|MONDAY 28 FEBRUARY 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Snoop Dogg has completed a deal to buy the recordings catalogue of Death Row Records. This comes shortly after the rapper acquired the label’s brand rights earlier this month... [READ MORE]|
Snoop Dogg takes full control of Death Row, following new catalogue deal
The deal sees Snoop Dogg take control of his first two albums, 1993's 'Doggystyle' and 1996's 'The Doggfather' - Death Row's biggest sellers. However, according to Billboard, there are some notable omissions from the label's wider catalogue in the new deal - including Tupac Shakur's 'All Eyez On Me' and 'The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory', control of which has returned to the Shakur estate.
Another potential hole in the catalogue is Dr Dre's 1992 debut solo album 'The Chronic'. Although currently part of the Death Row catalogue, control is due to return to Dr Dre next year. This does, however, give Snoop a window of opportunity to convince his longtime collaborator to allow him to keep it.
Whether or not Dre is willing to leave 'The Chronic' on Death Row will rely on the producer being convinced by Snoop's plans for the record company. Those plans are to turn it into "an NFT label" and become "the first major [label] in the metaverse", he recently told fans.
Snoop Dogg has already had some success with this, releasing his new solo album, 'Back On Death Row', with a large-scale NFT package that netted him up tens of millions of dollars in a matter of days.
The Death Row brand and catalogue were previously owned by Blackstone-backed MNRK Music Group, having been through a variety of owners over the years. Billboard reckons that Death Row brought in about $6 million in revenues for MNRK last year, and that the catalogue deal is worth about $50 million - although no financial terms have been disclosed.
In other Snoop news, the rapper may face legal action over a rant about a food delivery on Instagram. The rapper posted to his 70 million followers as he failed to receive an Uber Eats delivery. Now the driver says that he fears his safety was compromised by having his personal information shared online.
The incident took place in January, and saw Snoop post a twelve second video showing text messages received from his delivery driver, named Sayd. In those messages, Sayd says that he's arrived and asks where to leave the order. Eight minutes later he messages again, saying: "This is not a safe place". In the video, Snoop says out loud: "Punk motherfucker. Give me my food".
In a statement shortly afterwards, Uber Eats said: "We truly regret Snoop Dogg's frustrating experience. We have reached to apologise and refunded him for the order".
However, Sayd - who has not given his surname - now tells CBS Los Angeles that he feels let down by the company.
"When I read that [statement], I just felt like it's not fair because I am the one that deserves an apology from Uber Eats, not Snoop", he says.
He adds that he followed the company's rules for deliveries, and feels let down that it did not support him. He also says that following Snoop's video - which revealed his first name, face and car registration - he feared for his safety.
"I contacted the customer many times and I also followed the protocol by the book", he says. "I have to fight for my rights and family's rights. I just feel like I'm not treated well from this celebrity or Uber Eats".
Snoop Dogg is the face of rival food delivery company Just Eat in the UK and Australia (where it is known as Menulog).
But if the rapper is planning to have a celebratory meal at home to mark taking full ownership of Death Row, maybe it would be best if he cooks something himself.
Peru's government talks up web-blocking and IFPI alliance in bid to get off US piracy watch list
The USTR reviews intellectual property issues around the world each year so that it can put pressure on those countries not doing enough to protect the interests of America's music, movie and other IP-based industries. There are two key documents published each year as part of that work.
The Notorious Markets report - the latest edition of which was published earlier this month - identifies specific websites and real-work marketplaces that prolifically facilitate IP infringement. And then there's the Special 301 review which publishes a watch list of countries which - US copyright owners and officials reckon - have work to do to crackdown on piracy within their jurisdictions.
Peru regularly features in that watch list, though it is hoping that its ongoing efforts to crack down on IP infringement - including copyright infringement - might stop that from happening. To that end, the country's institute for the protection of intellectual property, known as INDECOPI, recently sent a document to the USTR - which has been published by Torrentfreak - outlining all its pro-IP activities.
And in that document, INDECOPI says that it recently signed "a memorandum of understanding with IFPI to implement joint cooperation mechanisms, particularly regarding training [and] exchange of information for the detection, in the digital environment, of websites, as well as mobile and desktop applications, through which are carried out - or contribute to - allegedly infringing acts".
