|Click JUMP to skip direct to a section of this email or ONLINE to read and share stories on the CMU website (JUMP option may not work in all email readers). For regular updates from Team CMU follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr.|
|CMU Jobs is a proven way to recruit the best music business talent for roles across the industry at all levels, from graduate to senior management. To book an ad contact Sam on 020 7099 9060 or email email@example.com|
Apple Music still needs some work, says Apple exec
Apple's first big play in streaming music hasn't been universally panned, and some elements were quite well received, but there were some bugs, especially in the way the new app handled user's existing iTunes libraries. And some were disappointed that the core streaming service element was a pretty standard affair, resulting in much more attention being given to the freemium Beats 1 service, which is, at the end of the day, just a radio station.
Speaking to The Guardian, Apple man Oliver Schusser said: "There's a lot of work going into making the product better. Our focus is on editorial and playlists, and obviously we have teams all around the world working on that, but we're also adding features and cleaning up certain things. The product is always our priority, and we are getting a lot of feedback. Remember, this was a very big launch in 110 markets instantly, so we get a ton of feedback. We're obviously trying to make it better every day".
Other than the playlists, the big thing with Apple Music was its Connect platform, which aims to enable artists to, well, connect with users of the streaming service. Response to that in the artist community seems to have been decidedly lacklustre, though Schusser insisted in his Guardian interview that: "Apple Music Connect is growing big time with more and more artists connecting to their fans, but we still have a bit of homework to be done for the rest of the year".
Of course, while Apple is an undeniable innovator when it comes to devices and operating systems, its software and content platforms have always been a bit of a mixed bag, and the excitement around Apple Music in the music industry was more about the firm's scale than its product, and its potential to turn many millions more people onto paid-for subscription streaming. Whether that potential can be realised is a test still to come, of course, with the big three month free trial still underway for even those who signed up on day one.
Apple has another big marketing push planned for its streaming service, as that initial free trial starts to expire for early adopters, and with the summer break over and consumers paying more attention to such things. The upcoming Apple Music Festival in London - a rebrand of the old iTunes Festival - will be a big part of that, with numerous big name artists from different genres lined up to play; Take That, The Chemical Brothers and The Weeknd have just been added to the bill.
Though, Schusser also added, while the new streaming product may be getting all the marketing attention, Apple remains committed to further honing the iTunes platform as well. "If you follow the industry and look at the numbers, the download business has been really, really healthy", he said. "iTunes is a big part of our business, still, and will continue to be, so we focus just as much time and energy on maintaining that, editorially and working on features".
Liverpool man arrested over online piracy operation
The defendant is accused of distributing large amounts of music through his own ad-funded website, via which he is thought to have generated "significant advertising revenue". He is also accused of packing up the UK Top 40 each week and uploading it to various torrent sites. He was arrested by PIPCU and Merseyside Police officers yesterday morning.
Although copyright infringement is more commonly dealt with by civil action, ie the copyright owner suing the infringer, where infringement is committed on an industrial level for profit a criminal prosecution may occur.
Traditionally it was mainly people running bootleg CD operations who were targeted, though in more recent years those running unlicensed online set-ups have faced prosecution too. And, as previously reported, moves are afoot to make the penalties for running online piracy operations on par with those for bootlegging physical products.
Commenting on the latest arrest, which was the result of an investigation also involving collecting society PRS For Music, City of London Police Detective Inspector Mick Dodge told reporters yesterday: "Today's operation in Liverpool demonstrates how PIPCU are prepared to travel nationwide in the pursuit of those suspected of being involved in the illegal distribution of content online. This is a crime that is costing the UK creative industry hundreds of millions of pounds, money that not only supports the artists but the thousands of technical and support staff working in this sector, and PIPCU is committed to working with partners nationally and internationally to target those involved".
Meanwhile PRS's Head Of Litigation, Enforcement And Anti-Piracy, Simon Bourn, added: "Music piracy has a severe impact on the livelihoods of the entire songwriting community - and many more who contribute to Britain's renowned creative industry. We're committed to partnering with PIPCU to enforce against illegal services that are not willing to work with us towards a legitimate licensed model, and which continue to exploit our members' work without permission".
Russian collecting society accused of £5 million embezzlement
As previously reported, back in July it was announced that RAO, the Russian collecting society for publishers and songwriters, would merge with record industry society VOIS and private copy levy body RSP, to create one super music rights organisation which, RAO leaders said, would be more transparent. But the boss of VOIS said he hadn't been consulted about the merger.
Proposals were then floated that laws regulating collective licensing should be relaxed, so that creators or rights owners unhappy with the merged RAO/VOIS/RSP could set up their own societies, and then new proposals were announced that would basically abolish the existing societies and put collective licensing into the control of a government agency. All these plans are, officially at least, setting out to improve "transparency" in collective music licensing. Though, perhaps ironically, no one seems especially certain what's going on.
