|WEDNESDAY 3 MAY 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Ed Sheeran had some harsh words to say about a musicologist who presented expert testimony at the 'Thinking Out Loud' song-theft trial last week. "I think what he is doing is criminal", the musician declared in court earlier this week, adding: "I don't know why he's allowed to be an expert"... [READ MORE]|
Ed Sheeran calls musicologist's actions "criminal" in Thinking Out Loud song-theft trial
Musicologist Alexander Stewart was testifying for the estate of the late Ed Townsend, which accuses Sheeran of ripping off the Marvin Gaye song 'Let's Get It On' when he wrote 'Thinking Out Loud' back in 2014. Townsend co-wrote the Gaye classic.
It was Stewart's job to prove to the jury that 'Let's Get It On' and 'Thinking Out Loud' are sufficiently similar to constitute copyright infringement. The Sheeran side then have their own expert on hand who will bring up thirteen other songs that use the same chord progression that is shared by the Gaye and Sheeran works, all of which were recorded before 'Let's Get It On'.
When testifying last week, Stewart played the court a computer generated version of the Gaye song to illustrate the similarities with 'Thinking Out Loud'. But this week - with his guitar to hand once again - Sheeran said the musicologist had misrepresented his song to confuse the jury.
Ramping up the drama elsewhere in his latest testimony, Sheeran threatened to quit his music career if he loses this copyright case.
Asked by his own lawyer how losing the case would impact on him as an artist, he told the court: "If that happens, I'm done, I'm stopping. I find it really insulting to devote my whole life to being a performer and a songwriter and have someone diminish it".
Sheeran did prevail in court last year, of course, when facing a song-theft claim on this side of the Atlantic. And US judges have generally been cautious of late when it comes to granting commonly used musical segments copyright protection in isolation, which is what cases like this usually boil down to.
However, with juries initially ruling on copyright infringement cases in the US, it's still hard to predict how this particular legal battle will play out.
Warner Chappell signs whYJay
"I've enjoyed a crazy few years and have been lucky enough to create some massive hits in the UK", says whYJay. "Now I'm ready to take my career to the next level and start working with international artists and writers. It was clear that the team at Warner Chappell are the ones to help me do this. I can't wait to get going".
George Baker, A&R Manager at Warner Chappell Music UK, adds: "Over the last few years whYJay has consistently delivered songs that have a made a cultural impact and stormed the charts. We're looking forward to helping him expand his reach globally and connecting him with world-class writers and artists from around the world".
Among the tracks he has worked on are 'Doja' by Central Cee, 'Taste' by Aitch, 'Flowers' by Arrdee, 'IFTK' by Tion Wayne and Flo's cover of Missy Elliott's 'Fly Boy'. He is also one half of the duo Whytek with LiTek.
BAM Music invests in Out/Standard
"We are THRILLED to step into this alliance with Out/Standard and its amazing team of founders and composers", says BAM Music's Pierre-Michel Levallois. "We share a lot on the vision, the passion and the music craft, and have common will to explore the future of our business via innovative models. An important parameter is how the alliance works globally, which is crucial for today's business. I want to thank Out/Standard founders for the trust they put in BAM Music".
One of those founders, Jim Reid, adds: "Partnering with BAM is such a great fit for Out/Standard. We share the same music DNA which is vitally important, and together we hope to make our company the first port of call for creatives all over the world. BAM understand where we're headed and we are delighted to be working with Pierre-Michel and his talented team".
Out/Standard has also announced the appointment of Casey Quantick as Head Of Sales & Licensing. He joins from Sony Music's production music company Extreme Music.
London club Printworks to reopen in three years
Southwark Council approved plans to redevelop the site on which Printworks sits last year. Following more than 700 objections and an 11,000 signature petition, the council formally noted the opposition and conceded that the club venue had been "very successful".
However, it pointed out that - when the club began operating in the borough in 2017 - the plan was always for it to be there temporarily while a strategy was developed and agreed for the permanent future use of the site, which previously housed a newspaper printing plant.
That said, at the same time the council and developer British Land confirmed that they intended to have some sort of permanent cultural space on the site alongside the offices and shops that will be built there, adding that they would be working with the operators of Printworks - Broadwick Live - on making that happen.
Then, in September, the Printworks team said that they were "in detailed talks" to reopen the venue once redevelopment work is completed. While at the time they said they were "positive" about how things were going, nothing had been confirmed. However, now, seemingly it is a done deal.
"We are delighted to announce that Printworks hopes to return in three years and that we will continue to work with our partners at British Land to create the future cultural venue that retains the essence of the iconic Press Halls", says Simeon Aldred, Director Of Strategy at Broadwick Live.
