|THURSDAY 20 JULY 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: A coalition of organisations representing creators and copyright owners have called on all the institutions of the European Union to back data and transparency provisions that were added to the EU Artificial Intelligence Act by the European Parliament... [READ MORE]|
Music industry organisations call on EU institutions to back transparency obligations in new AI Act
Those provisions, the organisations said yesterday, are "a first step in the right direction" when it comes to effectively regulating companies that are developing generative AI platforms, and therefore "we call on the European institutions to support these provisions".
The EU AI Act is now in the very final stages of negotiation and, once passed, will introduce a number of new regulations in relation to artificial intelligence across the European Union.
Generative AI models - which can generate text, images, audio and video - weren't originally covered by the act, but - with those technologies becoming such a big talking point in the last year - the final version agreed by the European Parliament does provide some regulation in that domain.
Generative AI models are 'trained' by being exposed to existing content. The music industry - and the wider copyright industries - insist that where copyright-protected works are used for that training, an AI company must seek consent from and negotiate a licence with the relevant copyright owners. Not all AI companies agree, but the copyright industries are busy seeking clarity from lawmakers that their view on this is correct.
Assuming it is, the next challenge for copyright owners is working out what content has been used to train any one AI. To that end, the copyright industries are also calling for AI companies to have certain transparency obligations, so that it's clear what data has been used in the training process. This will allow copyright owners to identify whether any rights have been infringed, and could also help with the development of future licensing models.
Some transparency obligations are included in the version of the EU AI Act agreed by the European Parliament. A final version of the act is now being negotiated by the Parliament, the EU Council and the European Commission. And the copyright owners are keen to ensure that the transparency obligations in the Parliament's version are in the final draft.
Music industry organisations like GESAC, ICMP, IFPI, IMPALA and IMPF joined groups representing film, photography, newspapers, magazines, books and journals in making that call yesterday.
They wrote: "The European Union has the unique opportunity to lead globally in establishing a responsible AI framework. In doing so, it would boost innovation and create new business opportunities, while ensuring that AI develops in a way that is responsible and sustainable for European creators".
"To achieve this", they went on, "it is essential that AI systems are trained on content and data which is accessed lawfully, including by appropriate prior authorisations obtained for the use of copyright-protected works and other subject matter, and that the content and sources used to train the systems are clearly identified".
While noting that creators and copyright owners recognise and embrace the positives of generative AI, they added: "It is essential that all AI systems made available in the EU comply with the existing EU copyright framework".
And to help make that happen, "it is essential that developers and deployers of AI systems keep detailed records of third party works or other protected subject matter used, alongside the basis on which they were accessed, and make this information available to rightholders".
"The obligation to keep accurate records should go back to the start of the development to provide a full chain of use", they continued. "Further, to avoid 'AI laundering' it must extend to all systems that are made available in the EU, or that produce output used in the EU, regardless of the jurisdiction in which the training or testing may have taken place. Failure to keep detailed records should give rise to a presumption of use of the data in question".
With all that in mind, "the European Parliament's proposal to oblige AI providers to record the data used to train AI, including material protected under copyright law, and to make this available in a sufficiently detailed way for rightsholders to identify and enforce their rights, is a first step in the right direction".
"We call on the European institutions to support these provisions", they concluded, "and we look forward to working with them to make further improvements to ensure the AI Act is fit for the purpose of protecting the work of European creators and rightsholders".
Marilyn Manson to plead no contest to assault charge
If his plea is accepted when it is formally entered with the court, Manson will face a partially suspended fine of $1200 and six months of community service, and will be required to notify police of any planned performances in New Hampshire for two years, according to the Associated Press.
The case first came to public attention in 2021, when the Gilford Police Department confirmed that it had issued an arrest warrant for Manson. He faced two assault charges over his interactions with videographer Susan Fountain during the 2019 concert. First, he was alleged to have spat at the lens of her camera, which resulted in saliva hitting both of her hands. Then later it was claimed that he had blown his nose at her.
Manson initially pleaded not guilty to both charges, with his attorney Kent Barker stating that, by filming up close to Manson, Fountain had "consented to exposing herself to potential contact with sweat, saliva and phlegm in close quarters", as this was something commonplace in the musician's performances over 20 years. However, he added, if any bodily fluids did make contact with Fountain, this was unintentional on Manson's part.
In a legal filing stating the intent to plead no contest to the nose-blowing charge, Barker says that prosecutors are planning to drop the first spitting-related charge.
Manson is expected to formally enter his no contest plea later today, in place of a pre-trial hearing due to take place ahead of a scheduled 7 Aug start date for the trial. Assuming the plea is accepted and Manson does avoid trial, he will also avoid a potentially more severe sentence. If convicted, he faces up to a year in prison and a $2000 fine.
