|FRIDAY 28 JULY 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The UK's live sector trade group LIVE has welcomed a new report from Parliament's Home Affairs Select Committee that scrutinises proposed new laws that will require venues and events to take various steps to reduce the threat to the public from terrorist attacks... [READ MORE]|
LIVE welcomes parliamentary report on proposed Protect Duty law for venues and promoters
MPs on the committee say that they welcome the intention of the Draft Terrorism (Protection Of Premises) Bill, but have serious concerns about the proportionality of the proposed legislation, especially in relation to smaller businesses.
LIVE likewise supports the intention of the legislation, but shares many of the concerns expressed by MPs, reckoning that in its current form the new bill won't achieve its objective of better protecting audiences while also "placing disproportionate burdens on venues of all sizes around the country".
The Draft Terrorism (Protection Of Premises) Bill was developed in response to the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing. A total of 22 people died during the terrorist attack at the Manchester venue, which occurred as an Ariana Grande concert was ending.
One area of focus following that attack was whether a new 'Protect Duty' should be introduced for venues and event promoters to help reduce the threat to the public from terrorist attacks. Having completed a consultation regarding such a new duty, the UK government confirmed in early 2022 that it would draft new laws to that effect.
The draft bill was then published in May this year. At the time the government explained: "Currently, private sector organisations work with police to take steps to mitigate against terrorist risk on a voluntary basis. Whilst the private sector has generally been willing to accept advice, difficulties have arisen when it is unclear where responsibility lies, or where mitigations require significant expenditure".
"To address this issue", it went on, "the bill would create a scheme under which publicly accessible venues and events would be required to take certain steps to reduce risk, such as terrorism protection training, risk assessment and mitigation, and maintaining security plans".
"Venues with capacity of 100 or over would be subject to a standard duty, intended to be relatively light touch and low cost to implement. Venues with capacity of 800 or more, and qualifying public events, would be subject to an enhanced duty, entailing more onerous and costly requirements".
"The bill would also create a new regulator with powers to inspect and enforce the scheme", it added. "The regulator would be empowered to issue notices requiring the rectification of contraventions, or restricting the use of a venue in contravention. Compliance would be enforced through monetary and criminal penalties".
Ministers then invited the Home Affairs Select Committee to scrutinise its draft bill and it published its report on the proposals yesterday.
That report states: "Whilst we welcome the government's overall intention behind the draft bill, we have some serious concerns about the proportionality of the bill, especially in relation to the impact on smaller businesses, voluntary and community-run organisations in the standard tier premises, where there is a lack of evidence that the bill will adequately reduce the threat of terrorism for smaller organisations".
In addition to that, it goes on: "We also have some concerns about the unfinished provisions in the draft bill, the purpose of the bill, the regulator and some of the duties required. There are a number of other areas in which we feel that the draft bill could be improved upon, including introducing a provision for mandatory life-saving training and statutory standards for the design of new buildings".
Regarding the purpose of the bill, the report clarifies: "The rhetoric around the draft bill appears to suggest that the bill is more about prevention. However, our analysis of the draft bill suggests it is about the consequences of a terrorist attack. The Draft Terrorism (Protection Of Premises) Bill, the explanatory notes to the bill and all guidance related to the bill must clearly, and consistently, set out what the purpose of the bill is".
Welcoming the committee's report, LIVE CEO Jon Collins said yesterday: "We welcome the Home Affairs Select Committee's report which vindicates our members' view that the draft dill is both impractical and, through the excessive penalties it proposes, would create existential risk for live music venues, and could lead to events and festivals leaving the UK".
"LIVE's members fully support the original purpose of the bill to better protect audiences", he added, "but in its current form, it will fail to do this while also placing disproportionate burdens on venues of all sizes around the country. The government must now urgently redesign the bill to ensure it is workable, allows venues to continue to put on shows, and crucially delivers greater reassurance and safety for concertgoers".
In terms of its specific concerns, LIVE argues that ministers have yet to undertake any thorough impact assessment of the proposals in the bill, and haven't considered the role of the existing licensing regime in preventing terrorism and protecting the public.
Also, it argues, "the powers to serve restriction notices or to impose civil penalties are not proportionate or necessary and pose existential risk to the sector, particularly for smaller venues".
Appeals court could revive child abuse lawsuits against Michael Jackson companies
James Safechuck and Wade Robson both accuse Jackson of abusing them as children. Following the musician's death in 2009, they both sued his estate and companies linked to the star in relation to those abuse allegations. They were also the subject of the 'Leaving Neverland' documentary in 2019.
