|WEDNESDAY 20 JULY 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: UK recorded music exports grew 13.7% last year to £590.8 million, according to number crunching by record industry trade group BPI. That's the highest export revenues for British record labels and recording artists since BPI started measuring such things back in 2000... [READ MORE]|
UK recorded music exports grew 13.7% in 2021
Needless to say, the ongoing streaming boom had a key role to play in all that, with BPI reporting that a record number of UK artists scored more than 100 million streams on a global basis last year. That includes the usual suspects like Adele and Ed Sheeran, but also artists including Glass Animals, PinkPantheress and Rex Orange County.
The global record industry at large had a good 2021, of course, so these figures aren't necessarily that big a surprise. Although the Anglo-American markets like the UK - which have always done particularly well when it comes to recorded music exports - are now facing increased competition in that domain.
As a result, the BPI is keen to stress that, despite these positive results, the industry needs government support to ensure that UK recorded music exports continue to grow at the same pace as the global recorded music sector. If they do, that could mean a billion pounds in annual export revenues by 2030.
In particular, the BPI would like more government support for the Music Export Growth Scheme which it administers, and which provides funding for independent labels and artists seeking to pursue opportunities in new markets.
Says BPI boss Geoff Taylor: "These record-breaking figures once again highlight the extraordinary popularity of British music internationally. This is not just about our much-loved superstars, but new artists and bands from all over the UK who, with their label's investment and expertise, are able to successfully navigate the competitive streaming landscape".
"Recent market estimates suggest the global recorded music industry could double in size by 2030, meaning there's ample opportunity for more artists to achieve international success and for music to deliver for UK PLC", he adds.
"But continued success isn't guaranteed, as competition increases from international markets, making it harder to cut through and putting pressure on our global market share", he warns. "The Music Exports Growth Scheme provides vital funding to help independent labels and artists expand their businesses overseas, and with sustained support from government, British music will continue to thrive all around the world".
Cardi B to testify as publicity rights case over mixtape artwork heads to courtCardi B will be testifying in court for the second time this year next month. This time in relation to her dispute with a model whose distinctive tattoos appeared on the cover of the rapper's 2016 mixtape 'Gangsta Bitch Music Vol 1'.
The model, Kevin Brophy, accuses the rapper, real name Belcalis Almánzar, of infringing his publicity rights under Californian law. The man who appears on the cover of 'Gangsta Bitch Music Vol 1' has his back to the camera and it's designed to look like he is performing oral sex on the rapper. Because of the distinctive tattoos on the man's back, Brophy argues, everyone assumes it is him in the image.
Almánzar's legal reps will tell the court next month that a designer superimposed Brophy's distinctive tattoos onto the back of the man who actually was photographed with the rapper, but that this happened without their client's knowledge.
They will also argue that the skin tone of the man in the photo makes it clear that it is not actually Brophy, plus the designer also altered the tattoo design in Photoshop. Although previous efforts by Almánzar to have the case dismissed on the basis that the tattoo image had been altered were not successful.
For his part, Brophy will argue that many people have indeed assumed it is him in the photo, because of the distinctive tattoos, and that that has resulted in him regularly facing "uncomfortable comments, questions, and ridicule from community members and family".
As the original lawsuit stated: "His family dynamic has been adversely affected, and his work and professional life have been unalterably damaged by his having to explain this unconsented-to, offensive and malicious use of his image".
With attempts to settle the dispute out of court having seemingly failed - and following previous delays - the Brophy v Almánzar litigation is set to be heard before a jury in a court in California next month.
And, according to Rolling Stone, at a pre-trial hearing on Monday the judge overseeing the case confirmed that Almánzar is expected to testify. She was last seen giving testimony in court back in January as part of her defamation lawsuit against YouTuber Latasha Kebe. In that case Almánzar was the plaintiff, and she was successful in court, winning $4 million in damages.
Commenting on the Brophy lawsuit, judge Cormac J Carney said earlier this week: "I don't think this case is a complex case, but I think it's a very interesting case, and it's one I think the jurors would enjoy".
Also on Monday, both sides asked for edits to a statement about the case that will be circulated to potential jurors ahead of the jury selection process. The Brophy side wanted the sexually explicit nature of the 'Gangsta Bitch Music Vol 1' cover art to be clearly stated.
To that end they requested that the statement include the line: "Plaintiff alleges that he did not and would not consent to defendants' use of his likeness, and that he is being portrayed in an offensive manner depicting sexual activity with Cardi B".
