|TUESDAY 31 MAY 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Van Morrison is suing the Northern Irish government's Department Of Health, and its minister Robin Swann, as part of an ongoing war of words over the COVID-19 pandemic... [READ MORE]|
Van Morrison sues Northern Irish minister over Rolling Stone article criticising his anti-lockdown songs
The musician achieved the rare feat of uniting the politicians of Northern Ireland when he released three songs in 2020 criticising the COVID lockdowns, a move that garnered criticism from key members of various competing political parties.
In the songs, Morrison sang about 'fascist bullies' and claimed that governments were deceiving people about the severity of the coronavirus in order to 'enslave' the people.
Swann was particularly critical of the anti-lockdown releases, even penning an op-ed piece for Rolling Stone to say so. "We in Northern Ireland are very proud of the fact that one of the greatest music legends of the past 50 years comes from our part of the world", he wrote of Morrison. "So there's a real feeling of disappointment - we expected better from him".
But it wasn't just disappointment, Swann added, arguing that the anti-lockdown songs sent a dangerous message that could negatively impact on public health, especially in Morrison's home country. "Some of what is he saying is actually dangerous", Swann's article continued. "It could encourage people to not to take coronavirus seriously. If you see it all as a big conspiracy, then you are less likely to follow the vital public health advice that keeps you and others safe".
Swann insisted that he didn't have a problem with anyone scrutinising or even criticising policies he and his department were pursuing in response to the pandemic, but "Van Morrison is going way beyond raising questions - he is singing about 'fascist bullies' and claiming governments are deceiving people and wanting to 'enslave'".
"It's actually a smear on all those involved in the public health response to a virus that has taken lives on a massive scale", the minister continued. "His words will give great comfort to the conspiracy theorists - the tin foil hat brigade who crusade against masks and vaccines and think this is all a huge global plot to remove freedoms".
In response, Morrison was critical of Swann at various points, including in a media interview and at an event in Belfast, with the musician dubbing the politician a "fraud" and "very dangerous". It then emerged late last year that Swann was taking legal action in relation to Morrison's comments.
At the time, a rep for Morrison told the BBC that his client "regretted that Mr Swann considered it necessary to issue proceedings", adding that the musician would be fighting the legal action and that "Mr Morrison asserts within that defence that the words used by him related to a matter of public interest and constituted fair comment".
While the kinds of COVID restrictions Morrison was railing against are now more or less in the past, the disagreements between him and Swann very much continue. And to that end, Morrison has now filed his own legal proceedings specifically in relation to the Rolling Stone article.
A legal rep told reporters: "We confirm that legal proceedings have been issued against Mr Robin Swann MLA and the Department Of Health as co-publishers of an op-ed in Rolling Stone".
Northern Ireland's Department Of Health has declined to respond, stating that it does not comment on active legal matters.
IMPALA publishes results of independent sector diversity survey
The survey involved both independent music companies and national independent sector trade bodies. It had two main aims: first to map best practices, local developments and projects regarding diversity and inclusion, and second to start to build a basic picture of the sector's diversity and key issues faced. Companies and organisations in 22 different countries contributed information and insight into the study.
Summarising some key findings, IMPALA says: "For businesses who participated, the issues raised as the most challenging as regards diversity and inclusion are race and ethnicity, followed by gender and socio-economic factors. Associations put gender as the first issue to tackle, followed by race and ethnicity and age".
"Through these surveys", it adds, "we also observed that some of our members already have policies in place and are making changes. Others are not, mostly due to their small size or lack of finances, or because they see themselves as already diverse, or they don't agree there is an issue, or they do agree but don't know where to start. Nearly two thirds of associations have diversity and inclusion policies in place or planned to within the next year".
Perhaps unsurprisingly, a key factor raised by respondents was the need for more funding and other support to help independent music companies to pursue initiatives that will ensure more diversity and inclusion. With many indies being small companies with fewer resources and smaller teams, it can be more challenging to invest time and money into change initiatives while also staying on top of all the day-to-day demands of running a music business.
"Funding and other support for projects in the sector has come out as a key need", IMPALA confirms, before noting that it "intends to ask the European Commission to develop more European Union diversity related funding opportunities to allow the sector to activate change, while still being able to continue their daily work".
"IMPALA will also spread awareness on EU funding and make sure members know what is available", it adds. "The report also asks national associations to check if there are national funds and share the news, as well as push for more support. The sharing of best practices was also highlighted as a priority".
Although this survey provides a snapshot of diversity, diversity initiatives and diversity challenges in the independent sector, IMPALA says that it feels a different approach is needed to comprehensively map how diverse the music industry workforce really is.
With that in mind, it states: "IMPALA proposes that the European Commission and [EU statistical office] Eurostat work with the music sector and the broader cultural field. A system is needed to map diversity in a concrete and comprehensive way, that also respects national rules about gathering data on these issues".
