|THURSDAY 4 MAY 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Mixtape sharing platform Spinrilla has agreed to pay the major record companies $50 million in damages and to hand over its domain name to end a long-running copyright legal battle... [READ MORE]|
Spinrilla agrees to pay the majors $50 million to end copyright case
The majors first sued Spinrilla in the US in 2017, accusing the mixtape service of infringing their copyrights by allowing their music to be included in mixes without licence. For its part, Spinrilla claimed that it had previously had good relationships with the labels and that its service had safe harbour protection from liability under US copyright law, because it had a system in place via which copyright owners could request the removal of mixes that contained unlicensed music.
However, in 2020 the judge overseeing the case ruled by summary judgement that Spinrilla had not met all the requirements necessary to enjoy safe harbour protection, meaning that it was, in fact, liable for copyright infringement.
What would that liability mean in terms of damages? That was set to be decided by a jury. The majors were pushing for so called statutory damages, which - if the jury deemed the infringement wilful - could have meant $150,000 for each of the 4082 tracks the music companies had identified as having been used without licence. Which could have meant total damages in excess of $600 million.
So, I guess $50 million is a bit of a bargain. Confirming that a deal had now been done on damages without the matter going before a jury, a legal filing with the court yesterday requested that "judgment shall be entered in favour of plaintiffs and against defendants jointly and severally in the amount of $50 million, inclusive of any recoverable costs and attorneys' fees".
Spinrilla and its founder Jeffrey Copeland also commit to never again operate the Spinrilla service or use the Spinrilla brand. They also won't ever infringe the copyrights of the majors, plus "defendants shall transfer the domain name spinrilla.com to the plaintiffs in accordance with the terms of the confidential settlement agreement and release among the parties".
So, that's that then. Goodbye Spinrilla.
Ed Sheeran losing will remove "an essential element in every songwriter's toolkit", argues lawyer in song-theft case
The Townsend estate accuses Sheeran of ripping off Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On' - which Townsend co-wrote - on his 2014 song 'Thinking Out Loud'. The Sheeran side counters that the two songs simply share some of the same musical building blocks, as do many other songs, including a significant number released before 'Let's Get It On'.
During closing arguments in the New York court yesterday, Sheeran's lawyer Ilene Farkas said that this case should never have filed in the first place. "Ed Townsend did not create these basic musical building blocks", she added, according to The Independent. "Ed Townsend was not the first songwriter to use and combine these elements. It was not original".
Like her client, Farkas criticised the musicologist that the Townsend estate hired to tell the court that 'Let's Get It On' and 'Thinking Out Loud' are super similar. His expert analysis was "disingenuous and half-baked", said the lawyer.
And as for the potential impact of a ruling against Sheeran, Farkas stated, according to Law360: "If we start to dissect every song to hunt for similarities and hand out ownership to things as basic as chord progressions and the manner in which they are performed, nothing will be left for songwriters to create. You would be removing an essential element in every songwriter's toolkit. Is that really what we want to do to music?"
In closing arguments for the plaintiffs, lawyer Keisha Rice told the jury that they shouldn't be "overwhelmed" by Sheeran's commercial success or "blinded" by his celebrity.
"No one here wants to damage creativity", she then stated. "The plaintiffs simply want to discourage theft. That's the difference. We simply believe that credit should be given where credit is due".
The jury are set to begin their deliberations later today.
Q Prime launches new division with Aaron Frank
Explaining how that new partnership came about, Q Prime co-founder Peter Mensch says: "Eight months or so ago, over lunch, [co-founder] Cliff [Burnstein] and I decided that we needed to move Q Prime past the normal standard of management company rating: gold, platinum standard just wasn't enough. We wanted to establish a new standard. Tantalum, a rare earth precious metal found in eight countries and an absolute necessity in the digital world, totally fit the bill".
"Luckily for us", he goes on, on the off chance you're following any of this, "Aaron, with his group of amazing artists, had a similar vision and, under the theory that the modern age needed a new standard of excellence, agreed to create the Tantalum standard of management companies. Therefore, we give you a true partnership: Q Prime + Q Prime AF".
Frank brings to the new venture his existing roster of management clients, including Greta Van Fleet, Marcus King, St Paul And The Broken Bones, Houndmouth and All Them Witches.
Alongside its main New York base, Q Prime already has two other divisions: Q Prime UK in London and Q Prime South, which is also based out of Nashville.
