|THURSDAY 16 FEBRUARY 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The European Commission has referred six member states of the European Union to the EU courts for failing to get the 2019 Copyright Directive properly integrated into their national copyright systems... [READ MORE]|
European Commission goes to court against six countries still to implement the 2019 Copyright Directive
The EC said in a statement yesterday that is had "decided to refer Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Latvia, Poland and Portugal to the Court Of Justice Of The EU following their failure to notify complete transposition measures on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market (Directive (EU) 2019/790)".
The 2019 directive made a plethora of amendments to European copyright law of course, all linked to how copyright works in the digital domain.
The headline-grabbing amendment was the one the music industry lobbied hardest for, amending the copyright safe harbour that is relied upon by internet companies whose users share or access copyright protected content without licence.
The safe harbour says that internet companies cannot be held liable for the infringement of their users providing they have systems for removing infringing content if they are made aware of it. Although originally intended to benefit internet service providers and server hosting companies, user-upload platforms like YouTube also claimed protection.
The music industry argued that those platforms were exploiting the safe harbour in order to force music companies into deals that generated much less income for the industry than the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, even though with all the music uploaded by users to YouTube, it had basically become a competitor of those streaming services.
What became Article Seventeen of the directive specifically increases the responsibilities of safe harbour dwelling user-upload platforms. It proved very controversial as the directive was being negotiated, and even once it had been passed.
Although YouTube - the highest profile opponent to the legal reforms as the directive was being finalised - has since evolved and improved its relationships with the music industry.
With EU directives, each country within the union needs to update their national laws to bring them in line with what has been agreed at the European level. The directive sets a deadline for that process - called transposition - to be completed by. With the copyright directive the deadline was June 2021.
Obviously the pandemic was an understandable distraction, which was partly why only three countries met that deadline. Although, some have also argued that the ongoing controversies around certain aspects of the directive, and especially Article Seventeen, slowed down transposition.
That was most true in Poland, where the government unsuccessfully tried to get Article Seventeen annulled through the EU courts, arguing that it conflicted with freedom of expression.
There have been some other controversies during transposition too, including within the music industry. While the music community was pretty much united in supporting the safe harbour reform in Article Seventeen, there were also articles in the directive that specifically boosted the rights of artists and songwriters.
An article that talked about 'fair renumeration' was interpreted in Germany and Belgium in a way that granted performers new equitable remuneration rights, in Germany just on user-upload platforms, in Belgium on audio streaming too.
That means that performers are due remuneration when their music is used on those platforms via the collective licensing system, in addition to any monies due to artists via their labels or distributors.
The labels generally oppose this move, arguing that the ER systems which already apply to the broadcast and public performance of recorded music shouldn't be extended to streaming.
That said, while there may be disagreement within the music community on how that specific element of the directive should be implemented, the entire music industry would probably agree with the EC that there isn't really any excuse for six countries still having not transposed the 2019 directive into their national laws.
Explaining why that directive needs to be implemented ASAP, the EC said yesterday: "The new copyright rules ensure fairer remuneration for creators and rightholders, press publishers and journalists, in particular when their works are used online. These rules introduce more legal certainty and create more remuneration opportunities in the relationships with online platforms, rebalancing bargaining power"
"The new rules also include new guarantees to fully protect the freedom of expression of users online", it added, "to allow them to legitimately share their content. Finally, the new rules create further opportunities, in particular through new copyright exceptions and simplified licensing mechanisms for using copyright-protected material online and across borders for education, research and preservation of cultural heritage purposes".
Outlining its role in getting directives implemented across the union, the EC added: "Under Article 258 of the Treaty On The Functioning Of The EU, if the member state concerned does not comply with the reasoned opinion within the period laid down by the Commission, the latter may bring the matter before the Court Of Justice Of The European Union".
"Additionally", it said, "under Article 260(3) [of the same treaty], the Commission can call on the Court Of Justice Of The EU to impose financial sanctions on the member states that failed to fulfil their obligation to notify measures transposing a legislative directive".
