|FRIDAY 22 APRIL 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: When country pop duo Dan + Shay teamed up with Justin Bieber in 2019 to release their hit '10,000 Hours', they marked the occasion by ripping off the 1980s soul song 'The First Time Baby Is A Holiday'. Or so says the company that owns the copyright in the 1980s soul song 'The First Time Baby Is a Holiday'. In fact, it reckons, the musical "theft" committed by Dan, Shay and Bieber is "impudently bold"... [READ MORE]|
Justin Bieber accused of ripping off 80s song
So, yes, this is yet another song-theft lawsuit, this time filed with the courts in California. The company suing is called Melomega Music, a business originally set up in the 1970s by songwriter Frank Fioravanti, who co-wrote 'The First Time Baby Is a Holiday' with Palmer Rakes in 1980.
Despite the big 'Blurred Lines' ruling in 2015, in which it was concluded that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams had infringed the copyright in Marvin Gaye's 'Got To Give It Up' when writing their hit, in more recent song-theft cases of this kind the courts have generally been cautious about ruling that where two songs have similar elements, the newer one must have infringed rights in the older one. And that is especially so in the Californian courts that sit under the Ninth Circuit appeals court.
However, in its lawsuit Melomega is keen to stress the significant and extensive similarities between '10,000 Hours' and 'First Time Baby' which, it says, are incredibly unlikely to have occurred by coincidence. It also reckons that the similarities are significant enough that - unlike in some other recent song-theft cases - defendants can't argue that any segments shared by the two songs are too short and too common place to be protected by copyright in isolation.
"Defendants' theft is impudently bold", says the lawsuit. "One need only listen to 'First Time Baby' and the infringing '10,000 Hours' to discern the unmistakable similarities between the songs".
"However, subjective analysis aside", it adds, "when the songs are viewed through the objective, empirical lens of musical science - as was done in this case by one of the top musicology experts in the industry - defendants' infringement is unmistakable. The result: a single, universal and ineluctable conclusion that defendants stole plaintiff's song".
That expert, in case you wondered, is musicologist Dr Alexander Stewart. Through extensive analysis, the lawsuit insists, he "came to the immutable conclusion that not only are these songs substantially similar, but from an analysis of the most significant, core expressions of each song, 'First Time Baby' and '10,000 Hours' are practically the same song [and] given the degree of similarity in these passages and other details 'I consider it almost impossible that '10,000 Hours' was created independently from 'First Time Baby'".
As for some specifics of how the two songs are the same, the lawsuits goes on: "From a general perspective, both songs have similar tempos, overall feel and form structure. More specifically, however, an analysis with respect to the 'core expression' of the songs is particularly striking and revealing".
"Such core expression is found in the chorus of '10,000 Hours' and the chorus/verse of 'First Time Baby'", it adds. "These are the most important sections of the songs in which the titles of the songs are referenced, the signature phrases and 'hooks' are found, and which the listener is most likely to identify and remember".
"Dr Stewart compared the melodic themes, pitch, rhythm, length, phrasing, hook, lyrics and metric placement of these core sections of the songs", it confirms, "and found them to be practically identical".
As for how Dan, Shay and Bieber might have heard this 1980s soul song in order to rip it off, Melomega is keen to stress that it has formally released the track three times in the last decade, as a result of it featuring on three album releases, and that its distribution partner is The Orchard, which means the song is available on all the streaming platforms. So, definitely accessible.
As noted, courts in the US - and, via the recent 'Shape Of You' case, in the UK too - have proven themselves to be cautious when it comes to song-theft cases.
Judges have variously noted that lots of pop songs have musical elements in common; that short musical segments aren't usually substantial or original enough to be protected by copyright in isolation; and that any one track being merely accessible online doesn't necessarily make it probable that an accused artist heard said track before writing their own song.
But it remains to be seen if the arguments in this particular song-theft case can overcome that judicial caution.
US government agency for IP enforcement partners with RIAA on anti-piracy efforts
Through the expanded partnership, they add, the RIAA and IPR Center will "implement an aggressive multi-layered strategy to strengthen the digital ecosystem, conduct joint training events, educate consumers on the dangers of illegal streaming, enforce the nation's intellectual property rights laws, and dismantle large-scale online criminal enterprises. The agreement will also work to develop comprehensive lead referral packages on the most egregious violators for criminal investigation".
