|WEDNESDAY 16 FEBRUARY 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Snoop Dogg says that he wants to relaunch Death Row Records as "an NFT label", after acquiring the legendary hip hop brand from the MNRK Music Group last week... [READ MORE]|
Snoop Dogg plans to relaunch Death Row as "an NFT label"
The rapper dropped in on a fan Clubhouse room for a quick chat yesterday. Explaining his plans for the label, he said: "Death Row will be an NFT label. We will be putting out artists through the metaverse. Just like we broke the industry when we [were] the first independent [label] to be major, I want to be the first major [label] in the metaverse".
It was announced that Snoop Dogg had acquired the Death Row Records brand last week, reconnecting him with the company that released his first two albums in the 1990s. The label and its catalogue had passed through a number of owners over the years after often controversial founder Suge Knight lost control of it, ultimately ending up with the Blackstone investment fund via its ownership of the aforementioned MNRK Music Group. It was Blackstone that sold it to Snoop.
Of course, it's one thing to say you're launching an NFT label and then throw a load of buzzwords around. What does an "NFT label" actually mean in practice, though? Well, lucky for us all, Snoop has already proven that he can make money selling music NFTs, having turned over tens of millions via some non-fungible tokens linked to his new album 'BODR (Bacc On Death Row)', which was released last week.
Announced to coincide with the announcement of his Death Row acquisition, that NFT drop was done via a partnership with blockchain gaming company Gala Games and its new "decentralised record label" Gala Music. As well as putting out the album via the normal channels, it was also released as a collection of 25,000 NFT "stash boxes", each costing around $5000. Each stash box contains one of the album's seventeen tracks, and there are extra bonuses for anyone who manages to collect all seventeen.
As an extra gimmick, holders of one of those NFTs can make some money from the music. They don't get any actual rights in the music itself, but they will seemingly receive some of Gala's own cryptocurrency as the tracks are played on Gala's own streaming service. Assuming that they are.
There is now less than 24 hours to go on the initial offering of the 'BODR' NFTs, with more than 16,000 shifted so far. If all 25,000 are sold, that will generate around $125 million. Snoop and Gala will presumably then earn more from any subsequent trading of the NFTs - which fans are encouraged to do in order to get the complete seventeen track collection - and more cash still from the minting of Gala Music Tokens as the music is played on the Gala streaming service.
So, with the potential to get rich(er) quick and then continue earning, you can see why Snoop Dogg would be keen to get in on all this beyond his own album. And then he can use all that money to build some sort of underwater house once climate change makes the land uninhabitable.
Movie industry web-blocking order targets cyber-locker
Web-blocking, of course, is where copyright owners get injunctions from a court ordering internet service providers to block access to specific piracy websites. In those countries where such injunctions are available web-blocking has become a favoured anti-piracy tactic of the music and movie industries, and no more so than in the UK.
The latest sites targeted by a web-block injunction are Mixdrop.me and Mixdrop.co, which - despite having the same name - seem to be different services.
The former is an unlicensed movie streaming service, the latter a cyber locker that allows people to store and share digital files. Of course the latter could be used for legitimate file storage and sharing, though presumably the movie and TV companies that requested this web-block reckon it is mainly used for storing and sharing copyright infringing videos.
Although the music and movie industries started complaining about cyber lockers being used to distribute unlicensed content relatively early on in their big old battle against online piracy, to date web-blocks have tended to target file-sharing sites like The Pirate Bay or unlicensed streaming services like Mixdrop.me.
That said, the music industry included a cyber-locker in one of its web-blocking actions last year, in that case Nitroflare which, record label trade body BPI argued, was "deliberately designed to encourage and reward users to upload music and other valuable copyright material, and illegally share links to it with others who can then illegally download it".
Interestingly, the latest web-block order was requested by various movie studios as well as Netflix and Sky. Meanwhile the ISPs targeted by the web-blocking order are BT, EE, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and, oh look, Sky.
Though these days ISPs in most countries - especially the UK - generally accept web-blocking orders as a routine rights management chore, so even though Sky is on both sides of this legal action, the two sides of the business won't actually have had to shout at each other.
Billboard launches a load of new country-specific music charts
Although best known for its US music charts, Billboard launched a couple of global charts in 2020. It also already published charts for a number of other markets via its licensees and partners, including the UK's Official Charts Company. However, top 25s for a whole load more countries around the world will now be published each Tuesday morning.
The new country-specific charts will be available in the free-to-access charts section of the Billboard website under the banner of 'Hits Of The World'. New global data and tools will also be added to Music Connect, the paid-for music data service run by Billboard's sister company MRC Data, which also powers the Billboard charts.
