|FRIDAY 17 JUNE 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Belgium's Parliament yesterday updated the country's copyright laws to bring them in line with the 2019 European Copyright Directive and in doing so added a performer equitable remuneration right for streaming. It means that performers in the country will receive at least some of their streaming royalties directly from the services, most likely via the collective licensing system... [READ MORE]|
Belgium introduces ER right on streams
In most countries artists receive all their streaming royalties via whichever record labels or music distributors they have done deals with. What percentage they receive of any streaming money their recordings generate will depend entirely on those deals, and could be anywhere from a few percent to 100%. The artist's share of the money might also be paying off past advances and other upfront costs incurred by the label.
However, many artists have argued for a system in streaming more like what usually happens in radio, where performers receive royalties directly via the collective licensing system at industry standard rates, meaning the specifics of any one record or distribution deal are irrelevant.
That system usually applies with broadcast and public performance because under copyright law - in those scenarios - performers have their own statutory right to remuneration in addition to the rights of the copyright owner, which is often a label. Therefore one way to get that system going in streaming would be to get a similar remuneration right for digital written into copyright law.
When the EU copyright directive was being negotiated, some campaigned for that change to be specifically introduced into European copyright law. However, in the end, that did not happen. But article eighteen of the directive did say that performers should receive "appropriate and proportionate remuneration" from the exploitation of their work.
Once an EU directive has been passed, each EU country needs to amend their national laws so that they are in sync with the new European laws. Most of the countries that have already done that have simply copied article eighteen as written in the directive directly into their national copyright laws, aka 'literal transposition'.
That basically means nothing changes in practical terms, because article eighteen is pretty vague. After all, who is to say what constitutes "appropriate and proportionate remuneration"? And if lawmakers cut and paste that new commitment into law without seeking to change the current system, that possibly implies that they consider the current system to be "appropriate and proportionate".
However, some countries have written a more specific interpretation of article eighteen as they implement the directive and, in doing so, have introduced additional rights for performers. For example, in Germany, a new remuneration right for performers has been added that specifically relates to user-upload platforms.
Initially it looked like the same was going to happen in Belgium, with the country's Council Of Ministers agreeing proposals for a new performer remuneration right relating to user-upload services back in March. Those proposals then went to the country's Parliament where they were actually expanded so to also cover audio streaming services like Spotify. Which means there will now be ER paid on streams across the board in Belgium.
This is not unprecedented in Europe, with performers already having an ER right that applies to streaming in both Spain and Hungary even before the 2019 directive. Although it's worth noting that these streaming ER rights generally work differently to the radio ER rights.
With radio, everything is licensed through the collective licensing system, with monies that flow through that system then automatically split between copyright owners (often labels) and performers, including session musicians.
With streaming, labels usually still license their recordings directly to the services and directly receive royalties from said services which they share with their artists. However, in addition to that a small percentage of total streaming monies flows through the collective licensing system and is paid directly to performers, again including session musicians.
That system particularly benefits artists who are still paying off unrecouped advances and such like on their label deals - and, of course, session musicians, who currently don't receive any cut of streaming income in the countries where ER does not apply, which is most of them.
ER on streams is a contentious topic within the music industry. Most labels - major and indie - are critical of the approach, arguing that it negatively impacts on their ability to invest in new artists and means there is less flexibility when it comes to negotiating deals. Plus those artists who basically run their own labels working with distributors could actually be worse off once the admin costs of running ER and the session musician royalties have been paid.
But plenty of groups representing artists and musicians are highly in favour of ER on streams, arguing that heritage artists in particular have not properly benefited from the streaming boom because they are often stuck in old life of copyright record deals that pay lower physical era royalty rates, and those low payments might still be paying off unrecouped balances.
Some in the indie label community acknowledge that this is often a problem in the wider industry, though usually argue that a better solution than ER is for labels to pay a modern streaming royalty on all recordings oblivious of old deal terms while also writing off unrecouped balances after a period of time. Labels like the Beggars Group already do both those things, and the majors have also started paying through royalties to unrecouped heritage artists.
That big ER debate very much continues within the music industry, so it's no surprise that the decision to introduce ER on streams in Belgium has garnered a mixed response.
Christophe Van Vaerenbergh, General Manager of PlayRight - the Belgian collecting society for performers - unsurprisingly welcomed the decision. He told reporters: "PlayRight applauds the adoption of [this] bill of law: this is a new era for neighbouring rights and a clear recognition that only a non-transferable and non-waivable right to remuneration provides sufficient and equitable protection for musicians and actors in the digital age".