As for why such alliances are needed, the RIAA says that "digital music piracy remains a major threat to artists, songwriters, and rights-holders - taking many forms from the theft and distribution of works prior to commercial release leaks to stream-ripping. It has caused a massive amount of harm to the industry and artists, reducing recorded music revenues in the United States by 50% during the peak periods of peer-to-peer network piracy, losses from which the industry has yet to fully recover".
Confirming the new partnership, the acting director of the IPR Center, Ricardo Mayoral, states: "Investigations into illicit streaming services are extremely complex; these services are typically operated from abroad through multi-faceted schemes that touch numerous countries. Because of this complexity, our partnership with RIAA brings us one step closer toward dismantling criminal enterprises that think they are above the law, attempting to use the internet to hide illicit activity".
Meanwhile, the RIAA's Chief Content Protection Officer Brad Buckles adds: "Digital piracy is too big a problem for any one artist, industry or agency to handle on their own. The expanded partnership we have signed today helps solve that problem - strengthening cooperation and coordination between law enforcement and the private sector to protect digital music and the broader creative economy".
"As global piracy operations evolve their tactics and innovate new ways to steal and profit from creative works", he goes on, "this [partnership] will empower creators and the federal government to work together on the cutting edge of this fast-moving fight".
LIVE to join government advisory group on the impact of Brexit
It's no secret that Brexit has caused significant challenges for the live music industry, and especially British artists touring Europe who now need to navigate different rules around permits and carnets for each country. There are also issues relating to moving kit in trucks around the continent as a result of the so called cabotage rules.
Although the music community raised its concerns with the UK/EU trade agreement as soon as it was published, the UK government has moved very slowly in addressing the various issues, some of which need to be addressed with the governments of individual EU member states, and some of which can only be addressed at an EU level.
Campaigning by the likes of LIVE - both in the UK but also via the live industries in other EU countries - has resulted in some progress. In particular, LIVE noted when announcing its involvement in the advisory group yesterday, that includes "the removal of costly visas to tour across Spain and securing a temporary mechanism that reduces restrictive cabotage regulations limiting the movement of touring trucks"
However, there is plenty more to be done, and as touring returns to normal post-COVID, the Brexit-caused issues are becoming all the more problematic. LIVE will be hoping that, as a member of this advisory group, the live sector's ongoing concerns will be very much on the government's agenda.
Commenting on all this, LIVE's new CEO Jon Collins said: "It is fantastic that LIVE will be representing the live entertainment and performing industries on such a vital government body. Having formed as a response to the pandemic, LIVE has consistently proven the power of working together for the good of the sector. This latest appointment will ensure our voice is heard at the heart of government on such vital issues for our sector".
TicketSwap joins STAR
Launched a decade ago, TicketSwap allows fans to sell tickets they no longer need via a system that verifies the validity of the tickets and avoids profiteering by enforcing a maximum markup of 20% on the original price. It also sells primary tickets for partnered events.
Based in Amsterdam, the company joins STAR as it plans for expansion in the UK, says TicketSwap UK's Strategy Lead, David Thomas: "Out of 6.5 million TicketSwap users worldwide, over one million are based in the United Kingdom, which gives us a very substantial base from which to grow organically within the UK's vibrant and unparalleled live entertainment sectors".
"STAR has been at the forefront of industry-wide efforts to improve consumer confidence in ticketing for over two decades", says the organisation's chief exec Jonathan Brown. "In recent years, this has included ensuring that customers who are unable to use tickets they have purchased can resell them legitimately, easily, and safely if they are unable to cancel or exchange them".
"We are delighted that TicketSwap is demonstrating its commitment to consumer confidence and service by joining STAR and subscribing to our code of practice and approved alternative dispute resolution service", he goes on. "We look forward to supporting TicketSwap and their customers as the company grows".
TicketSwap joins fan-to-fan ticket exchange Twickets as the only ticket reseller members of STAR.
Majid Jordan join Three Six Zero
"We couldn't be more excited to welcome Majid Jordan to the Three Six Zero family", says the company's Milo Mitchum. "We have admired as fans their ability to build an impressive catalogue of music and a loyal global fanbase within a relatively short amount of time. We're THRILLED to be in business with them, and look forward to guiding them through the next stage of their career".
