the dispute dismissing the case in July 2020.
Clover and McCulloch appealed that ruling, claiming that their arguments regarding both access and similarity were sufficiently strong for the case to go before a jury. Therefore the judge in the lower court had been wrong to grant Tesfaye's motion to dismiss.
However, appeal judges in the Ninth Circuit court do not concur. According to Law360, they ruled on Friday that the judge in the lower court was right to conclude that the theory for how Tesfaye had access to 'I Need To Love' simply wasn't strong enough. And therefore, that judge was right to dismiss the British songwriters' lawsuit.
Legal reps for Clover and McCulloch told Law360 on Friday that they are now reviewing the Ninth Circuit's judgement.
Former KC & The Sunshine Band member Richard Finch sues Sony Music Publishing in termination right dispute
That termination right allows music-makers who assign their copyrights to a business partner to terminate that assignment and reclaim their rights - albeit only in the US - after a set period of time. Under current US copyright law the termination right kicks in after 35 years.
Within the record industry there remains some dispute as to whether the termination right applies to record contracts, with many labels arguing that they are the default owners of any recordings made by artists they sign, so no assignment of copyright actually takes place, meaning there is no assignment to terminate. Though plenty of artists dispute this viewpoint and there are test cases against all the majors currently working their way through the courts.
However, on the songs side the termination right has proven less controversial, and songwriters have been routinely terminating old publishing contracts and reclaiming their rights for sometime now. Although even on the songs side, there are some technicalities that can get in the way.
Finch is trying to terminate a 1983 deal via which he assigned his share in the KC & The Sunshine Band songs he had co-written to the band's lead singer - and the other co-writer of those works - Harry Wayne Casey. The two men had previously set up a publishing company together to control their rights, which in turn had done deals with a company called Sherlyn Music Publishing.
But - having fallen out with his former bandmate and songwriting partner - the 1983 deal saw Finch walk away from that company too, as well as giving up both his share in the KC & The Sunshine Band copyrights and his writer's share in any royalties. Subsequent to that deal, Sherlyn Music Publishing was sold to Windswept Pacific Music Publishing, which was in turn bought by EMI Music Publishing, which was then itself later acquired by Sony Music Publishing.
Having unsuccessfully tried to have the 1983 agreement set aside in both 1985 and 2004 - arguing that the deal should not stand based on allegations of fraud and incapacity - Finch is now trying to employ the termination right to reclaim his share in the KC & The Sunshine Band songs in the US, having begun the administrative process to do just that in 2019. But, it seems, Sony/EMI argues that he doesn't actually have a termination right.
On what basis it is making that argument isn't clear, but it presumably relates to the slightly complicated series of deals that were done around the KC & The Sunshine Band songs in the 1970s and 1980s.
However, Finch's lawyers argue in a new lawsuit, "this 1983 assignment to Casey is exactly the sort of transaction that may be terminated by the service of a notice of termination under section 203 of the Copyright Act. Finch made an unwise transaction in 1983, and, when the time came for Finch to have the opportunity [to] terminate that transfer pursuant to federal law, he did exactly that".
Finch wants the court to confirm that he does, in fact, have a termination right over the 1983 assignment deal and - having completed the required administrative tasks - he now owns 50% of each of the nearly 100 works he co-wrote with Casey in the 1970s.
Kobalt selling songs catalogue to investors including KKR in billion dollar deal
Although the core Kobalt business administrates rather than owns song copyrights, its Kobalt Capital division raised a stack of cash and then bought itself some catalogues. Some of those rights were then sold to the Hipgnosis Songs Fund late last year as part of a strategic review by Kobalt management of its assets, a review which also led to the sale of the company's recordings businesses - AWAL and Kobalt Neighbouring Rights - to Sony Music.
After those deals had been announced, Kobalt said that it now planned to focus its energies on its rights administration business. However, through Kobalt Capital, it still controlled a big old catalogue of songs via what it calls the Kobalt Music Royalty Fund II. It's that catalogue that is seemingly about to be sold.
According to Billboard, the billion dollar song rights purchase will be undertaken by a consortium of investors including private equity firm KKR.
It's no stranger to the music rights business having been a key backer of the current iteration of BMG when it launched in 2008. And while BMG parent company Bertelsmann bought KKR out of that business in 2013, the music firm and the private equity outfit announced a new alliance earlier this year with the aim of buying up some music catalogues.
Billboard says that the deal to acquire Kobalt Music Royalty Fund II is in its final stages, and may - in fact - have already been completed.
