CMU Digest

CMU Digest 29.11.21: Brennan bill, Four Tet, Astroworld, Night & Day, BRIT Awards

By | Published on Monday 29 November 2021

The key stories from the last week in the music business…

The text for Kevin Brennan MP’s copyright reforming bill was published, causing quite a divide within the music community. Following on from Parliament’s economics of streaming inquiry, it proposes providing artists with statutory rights to renegotiate old record deals and revoke previous rights assignments, as well as introducing performer equitable remuneration on streaming income, meaning any artists signed to record labels would get some of their digital income through the collective licensing system. The bill was welcomed by organisations representing artists and songwriters, but criticised by label groups, with the BPI arguing that the proposals would – among other things – “stifle investment and innovation by record labels, and disproportionately harm the independent sector”. Others argued that more investigation was required regarding the potential impact of the reforms, adding that the government had already commissioned such research, and that that should be completed before any legal reforms are made. The bill will be discussed in Parliament this week. [READ MORE]

Four Tet hit out at Domino Records for removing three of his albums off the streaming services as part of an ongoing royalty dispute. The musician has sued the label arguing that, under his 2001 record deal, he should be getting a 50% royalty on all or most of his digital income, rather than the 18% he is receiving. Domino counters that that is an incorrect interpretation of his twenty year old record contract. Four Tet said he was “shocked” that the label had now removed his recordings from the streaming services as a result of the legal battle, while the Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition also criticised Domino saying the move was “misguided and self-defeating”. However, the label said it had been advised to temporarily take down the albums by their lawyers as “a necessary consequence” of the litigation, and that it is “saddened about this current situation”. [READ MORE]

Chuck D wrote an open letter saying that Live Nation not Travis Scott should be held responsible for the recent Astroworld tragedy. Noting how much criticism there has been of Scott since ten people died during a crowd surge at his Houston festival – and that promoters Live Nation and Scoremore have generally stayed in the background – Chuck D stated: “Travis Scott is a performer, an act, not a concert promoter. He doesn’t run the sound or venues or festivals or their staff. He doesn’t build stages or coordinate logistics, he’s not an expert in crowd control or security or emergency medical services”. He added that “Live Nation controlled this show”, and then called on the live music giant “to step up and step out of the shadows to fix these situations and save lives”, and “to stop letting one Young Black Man take the blame, the hate, the fall”. [READ MORE]

Manchester venue Night & Day said it could face closure because of a Noise Abatement Notice. The notice followed complaints by one local resident who moved in near the long-established venue during the COVID lockdown and then filed noise complaints when it re-opened and started staging gigs again. Night & Day faced similar challenges in 2014 when another person chose to move in close to the venue and then complained about the noise. The Night & Day team ultimately defeated the action against it that time, and it’s hoped that if the local and music communities rally again in support the outcome will be same this time. As of Sunday evening, more than 70,000 people had signed a petition against the Noise Abatement Notice. [READ MORE]

Organisers of the BRIT Awards announced that there would not be gender-specific award categories at the 2022 edition of the event. There have been calls for such a change for a number of years, partly because having male/female categories implies female artists need their own awards to be winners, and partly to ensure the inclusion of the growing number of musicians who do not identify on binary gender lines. However, some fear it might result in fewer awards going to female artists because of ingrained sexism in the music industry. BRITs organisers will be hoping that their efforts to make their voting academy more diverse will prevent that negative outcome. Four new genre specific awards will also be added, now that the old male/female categories have been amalgamated. [READ MORE]

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