Grimes launches website to replicate her voice using AI
The website allows users to upload audio of themselves singing or to record directly into the software via their computer microphone. Once processed, the same audio will be returned but with a computer-generated Grimes voice.
"This is all a beta test so it may be imperfect at first", she explained in a tweet. And she's not wrong. While they only loosely sounded like Grimes, the various tests I just did were at least very funny. If you'd prefer to train your own AI model, there are also stems available for you to do that.
In addition to providing the means to record your own music with an AI Grimes as your lead performer, the new website will also handle distribution of that music, should you wish. This service will cost $9.99 per year.
Anyone who makes music with the AI is also expected to split the recording royalties 50/50 with Grimes. If you take her up on the distribution offer, then this will be handled before the money reaches you anyway. Anyone looking to release through a label or other distribution platform is asked to get in touch with Grimes' team first.
While other artists and labels were decrying the use of generative AI in music last month, Grimes fully welcomed it, telling fans: "I'll split 50% royalties on any successful AI-generated song that uses my voice. Same deal as I would with any artist I collab with. Feel free to use my voice without penalty. I have no label and no legal bindings".
She later added a caveat, saying: "OK, hate this part, but we may do copyright takedowns ONLY for really really toxic lyrics with Grimes' voice. In my opinion you'd really have to push it for me to wanna take something down, but I guess please don't be the worst. As in, try not to exit the current Overton window of lyrical content with regards to sex/violence. Like, no baby murder songs please".
Announcing her new website yesterday, she said: "Grimes is now open source and self-replicating". Although she pointed out that she will "be releasing real Grimes music in the coming weeks and months too".
But yeah, if you can't wait to hear what music the actual Grimes is making, then you can make your own using her AI voice here.
The Hives announce first album in over ten years
The title references the apparent death of the band's supposed mentor, manager and songwriter, Randy Fitzsimmons. So the story goes, the band had not seen or heard of him since the release of their 2012 album 'Lex Hives'. They recently discovered an obituary and cryptic poem in the local paper of the Northern Vastmanland, where the band formed.
Returning to the town, they discovered a freshly filled grave topped with Fitzsimmon's tombstone. Like anyone would in such a situation, they dug up the grave and discovered, not a body, but tapes of new songs, a set of suits, and a piece of paper bearing the words 'The Death Of Randy Fitzsimmons'.
Did any of this actually happen? I think we all know the answer to that. Also, I think we also know the answer to the question of whether or not The Hives have matured in the last decade. But just in case, here's frontman Howlin Pelle Almqvist to let you know: "There's no maturity or anything like that bullshit, because who the fuck wants mature rock n roll?"
"That's always where people go wrong, I feel", he goes on. "'It's like rock n roll but adult' - nobody wants that! That's literally taking the good shit out of it. Rock n roll can't grow up, it is a perpetual teenager and this album feels exactly like that, which is all down to our excitement – and you can't fake that shit".
The album is out on 11 Aug, and The Hives will be supporting the Arctic Monkeys on their UK tour this summer. The band will also play their own headline shows amid that run, as follows:
30 May: Bristol, Fleece
Abba, Mariah Carey and Lewis Capaldi among first artists to receive BRIT Billion award
Announced last year and joining the existing platinum, silver and gold BRIT Certified awards, the BRIT Billion trophy is the first such award to recognise an artists' success across multiple projects. Eligible streams are totted up by the Official Charts Company, and are counted where a musician is either the principal performer or a guest artist.
Now, you might think that getting a massive amount of streams is reward enough and that a trophy is unnecessary. But people like trophies, don't they? Everyone fancies a gold disc on their wall.
Look, the BPI's interim CEO Sophie Jones agrees. She says: "For a recording artist, there can be few greater sources of pride than having a platinum or gold disc on their wall, but in an era when success in measured in the hundreds of millions and indeed billions of streams, it was clear that we needed a new and additional way to recognise and celebrate outstanding achievement in recorded music, and I feel certain that having a BRIT Billion Award will become equally prized".
The initial winners of the new award are Abba, Coldplay, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, AJ Tracey, Headie One, Anne-Marie, Ellie Goulding, George Ezra, Lewis Capaldi, Raye, Rita Ora and Sam Smith.
Commenting on this, Capaldi says: "Am so buzzing to be one of the first artists ever to be given a BRIT Billion award! Never in a million years did I think any of this stuff would happen but now it is I will gladly accept each and every award, you have my address".
Carey adds: "I'm really honoured to be one of the recipients of the BRIT Billion Award. I'm so grateful to my fans for their endless and enduring support. I love you UK lambily and cannot wait to come back to your side of the pond and create more magical moments together".