Fans of music industry piracy griping will know that stream-ripping sites - which allow people to grab permanent downloads of temporary streams - have been a top gripe for record labels and music publishers for some time now. Meanwhile, when it comes to anti-piracy tactics, a preferred method is web-blocking, where internet service providers are ordered to block people from accessing infringing websites.
So, with that in mind, presumably INDECOPI's new mates at IFPI are pleased to know that the institute's copyright commission has recently instigated web-blocks against ten stream-ripping sites in the country.
And, the institute says in its submission to the USTR: "INDECOPI will continue monitoring and surveillance in the digital environment of suspected piracy sites for the year 2022 and will take the corresponding actions to block illegal sites".
Good times. Whether all this - and other activity around trademarks and such like - will help Peru get itself taken off the USTR's watch list remains to be seen.
Though, as is sometimes the case, in a bid to placate the Americans, Peru has embraced things like web-blocking, a useful anti-piracy mechanism that isn't generally available to copyright owners in the US itself, because of controversies ten years ago when a web-block law was first proposed there. So that's fun.
Russian conductor Valery Gergiev loses manager and bookings over refusal to denounce Ukraine invasion
Gergiev had been represented by Munich-based manager Marcus Felsner since December 2020. However, in a statement yesterday, Felsner said: "In the light of the criminal war waged by the Russian regime against the democratic and independent nation of Ukraine, and against the European open society as a whole, it has become impossible for us, and clearly unwelcome, to defend the interests of Maestro Gergiev".
Felsner called Gergiev "the greatest conductor alive and an extraordinary human being with a profound sense of decency" and said that dropping him as a client was "the saddest day of my professional life". Nonetheless, he said that he had no choice because Gergiev "will not, or cannot, publicly end his long-expressed support for a regime that has come to commit such crimes".
The move from Felsner came a day before a deadline set by Milan mayor Giuseppe Sala for Gergiev to denounce the invasion if he wants to perform at the city's La Scala venue later this week. Sala - who is also president of La Scala - gave the conductor until today to make a public statement.
Gergiev is leading a run of performances of Tchaikovsky's opera 'The Queen Of Spades' at the Milan venue which began last week. At the opening show on Wednesday he was reportedly booed by the audience.
While the conductor was given an opportunity to respond by La Scala, other classical music institutions have already dropped him. Following protests, New York's Carnegie Hall - which initially defended Gergiev - announced on Thursday that he had been removed from three performances with the Vienna Philharmonic which are also due to begin later this week. He will be replaced by Metropolitan Opera music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
On Friday, the venue also cancelled two further planned appearances by Gergiev in May. He has also been dropped from two further shows with the Vienna Philharmonic in Florida.
Meanwhile, back in Europe, The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, which has run an annual Gergiev festival since 1996, said it would cancel this year's edition if he does not speak out against Putin.
In a statement, the orchestra said: "In the event that Valery Gergiev does not openly distance himself from President Putin's actions in Ukraine, we will be forced to cancel all concerts conducted by Valery Gergiev including the Gergiev Festival that would take place in September. More information about the actual decision will follow as soon as possible".
Gergiev is music director of the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg and chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. He is also the former principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. He has been a vocal supporter and friend of Vladimir Putin since the 1990s, when the now Russian president began his political career.
He has publicly supported Putin many times, including backing the annexation of Crimea in 2014, and appearing in a television ad for Putin's presidential campaign in 2012.
Mushroom Group launches new management division
The Mushroom Group has long had some interests in artist management, with its founder - the late Michael Gudinski - managing artists like Skyhooks and Jimmy Barnes. And the company's current CEO, Gudinski's son Matt, previously set up the management unit Role Model Artists in his previous role as Mushroom's Executive Director. Other managers have also worked within the group, including those linked to Converge Management.
However, the company says, the formal launch of Mushroom Management comes off the back of an expansion of that side of its operations in recent years, and confirms that managing artists and other creators is now a particular focus for the business.
