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BIG MACHINE LABEL TO RECEIVE PERFORMANCE ROYALTIES FROM CLEAR CHANNEL RADIO STATIONS IN LANDMARK DEAL
Under American copyright law, unlike in many other countries, including the UK, terrestrial radio stations are not obligated to pay a performance royalty to the owners of sound recording copyrights, ie record companies and recording artists, so that - while the owners of lyrical and musical copyrights (ie music publishers and songwriters) are paid royalties by traditional broadcasters - the labels are not.
As previously reported, with such licensing income becoming ever more important to record companies as traditional CD sales decline, the labels have been lobbying for a change in American copyright law to bring it in line with the European systems on sound recording performance rights. The American radio industry, however, is a considerable force in Washington, making legislative reform in this domain tricky to achieve.
That said, under pressure from US Congress, the radio industry did start to negotiate a compromise with the record labels, and a basic system was agreed, but talks collapsed before anything could be presented back to the political decision makers.
However, a sound recording performance royalty is already due in the US on internet radio, and since that medium has emerged it has generally been paid via collecting organisation SoundExchange, with rules and rates set by the government.
It's that fact that has enabled Big Machine, headed up by Scott Borchetta, to negotiate a deal with Clear Channel that includes, for the first time, royalties being paid for music used on terrestrial radio as well as online. As internet services become ever more important to traditional radio firms in the US, and Clear Channel has been expanding into web services a lot of late, Borchetta recognised there was room for negotiation - ie offer more favourable terms on web radio than currently available via the collective licensing system, in return for winning payments for terrestrial broadcasts.
Although the specifics of the deal between Big Machine and Clear Channel are not known, according to Billboard, the radio company will give the label and its artists a share of ad revenue from all of its services where their music is used, rather than payments on a per play basis, as is due on internet radio platforms if licensed via SoundExchange.
Speaking about the new deal at Billboard's Country Music Summit, John Hogan, CEO of Clear Channel's Media & Entertainment business said: "We think its really important that with this new agreement that our business interests are aligned. When our interests are aligned, and when we have a very predictable, transparent business model, we are much more motivated to grow the digital business".
Having embraced Borchetta's proposal, Clear Channel seemingly wants to initially test the water with an independent the size of Big Machine, but there are indications the company might commit to similar deals with other labels down the line. In some ways it's a shrewd move on the radio firm's part, reducing the risks of its expanding internet services - a big priority for the company just now - while also future proofing the organisation against any future wins by the record industry on Capitol Hill regarding sound recording performance royalties (it knowing that some key politicians there are still keen to introduce such royalties into the US copyright system).
On this subject, Hogan said: "I'm as big a fan as the next guy of elected officials, but I think it's always a little scary when you look for legislative or regulatory solutions to what should be marketplace solutions".
Though how other record companies - both independent and major - would respond if presented with the Borchetta deal remains to be seen. Artist groups will also want to know what kind of share of any new royalties their members will receive, and whether they will get their cut straight away, or only if they recoup on their original record contract. If radio firms licence sound recording royalties on a label by label basis, how artists are treated could vary across the industry, whereas if a collecting organisation is involved, a share can be reserved for and paid directly to artists, as happens in the UK.
FOUR EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT COMMITTEES OPPOSE ACTA
As previously reported, various countries around the world, including the majority of European Union member states, plus the EU itself, signed ACTA, either at the end of last year or the beginning of this one. But since then public opposition to the agreement has grown, with some arguing it gives opted in countries the power to introduce draconian new IP protection powers via the back door. Supporters of the treaty in Europe, though, insist it changes nothing in member states, and simply obliges other signee countries to ensure intellectual property rules are in line with European laws.
Although the EU has signed the treaty, the whole thing still needs to be approved by the European Parliament, and opinion there has swayed very much against the agreement in recent months, with many criticising the way it was originally drafted, and expressing concerns it breaches some fundamental EU rights. On the latter point, the European Courts Of Justice are also reviewing the proposals.
Meanwhile, in the European Parliament the body's International Trade Committee is preparing to present its opinion to the parliament as a whole, and ahead of that four other committees gave ACTA some thought. And all four - the Industry Committee, Legal Affairs Committee, the Civil Liberties Committee and most recently the Development Committee - have recommended to the Trade Committee that they reject the agreement. The Trade Committee is expected to confirm its position on 21 Jun, before the parliament as a whole votes on the matter next month.
Whatever happens at a European level, governments in many EU countries, including the UK, remain committed to the agreement. Meanwhile in the US, where the government is also facing rising opposition to its decision to support ACTA, Deputy Trade Representative Miriam Sapiro has defended the agreement, specifically in response to a recent online petition.
