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ARTIST GROUP HITS OUT AT ELEMENTS OF EUROPE'S COLLECTING SOCIETY REFORM PROPOSALS
As previously reported, European officials want royalty collecting organisations - especially those that collect music publishing royalties for publishers, songwriters and composers - to be more transparent, to pay collected monies out to creators faster, and to start licensing digital music services on a pan-European basis (EC types have been banging on about the latter point for years).
Although Younison welcomed the European Commission stepping in to improve the collective licensing system, it has hit out at certain elements of the proposals that have been published this week, accusing European Commissioners of going back on promises to take a creator-centric approach to the new rules. An open letter from the group says: "We are deeply disappointed by your choice to defend the interests of a minority of managers and stakeholders".
The main area of controversy in the new proposals for Younison is so called orphan works, compositions where a collecting society collects a royalty from a licensee, but doesn't know who owns the copyright. Orphan works are always problematic because it is difficult to hold societies (or licensees) accountable for royalties unpaid to unknown rights owners forever.
But, Younison says, by proposing that societies can keep any money they are unable to distribute (because of unknown authors) after five years, as this week's proposals do, you provide an incentive for less reputable royalty organisations to deliberately not go out of their way to identify rights owners. Or in Youison's words: "This encourages the collecting societies to keep the money they owe, and reduces the incentive to find the rights-holder. You thus legitimise one of the most problematic forms of embezzlement adopted by some collecting societies in Europe".
It remains to be seen how all the collecting societies in Europe respond to these proposals, given the reforms are more heavily targeted at some more than others. For its part, UK society PRS For Music welcomed the developments, with top man Robert Ashcroft telling CMU: "The Commission has outlined a new framework for consistent and high standards for transparency and accountability to the members that we welcome as the route to building further confidence in collective management".
He continued: "We also like the standards-based approach to data and processing capability to support multi-territory licensing, because it will provide the incentives for the market to develop and aggregate on a voluntary basis. As a membership society, owned by its members and governed by a board of directors elected by its membership, PRS For Music has always set the standard for good governance and will continue to do so".
STREAMING ACCOUNTS FOR 89% OF DIGITAL IN SWEDEN
The considerable growth of the Swedish market and the dominance of digital (it's about 50/50 digital/physical product revenues in the UK just now) are both interesting, but it's the fact that 89% of digital is coming from streaming services that is the biggest stand out stat of this report.
It's been no secret for a while that labels in Sweden have been seeing impressive royalty payments - relative to the market - coming in from the streaming space, and mainly Spotify. Though that 89% figure is partly due to Spotify's rapid growth, but also the negative impact that has had on a la carte download stores like iTunes, which totally dominates digital in many territories.
But will this Spotify-assisted digital growth enable the Swedish record industry to return to the sorts of revenues they saw before the web took off in the late 1990s and decimated CD sales? Universal Music Sweden MD Per Sundin reckons so. Music Ally quotes him thus: "We're back to the same revenue levels as during 2004, and if the development continues in the same way we'll be back on turnover similar to those during the 'golden days' of the CD in just a few years".
Of course pessimists might question how much of the royalties paid to labels and other rights owners by Spotify comes from sustainable subscription revenue, and how much is reliant on finite venture capital, given that iTunes revenue is genuine cash that comes from real consumers. "What happens when the start-up investment runs out?", they might ask. Realists may not be so doom and gloom, but might wonder whether digital trends in Sweden are a sign of what's to come elsewhere, or something unique to this market.
Still, it's Friday and the sun's out, so let's let the optimists have the final word. "Spotify's saving the day, woo hah, let's have a big fat party and piss everything away on ludicrous excess". Oh look, it is the 1990s again.
TULISA SETTLES WITH MC ULTRA OVER SEX TAPE
As previously reported, the video featuring the former N-Dubz singer surfaced online in March, via a website selling the six minute recording for $5.99 a download. However, the video was quickly taken offline after lawyers for the 'X-Factor' judge gained a court order against the London company operating the website that was distributing the footage.
Although, when rumours of a sex tape first surfaced last year, Contostavlos's legal reps issued a statement saying that the video was "100% fake", after the actual recording went online Tulisa issued a statement of her own via YouTube admitting that it was real, adding that it was Edwards who had filmed it, and who had probably uploaded it too.
