|FRIDAY 29 APRIL 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The US government this week released its annual intellectual property diss list, which is basically a list of countries that need to do more to help American creators and companies enforce their copyrights and trademarks and such like. Argentina, Chile, China, India, Indonesia, Russia and Venezuela all got themselves on the priority watch list... [READ MORE]|
US government publishes its latest copyright watch lists
The office of the United States Trade Representative puts together two annual lists regarding IP infringement around the world - the notorious markets list focused on physical and digital marketplaces where rights are infringed - and this list - aka the Special 301 Report - which sets out those countries where the US reckons there are issues with the local IP laws and/or the enforcement of those laws.
Companies and organisations from across the American copyright industries input on the two lists which are then meant to inform conversations and trade talks between the US and other countries whenever IP matters come up.
The Special 301 Report doesn't just diss those countries where concerns have been raised by American IP owners, it also bigs up those countries that have made changes to their IP systems.
Quite a few Middle Eastern countries are commended in that section this year, which is important as these are seen as markets with significant growth potential when it comes to digital music and entertainment. Countries commended in that region for recent changes to copyright and other IP systems include Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates.
In terms of those countries on the IP naughty step, many of the countries on the priority watch list have made changes and improvements to their copyright or wider IP regimes in recent years, but - the US copyright industries reckon - plenty more still needs to be done.
For example, the report says, "China needs to address weak enforcement channels and a lack of transparency and judicial independence". And "India remains one of the world's most challenging major economies with respect to protection and enforcement of IP". And in Indonesia, "concerns include widespread piracy and counterfeiting and, in particular, the lack of enforcement against counterfeit products".
While seven countries appear on the priority watch list, another 20 are on the slightly-less-of-a-priority watch list, those being: Algeria, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Guatemala, Mexico, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
You'll note the latter list still includes both of the US's neighbours, Canada and Mexico, which will definitely annoy the governments of Canada and Mexico. The new report concedes that "the United States engaged closely with Canada and Mexico on the implementation of provisions under the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which entered into force on 1 Jul 2020, securing strong improvements in the protection and enforcement of IP".
However, there remain "significant concerns regarding Canada's IP environment" including "poor enforcement with respect to counterfeit or pirate goods at the border and within Canada [and] high levels of online piracy". And in Mexico, "the failure to provide sufficient resources for IP protection and the absence of prioritisation on IP enforcement continues to hamper Mexico's efforts to improve the environment for IP".
So there you go. Launching the report US Trade Representative Katherine Tai said: "Intellectual property-intensive industries support more than 60 million jobs [in the US] - from the independent inventor just starting out to the documentary filmmaker studying critical social issues. We need robust protection and enforcement in foreign countries to protect these individuals, their livelihoods, and ensure they can fairly compete in the global marketplaces".
"Following extensive input from a broad range of stakeholders", she went on, "the 2022 Special 301 Report identifies trading partners that are falling short. The Biden-Harris Administration will continue to engage with these trading partners to level the playing field for our workers and businesses".
The Weeknd extends and expands Universal deal
The deal will see him continue to work with Universal label Republic, to which he has been signed since 2012. Universal Music Publishing will also administer his full songwriting catalogue once his current deal with Kobalt expires.
Meanwhile, the major's brand management and merch company Bravado will continue to work with The Weeknd and his XO company on global merchandising, branding, e-commerce and retail licensing.
So, I guess the big new thing is the publishing deal. The rest is just business as usual. But for longer. And, I suppose, it's official confirmation that Abel 'The Weeknd' Tesfaye thinks that Universal is just a tip top place to be.
Universal, of course, also reckons that Tesfaye is a tip top guy to have around too. Big boss Lucian Grainge says this: "Over the past decade, we have been honoured to work so closely with Abel who has quickly become one of music's most creative and important artists a once-in-a-generation talent".
"With [Weeknd manager] Sal [Slaiby] and the XO team as our incredible partners", he goes on, "we've developed a deep trust and respect that has enabled us to successfully execute Abel's brilliant vision. I am delighted that we are now able to expand this special relationship, welcome this world-class songwriter to UMPG, and evolve this creative partnership to new and exciting levels".
Republic Records CEO Monte Lipman adds: "Abel is the consummate 21st century artist and global superstar who continues to break down creative barriers with his genre-bending repertoire. His success and career-defining accomplishments have made a historic impact around the world. It's an honour to extend our alliance with Abel and the XO Family in the evolution of The Weeknd".
And Universal Music Publishing CEO Jody Gerson says: "The Weeknd is a world-class, boundary breaking artist and I couldn't be more THRILLED to welcome him and Sal to UMPG. Through this expanded and multi-faceted agreement, UMPG, Republic and Bravado global teams will be empowered to work closely together under one roof, maximising opportunities and value for The Weeknd's artistry in unprecedented ways".