Legal reps for the Jackson estate reject the two men's allegations of abuse. However, so far the legal battle between Safechuck and Robson, and the companies MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, has mainly centred on legal technicalities.
The lawsuits were initially dismissed because of the statute of limitations under Californian law. At the time, victims of child abuse needed to file any lawsuits in relation to that abuse by the age of 26. Both claimants had passed that age by the time they went legal.
However, a change was then made to Californian law in 2019, so that victims can now make a legal claim against alleged child abusers up to the age of 40. And the following year Safechuck and Robson's lawsuits were revived.
This led us to technicality number two. Whether or not any abuse took place, are MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures in any way liable for that alleged abuse? The estate has argued that the companies cannot be held liable in this way.
Later in 2020, the Californian judge overseeing the cases basically agreed, dismissing both lawsuits once again. He concurred that it could not be proven that the two companies or their employees had any legal duty to control or stop Jackson. Nor did the employees have the practical power to do so, given the musician was the sole shareholder and director of both companies.
Safechuck and Robson then appealed. And the appeal judges issued their tentative decision - to revive the two lawsuits - before a hearing on Wednesday. Legal reps for the two men and the Jackson companies both then spoke at that hearing.
According to the Press Association, Jonathan Steinsapir, speaking for the Jackson estate, restated his client's position that the two MJJ companies cannot be liable here. Otherwise, he said, a precedent is being set that "would require low-level employees to confront their supervisor and call them paedophiles".
He added that, back when Safechuck and Robson spent time with Jackson as children, their respective parents did not assume that employees at the musician's companies had any sort of oversight role. Indeed, he said, a deposition from Robson's mother showed that she didn't know the companies existed at the time.
But, speaking for Safechuck and Robson, Holly Boyer argued that, "because what we are talking about is the sexual abuse of children", there was an obligation for the MJJ companies and their employees to safeguard the two boys.
"What we are talking about here is seven and ten year old children who are entirely ill-equipped to protect themselves from their mentor, Michael Jackson", she said, adding that Safechuck and Robson "were left alone in this lion's den by the defendant's employees. An affirmative duty to protect and to warn is correct".
We now await a final ruling from the appeals court.
TICKET Act passes Senate committee, but campaigners criticise removal of provision on speculative selling
The TICKET Act is one of several proposals in Congress at the moment that seeks to better regulate the American ticketing business. It was proposed earlier this year by Senators Ted Cruz and Maria Cantwell, both members of the Senate's Commerce Committee, which discussed and approved the proposals, in their amended form, yesterday.
Issues around ticketing became a big talking point in US political circles again last year after the Ticketmaster system collapsed when tickets for Taylor Swift's tour went on sale.
There are an assortment of different issues, of course, some mainly related to primary ticketing, some to secondary ticketing, and some to both. And then there are the issues that have been raised about the market dominance of Ticketmaster as part of the wider Live Nation business.
Multiple campaigns are now underway and legislative proposals on the table seeking to change the way ticketing is regulated, and a load of lobbying is going on behind the scenes. Live Nation is generally keen for secondary ticketing to be the focus, even though Ticketmaster is still involved in ticket resale in the US.
Meanwhile, groups that support touting - or scalping, to use the US term - are obviously keen to put the focus on primary ticketing and Live Nation. Some also hope that the outcome of all this might be new rules that actually protect the right of people to resell tickets, rather than laws that regulate the resale process.
So, lots of different agendas are currently being pursued. Although most people support all-in-pricing, ie the approach where the full cost of a ticket, including any commissions and fees, is declared up front wherever a ticket is advertised. Rather than the face value of the ticket being publicised and the extra commissions and fees only being declared at the end of the ticket buying process.
Most ticketing companies recognise that commissions and fees being added at the final stage annoys consumers and that's not a good thing. Though, many have also argued that if one company voluntarily moves to all-in-pricing it is then disadvantaged, because at first glance it will look like its tickets are more expensive. Hence the support for a rule that forces the all-in-pricing approach across the board.
In the UK, all-in-pricing is now pretty much standard in ticketing, in no small part because the country's advertising industry regulator - the Advertising Standards Authority - has a rule that states: "All quoted prices must include non-optional taxes, duties, fees and charges that apply to all or most buyers - if a booking fee is not optional, ticket prices must be stated inclusive of any booking fee".
