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BOTH GEMA AND YOUTUBE APPEAL GEMA V YOUTUBE RULING
As much previously reported, GEMA is no fan of YouTube or its parent company Google, despite the web giant's video service being arguably one of only three digital content services bringing significant and real revenue into the music industry just now (ie significant sums that are not currently dependent, in any way, on venture capital or loss-leader subsidies from tel cos or device makers, the others being Apple and YouTube ally VEVO).
Nevertheless, GEMA believes that YouTube offers publishers and songwriters a poor deal in terms of royalties, and that the video platform doesn't go far enough to stop unlicensed content from being uploaded by users (some GEMA supporters might claim this is in part deliberate in order to strong-arm rights owners into accepting YouTube's royalty rates - ie "your content's going to appear whatever, so you might as well earn something").
As previously noted, YouTube operates under American copyright law, which says that a technology provider can avoid liability for copyright infringement if its users upload unlicensed content onto its networks providing it has a system via which rights owners can order such files be taken down.
Of course that principle does not necessarily apply in many of the other jurisdictions where the video site operates, though to be fair, YouTube does actually go some way beyond the (some would argue rather low) obligations set out by America's Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and in many countries rights owners have deemed its operations acceptable, even if local copyright law might not technically concur.
But not GEMA, which took YouTube to court to test whether the video site's takedown systems complied with German law. And, according to most interpretations of last month's court ruling on the matter, they do not, meaning that YouTube will either have to step up its filtering systems (which would be expensive and arguably hinder its operations) or agree to more favourable terms and licence the German collecting society's songs catalogue so that no extra filtering is required (which is almost certainly what GEMA really wants).
Unsurprisingly, YouTube is appealing that ruling, arguing that it already operates sophisticated filtering systems that any content owner is free to utilise, and that the additional measures seemingly required by the German courts would be damaging for not only the Google video site, but also any other website that empowers users to upload and share content. Or, in the words of YouTube Germany spokesperson Mounira Latrache: "The ruling to implement [more] filtering would be damaging for innovation and freedom of expression online".
Meanwhile GEMA, despite declaring itself the victor in the recent court case, also filed new legal papers earlier this week, in order to meet the deadline for appealing.
The collecting society says it wants more legal certainty around the rights its members have to protect their content online, and a legal right to keep its members informed of negotiations with the Google company even before any deal has been reached. GEMA chiefs have been busy negotiating with YouTube over a possible licensing deal since the original court hearing, but no deal could be reached before the appeals submission deadline, hence why both sides have filed new legal papers despite licensing negotiations being ongoing.
Elsewhere in GEMA news, the collecting society has announced a new deal with Germany-based music rights company BMG which will enable the society to licence out the digital rights to the firm's entire Anglo-American catalogue on a pan-European basis.
As previously reported, in recent years a number of music publishing companies have allowed individual national collecting societies in Europe to represent all or some of their catalogues on a pan-European level in the digital domain, partly because of demand from the digital music providers, partly to make digital royalty collecting more efficient, and partly to placate those in the European Commission who reckon that the collecting society system consists of too many monopolies, and who want all the societies in Europe to compete head on with each other.
Confirming the new deal with GEMA, the boss of the v2 BMG company Hartwig Masuch told reporters: "BMG is a start-up of the digital age, and we see technology primarily as an opportunity for the music industry. This cooperation with GEMA is an important step in the right direction, offering digital service providers one-stop licensing of our Anglo-American repertoire across Europe. The advantages include easier access to our repertoire for digital music service providers and simplified, more transparent and faster accounting for our songwriters".
BEN FOLDS ON FAN FUNDING AND A NICER MUSIC INDUSTRY
Asked about going the crowdsourcing route (yes, I now have three names for the same thing) Folds told the magazine: "Some [artists] will find that it's a better way. Others will find the traditional route is better. Some people may go on the fucking Home Shopping Network, who knows? [But fan funding is] going to favour whoever can manage to engage the biggest audience on their own. Those will be the people who benefit the most from it. And the ones who know how to do things cheaply, because even if you raised a million dollars, if you spent a million a half, it's just like the record companies, it doesn't benefit you at all".
He continued: "I think someone has to have a little bit of a head start before they Kickstart. But that's always been the way in the music business. If you went down the laws of the things you know to be true about the music business, you'll see that nothing is really changing. If you're going to do well on Kickstarter or PledgeMusic, you have to have a leg up. You probably got your leg up by doing it yourself and getting out and playing gigs".
Though some things have changed about the music industry in the post-Napster age, Folds admits, noting that, as the business has downsized and become less rich, it's mainly the bastards who have been eased out. He says: "Right now, [the music industry is] just in a little chaos. Things are re-settling and re-shifting and people are trying stuff, people are getting laid off. Fewer records are being sold every day. The people left in the business are, I think, the best, the people who were there because they cared and have new ideas. Everyone else is gone".
