|TUESDAY 17 JANUARY 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: London's Lambeth Council has suspended the licence of the Brixton Academy for at least three more months following the fatal crowd crush that occurred at the venue last month. Operator the Academy Music Group had already announced its intent to keep the venue closed for that time period... [READ MORE]|
Brixton Academy licence suspended for three more months, as allegations made about fake tickets operation at the venue
The crowd-crush occurred during a sell-out show by Asake on 15 Dec. The incident resulted in the deaths of concert goer Rebecca Ikumelo and security contractor Gaby Hutchinson. A third person injured in the crush remains critically ill in hospital.
Lambeth Council's licensing subcommittee initially suspended the Academy's licence for a month shortly after the incident. They then met again yesterday to further to discuss the crowd crush and the investigations that are now under way into what caused the incident on 15 Dec.
According to the BBC, a legal representative for London's Metropolitan Police told councillors that the police force's investigation is ongoing, but is proving challenging because it has involved reviewing statements from hundreds of witnesses, a large number of social media posts and footage from more than 40 CCTV cameras around the venue.
That rep added that it's not possible to conclude what should happen to the Brixton Academy's licence until the police's investigation has progressed further. They concluded: "Until we know what happened, we can't say what needs to be done differently. The answers won't be known for some time".
It was expected that police would request for the licence suspension to be extended at yesterday's meeting, and - as noted - the Academy Music Group had basically already voluntarily complied with that request before the councillors met. The licensing subcommittee confirmed that the Brixton Academy's licence will remain suspended until at least 16 Apr.
At the time of the crowd crush, it was reported that problems began when people without tickets for the sell-out show tried to force their way into the venue. However, there have been allegations that other factors likely contributed to the incident.
One security guard who worked at the venue has told the BBC that certain members of the security team at the Brixton Academy would allow people without tickets into shows in return for payment.
The anonymous whistleblower claims in an interview with BBC Radio 4's 'File On 4' that some members of his team would allow "a couple of hundred" extra people into the venue in exchange for money, adding "there were people taking money... some staff made £1000 cash".
The whistleblower works for AP Security, which declined to provide a comment for the BBC report. But, that security guard alleges: "Our company knew what was going on and they knew the people who were doing it and they did nothing about it".
He also tells the BBC that the Asake show on 15 Dec was understaffed, with a total security team of 110 when there should have been 190 people on hand to manage the crowd at the concert.
The 'File On 4' report also hears from a man who says he got access to a Fred Again show at the Brixton Academy a week before the crowd crush after buying what turned out to be fake tickets via security guards at the venue.
He says that he asked staff on the door at Brixton Academy where he could buy tickets to the Fred Again show. They directed him to a tout across the street who took some money and then sent tickets to the buyer via WhatsApp, telling him to show those tickets to a specific security guard at the venue's entrance.
"As soon as we got there", the man explains, "our tickets got scanned really, really, fast - I would say fake scanned - and the person just let us in. The person had the device that scans tickets and just used the flashlight on it, not the laser scan. It felt really organised and it felt that we weren't the only people that got in that way".
Although AP Security declined to comment for the 'File On 4' report, its Director Of Operational Management, James Hooker, did issue a statement shortly after last month's incident.
He said: "We are working with our lawyers, the operators of the premises and the authorities to provide all information that is needed. We will continue to work with all parties and are unable to provide any information at this time while those inquiries are completed".
The 'File On 4' report on the Brixton Academy crowd crush will air this evening at 8pm on Radio 4.
GitHub removes sub-domain providing access to Pirate Bay proxies
Ever since the music and movie industries made web-blocking an anti-piracy tactic of choice in countries where copyright law allows such a thing, a plethora of proxies have popped up that help people circumvent the blockades.
So, even though copyright owners get injunctions ordering internet service providers to block access to copyright infringing websites, users can still access those sites via one of these proxies, which they locate via a Google search or by using a web page that lists them all.
Obviously copyright owners are aware of this and therefore seek to also secure web-blocking orders against the proxies and any websites helping people locate said proxies. Though that generally results in yet another form of anti-piracy Whac-A-Mole, where new proxies constantly pop up and have to be blocked.
