|MONDAY 6 FEBRUARY 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The BBC has confirmed what will happen to the local BBC Music Introducing shows as cutbacks take place across the broadcaster's network of local radio stations in England. The current 32 shows will be replaced by 20, although the BBC says all 39 of its local stations will still retain on-site music expertise... [READ MORE]|
BBC outlines plans for Introducing as number of local shows cut from 32 to 20
It was announced last year that the BBC would be cutting the amount of local programming on its network of local radio stations, so that local stations in the same region will share content for a chunk of the day. The move is partly to save money but also partly to divert more resources to local online content.
The announcement prompted concerns about the future of the BBC Introducing scheme, which has proven particularly good at supporting new music talent in no small part because of the local shows, the presenters of which have a very close connection to the music scenes in their local area.
While there are national BBC Introducing shows too, it's the local shows and local presenters that provide the outreach, making the national shows aware of the best new talent they discover.
Many in the music community have expressed concern that losing those close local connections, by having fewer shows each covering a bigger area, will negatively impact on the effectiveness of BBC Introducing, especially away from the bigger cities where schemes like this are all the more important.
Although some had feared that there might be even fewer BBC Introducing shows in the future, the cut from 32 to 20 is still significant, and will likely result in the loss of at least come local connections.
However, the BBC was keen to stress last week that the output of BBC Introducing will actually increase, while each of its local stations will still have music expertise even without a local BBC Introducing show.
The Beeb said in its announcement on the future of Introducing, "for the first time ever these 20 shows will each broadcast twice a week - on Thursday and Saturday evenings - giving up-and-coming musicians a bigger platform and audience than ever before".
Plus "new bands and artists will also prominently feature in the new 'Local To Me' section on BBC Sounds, so people can easily find the latest new music where they live on demand".
As for maintaining those local connections, "all 39 bases up and down the country will retain music expertise on site to support the production of the programmes and bring in new talent", and an 'Introducing Artist Of The Week' will "feature on all 39 local stations with featured tracks getting peak-time airplay to reach the biggest possible audiences".
Chris Burns, the BBC's Controller of Local Audio Commissioning, adds: "The Introducing shows on local BBC stations play an important part in supporting new talent - and will continue to do so - but we know more people are turning to BBC Sounds to listen and we want to do more on there and in our peak daytime schedules to showcase new talent".
It remains to be seen what impact the cutbacks in local BBC Introducing shows has, and whether the increase in output in terms of the regional shows and online content can effectively fill the gap created.
Taylor Swift responds to copyright claim over Lover book similarities
La Dart sued last year accusing Swift of ripping off various creative elements of her 2010 poetry book, which was also called 'Lover'.
The lawsuit claimed that the earlier 'Lover' poetry book and the later 'Lover' album book had "a substantially similar cover format", "substantially the same introduction page formats with a similarly styled 'Lover' title", "a substantially similar inner book design" and "a substantially similar colour scheme (pastel pinks and blues)".
"Stylistically", La Dart's lawsuit concluded, "the Swift 'Lover' book includes creative elements that are not typical of or present within other published books and - as compared with the La Dart work - leaves an overall impression that the Swift 'Lover' book is, again, substantially similar in terms of the above-noted design elements as those within the La Dart work".
That was all well and good, but are any of the creative elements shared by the two 'Lover' books actually protected by copyright? No, says Swift's formal response. "These allegedly-infringing elements, each a generic design format, are not subject to copyright protection", a legal filing submitted to the court last week states. "Thus, defendants could not possibly have infringed plaintiff's copyright".
Even if these elements did enjoy copyright protection under US law, there is copyright registration in the US and, Swift's filing goes on, "plaintiff's copyright registration does not cover [these elements] and she does not have any rights to assert in those allegedly-infringing elements".
"These flaws are incurable", it reckons, "and no amendment or attempt to plead around these deficiencies can save plaintiff's claim".
But whatever, if these elements were protectable and covered by La Dart's copyright registration, "plaintiff has not and cannot plead a plausible claim of access by defendants to plaintiff's work or substantial similarity between the two works", both of which would be required to prove copyright infringement, Swift's filing continues.
"Plaintiff has not identified a single instance where her book of poetry was available for defendants to see and has not alleged that defendants had any awareness of or access to her work prior to this lawsuit", it argues on.
"Moreover, a comparison of the two at-issue works shows that there is no substantial similarity between them. Essentially, all plaintiff has done in her complaint is recite the elements of a claim for copyright infringement without any factual or legal bases to support them. This is woefully insufficient to adequately plead a cause of action and this case should be dismissed with prejudice".
La Dart's copyright claim did seem somewhat optimistic from the off, though her lawyer said at the time "my client feels strongly about her position". It remains to be seen how she now responds to Swift's arguments.
Nirvana respond to appeal in Nevermind baby case
This litigation was instigated by Spencer Elden who, as a baby, appeared nude on the cover of Nirvana's 1991 album.
Despite having previously talked positively about appearing on the album artwork, in August 2021 Elden went legal, claiming that Nirvana and their label "knowingly produced, possessed, and advertised commercial child pornography depicting Spencer, and they knowingly received value in exchange for doing so".