Actually, some US ticketing companies have now committed to voluntarily shift to all-in-pricing in response to President Joe Biden's campaign against what he calls 'junk fees'. However, Cruz and Cantwell's TICKET Act will create a new law forcing the full price of a ticket to be declared up front.
Welcoming the approval of his proposals by the Senate Commerce Committee yesterday, Cruz said: "With the TICKET Act, the days of the exasperated sports fan or concertgoer being unable to accurately comparison-shop for a ticket to the big game or the perfect show are over".
"Hidden and extra fees for live events are confusing and deeply frustrating for consumers who simply want to find the best-priced ticket whether it's sold by the venue, a reseller or a scalper", he went on. "I am proud to have worked with Chairwoman Cantwell in authoring the TICKET Act and hope the Senate takes up our legislation quickly".
However, the original version of the TICKET Act also included another transparency obligation in relation to so called speculative selling of tickets on the secondary market. That is where touts advertise a ticket for sale that they don't actually have yet.
Speculative selling is not allowed in some countries like the UK, and some campaigners in the US - including the Fix The Tix campaign - would like a similar ban Stateside. The original TICKET Act didn't do that, but it did say that touts should have to state if they are promoting for sale a ticket they are yet to actually secure.
That element has been removed from the act. Criticising that move, groups like the National Consumers League, Consumer Action and Consumer Federation Of America said in a joint statement: "The eliminated provision would have addressed a controversial practice known as 'speculative ticketing', that has harmed too many consumers who thought they had purchased a ticket only to later find out that the seller was unable to fulfill their order".
"We are extremely disappointed", they added, "that the Commerce Committee today bowed to pressure from industry opponents and missed an opportunity to reduce the risk that fans end up high and dry without tickets to events they had otherwise planned to attend".
Cantwell did acknowledge that concerns remain, including in Congress, about the speculative selling of tickets, when commenting on the latest version of the TICKET Act.
She stated: "I know our colleague Senator [Amy] Klobuchar has been a leader [on this] and I want to work with her and others to ensure that in the future venues who have to fight against the scourge of people trying to pretend that they're selling tickets to their venue that we actually stop that practice in the future".
Domino Publishing allies with SUISA and Mint on digital licensing in Europe
Many publishers license their Anglo-American repertories to streaming services through direct deals, rather than the collective licensing system. However, streaming exploits both the mechanical rights and the performing rights in songs, and the latter are actually controlled by collecting societies rather than publishers.
This means that the publishers need to work in partnership with the Anglo-American societies on these deals, and they usually do that by forming an alliance with a specific society or a society-owned licensing hub. Many work with French society SACEM or the ICE licensing hub that is owned by PRS in the UK, GEMA in Germany and STIM in Sweden.
Others, meanwhile, work with SUISA Digital Licensing, which also operates Mint Digital Services in partnership with the American collecting society SESAC. Mint does the admin associated with digital licensing deals, of which there is quite a lot on the songs side of the business.
Confirming the Domino Publishing Company's alliance with SUISA and Mint, the publisher's Paul Lambden says: "Mint impressed us with their detailed knowledge, technology and infrastructure. They share our obsession with and care of data that will enable our writers to earn more digital income across Europe than ever before".
Vincent Salvadé, a board member at SUISA Digital Licensing, adds: "At SUISA and Mint we strive every day to provide our partners with state of the art technology solutions and with a personalised customer experience and we are THRILLED to welcome with Domino Publishing Company, one of the most exciting independent publishers, to our family".
Mushroom launches new live music division MG Live
However, another of Mushroom's live music firms, Frontier Touring - which formed a joint venture with AEG Presents in 2019 - is not part of the new division. Although it will collaborate with it.
Mushroom Group CEO Matt Gudinski says: "Throughout the last eighteen months we have worked to consolidate a number of Mushroom's live interests outside of our leading touring business Frontier Touring. We looked at how to best move forward with our other specialist touring and leading event companies and decided the time was right to combine their strengths and bring them under one banner".
As well as its companies involved in promoting shows and tours, the Mushroom Group also includes a couple of booking agencies - Premier Artists and the recently launched MBA - alongside a stack of businesses involved in recordings, publishing, merchandise and management.
Kylie Minogue announces Las Vegas residency
"The spirit of Voltaire is one of pure, authentic fun", reckons Minogue. "It's one I resonate with as a pop artist. My new album 'Tension' is all about the space where the intimate and universal come together and Voltaire represents just that".
"The creative team has designed an environment where people can get up and dance at their tables and revel in the night", she goes on. "That's what Voltaire is and I can't wait to perform in this intimate and exciting setting".