And according to Russian business paper RBK, RAO is now accused of embezzling 500 million rubles (nearly £5 million), by using royalties it collected to buy four buildings in Moscow, and then transferring ownership of those properties to other companies and individuals.
According to Billboard, RAO has confirmed that an investigation is underway into its financial affairs, but it denies the allegations against it, stating that the property purchases were legitimate, as was the subsequent sale of those buildings, motivated by the "economic downturn" and the need to free up cash reserves.
It remains to be seen where all this goes next.
America's Copyright Alert System extended, but only for four months
As previously reported, the Copyright Alert System was set up by a partnership involving the US music and movie industries and five of America's biggest internet service providers, some of which have their own interests in combating online piracy because of their cable TV operations. Although agreed in 2011, the scheme only really started in 2013.
It's basically a voluntary 'graduated response' or 'three-strikes' programme, or technically 'six-strikes'. Rights owners who spot people accessing unlicensed content online can request that that person's ISP sends them a warning letter, outlining the possible legal action that could result if they continue to infringe. If six such warning letters go unheeded, in theory the net firm might enforce their own sanctions, such as bandwidth throttling.
Opinion is divided on how effective the letter sending has been, with a leaked report from the Motion Picture Association Of America earlier this year admitting that its impact on piracy in the US had been limited. We also know that the MPAA is increasingly of the mind that web-blocking should be introduced in the US, as it has in the UK, as a primary anti-piracy tactic.
Though that is politically challenging Stateside, and meanwhile the music and movie industries in theory remain committed to the Copyright Alert System, hoping that it can achieve more as it evolves, and continuing to criticise those ISPs outside the programme, in particular Cox Communications.
The original agreement between the music, movie and net industries that led to the creation of the Copyright Alert System has now expired, but according to Torrentfreak all parties have agree to a four month extension, to allow time to review the programme and make some amendments. There is also talk of stepping up the accompanying education efforts. Because isn't there always?
It remains to be seen what the next phase of the Copyright Alert System will look like.
Man convicted over 2013 murder of Grooveshark executive
As previously reported, Eddy Vasquez was Director Of International Sales at the controversial streaming service when he was killed. He had been attending a wedding in the city where he had spent his teenage years, St Petersburg, and went out drinking with long-term friend Rodriguez Torres. An argument then seemingly ensued, resulting in Torres shooting Vasquez twice in the chest.
At the time a spokesman for Grooveshark, which has since closed down, said: "[Eddy] was visiting friends and family in the Tampa Bay area over the weekend when he fell victim to a senseless act of violence. We are deeply saddened by the loss of our dear friend and colleague".
According to The Gainesville Sun, Torres was found guilty of second degree murder last week and will now be sentenced on 16 Oct.
Global Underground returns with James Lavelle mix
The main Global Underground series saw a plethora of DJs produce mixes based on and inspired by sets they had performed in specific locations, with the mix CDs packaged with quality photographs and extensive liner notes. Other spin off series also came out of the label, which put out multiple mix releases every year from the mid-1990s through to 2010.
The first release under the revamped GU will be 'GU41 Naples - James Lavelle Presents UNKLESOUNDS' which, as you might imagine, encompasses all things UNKLE, James Lavelle and Naples. In that there'll be new UNKLE material and remixes. And a 112 page 'Napoli Travelogue' (in the super deluxe package). And Unkle Lavelle is pulling it all together.
Says Horsfield: "I'm really excited to be back at the helm of GU and looking forward to an exciting future for Global Underground and our artists. GU has always done things differently - it's what we do and what we've built the label's reputation upon".
"Amazing timeless mixes by the world's best DJs is a given, but we've always put a huge amount of time and effort into the album series with stunning photography and extensive sleeve notes - that's why they've become so collectable, with previous limited editions now selling for a premium online."
He concluded: "At a time when there's a deluge of mediocre and disposable online DJ mixes its important for me to be able to give our artists an exciting and dynamic platform for their releases".
Never mind the bollocks, here's a new music-based panel show on Sky 1
The show will be hosted by Kaiser Chiefs frontman Ricky Wilson, with team captains Nicole Sherzinger and Tinie Tempah, plus regular guest comedian Katherine Ryan.
And before you say, "this all sounds a lot like a rehash of the recently axed BBC Two show 'Never Mind The Buzzcocks'", Sky 1 director Adam MacDonald says that 'Bring The Noise' has a "truly unique" format. Episodes will be an hour long, for one thing.
MacDonald adds, reports Broadcast: "The mix of music, comedy and entertainment makes it the must-see family show of the autumn. We think viewers will love watching Ricky, Nicole, Tinie and Katherine have laugh out loud fun with their weekly guests".
Yes, because everyone knows the key to a great comedy show is to only book one professional comedian.