Of course, in the UK, Brexit was underway by the time the 2019 directive went into force, meaning the copyright reforms don't apply here, despite the British music industry campaigning prolifically in favour of those reforms. And - much to the delight of Brexiteers everywhere - there is nothing the European Commission or EU Courts can do about that.
Napster acquires music NFT marketplace Mint Songs
The start-up is music NFT marketplace Mint Songs, which actually wound down its operations last September, but can still seemingly provide Napster with some useful tools and insights to help push forward what it is calling Napster 3.0.
Napster - the music streaming service that evolved out of the download service that was launched using the brand of the P2P file-sharing network that everyone still thinks of when you say 'Napster' - announced plans to reinvent itself as a music-centric Web3 service when it was acquired by new owners last May.
It then announced the appointment of Jon Vlassopulos as its CEO in September, he having previously been Global Head Of Music at Roblox.
He said on getting that job: "With the advent of Web3 technology, we now have an unprecedented opportunity to connect artists and fans in new, innovative ways while also making the fan experience more fun and social and creating new revenue streams for artists".
On the Mint Songs purchase, Vlassopulos now says: "We are in an unprecedented era of innovation in the digital music space and it feels like there have been more music start-ups formed in the last two to three years than in the previous 20".
"It's inspiring to see so many talented teams pushing to create a music ecosystem that is better for artists and fans, and we are delighted to welcome one of the most impressive Web3 music start-ups, Mint Songs, as the newest member of the Napster family".
The co-founder and CTO of Mint Songs, Garrett Hughes, will now advise Napster on the development of its Web3 experiences, while the start-up's Head Of Product Nate Pham will play a hands-on role in Napster's Web3 adventure.
Vlassopulos goes on: "Garrett and team have done groundbreaking work helping thousands of artists get their start in Web3, reach their fans in new creative ways through collectibles, and unlock significant new revenue streams".
Hughes himself says: "As we looked for a partner that could take what we've built over the last two years and give artists a true marketplace for their assets where millions of fans are already active, it became abundantly clear that Jon and Napster have the vision to finally take Web3 music to the mainstream".
"Our goal all along has been to create deep, engaging and innovative ways for artists to connect with fans that also offer them an opportunity to monetise that fandom", he adds. "Conversely, we see a demand from fans for a music service to offer more than just on-demand music and podcasts, which makes Napster's ambitious goals all the more attractive".
Given that when everyone was talking about VR a few years ago, Napster merged with a VR company, and then last year - when everyone was talking about Web3 and NFTs - Napster announced it was now a Web3 company, I was kind of expecting the latest announcement to be unveiling Napster the music AI company.
Kind of impressed they're sticking with the Web3 thing. For now at least.
BBC announces new Kanye West documentary
With a working title of 'We Need To Talk About Kanye', the documentary will be fronted by investigative journalist Mobeen Azhar, who previously made 'The Battle For Britney' which put the spotlight on the controversial conservatorship that controlled the life and career of Britney Spears until 2021.
The new documentary will, among other things, look at West's political ambitions in the US, and how the rapper ended courting so much controversy with his increasingly offensive and dangerous statements that he stalled his music career and other business ventures.
The BBC says: "Unfolding against the backdrop of Ye's 2024 election campaign, and at a time when his behaviour has sparked outrage and a re-evaluation of his place in popular culture, this one-off documentary follows Mobeen as he attempts to understand the complex journey that led Ye to become one of the most famous and creatively successful artists of his generation. But more recently, to condemnation and notoriety".
A transmission date for the new documentary is yet to be announced. However, we do know that it will be accompanied by an eight part podcast series on BBC Sounds in which various guests will "bring an insight into Kanye's life and dig deeper into his place in culture; starting with the early stratospheric success to the condemnation of later years".
Maisie Peters announces second album
"This is my heart and soul, my blood on the page, the collection of stories that I've managed to capture in the past year", she says of the album. "A true chronicle of my life in recent history, it is my own twisted version of a breakup album and it all draws upon the same couple of months' worth of experiences and inspirations".
"It ducks and weaves between the real and surreal, and centres my own universe, of which I am of course the keeper of the keys and the holder of the cards - the good witch, if you will", she goes on. "It goes from light to dark in the flip of a switch and I hope takes you on a journey whereby the end you feel like you've gotten lost in someone else's planet for a bit".