Meanwhile, Helen Smith, Executive Chair of IMPALA - the pan-European grouping for independent music companies - was critical of the law change in Belgium. She stated: "We are very concerned by the new remuneration rights introduced by this legislation. We believe these new rights are not compatible with the EU Directive - they were specifically rejected by the EU institutions at the time of adoption - and will be impractical".
"Labels are the artists' main partners, the main investors in new music", she added, "and these new rules will seriously diminish their ability to take risk and invest in Belgian artists and Belgian music - a very bad timing considering that the sector was just on its way back to growth after a two-year pandemic. We sincerely hope the Belgian government will convene all stakeholders around a table to discuss the way forward".
Supporters of ER on streams are now also wondering if what has happened in Belgium can be replicated in more European countries. The deadline for integrating the 2019 directive into national law was actually a year ago, but twelve more EU member states are still working on it.
With that in mind, Ioan Kaes, General Secretary of AEPO-ARTIS - the pan-European grouping for performer collecting societies - hopes additional ER rights might be introduced in Europe as those final countries implement the directive.
"The only excuse to be late in this implementation is the search for the best additional measures to protect performers in the online environment they are increasingly dependent on", he said last night.
The Belgian approach is "the most comprehensive and effective" implementation of the directive, he added, concluding: "[This is] a model that the twelve countries that have yet to implement could adopt, and demonstrate to those who have opted for literal transposition that achieving a directive's objectives is more important than achieving its deadline".
Pro ER campaigners will likely enjoy the support of Belgian political leaders in pushing for equitable remuneration on streams elsewhere in Europe, especially when the country holds the EU presidency in the first half of 2024.
Commenting on the new copyright reforms in his country, Belgium's Minister Of Economic Affairs, Pierre-Yves Dermagne, said: "The addition of remuneration rights for online exploitations was made at the request of the artists. It empowers them to effectively receive a remuneration and during the upcoming Belgian EU presidency in 2024, we want to make an effort to generalise this system in the EU".
300 promotes Rayna Bass and Selim Bouab to co-Presidents
"My philosophy is to always surround myself with amazing, dedicated, passionate people, and I've been truly blessed to have Rayna and Selim at my side for the past eight years", says CEO Kevin Liles. "This dream team has been dominating the hip hop space for a decade with an artist-first, independent mindset".
He continues: "From turning once-in-a-generation talents like Megan Thee Stallion, Young Thug, Gunna and the legendary Mary J Blige into global superstars, to turning musical moments into cultural movements like Pushin P, Trap Queen, Bad and Boujee, and Hot Girl Summer, they make an unstoppable leadership duo".
"With deep experience across all lines of our business", he concludes, "Rayna and Selim have been essential players in building our company from the ground up, and I know they are destined for great things as we begin a new chapter in the ever-evolving book of 300".
Bouab adds: "We've both had the fantastic experience of being part of the evolution of 300. Under Kevin's brilliant guidance, we've signed and developed artists who've topped the charts, moved culture, and made a difference in the world".
Meanwhile, Bass comments: "It's always been our mission to serve artists at the highest level and to remain culturally driven. This has been the north star in our development as executives and leaders. We have a team of innovative and passionate individuals and I'm incredibly excited for the future".
Festival Republic and Music Declares Emergency to research connecting festivals to the national grid
Announcing the project, Festival Republic boss Melvin Benn says: "This project will be a game changer for outdoor live events. Generating our own temporary power is the highest contributor of on-site greenhouse gas emissions at a festival, and by plugging into the grid we will reduce this significantly".
The festivals company is hoping that, on the back of the research, it can run fully renewably-powered grid-connected stages at three of its events next year, while also helping other promoters and event organisers to pursue similar plans.
Benn continues: "By doing this and sharing our knowledge with others, festival goers can have an amazing time at festivals safe in the knowledge that we are doing everything we can as event organisers to create events that have positive rather than negative impacts [on the environment]".
Welcoming the partnership with Festival Republic, Music Declares Emergency Co-Founder Lewis Jamieson adds: "Festival Republic and Melvin personally have been at the forefront of action on climate and environmental issues within the music industry for years".
"In partnering with MDE to make renewable event power a reality", he went on, "they are not just continuing FR's transition towards a greener future but offering the entire live sector an invaluable pathway that will benefit the whole live music community. We are delighted to be working with Festival Republic on such a visible example of the difference positive music businesses can make in relation to the climate crisis".
The research on connecting festival sites to the national power grid is one of a plethora of initiatives Festival Republic is pursuing to make its events more environmentally sustainable, including ever more recycling and use of recycled products onsite, schemes to encourage festival-goers to car share, and support for tree planting charity Trees For Cities.
This year's Reading and Leeds festivals will also be powered by 100% HVO biofuel which, Festival Republic says, is "a renewable form of fuel that has 90% less carbon equivalent emissions than regular diesel". Plus attendees at those two festivals will also have access to the findings of research by the London School Of Economics into the climate impact of food items sold at the events, with that information shared via a simple traffic light system.
