|WEDNESDAY 18 JANUARY 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: A plethora of music industry organisations have written an open letter to the board of the BBC seeking reassurance that BBC Music Introducing does not become an "unintended victim" of any changes being made to ensure the "future stability and viability" of the broadcaster. The letter is in response to cutbacks at the BBC's network of local radio stations which are set to impact on the local BBC Introducing programmes... [READ MORE]|
Music industry groups say cuts to BBC Introducing local radio shows would be "fundamental blow to the health of the entire grassroots sector"
Based on plans announced last year, the Beeb's local radio stations around England will start sharing regional programmes for chunks of the day, with a single show across all the stations each weekday at 10pm. Which, of course, means fewer programmes being made overall and fewer presenters and producers making them.
The changes are partly about saving money, with the BBC having to find savings due to its licence fee funding being frozen, although it's also partly about diverting more resources to the Corporation's local operations online.
BBC Introducing is the broadcaster's long-standing scheme for supporting new and grassroots music talent, of course. At the heart of the whole thing are 32 local BBC Introducing shows aired on the local radio stations.
Each local show provides a direct connection to a different local music scene, supporting that scene and identifying new talent that is emerging within it. That work then informs the other BBC Introducing shows that appear on the Beeb's national stations.
If the outcome of the current changes to BBC local radio is a smaller number of regional BBC Introducing shows replacing the current 32 local shows, it's feared those connections will be lost.
The new open letter to the BBC board, organised by the Music Venue Trust and signed by numerous music industry organisations, especially those on the live side of the business, states: "Our work includes consideration of the impact of third party agency decisions on the health, resilience and sustainability of the grassroots music ecosystem".
"We are writing to you today to express our grave concerns about the current uncertainty surrounding the future of BBC Introducing", it adds, "the network of programming across the country which throws a spotlight on local and regional artists, venues, communities and music".
"BBC Music Introducing is a fundamental cog in the machine of the grassroots sector", it explains. "Its network of radio shows across the UK support new and developing music at grassroots level, through local shows on stations across England and the Channel Islands and flagship programmes in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland".
"These 32 shows support local artists with local airplay, interviews and sessions and are deeply engaged with local grassroots music venues. They are presented and produced by people with a deep knowledge of local and regional music. They provide local gigs, festival stages and outside broadcasts alongside promotion and awareness raising".
"This work is not done by any other broadcaster; it is unique. Its reach extends to every corner of the country and it is especially important in left behind communities, where access to music and music opportunities is already incredibly challenging".
"BBC Introducing is a prime example of what the BBC does best that no other broadcaster can do. BBC Introducing programming directly addresses the core aims of the BBC, acting in the public interest, serving all audiences and delivering impartial, high-quality and distinctive output and services which inform, educate and entertain".
Honing in on the incoming changes, the letter goes on: "Despite this, we understand that the entire network of presenters and producers has been placed on notice of potential redundancies, and that the programmes they create may be under threat as a result of wider cuts to the BBC's network of local radio stations".
"We want to impress on you very strongly that this would be a fundamental blow to the health of the entire grassroots sector. New and emerging artists already face significant obstacles to breaking into the music industry, challenges that are amplified for those artists and musicians living outside of the major cities".
"BBC Introducing has been essential in providing access routes into the industry, with local and regional opportunities available right across the country. Whatever reorganisation might be required to meet the demands of the future stability and viability of the BBC, it should not be the case that BBC Introducing is the unintended victim of those changes".
The letter then concludes: "Please can we have your urgent assurance that you and the BBC board understand the vital role of BBC Introducing. We would like to hear how you plan to protect it for the future, and would welcome the opportunity to discuss with you how it can be developed, enhanced and improved to achieve even more for the communities it serves".
The organisations signing the letter include the Music Venue Trust, Production Services Association, Association Of Independent Promoters, Association Of Independent Music, Featured Artists Coalition, LIVE, Music Managers Forum, British Association Of Concert Halls, Entertainment Agents Association, Association Of Independent Festivals, Concert Promoters Association, The Society Of Ticket Agents And Retailers, and National Arenas Association.
Musician and broadcaster Tom Robinson - who hosts one of the national BBC Introducing shows - has also set up a form on his Fresh On The Net website where artists and music fans can express their support for their local BBC Introducing show. You can access that here.
UK creative industries welcome new report from House Of Lords committee - which also hits out at proposed AI copyright exception
Summarising the new report, the committee states that "government complacency risks undermining the UK's creative industries in the face of increased international competition and rapid technological change".
"The UK's creative industries should sit at the heart of the UK's economic growth plans", it then adds, concluding that ministers too often fail to recognise the sector's commercial potential.