Last month, Peters released the first single from the album - 'Body Better' - the video for which you can watch here.
Ahead of the album release, she will be heading out on a UK tour. Here are the dates:
14 Apr: Newcastle University
Feist announces new album, releases three songs from it
"The last few years were such a period of confrontation for me, and perhaps it felt that way to some degree for everyone", she says. "We confronted ourselves as much as our relationships confronted us".
"It felt like our relational ecosystems were clearer than ever and so whatever was normally obscured - like a certain way of avoiding conflict or a certain way of talking around the subject - were thrust into an unavoidable light", she goes on.
"It became a chance to find footing on more honest ground when the effort to maintain altitude actually took more effort than just handing ourselves over to the truth".
The album was largely written during her 2021 and 2022 live show, also called 'Multitudes'. Listen now to 'In Lightning', 'Love Who We Are Meant To' and 'Hiding Out In The Open'.
Ben Folds announces new album, tour dates
"There's a lifetime of craft and experience all focused into this one record", he says. "Sonically, lyrically, emotionally, I don't think it's an album I could have made at any other point in my career".
"I come from the vinyl era, and this perhaps more than any record I've made is a true album", he adds. "There's a very specific sequence and arc to each side, all building up to this almost surreal positive finale, and that structure was really important to me".
"More than anything, I wanted to make an album that was generous, that was useful", he concludes. "I want you to finish this record with something you didn't have when you started".
His first album since 2015, 'What Matters Most' is out on 2 Jun and also features Dodie, Tall Heights, Ruby Amanfu and the US National Symphony Orchestra. Available now is first single 'Winslow Gardens'.
Folds will then be touring the UK and Ireland in November. Here are the dates:
8 Nov: Bath, The Forum
Armada Music has appointed two new General Managers, Dan Smith in New York and Ben Malone in London. Says Maykel Piron, CEO of the Amsterdam-headquartered dance music label: "We have been actively working the US and UK territories with our own teams and offices for a while now, and those teams have always been managed by the Dutch management team. In order to take the next step and follow up on the major strides we've been making in both territories, we felt we needed to hire skilled local captains".
Music services company Kartel Music Group has appointed Abi White as Head Of Dance And Electronic Promotions within its Kartel Marketing Agency. "We are incredibly excited to welcome Abi to the Kartel team", says CEO Charles Kirby-Welch. "Abi's depth of industry experience and PR expertise are well matched with her passion for music. We look forward to expanding the Kartel Marketing Agency to reach deeper into the eclectic dance music world that so many of us have grown up with and been inspired by".
LABELS & PUBLISHERS
Independent music publisher Phrased Differently has joined IMPEL, the digital licensing grouping for indie publishers. "We are delighted to be a part of this great collective on both a commercial and also ideological level, helping to make the voices of independent music publishers louder and a part of the major conversations", says Hiten Bharadia, Phrased Differently's Founder and MD.
Beabadoobee has released new single 'Glue Song'. "I wrote a lot of this song while on tour across Australia and Asia in the back of cars and travelling", she says. "It's a heartfelt song that means a lot to me - a love song and the first one I've written in my new relationship. I usually write these songs that are sad, in the past with my writing even when it doesn't sound sad looking back the lyrics usually have been. For the first time this is just me being really happy. I'm in a really positive place for the first time in a long time and feeling love".
Jason Mraz has announced that he will release new album 'Mystical Magical Rhythmical Radical Ride' on 23 Jun. Out now is first single 'I Feel Like Dancing'.
Pussy Riot and Boyfriend have teamed up for new single 'Dance With The Devil'. "I believe that Virgin Mary was a feminist, and if she lived today, she'd be making music with Boyfriend and Pussy Riot", says Pussy Riot's Nadya Tolokonnikova. "We've co-created this piece with two of my dearest friends, both incredibly strong, dedicated and vocal female artists, Boyfriend and Yulia Shur, and isn't it everyone's dream to work with your best friends on something that excites you deeply?"