Beyonce announces seventh album, Renaissance
Not the most bombastic of announcements, the news came via an update to the singer's social media bios, which now read "Act i Renaissance 7.29". But, despite the lack of a big PR alert, I think it's safe to say that an album called 'Renaissance' is coming out on 29 Jul.
Also, just to make things absolutely clear, she's also taking pre-orders for a boxset release of an album called 'Renaissance', which will be out on 29 Jul, through her official website. So when I say "it's safe to say", it's really safe to say, I reckon.
Listings on streaming services suggest a sixteen track album is to be expected, so we're doing alright for details, despite the lack of information from official Beyonce channels. Although there's a big question mark over that 'Act I' thing. Does this mean we should expect a second part to the album in the future? And a third? Who knows. Beyonce probably.
It's not exactly a surprise that a new album has been announced. Beyonce confirmed that she was working on new music last year, telling Harpers Bazaar: "There's nothing like the amount of love, passion, and healing that I feel in the recording studio. After 31 years, it feels just as exciting as it did when I was nine years old. Yes, the music is coming!"
Although she added: "Sometimes it takes a year for me to personally search through thousands of sounds to find just the right kick or snare. One chorus can have up to 200 stacked harmonies".
There was a further hint that a new album was now imminent earlier this week, when Beyonce's BeyGOOD foundation posted a tweet celebrating black musicians. An attached image featured numerous album covers, although in one slot, rather than an existing album cover, there was a picture of a a gloved hand pointing to the artwork to its left. The album in that slot? Brandy's 'B7'.
Fans took this to mean that Beyonce's own seventh album was soon to be announced. And look, they were right.
There's no music to listen to as yet, but rest assured that at the absolute worst, you only have six weeks to wait.
Drake releases new album Honestly, Nevermind
In a message to fans that accompanies the new album on Apple Music, Drake rambles away as follows: "I let my humbleness turn to numbness at times letting time go by knowing I got the endurance to catch it another time. I work with every breath in my body cause it's the work not air that makes me feel alive. That's some real detrimental shit but that's that shit my perfectionist mind doesn't really mind because no one knows whats on my mind when I go to sleep at nine and wake up at five - unless I say it in rhyme".
"I can't remember the last time someone put they phone down, looked me in the eyes and asked my current insight on the times", he goes on. "But I remember every single time someone shined a light in my eyes. I purposely try to forget what went on between some ppl and I because I know I'm not a forgiving guy even when I try".
"My urge for revenge wins the game against my good guy inside every single fckn time", he continues. "I got plans I can't talk about with more than like four guys because the last time I shared em with someone on the outside… well, that's another story for another night. I was tryna get thru that statement to get to saying I'm not at a time in my life where pats on the shoulder help get me by. I'll take loyalty over an 'oh my' and emoji fire".
"I know if it was a dark night where all the odds were against my side and my skill went to whoever took my life they'd done me off with a big smile and maybe even post it for some likes", he then adds. "I know everyone that tells me they love me doesn't love me all the time especially when I'm doing better than alright and they have to watch it from whatever point they at in their life".
"I got here being realistic", he concludes. "I didn't get here being blind. I know whats what and especially what and who is by my side. Honestly… nevermind".
So, there you go. While 'Certified Loverboy' was pretty heavy on collaborations, 'Honestly, Nevermind' features just one, with 21 Savage joining on closing track 'Jimmy Cooks'.
The album is available to hear now in all the places you'd expect an album to be online. And here's the video for one of its tracks, 'Falling Back'.
SoundCloud has hired Tracy Chan as SVP Creator. He moves over from Twitch, where he was Head Of Music. "It's a momentous time to join SoundCloud", he reckons. "A pioneering company that has continuously innovated and deepened its commitment to providing the best-in-class services and offerings that advance the careers of artists around the world. My previous experiences focused on helping artists thrive in the existing music economy. Now, at SoundCloud, my mission is building the new music economy to help artists thrive".
Lucas Van Slegtenhorst has joined Utopia Music as VP Benelux. He was previously Head Of Benelux at Downtown Music Services. "With Lucas's experience and trusted reputation I could think of no one better to lead the charge of Utopia's mission of 'fair pay for every play' in Benelux", says the company's COO Roberto Neri.
Beabadoobee has released new single '10:36'. Her new album, 'Beatopia', is out on 15 Jul.
Headie One has released new track 'Cloud', featuring Luciano.
FKA Twigs has released new single 'Killer'. "It's dangerous to be a woman in love", she says. "When at its worst the effects of heart break can define one's trajectory much more than the beauty of the love itself, in my song 'Killer' I explore this concept. The navigation, the hunt and the kill".
