|WEDNESDAY 27 OCTOBER 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Royalties collected by the song right collecting societies across the world were down 10.7% last year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which equates to a drop in revenues of 775 million euros. This is according to new stats from CISAC, the global grouping of collecting societies... [READ MORE]|
COVID caused 775 million euro drop in song royalty collections in 2020, CISAC confirms
The pandemic and resulting lockdowns had a much bigger impact on the songs side of the music rights business than on the recorded music industry, which saw its revenues grow 7.4% in 2020.
That's partly because songwriters and music publishers earn royalties from live music, a revenue stream that pretty much stopped entirely as lockdown measures shut down tours, venues and festivals. Plus other COVID-hit music right revenue streams - like the royalties that come in from broadcasters, sync and the public performance of recorded music - are all a much bigger deal on the songs side of the business than they are for the record industry.
Prior to the pandemic, royalties from live music and the public performance of recorded music, along with broadcasting, accounted for two thirds of society collections worldwide, and all three were negatively impacted by the pandemic.
Needless to say, live music royalties were hit the hardest, followed by public performance. Combined, those revenues were down 45.2%. Live music accounted for about 60% of that decline. Broadcast revenues, meanwhile, slipped a more modest 4.4%.
Those declines were offset slightly by ongoing growth in digital music. Digital collections were up 16.2% globally, rising to nearly 2.4 billion euros. And, of course, not all digital income is reported in the CISAC stats, because it documents society collections, and some streaming money goes directly to the music publishers via their direct licensing deals, especially with Anglo-American repertoire.
That continued growth in digital helped to ensure that the total slump in song royalty collections caused by COVID was not quite as severe as initially feared a year ago, when revenue declines of up to a third were being anticipated.
Although, it wasn't just digital growth that helped. For example, broadcast royalties - the biggest revenue stream for the CISAC membership at large - although down, did not take as big a hit as many thought they might. That was in no small part because the advertising industry, despite having a wobble during the first COVID lockdown, pretty much got back to normal later in 2020.
Nevertheless, the 10.7% decline overall is obviously a substantial drop. And the negative impact is more severe in those markets - especially in Europe - where live and public performance income is generally a bigger deal. PRS in the UK announced earlier this year that its 2020 collections were down 19.7%. Meanwhile, in France collections fell by 12.8%, in Spain by 22.2%, in Belgium by 27.8%, and in Italy collections slumped by a massive 35.1%.
And with COVID still impacting on live music in many markets - plus the fact song royalties can take a while to work through the system, meaning writers and publishers will see the impact for a time even once the pandemic is over - there are definitely still challenges ahead in the songs sector.
This all makes capitalising on every digital opportunity - and making sure every streaming royalty is accurately and efficiently collected - all the more important. And - many songwriters would likely argue - it also demonstrates why there needs to be a review of how streaming royalties are split between the song rights and the recording rights, to the former's advantage.
Commenting on his organisation's latest stats pack, CISAC Director General Gadi Oron says: "After many years of steady growth, COVID has sent collections sliding downwards. Both mature and developing markets that are dependent on traditional income streams such as concerts, festivals, and exhibitions, suffered significant declines in 2020 that continue well into 2021".
"Increased digital collections have mitigated the fall in other income sources in many countries", he adds, "and this is a tribute to the efforts of CISAC societies to change strategy, shift resources and step up digital licensing activity. Without a doubt, the pandemic has been a catalyst for change, accelerating a transition to digital that will not be reversed".
Meanwhile, the Chair of the organisation's board, Marcelo Castello Branco, adds: "The figures show that we have been hit by a seismic drop in revenues due to the crisis. But beyond early apocalyptical forecasts, the decline has been mitigated by our critical commitment to exploring new areas of revenue, in particular in the digital sector".
"As anticipated", he goes on, "unfortunately, we suffered a drop in revenue from live and public performance, and recovery in these fields will take longer than anticipated. There is still some uncertainty about when we will be able to return to normal, so we have to be cautious about forecasts".
Dr Luke claims Kesha's rape allegations cost him $46 million
The defamation claim is all that remains of the long running legal battle between former collaborators Luke - real name Lukas Gottwald - and Kesha. He claims that she made up the rape allegations in order to force his hand in contract negotiations.
