|FRIDAY 21 JULY 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: NME has announced plans to revive its print edition, just over five years after ditching it in order to "expand [a] digital-first strategy". Although, rather than being a weekly fixture like in the past, the new print version will be published six times a year... [READ MORE]|
NME announces return to print
"Print has always been a cornerstone of the NME brand and we are THRILLED to announce the return of an icon", says NME Networks' Chief Operating & Commercial Officer Holly Bishop. "Our new global magazine will curate the very best of NME; championing emerging artists and bands and serving as the definitive voice in pop culture".
This is all a far cry from March 2018, when it was announced that "increasing production costs and a very tough print advertising market" meant that NME had "reached a point where the free weekly magazine is no longer financially viable".
The printed NME magazine wasn't always free, of course. However, in its last iteration, from 2015, it became a freesheet dished out on the streets and via record shops.
The fifteen years prior to that had seen sales of the paid for magazine slide in the face of competition from online media - including the NME's own pretty successful website - which meant the reinvention as a free title massively boosted circulation. However, that expanded reach didn't result in enough ad sales to keep the thing running.
Just over a year after going digital-only, NME was then bought by Bandlab, which subsequently rebranded the media side of its business as NME Networks, with the parent company taking the name Caldecott Music Group.
Under the new owner a monthly print edition was launched in Australia in 2020. And when that happened, Bandlab insisted in its official statements that - whatever the magazine's previous owner may have said - the UK print edition of NME was simply "on hiatus". The Australian print edition then ceased publishing at the start of this year, with a spokesperson telling Mumbrella that that was because of "new developments ahead for our global print strategy".
This week's announcement is seemingly the implementation of that very strategy, because the relaunched magazine will be available globally.
It will be mainly sold via Dawsons, the musical instrument retailer which was acquired by another Caldecott subsidiary - Vista Musical Instruments - last month. It is busy relaunching the retail brand which went into administration in 2021, and the NME tie-up is presumably part of that.
Though, in addition to distribution via its sister company, the all new print NME will also be made available "via artists, record stores and select partners".
Commenting on all this, Bandlab founder and NME Networks CEO Meng Ru Kuok says: "Building on our commitment to supporting the new talent shaping the future of music and the industry itself, we are prouder than ever to showcase and immortalise emerging artists in our new global edition".
"NME has never reached more people than it does today", he says, talking up the brand's online operations. "We're excited to embrace our legacy, giving emerging artists the recognition and exposure they truly deserve while creating new synergies and opportunities for both talent and fans".
The first edition will be available to order from Dawson from 9 Aug.
Songwriter and performer organisations set out seven principles for regulating generative AI
Echoing previous statements from the music industry, they insist that AI companies must seek licences when using existing music as training data, and that there should be full transparency about what data any one AI company has utilised.
Introducing those seven principles, the organisations state: "The cultural sector and international creative community acknowledge there are a number of useful and important purposes to which AI more generally is currently being applied. However, in the case of generative AI there is a clear and urgent need for policymakers around the world to take action, adapt and improve current regulatory regimes".
And as policymakers do that, they add, "it is imperative that the cultural sector and international creative community are at the table in those policy discussions, to ensure their interests are incorporated and, in turn, that AI systems are transparent, ethical, fair and lawful".
Generative AI models – which can generate original text, images, audio and video – are 'trained' by being exposed to existing content. The music industry is adamant that where copyright-protected works are used in that training process, AI companies must seek permission from the relevant copyright owners.
However, some AI companies have suggested that there may be copyright exceptions in one country or another that actually allow them to train their models with copyright-protected works without seeking permission or negotiating a licence.
With that in mind, the music industry - and the copyright industries at large - are seeking clarity from lawmakers regarding the copyright obligations of AI companies.
And as part of that, they also want those companies to be obliged to keep detailed records about what datasets have been used as part of the training process, and to make that information public, so that copyright owners know if their content has been used.
Getting clarity on the copyright and transparency obligations of AI companies has become all the more urgent as generative AI rapidly becomes more sophisticated and much more widely used. As a result, the music industry has become very vocal on this issue in the last year.