Various arguments were presented by the defendants countering those claims, though the key legal argument was that Elden had left it too late to sue. With the specific laws Nirvana et al are accused of violating, there is a ten year statute of limitations.
That doesn't mean that Elden would have had to sue within ten years of the photograph being taken, but - technically speaking - he should have gone legal within ten years of his eighteenth birthday. So the deadline for filing the lawsuit was 2019.
Elden's lawyers said that that statute of limitations should be ignored because Nirvana and their label continue to distribute 'Nevermind' with Elden's image on it, meaning that they continue to harm their client even today.
However, last year the judge overseeing the case sided with Nirvana and ruled that the statute of limitations does apply. As a result, he dismissed the lawsuit. Elden then filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court.
It's that appeal that Nirvana and Universal responded to last week. The new legal filing again explains how Elden previously spoke positively of the 'Nevermind' artwork before changing his mind and filing the lawsuit in 2021. Though much of the new filing focuses on the statute of limitations debate.
"Elden does not dispute he was over the age of 28 at the time of filing", it states. "Nor does he deny that he had known, for essentially his entire life, about his depiction in the photograph and each of the appellees' identities and role in its commercial use".
However, of course, Elden argues that the continued distribution of 'Nevermind' means that the statute of limitations should be set aside, because an incident from his childhood has continued to cause harm into his adulthood.
But, Nirvana and Universal argue, the lower court judge was right to reject that argument. Elden's team, they add, are incorrectly interpreting what the law says about the statute of limitations in cases like this. Indeed, they reckon, the law is very clearly on the side of Nirvana and Universal here.
"Elden cannot escape the plain language of the statute, the legislative history, the rules of statutory construction and the consistent case law", the new legal filing declares.
We await to see if the Ninth Circuit judges are as easily pursued of Nirvana's arguments as the lower court.
Yout files appeal in legal dispute with the American labels
That dispute, Yout argues, raises "novel questions", which is why its lawsuit should not have been dismissed by the lower court and why judges in the Second Circuit appeals court should now review the case.
Websites that allow people to download permanent copies of temporary streams - most often streams on YouTube - have been a top piracy gripe of the music industry for some time now, of course. Which is why the Recording Industry Association Of America tried to get Yout de-listed by the Google search engine.
That prompted Yout to sue the RIAA, arguing that its service was entirely legal. It doesn't actually get involved in any direct copying. And - while US copyright law does prohibit the circumvention of technical protection measures that exist to stop people making copies of content without licence - YouTube doesn't have any such technical protection measures to circumvent, according to Yout.
It summarises that latter argument in its new filing with the Second Circuit. "Neither YouTube nor the [record companies] employ any form of digital rights management or encryption, the inclusion of which would eliminate the ability of the Yout software to allow Yout's users to make copies of the works".
"Indeed", it goes on, "not only is there a lack of protection against such copying, the process can be accomplished by anyone with a web browser without the need for Yout's services (which simply automate the manual process anyone could use to download videos)".
In the lower court, the music companies argued that - while in theory people can download permanent downloads of YouTube streams through a web browser - doing so is a complex and laborious process. And those complexities are deliberate.
So much so, the technical hurdles to be crossed when stream-ripping without a service like Yout are in themselves a technical protection measure. And Yout is illegally circumventing said technical protection measure.
However, Yout argues that - while the lower court judge accepted that argument from the RIAA - both the labels and the judge were making big assumptions without proper scrutiny. The case, Yout reckons, involves "first time novel questions" and a "preponderance of disputed issue of fact".
And, with that in mind, there is a "clear need for discovery and expert testimony", which means the lower court acted "improperly" when it granted the RIAA's motion to dismiss, in doing so "erroneously concluding that Yout's software platform was a circumvention tool" as defined in US law.
With that in mind, Yout states, the appeals court "should reverse the district court's judgment dismissing Yout's complaint and remand for further proceedings consistent with such reversal".
We await to see how the Second Circuit responds.
Scott Cohen headed music rights investment platform announces GTS partnership
Cohen announced the JKBX venture last year following his departure from his most recent role at Warner Music. He told Billboard at the time that the company would "fractionalise ownership of music royalties", allowing lower level investors to invest into music rights and revenues by buying smaller fractional shares.
In terms of the royalties being fractionlised, JKBX said last week that it has already secured $1.7 billion in music rights with the aim of having over $4 billion worth when it properly launches later this year.
Confirming the alliance with GTS, Cohen said: "A handful of private equity firms, multinational corporations and major labels control the most valuable music rights in the world. JKBX's platform will allow these entities and other significant rights holders to unlock the true value of these assets by offering them to retail investors to buy and sell in a regulated marketplace".
"This innovative approach enhances current global music business revenue streams and adds a multi-billion-dollar opportunity on top", he continued. "We look forward to working with GTS and revolutionising the ownership of royalties".