Says Billboard President Julian Holguin: "We've seen great success in the expansion of our global chart offering with the Billboard Global 200 charts in 2020, and this underscores our commitment to representing what's happening in worldwide music consumption. MRC Data is a critical success partner for us as the leading independent supplier and these country-based rankings will provide the industry with a measurement of success on a global scale".
Meanwhile the boss of P-MRC Data - which operates MRC Data - Rob Jonas, adds: "As the preeminent source of entertainment data and insights, MRC Data is establishing a new standard in music industry transparency through the introduction of this global product, which displays song rankings across more than forty discrete country markets. Premium MRC Data customers can now analyse tens of thousands of songs across these markets, comparing their detailed statistics with other countries in the same region".
OVO Energy takes on Wembley Arena's naming rights
OVO takes over as sponsor of the arena from another energy company, SSE. You all knew it's been called The SSE Arena, Wembley for the last nine years, right? Though, in a way, it's taking over from itself, given that OVO acquired the consumer facing bit of SSE back in 2019.
The good news is that OVO likes to talk up its green energy credentials, and that's formally part of the new tie up with the Wembley Arena. As a result, OVO and venue operator ASM Global will work towards getting Wembley Arena sufficiently sustainable in eco-terms to secure Greener Arena Certification from live industry climate action organisation A Greener Festival.
"ASM Global is committed to providing sustainable solutions and initiatives across our portfolio of venues around the world", says ASM Global's EVP Europe, Chris Bray. "Our social responsibility platform, ASM Global Acts, pledges our longstanding commitment to protecting the environment as we work towards Greener Arena Certification in all ASM Global venues. We are pleased, therefore, to continue our relationship with OVO Energy, a brand which shares our vision for greener strategies in the live events industry".
"Alongside the OVO Energy team at Wembley, we are excited to see how we can continue to work together to develop and collaborate on our ongoing sustainability strategies", he adds. "Together, we aim to continue to ensure this iconic London concert and events venue remains a world class experience whilst developing it into one of the most sustainable arenas in the world".
OVO's Head Of Sponsorship & Partnerships, Colin Banks, comments: "At OVO, we're committed to establishing purposeful partnerships which reflect our commitment to make zero carbon living a reality - not just in the home, but in the things we love doing too, whether that be going to a gig or comedy show. That's why we share in the OVO Arena Wembley's ambition to help live entertainment in becoming more sustainable".
"It'll take time, but together, we want to identify meaningful ways through which to make lower-impact live events a headline act in their own right and working with A Greener Festival represents a very positive step on that journey", he goes on.
"But we know that's just the beginning, and we want to continue to support the venue in identifying practical ways in which we can help to further reduce its environmental impact, without detracting from OVO Arena Wembley's first-class visitor experience. We look forward to releasing more detail around some of the initiatives already being considered in the very near future".
Wembley Arena's first event with OVO sponsorship in place will be KSI's headline show on 25 Feb, tickets for which are still available.
Emeli Sandé announces new album and tour dates
"I'm so proud of this album and can't wait to release it", Sandé tells Variety. "I've felt free to express myself more naturally both lyrically and musically in this album and my wish is that it will be an uplifting experience for each listener and that they will get to know me on a much deeper level".
As well as announcing that the album will be released on 6 May, she's also unveiled a short run of full band tour dates in the UK the same month. Here are those:
16 May: Glasgow, SWG3 Galvanizers
BBC Radio 6 Music Festival to take place in Cardiff
"After two years, it feels very special to say that the 6 Music Festival is back with a bang in Cardiff", says Head Of BBC Radio 6 Music, Samantha Moy. "This is a city which has always had a thriving music scene and I can't wait to bring the 6 Music family, of both presenters and listeners, together for the magic of the 6 Music Festival".
Particularly pleased that the 6 Music Festival is coming to his home city is 6 Music presenter Huw Stephens, who adds: "It's great news that the 6 Music Festival is coming to Cardiff. We love our live music here; gigs and club nights are a massive part of what makes Cardiff special, and live music is in our blood. We also love BBC Radio 6 Music and to have this incredible festival happening here at this important time in live music venues' recovery is really exciting".
The annual festival has, of course, been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year live performances did go ahead, but no live audiences were allowed in. They still went out on the radio though, obviously.
The 2022 festival will take place on 1-3 Apr, with tickets going on sale tomorrow morning. Find out more here.
Olivia Rodrigo has reportedly signed a new management deal with Lighthouse Management + Media, having split from Camp Far West Management last month.
Utopia Music has hired Steve Markland as Vice President for the company's operations in Nashville. "I'm delighted to join Utopia on its mission towards 'fair pay for every play' and ultimately create new income streams for creators", he says.