Continuing in this realistic but upbeat mood, he concludes: "We'll sell fewer records and it'll be okay. I think that there were so many things that for so long were so corrupt and inefficient in the music business that there's a lot to improve and what you're seeing now is another part of the growing pains, of the rebellion".
Read the full Forbes interview here: www.forbes.com/sites/jmaureenhenderson/2012/05/21/ben-folds-on-the-future-of-the-music-industry-right-now-were-just-in-a-little-chaos/
STONE ROSES REUNITE AT IMPROMPTU WARM UP SHOW
Anyway, yesterday afternoon it was suddenly announced that there'd be a free warm up show last night in Warrington of all places (Ian Brown's from there, see). But unless you were [a] residing somewhere near the Cheshire town and [b] incredibly quick to get down to the box office where wristbands were being distributed (and wave a bit of Stone Roses product to prove you were a real fan and not just some chancer), then you were out in the cold, man. Unless you were one of the group's celebrity friends. Or one of the loads of locals who seemed to have known about this surprise gig for quite a while. So, not so sneaky after all.
Anyway, it was very fine comeback show by all accounts (alas I wasn't anywhere near Warrington myself and, while my Mum was, she was too busy making my Dad's tea to go cheer on the Roses). The hits were trotted out. The evening wasn't tarnished by any shaky new songs. Ian Brown told off audience members for tweeting and iPhone-filming when they should be "living for the moment" (which they should, so well done Ian). And Reni drummed, despite rumours he was too ill to take part in the reformation. So what a marvellous evening for one and all. And I hear my Dad's dinner was particularly good last night too.
Anyway stop reading this and go and check out John Robb's live Twitter coverage of the event posted during the gig last night. I know Ian Brown said no to audience tweeting, but UN rules dictate that John Robb is not bound by Ian Brown directives, so it's all fine.
PEACE SIGN TO COLUMBIA
The quartet have this singular take on the deal: "Signing with Columbia means that we are going to pour our everything over the next whatever into creating a record and basically no one can stop us. Not reality, nor consequence. It's a bit like getting knocked up. We just had some unprotected sex with Columbia and we're keeping it".
As the deal was confirmed, an in-your-face poster featuring the band appeared on a billboard site in their home town. Peace explain: "We demanded a billboard from the label kind of as a joke and they 100% pulled through. It's one of those moments where the joke goes just far enough before someone gets hurt. No one is hurting".
You can check out that very billboard here - whatthefuckbirmingham.com - and listen to 'Li'l Echo', as forms the B-side to the band's first single 'Follow Baby', here: soundcloud.com/p-e-a-c-e/lil-echo
GHOSTPOET SIGNS PLAY IT AGAIN SAM DEAL
The rapper's Mercury-nominated debut LP 'Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam' came out, of course, by way of Gilles Peterson's Brownswood Recordings, but that's all in the past now.
Let's instead look forward to a gushy quote from [PIAS] MD Peter Thompson, who says: "Obaro is a unique artist at the top of his game. He first came to our attention with his inspiring debut, and after listening to this nonstop for months and then seeing how well it translates to the live arena, we desperately wanted to work with him more closely and are all eager to hear the music, and work on the campaign that will make up his first album for Play It Again Sam".
Keeping his comments brief, Ghotpoet adds: "It's lovely to sign to Play It Again Sam, I'm hoping together we can push my career in a forward direction and bring happiness to ears around the world".
BECK RELEASING SINGLE VIA JACK WHITE LABEL
Recorded last year in Nashville during sessions for Beck's as-yet untitled LP, the single features Third Man boss Jack White on "drums, acoustic guitar, punk vocal, [and] background vocals".
You can preview both sides of the new single at thirdmanrecords.com
FIXERS STREAM DEBUT ALBUM
If you want to get an idea of some of the music that influenced the album, check out mainman Jack Goldstein's recent CMU playlist here - www.thecmuwebsite.com/article/playlist-fixers/ - but before you do that, have a listen to the album itself here:
TOP OF THE POPS TO TOUR AS STAGE MUSICAL
Well, not really. Though it is good news for fans of shit jukebox musicals. They are making a 'Top Of The Pops' musical show that will tour the UK. I kid thee not. Billed by the theatrical minds behind Michael Jackson homage 'Thriller', who are responsible for this new theatrical nightmare, as "a nostalgic interactive jukebox", the show will feature an all-singing, all-dancing cast of faux popstars and presenters recreating highlights from 'TOTP's golden decades. Though Fearne Cotton will not appear. Even fans of shit musicals should be spared the most extreme forms of torture.
