|THURSDAY 5 MAY 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Radio station aggregator TuneIn has started to remove some British radio stations from its platform within the UK in order to comply with its music licensing obligations, with the dropped stations seemingly not having licences in place from collecting societies PRS and PPL... [READ MORE]|
TuneIn removes some UK radio stations over music licensing concerns
The music licensing obligations of TuneIn were subject to a big legal battle in the UK courts back in 2019, with Sony Music and Warner Music arguing that - by making music radio stations available via its app - TuneIn needed its own licences from the music industry.
For its part, TuneIn argued that it was just a sophisticated audio-centric search engine that simply connected people to any one radio station's own stream. The radio station would need all the relevant music licences, but TuneIn itself wasn't involved in any communication to the public of any music, and therefore didn't need its own licences.
The initial high court ruling was something of a mixed bag. The court said that where a radio station already had licences from PRS and PPL that covered its own stream, TuneIn didn't need an additional licence when that stream was accessed via its app.
However, with any radio stations available to British listeners via TuneIn that were not properly licensed to broadcast music in the UK, copyright was being infringed and both the radio station and TuneIn were liable for that infringement.
That had the biggest impact on the non-UK stations available via TuneIn. Most of those stations would have music licences from collecting societies in their home countries, but those licences would not cover the UK.
And while those stations are usually already available to any UK listeners that seek them out via their own websites, TuneIn was overtly making them available to UK listeners, meaning a UK licence was definitely required.
As a result of that judgement - which was upheld on appeal - in 2020, TuneIn started removing non-UK services from its UK app. But what about UK-based services that are not properly licensed by PRS and PPL?
Well, according to Radio Today, the two collecting societies have provided a database of the radio services that they are currently licensing, and services not included in that database are being blocked.
Radio Today cites an email TuneIn has sent to stations which explains: "In light of that court ruling and out of an abundance of caution, TuneIn has implemented procedures to prohibit access from within the UK to any broadcast simulcast or internet only stations that have not been confirmed to be licensed by PPL and PRS For Music in the UK".
TuneIn adds that any radio stations finding themselves removed should contact Warner Music or Sony Music - or PRS and PPL - to either sort out their licensing or - if they believe they are already licensed - to get that officially confirmed.
It may also be that some stations just need to prove that they do not need licences, mainly because they are speech only operations. Yesterday a service called News Radio UK confirmed on Twitter that it had been removed from TuneIn "due to music royalty issues - even though we are all speech and do not play music".
It's not clear if that's just an oversight on TuneIn's part. If a speech radio station broadcasts jingles and backing music composed by PRS members, then the chances are it does actually need a PRS licence.
Though, given that TuneIn says it is employing an "abundance of caution" here, it might just be that stations are being removed until they can prove they have licences or that they don't need them.
Dan The Automator extends Reservoir deal
"I'm looking forward to continuing and expanding my relationship with Reservoir and I am excited to see what the future brings", says the producer, real name Dan Nakamura.
Reservoir EVP A&R Faith Newman adds: "From his work as a hip hop producer and artist to his recent film and TV compositions, Dan has consistently demonstrated the breadth of his talent. Throughout his decades-spanning career, Dan has made an indelible mark across the music industry, and we look forward to working on his music".
Reservoir COO Rell Lafargue also comments: "After ten years working on his catalogue, we are proud Dan chose Reservoir to become home to even more of his music. We are grateful for the chance to continue demonstrating the value of our relationship and supporting Dan's past, present and future works".
Dan The Automator is preparing to release new music from Handsome Boy Modeling School, his duo with fellow producer Prince Paul. Their last album, 'White People', came out in 2004
MCPS pay outs increased 15% in 2021
Although it works with performing rights society PRS on administrating its rights, MCPS is a standalone organisation owned by the Music Publishers Association that issues licences in various scenarios where songs are reproduced.
Traditionally the biggest customers of mechanical rights were record labels when they pressed copies of songs onto discs, with MCPS usually issuing the licences that the labels required. As a result, the mechanical rights income of the music publishing sector - and therefore MCPS revenues - took quite a hit in the 2000s when CD sales slumped.
In the wider scheme of things, the streaming boom has replaced a sizeable chunk of what was lost in the 2000s, although that isn't really reflected in the MCPS figures. Firstly because with streams, both mechanical rights and performing rights are exploited, so - in the UK - 50% of streaming income is counted as mechanical rights income, but half is performing rights - so PRS - income.
Plus, many music publishers directly license their song catalogues to streaming services in many markets, rather than relying on the collective licensing system. So, while MCPS is very much involved in licensing digital services - usually in partnership with PRS and ICE - it doesn't license the full UK repertoire.
Nevertheless, the £181.7 million distributed to members last year is the highest pay out by MCPS since 2009. That's partly because the streaming boom continues and MCPS is involved in some of that, but also because physical sales are holding up pretty well at the moment, and there are other areas where MCPS licenses on behalf of its members, in particular in the broadcasting domain.