Meanwhile, Almánzar's lawyers asked for some edits on a line setting out her arguments, so that the final version stated that Brophy "is not the man depicted in the image, that the image does not portray actual sexual activity" and that "defendants' use of his tattoo design did not show plaintiff in a false light or would be highly offensive to a reasonable person in plaintiff's position".
We now await the trial with interest.
Music Venue Trust partners with Free Now to underwrite grassroots gigs
As part of the initiative, Public Service Broadcasting will play Peckham Audio next month. That band's J Wilgoose Esq says: "I honestly don't think Public Service Broadcasting would be a going concern without grassroots venues. Years before our first EP came out I was gigging around London and further afield as a solo act, learning what worked and - more often - what didn't".
"If we're going to continue to have such an extraordinarily successful musical and cultural scene here in the UK - not to mention [one that is] profitable to the Exchequer", he goes on, "we have to ensure that these venues not only survive but thrive, giving the next generation of musicians and artists the platforms they need to hone their acts and learn their trade".
Free Now's Head Of Marketing, Sara De-Velasco, adds: "We are excited to support grassroots venues through our partnership with the Music Venue Trust and as part of our commitment Free Now is proud to sponsor Public Service Broadcasting performing at Peckham Audio".
"After a challenging two years, we're joining venues, artists and our amazing local music communities in celebrating the UK's vibrant and creative music culture", she goes on. "We're THRILLED to be supporting these essential, magical places that give rise to the acts we'll all fall in love with tomorrow; and connecting music enthusiasts of all backgrounds with their passion through fast, flexible and friction free mobility in cities across the UK".
And finally, MVT CEO Mark Davyd comments: "It's great to be working with Free Now to be connecting people with their next favourite artist. Music Venue Trust is working hard with venues to identify acts which we know are the next Mercury Prize nominees and give people the chance to experience them early on in their careers in some outstanding venues before they move up to the biggest venues and festivals. It's great to see this partnership with Free Now kick off with this very special show from a band like Public Service Broadcasting who really epitomise that journey".
Tickets for the PSB show go on sale tomorrow. Further shows in the series are set to be announced in due course.
YouTube announces Shopify partnership and other "shoppable" innovations
And that includes by making content that is more "shoppable". Yeah, that's a word now, people. We're stuck with it and there's nothing you can do about it.
In a blog post, YouTube's VP Shopping Product David Katz said that, via the new Shopify partnership, eligible creators will be able to connect their Shopify store and YouTube channel in just a few steps, and then "easily feature their products across their YouTube channels and content".
"Creators who link their stores can display their products across their channel and benefit from Shopify's real-time inventory syncing so that viewers are never disappointed to find a product out of stock", he added. "And, for a more seamless shopping experience, creators in the US can enable onsite checkout so that viewers can complete their purchases without leaving YouTube".
Confirming the partnership from its side, Shopify's VP Of Product Kaz Nejatian said: "Shopify is the commerce infrastructure of the internet, powering millions of independent businesses all over the world. We believe creators are the next generation of merchants, and YouTube has been a long-time leader in powering this new cohort of entrepreneurs. We're excited to partner with YouTube, and help scale the creator economy into its next phase of growth".
Most of the user-generated content and social media platforms have been expanding the ways creators can make money beyond sharing in any ad income generated by the platforms themselves. That includes making it easier to upsell products and merchandise - often via partnerships with companies like Shopify - as well as offering membership and digital gifting tools. YouTube has been active in all three for a while now, of course.
The Shopify partnership isn't the only innovation YouTube is introducing to make videos and livestreams on the platform more - and I'm really sorry about this - "shoppable". Just to be clear, we did check if we're definitely stuck with that word. But, alas, for now at least, we are.
"Starting next week we'll be introducing a new shopping destination in the explore tab that will feature shoppable relevant content for viewers in the US, Brazil and India", Katz also wrote yesterday. And that shopping destination for shoppable content will roll out to other countries later this year.
Plus "we've introduced new tools within YouTube Studio's 'Shopping' tab so that creators can easily manage how their products are tagged and appear across their channel" and "all eligible creators can now access live shopping features like the ability to tag products to a live stream directly from the Live Control Room".
It's unstoppable shoppable madness! Enjoy it everybody.