Says Matt Gudinski: "I am pleased that we can finally unveil the Mushroom Management collective. Nurturing and developing talent is the backbone of the entire Mushroom Group, so this is a very natural evolution for us and we are super excited about it. The amazing team of people who make up Mushroom Management will provide an enhanced support structure and network to ensure our partners and managers can deliver the best possible service for the artists we represent".
Alongside Gudinski himself, the new division will be led by Sarah Donelly who becomes the group's Management Director. She says: "I'm incredibly excited to see this new chapter begin for Mushroom Management and to have Converge be part of this incredible group of managers and artists! As we continue to develop and nurture a collaborative approach and culture, I have no doubt that the upside to our artist roster and our team will be immeasurable".
Artists and producers managed by the new division include Tkay Maidza, Bliss N Eso, Rolling Blackouts CF, The Living End, Fergus James, Skin On Skin, Something For Kate, Konstantin Kersting and Scott Horscroft.
Russia barred from entering 2022 Eurovision Song Contest over Ukraine invasion
In a statement on Friday, the EBU - which oversees the contest - said that its executive board had made the decision to exclude Russia "following a recommendation earlier today by the Eurovision Song Contest's governing body, the Reference Group, based on the rules of the event and the values of the EBU".
"The decision reflects concern that, in light of the unprecedented crisis in Ukraine, the inclusion of a Russian entry in this year's contest would bring the competition into disrepute", it went on. "Before making this decision the EBU took time to consult widely among its membership. The EBU is an apolitical member organisation of broadcasters committed to upholding the values of public service".
It was the apolitical nature of the organisation and Eurovision that initially led the EBU to conclude that Russia should be allowed to compete.
Responding to a question about Russia's inclusion by Swedish national public broadcaster SVT, the EBU said on Thursday: "The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political cultural event which unites nations and celebrates diversity through music. The EBU's public broadcaster members in both Russia and Ukraine have committed to participating in this year's event in Turin and we are currently planning to welcome artists from both countries to perform in May".
The subsequent u-turn came after criticism from broadcasters across Europe about the EBU's stance - including Ukraine's state broadcaster, UA:PBC.
Currently, Ukraine is still planning to send Kalush Orchestra to represent the country with the song 'Stefania'. The band replaced original choice Alina Pash, who was dropped after it emerged that she had travelled to Crimea in 2015, a year after Russia seized control of the area and strict rules were placed on how Ukrainians may enter the region.
Russia had not yet announced its 2022 entrant.
ThisWeek Culture teams up with Sound + Vision to present comedy conference
People from across the comedy community will join CMU and ThisWeek Culture founder Chris Cooke on stage to discuss how to build a career in comedy today; plus how comedians are using livestreaming and other digital platforms like YouTube, TikTok and Patreon to grow an audience and generate income.
There will also be a debate about the future of the Edinburgh Fringe, which has traditionally played a key role in most comedians' careers, especially in the early phase. After being cancelled in 2020 and streamlined in 2021 as a result of COVID-19, will the world's biggest cultural festival be different when it properly returns later this year, and - if so - how will that impact on the comedy world?
The comedy conference will sit alongside a series of panels aimed at the music industry, covering topics like sync licensing and composing music for film TV, games and ads, the festival sector post-pandemic, and diversity initiatives in the music industry. Plus CMU's Sam Taylor will lead a discussion on the pros and cons of self-releasing music versus working with a label.
On the festival side of Sound + Vision, over 70 acts - both new and established - from the worlds of music and comedy will perform across eight stages in venues around Cambridge, including Tim Burgess, Kristin Hersh, Penelope Isles, Eckoes, Shao Dow, Isy Suttie, Jos Norris, Mike Wozniak, Nick Helm, Rosie Jones, Tony Law, Michael Akadir and Alison Spittle.
And you can get tickets for Sound + Vision here.
Ged Doherty is stepping down as Chair of UK record industry trade body BPI after seven years in the role, in order to focus on his film company Raindog Films. "I have loved every minute of working with the BPI and its members and its amazing team led by Geoff Taylor", he says. "I can look back with pride at many achievements accomplished together, but after seven years in the role I feel the time is now right for me to move on".