Five Asian collecting societies partner with SESAC and MINT on digital licensing hub
The five societies involved in what is known as the Asian Alliance Music Rights Organization are FILSCAP (Philippines), WAMI (Indonesia), MACP (Malaysia), MCT (Thailand) and VCPMC (Vietnam). The venture will work in partnership with MINT Digital Services, the digital licensing joint venture between SESAC and Swiss collecting society SUISA.
The five participating societies say in a joint statement: "We firmly believe in the power of music to transcend borders and connect people from different cultures. This collaboration opens up new avenues for our talented Asian music authors to reach a global audience and ensures that they receive fair compensation for the usage of their works outside of Asia".
"By leveraging this collaboration", they go on, "we are committed to unlocking the full potential of Asian music authors and showcasing the rich diversity of our musical heritage to audiences worldwide. We are excited about this new chapter and look forward to working closely with AAMRO, MINT Digital Services and our fellow Asian affiliated societies to drive positive change and promote the interests of our valued music authors".
Confirming its involvement in the new hub, SESAC's President International Alexander Wolf says: "As a long-time collaborator with all the Asian collection societies, I am THRILLED that we are joining forces to create an organisation dedicated to expanding music licensing and administration of their musical works outside the region".
"It is critical that we support Asian music creators and publishers with best-in-class data matching, licensing and administration services outside of Asia", he continues, "to increase royalties and enhance the careers of these talented songwriters and composers".
Glasgow venue closes following strike action by staff
The strike was in response to a dispute between the venue's employees and its owner over both wages and health and safety measures. The workers were members of the trade union Unite, which said that last weekend's industrial action was the first bar workers' strike in the UK in over 20 years. Further strike action was planned each weekend through to 6 Aug.
Venue owner Jacqueline Fennessy has accused Unite of "sabotaging" her business, stating that while The 13th Note was facing the same post-COVID challenges as all grassroots venues, it was the union-led strike action that resulted in the operation becoming commercially unviable. The union, somewhat unsurprisingly, has hit back at those claims.
Fennessy said in a statement: "It is with deep sadness that today we have been forced to close the doors of The 13th Note and appoint liquidators following operating the venue successfully for 21 years. Over more than two decades, we've played host to thousands of bands, performers, promoters and artists, while playing a significant role in the vibrant cultural scene of Glasgow".
"I'm devastated with the closure of a business I've cherished and loved along with the hundreds of loyal customers who frequented the Note", she went on, "and I would like to thank everyone who has played a role in creating what was a vibrant Glasgow institution. It has been an honour to have been a part of your lives".
"It has been the involvement of Unite Hospitality that has caused a drastic reduction in revenue that has forced our closure and the loss of all jobs at The 13th Note", she then added. "To my team, I tried my very best to resolve all the issues we - and other hospitality businesses - face. Thank you all sincerely for all your work and efforts over the years".
Expanding on her criticism of the union, Fennessy denied the claims that have been made regarding health and safety issues at the venue and insisted that staff were being paid above the living wage.
"Despite direct talks with Unite Hospitality about The 13th Note being in crisis and all jobs being at risk as recently as 5 Jul", she went on, "they continued publishing untruths and went ahead with strike action which has fully depleted all available funds in the business".
"Sadly all eighteen team members will be losing their jobs today", she then confirmed. "Why an organisation designed to protect the welfare of hospitality employees would choose to sabotage its own members' jobs with full knowledge of the impact their action would have, I will never know".
Responding on Twitter, Unite Hospitality said: "The owner of The 13th Note has closed the venue with immediate effect informing workers that they would get a week's wages. This is despite Ms Fennessy committing to pausing any redundancy until we met with ACAS today to resolve. This is trade union intimidation".
The union subsequently posted a statement from its members who worked at the venue, which said: "To close our workplace without even informing those that would lose their job before she briefed the press is testament to the type of employer that we have had to deal with".
"We have negotiated strenuously with the owner of The 13th Note for the past eighteen weeks to achieve basic workers' rights", it went on, "such as contracts, equal pay and for the health and safety issues to be rectified. In our opinion, this is the bare legal minimum that Jacqueline Fennessy should have been doing in the first place. As a result, we have been left destitute and precarious for simply wanting The Note to be the best vegan and live music venue in Glasgow".
Disputing various statements made by Fennessy, they continued: "Jacqueline has alleged that the venue has lost money because of us unionising, when the venue has [really] lost money because she has driven it into the ground. We are the people who have put blood, sweat and tears into this venue making the owner millions in personal wealth over the course of the last 20+ years, therefore we know the power of workers at The 13th Note and every hospitality venue".
"We know how to run this venue", they then concluded. "Evidently Jacqueline did not. Which is why we will be doing everything in our power, with the support of our union and the wider trade union movement, along with customers past and present and the general public, to take the venue back into workers' hands".
The Chemical Brothers announce tenth album For That Beautiful Feeling
Recorded at the band's own studio, a press statement explains: "Each track on 'For That Beautiful Feeling' was born out of a desire to find that point of vision in the studio, a point that could then be refracted back onto the dancefloor through the music".