She first notes that the Obama administration was a critic of plans in US Congress earlier this year to pass new laws to make it easier to block copyright infringing websites (ie SOPA and PIPA), but adds that ACTA is not the same as those bits of unpopular anti-piracy legislation. She says: "ACTA is an international trade agreement that establishes high standards for intellectual property enforcement. The agreement provides for: enhanced international cooperation; the promotion of sound enforcement practices; and a legal framework for better enforcement".
She continues: "As you may know, the proliferation of counterfeit and pirated goods poses considerable challenges for legitimate trade and economic development. Protecting intellectual property rights helps to further public policies that are designed to protect the public. ACTA will help authorities, for example, protect against the threat posed by potentially unsafe counterfeit goods that can pose a significant risk to public health, such as toothpaste with dangerous amounts of diethylene glycol (a chemical used in brake fluid), auto parts of unknown quality or suspect semiconductors used in life-saving defibrillators".
On the censorship and privacy concerns raised by opponents, she adds: "ACTA specifically recognises the importance of free expression, due process, and privacy. It is the first - and only - international intellectual property rights agreement to provide explicitly that enforcement of intellectual property rights in the context of the internet 'shall be implemented in a manner that ... preserves fundamental principles such as freedom of expression, fair process, and privacy'. No provision in ACTA requires parties to disclose information 'contrary to ... laws protecting privacy rights'. This includes the protections already in place in US law".
So there you go. Not sure any opponents will be won over by your arguments though, Miriam, not even those inside the European Parliament.
MEGAUPLOAD PROSECUTORS SAY THEY NEED MORE TIME TO SHARE EVIDENCE
As previously reported, the legal team working for MegaUpload and its founder Kim 'Dotcom' Schmitz last week told a court in New Zealand that it was impossible for them to fight both the criminal charges against their clients, and efforts to extradite Dotcom et al to the US, because the American authorities, and the New Zealand officials working with them, had so far only revealed a snippet of the evidence they had against Team Mega. The judge sided with the MegaUpload attorneys, and ordered the prosecution to share all their evidence within three weeks.
But earlier this week representatives for the New Zealand authorities said the 21 day deadline was unrealistic, because the US feds had seized eighteen servers that used to form part of the MegaUpload empire, and there was so much content on them that making copies for the defence team would take more than three weeks. Doing it any quicker was "unrealistic". Though MegaUpload's rep at the hearing said he feared the US authorities would procrastinate as long as possible in handing over evidence, making it harder for him and his colleagues to prepare a defence. Judge Helen Winkelmann reserved her decision on the matter for the time being.
Dotcom and six other men are accused of copyright infringement, money laundering and racketeering in relation to their involvement with the MegaUpload enterprise, though none are currently in the US to face the charges directly.
The eighteen former Mega servers in the custody of the FBI were seemingly taken from one of the former cloud storage firm's suppliers Cogent, and are separate to the now shut down ex-Mega servers owned by Carpathia Hosting which have been the subject of much debate in the US, as former customers, who lost access to their data when the MegaUpload service was turned off by the authorities in January without warning, fight through the courts to get their files back.
CZAR ENTERTAINMENT CHIEF ROSEMOND FOUND GUILTY OF RUNNING DRUG RING
Prosecutors said that Rosemond was the "kingpin" in an elaborate drug trafficking operation, and that he used his music business as a front to enable the distribution of large quantities of cocaine around the US. After a day of jury deliberations he was found guilty of all charges.
Rosemond maintains he was never involved in the cocaine trade, and has previously claimed to have been framed for his crimes. His lawyer expressed disappointment in the ruling yesterday, and told TheWrap an appeal would be filed before sentencing.
Rosemond could face life imprisonment for the crimes he's just been convicted of.
THE XX ALBUM NOW HAS TITLE, RELEASE DATE
The band introduced the sequel to their eponymous 2009 long player with these words on their Facebook page: "After a long time on the road, we took a break, created our own studio and wrote these new songs that we're so looking forward to playing to you".
As previously reported, The xx's only confirmed future UK dates are festival appearances at Ireland's Electric Picnic and Bestival, though there are sure to be more listed as/when further album details arise.
TUNE-YARDS, QUESTLOVE HONOUR FELA KUTI FOR AIDS CHARITY LP
Garbus says: "I wanted to reclaim 'Lady' for women in the world today, particularly African women, who will have an important role in ending the AIDS epidemic there. I was so happy to have the powerful Angelique Kidjo pour her soul into it, and then rapper Akua Naru wrote a raw, intense verse that perfectly extended and completed our version of the song".
The track appears on '(RED) Hot + FELA', a forthcoming Kuti tribute LP compiled to raise proceeds for AIDS/HIV charity the (RED) Foundation.