There will be interactivity though. Audiences will be able to vote for their favourite song throughout the night as part of a 'live chart countdown', with their chosen track then forming the finale to each performance. Derek Nickol of the show's producers Flying Entertainment says he is "delighted to be working with one of the UK's most iconic brands", adding: "Like most people I have nothing but fantastic memories of 'Top Of The Pops'".
He obviously didn't watch during the Fearne Cotton era.
Curtain up on 'Top Of The Pops Live' happens at the Congress in Eastbourne on 18 Oct, after which the production will take a national tour throughout spring 2013. Good times.
USHER TO GRACE HAMMERSMITH APOLLO
By sheer coincidence, his new studio LP 'Looking 4 Myself' - which features Diplo, Swedish House Mafia, Will.i.am and Empire Of The Sun - is out the very same day.
And talking of coincidences, if I'm not mistaken Usher's tour promoters are AEG Live, who are currently locked in talks with HMV to buy the Apollo as part of the sale of the retailer's live division the MAMA Group. Might the Usher show really be an opportunity for a pre-buy recce of the place? Or maybe it'll be a house warming party.
SCISSOR SISTERS ANNOUNCE TOUR, JOSH HOMME PLUGS ALBUM
Speaking of 'Magic Hour', Queens Of The Stone Age frontman Josh Homme has turned up in an infomercial plugging it. It's true, you can watch it below the tour dates. It's quite funny.
1 Oct: Dublin, Olympia
ROBYN ANNOUNCES HEADLINE DATE, "LAVISH" CLUB NIGHTS
As that Brixton outing looms far off in the future, Robyn has also set aside space and time for a series of 90s-style 'Body Talk' club nights, which she'll co-present with her producer/DJ pal Rokk. Since she's appearing across Coldplay's nationwide tour in June, it makes sense that the Manchester and London editions of said club nights will take place straight after Chris Martin et al's headline gigs.
Described as "a lavish feast for the eyes" and featuring strippers, drag queens and untold fabulousness, the first of those parties, at the Dalston Superstore in East London, will double up as an alternative Diamond Jubilee spectacular, taking place on the first of the jubilee bank holidays. Northerners can join the party at Manchester's Homoelectric on 9 Jun.
Full details on the 'Body Talk' nights here: www.robyn.com/#/blog/420191286
PERFUME GENIUS LIVE DATES
For lack of anything else to add, here's the video for 'Hood', as is wrenched in tears from Hadreas' sophomore Perfume Genius LP, 'Put Your Back N 2 It'.
30 Aug: Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
BUSHSTOCK, various venues, Shepherds Bush, London, 2 Jun: Having just been unveiled in all its diverse and Shepherds Bush-spanning entirety; the complete Bushstock roster features Mystery Jets, Daughtwer, Fionn Regan, Fink, Raghu Dixit, Bastille, Pale Seas, Paul Thomas Saunders, Lanterns On The Lake and so very many more. www.bushstock.co.uk
GREEN MAN, Glanusk Park, Powys, Wales, 17-19 Aug: Mr Scruff, Lone, James Blake, Bullion and Vondelpark are brand new features of the Green Man programme, aligning with existing fixtures Van Morrison, Feist, The Walkmen, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Michael Kiwanuka, Friends and Ghostpoet. www.greenman.net
GUILFEST, Guildford, Surrey, 13-15 Jul: The Skints, TV Smith, Dragster, The Ramonas, Polar and Pyramid are amongst those acts just added to the GuilFest bill, as also features such familial faves as Olly Murs, Jools Holland and, most wholesome of all, Tulisa. www.guilfest.co.uk
LOVEBOX, Victoria Park, London, 15-17 Jun: Funk diva Chaka Khan makes a stylish last-minute cameo amid Lovebox's tenth anniversary extravaganza, joining the already announced Grace Jones, Chic, Hot Chip, Friendly Fires, Crystal Castles, Magnetic Man and soul great Bobby Womack. www.lovebox.net
STRUMMER OF LOVE, Somerset, 17-19 Aug: Clash icon Joe Strummer's (Michael Eavis-endorsed) commemorative fest gains extra artists including King Charles, The Farm and The Men They Couldn't Hang, who now share the overall Strummer Of Love listings with The Pogues, Badly Drawn Boy, Frank Turner, Roots Manuva, Basement Jaxx, Billy Bragg, KT Tunstall and Alabama 3. www.strummeroflove.com
TUSK FESTIVAL, Star & Shadow, Newcastle Upon Tyne, 5-7 Oct: As befits its hosting "a handpicked crop of exciting cross-spectrum international acts", the second ever edition of Newcastle alt fest Tusk will present performances from Keiji Haino, Pelt, Posset, Jazzfinger, Part Wild Horses Mane On Both Sides and The Tenses. www.tuskmusic.co.uk/events
WHY DATA MATTERS IN MUSIC TO BE DISCUSSED AT NETWORKING AFTERNOON
EMI is supporting the event and both David Boyle and Chris Carey from the major's insights team will take part in the discussions, which will focus on the increased importance of data in the digital music era. Songkick's Phil Cowan, Musicmetric's Gregory Mead and Last.fm's Mark Levy will also be among those taking part.