KKR is by no means the only private equity outfit expanding its interests in music rights, as the value of music copyright spikes on the back of the streaming boom.
Blackstone - which already owns the recently rebranded MNRK Music Group and US rights agencies SESAC and HFA - is reportedly negotiating a deal with the aforementioned Hipgnosis Songs Fund, while Apollo Global Management is also involved in some music rights ventures, and Shamrock Holdings bought the rights in Taylor Swift's first six albums last year. Fun times.
Jesy Nelson responds to 'blackfishing' accusations
Accusations that Nelson has attempted to make herself look and sound black came up in an interview with The Guardian earlier this year and - with the release of 'Boyz' - she was again questioned on the subject in a new interview with Vulture.
In its article, Vulture says that - in the new song - Nelson "sing-talks, arguably in a 'blaccent'", while a separate review says that "the video sees Nelson moving into a bougie (white) neighbourhood and immediately turning her garden into what looks like the prison yard from [Lil Nas X's] 'Industry Baby'. The titular bad boyz get their street cred from aesthetics primarily - wearing grills, chains, and bandanas as they wait on the Romford, UK native with beads in her hair".
Responding to the accusations in the new interview, she says: "The whole time I was in Little Mix I never got any of that. And then I came out of [the band] and people all of a sudden were saying it. I wasn't on social media around that time, so I let my team [deal with it], because that was when I'd just left. But I mean, like, I love black culture. I love black music. That's all I know; it's what I grew up on. I'm very aware that I'm a white British woman; I've never said that I wasn't".
"I'm just 100% being myself", she goes on. "If you look at me on 'X Factor' with my big curly hair, I was wearing trainers and combats - that’s who I am as an artist and as Jesy. Now I'm out of Little Mix, I've gone back to being who I am. Like I said, I don't ever want to be an artist who's being told what to wear or what music to make. I want to be authentic and true to myself, and if people don't like that, don't be my fan. Don't be a part of my journey".
In follow-up statements to Vulture following the interview, specifically commenting on the deletion of comments from her Instagram account, Nelson says: "I know comments relating to this had previously been deleted from my IG account, I only found out afterwards that a member of my management team had deleted comments. I've spent years being bullied online, so I limit the amount I go on socials. My management team have access to my account and they were trying to protect me and my mental health".
Two further planned calls with Vulture to further discuss the blackfishing accusations were cancelled, with Nelson providing a statement instead, saying: "I take all those comments made seriously. I would never intentionally do anything to make myself look racially ambiguous, so that's why I was initially shocked that the term was directed at me".
Jameela Jami criticises those who question her production credits on new James Blake album
"A lot of mostly women [are] insisting I couldn't possibly have actually worked on my boyfriend's music, and that he must have just credited me to be nice", she tweeted. "I was a DJ for eight years, and studied music for six years before that. You are part of the problem of why women don't pursue producing".
Sharing a screengrab of that tweet on Instagram, she added that she had initially said that she did not want any credit on the new album, due to abuse she had received after her name appeared on four tracks on Blake's last record, 'Assume Form'.
"In the end I took the credit I deserved because of how important it is for women who work on music to visibly exist in the space of music production, and because I would want any of you who follow me to take ownership of what is rightfully your achievements", she wrote.
"I hope you're taking credit for your work wherever you are in the world right now", she continued. "I hope you know that if you're not being believed over your achievements, that it's not a reflection of you, it's a reflection of people who are so underachieving, cowardly and insecure that they can't fathom that you could be impressive. And it happens at every level in every industry. Even to me. Even when I don't credit myself, my boyfriend just quietly credited me".
Blake added in his own Instagram post: "Fuck yeah. Thank you for the time you put into this record, Jameela. It would't be half what it is without the insane skill set you brought to it. Love you and I hope all this serves as an example to women who are routinely discouraged by eye-rolling wankers that your work is necessary and important".
"The double standard is so fucking irritating", he went on. "Why does nobody ask me what the men ... on the record did specifically? Because they're looking for confirmation of their sexism, hoping that indeed Jameela was just a pretty fly on the wall getting the men's credit just for being a girlfriend. And they can all fuck off".
'Friends That Break Your Heart' is out now, and Blake will be touring the UK in April and May next year.