"As a result, it's a collection of music that's vividly colourful and confident and deeply psychedelic; impossible beauty carved from noise and chaos and endless fluid rhythm".
The visuals for 'Live Again' were directed by Dom & Nic, who have previously worked on Chems videos for tracks including 'Hey Boy Hey Girl', 'Block Rockin Beats' and 'Wide Open'.
Of their latest collaboration, they say: "Working with The Chemical Brothers is a dream for any video director. We're really lucky to be still making films together after quite a few years. The Chems just keep smashing it with great tracks that demand videos that live up to the music and hopefully add something extra to the whole experience".
"'Live Again' is our tenth collaboration", they go on. "The woozy, wonky analogue sounds and the dream-like lyric suggested a hallucinogenic visual journey following a character caught in a loop of death and rebirth. The idea inspired us to use the new Arri XR virtual production stage and its cutting-edge technology in a way that had never previously been done".
"This is an idea that could not really have been achieved with traditional filmmaking techniques", they add. "We created virtual CGI worlds and used long unbroken camera takes, without edits, moving between those different worlds seamlessly with our hero character".
"Making and editing the video, we were showered with the generosity of such a strong and huge team of immensely talented companies and individuals that helped us to make this film happen because they love working with The Chemical Brothers", they conclude. "Without their time, talents and generosity a film like this could never make it out of heads and onto a screen".
'For That Beautiful Feel' is set for release on 8 Sep, and will be followed by a new career-spanning book titled 'Paused In The Cosmic Reflection' on 26 Oct. The duo are also set to play live shows in the UK and Ireland through the autumn. Here are the dates:
9 Sep: Cardiff, Alexandra Head
Live Nation denies Travis Scott's Egyptian pyramids show has been cancelled
The show at the pyramids is due to take place on 28 Jul alongside the release of Scott's new album 'Utopia', with plans to livestream the performance.
Reports that the Egyptian Musicians Syndicate was seeking to block the show began circulating earlier this week. Egypt Today published a statement from the organisation that said: "As the Musicians Syndicate is part of the fabric of our beloved country, it works towards its stability and security and rejects any tampering with the societal values, customs, and traditions of Egypt and the Arab world".
"After examining social media opinions and feedback", it went on, "as well as the news circulating on search engines and social media platforms, which included authenticated images and information about peculiar rituals performed by the star during his performance, contradicting our authentic societal values and traditions, the Syndicate's president and board of directors have decided to cancel the licence issued for hosting this type of concert, which goes against the cultural identity of the Egyptian people".
However, Live Nation - as promoter of the show - while not specifically commenting on the remarks made by the Syndicate, has insisted that the performance will go ahead as planned.
Posting to the Twitter account of Live Nation Middle East, it said: "There have been no changes to Travis Scott's show in Egypt; any reports to the contrary are false. We can't wait to celebrate 'Utopia' with you in Egypt!"
Queen receive BRIT Billion Award
"Thank you for presenting Queen with a BRIT Billion Award", says guitarist Brian May. "We're grateful to all our fans that support us and continue to enjoy our music. Rock on BPI".
Yes, rock on BPI, the rockingest of all the music trade bodies. Perhaps. But how does May's bandmate Roger Taylor feel about all this? I bet he's the one who's "THRILLED" about it. He just seems like that kind of guy.
"I'm THRILLED", he proclaims, "to accept the BRIT Billion Award on behalf of Queen, celebrating being streamed over a billion times in the UK, which is incredible. I would like to say thanks to everyone who has extracted a morsel of enjoyment from our music. We are still around and we hope to entertain you a little. Thank you".
Someone who has seemingly experienced at the very least a morsel of enjoyment, and a little entertainment, from Queen's music is new BPI CEO Jo Twist, who says: "There can be few artists who have done more to popularise and promote British music around the world than Queen".
"The term 'iconic' barely does justice to their monumental achievements as recording artists", she adds, "with their 'Greatest Hits' [compilation] the most successful album ever in the UK and their body of classic songs now celebrated for having being streamed more than a billion times in the UK".
"Queen occupy a special place in the heart of the BPI", she goes on. "Their self-titled debut album came out the same year we were formed and they were among the very first artists to win an inaugural BRIT Award - so we couldn't be happier that they have now been honoured with a BRIT Billion Award in this, our 50th anniversary year".
Gawd, there's just so much to celebrate I think I need a little sit down. Maybe I'll give Queen their billion and first stream to calm my nerves.
The BRIT Billion Award was formally introduced in May this year, and so far seventeen acts have received one, including Queen. The others are Abba, Coldplay, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, AJ Tracey, Headie One, Anne-Marie, Ellie Goulding, George Ezra, Lewis Capaldi, Raye, Rita Ora, James Arthur, Sam Smith and Becky Hill.