|WEDNESDAY 16 AUGUST 2023||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Twitter has responded to the lawsuit filed by a bunch of music publishers in June, which claimed that the social media firm "breeds massive copyright infringement that harms music creators". The Twitter company - or X Corp if you prefer - wants the lawsuit dismissed on the basis that the publishers have failed to demonstrate how it is liable for any kind of copyright infringement... [READ MORE]|
Twitter argues for dismissal of music publisher litigation
"The complaint alleges that [Twitter] is directly, contributorily and vicariously liable for alleged copyright infringement arising from user posts", a motion to dismiss filed with the courts in Nashville earlier this week states. "All three counts should be dismissed for failure to state a claim".
The music industry has had Twitter towards the top of its diss list for years now, of course - long before it was bought by Elon Musk. Unlike the other big social media platforms - including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok - Twitter has never sought licences from the music industry, even though plenty of users upload videos within their tweets that contain copyright protected music.
User-upload platforms can avoid liability for copyright infringing content stored on their servers by relying on the good old safe harbour that is contained in the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act. However, that requires putting in place various measures to allow copyright owners to remove content that infringes their rights.
Twitter does have some of those measures, but in their lawsuit the music publishers said that - while they routinely send notices identifying infringing content to the social media firm, "Twitter has repeatedly failed to take the most basic step of expeditiously removing, or disabling access to, the infringing material identified by the infringement notices".
"Twitter has also continued to assist known repeat infringers with their infringement", the publisher's lawsuit went on. "Those repeat offenders do not face a realistic threat of Twitter terminating their accounts and thus the cycle of infringement continues across the Twitter platform".
If the case gets to court, Twitter's obligations under the copyright safe harbour will likely be a key part of the debate, those obligations having arguably been clarified and extended by legal precedent in recent years. However, in its motion to dismiss Twitter doesn't spent too much time delving in the specifics and technicalities of the safe harbour.
Although it does state: "Plaintiffs do not deny that [Twitter] often 'removed or disabled access to' posts with allegedly infringing material, but complain that [Twitter] either took too long to act, or in some cases failed to remove the content. But this is insufficient; courts have repeatedly held that the failure of a website to respond to takedown notices pursuant to the DMCA does not satisfy the volitional conduct requirement for direct copyright infringement".
Elsewhere it argues that the allegation of direct infringement should be dismissed because the publishers have not shown "the requisite 'volitional' conduct" on Twitter's part in relation to any videos containing unlicensed music. "The complaint contains no allegations of active, intentional conduct by [Twitter], or any [Twitter] employee, related to the allegedly infringing user posts - an omission that is fatal to the claim".
In terms of the allegation of contributory infringement - ie that it facilitated the infringement of others - "the US Supreme Court has held that where a company offers a product or service that has substantial non-infringing uses - as [Twitter]'s service indisputably does - the copyright plaintiff must allege that the defendant took active steps with the intent of encouraging infringement".
And as for vicarious infringement - ie that Twitter financially benefits from the infringement of its users - "plaintiffs do not allege that the ability to post infringing content to the [Twitter] platform (in violation of the terms of service) is a draw to users sufficient to confer an 'obvious and direct' financial benefit to [Twitter]".
Commenting on the motion to dismiss, David Israelite - boss of the US National Music Publishers Association - said in a statement that Twitter's response to his member's litigation is "par for the course – another attempt to deny the fact that they have consistently failed to stop or even slow the rampant piracy on their platform".
"Music is streamed and consumed by countless people on [Twitter]. The service owes songwriters and publishers millions of dollars in compensation as well as a commitment to fully license music, consistent with all other major social media platforms and the law".
By the way, I've been referring to Twitter as Twitter in this article because - as a quick scan of the motion to dismiss confirms - when you identify the company as X it kind of looks like you're reading a first draft that contains some blanks still to be filled. Also, I'm still not entirely convinced that Musk won't change his mind on the re-brand at some point.
Blackstar launches panels series, appoints new Head Of Creative
The first panel event on 14 Sep at Downstairs At The Department Store in Brixton will, says Blackstar, "bring together panellists from across the industry to discuss how artists can harness the power of short form content to more effectively connect with their audiences".
The agency's founder and MD Olivia Hobbs says: "The event will be an opportunity to meet the team who are at the frontline of content development and deliver it daily - crossed over with leading experts from associated platforms to take the pressure off of you and your teams".
As for the new recruit, Alani was previously a Senior Producer at Able Media and, in his new role at Blackstar, will oversee the firm's creative offering.
He says: "I am delighted to be joining the business at a really exciting time. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to establish Blackstar as a go-to destination for content and creative, bringing artists' visions to as many eyes and ears as possible in ways that are truly exciting, engaging and unique to our team at Blackstar".
Hobbs adds: "I'm beyond excited to be welcoming Dan, having crossed paths in our careers early on at Universal Music, and he brings with him ten years of experience delivering creative campaigns for some of the world's biggest icons, so I am beyond excited to see him flourish in this role".
YouTube Music adds TikTok-style discovery feed
So, it's a TikTok-style feed within YouTube Music. Or, I'm sure YouTube would prefer me to say, a YouTube Shorts-style feed. Not least because users can take musical snippets that pop up in the Samples feed and use them in their own YouTube Shorts videos.
However, unlike TikTok and Shorts, the Samples feed is all about discovery, rather than being a content destination in its own right. "We didn't build this experience to be a means to an end in itself, but instead to be the appetiser to a whole meal", says Director Of Product Management at YouTube Music, T Jay Fowler.
"We wanted to make it as easy as possible for you to dive deeper into the songs and artists you discover and love all without leaving YouTube Music", he goes on. "And for artists, the Samples tab provides another way to find a new audience and build a community on YouTube".