"Printworks has brought lasting impact to our scene, to our city, to artists and our local community. The future Printworks venue aims to build on this, bringing together all the best in electronic music and visual arts … as well as hosting some of the world's best orchestras, ballet companies and other artforms".
Welcoming the news, London Night Czar Amy Lamé comments: "London's world-famous nightlife is the heartbeat of our capital and Printworks has played a dynamic role bringing together culture, music and entertainment and attracting artists and visitors from all over the world. I am delighted there is an exciting future ahead for Printworks and I will continue working with all involved to ensure they thrive".
Although Printworks itself is set to return, the Night Time Industries Association used its closure this weekend to note that plenty of other clubbing spaces are currently facing closure as well because of the significant financial challenges they face, with most of them unlikely to make a comeback.
"Printworks has been described as 'the theatre of dreams', a 'cornerstone of culture for the capital', and as this iconic space closes it will leave a huge void in London's music venue scene", says NTIA CEO Michael Kill. "For many fans this venue will be hard to let go. It has shaped communities, nurtured talent and has an emotional connection with millions of music lovers from around the world".
"As we say goodnight to this iconic space, we recognise that clubs and venues across the country are in crisis, with recent figures showing 32% of clubs closing since 2019, and only 865 nightclubs remaining in the UK, with ten nightclubs closing permanently every month", he goes on.
Listing some of the specific challenges, he goes on: "With the impacts of Brexit, energy and cost inflation biting, we need the government to address the immediate issues faced by some of the hardest hit business sectors".
"The night time economy has already suffered irreparable damage, and similar to the wider hospitality sector will face further losses over the coming months, if we do not see immediate and decisive support from the government for the remaining businesses".
As for what that support might consist of, he concludes: "It will require swift and direct action in terms of a sector wide VAT reduction, strict management of energy supply and relief by [energy regulator] OFGEM, a reevaluation of business rates relief particularly for late night businesses and a lowering of visa thresholds for international workers".
These are, of course, support measures that the wider live and night-time industries have repeatedly called for in the past. To date, the government seems unwilling to put any such policies in place, leading some to believe that nightlife businesses are being intentionally allowed to fail.
ASM Global expands into Finland
"On behalf of all at ASM Global, I'd like to welcome Kultturitalo to the team", says Chris Bray, EVP Europe at ASM Global. "This is a wonderful venue with a rich cultural significance in Helsinki, so we're incredibly excited to be on board to manage operations and relaunch Kultturitalo through significant investment in infrastructure, food and beverage, and developing a new club venue in the basement".
"This is our first step into Finland", he goes on. "So it's a huge opportunity for ASM Global, which is already established and seeing huge success in Europe and the Nordics, to expand further into what's a growing market brimming with opportunity".
Patrik Sarajuuri, CEO of Helsingin Kulttuurihub Oy, which owns the venue, adds: "Since acquiring the property in 2022, Helsingin Kulttuurihub Oy has been keen to develop the content and offering of the House Of Culture and we are extremely excited to partner with ASM Global in re-creating it as the landmark cultural venue in Helsinki".
"This partnership with the leading global venue operator and creator of live experience enables us to further liven up the content and bring to life this unique building, bringing it closer to all people for live events", he continues.
"House Of Culture has exceptional facilities for multiple different uses and experiences with a great location. We are very pleased with the new agreement, which enables significant investment in this iconic venue".
Originally opened in the 1950s, Kulttuuritalo currently has shows lined up from artists including Patti Smith, Elvis Costello, Steve Vai, Steve Hackett of Genesis, Ane Brun, Meshuggah and more.
Enter Shikari announce 2024 UK shows with Music Venue Trust donations
"Grassroots music venues in the UK are under existential threat", says frontman Rou Reynolds. "Every time we lose another one we lose a vital part of our culture".
"Bigger venues that benefit from the productive pipeline that grassroots venues provide need to support these smaller venues, as do the artists that have come up through them", he adds. "Enter Shikari stands with Music Venue Trust in their efforts to bring more solidity and community to our brilliant UK live music scene".
Welcoming that commitment, MVT CEO Mark Davyd says: "Music Venue Trust believes that it is the responsibility of the whole music ecosystem - artists, agents, managers, promoters, arenas and stadiums - to ensure that new and developing artists have a place to play in their local community".
"Every musician needs a place where they can play the first song they wrote themselves in front of their first audience on their first stage", he goes on. "The way to make sure the UK continues to be a major force for music around the world is to ensure that every time anyone invests in a ticket to a major event, a small part of the money they are spending is making its way back to the grassroots music venues where every artist begins their career".