Flight Of The Concords' Bret McKenzie has released new single 'Dave's Place', taken from his upcoming solo album 'Songs Without Jokes'. "Like most of my songs I wrote this one night at home in Wellington while strumming away on my guitar", he says. "I then worked with producer Mickey Petralia in LA to develop the initial idea. What started off as a three-chord country song came out the other side an 80s 'Blade Runner', Dire Straits-esque jam. The song is called 'Dave's Place' after the late Dave Bianco".
Two Door Cinema Club have announced that they will release their new album, 'Keep On Smiling', on 2 Sep. Here's new single 'Wonderful Life'.
Rico Nasty has released new single 'Black Punk'.
Razorlight are back with new single 'Call Me Junior'. Lucky you.
Santigold has release 'Ain't Ready'. Her new album, 'Spirituals', is out on 8 Sep.
Lambchop will release new album 'The Bible' on 30 Sep. "I had this idea that - I'm not a religious person but I do believe that there's a spirituality to a lot of people and they're not religious", he says in reference to the album's title. "You don't have to be religious to be a spiritual person, right? You just don't have to, there should be an acceptance, or a way of recognising spirituality without it being overtly religious". Here's first single 'Police Dog Blues'.
SBTRKT has released new track 'Bodmin Moor'. He is set to release his first album since 2014 later this year.
Belief - aka Stella Mozgawa and Boom Bip - have released new track 'Wot'. Mozgawa explains: "'Wot' is a playful track that we added last minute to the album. It has a cheeky, mischievous spirit that we felt was missing from the record. It all came together quickly and in a shared flow state". Album? Oh yeah, that's out on 15 Jul.
Russian Circles will release new album 'Gnosis' on 19 Aug. You can listen to new single 'Condiut' now.
Isabella Lovestory has released new single 'Cherry Bomb'.
Katy J Pearson has released new single 'Float'. Her new album, 'Sound Of The Morning', is out on 8 Jul.
Fable has released new single 'Onion Brain'. "The main theme is the acceptance of loss, and the inseparable relationship of life and death", she says. "I titled the track 'Onion Brain' with a hint to the Buddhist idea that the suffering we perceive is caused by there being a sufferer, a noun. We believe ourselves to be nouns, static and separate, but as we peel away the layers we realise we are but verbs - living, breathing, digesting our experience, always flowing and affected by the world around us". Her debut album, 'Shame', is out on 29 Jul.
Senses Fail have released new single 'End Of The World/Game Of Chess', featuring SeeYouSpaceCowboy vocalist Connie Sgarbossa. The band's new album, 'Hell Is In Your Head', is out on 15 Jul.
GIGS & TOURS
More guests have been added to the line-up of the Taylor Hawkins tribute show in London on 23 Sep. They are drummer John Paul Jones and Nandi Bushell, Nile Rodgers, Nirvana's Krist Novoselic, producer Greg Kurstin, multi-instrumentalist Alain Johannes, and comedian Chris Rock. Tickets are on sale now.
The Libertines will play Wembley Arena on 23 Jul to mark the 20th anniversary of their 'Up The Bracket' album. Support will come from The Cribs, The Paddingtons, Louis Dunford and Amazonica. Tickets are available now.
Joey Bada$$ has announced UK tour dates in December this year, kicking off at the Roundhouse in London on 13 Dec. Tickets are on sale now. You could have got in the mood by listening to his new album, which was due out today, but it's been delayed due to sample clearance issues - or at least that's what he said on Twitter last night. However, there is this new collab track with Chance The Rapper.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
BTS's V says he has no regrets about shelving solo songs and starting again from scratch
"I shelved all those [older] songs and I'm writing new ones", he tells Weverse Magazine. "But I think I'm doing a good job with the writing now".
"I don't have any regrets", he goes on. "I just tell myself the next song should be better than the previous one and go make it. I feel like I want to be as objective as I can be with myself when it comes to the songs I make. If I feel regret whenever that happens, I'll become one of those people who just release songs even when they're not satisfied with them. And then I wouldn't be able to complete an album of my songs the way I envision it".
He also says that he has big plans for the future, explaining: "I hope I can come up with a whole lot of personas: singer, solo singer, actor or, later on, photographer or regular old Kim Taehyung. Or when I get into something else. I want to create so many different personas that there's thousands of versions of myself out there and I can become the kind of person who has a new me good enough to do something different every day. I think that's my ultimate dream, speaking as an artist".
So, he plans to keep busy then. Meanwhile, a bit further down the line with his solo projects, V's bandmate Jungkook is teasing a new collaboration with Charlie Puth on TikTok.