Minogue was selected to perform at the venue by producer Michael Gruber, who has overseen the creation of the new venue. He says: "Everything about Kylie reflects the essence of Voltaire. Her music is fun. Her spirit is absolutely infectious. And she's at the top of her game, which makes this a truly special moment for fans to connect in such an intimate environment".
The residency is set to open on 9 Nov, with tickets going on sale on 9 Aug. 'Tension' is out on 22 Sep.
Calvin Harris and Sam Smith have teamed up for new track 'Desire'.
Jessie Ware has released a new version of her song 'Freak Me Now', featuring Roisin Murphy. "It is a huge honour to have the queen of disco, Róisín Murphy, on 'Freak Me Now'", says Ware. "I messaged her hoping she may be interested in featuring on the song and before I knew it she was in the studio. She is graceful, she is generous, she is pioneering, she is Róisín Murphy and she is on 'Freak Me Now!'"
Grimes has released new single 'I Wanna Be Software'.
ArrDee and Bugzy Malone have released a new track together called 'One Direction'.
The Pretenders have released new single 'A Love', taken from new album 'Relentless', which is out on 15 Sep. "I suppose 'A Love' is the most traditionally Pretenders-sounding song on the album", says Chrissie Hynde, "in the vein of 'Kid' or 'Talk Of The Town' or any of the mid-tempo ones over the years. I often see love/relationships almost in the same vein as drug addiction. Although, having said that, I know I am jaded and cynical".
Matteo Bocelli - son of Andrea - has released new single 'Chasing Stars', which is written by Matthew Sheeran - brother of Ed. And also Ed. Ed Sheeran is a co-writer on the track. That's probably the bigger news. "Like the Sheeran brothers, I grew up in a family where music was very appreciated", says Bocelli. "Ed and Matthew wrote the song, but it seems like they wrote it for me. I really feel privileged to be the first to record it".
VV Brown has released new single 'Marginalized'.
Shamir has released new single 'The Beginning'.
Lynks has released new single 'Use It Or Lose It', and announced that they have signed to Heavenly. "I turned 25 last year which is supposedly the 'scientifically most attractive year of your life'", says Lynks of the inspiration for the track. "I found this out and was like, 'Damn, this is as good as I'm gonna get?' I suddenly had this prang of, like, if I'm not fucking 24/7 I'm somehow wasting my youth. Letting it slip away. And then you end up making really bad choices".
Emmeline has released new Kojey Radical collaboration 'Dust'. "When Kojey came into the studio to hear what we had been making, he blessed us by gracing the concept with his own meditations on performativity", she says. "The end result was beyond our wildest dreams of how fittingly he could inhabit our world with his own lyrical and vocal prowess".
Clementine Valentine have released new single 'The Rope', taken from new album 'The Coin That Broke The Fountain Floor', which is out on 25 Aug.
Hotline TNT - aka musician Will Anderson - has released new single 'Protocol' - the first for his new label Third Man. "This song is about falling on a sword", says Anderson. "Sometimes you just gotta hold an L even when in your heart of hearts you know it's not fair. Saving the relationship is worth taking the blame now and again". UK tour dates have also been announced for November.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Busted team up with the Jonas Brothers for new version of Year 3000
"'Year 3000' has been such a big part of [our] journey for the last 20 years", say Busted. "The love that this song has just keeps growing, with the fans that were with us from the beginning and now a new generation. We were THRILLED when the Jonas Brothers gave it a whole new lease of life over in the States back in 2007, so we are excited to share this new 2.0 version with them in 2023!"
The collaboration also sees the Jonas Brothers singing the original version of the song, rather than the sanitised version of the lyrics that featured in their cover. So, great news if you've ever longed to hear the US band sing about fine great great great granddaughters and triple breasted women.
It's not the first time the two groups have teamed up to perform the song. They previously played it live at Capital FM's Summertime Ball at Wembley Stadium in 2019. But now there's finally a recorded version. Great stuff.
Also speaking about the hook up, the Jonas Brothers say: "We were so excited to collaborate with Busted to recreate one of their classics. 'Year 3000' is a timeless song, and we are THRILLED to share it in a new, fresh way alongside the other collaborations they've done!"
Busted's 'Greatest Hits 2.0' compilation, featuring all of the various updated hits with guests including Simple Plan, All Time Low, Hanson and more, will be out on 15 Sep.
Elsewhere in Jonas Brothers news, the group have been announced as the first act to headline the new Co-op Live arena in Manchester next June, as part of a run of UK dates.