One site providing access to Pirate Bay proxies is The Proxy Bay. As a result, the UK music industry sought to get it blocked alongside The Pirate Bay itself. However, until recently information published by The Proxy Bay was also accessible via the GitHub platform at proxybay.github.com.
But no more. And according to Torrentfreak, that is result of action taken by PIPCU. The IP unit of the City Of London police force apparently told GitHub via a takedown notice that the Proxy Bay subdomain on its platform "is in breach of UK law, namely Copyright, Design & Patents Act 1988, offences under the Fraud Act 2006 and conspiracy to defraud".
The notice added: "Suspension of the domain(s) is intended to prevent further crime. Where possible we request that domain suspension(s) are made within 48 hours of receipt of this alert".
GitHub seemingly responded to that notice by quickly removing the Proxy Bay subdomain, which now shows users a 404 error.
Of course, there has been debate in recent years about how far the web-blocking process should go in order to counter online piracy, ie what kind of sites should be blocked and what kinds of platforms and internet providers should be obliged to do the blocking.
Some argue that sites like the Proxy Bay are not actively involved in any copyright infringement and are not directly connected to any infringing content, and therefore should not be classified as illegal or be subject to any blocks.
Though copyright owners would usually argue that websites the exist primarily or entirely to facilitate copyright infringement should be subject to web-blocking, even if those sites aren't directly involved in any infringement.
Orfium buys Soundmouse
Confirming the deal, Orfium's CEO Rob Wells says: "Making music easier to find, use, track and monetise across all channels is one of the core problems we're helping to solve for the industry. Our software, built on advances in machine learning and AI, empowers rights owners, creators and key stakeholders to realise more value as new platforms for media consumption emerge and scale. There is no other company in this space building and investing in technology like Orfium".
The acquisition of the Soundmouse platform - which is used by media and digital companies, and the music industry's collecting societies, to track and monitor music usage, and facilitate the management of so called 'cue sheets' - "enables us to scale our product offering", Wells adds.
And not only that, but also to "expand deeper into the complex infrastructure of the entertainment industry, streamlining content creation and management for programme makers, broadcasters and music rightsholders".
Confirming the deal from its side, Soundmouse Co-CEO Charles Hodgkinson says: "Over the past 20 years, Soundmouse has been building and setting the standard in cue sheet management and monitoring for the broadcast and entertainment production space".
"Combine that with Orfium's expertise in user-generated content tracking and claiming for publishers, labels and production music companies and we bring the worlds of digital and broadcast together in an integrated way. There is a huge amount of synergy between our companies which will allow us to deliver even more benefits to creators, rightsholders, broadcasters and collecting societies with cutting edge technology and industry expertise".
PRS announces new funding model for PRS Foundation, securing current levels of support
PRS announced at its AGM last May that the funding it provides to the charity it set up in 2000 would be cut from the current £2.5 million a year to £1 million a year from 2024. This was because, it said, the specific income stream the Foundation's funding has traditionally come from - basically interest earned on investments and royalties awaiting distribution - has been in decline in recent years.
That announcement was widely criticised by the music community, with many arguing that the Foundation's work supporting grass roots and independent artists and songwriters was more important now than ever. More than 50 music industry organisations called for a rethink, with the Featured Artists Coalition in particular pointing out that PRS already donates considerably less to talent development initiatives than many of its European counterparts.
Explaining again its original decision to cut the Foundation's funding, PRS said this morning: "The grants from PRS For Music to PRS Foundation have been funded through income generated separately from royalties paid out to our members, most notably from interest earned on royalties awaiting distribution. As interest rates have been below 1% for more than a decade and PRS For Music are paying out royalties more quickly, the available funds have decreased".
However, it added, "the PRS Members' Council has been reviewing the future funding of the Foundation and options to secure its ongoing activities. This review, alongside the increase in interest rates during 2022, has allowed for a new funding model to be agreed upon".
That new model, it then explained, "will see funding determined annually, with the maximum funding which can made available growing year-on-year. Another key component of the new deal is that 10% of the funding provided by PRS For Music will be used to strengthen the Foundation's reserves".