If you weren't lucky enough to get a BRIT Billion award yourself this morning, you can take a look at one here.
Because Music UK and its London Records division have both announced new Managing Directors. Rhian Emanuel moves up from Marketing Director of Because, while Laura Kelly shifts from General Manager of London. Meanwhile, Ed Pearson has been promoted from Marketing Director to SVP Marketing, Dance & Electronic at Because Music UK, and Junior Foster joins London Records as Digital Marketing & Strategy Manager.
Harry Styles has released the video for 'Satellite' from his 'Harry's House' album.
Brian Eno and Fred Again will release a collaborative album, titled 'Secret Life', this Friday. It is, says Four Tet - who is releasing the album on his Text Records label - "the most beautiful album of 2023".
Little Dragon will release their latest album 'Slugs Of Love' on 7 Jul, which will feature a collaboration with Damon Albarn on its tracklist. Out now is new single 'Kenneth'. "Together we have developed, replayed, danced to, cried and laughed to this music as it has evolved forwards, backwards, sideways and all around, but now finally as a complete masterpiece", say the band. "This feels like our finest work yet. We are very proud".
Aespa have released new single 'Welcome To My World', featuring Nævis. Their new mini-album 'My World' will be out 8 May.
Chloe Moriondo has released a new double A-side single, which takes a song from each of her two albums and re-imagines them in the sound of the other album. So 'Celebrity' becomes a rock track and 'I Want To Be With You' goes pop. "I love both of these songs dearly and created each at such different points in my life", she says. "They mean a lot to me and I hope you love this cute little crossover that I had such a fun nostalgic time making".
Sen Morimoto has released new single 'If The Answer Isn't Love'. "In the face of imminent climate disaster, war and unending sickness it's natural to start considering what will remain and what might have made it all worth it", he says of the song. "I want the sound of my music to reflect that same urgency - instruments warbling and splattered over the beat, melodies tangled and contradicting. I wrote this song about the enduring power of love and the struggle to hang onto that feeling when in crisis".
GIGS & TOURS
More names have been added to the already confusing line-up for the BBC's Coronation Concert this Sunday. Joining the bill are Olly Murs, Pete Tong Ibiza Classics, Paloma Faith, Nicole Scherzinger, Tiwa Savage, Steve Winwood, pianist Lang Lang and winner of Channel 4's 'The Piano', Lucy. Bollywood star Sonam Kapoor will deliver a spoken word performance and Tom Jones will appear via video message.
Turin Breaks have announced shows in Leeds, Glasgow and London in November and December to mark the 20th anniversary of their second album 'Ether'. They will perform the album in full at each show. Tickets go on sale on Friday.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
New Zealand seeking to compete in Eurovision 2024
Comedy pop duo Two Hearts launched a campaign last month calling for New Zealand to be allowed to enter next year's Eurovision Song Contest. They state their case with the country's "official/unofficial Eurovision entry" 'Eurovusion (Open Up)'.
Among other things, the song points out that Australia has now been allowed to compete in the contest since 2015 and that New Zealand probably wouldn't upset the balance of things by actually winning. Anyone who thinks New Zealand - like Australia - should be classified as European in the context of Eurovision can sign this petition here.
Somewhat inevitably, this fun, frivolous thing is actually promoting something. It's all been cooked up by New Zealand beer company Yeastie Boys, mainly to highlight the fact that it now also brews its beers in the UK. But, like I said, it's fun and frivolous, so what are you going to do? Oh, and I know I should have said brewed up, not cooked up, earlier in this paragraph, you can stop thinking that now.
"We've become big Eurovision fans since arriving here in the UK but we really miss having our own country to cringe at while simultaneously supporting unwaveringly", says Yeastie Boys founder Stu Mckinlay. "I was the youngest of five kids and whenever my older siblings went to gigs, I was too young to join them. Australia being in Eurovision, when New Zealand hasn't been invited, gives me the same vibes and I don't like it".
"New Zealanders grow up with a sense of social justice being very important and Australia being invited to Eurovision without New Zealand is like inviting someone to your wedding but not giving them a plus one", he goes on. "Everyone loves New Zealand and finds us cute and non-threatening and that makes us a sure thing for doing well in the public vote. I mean who really likes Australia?"
Well, Australia has three times finished in the Eurovision top ten, so maybe that answers that question. Whatever, let's let New Zealand in too. Anyone else?