He concludes: "It comes as no surprise to us that Enter Shikari have become the first major arena headlining artist to strike out and make this happen; throughout the life of the charity, Rou, Chris, Rob and Rory have been right at the forefront of the campaign to protect, secure and improve the UK's grassroots music venues".
As for the Enter Shikari tour itself, Reynolds says that he's particularly excited to perform at Wembley Arena, adding: "We cannot wait to step things up and present a huge new show to everyone. And we're really looking forward to playing Wembley Arena for the first time! Enter Shikari are on their way to Wembley. Can you imagine what we're gonna do to it?"
The band's new album 'A Kiss For The Whole World' is out now. Tickets for the 2024 shows go on sale on Friday. Here are the dates:
9 Feb: Leeds, First Direct Arena
Universal Music Publishing has signed Yahritza of sibling trio Yahritza Y Su Esencia to a worldwide publishing deal. "I feel very honoured and grateful to form part of the UMPG family", she says. "Hoping to continue touching hearts with our music. It is a blessing to be able to inspire others, never forget to always aim for progress, not perfection".
Sony Music's artist services company AWAL in the UK has promoted Matt Riley to the role of Managing Director. Victoria Needs and Sam Potts have both been upped to Senior Vice President. "Matt, Victoria and Sam have all proven themselves as market leaders in their respective fields and have highly complementary skills", says President Paul Hitchman. "The combination will be an unstoppable force as we look to take the AWAL business to the next level in the UK".
UK record industry collecting society PPL has appointed Suzi Ibbotson as its new Director Of Communications. She joins from Unilever. "The combination of Suzi's strong commercial acumen, global communications experience and fresh perspective on the music industry will add significant strength to PPL's executive management team", says CEO Peter Leathem.
Kim Petras has released the video for her Nicki Minaj collaboration 'Alone'.
Alison Goldfrapp has released the title track of her new solo album 'Love Invention', which is out next week. "I was inspired by the idea of a machine or pill that gives you a feeling of complete euphoria", she says of the track. "It's also inspired by the quick-fix self-improvement culture you particularly find on social media that I find slightly humorous. I'm slightly cynical of it but fascinated by it as well".
The Knife's Olof Dreijer has teamed up with Mt Sims for new track 'Hybrid Fruit'. They will release an EP titled 'Souvenir' on 9 Jun.
SBTRKT has released new track 'No Intention', featuring Leilah. His new album 'The Rat Road' is out this week.
Amnesia Scanner and Freeka Tet will release an album together titled 'Strobe.RIP' on 16 Jun. From it, this is 'Ride'.
Mong Tong will release their new album 'Tao Fire' on 30 Jun. Out now is first single 'Forest Show'.
GIGS & TOURS
King Krule has announced UK and Ireland tour dates in October, finishing up at the Hammersmith Apollo in London on 9 Oct. Tickets go on general sale on Friday. His new album 'Space Heavy' is out on 9 Jun.
Breland has announced UK tour dates in September, including a show at London's Electric Ballroom on 9 Sep. Out now is new Shania Twain collaboration 'Inhale/Exhale Air'.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
BBC announces voice of Eurovision Scouse commentary
Quinn saw off almost 500 other contenders for the role during a seven week search. As a result of all those efforts, for the first time in the event's 67 year history, Eurovision commentary will be available specifically in the accent of the host city.
"It's brilliant … to have [Eurovision] here in Liverpool", says Quinn. "It's a once in a lifetime opportunity and who knows when it's going to come back. To think, I can look back and say it was in Liverpool and I was the voice of it for BBC Radio Merseyside, people will think back and say 'remember when Paul Quinn was the voice of Eurovision?' It's brilliant".
Sweeney adds: "I am THRILLED to be involved with Eurovision this year in Liverpool. I am looking forward to working alongside the new voice of Eurovision for BBC Radio Merseyside. The Scouse alternative commentary is going to be a fabulous addition to the show. It's going to be such fun, I can't wait".
Commenting on the result of the competition, Andrew Bowman, Executive Editor at BBC Radio Merseyside, says: "I'm so chuffed to have found an amazing Scouse voice of Eurovision! We searched across Liverpool and Merseyside and hundreds of auditions - it was a tough decision for the judges but Paul will be boss at this".
"Eurovision and Liverpool is a match made in heaven", he goes on, "and we'll capture the spirit of the city and the contest with our unique Scouse commentary with Paul alongside the fabulous Claire Sweeney".
Quinn and Sweeney will commentate on the Eurovision grand final on 13 May. They'll be available to listen to on BBC Radio Merseyside, BBC Sounds, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Red Button.