Commenting on the new funding model for the Foundation, PRS CEO Andrea Czapary Martin says: "PRS Foundation makes an invaluable contribution to the global success of the UK's music industry, working with PRS For Music to nurture and support emerging talent in the songwriter and composer community".
"Over the last year", she goes on, "we have worked very closely with them and representatives from across the industry to identify future funding models which provide both sustainability and growth, whilst maintaining the core principle of not arbitrarily deducting any such funding from royalties otherwise payable to writers or publishers".
"The changes in interest rates over the last year have undoubtedly aided these considerations", she confirms, "but the objective was always to secure a solution which protects the Foundation in the long term. The new funding agreement not only achieves these, giving them the better financial resilience in the future, but provides the opportunity for the Foundation to grow in the coming years".
PRS Foundation CEO Joe Frankland adds: "We are delighted with the new multi-year funding agreement which allows the Foundation to sustain the level of grant support available to help thousands of music creators each year. The significant impact of our proactive and inclusive approach has been clearly demonstrated, and we thank PRS For Music for engaging with the sector to find suitable solutions".
"At a time where music creators face complex barriers to progression", he continues, "PRS For Music's long-term commitment to talent development allows us to respond effectively and build upon years of success together".
The new funding model has already been welcomed by the Featured Artists Coalition. Its CEO David Martin says: "The FAC is delighted to see PRS For Music and PRS Foundation reach a multi-year funding agreement, securing the Foundation's future".
"Over the last two years, the UK's music sector has faced its most challenging period in a generation, with artists and other creators disproportionately bearing the brunt of the pain", he adds. "Therefore, this news is incredibly welcome for the artist community. Music-makers across the country will be relieved that PRS Foundation will be able to continue its outstanding work developing UK talent, thanks to the support of PRS For Music".
BBC Radio 2 announces the return of Piano Room Month
Starting on 30 Jan and running through to 24 Feb, a new performance will be broadcast live every week day on Ken Bruce's morning show and on BBC Sounds. You will also be able to watch each performance on the iPlayer too, and an hour long highlights show will be aired on Radio 2 each Sunday of the month.
"With over 16,000 different songs played every year, music continues to be at the core of Radio 2, so I'm excited for the return of our biggest ever celebration of live music - Piano Room Month", says Radio 2's Head Of Music Jeff Smith. "20 days of live performances from a glittering line up of artists is just what we need to get us through these winter months!"
Bill Chandler, Director of the BBC Concert Orchestra, adds: "The BBC Concert Orchestra is delighted to collaborate with Radio 2 for Piano Room Month and to perform alongside this star-studded line up of singers and musicians. Our versatility as an orchestra means we can bring inspiring musical experiences to everyone, everywhere, and we relish the opportunity of working with such world-class artists for BBC audiences".
Meanwhile, Ken Bruce comments: "Piano Room in 2022 featured so many simply breath-taking performances and I can't wait to return to Maida Vale for a month of Piano Room sessions featuring a truly stellar line-up of artists".
Quite a lot of the performers involved have commented as well. Too many to include their full quotes here in fact. Instead, I've categorised them for you…
"THRILLED": Louise, Jessie Ware, Lady Blackbird, Sophie Ellis-Bextor
Right, that's out of the way. Now I'd better tell you when each artist is performing and who they're covering. Here's the info:
30 Jan: Richard Marx, covering Hall & Oates
Drowned In Sound founder announces new podcast and singles club
Adams paused the website side of Drowned In Sound back in 2019, although the popular forums continued to operate and Adams himself still recommended music via social media and an email bulletin. He confirmed yesterday that the new podcast and singles club would launch under the Drowned In Sound banner next month.
In a message to subscribers, he wrote: "I'm writing to you today to confirm that Drowned In Sound is back, in pod form. Or to less Simpsons paraphrasing, as an 'audio publication' (podcast) and record label".
On the latter, he went on, "the first release on the label will be the debut solo single by Faith Vern from DiS-favourites Pins under the solo guise of The Faux Faux. The first single will be out on 7 Feb and I'll tell you more about it nearer the time. There will then be a single a month for ten months".
