|FRIDAY 18 NOVEMBER 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The live music industry has welcomed a proposed cut in business rates for small businesses proposed in yesterday's autumn budget statement from the UK government. But little else. And the Music Venue Trust warns that "multiple opportunities to stabilise and grow the live music sector are being consistently missed"... [READ MORE]|
Live music industry reacts to UK's autumn budget statement
Representatives of the live sector say that calls for further relief for live music and other night-time businesses continue to be ignored - prompting the Music Venue Trust to call on the British government to set up a live music commission to consider the challenges facing the industry.
In his first budget as the UK's Chancellor Of The Exchequer yesterday, Jeremy Hunt laid out £55 billion of tax increases and spending cuts - although there was some support for people on lower incomes, as the country grapples with spiralling living costs and a recession.
There was some support too for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, with the announcement that business rates will be further cut from April next year by almost £2.1 billion across the sector.
However, while this is something that live music representatives have been requesting for some time, it is only one of the measures they say are necessary to keep venues, clubs and more alive. Those other measures - such as a cut in the rate of VAT on ticket sales, similar to that instigated during the pandemic - were not included in the latest UK budget.
"While we welcome the government's desire to bring stability to the UK economy, today has offered little help to secure the future of our £4.5 billion industry and the 200,000 people it employs", says CEO of live music trade body LIVE, Jon Collins. "Unprecedented operating conditions are pushing our sector to the brink, as much-loved venues close their doors, tours are cancelled and artists drop out of the industry".
"The pandemic hangover combined with the increased cost of living has led to 54% of people stating they are less disposed to attending live entertainment, putting incredible pressure on the live music sector", he goes on. "Today, we renew our call for a reintroduction of a lower VAT rate on ticket sales to inject cash into the bottom line of struggling businesses, bring us in line with many other European countries, and secure the future of live music for all".
CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, Michael Kill, adds: "This government is guilty of neglecting thousands of businesses and millions of employees and freelancers across the night time economy, this budget has not gone far enough and still lacks clarity, and will without doubt see a huge swathe of SMEs and independent businesses disappear in the coming months".
"When businesses should be preparing for the busiest period of the year, they are now having to consider their future, and will remember the fourth failed attempt to deliver a budget to safeguard businesses at the sharpest end of the crisis", he continues. "There is no consideration for the human impact, this will have a devastating effect on not only business owners, but the individuals and families who have committed their lives and livelihoods to this sector".
Meanwhile, head of the Music Venue Trust, Mark Davyd, said that the government should launch its own live music commission to examine the challenges facing the grassroots music industry - given that it has repeatedly ignored calls for support from the sector itself.
"Music Venue Trust welcomes the government's announcement that the retail, hospitality and leisure relief on business rates, which includes the majority of UK grassroots music venues, will be extended from 50% to 75% from 1 April 2023", he says in response to the budget. "However, we have written to the Treasury to ask that they clarify the support being offered to venues with values in excess of £110,000 - the autumn statement lacks clarity on what is proposed for such venues".
Davyd also notes that the government committed to carry out a full review of business rates on grassroots music venues back in January 2020. However, this has not yet happened. "We strongly urge the Chancellor and Prime Minister to bring forward that review at the earliest opportunity", he says. "The UK has the highest level of premises taxes on grassroots music venues in Europe".
And it's not only premises taxes that are high, he adds. "The UK [also] continues to have the highest rate of VAT in Europe on live music tickets. This must change so the UK can compete".
"The government states it is committed to stability and growth", he notes. "Despite its welcome action to provide some stability around business rates for a further twelve month period, the multiple opportunities to stabilise and grow the live music sector are being consistently missed, budget after budget, statement after statement".
"Our grassroots music venue sector creates 29,000 jobs, delivering over 170,000 performances to more than 20 million people", he adds. "It is a vital sector with real opportunities to deliver growth, but that is not recognised and acted upon in this autumn statement".
"In light of these missed opportunities, Music Venue Trust calls for the government to set up a live music commission", he goes on. "This body can be charged with considering the significant opportunities to stabilise and grow the live music sector, with the aim of informing future government policy so that these opportunities are not consistently missed".