BBC hires Jonathan Rothery as Head Of Pop Music for TV
"With over 20 years working in television, Jonathan now brings his incredible skills and experience as a hugely respected programme-maker, executive producer and commissioner to the BBC's music team", says BBC Director Of Music Lorna Clarke. "Having worked at a senior level on a vast range of content and formats, I'm looking forward to him bringing his genuine love for music and creativity and vision as he joins the BBC to deliver our world-class programming across all our platforms".
Rothery himself adds: "I feel very privileged to have spent ten years commissioning such a broad range of shows and working with such amazing people at Channel 4. The opportunity to set my sights back on music TV and more specifically help build on the amazing slate of shows the BBC has to offer is a dream role for me".
As noted there, Rothery joins from Channel 4, where he has been a commissioning editor since 2012, overseeing music programming - including coverage of the V Festival, Mercury Music Prize and iTunes Festival - and more recently also commissioning general entertainment shows.
Prior to that, he had a short stint at Sky where he worked on more festival programming, including coverage of the Isle Of Wight, Latitude and Cambridge Folk festivals, and before that he worked as a freelance producer and director, including on shows like 'Popworld' and '4 Music Presents'.
And before all of that, he was at the good old BBC, where he worked on programmes including 'Top Of The Pops', 'Later... with Jools Holland' and the broadcaster's Glastonbury Festival coverage.
Rothery officially takes up his new role at the Beeb on 12 Sep.
Gogol Bordello announce new album, Solidaritine
Coloured by the ongoing war in frontman Eugene Hutz's native Ukraine, the album sees the band move back towards a harder punk sound.
"This is music of survival and perseverance", says Hutz. "That's always been our main driving force. We just want to give the world a timeless album with messages of human potential and power".
"Our music was always about perseverance", he goes on. "Rock n roll comes out of a real place. Take a group of people who have endured immigrant traumas and dislocation. They create music, get successful together, become more baroque and experimental, and experience some years of relative calm. All of a sudden, humankind encounters these problems like the pandemic and the war. This is when rock n roll is the most necessary and where we perform the best".
"The album is really about uniting the people of goodwill", he concludes. "Releasing any kind of art that doesn't address the situation in Ukraine right now would be pretty despicable".
The first single from the album is 'Focus Coin', of which Hutz says: "The quality of your ability to focus defines everything in your life and that's exactly what the first single 'Focus Coin' is about. Your focus is the hardest currency there is".
'Solidaritine' is set for release on 16 Oct. Listen to 'Focus Coin' here.
BMG has acquired Simple Minds' song rights catalogue, plus the band's remuneration and royalty rights in relation to their entire recorded music output. This follows the news that BMG will release the band's new album, 'Direction Of The Heart', on 21 Oct. "We are very pleased to have struck this deal", says frontman Jim Kerr. "It feels like the right time for us and our families. We look forward to working with everyone at BMG".
Artist manager Matt Roswell has joined YMU. "I'm excited to be at YMU and to be working with … the amazing team here", he says. "Having been independent for so long it's nice to have others to bounce ideas off and to continue my learning in what is an ever changing industry".
Management firm This Is Music has promoted Lisa Marxen to the role of Managing Director. "The opportunity to lead This Is Music is a great privilege", she says. "Since joining the companies' leadership team in 2016, working closely alongside [previous MD] Oli Isaacs and our co-director Luke Williams, we've been able to strengthen the company and our team despite the challenges of COVID and the rapidly changing digital music ecosystem".
EVENTS & EDUCATION
The Teenage Cancer Trust will host the fundraising Ladies Who Rock lunch at Karma Sanctum Soho today. The event will include a silent auction, which you can also take part in online. See what's on offer here. Money raised will go to funding the specialist nursing for young people with cancer provided by the Trust.
Slipknot are back with new music. New single 'The Dying Song (Time To Sing)' is the first single from new album 'The End, So Far', which is out on 30 Sep. "New Music, new art, and new beginnings", says percussionist Shawn Crahan. "Get ready for the end".
Jessie Ware has released new single 'Free Yourself'. The song, she says, "is the beginning of a new era for me. I'm so excited for people to have this song for the end of their summer; to dance, to feel no inhibitions, and to feel joyful because that's how I've been feeling recently being able to tour again and being able to sing again. Enjoy yourself, free yourself!"
Clutch have announced that they will release their thirteenth studio album, 'Sunrise On Slaughter Beach', on 16 Sep. Here's recent single 'We Strive For Excellence'. The band will also be touring the UK in November and December, finishing up with a show at The Roundhouse in London on 17 Dec.