IMPALA sees projects like this very much as a work in progress. Keith Harris - who has been advising IMPALA's Equity, Diversity And Inclusion Task Force - said this morning: "This is a learning process for the sector and it's encouraging to see the independents pushing on with their commitments".
"The most important thing is always to get started", he went on. "One question we could add in the future would be if respondents feel that is there a business benefit in having a diverse workforce or if they feel it is just the right thing to do. I encourage IMPALA to continue working on this and this report provides IMPALA with useful information to move forward".
IMPALA Executive Chair Helen Smith added: "Surveying members was the first commitment IMPALA set in our diversity and inclusion charter. The need for EU and national support for change is very clear and we will raise this finding with the EU institutions. We will also flag the need for the EU to help gather workforce data as we look at ways of mapping the EU cultural sectors further".
Outernet London announces more programming appointments
The new complex has two venues in it. The bigger venue, with a 2000 capacity, has now been named HERE. Meanwhile, a smaller space based around the old 12 Bar venue in Denmark Street will be known as The Lower Third. It was originally thought that space would continue to be known as 12 Bar, although there was a dispute with the founder of the old venue over the rights to that brand.
Leo Green - who was formerly Director Of Live Events at Live Nation and has worked at other London venues like The O2 and Ronnie Scotts - was previously confirmed as Artistic Director for the main venue at Outernet. And now several other people have been confirmed as members of the wider Outernet Live team.
Chloe Mitchell - who previously worked at Flat Iron Square and Omeara - becomes Programming Manager, while Nicolas Matar and Simon Denby both join the team as Electronic Music Directors. Matar has previously DJed in Ibiza and run clubs in the US, while Denby is co-owner of dance music promoter Percolate and co-founded the Waterworks and Body Movements festivals.
Confirming all this, Karrie Goldberg - who is heading up the Outernet venues alongside Robert Butters - says: "We are THRILLED to be joined by this epic team of experts to launch these groundbreaking new venues this summer. We are proud to be a completely independent venue space, open to all promoters and live entertainment operators and we look forward to showing you what the programming team have been busy working on in the coming months".
As Goldberg notes there, the two new venues will both open this summer.
BBC announces Glastonbury coverage
"I'm very proud of the BBC's long history of broadcasting from Glastonbury, the highlight of our Summer Of Live Music", says BBC Director Of Music Lorna Clarke.
"Our coverage this year will be our most extensive to date, with over 35 hours of programming across BBC One, Two, Three and Four, and over 40 hours on BBC iPlayer - in addition to digital live streams from the five biggest festival stages. We'll also have wall-to-wall coverage on the BBC's pop radio networks and BBC Sounds - with over 60 hours of broadcasts from the festival itself".
"For the first time, we'll be showing sets from the Pyramid stage in ultra high definition, a fantastic progression in our Glastonbury story, which aims to help audiences access every epic musical moment", she goes on.
"Our expert team of presenters will guide audiences around Worthy Farm, whilst BBC iPlayer - with its dedicated Glastonbury channel - and BBC Sounds will allow people to watch and listen on demand, throughout the festival weekend and beyond. Many thanks to Emily and Michael Eavis for once again allowing us to bring their incredible creation to millions of music lovers around the UK".
Emily Eavis adds: "It's a joy to have the BBC and its brilliant team back and broadcasting live from Glastonbury for the first time since 2019 - continuing a special partnership that's been evolving since 1997. I'm looking forward to Worthy Farm being filled with thousands of people once again and for millions more around the country being able to enjoy performances from our stellar line-up, courtesy of the BBC, wherever they are".
This year's coverage will begin before the festival officially gets going, with two 50th anniversary shows on BBC Two ahead of the event. BBC One will also show a behind-the-scenes documentary about Stormzy's triumphant headline set in 2019. Meanwhile, BBC Radio 6 Music will begin broadcasting from Worthy Farm from the moment the gates open on 22 Jun.
Anita Baker thanks Chance The Rapper for helping out in her recent masters dispute
In a clip posted to Twitter, Baker is seen mid-performance saying: "Would you guys say hello to a friend of mine, by way of the music industry, and by way of helping me to get ahold and ownership of my master recordings?" She then pointed out Chance in the crowd, who stood up as the audience applauded and Baker declared: "Mr Chance The Rapper is right there!"
It's not clear what role the rapper actually played in settling the dispute between Baker and her former label - Warner Music's Elektra - although she was vocal about that dispute on social media last year, before announcing things had been settled in September.
In a tweet in March last year, Baker referenced the termination right under US copyright law, which allows artists to regain control of any copyrights they previously transferred - or "assigned" - to a business partner after 35 years, albeit only within the US. That said, there remains some debate as to whether that right applies to conventional record contracts, with some labels arguing that record contracts are not actually assignment deals, meaning there is no assignment to terminate.