In March, the US music industry launched the Human Artistry Campaign which also sets out some key priorities for lawmakers considering how to regulate AI. Although originating in the US, that campaign is global and has been backed by numerous music industry organisations around the world, and groups representing copyright owners beyond music.
In terms of the campaign's music industry supporters, there are trade bodies for record labels and music publishers, as well as organisations representing artists, songwriters and performers.
A number of the organisations involved in putting together the seven principles that were announced yesterday are also supporting the Human Artistry Campaign.
Although, with a couple of exceptions - ie the IMPF with represents independent music publishers and CIAGP which is an organisation for the visual arts - these organisations primarily represent music-makers and their collecting societies.
As is often the case with new technology, from a music-maker perspective there are two challenges. First, the music-makers need to work alongside their business partners, like labels and publishers, to ensure that the music community isn't screwed over by the tech sector.
But then music-makers may also need to go to battle with those business partners, some of which may negotiate and manage deals with the tech companies that seem to benefit their shareholders much more than the artists and songwriters they represent.
So when it comes to AI, expect to see music-makers campaigning side by side with labels and publishers, for example via the Human Artistry Campaign, but also seeking to ensure that any deals negotiated by the labels and publishers are fair for the wider music community.
That said, while the organisations behind yesterday's seven principles are more skewed towards music-makers, those seven principles make similar demands to the Human Artistry Campaign, and are mainly focused on ensuring solid regulation by governments of the AI companies.
Those organisations, in addition to IMPF and CIAGP, include a number of global and regional organisations speaking for music-makers, and especially songwriters, including CIAM (global), ALCAM (Latin America), AMA (Africa), APMA (Asia-Pacific), ECSA (Europe) and MCNA (North America).
Also involved is CISAC, which brings together song right collecting societies around the world, and two organisations that bring together performer societies, AEPO-ARTIS in Europe and SCAPR on a global basis.
The seven principles are as follows...
1. Creators' and performers' rights must be upheld and protected when exploited by AI systems
2. Licensing should be enabled and supported
3. Exceptions for text and data mining which do not provide for effective opt-out by rightsholders should be avoided
4. Credit should be given
5. Transparency obligations should apply to ensure fairer AI practices
6. Legal responsibility for AI operators
7. AI is only an instrument in the service of human creativity, and international legal understandings should reinforce this
Frances Moore to step down as IFPI CEO
In a statement, the IFPI main board said: "We thank Frances for all of her many accomplishments navigating IFPI through arguably the most demanding and complex period of modern music's history".
"At once, she has led us through music's digital transition and the industry's expansion worldwide, enabling a return to growth that mutually benefits artists, labels and the broader music ecosystem", it went on. "Not only has she herself been an excellent and effective advocate for labels and creators, but Frances has built an incredible team of professionals to assure that her legacy will carry on".
Having originally joined the trade body in 1994 as Regional Director for Europe, Moore herself comments: "After three decades with IFPI, thirteen of which as its Global CEO, it is time for me to hang up my spurs! I have loved working for IFPI and the recording industry and feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve in this role. I am very proud and appreciative of the IFPI team, both now and over the years. Every achievement has been the result of a team effort".
"I have had the good fortune of living through so much of the industry's transformation from analogue to digital", she continues. "On my first day at IFPI 30 years ago, I was dealing with legislation on blank tape levies and here we are today dealing with legislation on AI!"
A replacement will now be sought, with Moore agreeing to stay on until the end of 2023 in order to ensure a seamless transition.
European music organisations call for EU-wide dialogue on cross-border touring
Coinciding with Spain taking over the Presidency of the EU Council, the music groups have identified a number of specific issues in an open letter called 'A New European Vision For Touring'. It states that "there is a need for a new vision for European touring that enhances security, co-operation and cross-border cultural exchange across the European Economic Area, while also enhancing European culture and live experience".
Obviously, artists in the UK have faced a number of new challenges when touring Europe as a result of Brexit. But there are also issues that affect artists and the live sector across the continent.