No one from Bravado said anything. I guess they were too busy dealing with all the global merchandising, branding, e-commerce and retail licensing deals. Tesfaye himself didn't say anything either, but he's probably very tired from all the contract signing.
Don't think that means there are no more quotes though. What? You thought three was already a bit much? What about this Sal who everyone keeps banging on about? Huh? Why are you so keen to stop him having his say? Maybe he's got something interesting to add.
Here's Sal: "Over a decade together says it all. Our relationship is built on trust, success, and family values. I am proud and excited to be beside the Universal family building our next decade together".
Oh, turns out he didn't have anything interesting to say. I think it was still worth finding out though.
BMG acquires 50% stake in Primal Scream publishing catalogue
"Primal Scream are one of the most influential bands of the past 30 years with a cultural resonance which continues today", says Alistair Norbury, BMG President Repertoire & Marketing UK. "We are delighted to become custodians of their work".
Formed in the early 1980s by school friends Bobby Gillespie and Jim Beattie - while they were still at school - Primal Scream subsequently signed to Creation Records, set up by yet another school friend, Alan McGee. Innes joined in 1987, for many years playing guitars alongside Young, who then departed the band in 2006. Young later died, aged 49, in 2014.
The band released their most recent album, 'Chaosmosis', in 2016. They are set to perform at the Wide Awake festival in London's Brockwell Park on 28 May, where they will play their 1991 album 'Screamadelica' in full.
Believe renews deals with Tencent and NetEase
The new deals, reckons Believe, will "result in wider opportunities" for the company's international clients, as well as the labels and artists it works with in China itself. Having entered the Chinese market in 2016 and further ramped up its activities there in 2018, Believe says that it now has "thousands of artists and hundreds of labels locally".
Sylvain Delange, Believe's MD for APAC, adds: "We are THRILLED to have renewed our deals with both TME and NetEase Cloud Music. China is one of the most domestic music markets in the world, with a strong consumption of local artists, by local audiences on local platforms, which could not be more aligned with Believe's vision and core values of supporting local acts in their own markets".
"I'm very excited by the opportunities these partnerships will unlock for our labels and artists", he adds, "allowing them to reach new wider audiences, and very much look forward to growing our business in China even further in the future".
Tencent operates various music services in China, including QQ Music, Kugou Music, Kuwo Music and WeSing, while the NetEase music service is its main competitor in the market. NetEase this week accused Tencent of ripping of its music and platform, so probably best for Believe to not celebrate these new deals by hosting a party for everyone involved.
Snapchat teams up with Live Nation for AR festival experiences
Open up your Snapchat camera at any of the eighteen events currently involved in this partnership and you'll get a load of special stuff flying all over your screen that wouldn't be there if you just used your eyes to engage with the event that is actually happening all around you. Yeah, upon request, I will send you a recording of me tutting to enhance the experience further.
"We can leverage this huge userbase we have in a way that will make augmented reality the next phase of visual expression for artists", says Ben Schwerin, Snap's SVP Content & Partnerships. "This really hasn't been done before in a way that is part of the artist's vision and helping it come to life".
As well as Wireless, UK Snapchat users will be able to get in on all this at the Reading and Leeds festivals.
To help you picture what all this looks like, Snapchat and Live Nation have produced a video shot at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas in which the event itself looks infinitely more exciting than anything that appears over the top of it on a phone screen.
Sam Smith returns with new single, Love Me More
"I wrote this song for anyone who feels different, anyone who has to stop themselves every day from saying unkind things to themselves, in their head, all the time", says Smith.
"I felt like that for the longest time and slowly I'm learning how to just be nice to myself", they go on. "I wanted to share that because I captured it in this song. Over the last two years, music has been my therapy more than ever. So I hope this song can be your friend".
Music rights administrator Muserk has extended its deal with SDRM - the mechanical rights branch of French collecting society SACEM. It already worked with the society on administrating its mechanical royalties from YouTube in the US, and will now do the same for other digital services in the market. "In this ever-growing digital landscape, it is harder than ever to track and match all works and usage", says Muserk CEO Paul Goldman. "It has never been more important that we work together for the good of all creators and rights holders, and SACEM is at the forefront of that effort".
Ticketing firm Dice has hired Falko Mortiboys as VP Fan Experience, Ali McCloud as VP Partner Relations, Antony Jackson as Head Of Expansion, Europe, and Leon Sherman as Head Of Artist Partnerships, UK & Europe. "I'm very grateful to be working with such talented people at Dice and we spend a lot of time making sure we hire the right people", says CEO Phil Hutcheon. "Ali, Antony, Falko and Leon are great leaders who I'm confident will play an integral role in supercharging the growth of our platform".