Constavlos then launched a lawsuit against Edwards and a number of other defendants. The singer's ex initially denied responsibility, claiming that making such a video publicly available was "ungentlemanly". However, at a hearing earlier this week his lawyer read out a statement saying: "Mr Edwards has admitted responsibility for publication of the video, apologised for it, and promised not to do it again".
Although Edwards was not in court yesterday, according to The Telegraph, Constavlos' solicitor Jonathon Coad confirmed that the rapper had offered his client "sincere apologies" and promised not to speak about their relationship in public again.
Coad added that the publication of the video was a breach of privacy "of the most severe kind imaginable", adding: "[Tulisa] suffered and continues to suffer very serious distress at this wholly unjustified and unlawful interference with her rights. She has been particularly distressed by the wholly untrue allegation made by some that she was in some way complicit with the release of the footage. She was not, as this statement makes clear".
Outside the court, Contostavlos herself said: "I am relieved that this is finally over. It has been a very testing few months and this was not a case I ever wanted to go through. Justin Edwards's actions were to spite me, make money and ruin my career. He has succeeded in none of these things. I stand here today a stronger, wiser young woman who has taken this experience and learnt from it".
She continued: "I am disgusted by Justin and saddened by the people that believed I released the footage myself. Today the truth has prevailed. After months of lying to the public and lying in court, Justin has finally admitted to being guilty and I hope justice is served. I would now like to draw a line under this and put it in the past ... Justin messed with the wrong woman".
It seems that there was no financial settlement involved between Contostavlos and Edwards. However, she will continue to pursue a number of other defendants over their alleged involvement in distributing the video.
BIEBER SUED OVER SCREAMING BELIEBERS
In a lawsuit filed on Tuesday, Stacey Wilson Betts claims that she attended a Bieber gig in Portland a year ago with her daughter, and that her hearing was damaged during a sequence when the Biebster flew over the crowd, as it were, in a heart-shaped gondola. This caused two problems, Betts says, it enticed the crazy teenage girls in the audience to scream all the louder, and created "a sound conductor, creating a sound blast that permanently damaged both of my ears".
Promoter AEG Live and venue owners Vulcan Sports & Entertainment are also named in the lawsuit, which makes more sense if there were genuine noise issues at the show, though Bieber and his label are also listed as defendants because, Betts says, the pop teen "enticed the crowd into a frenzy of screams by continuously waving his arms in a quick and upward motion".
None of the defendants have as yet commented on the litigation.
FLORENCE WELCH SUFFERS VOCAL INJURY, WITHDRAWS FROM EURO FESTIVALS
Writing via a series of Twitter posts, the singer said: "It finally happened, I've lost my voice. I've sustained a vocal injury and have been told I cannot sing for a week. Seriously, I felt something snap, it was very frightening. Unfortunately this means I will not be able to perform at Benicassim and Optimus Alive festivals this weekend.
She continued: "I'm so sorry to all the fans, I was desperate to still perform, but was told without question not to, so as not to do permanent damage. I hope I can make it up to you in the future, have an amazing time... yours croakily, Florence".
NILE RODGERS TALKS LA ROUX COLLABORATION
The Chic chieftain told all to the Daily Star, saying: "I totally fell in love with La Roux, it was just insane. I only work with people who are monsters, and I was impressed with how organic and cool Elly was. She's in my cross-hairs right now. British artists have a stronger knowledge base of music, it's always experimental".
Details of Rodgers and La Roux's duet is still to be specified, but it could well feature on the successor to Jackson and bandmate Ben Langmaid's eponymous LP of 2009, if and when that's ever announced.
As previously reported, Rodgers is also rumoured to have been working with Daft Punk on their new record. Though, as Daft Punk would have us believe, such a thing doesn't even exist.
MONO RELEASING LP
Out on Temporary Residence and featuring the quartet's past collaborators, the 24-piece Wordless Music Orchestra, you can preview its contents via this video.