MCPS itself says of the increase in royalty distributions last year: "These healthy returns can be attributed to the ever-increasing demand for entertainment streaming services in 2021, robust distributions from international receipts, increased consumer demand reflected by solid returns from both major and indie record labels, as well as consistent performance from broadcast revenues".
"While increasing its member distributions through revenue growth initiatives", it adds, "MCPS has also continued to focus on efficiencies and optimising the costs associated with royalty delivery. This has resulted in an effective blended commission rate of 7.4% - down from 7.7% in 2020 - resulting in more than £7.2m in excess commission earnings to be refunded in 2022 to every member who received a royalty distribution in 2021".
Paul Clements - CEO of both MPA and MCPS - adds: "We are very proud to deliver these excellent results for our members. While encouraged to see progressive growth year on year, we are still in the early stages of delivering an ambitious growth strategy on behalf of our members, leveraging new licensing opportunities in the market, while maximising value in areas of licensing which are due for review. While we reflect on these financial achievements, we remain focused on protecting our members' rights, which are at the heart of everything we do".
Resident Advisor launches new governance board to enable "direct community stewardship"
Explaining the rationale behind the new governance structure, co-Founder Nick Sabine says: "RA was always set up to be a community-led platform. By including members of the electronic music community whose background and experience is invaluable, we are decentralising the decision making to ensure alignment of RA's interests with that of the communities we seek to serve".
The company adds that the restructure "seeks to improve diversity and representation at senior levels within RA while introducing direct community stewardship to RA for the first time, ensuring its interests and priorities are aligned with the needs of the wide breadth of communities that make up the world of electronic music".
"This change", it goes on, "also includes more opportunities for feedback from the five million strong community of fans, artists, promoters and industry that use the platform every month".
Initial membership of the new board will include Sabine and his co-founder Paul Clement, plus DJ, producer and Attica Blues member Tony Nwachukwu; curator, DJ and consultant Lauren Goshinski; and OUTER director and Tresor Berlin curator Carin Abdulá. RA's Head Of Community Amy Van Baaren will also be on the board to represent staff interests.
New members will be added in the future. Sabine goes on: "We recognise that not all scenes can be represented by only a few people, so overtime we will be expanding community representation in board-level decision making, reflecting the globally interconnected nature of dance music".
As Sabine and Clement join the new governance board they will also step down as co-CEOs of the company, with COO David Selby taking on the CEO role.
South Korean culture minister calls on politicians to exempt BTS from military service
"It's time to create a system for [treating] popular culture-art figures as art personnel", he said at a press conference in Seoul yesterday, according to Yonhap.
The issue of BTS's national service has been a hotly debated topic in South Korea for a number of years now. Under the country's laws, all able-bodied men must begin serving around two years in the military at some point between the ages of eighteen and 28. There are formal exemptions for athletes and classical musicians with an international following, but nothing for pop acts.
While this has halted, or at least stunted, the careers of many K-pop artists over the years, it has become a major talking point in more recent times due to the continued, massive international success of BTS.
The oldest member of the group, Jin, who is 29, has so far avoided conscription thanks to a change in the law that allowed some pop artists (there were complaints that the amendment was so specific that it could only apply to members of BTS) to defer the start of their military service until the age of 30.
The problem now is that Jin will turn 30 in December this year and the issue still has not gone away. Many oppose any new full-on exemptions, and that opposition is seemingly and understandably particularly strong among South Korean men in their 20s who have served their time or are preparing to.
There are also worries that, with an ageing population, South Korea can't afford to start exempting more men from military service, for fear that there will not be a sufficient number of serving soldiers to protect the country against any possible attack from neighbouring North Korea.
However, argued Hwang this week, there are nevertheless good reasons to allow more people who promote South Korean culture abroad to be exempt.
He said that the existing exemptions "operated meaningfully", allowing those whose sporting or musical skills had enhanced the status of South Korea "more chances to contribute to the country". And - crucially - "there is no reason the popular art-culture field should be excluded from this", he added. "I thought somebody should be a responsible voice at a time when there are conflicting pros and cons ahead of the enlistment of some of the BTS members".
According to Bloomberg, he also said that, as well as being a "national loss", it would also be a "cultural loss for mankind" to "suspend [BTS's] activities due to the fulfilment of their military service obligations".
With all that in mind, he called on the country's parliament to pass a bill that would provide the necessary exemptions as soon as possible, and suggested that a trade-off for this would be to introduce "bigger obligations to the talented pop culture artists and create greater national interests through this".
Whether South Korean politicians will take note of Hwang's pleas remains to be seen. There is still a great strength of feeling on both sides of this debate. What seems clear now though, for Jin at the very least, is that there is a hard deadline of December this year if any new exemptions are going to be of use.
Stealing Sheep announce new album, Wow Machine
"We've been inspired by the 'Sisters With Transistors', a group of radical women who used technology to push the boundaries of music", say the band. "Without the representation of these musicians, we would have struggled to picture ourselves in these roles".