Some of that relates to venues and festivals, or indeed EU-based artists, wanting to work with music-makers from outside the EU, including from other European countries that are not part of the union. But there are also challenges for EU-based artists touring within the EU itself.
The new call for the EU and its member states to consider these challenges and issues comes from organisations like FIM and IAO, which represent artists and performers, and Live DMA and Liveuope, which speak for the live sector - as well as EMMA, representing music managers; IMPALA, representing the independent music community; and EMEE, bringing together music export offices from across Europe.
They say in their open letter: "As Spain took over the Presidency of the Council a few weeks ago, with enabling cross-border mobility for artists addressed as part of its programme, [we] join forces to call on EU member states to launch a dialogue with the sector around the topic of mobility as a vital component of competitiveness within the sector".
"Facilitating live shows is crucial for artists and labels who were entirely deprived of their performance revenues for more than two years with the COVID-19 pandemic", the letter goes on.
"As the consequences of the pandemic continue to impact artists and music operators across the entire live music value chain, they now must also deal with a surge in fuel and energy prices, while costs of living increase across the world in parallel".
"To achieve a lasting change to benefit artists and cultural workers, mobility questions should be mapped and reassessed in light of their real experiences and impact to economic and cultural competitiveness", it adds.
"Do we need a simplified process, particularly given the lasting impact of COVID? What steps do we need to take to reduce red tape and boost European culture? Do we need a European cultural area and a new status for artists and cultural workers in terms of visas? The question of mobility in greater Europe is vital but understandably complex in the current climate".
The specific issues raised in the letter include visas, carnets, cabotage, funding and obstacles for carrying musical instruments on planes. You can read the full open letter here.
Tim's Listening Party returns for second series on Absolute Radio
After an initial six part series, a second eight part run kicks off on Sunday at 10pm. This series will include Sparks, The The, Lloyd Cole and Haim.
Says Burgess: "The response to the first series of 'The Listening Party' has been brilliant and it's exciting to be back on Absolute Radio with series two. We've got some incredible artists and brilliant albums coming up and I can't wait to share them with listeners".
Absolute Radio's Content Director Paul Sylvester adds: "We knew that 'Tim's Listening Party' would be a great fit with Absolute Radio's specialist and storytelling strategy and the success of series one showed that brilliantly".
"The access to artists talking about songs and albums that are woven into listeners' lives makes this show a must listen for music fans", he goes on, "and we can't wait to get series two out there".
The split was announced via the band's Patreon page, with a statement saying: "Anti-Flag has disbanded. The Patreon has been switched into a mode where it will no longer charge the monthly fee. I will begin to process refunds to all patrons in the coming weeks. Once all refunds are processed the Patreon page will also be removed".
Formed in 1988 and known for their leftwing political lyrics and activism, Anti-Flag released thirteen albums during their career - most recently 'The Lies They Tell Our Children', which came out in January.
With confusion surrounding the sudden and unexpected split, there has been much speculation online as to the reasons for both the break up and the decision to wipe out the band's online presence. Many have linked the move to a podcast episode published earlier this week that made serious allegations about the singer of an unnamed political punk band.
Although the band and its members have remained silent, their longtime photographer Josh Massie said that news of the split had been as much a surprise to the band's crew as it had their fans.
"It's difficult to figure out where to start and go from here", he wrote in an Instagram story post. "Now that news is breaking and we all know what's happening, it all feels like a bad dream, or like the start of another pandemic or something, and my world has once again come to a screeching halt".
Alluding to the aforementioned allegations, he said that he has so far chosen not to "listen to the story that's out there", adding that "besides the notice that something was going down yesterday, I haven't received any other news on anything concerning the band, the other members, [the band's label] A-F Records, anything".
The band were set to tour the US In October.
Warp has signed Slauson Malone 1 - the musical project of artist Jasper Marsalis. "We're elated to be working with Slauson Malone 1 at Warp", says the label. "We support and believe in Jasper's vision wholeheartedly and can't wait for what's to come".