'Lady' is also out now as a single, released as part of (RED)'s 10-day '(RED) Rush To Zero' campaign which is ongoing until 10 Jun. Find out about it at www.redrush.com
X-FACTOR RELEASE ROUND-UP: LITTLE MIX, MISHA B PREP SEPARATE SINGLES
Anyway. To reigning 'X' champs Little Mix first because, well... they did come first in the competition. The pop quartet have just set a release date for their first original single 'Wings', which is out via Sony's Syco on 22 Jul. No one's heard it yet, but there you go... 22 Jul.
And with that, it's on to Misha B nee Bryan, who - despite finishing fourth in 2011's 'X' contest and being accused of bullying - was also signed to Sony earlier this year. She'll release her MNEK-produced debut single, 'Home Run', via the major's Relentless Records imprint on 15 Jul.
Misha, who released a mixtape titled 'Why, Hello World' last month, enthuses thus about the new track: "It's about that special someone who gets you so excited, so hyped that you lose control! When I perform it, I feel that same energy on stage - it makes you wanna dance! It is based on a ballad I wrote about my ex and I just changed it up to give it a fresh, fun vibe".
Unlike Little Mix's 'Wings', which is seemingly being kept back to up suspense, 'Home Run' is actually available to listen to right now. Hear it here: soundcloud.com/iammishab/home-run
DEUS PREMIERE VIDEO, DISCUSS NEW LP
The band began recording the new record in the immediate wake of its forerunner 'Keep You Close', and vocalist Tom Barman says that, in part, its prompt completion was "borne out of shame after delivering nine songs for 'Keep You Close' in two years".
He also says: "We had songs we didn't want to lose, didn't want to have sat on a shelf for four years so we decided to break our previous way of working and be less precious and finish the songs quickly and then release them to the public. It's 2012 for fuck's sake, the idea of waiting months to release stuff seems so old fashioned".
Ah, if only all musicians thought that way. Justin Timberlake, for instance. Anyway, here's the brand new video for 'Following Sea' single 'Quatre Mains'. Well, not quite yet, because before/after viewing the video you can also see Barman's track-by-track discussion of his band's new album. It's most informative, I think you'll agree.
MARINA AND THE DIAMONDS ADDS OCTOBER SHOWS
In addition to the amended June shows, the first of which takes place on 18 Jun at Norwich Waterfront, she'll also visit Manchester Academy on 6 Oct and London's HMV Forum on 11 Oct.
And here's Marina's new 'Power & Control' promo to accompany the above: www.youtube.com/watch?v=o3Rp_0hoNTY
GALLOWS ANNOUNCE RUM DO
More info at www.facebook.com/sailorjerryUK
PARAKEET SET LIVE DATES, DEBUT NEW TRACK
As well as supporting Wavves tonight at London's Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, they'll also take over White Heat, which takes place at Soho haunt Madam Jojo's, on 24 Jul.
Watch/listen to 'Shonen Hearts' and Parakeet's first single 'Tomorrow', as will both feature on band's tbc debut album, here:
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
BINGLEY MUSIC LIVE, Myrtle Park, Bradford, 31 Aug - 2 Sep: Razorlight, Martha Reeves, Space, Black Spiders, Jake Bugg and We Were Evergreen increase the Bingley bill's artist count by six, joining the previously announced Nero, DJ Fresh, The Pigeon Detectives, Hard-Fi, The Charlatans, Maverick Sabre, Delilah, Kids in Glass Houses, Katzenjammer and Stooshe. www.bingleymusiclive.com
GATHERING, various venues, Cowley Road, Oxford, 20 Oct: Initial names booked for the inaugural edition of Oxford indie fest Gathering include Spector, Dry The River, Peace, Bastille and Hey Sholay, with many more still to be confirmed. gatheringfestival.tumblr.com
HEVY FESTIVAL, Port Lympne Animal Park, Kent, 3-6 Aug: Hundred Reasons, Ignite, 7 Seconds, Bury Tomorrow, Suis La Lune, Lower Than Atlantis and Gnarwolves add extra onus to a weighty Hevy roster, as also bears the likes of Glassjaw, Will Haven, Andrew WK and The Descendants. www.hevy.co.uk
JERSEY LIVE, Royal Jersey Showgrounds, 2-3 Sep: Rizzle Kicks top a list of recent inductees to the Jersey Live fold, as also features Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Chase & Status, Primal Scream, Professor Green, The Stranglers, Maverick Sabre, Devlin and Friends. www.jerseylive.org.uk
SECRET GARDEN PARTY, Mill Hill Field, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, 19-22 Jul: Organisers have updated the SGP line-up to include Kassidy, Willy Moon, Kitty Daisy & Lewis, Palma Violets, Bastille and Summer Camp, serving to further enrich proceedings at large, as do-star Orbital, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, KT Tunstall, Little Roy, Caravan Palace, Little Dragon and Alabama Shakes. www.secretgardenparty.com
UNDERGROUND FESTIVAL, Gloucester Guildhall, 29-30 Sep: Just-confirmed headliners Bastille and Lower Than Atlantis share a line-up with Peace, Swim Deep, Sons & Lovers and Treetop Flyers, who'll appear across Underground's third ever event alongside Hey Sholay, Don Broco, The Struts and many others besides. www.undergroundfestival.co.uk
MORE COLLABORATIONS PROMISED AT PRS AGM
Fletcher also discussed the "strategic priorities" of the society, including the usual: promoting and protecting copyright; growing revenues, particularly internationally; and offering improved services to members while running the business more efficiently.