YouTube's music chief Lyor Cohen has always been keen to talk up the ways in which the different strands of YouTube connect, reckoning that gives his platform the edge over the TikToks and Instagrams of this world when it comes to artists building and engaging fanbases.
Running with that narrative, Fowler concludes: "This is yet another example of how YouTube's unique combination of music videos, live performances, music premieres and Shorts inspires real, devoted fandom, which is the key to making our platform the best place for every artist and music fan".
Spotify, of course, has also been experimenting with how it can use a TikTok-style feed to power discovery within its app. And we probably don't have to refer to that as YouTube Shorts-style.
Madonna announces rescheduled dates for North American leg of The Celebration Tour
At the time her manager Guy Oseary told fans that Madonna had "developed a serious bacterial infection which lead to a several day stay in the ICU. Her health is improving. However, she is still under medical care".
While noting that "a full recovery is expected", Oseary confirmed that the illness would mean that 'The Celebration Tour' would not be able to kick off in Canada on 15 Jul as originally planned.
A subsequent statement from Madonna herself confirmed that the plan now was for the tour to start in Europe with the previously announced four night run at The O2 in London. The cancelled North American dates would then be rescheduled for later in the tour.
Those rescheduled dates have now been confirmed. A few will take place in December before the Christmas break, with the rest scheduled in for early 2024. A handful of the shows have changed venues as a result of the rescheduling and a small number have been cancelled.
A statement from promoter Live Nation explained: "Getting all shows rescheduled was the number one priority. Unfortunately, due to scheduling conflicts a few shows will be cancelled. Madonna regrets the inconvenience to fans and hopes to make it up to those markets in the future".
Five shows in total are cancelled, in Tulsa, Nashville, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Phoenix - although there will still be some shows in the latter three, it's just one specific night that has been pulled as part of the rescheduling process.
BMG has acquired the writer's share of song royalties from Michael Münzing of 90s dance duo Snap, it having previously acquired the outfit's recordings catalogue. "Snap are a cultural touchstone for the 90s which continues to resonate today, not just in streaming but also in sync", says BMG EVP Repertoire & Marketing Maximilian Kolb. "We are pleased to have agreed terms with Michael Münzing which will allow us to further secure the value of these great works".
Venue operator Oak View Group has appointed Ade Patton as CFO. He joins from HBO Max. "I'm pleased that Ade will be joining OVG as our new Chief Financial Officer", says CEO Tim Leiweke. "Ade is a seasoned financial executive who has helped lead world-class companies, and I look forward to having him on our team to help guide OVG's continued strategic and sustainable growth at scale".
Jacob Fain has been promoted to Head Of A&R at Warner Music's Elektra Entertainment division in the US. "Elektra is building a cutting-edge, forward-thinking record company focused on music that moves culture and developing best in class talent", he says. "I'm so proud of the work we have done to serve our artists in an evolving landscape, and to be part of such an incredible team".
Jake Shears and Rebecca Lucy Taylor (aka Self Esteem) have joined the cast of the current West End production of 'Cabaret'. They will take on the roles of Emcee and Sally Bowles at London's Playhouse Theatre from 25 Sep to 20 Jan. "I've never made a secret of my love of theatre and I couldn't be more excited about getting to make my stage debut as one of the greatest leads of all time", says Taylor. "I've joked for years that there is no need for a Self Esteem musical because Sally's story covers most of the points. I am artistically and emotionally raring to take on this challenge".
Corinne Bailey Rae has released new single 'Peach Velvet Sky'. The track is taken from her new album 'Black Rainbows', which is out on 29 Sep.
Death Cab For Cutie are back with new single 'An Arrow In The Wall'. The song, says frontman Ben Gibbard, "is about the warning signs all around us in the 21st Century that society-at-large is in decay. The arrow lodged in the wall might have missed this time, but it would be naive to assume the next one won't also".
Ash have released new single 'Usual Places', taken from new album 'Race The Night', which is out on 15 Sep. "Originally written as a tribute to long forgotten bars and faces as I was leaving New York, 'Usual Places' took on extra significance as the first thing we worked on together post-lockdown", says frontman Tim Wheeler.
Cherry Glazerr have released new single 'Ready For You', of which frontwoman Clementine Creepy says: "'Ready For You' is about being so ashamed of yourself that you can't look people in the eye, and it's also about pushing people away because of being scared of hurting them with your own bullshit. This song helps me move through it and confront those feelings of inadequacy, I hope it does that for other people too". New album 'I Don't Want You Anymore' is out on 29 Sep.
Svalbard have released new single 'How To Swim Down'. Says frontwoman Serena Cherry: "This song is about the exquisite pain and sorrowful beauty of unrequited love. I think it's the saddest, most heart-breaking song we've ever written. Lyrically, the starting point of the verse is about concealment of adoration, before the chorus gives way to realising and accepting a fate of loving someone quietly from afar".
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
RM of BTS assures fans that the group will return from their "vacation" in 2025
Speaking during a WeVerse livestream, he added that the hiatus was "just like a vacation", and that each member working away from the group was "a very important journey" in order for them to come back stronger.
"What I'm thinking these days, when I'm doing my solo projects, is [that] this is just like a vacation to get back to where I was, which was BTS and Army".
Army as in the BTS fanbase, of course, not the actual army. Even though the actual army is currently keeping some BTS members away from the Army. Though he didn't really talk about the mandatory military service the he and all his bandmates are obliged to complete, instead focusing on the solo work of each member.
On that, he said: "All the solo [activity] is just a journey. But it is a very important journey for chapter two [of BTS]. It's a journey to get back home safe".
He told fans that the solo projects should therefore act as a reminder that "spring will come again", adding: "Please continue to keep BTS alive in your hearts, in this moment and perhaps throughout your entire life".
Perhaps your entire life. But at least until 2025.