"The music was written in our home studios and came to life as a live installation at the Great Exhibition Of The North with a mechanical light-up stage and robotic dance performers", they go on. "This had a big impact on how we wrote the music as we created a listening experience that is intended to transport an audience and take them on a journey".
'Wow Machine' is set for release on 24 Jun. First single, 'Never Gonna Live Up', is out now. Listen here.
Not one, not two, but three whole Def Jam labels have joined together to sign Ghanaian afropop, dancehall and reggae musician Stonebwoy to a global deal. That's Def Jam Recordings in the US, 0207 Def Jam in the UK, and Def Jam Africa, in case you wondered. "Stonebwoy is a true African talent", says Sipho Dlamini, CEO of Def Jam owner Universal Music in South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. "He works to lift the heart and spirit of those around him, whilst producing fresh sounds that keep blowing the world away. We look forward to what 2022 has in store for him".
UK collecting society PRS For Music has hired Rupinder Virdee as Head Of PR, Marketing & Digital, reporting into Director Of Communications & Public Affairs John Mottram. She will be, says the society, "pivotal to [our] future plans and implementation of strategic marketing and communications that advance awareness of one of the world's leading music collective management organisations".
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES
High quality audio digital music platform Qobuz has expanded into six new countries: Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile and Portugal. It means the service is now available in 25 countries in total.
The first trailer for Danny Boyle's Sex Pistols TV drama 'Pistol' is out now, if you're into watching people try very hard to do voices.
Mykki Blanco has released new single 'Your Love Was A Gift', featuring Diana Gordon and Sam Buck. "If not the most honest, it's the most beautiful song I've ever written", says Blanco. "The idea for the song comes from my own wins and losses in the game of love and it's a story of coming of age as much as coming to terms in adulthood with feeling unloved, yearning to be loved and yearning to be understood".
Balming Tiger's Omega Sapien has released new track 'Jenny'. He'll release new single, 'Wuga', on 25 May.
Crows have released new single 'Closer Still'. The band's James Cox says the song "was written about the fit-for-work scandals that kept happening where the [UK] Department For Work & Pensions were deeming people fit for work when they obviously weren't able to, taking away what little support they received from the state in an attempt to save on expenditure. It really highlighted our government's contempt for the vulnerable. People whose daily lives were incredibly difficult".
Elf Power have released the title track of their upcoming new album, 'Artificial Countrysides', which is out on 15 Jul. "The title track lyrically addresses the songwriting process, and the creation of miniature worlds within songs, propelled by a frantically fingerpicked acoustic guitar line that imagines what acoustic guitar virtuoso John Fahey might sound like if he played with a rock band", says the band's Andrew Rieger.
Avawaves have released their soundtrack to new documentary 'Savage Waters', about efforts to find and surf a particularly big wave in the Atlantic Ocean. "This is a truly cinematic documentary centred around the sea, so there was a natural affinity between our music and the film", say the duo. "We felt immediately connected to the narrative and intention behind this film – the story of obsession with the sea, these epic journeys, and experiences".
Marina Herlop has released new single 'Abans Abans', from her upcoming album 'Pripyat'.
On Man has released new single 'Memento Mori', featuring Tailor. He's also announced that he will release his eponymous debut album on 15 Jul. The new track started life "as a kind of bittersweet, romantic song about coming to terms with a break-up", he says. "But, when my mum unexpectedly died, I revisited the lyrics and, although the words were the same, it now had this parallel narrative for me: How might [have I] felt had I known she was going to die? Would I have made more of an effort to make amends in the remaining time we had?"
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Dolly Parton "honoured" to be inducted into Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, despite trying to have her name taken off the ballot
The country music star will be inducted into the music museum alongside Eminem, Duran Duran, Lionel Richie, Eurythmics, Carly Simon, Judas Priest and Pat Benatar later this year.
In March, she said in a statement that while she was "extremely flattered and grateful to be nominated" to be among this year's inductees, she didn't feel that she had "earned that right" and would therefore like to be removed from the list of nominees.
The Hall responded by explaining why it felt that Parton had very much earned the right to be considered, and added that, as voting by then was well underway, it would not be removing her name from the ballot.
Parton has since said that she respects the decision to keep her in the running, and speaking to Billboard after her induction was announced, she said: "I feel honoured that all the people that voted for me did. And I appreciate the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame people for staying there with me".
"I never meant to cause trouble or stir up any controversy", she went on. "It was just always my belief - and I think millions of other people out there too - [that] the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame was just set up for the greatest people in the rock n roll business, and I just didn't feel like I really measured up to that, and I don't want to take anything away from the people that have worked so hard".
"So I just wanted to go pull out before it got started good", she added. "I found out later that it's far more than that, obviously. I'm very honoured and humbled by [the induction], and so I'll try to live up to it".
She added that she's not yet sure if she'll attend the induction ceremony in November. "If I do, I'm going to sing the hardest style rock n roll song I could ever muster up just to show that I can do it", she promised.