"The UK's creative industries were worth more than £115 billion to the UK economy before the pandemic and make up as many as one in eight businesses across the country", the Lords go on.
"Their contribution to the economy in 2019 was more than the aerospace, life sciences and automotive industries combined. The sector also delivers higher levels of innovation than many other areas of the economy".
The term "creative industries" is defined quite widely in political circles, though for this specific report - called 'At Risk: Our Creative Future' - committee members consulted representatives involved in music; performing and visual arts; museums and galleries; book publishing; gaming; film and TV; photography; and digital and design services.
The various recommendations made by the committee - with the key points focused on tax breaks, intellectual property law and education - will all be very much welcomed by the music industry.
In particular on the IP law front, its comments on recent proposals by the UK government to introduce a new copyright exception covering text and data mining by those working on artificial intelligence technologies.
UK Music previously said that new exception would be "dangerous and damaging" and allow AI companies to "launder" music in order to generate new content.
The Lords committee agrees. Among its key recommendations it says: "The Intellectual Property Office's proposals to change the text and data mining regime are misguided and should be paused immediately".
"The proposals were intended to support the development of AI, and could enable international businesses to scrape content created by others and use this for commercial gain without payment to the original creator. This would threaten business models and income streams in the UK creative industries".
Meanwhile, on education, the committee says: "There should be a cross-government focus on skills shortages in the creative industries".
"The Department For Education should encourage students to learn a blend of creative and digital skills; improve careers guidance; reverse the decline in children studying design and technology; change lazy rhetoric about 'low value' arts courses; and make apprenticeships work better for small and medium-sized enterprises in the creative industries".
The new report was formally welcomed by Creative UK, the organisation that speaks for the wider creative industries.
Its CEO Caroline Norbury said yesterday: "I very much welcome the House Of Lords Communications Committee's call for the creative industries to 'sit at the heart of the UK's economic growth plans'".
"The creative sector has long outperformed the wider economy and other industries in driving economic growth and job creation, and yet, as the Committee's report finds, there has been a failure to recognise and capitalise on this potential".
"Missed opportunities not only undermine the power of the UK's creative industries, they risk diluting our position as a world-leading creative powerhouse, especially in the face of unprecedented technical advancements that are embraced by our global competitors".
"Continuing to think of UK creativity as a 'nice-to-have', subsidised by the taxpayer, will blunt the sector's capacity to transform our society for the better. Financial support for the creative industries is not a costly public burden, on the contrary, it is a vital investment to unleash economic growth, accelerate innovation, underpin the UK's global soft power, and provide social and wellbeing benefits to communities across the country".
"The UK is bursting with creative brilliance, but too often a lack of opportunities or barriers to success prevent these talents from flourishing".
"The recommendations set out by the House Of Lords Communications Committee would provide a much-needed step towards cultivating an environment where creative skills are celebrated, the value of original intellectual property is recognised, and research and development receives the investment required to realise new, unexpected and transformational possibilities".
RIAA denied legal fees claim in Yout dispute pending appeal
Although the trade body can have another go at getting those costs covered once the ongoing appeal in that legal dispute is complete.
Yout sued the RIAA after the trade body tried to get the stream-ripping website removed from Google search on copyright grounds. Via the lawsuit, Yout hoped that an American court would confirm that its service is compliant with the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
But, alas, said court did the opposite, confirming that the Yout service circumvents technical protection measures put in place by YouTube that are designed to stop people grabbing permanent downloads of temporary streams delivered via the Google video site. And such circumvention is prohibited by the DMCA.
Yout is now appealing that judgement in the Second Circuit appeals court. But that didn't stop the RIAA from returning to the lower court that ruled in its favour seeking a motion ordering Yout to contribute $250,000 towards the legal costs it has incurred fighting this legal battle to date.
Lawyers for Yout then requested that any motion on costs be paused pending the outcome of the appeal. That was based on the argument that if Yout was forced to hand over $250,000 at this stage, that would negatively impact on its ability to pursue an appeal.
And, given the potential wider impact of the lower court's ruling on the legalities of stream-ripping, it's in the public interest for the case to be heard by the Second Circuit.
But, in a legal filing just before Christmas, the RIAA countered that there was "no reasonable basis" for pausing its motion on legal costs. And not only that, it's actually in the public interest to grant the trade body its legal costs now in order to discourage "meritless lawsuits like this one" and, in doing so, protect "the rights of music creators".
However, the lower court judge has decided not the grant any motion ordering the RIAA's legal fees be paid by Yout at this time.