There's another new Daphni single. It's called 'Clavicle' and is taken from new album 'Cherry', which is out on 7 Oct.
Featuring Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton, ex-Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, Retox guitarist Mike Crain and The Locust bassist Justin Pearson, Dead Cross have announced that they will release their second album, 'II', on 28 Oct. From it, this is 'Reign Of Error'.
Unloved have released new single 'Turn Of The Screw', featuring Raven Violet. "'Turn Of The Screw' was a song I wrote the lyrics to over lockdown", says the group's David Holmes. "It's an ode to mental health - making changes in your life for the better - cutting toxicity out of your life and focusing on the important things - family, friends and music".
Titus Andronicus will release their seventh album, 'The Will To Live', on 30 Sep. First single '(I'm) Screwed' is out now. "In '(I'm) Screwed', we are introduced to the narrator of 'The Will To Live' at the moment he realises the walls are closing in", says frontman Patrick Stickles. "Be it real or imagined, he feels the pressure building on all sides, a feeling to which many of us can relate, I imagine. His faith and fortitude are tested like never before, and the narrative of the album will reveal whether that pressure crushes him or produces a diamond".
Lucrecia Dalt has released new single 'Atemporal', from her upcoming new album '¡Ay!'
Boyfriend has enlisted Pussy Riot for new single 'Dance With The Devil'. "This song is an invitation to the Devil's party, where indulgence isn't a sin and temptation isn't a threat", says Boyfriend. "It's also an inversion of the patriarchal depictions of Satan… if God is a woman, so is the Devil, and she's way more fun to hang with".
Tool's Justin Chancellor and Sweet Noise vocalist Peter Mohamed have revived their MTVoid project after nearly a decade, with new song 'Scanner Void'. "Peter and I really push each other", says Chancellor. "My playing is a reaction to what he creates. He'll hit me with a beat, and I'll spend days recording to it - almost in stream-of-consciousness. I'll respond to him, and I'm always excited at what he pulls out from my response. It's all cause and effect. There is a means to this end though; we're both trying to write a song we would like to listen to. There's a genuine momentum to it".
GIGS & TOURS
Justin Bieber is set to resume his world tour, after medical issues brought it to a halt last month. He'll kick things off again at Summer Festival in Lucca, Italy on 31 Jul. UK shows are scheduled to begin in February 2023.
Following her triumphant Glastonbury set last month, Megan Thee Stallion has announced a one-off show at Brixton Academy on 24 Aug. Tickets go on general sale on Friday.
The Featured Artists Coalition and Music Managers Forum's Artist & Manager Awards will be back again later this year, taking place at the Bloomsbury Big Top in London on 17 Nov. Entries are open now - fill out this form here.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
The Chainsmokers to perform at the edge of space
Actually, I don't think "space balloon company" is how World View refers to itself, but it basically plans to float passengers up into the stratosphere in a capsule attached to a big balloon. So, what else am I supposed to call it? Either way, Chainsmokers will play their next gig in a space balloon.
Actually, not their next gig. This isn't going to happen until 2024 when the company opens two of the spaceports it's building around the world.
"We have always dreamed of going to space and are stoked to collaborate with World View to have this adventure and experience", say The Chainsmokers. "We know the views of both Earth and space are going to be incredible and inspiring and we hope to leverage this flight for creativity on future projects".
Now, the people travelling with them might be a bit too distracted by those views to actually pay attention to their performance. Who cares though? Presumably The Chainsmokers will be happy just getting a free trip to (almost) space even if no one really listens to their music.
Especially so, given that World View is charging $50,000 a seat on standard flights, which will last six to twelve hours. That's still only a fraction of what other companies in the emerging almost-space tourism sector are charging, mind.
World View has also made a big deal of the fact that, unlike with some of its competitors, its flights won't burn up a shitload of rocket fuel just to let a load of rich people have a quick look down at the planet. It also says that it hopes that the experience of the trips it plans to offer will inspire passengers to want to take better care of the Earth.
"We think about inspiring new perspectives and how those new perspectives can lead to a radically improved future for our Earth," says CEO Ryan Hartman. "To be able to reach the audience of The Chainsmokers … contributes to our mission as well. It's something that I'm personally inspired by and excited about".
Oh yeah, they are also going to record the near-space performance so that the duo's fans can watch it. Which is another reason it doesn't matter if no one on board pays attention.
So that's all good then. Though, fingers crossed the trip doesn't end up as a reenactment of the video for the duo's track 'High'.