WEIRD DREAMS OFFER EP ON PAY-WHAT-YOU-LIKE BASIS
Bearing the title 'Found', it was originally packaged, in a physical form, by Rough Trade with bonus copies of the band's first and only full-length 'Choreography'. These are all sold out now, hence the transfer to MP3.
It's downloadable on a pay-what-you-like basis via Weird Dreams' BandCamp page.
A Month Full Of Mondays
BLINK 182 TO TOUR WITHOUT FLYING-PHOBIC TRAVIS BARKER
The band have said that they'll complete their forthcoming Australian tour minus the percussionist, whose phobia is quite understandably linked to his being one of two people to survive a plane crash that took place in Columbia, South Carolina in 2008, killing four of its passengers (and arguably contributing to his close friend and fellow crash survivor Adam Goldstein's subsequent suicide).
Barker, who'll be replaced by a stand-in drummer in Australia, has recently said he'd like to conquer his fear for the sake of his young family and Blink bandmates Tom DeLonge and Mark Hoppus. He tells Red Bulletin: "I'm contemplating getting knocked out and getting on a plane to Australia. I want to overcome that eventually. My kids are scared to death to fly. I want them to witness me overcome it".
WILEY PLOTS CAMDEN SINGLE LAUNCH
Wiley will also perform alongside fellow grime MCs Boy Better Know, Diesel and CHRONIK at the capital's Proud2 venue under the O2 Dome as part of the Eskimo Dance Event.
KARIN PARK TO TOUR
Park's next single 'Thousand Loaded Guns', as features on her debut LP 'Highwire Poetry', is then out on 3 Sep.
You could, were you free on 20 Jul, also see her play a live set amid London's elite as part of the Sanderson Hotel's imaginatively-named Sanderson Sessions, but only if you RSVP via this webform.
Anyway, to those tour dates:
15 Jul: Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
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NITE JEWEL ANNOUNCE TOUR
And those dates are:
12 Aug: Liverpool, Eric's
And look, here Ramona is now, being barely conscious in the new video for 'One Second Of Love' offshoot 'Clive'.
FESTIVAL LINE-UP UPDATE
DIMENSIONS FESTIVAL, Fort Punta Christo, Pula, Croatia, 6-9 Sep: Nicolas Jaar serves as the fitting final addition to Dimensions' electronic-centric 2012 roster, aligning with artists including Little Dragon, Four Tet, Joy Oribson, Floating Points, Andrew Weatherall, John Talabot and Nathan Fake. www.dimensionsfestival.com
READING/LEEDS FESTIVALS, 24-26 Aug: As Hadouken! are drafted in as late replacements for US hip hop duo Chiddy Bang, select examples of Reading and Leeds' star players remain co-headliners The Cure, Kasabian and Foo Fighters, not to mention The Maccabees, Florence And The Machine and Justice. www.readingfestival.com / www.leedsfestival.com
SHAKEDOWN, Stanmer Park, Brighton, 6 Oct: Brand new headliners Chase & Status join the already announced likes of Dizzee Rascal, Professor Green, Katy B and Stooshe on the Shakedown billing, with Ms Dynamite, Knife Party, Zane Lowe and Clement Marfo & The Frontline also booked to play. www.shakedown.co.uk
SUPERSONIC, Custard Factory, Birmingham, 19-21 Oct: Kevin Martin's dancehall alias The Bug's just-announced Supersonic set will feature guest collaborators Flowdan and Daddy Freddy, while Nic Bullen of Napalm's mysterious new side project Tomoutonttu, plus Islaja and Lau Nau, are also new fixtures of an overall line-up featuring JK Flesh, Tim Hecker, Hype Williams, Jarboe and UFOmammut. www.supersonicfestival.com
SECRETLY CANADIAN ANNOUNCES GLOBAL EXPANSION
Former A&R Director at XL Hannah Overton has been announced as the new General Manager for the UK and Europe, and will also have a creative and A&R focus. Laura Sykes joins from Ninja Tune as Head Of European Sales And Digital Strategy, while Mike Holdsworth moves to become European Projects Director, and Tom Davies joins the team full time as European Marketing and Product Manager.