Concord has announced ten promotions. Ten! No time to say any more, here they all are: Kay Anderson is now VP Marketing at its Craft Recordings label, Rob Dekker is VP Marketing at Kidz Bop, Jackie Turner is VP Kidz Bop Partnerships, Caroline Barnard is SVP Business & Legal Affairs, Robin Walton is VP Theatrical Business & Legal Affairs, Brian Buchanan is VP Income Tracking, Mark Copeland is VP Rights Optimisation, Brandon Schoot is VP Licensing, Yimage Yousuf is VP Repertoire Management, and Fred Gillham is MD Recorded Music for Europe and the UK.
EDUCATION & EVENTS
Applications for this year's Richard Antwi Scholarship have opened. The scheme supports two students from black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds each year through the Music Business Management MA course at the University Of Westminster. Each receives full course fees, a bursary of £10,500, mentorship and assistance with work placements. More info here.
Size? and Sound City have announced the return of their Artist Training & Development Programme. Twelve emerging artists will gain access to a year of mentoring, masterclasses and training. More info here.
Foo Fighters - working under the name Dream Widow - have released thrash metal song 'Dance Of The Insane'.
Benee has released the video for recent single 'Beach Boy'.
Foals have released the video for their new single '2am'.
Hatchie has released 'Giving The World Away', the title track of her upcoming new album.
Kurt Vile has released new single 'Like Exploding Stones'. His new album, 'Watch My Moves', is out on 15 Apr. He's also announced UK and Ireland tour dates. Tickets go on sale on Friday.
Ibibio Sound Machine have released new single 'Protection From Evil'. The band's new album, 'Electricity', is out on 25 Mar and they will be touring the UK from the end of that month and into April.
TV Priest are back with new single 'One Easy Thing'. "Writing 'One Easy Thing' was key to unlocking a more direct and personal approach to our songwriting", says vocalist Charlie Drinkwater. "It's about dealing with the small things of everyday life; the anxiety, pressures, and battles inside your own headspace - and not being afraid to show this in our songs".
Keeley Forsyth has released new single 'Wash' - a collaboration with percussionist Evelyn Glennie - ahead of the release of her new album, 'Limbs', this Friday. "Evelyn's work with the serpent cymbal, produced a unique, mournful, metallic sigh that colours the whole track", says Forsyth. "With the vocal, I wanted to open my throat and swallow that emotion. The lyrics came with this process, instinctive and impulsive".
Soccer96 will release new album 'Inner Worlds' on 22 Apr. Here's first single 'Inner Worlds, Out Worlds'.
GIGS & TOURS
Nine Inch Nails will play two Eden Sessions shows at Cornwall's Eden Project on 17-18 Jun. Tickets go on general sale on Friday.
Devin Townsend has announced two shows at London's Royal Albert Hall on 16-17 Apr under the banner 'The Greatest Sets Of My Life'. The setlists will be made up of fan favourites, his own favourites, and songs that he's rarely performed live. "After two and a half years of abject chaos, I welcome you back into the live music world of wonder", he says. "We've put these two shows together to play all the songs that people seem to like, as well as songs that I want to play as well. I know it's been crazy, let's get back into this".
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Pearl Jam guitarist defends Mötley Crüe following Eddie Vedder beef
It all began last month when Vedder said in an interview that he'd worked at a venue in the 1980s where hair metal bands like Mötley Crüe had played, and that he had always "despised" what he saw as a "vacuous" music scene.
Sixx then hit back, saying that he was taking Vedder's comments as a "kind of a compliment", because Pearl Jam are "one of the most boring bands in history". This prompted Pearl Jam to tweet a video of one of their audiences apparently having a whale of a time, with the caption "we love our bored fans".
But while Vedder was not, and is still not, a fan of Mötley Crüe in their heyday, it turns out that several of his bandmates were.
In a new interview with Revolver's Fan First podcast, Gossard says: "For sure, Jeff [Ament, bass] and Mike [McCready, guitar] and I loved hard rock, you know, like, [we] went through it all. You know, I bought the first Mötley Crüe ... records. I thought at the time it was punk-like, you know? It was like Motörhead, and there was things about it that I was discovering about British hard rock at that time that felt also, like, rebellious or against the norm or something that made me interested in it".
Don't worry though, this isn't an issue that Pearl Jam are going to split up over. Musing on how his band has stayed together for 30 odd years, he says: "We've learned to compromise with each other and accept each other through many multiple years of ups and downs".
"And now we can kind of go, 'Well we've got through all that', so it just gets easier because you've already gone through so much that the bumps don't seem quite as scary", he adds. "So yes, I think it's one of the biggest feats of the band is that we stayed a band ... It's huge".
Nikki Sixx has not commented.