Marshmello and Tokischa have released a new track together, 'Estilazo'. "Working with Tokischa was amazing", says Marshmello. "I flew to the Dominican Republic, and we did the song right there. Toki is obviously amazing and talented so working with her was a lot of fun and I'm really happy with how the song turned out".
Ava Max has released new track 'Maybe You're The Problem', the first single from her forthcoming second album. "Everyone always says 'it's not you, it's me' but sometimes the problem really isn't me, it's you", she says. "'Maybe You're The Problem' was so much fun to create - this new music I've been working on is the most personal music I have ever made".
Steve Aoki and HRVY have teamed up for new track 'Save Me'. "I've always been a huge fan of Steve's", says HRVY. "So after I wrote the song last year and heard he wanted it to be a single it was an immediate yes".
The Black Keys have released new single 'It Ain't Over', from their upcoming new album 'Dropout Boogie'. The album is out on 13 May.
IDK has released new single 'Dog Food', featuring Denzel Curry and produced by Kaytranada.
Metric have announced their return with new single 'All Comes Crashing'. It is, says frontwoman Emily Haines, "a love song that goes beyond romantic love, it's an expression of solidarity with whoever it is you would want to have beside you in the event of catastrophe. It might be your best friend, it might be your blood brother or your dog. The song is dedicated to those you consider your family, whatever that looks like for you". The band's eighth album, 'Formentera', is out on 8 Jul.
Iggy Pop and Lamb Of God's Randy Blythe feature on new ONI single 'Secrets'. The track is taken from the band's second album, 'Loathing Light', which is out on 17 Jun.
Belief - aka Stella Mozgawa and Boom Bip - have announced that they will release their debut album, 'Belief', on 15 Jul. They've also released new single 'Jung'.
James BKS has released new single 'Pana Nija', featuring Gracy Hopkins. "The song is about the physical and spiritual fights we have to put [up with] every day and the conflicts between our roots and the current state of the system", he says. "The window of opportunity is pretty tiny, and our souls and brains are huge. Anybody having bigger dreams than the usual can relate to this".
Kóboykex - who include Sigmund Zachariassen and Joe And The Shit Boys - have released their debut single 'Midnight Gale'.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Metallica launch Rye The Lightning whiskey
Now, to make this brew, they didn't just bung a mixture of existing whiskeys into some barrels and hope for the best. Well, I guess they did, but that's blended whiskey for you. But it was a bit more involved than that.
Blackened American distiller Rob Bietrich took some Kentucky straight rye whiskeys aged between five and eight years, mixed them up, then popped it all in some Madeira wine casks for a couple of weeks, and then some Caribbean rum casks for another fourteen weeks. See? It's a whole process.
And that's not all, either. If you did that, you'd just have some blended whiskey, which, while it might be good, wouldn't have that Metallica twang, would it? So how do you get that?
Well, while the whiskey was just sitting around in the barrels, it also went through Blackened American Whiskey's unique 'Black Noise' process. This means that it had music played to it via special subwoofer speakers which mimic the vibrations you'd feel at a Metallica show. If you were a barrel full of whiskey. They reckon this does something to the liquid at a molecular level. At the very least all that jiggling will mix it a bit more, I suppose.
The music used for this whiskey was Metallica's 2012 live performance of their 1984 'Ride The Lightning' album at their Orion Music + More festival in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Hence the name, remember? RYE. THE. LIGHTNING.
"The vibe from the crowd at the first Orion Music + More Festival was electrifying", says Metallica bassist Rob Trujillo. "It's really cool that we get to capture that energy in this [whiskey]. We've used a few live songs in our [whiskey maturing] playlists before, but never a full live playlist. So to be able to incorporate our fans in the Blackened journey and have them be a part of the whiskey-making process is really unique, and makes this a true collaboration".
Dietrich adds: "I absolutely love the high spice and earthy notes in American rye whiskey. I wanted to play with those flavour profiles by bringing a symmetry of subtle flavour elements by combining not just one, but two different cask finishes to the whiskey, creating a complex balance of sweet and savoury".
Like jam on toast? Well, not quite. Apparently Rye (RYE!) The Lightning will give you notes of "dried fig, hay, pinewood, pear, and rum cake on the nose, and on the palate, clover honey, mint, corn husk, sugar cane, walnut, and cinnamon".
Try putting all that on a slice of toast and see the looks people give you. Or just have a drink of this whiskey. Perhaps with a slice of toast on the side.
You can buy the limited edition whiskey now, and if you go to its very own website here you can download Metallica's performance of the song 'Ride The Lightning' from the very live recording that (possibly, although it seems unlikely) helped the whiskey develop its flavour.