In a defamation case you need to prove that the other party lied and that the lie caused you damage. Hence the Gottwald team's hiring of accountant and business manager Arthur Erk from Citrin Cooperman & Company to assess what opportunities and potential revenues Gottwald lost because of the negative impact the rape allegations had on his professional reputation.
The starting point for Erk's calculations is the dramatic drop off in production projects Luke and his companies secured in the years after Kesha first made allegations of rape in late 2014. The big drop off occurred in 2016 and, Erk claims, the following years were also unproductive compared to the decade prior to the rape allegations.
"Commencing in 2015", Erk's document states, "there was a sudden, sharp drop-off in the number of production projects by Gottwald. In 2013, 28 commercially released tracks were produced by Gottwald. In 2014, 32 commercially released tracks were produced by Gottwald. In 2015, 31 commercially released tracks were produced by Gottwald. In 2016, two commercially released tracks were produced by Gottwald, 29 less than 2015. Gottwald’s production project activity remained at historic lows in 2017 and 2018".
The legal filing then talks through all the various ways Gottwald and his companies make money from the records he produces, including his share of recording income as producer, and of publishing income as a co-writer on many of the songs he works on. Just the latter generated nearly £78 million in the decade prior to the rape allegation, Erk claims.
"Gottwald has produced numerous songs through the years for many prominent artists such as Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Miley Cyrus", his legal filing notes. "From 2006 through 2015, Gottwald has generated over $77,790,000 in publishing income, reaching a high of over $8,667,000 in 2011".
Blaming that drop off in projects on Kesha's allegations, Erk then estimates what Gottwald would have made from the projects he may have otherwise produced in 2016 and beyond. In total he estimates the producer lost $46,253,672 in potential income.
Tomorrow both sides in the defamation case will present arguments before the judge as to why evidence and testimonies gathered by the other side should not presented in court. The Kesha team has already criticised Erk's work, arguing that it doesn't acknowledge other factors that could have resulted in the decline in the producer's output.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, other evidence that will be discussed tomorrow includes testimony from a psychiatrist who will say that Kesha's allegations are more consistent with a false report of rape than a true one, which - needless to say - the Kesha side would like the judge to deem inadmissible in court. Gottwald's reps, meanwhile, want to strike out any testimony relating to his wealth and unrelated copyright disputes, and any general talk about the #MeToo movement.
Dave Grohl comments on Nirvana baby lawsuit: "He's got a Nevermind tattoo. I don't"
Spencer Eldon, who as a baby appeared on the album's cover, sued the band, their label, and other people involved in creating the artwork in August, coinciding with the record's 30th anniversary.
Claiming that Eldon's guardians did not know how the photo would be used when it was originally taken, the lawsuit argues that the defendants "knowingly produced, possessed, and advertised commercial child pornography depicting Spencer, and they knowingly received value in exchange for doing so".
Asked about the lawsuit in a new interview with Vulture, Grohl says that he hasn't "spent too much time thinking about it", although he adds: "I feel the same way most people do in that I have to disagree. That's all I'll say".
Interviewer Craig Jenkins then raises the point that Eldon has re-created the 'Nevermind' cover image several times as an adult, albeit wearing shorts, and Grohl says: "Listen, he's got a 'Nevermind' tattoo. I don't".
This is not actually the first time Grohl has commented on the lawsuit. After Eldon's lawyer called on the band to censor the artwork on all future re-releases of 'Nevermind', Grohl told The Sunday Times: "I have many ideas of how we should alter that cover, but we'll see what happens. We'll let you know. I'm sure we'll come up with something good".
Eldon is seeking at least $2.5 million in damages and a trial by jury. It is yet to be determined if and how the case will proceed.
Primary Wave acquires Luther Vandross rights
The music company already worked with the estate, and following this deal now owns a portion of Vandross's publishing catalogue, recording revenues, and name and likeness rights. It has reportedly paid the estate $40 million, although it is not known how large a stake it has taken.
"We are delighted to join forces with Larry and Primary Wave", says Carmen J Romano of FBBM Entertainment Business Management, speaking for the estate. "The LV estate's goal is to see Luther's legacy continue to flourish and [we] believe the partnership with Primary Wave is a clear step in that direction".
The there mentioned Larry Mestel, CEO of Primary Wave Music, adds: "Luther Vandross was a soulful American icon who was the voice of a generation. We look forward to working with Carmen and the estate to help expand Luther's influence".