Steve Mason has released new single 'Brixton Fish Fry', featuring Javed Bashir. His new album 'Brothers & Sisters' is out on 3 Mar.
Teleman have released new single 'Trees Grow High', taken from their upcoming new album 'Good Time/Hard Time', which is out on 7 Apr. "Here's a track for anyone who had a strange or difficult childhood", says frontman Tom Sanders. "The chances are you'll be drawn to someone else with similar experiences, for better or for worse, and this song paints a picture of two people in that situation".
Wesley Joseph has released new single 'Sugar Dive', featuring Dean. "I wrote 'Sugar Dive' with Leon Vynehall and Harvey Dweller in London last summer", he says. "We wanted to make something that felt like the warmth of the season - and had a sense of romance and nostalgia to it. I kept the second verse free after we finished the production and shared it with my friend Dean, who is an amazing South Korean artist. He was feeling it and the rest came together really easily". Joseph's new album 'Glow' is out this Friday and he's also set to play Koko in London on 18 May.
Ahead of the release of her new album 'in|Flux' tomorrow, Anna B Savage has released new single 'Pavlov's Dog'. "Desire is hard when you know it's not feasible in the long run, and this song charts that particular bittersweet scenario", she says. "A telling of a positive sexual encounter where my sexuality was recognised and expressed and seen as a positive, healthy thing. Of course, I couldn't write something solely positive, so this is a scenario where you know you both like each other, but your worlds just don't overlap: your woods/my mountains. Ultimately, you have to let that special moment be just that: a single, special moment".
Fran Lobo has released new single 'All I Want' - her first for Heavenly Recordings. "It's a dystopian trip through the inner psyche", she says. "It's a battle and a struggle. A lament and a prayer for a better inner and outer world. We venture through a twisted and dark terrain until we summon the holy choir who hear our call, tempting us into a deranged party where we live our sensual desires and play out our sadistic fantasies until we implode!" You can catch Lobo live at London's Servant Jazz Quarters on 20 Feb.
Brandt Brauer Frick will release new album 'Multi Faith Prayer Room' on 2 Jun. Out now is new single 'Act One', featuring Mykki Blanco. "I remember being struck by the idea that Mykki's story transported so effectively, it was as if the ultimate spiritual room could be nothing more than a dance club", says Daniel Bradt. "And so it became the introduction to our album's theme, the Multi Faith Prayer Room".
Léa Sen has released new single 'Dragonfly'. "I spent a long time questioning the contradictions within myself. 'Dragonfly' is a byproduct of me being so fed up with myself and my indecisions and stuck in endless internal quarrels", she says. The track will appear on her new EP 'You Of Now Part 2', which is out on 21 Apr.
Tennin has released new single 'Too Late 2 Cry', the first track from her new EP 'Recovery', which is due to be released this summer.
GIGS & TOURS
This Is The Kit have announced UK and Ireland tour dates in November, which will finish up at The Barbican in London on 25 Nov. If you want something sooner, there's are show at the Minack Theatre in Porthcurno on 19 May, and for those of you who like to plan ahead, you can catch them at the Bristol Beacon on 3 Feb 2024.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Pharrell Williams named Men's Creative Director at Louis Vuitton
"I am glad to welcome Pharrell back home, after our collaborations in 2004 and 2008, as our new Men's Creative Director", says CEO Pietro Beccari. "His creative vision beyond fashion will undoubtedly lead Louis Vuitton towards a new and very exciting chapter".
As noted there, Williams has worked with Louis Vuitton before, on collections of eyewear and jewellery. But if you're still thinking that this is just one of those nonsense celebrity job titles with no actual work involved, the company has also revealed that it will be unveiling Williams' debut collection at Men's Fashion Week in Paris this June.
That doesn't necessarily mean that your assumptions are incorrect, of course. Though Williams has actually done things in fashion quite a lot in the past. As well as working with Louis Vuitton, he's collaborated with Adidas and launched his own brands Billionaire Boys Club and Bionic Yarn.
The role of Men's Creative Director at Louis Vuitton has been vacant since 2021, after Williams' predecessor Virgil Abloh died of cancer.