"A live music commission can provide the government with the tools it needs to be able to recognise the incredible asset the UK has in its grassroots music venues and ensure that future policy protects, secures and improves them", he concludes.
At this stage, given how many times the government has failed to enact requests for relief from multiple music industry organisations, it's probably safe to say that these are things that the governing Conservative Party simply does not want to do. However, we shall see if any of these calls are heeded in the coming months.
Drake and 21 Savage consent to preliminary injunction over fake Vogue cover
An assortment of fake media coverage was created and then shared on social media as part of the marketing for 'Her Loss'. The other media brands spoofed didn't seem too bothered, but Condé Nast was not happy at all at the suggestion it had made the two musicians cover stars on their flagship fashion title.
As well as creating the Vogue cover, Drake and 21 Savage heavily suggested that it was a legit cover feature on social media, put up posters of the cover in cities across the US, and even distributed a mocked up version of the magazine with their cover on it.
Condé Nast quickly sent out some cease and desist letters to the musicians and their communications agency Hiltzik Strategies, and when that didn't result in any ceasing and desisting, the media firm went to court accusing Drake, 21 Savage and Hiltzik of trademark infringement, unfair competition and false advertising, among other things.
That legal action sought a court order - initially a temporary restraining order - that would prohibit any further distribution of the fake Vogue cover, plus - of course - lots of lovely damages.
Quickly granting the temporary restraining order, the judge concluded that "Condé Nast has a likelihood of success on its claims for federal and common law trademark infringement, false designation of origin and unfair competition, false endorsement, dilution, false advertising, and violation of [New York General Business Law]".
The injunction ordered Drake, 21 Savage and Hiltzik to stop distributing the fake cover, to remove all social media posts containing it, to take down all the posters, and destroy all remaining copies of the mocked up magazine.
A hearing was then set for 22 Nov to consider an extension of the temporary restraining order, so that a preliminary injunction would be in force in the longer term stopping the distribution of the fake cover while Condé Nast's wider litigation goes through the motions.
It's now been revealed that Drake, 21 Savage and Hiltzik have consented to that preliminary injunction meaning no court hearing is required. The musicians and comms agency have also confirmed that they are no longer distributing the fake cover.
A court document states: "To avoid unnecessary cost and expense, defendants, pending the outcome of this litigation, but without conceding any liability with respect to the claims asserted by Condé Nast in this action, and without conceding any wrongdoing on their part, consent to the preliminary injunction sought by Condé Nast".
Not only that, but "defendants have heretofore represented, and now represent, that, following the commencement of this action, the restrained parties have already voluntarily ceased and desisted from the activities described [in the temporary restraining order]".
Judge declines to postpone Young Thug and Gunna's trial in Georgia
Young Thug and Gunna were among 28 people arrested back in May accused of involvement in a gang that allegedly committed murders, shootings and carjackings. They have been incarcerated ever since despite multiple attempts to get both rappers bail.
It was the prosecution that sought to postpone the trial in this case so that it would begin in late March next year rather than early January. Prosecutors said they needed more time because some of the 28 defendants still lacked court-appointed attorneys.
However, there are plenty of defence lawyers already involved in these proceedings and they - including reps for the two rappers - opposed the planned postponement, given that their clients remain in jail while they await trial. And the judge overseeing the case, Ural Glanville, sided with the defence attorneys, refusing to delay trial and confirming that jury selection will begin on 5 Jan.
The prosecution of Young Thug and Gunna has, of course, very much put the spotlight on the campaign to stop US prosecutors using a defendant's creative output as evidence against them in court.
Prosecutors in Georgia plan to use music and videos released by Young Thug and Gunna as evidence. Critics argue that this is a common practice when rappers are accused of crimes in the US, but such evidence is often very misleading, and its use in criminal actions usually breaches the free speech rights of the accused.
New laws in California now restrict the use of creative output as evidence in this way and the music industry is campaigning for similar restrictions to be applied to courts across the US.
Former R Kelly manager jailed for 20 months for harassing victim
Donnell Russell pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges of stalking, related to the harassment and intimidation of a woman who accused Kelly of abuse. Russell initially began intimidating the woman and her mother after she filed a civil lawsuit against the musician, and continued that activity once it became clear the woman would likely testify as part of one of the criminal prosecutions involving Kelly.