Vandross became a global star in the 1980s and 1990s of course, selling more than 40 million records worldwide. He got his break working with David Bowie on his 'Young Americans' album, providing backing vocals and co-writing the song 'Fascination'.
As well as his success as performer in his own right, he also produced numerous other artists, including Mariah Carey, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross and Dionne Warwick. He died in 2005, following a heart attack.
The Posies spilt following sexual assault allegations against frontman
The allegations against Stringfellow - who has also played with REM and Big Star - are detailed in a new article published by Seattle radio station KUOW, in which three women accuse him of physical and emotional abuse. In its research, the station says it spoke to 20 people, including Stringfellow himself, as well as reviewing medical records, communications with doctors, and emails and texts from the time the alleged incidents took place.
One of the women, Kristine Chambers, who had previously been in a relationship with Stringfellow, said that he pushed her into a toilet at a party in 2015 and had sex with her, even after she told him that she was unable to after recent surgery. Responding, Stringfellow says that this encounter was consensual.
Elsewhere in the article, Stringfellow denies all of the accusations made against him, saying that he "would never want to harm anyone with whom I have a relationship", and adding: "Consent has been the foundation of every sexual relationship I've had, and violence has never been a part of any of those relationships. It simply is not who I am as a person who respects women".
However, the band's co-founder, Jon Auer, says that - after speaking to Chambers himself - he "left The Posies very quickly", adding: "I confronted Ken about it on a phone call on 4 Aug 2021, and cancelled our upcoming shows, and flat-out told him that I wouldn't be working with him anymore".
Meanwhile, drummer Frankie Siragusa said that he had also left the group and no longer wished to have any association with Stringfellow. A longtime fan of The Posies prior to joining the band, he tells KUOW: "I had a ton of tour posters hung up and framed on my walls, and lots of Posies stuff from tours on display in my house. I took them all down".
A recently completed new album will also be shelved, according to Auer.
All Time Low call sexual misconduct allegations "absolutely and unequivocally false"
Accusations about the band's conduct began earlier this month with a video on TikTok, in which a woman said that she had been invited onto the tour bus of the pop-punk band when she was just thirteen. She said that band members had asked her to take her bra off and offered her beer.
Although she did not name the band, people quickly worked out that she was referring to All Time Low. Subsequently other allegations were made, including by one woman who said that she entered a sexual relationship with guitarist Jack Barakat when she was just fifteen years old.
A statement from all four members of the band reads: "The allegations being brought against us are absolutely and unequivocally false. When a TikTok video gained traction a few weeks ago alluding to inappropriate behaviour within our camp, we chose not to respond because of the glaring inconsistencies in the story, and the apparent reluctance to mention us by name".
"We felt that a response would have elevated and escalated an outright lie, and in doing so, robbed actual victims of abuse of the very real and very important collective voice", they go on. "We believe victims. We stand with victims. We have only ever wanted to cultivate and nurture a culture around our shows and band that is welcoming, healthy and safe".
They add that "with outright certainty, what is being said about us is completely and utterly false" and that they are "investigating further the source of these allegations and will be seeking legal recourse".
All Time Low are currently on a tour of the US and Canada, following UK dates last month.
Sony Music Publishing and KP Entertainment in Nashville have partnered to sign country songwriter and producer Lee Starr to a worldwide publishing deal. "When you find good people, you stick with them", says Starr. "I think the sky is the limit for us".
Sony Music Publishing has announced a partnership with Indian music and film production studio White Hill Studios. Sony will provide services to White Hill Music, including administration, sync, and catalogue promotion. "Punjabi music is thriving and the demand for it has been growing across India and even beyond borders", says SMP Director Dinraj Shetty. "We are very excited about this partnership with White Hill Music and to offer an effective and robust platform for their musical works at a global scale".
Universal Music Publishing and Tommy Brown's Champagne Therapy have announced the joint signing of Melanie Fontana. "Tommy Brown and I met over a decade ago during a vulnerable, equally demanding point in my music career", says Fontana. "Looking back at our early shared experiences in the industry, it's humbling to know that chance and circumstance would bring us together as friends first, then our musical chemistry would draw us both to working together in perfect synergy".