In his ruling he states: "Although Yout's notice of appeal does not deprive the court of jurisdiction to consider the pending motion for attorneys' fees, the court nevertheless retains discretion to deny the fee motion without prejudice with leave to re-file after disposition of the appeal".
"Here", he goes on, "I choose to exercise my discretion to deny the fee motion without prejudice and grant the RIAA leave to re-file the motion upon resolution of the appeal".
A key factor in that judgement, the judge explains, is that if the RIAA prevails on appeal it will likely seek an order forcing Yout to cover at least some of the additional costs it incurs fighting said appeal. Therefore it will be more efficient to consider any claims relating to legal costs - for both the original court case and the appeal - at that point.
"The Copyright Act provides for recovery of fees and costs incurred by the prevailing party, including fees and costs incurred on appeal", the judge adds. "The party prevailing on appeal will likely seek fees at that time; therefore, the interests of judicial efficiency, avoidance of piecemeal adjudication, and conservation of judicial resources favour denying the fee motion without prejudice at this time".
New website launches ahead of international consumer awareness campaign focused on the risks of ticket touting
Plans for an international consumer awareness initiative coordinated by FEAT and supported by various companies and organisations in the live sector were announced last year.
That initiative is now called Make Tickets Fair! and its industry-facing site provides information for promoters, agents, managers and artists on what they can do to combat the unofficial resale of tickets to their shows by touts on the secondary market.
There is also an overview of what the law says about for-profit ticket resale around Europe, the rules currently differing very much from country to country.
A panel at the Eurosonic conference in Grongingen tomorrow will put the spotlight on the upcoming consumer awareness initiative, and will discuss the need for the industry to work together to educate consumers about the risks associated with touted tickets and how to ensure they are buying tickets from approved channels.
Jules de Lattre from booking agency UTA is part of the working group devising the Make Tickets Fair! Campaign, and he says: "It's vital that this campaign is successful, and that means becoming front-of-mind with agents, managers and promoters when they are planning shows - so safe resale information goes out with all communications, including on ticket pages".
Meanwhile, Neo Sala from Doctor Music, who is also a Director of FEAT, adds: "The current ticket resale market is, frankly, broken and the time for the industry to come together and act is long overdue".
"As the first Europe-wide campaign of its kind", he goes on, "Make Tickets Fair! has huge potential to help fans and rebuild trust in live music. To achieve this, cross-industry collaboration is essential, and we look forward to getting as many members of the live business on board as possible".
Ken Bruce to leave BBC Radio 2 for Bauer's Greatest Hits Radio
"Nothing stays the same forever and I have decided the time is right for me to move on from Radio 2 when I reach the end of my current contract in March", he told listeners. "It's been a tremendously happy time for me: I've made many friends and worked with many wonderful colleagues. However, I feel that after 45 years of full-time broadcasting on BBC radio it's time for a change".
"I would stress that this is entirely my decision but some new opportunities have come up and I would like to continue my career in a slightly different way in the next few years, the details of which will be revealed shortly", he continued. "I will always be very proud of my association with the BBC and Radio 2 in particular and I'd like to thank everyone who has helped to make the mid-morning show a success".
Bruce began his BBC career at BBC Radio Scotland in 1978, presenting a number of shows for the station into the early 80s. He first joined Radio 2 in 1980, taking over the breakfast show from Terry Wogan in 1985.
He initially moved into the mid-morning slot the following year and then subsequently onto a night time show, before returning to mid-mornings in 1992, where he stayed for the next three decades.
In a statement yesterday, Director of BBC Music Lorna Clarke said: "Ken is an extraordinary broadcaster with an exceptional career over many decades. He has been part of every significant occasion marked by BBC Radio 2 and we, his faithful audience and the Radio 2 all-star line-up will miss his warm humour and wit. Congratulations on a brilliant career".
With fans' heads still spinning from this unexpected news and wondering when Bruce's promise of details about his next career move would be forthcoming, Greatest Hits Radio almost immediately announced that the presenter will be taking over its mid-morning show from 3 Apr.
Commenting on that news, Bruce said "What better way to celebrate my 45 years in radio than with a new adventure and a brand new show on Greatest Hits Radio? I say brand new but there will still be [long-running quiz] PopMaster, me and my musings and all the great records you know and love from the 70s, 80s and 90s. I'm looking forward to getting started and to you joining me for my very first show. See you in April!"
Bauer Audio UK's Chief Content & Music Officer Ben Cooper commented: "Ken Bruce is a broadcasting legend, with the biggest radio show in the UK, so as well as today being an exciting announcement for Greatest Hits Radio and its growing audience, it is a hugely significant moment for the industry. What a fantastic start to a great year of increased ambition and innovation for Bauer Media Audio".