Progressive Music Awards presented
Coming up, winners. But first, here's Prog Magazine Editor Jerry Ewing with a quote: "We began planning this back in March and now it's over it seems to have gone by in a flash. But what a terrific night, and what a spread of artists, not just showing what great talent the progressive world has had to offer for the past 40 years, but how strong the current breed of progressive artists are becoming as well. I can't even begin to imagine where we go with the Progressive Music Awards next year. Like the music itself, the opportunities are limitless".
But the winners are limited to fourteen. And here they are...
Band Of The Year: Opeth
Deutsche Grammophon, Meghan Trainor, Black Sabbath, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• Prefuse 73 has signed a new deal with Lex Records. The label will release various new projects from the producer next year. And you can catch him live at The Laundry in London on 2 Oct.
• Universal Music yesterday announced that it had appointed Dr Clemens Trautmann to the role of President at its classical label Deutsche Grammophon, reporting into both the major's Central Europe chief Frank Briegmann and top classical man Dickon Stainer. He starts in his new role on 1 Dec.
• The Young Guns Network's Buzz Jam hack day event, in which six teams of musicians, managers and coders will set out to create a new musical instrument, will include the input from three Sony Music artists that have just been confirmed: Don Broco, Tālā and The Beach. The whole thing happens at London's Red Bull Studios on 19-20 Sep.
• Meghan Trainor is recovering after vocal surgery. She would like movie recommendations.
• Kelela will release a new EP, title 'Hallucinogen', on 9 Oct through Warp. From it, this is 'Rewind'.
• El Vy, aka The National's Matt Berninger and Menomena's Brent Knopf, have released a new song, 'I'm The Man To Be'. Watch the video here.
• Black Sabbath have announced a 24 date tour across North America and Australasia which they are promising will be their last. And they're calling the tour 'The End', so I believe them. Three of the band's four founding members will be involved. Guess who isn't.
• Alvvays will headline the Shepherds Bush Empire next Friday. They are very good live, you should go.
CMU Beef Of The Week #268: Taylor Swift v Africa
Back in 2014, if you can remember that far, Swift released 'Shake It Off', the first single from her fifth album '1989'. The video for the song saw her dancing in a variety of styles, from hip hop to ballet, and sparked accusations that it perpetuated racist stereotypes.
The latest criticism is aimed at the pop promo for 'Wildest Dreams', the third in a trilogy of videos directed by Joseph Khan drawing on different movie tropes and aiming at presenting Swift as a star steeped in 'old Hollywood' glamour. Or something. On this occasion they've chosen to create a mini-movie in the vein of 'Out Of Africa', with a tumultuous love story based on that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, setting the action on a 1950s film set somewhere in Africa.
In one article criticising the video, NPR contributors Viviane Rutabingwa and James Kassaga Arinaitwe accuse Swift and Khan of creating "a glamorous version of the white colonial fantasy of Africa", as the cast are almost all white.
"We are shocked to think that in 2015, Taylor Swift, her record label and her video production group would think it was OK to film a video that presents a glamorous version of the white colonial fantasy of Africa", they wrote. "Here are some facts for Swift and her team: Colonialism was neither romantic nor beautiful. It was exploitative and brutal. The legacy of colonialism still lives quite loudly to this day. Scholars have argued that poor economic performance, weak property rights and tribal tensions across the continent can be traced to colonial strategies. So can other woes. In a place full of devastation and lawlessness, diseases spread like wildfire, conflict breaks out and dictators grab power".
Khan in turn defended the video, saying in a statement that it was just being true to the period in which it was set: "We collectively decided it would have been historically inaccurate to load the crew [of the fictional film depicted] with more black actors as the video would have been accused of rewriting history. This video is set in the past by a crew set in the present and we are all proud of our work. There is no political agenda in the video. Our only goal was to tell a tragic love story in classic Hollywood iconography".
Swift is, of course, more closely scrutinised than most, and perhaps Khan is right: if this were an actual film it would have had the same casting decisions to make. But a music video, by its nature, doesn't have the same space to explore and justify itself. And for all its big budget aims, the 'Wildest Dreams' vid does end up being pretty simplistic in its entire delivery, not just its presentation of an entire continent.
Perhaps Swift and Khan should have anticipated that this video would end up being problematic however they approached it, and therefore concluded that perhaps it wasn't a concept worth pursuing. But maybe the plane tickets had been booked by the time that realisation was reached. And a whole 'ride the controversy' PR plan constructed. Maybe.
|Send ALL press releases to firstname.lastname@example.org - this is checked daily by the whole editorial team meaning your release will definitely get to the right person.
For details of the training and consultancy services offered by CMU Insights click here - Andy and Chris are also available to provide music business comment, just email them direct.
To promote your company or advertise jobs or services to the entire UK music industry via the CMU bulletin or website contact Sam on 020 7099 9060 or email email@example.com