The company's US MD Nick Blandford told CMU: "The label groups' owners and I could not be more excited about the direction which our London team is taking us. Mike and Tom have been trailblazers for our labels. Their tireless work has helped to put us the position to expand our footprint in the UK and Europe. With the addition of Hannah and Laura, we enjoy bountiful leadership and experience throughout our staff. I look forward to see where Hannah and her team can take us as we strive to develop and support the careers of our artists globally".
Over in the company's New York office, Jon Coombs is promoted to Associate Director Of A&R and joined by former manager of Sonic Boom Records in Seattle, Melanie Sheehan, as Project Manager.
ECHO NEST SECURES NEW FUNDING
The latest funding round was led by Norwest Venture Partners, and, according to Billboard, existing investors Matrix Partners, Commonwealth Capital Ventures, Fringe Partners, Jim Pallotta and Michael Brown are among those to have put new money into the business.
A partner at one of those investment funds, Commonwealth Capitals' Elliot Katzman, told reporters: "It is an exciting time to be working with The Echo Nest. The company has continued to make excellent progress since our initial investment in 2008, and we are looking forward to even more exciting developments ahead".
KICKSTARTER COMING TO THE UK
At the moment non-US individuals or companies need to ally themselves with an American organisation, or set up a base in the States, to utilise the service. But earlier this week Kickstarter tweeted: "People in the UK will be able to launch projects on Kickstarter starting this autumn".
Kickstarter, of course, is not a music specific fan-funding platform, and has been used by all sorts of creators and businesses, though on a global level one of its most famous users is musical - it was via Kickstarter that Amanda Palmer raised over a million dollars to fund her latest album, tour and art-book project.
Kickstarter has its rivals in both the US, and here in the UK, of course, with some being specifically set up to help musicians raise funds or offer pre-orders; Pledge Music probably being the key one these days. Though, in America at least, Kickstarter has often enjoyed the highest profile.
CMU BEEF OF THE WEEK #118: DANGEROUS CLOTHING V CELEB PRIVATE PARTS
First, a story about Katy Perry's bra. And we all love one of those, don't we? Anyway. The 'Teenage Dream' popstar has informed The Sun - ever the specialists in boob-related gossip - that insurers have urged her to abandon an item of her on-stage attire, that being an electric spinning candy bra, over concerns for her health... and hair.
"I keep being told the insurers are worried I will injure my neck", she tells the tabloid, adding: "I seriously doubt it could be lethal, but they want a new bra designed that will not allow my hair to be caught up".
To be fair, it does sound like the insurers have a reason to worry. While Perry's array of on-stage wigs usually escape unscathed, the singer admits she isn't always so lucky: "My hair got caught in the wheels of my spinning peppermint bra and began to coil around and around. I'm forced to just go with it so, by the end of the song, it looked quite like I was licking my own tit. What a girl does for her art".
A source added: "Insurers don't care about the art or the fun - just the dangers".
If dangerous clothes are on the agenda, maybe the insurers should start fretting about skinny jeans, because they are currently threatening future generations of hipsters by making their wearers infertile. So said the Daily Mail this week, anyway, warning that these unsafe trousers could lead to "groin discomfort", "bladder troubles" or "a twisted testicle". Ouch. The paper seems to have a bit of an obsession with this topic, having covered it back in May too. And on both occasions it focussed on Perry's ex-husband Russell Brand's twisted testicles. Er, so to speak.
Actually, this week The Mail was commending Brand for being seen out wearing some loose fitting trousers. "Perhaps the comedian and actor was taking preventative action against revelations that skinny jeans could be bad for your health if you're a man", the paper said.
But what evidence of the problem? Well, listen to 27 year old sales executive James Coleman, who told the tabloid: "I bought my pair of skinny jeans because they were fashionable, I'd recently moved to London where every street feels like a catwalk so I wanted to look good. My friends used to joke I looked like something out of The Wanted or One Direction but I didn't take notice".
Tight trousers or not, it would take a pretty long stretch of the imagination to say that James looked like a member of a boyband. Sorry, James. But that's not the point. The point is that James soon found himself "going to the toilet more frequently than normal".
So, cast aside any spinning bras you may own. And burn those skinny jeans. The future is baggy linen, my friends. It's the only way we can ensure our safety and the future of our species. If only they'd known this sooner, may Katy and Russell would still be together.