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES
YouTube Music has increased the price of a monthly subscription in the US from $9.99 to $10.99, with the wider YouTube Premium service also increasing its pricing, it going up two dollars a month to $13.99. It's not clear when the price rises will be rolled out elsewhere. But it will put more pressure on Spotify to follow the lead of its rivals and finally put up its baseline price to at least 10.99.
Britney Spears and Will.i.am have teamed up for new track 'Mind Your Business'. It marks Spears' first track of 2023, following last year's Elton John collaboration 'Hold Me Closer'. It also comes nearly eleven years on from Spears and Will.i.am's last collaboration 'Scream & Shout'.
Zayn is back with new single 'Love Like This'. Says he: "'Love Like This' is a summer tune I'm very proud of and excited for the world to hear. I'm working on my new album currently that is coming soon, and I can't wait for everyone to see what's next".
Stormzy and Raye have come together for new single 'The Weekend'.
Beabadoobee has released new single 'The Way Things Go'.
Emeli Sandé has teamed up with Revival Records for a new version of her song 'Brighter Days' featuring Jools Holland and GeO Gospel Choir. "When I first heard the track I was really blown away, it really dug so deep and it really made me feel new feelings for the song, which is very rare", says Sandé. "Revival really brought an element of depth and soul, and I love the gospel element so much".
Poppy has announced that she will release her next album 'Zig' on 27 Oct. Out now is new single 'Knockoff'.
Quantic has released new single 'Stand Up'. Says the producer: "'Stand Up' speaks to the everyday person, the everyday struggles for everyday people. It is celebratory but at the same time about pushing forward, standing strong in what you believe in and creating power through love and dedication".
((( O ))) has released new single 'Don't Die'. The song, she says, is "a song of celebration. Celebrating the unbreakable spirit that connects us. Our inner strength and resilience lies within everyone in the face of challenges, that we can find the strength to persevere and triumph together". Her new album '((( 4 )))' is out on 27 Aug.
Ellie Dixon has released new single 'Bounce', taken from her latest EP 'In Case Of Emergency', which is also out today. "'Bounce' is a musical reminder that sometimes you should run away from your problems", she says. "To remove ourselves from spaces and people who aren't right for us and ride off into the sunset. It was born from me twanging a ruler against a table and the sound made me feel like I was in a Zelda-like world".
Coucou Chloe has released new single 'Drift', taken from upcoming EP 'Fever Dream', which is out on 27 Sep. "The inspiration behind the new music/project is life. The more you grow and understand living and the complexities of your emotions, the more you can express that", she says. "Almost everything I've experienced has become material for me to share".
Cameron Graham has released new single 'EWBA'. "The track wants you to focus on a single unfolding sensation of rising in pleasure; fixing yourself in a state of gentle, spirited wistfulness, you tell yourself over and over that everything will be alright", he says. His debut album 'Becoming A Beach Angel' is set for release on 18 Aug.
GIGS & TOURS
CupcakKe will play Koko in London on 27 Aug. Tickets are available now.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Yves Saint Laurent selling Nirvana "vintage" t-shirts for thousands of pounds
The reason for the high prices is that these t-shirts are all "vintage", rather than being brand new creations. And some are seemingly rare, particularly one featuring the artwork from Nirvana's 'Incesticide' compilation, which is selling for over £3000.
Still, while old band t-shirts can fetch high prices, some have suggested that these ones have seen their price tags inflated considerably above their market value, simply for the privilege of buying them from a YSL store.
Oh sure, you could buy a brand new t-shirt with the same design on it for fifteen quid, but does it have that lived in look and feel? No. And who's to say that isn't worth three grand, if you also get to carry it home in a bag that suggests you actually bought something nicer?
As this is just a shop selling some second hand clothes, Nirvana themselves have no affiliation with any of this and therefore won't see any of the profits, should any wealthy idiots actually want to buy any of these t-shirts at the hiked up prices.
As well as Nirvana shirts, there are also others featuring Elvis Presley, The Cranberries and more on offer.