Baker implied that Warner was making that argument as she sought to reclaim control of her rights - so much so, she urged her fans to stop buying or streaming her music. After stating that the termination right should now apply to her old Elektra released recordings, she added: "Unfortunately, they're gonna make me fight for it - I'm prepared to do that". She then urged fans to not "advertise or buy" her old tracks.
But then in September she tweeted above a picture of her old albums that "all my children are coming home - impossible things happen ... Every. Single. Day. Gratefully". She then added that her fans could now "stream on".
As noted, quite what role Chance The Rapper played in all that isn't known, and a subsequent Twitter exchange between the two musicians didn't provide any more information.
"I saw one of THE greatest performances of my LIFETIME last night!" the rapper wrote of being at Baker's show. "Thank you so much for being an inspiration and an icon to so many of us".
"Had no idea you would be in our midst", she responded. "Such a nice surprise. Brought tears to my eyes".
Snoop Dogg decides not to thank himself
A statement posted on Twitter reads: "Due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts, including family obligations and upcoming TV and film projects, Snoop Dogg regrets he is canceling all upcoming non-US tour dates for the remainder of 2022".
"He was excited to see his fans around the world and apologies to all that had already made plans to see his show", it goes on. "He looks forward to rescheduling dates in the future. Ticket refunds will be available at the original point of purchase. Snoop Dogg is still committed to his remaining US tour dates for the rest of 2022".
Originally announced in 2019, the UK tour dates in support of the rapper's 'I Wanna Thank Me' album should have gone ahead in April 2020. However, due to the then new and exciting COVID-19 pandemic, they were postponed. Since then, the shows have been pushed back a number of times, most recently from February and March this year to August and September.
Support on the tour was due to come from Warren G, Tha Dogg Pound, Obie Trice and D12.
Jessie Buckley and Bernard Butler have released 'Footnotes On The Map', the latest single from their upcoming debut album together, 'For All Our Days That Tear The Heart', which is out on 17 Jun.
Deep Throat Choir will release new EP, '3am', on 10 Jun. Here's the title track.
Will Haven have released new single 'Wings Of Mariposa'. The track is taken from the band's upcoming new album and is "a nice little glimpse of what this new record is about', says guitarist Jeff Irwin. "I love this new record and am looking forward to playing most of these songs live".
GIGS & TOURS
Alexisonfire have announced UK tour dates in October, winding up at Brixton Academy in London on 22 Oct. "Something special happens when Alexisonfire gets together", says vocalist George Pettit. "When we're all on stage playing in the pocket, we elevate and the audience comes with us. Can't wait to play these shows!" Tickets go on sale tomorrow.
Entries to this year's Ivors Composer Awards are now open. Submissions for contemporary classical, jazz and sound arts composers will be accepted until 8 Jul here. Nominations will be announced on 18 Oct, and the event itself will take place on 15 Nov at the British Museum.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Sex Pistols mint commemorative jubilee coin
Minted at "the Sex Pistol's prestigious Pistol Mint" - by which I assume they mean some novelty tat factory - the souvenir coin features the classic Union Jack design from original 'God Save The Queen' artwork creator Jamie Reid on the front and his depiction of the Queen with a safety pin through her lips on the back. And just to be extra punk, it comes in a cushioned sapphire velvet presentation box.
Should you decide that this is something worth spending £25 (plus P&P) on, you'll also receive a free NFT along with your purchase. Once redeemed, a random jpeg featuring a digital representation of the coin will be selected and it will be noted forever on the blockchain that it's yours.
These NFTs are being minted on the Palm network, which claims that it's so eco-friendly that "each NFT has near zero carbon footprint". Although, obviously, still a greater carbon footprint than not fucking bothering.
It's one of a number of new Sex Pistols related projects. Out last week was new - and John Lydon denounced - Sex Pistols compilation 'The Original Recordings', which is at number six in the midweek albums chart. Meanwhile, the limited edition seven-inch vinyl reissue of 'God Save The Queen' is now set for release this Friday, coinciding with the Jubilee but putting it out the running for this week's big old Jubilee chart.
Speaking of the Jubilee chart race, that's so far not taking the country by storm at all. The Kunts' single 'Prince Andrew Is A Sweaty Nonce' is currently sitting at number 36, while Sarah Brightman and Alfie Boe's new recording of the national anthem is yet to crack the top 40. That could all change by Friday, of course. Although quite probably won't.
Anyway, back to The Sex Pistols. Those coins will not actually be shipped out until 28 Jul, but you can pre-order them now until the end of June. The 'Pistol' TV series arrives on Disney+ today. Oh, and here's a new version of the video for 'God Save The Queen', as spruced up by original director Julien Temple.