Entry is free but places are limited, check the info and book a slot here:
PRO GREEN IS PRO HIS OWN SIGNATURE BEER
Characterised as "light and crisp", it's marketed with the tagline: "Are you mad? Try Professor Green's Remedy. Don't worry bout tomorrow". Though at 5.9% abv, this may not be the best advice for people with nine to five jobs. Or, for that matter, anyone. Anyway, Remedy will be available to buy and drink responsibly from 3 Jun.
And here's Pro Green now, braving a "traumatic" taste-testing session in Remedy's very own 'making of' video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=P90ZiHQR8fo
SPOTIFY AUSTRALIA CHIEF GIVEN HARD TIME OVER SECRET AND (POSSIBLY) LOW ROYALTIES
Certainly Vale didn't seem particularly well briefed on some of the topics brought up by Triple J presenter Sophie McNeill, forcing the Spotify MD to admit that she simply didn't know why the streaming platform had never revealed what it paid different labels for permission to play their music.
Of course various artists and smaller labels have complained in the last year or so that the monies they receive from Spotify are tiny, and not worth it if you believe a presence on the streaming platform can have a negative impact on iTunes-style download sales. And while the majors routinely come to Spotify's defence, cynics might argue that they are probably getting much better royalty rates and, anyway, are biased given their albeit small equity stake in the digital music firm.
But then again, there are plenty of Spotify defenders in the independent sector too, including labels and distributors who have no vested interest. Yes, those defenders argue, the royalties from Spotify start off small and will always be negligible when music is played via the freemium service. But, they add, over time revenues will improve - especially if labels learn to market their content to streaming audiences better - and everyone needs to take a hit on Spotify Free, because it's proven to be an incredibly effective marketing tool for Spotify Premium.
And bringing up the old "Lady Gaga only made $167" line, as McNeill did, isn't really helpful, as that [a] related to 2008 royalties, [b] was just for Sweden, and [c] was publishing money via collecting society STIM, and therefore didn't include the substantially bigger royalty her label would have got for the recording rights in the same tracks. Still, McNeill's underlying point, that all the secrecy surrounding Spotify royalties just feeds resentment in the artist and grass roots music community, is a valid one. Even if the secrecy is enforced more by the labels than the digital music providers.
Anyway, here's a transcript of the interview from Digital Music News:
VEVO SEEKING NEW INVESTMENT, MEDIUM TERM IPO SUGGESTED
Well, there have been rumours for a while that the music-video website, powered by YouTube technology but owned by Sony Music, Universal Music and the Abu Dhabi Media Company, would look to float, though VEVO management have previously denied an IPO is on their agenda.
But according to Sky News and the Financial Times, an IPO might now indeed be on that VEVO agenda, albeit in the "medium term". The video site is apparently seeking new investment to fund further expansion, either globally or to new devices, and - insiders claim - potential investors are being told that a cash-in flotation is expected to occur somewhere down the line.
Needless to say, VEVO is yet to comment.
HEAT TV CHANNEL TO LAUNCH
Box Television MD Gidon Katz told CMU: "It is extremely exciting for us to be able to add an iconic and hugely popular brand to our channel portfolio. Heat's unique editorial tone and massive consumer influence gives us the tools to reinvent Sky and Virgin's music offerings in the same way that 4music changed the Freeview music landscape".
The Heat TV service will launch on the Sky and Virgin Media networks on 3 Jul.
ONE DIRECTION WILL GLADLY OFFER THE WANTED... A SUPPORT SLOT, PLUS HARRY STYLES ISN'T DATING EMILY ATACK ANYMORE, APPARENTLY
According to The Mirror, 1D boy Louis Tomlinson has said that he hopes The Wanted lads are still friends with his band "because, you know, there is potentially a spot on our arena tour for them to support us". He then added that he "was going to say something rude, or something sexual ... but that's something The Wanted would say". OK, not Azeala Banks level beefing, but at least the boy is trying.
Tomlinson has also told reporters that his bandmate Harry Styles is no longer dating 'The Inbetweeners' actress Emily Atack, which we're relaying here partly to update the 'Harry Styles Love Life News' we ran on Monday, and partly because we find mentioning Harry Styles in stories is better Google bait than just mentioning One Direction, and we're now running our website according to the rulebook of Mail Online. And here's a picture of sexy stunner Atack showing off her toned back and luscious legs in a low cut top and thigh hugging shorts. No, not really. But here is a picture of Harry Styles' penis. No, not really.