GTS co-founder and CEO Ari Rubenstein added: "GTS excels in making markets for every major financial asset class and providing enhanced liquidity through sophisticated, real-time pricing. This same expertise can be applied to music royalties, which represent the next exciting tradeable asset class. JKBX, with its music royalties platform and extensive catalogue rights, is an ideal partner for us".
BPI unveils proposal to open BRIT School North in Bradford
The BPI says that its members have long aspired to launch a creative school outside the South East of England, "drawing on the success and experiences of the existing school and further delivering on a strong commitment to make the music industry and the wider creative industries more inclusive and accessible for all - regardless of background".
To that end, it has submitted an application to the Department For Education's free school funding process in a bid to win support for a BRIT School North in Bradford. This is a highly competitive process, the BPI admits, but if successful, it's hoped the new school could open its doors in 2026.
The current BRIT School is free to attend and is supported by the BRIT Trust, the charity established by the record industry in 1989 which raises a big chunk of its money each year via the BRIT Awards and the Music Industry Trust Awards dinner.
As well the BRIT Trust and BRIT School - and the BPI and its members, of course - the proposal for a new school in Bradford is also supported by the Day One Trust, which runs two other specialist creative schools in London, East London Arts & Music and the London Screen Academy.
Confirming the proposal, BPI Chair YolanDa Brown says: "We are incredibly proud of our track record in promoting and funding specialist creative education and this application reflects our ambition to extend this even further across the UK".
"The creative industries are a powerful force for social mobility, providing opportunities based on ability and talent", she goes on. "We look forward to building upon the proven success of this model to give a greater number of young people from across the North of England an opportunity to pursue a career in the creative industries - both on stage and behind the scenes".
"Bradford already has a wonderfully vibrant cultural and creative scene", she continues. "We are very excited about the benefits of this partnership and how we can contribute to Bradford's ambitions, but also how this school can continue our work to diversify our talent pipeline by 'levelling-up' opportunity, both geographically and socio-economically".
Former MP and now mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin is also backing the proposal. She adds: "West Yorkshire is the place to be when it comes to culture and creativity - now so more than ever as we draw closer to Bradford's year in the spotlight as the UK's City Of Culture 2025. With vibrant musical venues in abundance and even more in the pipeline, our region is well and truly cementing its place on the world stage as a creative and cultural hotspot".
Noting Universal's recent announcement it is opening EMI North in Leeds, Brabin goes on: "With EMI North recently making the decision to invest in West Yorkshire, it goes to show that we're already punching well above our cultural weight. So, while it's no surprise, I'm THRILLED that Bradford has been selected as the preferred location for this new school - what an incredible opportunity it would provide for the talented young people of our region and beyond!"
Harry Styles wins Album Of The Year prize at the Grammys
I mean Harry Styles did walk away with the prestigious Album Of The Year gong for 'Harry's House', as well as the Best Pop Vocal Album prize for the same record. Because, you know, British is best.
And Wet Leg got two awards as well. Best Alternative Music Album for their eponymous debut long player and Best Alternative Music Performance for 'Chaise Longue'. Because, I mean, we invented everything.
Sam Smith got the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Award for Kim Petras collaboration 'Unholy'. Adele won Best Pop Solo Performance for 'Easy On Me'. And Ozzy Osbourne got Best Metal Performance for 'Degradation Rules'. Because, and let's be clear about this, fuck the foreigners.
And that was pretty much it really. Yeah, Bonnie Raitt was the surprise winner of Song Of The Year with 'Just Like That'. Lizzo got the Record Of The Year award for 'About Damn Time'. And Beyonce won in four categories, meaning she has now won a record breaking 32 Grammys across her career. But I mean, who's counting?
For the full lists of nominees and winners in all 4917 categories at the Grammys, check this page on the award bash's own website.
Will a UK artist also win the prestigious Album Of The Year prize at this weekend's BRIT Awards. I'd predict so. And only partly because we don't let any foreigners into that category. God Save The King!
Wild Youth selected to represent Ireland at Eurovision, as Public Image Ltd come in fourth
Both Wild Youth and Public Image Ltd were down to the final six acts shortlisted to go forward to represent Ireland at Eurovision in May. The winner was selected by a public phone vote and two jury votes as part of a special edition of 'The Late Late Show' on Irish telly on Friday night.
Although Lydon's ballad 'Hawaii' was commended for it lyrics dedicated to his wife Nora and her diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease, the song ultimately finished fourth. Many felt that Lydon had lost much of the early goodwill towards him when he said in a radio interview that he felt that Eurovision was "awful", "disgusting" and "dreadfully phoney".
Asked ahead of the result on Friday if he had enjoyed his time in Dublin, Lydon replied: "No I have not, but that's not the point".
Wild Youth won with their song 'We Are One', with a total of 34 points to PiL's eighteen. The band - who have previously supported the likes of Niall Horan, Lewis Capaldi and The Script - said that they wrote their song with the values of Eurovision in mind.
They will now go through to the Eurovision semi-finals in May, performing at the grand final - if they make it through - in Liverpool on 13 May.
Watch Wild Youth's winning performance here.