The new podcast, he added, "will be conversations with some of my favourite artists about their creative world alongside platforming a mixture of activists and agitators trying to fix the music industry and/or society and/or the planet, as well as exploring how sound impacts the brain and body".
"The feed will hopefully feel more like flicking through a magazine", he continued, "with short bits and long bits, big names and big ideas from people you might never have heard of otherwise".
Sony Music UK has hired DJ and producer Anton Powers as Head Of A&R at Ministry Of Sound Records. "I'm a huge fan of what Ministry Of Sound has done over the years and it's an honour to come in as Head of A&R, be working with the amazing team and getting stuck in on lots of exciting projects", he says.
Noel Gallagher and those High Flying Birds of his are going to release a new album called 'Council Skies' on 2 Jun. "It's going back to the beginning", says Gallagher of the record. "Daydreaming, looking up at the sky and wondering about what life could be - that's as true to me now as it was in the early 90s. When I was growing up in poverty and unemployment, music took me out of that", he says. The band will also be touring in July and August, and by jove if there isn't a new single called 'Easy Now' out right now.
Måneskin have released new single 'Gossip', featuring Rage Against The Machine's Tom Morello. "When I saw them play live I was blown away", says Morello of his collaborators. "They are unapologetically loud, unapologetically sexy, and unapologetically rocking and deserve to be one of the standard bearers for rock and roll for a younger generation".
Nightwish frontwoman Floor Jansen has released new solo single 'Invincible'. Her debut solo album, 'Paragon', is out on 24 Mar.
The Heavy have announced that they will release new album 'Amen' on 21 Apr. Here's new single 'Hurricane Coming'. The band play Oslo in London on 21 Mar and The Fleece in Bristol on 22 Mar, followed by further tour dates in September.
Technology + Teamwork have released new single 'Big Blue'. "Often with our stuff, our voices are put through effects and people are never sure whose singing what, which I really like", says the duo's Anthony Silvester. "A lot of 'Big Blue' was us resampling ourselves. Sarah [Jones] was really keen on developing a break in it, and we used delays on one of our sampled bits to make sounds like alligators croaking for the break". Their debut album, 'We Used To Be Friends', is out on 17 Mar.
GIGS & TOURS
Adam Lambert has announced that he will play an album launch show at Koko in London on 27 Feb for his new album 'High Drama', which is out on 24 Feb. Tickets go on general sale on 20 Jan.
Panda Bear and Sonic Boom have announced that they will tour the UK in support of the album 'Reset' in April. The run will finish at London's Studio 9294 on 27 Apr. Tickets are on sale now.
Wednesday 13 has announced UK tour dates this spring, including a show at The Dome in London on 8 Apr. "We are so excited to be returning to the UK with a headline tour, our first visit since 2017", says Wednesday 13. "We'll be hitting UK venues this April, in support of our latest album release, 'Horrifier', and playing a full set of your favourite songs from the last 20 years".
Harry Styles is going to perform at the BRIT Awards next month. And also take home most of the prizes, probably. Well, up to four of them. He's nominated for four, see? But you knew that. Also set to do a turn are Sam Smith & Kim Petras and Wet Leg, the latter of whom could also take home four awards on the big night. Well, not if Harry gets his four awards. Because, of course, there can only be one Album Of The Year. Them's the rules.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Bow Wow calls on rappers to unionise
"Hip hop needs a board", he wrote on Twitter. "No different than the NBA with the [National Basketball] Players Association. A committee. That can set rules and keep things in control and protect this thing we call hip hop! And have a retirement plan for the OG rappers. I hate seeing my heroes liquored out, no money, just washed".
The idea of a union for musicians isn't new, of course. In the UK we have the Musicians' Union that was first established in 1893, and in the States there's the American Federation Of Musicians, which began as the National League Of Musicians in 1896.
But is there room for a hip hop specific union too? I think that if there's one thing we all know about the music industry, it's that there's always room for another trade body.
Who would lead such an organisation though? Bow Wow? His tweet didn't suggest he had any plan to set up such an operation, he was just floating the idea. Maybe Jay-Z could do it. Does he have much on at the moment?