Orange Goblin have signed a new deal with Peaceville Records ahead of a new album in 2022. "When we first started the band back in 1995, Peaceville was a label we admired so much due to the number of amazing bands they were releasing and building careers for at the time", says the band's vocalist Ben Ward. "We spoke to a few labels when our last deal ended and the enthusiasm, vision and passion for the music that Peaceville showed made this a really easy decision for all of us". They will also be touring the UK in December.
Warner Chappell France has appointed Nathalie Monnet as Legal Director and Lucie Sort as Finance & Administration Director. "I'm so glad that Nathalie and Lucie have chosen to join the management team at Warner Chappell Music France", says MD Matthieu Tessier. "Together, they bring a wealth of experience and enthusiasm to the company and they take up two roles that are vital to our ability to super serve our songwriters".
Riton and Raye have teamed up for new track 'I Don't Want You'.
With their new album 'I Don't Live Here Anymore' out this Friday, The War On Drugs have released new single 'Change'.
South Korean hip-hop trio Epik High have released new single 'Face ID'. The track is taken from their upcoming tenth album, 'Epik High Is Here 下, Part Two'.
Ibibio Sound Machine are back with their first new music since 2019, new single 'Electricity', which is produced by Hot Chip. "This one started out as an idea to mix Afrobeat with Giorgio Moroder-style synth vibes", says vocalist Eno Williams. "The end section with Alfred's korego solo was already there when we got into the studio, but then we added the big kick drum that happens underneath and Owen from Hot Chip's crazy drum machine percussion at the end, which gave it a futuristic Afro feel when mixed with the more talking drum parts".
Sasami has announced that she will release new album, 'Squeeze', on 25 Feb. Right now though, she's released a single. No wait, two singles! 'The Greatest' and 'Skin A Rat'. She'll be playing a few gigs in the UK in April too.
Ala.ni has released new single 'Le Diplomate', featuring Iggy Pop.
Shygirl has released new single 'Cleo'.
Former Sepultura drummer Iggor Cavalera has launched new project Corroded Spiral with Integrity's Dwid Hellion and producer Cardopusher. From their debut EP 'Ancient Nocturnal Summoning', out on 3 Dec, this is 'Forgotten Ether'.
Band-Maid are back with new single 'Sense'.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Kanye West's Yeezy company sued over slow delivery times
Because, see, Californian law is quite specific when it comes to how quickly online sellers of goods - over-priced or otherwise - must mail out any products they have sold.
In fact, says the lawsuit against Yeezy Apparel, Californian state law "requires that orders for goods or services placed over the internet must be shipped within 30 days, failing which the business in question must either provide a refund, send equivalent or superior replacement goods, or provide the buyer with a written notice regarding the delay".
However, "defendants repeatedly violated [these rules] by failing to ship items within 30 days and failing to provide adequate delay notices to California consumers, or provide an offer of a refund".
Not only that, "defendants also made untrue or misleading statements regarding [their] ability to ship products within a certain timeframe, particularly where customers paid an additional charge for expedited shipping, in violation of Business And Professions Code Section 17500".
Of course, West's fans have, over the years, learned to be patient. Very, very patient. Whether that's patiently waiting to listen to a new record with an ever changing release date. Or patiently waiting for the long waffly mid-show monologue to end, before the rapper gets back to performing the songs you came to see him perform. Or patiently ploughing through his latest album in order to find the ten tracks that actually deserved to be there.
But, when it comes to getting the over-priced clothing and shoes you just ordered from West's website, the law says that you only have to be so patient until your legal rights have been violated.
The district attorneys who have gone legal are seeking a court order telling Team Yeezy to get better at getting to the post office on time, while also proposing a $2500 civil penalty for each violation of Californian business rules, restitution for affected customers, and that the rapper should cover the state's legal costs.
Elsewhere in Kanye news, his Donda Stem Player - a physical device that allows you to remix the tracks on his latest album - has been shipped out to the fans who actually forked out the $200 asking price. Whether the shipping of said gadget complied with Californian law, we don't know.
However, one thing we do know is that there's some extra content on there. Yes, if sorting out your own mixes of the 24 tracks on the 'Donda' album doesn't seem like enough work - the player comes with three extra tracks on it.
Owners of the device also get to listen to 'Up From The Ashes', a version of 'Life Of The Party' featuring André 3000, and a version of 'Remote Control' featuring Kid Cudi. It's not clear if you can simply delete most of the songs in order to get a half decent album.