That criminal case was in New York, where Kelly was found guilty of running a criminal enterprise in order to access and abuse teenagers and women, a conviction that resulted in a 30 year jail term for the music star. He was then later found guilty of sexual abuse in a separate trial in his home town of Chicago.
Russell's charges were filed back in New York. And yesterday the US Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York confirmed that the former manager had been jailed for 20 months "for his participation in a scheme to harass, intimidate, and cause substantial emotional distress to Jane Doe, a victim in the Eastern District of New York racketeering case against Robert Sylvester Kelly, also known as R Kelly, and Jane Doe's mother".
The statement from the Attorney's Office continued: "Between November 2018 and February 2020, Russell threatened to reveal sexually explicit photographs of Jane Doe and to publicly reveal her sexual history if she did not withdraw her lawsuit against Kelly".
Welcoming the sentencing, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Breon Peace, stated: "For more than a year, the defendant engaged in a vicious campaign to harass, humiliate and threaten the victim in order to force her to dismiss her lawsuit against R Kelly and stop speaking publicly about him".
"The punishment meted out to the defendant today is a victory for crime victims", he added, "particularly those of sexual assault and abuse, who are often reluctant to come forward to law enforcement or pursue legal recourse, given the trauma and fear of retaliation associated with publicly discussing their experiences".
This is not Russell's only run in with the law in relation to his defence of Kelly. Earlier this year he was also found guilty of calling in a false gun threat to a New York cinema that was preparing to screen the documentary 'Surviving R Kelly' in 2018. That threat resulted in the event being called off.
Bastille, Paloma Faith, Damon Albarn and more feature on charity cover of A Million Dreams
Ravi's illness was initially diagnosed as a build up of ear wax but, when an ear, nose and throat specialist requested an MRI scan, a tumour was discovered on his brain stem. Although later discovered to be benign, the tumour was still life threatening and required ten hours of surgery.
After a lengthy period of recovery, Ravi came up with the idea of recording a song to raise money for the two charities that had supported him during this time. Olugbenga got in touch with a range of musicians and other public figures and pulled together the track, which is being released as part of a project called Ravi's Dream.
As well as the musicians who feature on the track itself, the accompanying video also includes appearances from 'The Greatest Showman' star Hugh Jackman and director Michael Gracey, plus Coldplay, Mary Berry, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, Abba's Björn Ulvaeus, actor John Simm, food critic Jimi Famurewa, De La Soul, Heather Watson and footballer Leandro Trossard.
"Every day, we speak with families who are lost, alone and afraid following a brain tumour diagnosis", says Helen Bulbeck, founder of Brainstrust. "The treatment is harmful; diagnosis hard and too often too slow. Outcomes for this forgotten community are short of where they need to be, and life is too hard for people who are having to adapt to life with this disease".
"Ravi's Dream is helping us change this", she continues. "Ravi's dream team is bringing vital momentum, funds and awareness of the challenges we face, and our work here at Brainstrust. His music is giving our community a voice that will be heard at all levels to drive the changes we need to see".
Find out more about the project at RavisDream.com and watch the video for the cover of 'A Million Dreams' here.
2022 Artist & Manager Awards presented
Most of the winners were known before the event took place, however there were shortlists for the two breakthrough awards with the winners announced during the ceremony. Beabadoobee took the Breakthrough Artist prize while Callum Reece was named Breakthrough Manager.
Other big winners on the night included Becky Hill, who was declared Artist Of The Year; Burna Boy's manager Bose Ogulu, who was Manager Of The Year; Tim Burgess, who took the Artist's Artist prize; and Martin Hall - who manages the Manic Street Preachers, The Script and Wet Leg - who was presented with the Managers' Manager Award.
Despite the celebrations, FAC and MMF CEOs David Martin and Annabella Coldrick began the evening with a sombre warning, stressing the ongoing challenges facing artists and their managers. They noted both the ongoing debates regarding how artists and songwriters benefit from streaming, and also the current significant economic challenges around touring.