LA-based label 10K Projects has promoted Molly McLachlan to EVP Global Marketing. "From the day Molly took on oversight of international at 10K, we saw an immediate positive effect on the success of our artists outside the United States", says co-President Zach Friedman. "She continues to evangelise for our artists overseas in powerful ways and we are pleased to be able to offer her this expanded role at the label".
Downtown Music has hired David K Dormon as General Counsel, seeing him return to the company after leaving to join legal firm Reed Smith last year. "I'm THRILLED to be returning to Downtown Music Holdings and I'm grateful for the faith that Andrew [Bergman, CEO] and Justin [Kalifowitz, Executive Chair] have put in me to take on this new challenge", he says. "It's an exciting new chapter for Downtown and I'm excited to rejoin my colleagues and begin contributing to the continued success of the company".
OneRepublic have released new single 'West Coast'.
Flo Milli has released new single 'Pretty Black Cute'.
GIGS & TOURS
Olly Murs has announced that he is cancelling his summer tour dates, after undergoing knee surgery, which requires six months of rehabilitation. "I am absolutely gutted to have to cancel my summer tour this year, but unfortunately I've had to have new major knee surgery", he says. "I'm devastated I won't be performing these shows, and can only apologise for any inconvenience caused. Rest assured I will be fighting fit for new music later this year!"
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
|Kanye West's Donda 2 tops the (piracy) charts
Kanye West's 'Donda 2' album has rocketed to the top of the charts since its release late last week. The piracy charts, that is.
The sequel to last year's 'Donda' is, of course, only officially available to those willing to fork out $200 for one of the rapper's Stem Player devices - an MP3 player that adds the ability to split tracks into four parts, so that users can remix the music themselves.
West said that fans spent more than $2 million buying Stem Players in the 24 hours after it was announced that getting one would be the only way to hear 'Donda 2'. Still, even when coupled with any previous sales that occurred after the device was launched last year, that still only puts the number of people able to legitimately listen to the album in the tens of thousands.
In his announcement, West said that the move not to release the album to any streaming services was a protest against the royalties that artists receive when their music is streamed.
"Today artists get just 12% of the money the industry makes", he wrote on Instagram. "It's time to free music from this oppressive system. It's time to take control and build our own".
Not all artists can sell their music via prohibitively expensive bespoke electronic devices though. Nor can every music fan justify forking out hundreds of dollars to listen to one record. And so, as I think everyone saw coming, the rollout of 'Donda 2' has sparked a new resurgence in music piracy.
The album was accessible for free through unlicensed sources within hours of being made available on the Stem Player website and, according to TorrentFreak, it is now by far the most illegally downloaded album in the world, ahead of Avril Lavigne's new record 'Love Sux'.
Of course, by accessing illegal MP3 downloads of the album, people are missing out on the interactive features offered by the Stem Player itself. Or perhaps not. Within 24 hours of 'Donda 2' being released, there were at least two online emulators of the player, which allow users to grab the individual stems for each track that are available on the official Stem Player website and then use the remixing tools.
Still, the question is, will any sales of the Stem Player nevertheless bring West more income than if he had released the record through the usual distributions channels? Arguably not, particularly given how big a draw he is on the streaming platforms. Although he'll be helped out financially by the boom in streaming of his other releases on Spotify, Apple Music and the like that has occurred since he announced 'Donda 2'.
Of course, it's also not clear if what everyone is listening to at the moment - sourced from official channels or otherwise - is the final version of 'Donda 2'. What was released last week was referred to as 'V22.2.22 Miami' - referencing the launch event held in Miami last Tuesday. Not all of the tracks previewed at that live event are included on the tracklist, and anyone who has listened to last week's version would be hard put to say that it felt like it was finished.
One explanation may be that West felt extra pressure to release something within days of the Miami event given that a load of fans had just forked out a lot of money to hear it. It may be that there will be another version - or versions - of the album on the way in the coming days.
It may also be that a later version of the record does also make it to streaming services. This would not be the first time that West has said an album would be exclusive to one platform, only to later change his mind. His 2016 album 'The Life Of Pablo' was originally only available on Tidal, but later made its way to the other services. That latter decision to distribute it to all the streaming services followed rampant piracy of the record.
The release of 'Donda 2' is further discussed on this week's edition of out Setlist podcast.