Warner Music in the US has hired Andre Torres as SVP Catalogue Development and Marketing. He joins from Spotify, where he was Head Of Catalogue, Artist & Label Partnerships for North America. "The Warner Music global catalogue team is the top in the business, and they keep finding even more innovative and exciting ways to market their artists and their music, tell their stories, and build their global fanbases", he says. "I can't overstate how excited I am to join the Warner Music family".
Kerrang has named Luke Morton as its new Editor, promoted up from Digital Editor. "As a life-long reader, becoming the editor of Kerrang is a real honour and a privilege", he says. "After eighteen months of hibernation, I can't wait for the world to reset itself and for Kerrang to play a vital role in championing the raft of new and exciting talent that we can see emerging right now. Things are changing in alternative music and culture, and Kerrang will be at the forefront".
Sony Music's RCA label in the US has promoted Jamie Abzug to SVP and Head Of Publicity. She replaces Mika El-Baz who will leave the company at the end of this month.
Adrian Ciepichał has been named Managing Director of Warner Music Poland. "It's a great privilege to lead the talented team at Warner Music Poland", he says. "There's still so much untapped potential in the Polish music market as we continue our digital transition, it's a truly exciting time to be in our business".
Saban Music Group has hired Corey Berkowitz as Head Of Pop & Urban A&R. "For me, it's important to be a part of every step of the process", he says. "I'm not just an A&R who's looking for talent; I'm part of the song's creation. I understand how to take a song from zero to a hundred. There's nothing better than helping artists bring their most authentic visions to life".
DIGITAL & DIRECT-TO-FAN
Humble Angel Records has launched a new iOS app that monitors songs selected by users and sends a notification when they are added to official Spotify playlists. Download the app here.
Måneskin have released new single 'Mammamia', their first new material since their album 'Teatro d'ira Vol 1' was released earlier this year. And also since they won Eurovision, which is maybe the more significant thing.
The biggest thing to happen to folk music for years, Nathan Evans, has returned with new single 'Ring Ding (A Scotsman's Story)'. "I'm so excited to finally share this brand new single with you all. Myself and the team have worked hard on it and I’m delighted to share the video with you too. It was really fun to make and if anything, I hope it helps anyone who is thinking of going on holiday with someone they just met in a bar... to think twice!"
Young T & Bugsey are back with new single 'Big Bidness'.
Crossfaith have released new single 'Feel Alive'. Says frontman Kenta Koie: "'Feel Alive' was the first song that we wrote since COVID-19 brought our world down into chaos. Everyone was forced to be alone and divided by the virus, thus we decided to make this song as a hope that cast the shadow".
BXKS has released new single 'Bones 2 Pick'. She's also announced that her new mixtape, 'Hack The Planet', will be out on 5 Nov.
Baby Queen has shared the video for 'Narcissist' from her album 'The Yearbook'.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Pink named UK's most-played female artist of the 21st century
We know this because of a new PPL airplay chart that has just been published, the first in a series being launched by the UK record industry's collecting society in the run up to this year's National Album Day on 16 Oct. The chart is compiled using music usage and airplay data from British radio stations and TV channels.
"It's such an honour to be one of the UK's most played female artists of the 21st century and to be in such great company", says Pink. "It's mind blowing to me and I'm so touched to know my music is continuing to be enjoyed by so many people!"
PPL CEO Peter Leathem adds: "National Album Day is a fantastic platform to showcase the importance of the album format and PPL is proud to be part of the celebrations this year with our chart of the century's most played female artists. This chart brings together an incredible array of talent who have recorded some of the UK's favourite music, including a number of the biggest and most influential albums of all time".
Yeah, albums. Even though you could argue that this chart is technically celebrating artists who have released some very successful singles, Pink's albums have done quite well too. In fact, seven of her eight albums have gone platinum at least once in the UK - her second album 'Misundaztood' having six platinum certifications from record industry trade group BPI. Three of them, meanwhile, went to number one in the UK albums chart, including the last two: 2017's 'Beautiful Trauma' and 2019's 'Hurts 2B Human'.
Pink has had so many hit songs too. I'd name them, but they're so fucking catchy that I've got three of them stuck in my head simultaneously after just thinking about them and I don't want to inflict that on you too. Also, this is about celebrating albums, remember, not singles. The songs those radio and TV stations were playing were all from albums, and don't you forget it!
Anyway, enough waffle, I bet you'd like to know who else is on this list, and whether any British female artists are getting any airplay on any British radio stations. Well, some are. Here is the top 20 most-played female artists in the UK during the 21st century (so far). All of whom have released albums, please note, lots of lovely albums.