Formed in 2011, Majid Jordan signed to Drake's OVO Sound label following the release of their debut EP 'Afterhours'. They then came to wider prominence after co-producing and featuring on Drake's single 'Hold On, We're Going Home'.
Tom Grennan postpones US show following attack outside New York bar
The musician's manager, John Dawkins of Various Artists Management, said in a statement last night: "In the early hours of this morning after Tom's New York show he was the victim of an unprovoked attack and robbery outside a bar in Manhattan. Tom is currently in hospital being assessed by doctors for his injuries which include a ruptured ear, torn eardrum and issue with his previously fractured jaw".
He added that Grennan was in "good spirits" but will need to "temporarily recuperate whilst doctors assess his ability to continue with his touring". As that assessment was not complete at that stage, the "precautionary decision" was made to postpone tonight's Washington DC show.
If he gets the all clear, Grennan is next due to perform at the Brighton Music Hall in Boston on Saturday. He then has various dates in the UK and Ireland over the summer, including a performance at Dreamland in Margate on 27 Aug.
Mojo Music & Media has acquired a 50% interest in the songs catalogue of songwriter Bob Morrison. It has also acquired a bunch of extra royalty rights from Jerry Reed, whose songs catalogue it already owned. "Our joint venture with Bob Morrison and 360 legacy deal with Jerry Reed's daughters underscore Mojo's commitment to partnering with the most beloved and influential songwriters and writer/artists in every genre", says Mojo CEO Mark Fried.
Opinium Research has hired Chris Carey to head up its new Music, Media & Entertainment division. "Consumption data is abundant in the entertainment industry, but using data in the right ways is still a complex proposition", says Carey. "It's crucial that data empowers the creative, rather than hinders it. I'm excited to help businesses of all sizes harness data to make better decisions and equip creators to deepen engagement with fans and maximise their impact".
Megan Thee Stallion has released new single 'Plan B', which she premiered at Coachella last weekend.
Sigrid and Bring Me The Horizon have teamed up for new single 'Bad Life'. "It might not be the most likely collab, but we've been fans of each other for a while and we're so happy we could collaborate on this song", says Sigrid.
PinkPantheress has recruited Willow for her new single 'Where You Are'.
George Ezra has released new single 'Green Green Grass', and announced UK tour dates in September and October.
Nick Cave is releasing a load of psalms he wrote in lockdown. Seven of them. 'Seven Psalms' will be out digitally and on ten-inch vinyl on 17 Jun. Here's a 20 second taster.
Limp Bizkit have released the video for 'Dad Vibes'.
Alexisonfire have released 'Reverse the Curse' from their upcoming new album 'Otherness'.
Jack Savoretti has released new single 'Dancing Through The Rain', taken from the new expanded version of his 'Europiana' album, which is out on 20 May.
Warpaint have released 'Hips', the latest single from their upcoming new album 'Radiate Like This', which is out on 6 May.
Fyfe & Iskra Strings have teamed up with Ghostpoet for new single 'Interiority'. "We could hear Ghostpoet's voice and creative influence on this piece of music from the moment of its conception", says Fyfe. "We're huge fans of his creativity across multiple mediums and for the track to have come to fruition in the way that it has has been a joy for us".
Quinquis has released new single 'Netra Ken', from her upcoming debut album 'Seim'.
Ethel Cain has released new single 'American Teenager'. "I wrote this song as an expression of my frustration with all the things the 'American teenager' is supposed to be but never had any real chance of becoming", she says.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Ed Sheeran releases 2step remix in aid of Ukraine
The video for this new version of the track was filmed in Ukrainian capital Kyiv in December last year, before the Russian invasion began.
"I filmed the video for '2step' in the city of Kyiv, Ukraine before the devastating acts of violence started to take place", says Sheeran. "It was my first time visiting the country and I felt so welcomed during my stay there - everyone from the production crew to the many people I met across my days off".
"Ukraine is a proud and resilient country and I'm grateful to have had the chance to film my video there", he adds. "I stand with Ukraine and will be donating my record royalties from YouTube streams of the video to the DEC's Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal".
In an accompanying statement, the Ukrainian production company which made the video, Radioaktivefilm, adds: "This video really reminds us of the best of times; it was the last video we did before our world fell apart. Watching it gives us some normality and happiness, and we hope you enjoy this video as much as we do right now".
Last month, Sheeran headlined ITV's Concert For Ukraine, which raised £12 million for the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.