The news of Bruce's move into commercial radio follows the announcement last week that several Bauer-owned local radio stations in Scotland are to rebrand as Greatest Hits Radio in April, just as the new presenter arrives.
Sleaford Mods announce new album featuring Dry Cleaning and Jane's Addiction collaborations
"Maybe we are proud of the country", says vocalist Jason Williamson of the ideas behind his lyrics on the record. "Maybe we are proud to be English. Maybe I'm proud of the horrible grey streets and the shit weather and the stupid fashions I find myself investing in. It's just that the English we're proud of being is absolutely nothing like the English the authorities want to try and promote".
The album sees the duo collaborate with Dry Cleaning's Florence Shaw on the track 'Force 10 From Navarone', as well as Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro from Jane's Addiction on 'So Trendy'.
'UK Grim' will be released on 10 Mar, with two launch shows set to take place the following week. They will play Rock City in Nottingham on 14 Mar and Pryzm in London on 15 Mar.
Warner Music has hired Tim Matusch as VP Strategy & Operations. Matusch previously worked with new Warner CEO Robert Kyncl at YouTube.
Booking agency Midnight Mango has announced that Barry Stewart has joined its team of agents. "It's been a breath of fresh air to join such a supportive and dynamic group of very talented people", he says. "I have spent many years working as a freelance agent, artist manager and tour manager so I've had the opportunity to see the business from many sides. My roster has benefited from our synergy, and it gives me the opportunity to take on more acts and develop new relationships within the industry. An old dog can indeed learn new tricks".
Shakin Stevens has released new single 'It Comes Around'. The track is taken from new album 'Re-Set', which will be out on 28 Apr.
Yaeji has released new single 'For Granted', the first from her upcoming new album 'With A Hammer', which is out on 7 Apr.
Dutch Uncles have released new single 'Tropigala (2 To 5)', featuring Metronomy's Anna Prior. The band's new album 'True Entertainment' is out on 10 Mar.
Mandy, Indiana have released new single 'Injury Detail'. The song "was inspired by the idea of being trapped in a liminal space, with the guitars creating a seemingly limitless and undefined landscape", says vocalist Valentine Caulfield. "The vocals act as a guide to possible salvation, or perhaps something of a more sinister intent". The band will be heading out on a short UK tour in February, and will also headline a show at The Lexington in London this Friday.
Paige Kennedy has released new single 'Love You From A Distance', taken from upcoming new EP 'Doubles', which is out on 14 Apr. "Falling in love can feel suffocating at the best of times", they say. "'Love You From A Distance' explores how having 24/7 access to the person you're addicted to can leave you unsure of who you are without them. Lockdown induced cabin fever has pressure cooked all of our relationships. This is an anthem for proceeding with caution and maintaining personal space".
GIGS & TOURS
Madonna has announced that she will embark on a world tour later this year. Dubbed 'The Celebration Tour', it will see her perform hits from across her 40 year career. There is currently one UK date at The O2 in London on 14 Oct. Tickets go on general sale on Friday.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Kanye West's former lawyers ask to formally quit sample battle via newspaper ad
To that end they have proposed to the court that is overseeing the litigation that they formally break ties with West via adverts in two LA newspapers.
Among the plethora of business partners which sought to cut their ties with West last year - as he started making ever more controversial, racist and anti-semitic remarks - were a number of legal firms.
That included Greenberg Traurig LLP, which was representing West in a lawsuit filed against him by Ultra Music Publishing over allegations 'Flowers' sampled Marshall Jefferson track 'Move Your Body' without licence.
The court overseeing the sample case granted Greenberg Traurig's motion to withdraw from the sample litigation at the end of November, but also ordered the law firm to personally serve West with a 'withdrawal order' that stated they are no longer representing him in the case.
However, the lawyers have been struggling to locate West in order to serve that order. They previously asked the court if they could do the serving via text message. The judge said "no", but - as it turns out - it wouldn't have helped if she said "yes", because the mobile number Greenberg Traurig had for their former client is no longer working.
In a new letter to the judge, the law firm notes that West's former business manager Thomas St John - who is suing over unpaid fees - is also struggling to locate the rapper in order to formally serve legal papers.
With all that in mind, Greenberg Traurig asks the judge if they can serve the withdrawal notice "by alternative means, including publication in two Los Angeles area newspapers and mailing the withdrawal order to two possible addresses likely to be [West's] California residences identified in [the] Thomas St John [case]".
The lawyers add that the plaintiff in the sample case - and co-defendant Kano Computing, which makes the Stem Player device via which 'Donda 2' was released - are both fine with that proposal.
We await to see if 'serving notice via newspaper ad' satisfies the judge.