Though perhaps most interesting was a commitment to partner with other collecting societies where doing so could result in efficiencies for members. According to Music Week, this includes working more closely with the UK's sound recording royalties agency PPL, particularly on licences for smaller organisations, with PRS CEO Robert Ashcroft saying the government's current review of copyright laws had motivated an escalation of such collaborations.
In the voting bit of the day, three songwriters were reappointed to the PRS board - Mick Leeson, Lynsey de Paul and Edward Gregson - while Simon Platz was reappointed as a publisher representative, and Imagem chief John Minch was appointed to the same role for the first time.
IMAGEM US LAUNCHES JOINT VENTURE WITH SIRDOFSKY
Meanwhile Imagem's Richard Stumpf told CMU: "I could not be happier in welcoming Katrina to the Imagem family. She's one of the most well respected music executives out there and the fact that she chose Imagem as a partner reflects our shared, progressive vision of what it means to be a music publisher today".
MICROSOFT PHASES OUT ZUNE BRAND IN FAVOUR OF XBOX MUSIC
Zune, of course, was originally the name for Microsoft's somewhat lacklustre attempt to compete with Apple in the digital music player space. Despite some good reviews, the player was never launched beyond the US market, and was quietly phased out, though the Zune Marketplace, designed to feed content to the device, lived on via other Microsoft platforms.
But no more. Xbox Music is incoming, people. Get ready to be underwhelmed.
QUEEN'S JUBILEE CONCERT MOST WATCHED TV SHOW THIS YEAR
That puts it some way ahead of the 11.4 million who tuned in to see a dog win the final of 'Britain's Got Talent' earlier in the year, and the slightly lacklustre seven million who tuned in to the final edition of 'The Voice' on BBC One this weekend, where the Tom Jones-mentored Leanne Mitchell was declared winner.
Jones was among the long list of music stars who joined Gary Barlow for his Jubilee concert in front of Buck House on Monday night, with Elton John, Alfie Boe, JLS, Grace Jones, Jools Holland, Annie Lennox, Madness, Stevie Wonder, Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams and Paul McCartney also all along for the ride.
Talking of Macca, he revealed to media at the Jubilee show that he would return to the stage later this summer to play at the Olympics. There's some confusion as to whether he will play the opening or closing ceremony, though I think what he said was the "closing of the opening".
MORRISSEY'S SPECIAL WISHES FOR LIZ OVER JUBILEE WEEKEND
He wrote: "This week, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee presents a new lesson in the force of tyranny, and is an expression of loathing and abhorrence of the British poor - and all done, quite naturally, at the public's expense! It is degrading to anyone of intelligence. While dictatorships throughout the Middle East are gently condemned by the British government, there is no examination of the extremism enforced by the British 'royals', who remain the most overpaid and most utterly useless people on the planet. Having done nothing to earn our respect, they demand everything by return".
Actually, quite a lot of the Jubilee festivities were funded by private contributions and/or the licensing fees the BBC could secure by selling its footage overseas, and compared to the billions the tax payer is pouring into the London Olympics, only to be dictated to by corporate brands (whose contribution is nominal by comparison) as to what drinks they can drink, what cash cards they can use, and what clothes they can wear, the Queen's celebrations weren't that big a disgrace, relatively speaking. But still, with so many c'lebs gushing about the Royals this weekend, it's good you can rely on Mozza to give the other view.
Speaking of which, the singer added that he is "frequently asked to appear on BBC television's 'Question Time' to air my views", but, before you get excited, said that he declines on the grounds that he doubts that it is "possible to engage with the British media and not be carved-up".
Elsewhere in Morrissey news, the singer has admitted to thinking about retiring from the world of pop. Asked by JuiceOnline.com whether he might call it a day once he's 55 (which will be in 2014), Morrissey said: "Yes. I am slightly shocked to have gone as far as I have. This is my thirtieth year, and I've aged a lot recently, which is bit distressing for me, as it must be for everyone. The body changes shape and there's nothing you can do about it. Do I continue as a modern day Andy Williams? I take one hour at a time".