"There's no point pulling any punches", said Martin. "For the majority of artists, the past few years have been pretty hard. We've had Brexit, a pandemic, and now a cost of living crisis. It's been tough to make a living from music, and it remains tough".
Coldrick added: "Without addressing these issues, the next generation will really struggle to break through - and that will have ramifications for every promoter, record label, music publisher and tech company here tonight".
Here is a full list of winners...
Artist Of The Year: Becky Hill
Manager Of The Year: Bose Ogulu
Entrepreneur: Krept & Konan
Artist management firm YMU has appointed Mike Kadziulis to the position of Executive Manager & Head Of Radio. "I'm excited for this next chapter of my career and to be working with YMU. [Global President Of Music] Matt Colon and [MD, US Music] Anthony Rodol are building something special at YMU and I'm incredibly excited to be a part of it".
Members of UK record industry trade group BPI have re-elected [PIAS] CEO Nick Hartley and Pat Carr, founder of the Remote Control Agency, to its Council as representatives of the organisation's independent label members. "We congratulate Nick and Pat on their re-election to BPI Council and look forward to again drawing on their considerable expertise and experience in support of our independent label members and as champions of the wider independent music community", says BPI Chair YolanDa Brown. "We thank everyone who put their names forward for election and we know that we can continue to rely on their valued contributions".
Meanwhile, earlier this week members of the UK's Association Of Independent Music elected Alex Kennedy (Believe), Emily Saunders (ConnectsMusic, WeAreMusic), Sarah Cole (AEI Group) and Tony Morley (The Leaf Label) to its board. The trade group also unveiled details of a new Angel Investment Scheme which facilitates access to funds for music entrepreneurs. "It will empower entrepreneurs with the language and skills to navigate the investment world, and not only enable them to secure investment but also provide real-life opportunity to grow their networks and scale their businesses", says AIM's Entrepreneur & Outreach Manager Ben Wynter.
Sam Smith has released Christmas single, 'Night Before Christmas'.
JP Saxe has released new single 'The Good Parts'. "This song is about trying to find the healthy recognition that there can be beautiful parts in a relationship that ends. You can heal without having to destroy it and you can also heal without over-romanticising it".
Babymetal have released new single 'Monochrome'.
Lewis Thompson has released new single 'Enchanté'.
Nicky Youre has released new single 'Eyes On You'.
Enter Shikari have released new single 'Bull', featuring Cody Frost. "We've known Cody for years and years now, and consider them a real part of the inner Shikari family", says frontman Rou Reynolds. "We've always known they were a wonderful talent and it's been great to see them begin to ascend and find their voice".
Wesley Joseph has released new single 'Monsoon'. Be excited. "I wrote and recorded 'Monsoon' with AK Paul and Harvey Dweller between my studio and AK's space in London earlier this year", he says. "I'd been thinking and re-evaluating things and the song put a lot in perspective for me. It's a journey of liberation, and I found myself questioning and understanding my own feelings about the turbulence of life itself".
Overmono have released new single 'Walk Thu Water', featuring St Panther.
GIGS & TOURS
Wet Leg have announced that they will livestream a show at The Kentish Town Forum in London on 24 Nov via TikTok. And why the hell not?
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Snoop Dogg launches range of dog accessories
"If my dogs ain't fresh, I ain't fresh", says the rapper. "These dogs and their apparel are a reflection of Tha Dogg himself, so they gotta look the role of a top dog, ya dig?"
I think so, yes. The range has been created in partnership with Little Earth Productions, whose co-founder Brandegee says: "Snoop Dogg was, without a question, the most fitting and amazing partner we could think of in the dog and pet space"
"Snoop's personality and authenticity are undeniably evident in our creative pet product offerings, and we couldn't be more THRILLED to share the new Snoop Doggie Doggs brand with you ahead of the holidays", he says. "It's the perfect holiday gift for pet owners this season. Talk about a holiday treat".
Dolly Parton launched her range of dog clothing earlier this year - including a blonde wig, so to make your pet look as much like her as possible. Jonathan Davis then launched his Freak On A Leash brand last month, for anyone who's concerned that their pooch doesn't look metal enough.
The Snoop Doggie Doggs range of accessories is available in the US now. Check it all out here.