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The Case to Define our Industry: Fighting for a Better Economy

You may have heard the news spreading regarding the fight for a more equitable music economy with a greater emphasis on the economy of music streaming to artists…

.. aaand another one has been added to the roster. A UK artist, who goes by the name of Kieran Hebden (artist alias of Four Tet) has instigated legal action against his record label, Domino Records for 20 years. Many contracts associated with music artists often precede streaming services and – more importantly, the power role they’ve come into the 21st Century.

According to Hebden’s 2001 contact agreements, Hebden is entitled to an 18% royalty rate from physical sales and a 50% cut from licensing income. However, the music streaming moguls of our Internet bonanza have become ambiguous and less considered to their artists whom they “provide” for and as such, has allowed record labels to apply the same 18% rate as their physical counterparts in sales. But, like many, artists simply don’t believe that physical sales and streaming are one and the same and should be placed in the licensing income bracket – worthy of a 50% cut.

While many other artists before Tet have brought forward the case of music moguls tearing the legalities of artistry independence – the likes of Ye and Taylor Swift to name a few – it may be the first discussion that brings it forward to a full public hearing, which is a huge development in changing the course of royalty revenue on streaming platforms.

As such, after Hebden’s litigation, Domino records have responded. The declaration of what he owes transpires to the albums that Domino own the rights to, which is another 50 years or so. With that in mind, the record label have simply removed three of his most popular albums from streaming services altogether thus giving him no royalties in streams .. and no leg to stand on. Their recent move has solidified what we already know about the monopoly of record label in our industry – callous and greedy.

But it has also widened the scope into the survival of the music industry and whether or we not we can simply do without these record labels with their outdated and out of touch legally-binding contracts: which do nothing but bind the artist to the industry devil.

Hopefully, we’ll hear more about this as news progresses into the Spring of 2022.

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Your Release Radar: First of 2022

Well here we are folks. The first one of 2022, we drop in with a Release Radar. Honing in on those instrumentals missed since the new year. With January usually being a quiet month on all fronts of entertainment, we can certainly expect new album material in the coming months of February and March.

In preparation for a monster season, Alt-J release another single since Christmas with, ‘Hard Drive Gold.’ Funky with that chic of indie-alternative, I’m looking forward to their 2017 follow-up, RELAXER which was received with mixed thoughts.

Glaswegian hot-rocks of The Snuts equal their debut just as emphatically with single edits of Burn The Empire. A fantastically ferocious piece of music. Love it.

Noel and his birds return another mark-up forgotten in the Oasis B-sides with, ‘Trying to Find a World That’s Been and Gone: Part 1’. Bastille reunite for their fourth work, distorted electronica that is far from their straight-edged indie rock debut, ‘Bad Blood.’ – But still features their infectious and highly contagious pop anthems that has ramped them up to one of the most prestigious bands in the world. Be sure to catch them on ‘Give Me The Future’ on the 4th of February.

With remixes and mixtapes abound creatively, it seems we’re striving for singles to shift the deeper we get into the year. Here’s to a successful year of music amongst those who create it themselves or just enjoy it…

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World of Music Licensing: Field Visit to London

Trepidation, fascination and in-depth insight, field visits for work within the realms of music licensing is certainly no easy feat – but they are exciting.

By fully understanding who we’re working with as venue owners, what we’re working with in terms of venue scale, allocation of music events and spaces, it is a marvellous idea to visit venues in-person. Not only for maximum efficiency in terms of client reports but maximum accuracy in terms of music licensing the venue to the best of our knowledge. All because we’ve seen the venue with our own eyes!

Quite simply, it puts a face, a name and an icon to the black and white data-entry accounts. Above all, it makes it personal, natural and far more enjoyable enjoyable in terms of what we do for music licensing – which really, is all about for the working musician.

For my first field trip as a Live Music New Business Advisor, it was extremely insightful. When we travelled past Knebworth and it’s mighty park – which was put on the map from Oasis’s iconic performance in ‘96 – before we headed into Central London, I knew I would be in for a treat. If such a staple in musical history is dotted just outside the capital of London, what cultural significance is tucked away in the centre of the capital?

First, we headed down within the shadow of the Shard via Amazing Grace, a newly refurbished church-now-turned bar nightclub, it had all the qualities of a fantastic and elusive venue for underplays and musical vibes perfect for a relaxing Friday evening. After that swell visit and a talk with the owners about everything to do with the music licence, we swiftly headed west to Hammersmith. An often quaint but equally illustrious as the glorious amphitheatre of Apollo greets you in the vast stretch of culture, as you step out of the underground station. At Hammersmith, we had the privilege of attending a tour at one Riverside Studios, a circular space for multi-art performances, theatre shows, cinema screenings and a magnitude of musical events. First popularised for its feature filming of Doctor Who during the first couple of series (and the use of stage doors as the noise for EXTERMINATE) it is now a Jack-of-all-trades swivelling circus of party tricks. If you’re around London between Christmas and New Year, I recommend diving in to check out the 360 AllStars variety show they have coming in.

Grabbing a mocha to go, we headed back to the realms of underground during dreaded rush hour. Fortunately, with working from home a viable option for many commuters, it didn’t necessarily seem that bad for a Friday.

Now here I am, lodging notes in my phone as the train heads back to familiar territory. My familiar territory.

It would be an advantageous decision to do more field visits in the future. Covering the scope of the UK, live music new business is ripe for the taking. Especially after the horrors of a pandemic, the opportunity for growth in live music and the entertainment sector is colossal. With ample drip-feedings being delivered from the Government, establishing the premise of music licensing via a friendly face is all-the-more-important for maximum efficiency and accuracy in today’s current industry.

More to come I hope. As always, thanks London.

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Song of the Day: Pacific Avenue’s Something Good

Drawn from their 2019 debut EP, Strawberry Skies, it emphasises our love of summer, traditional holidays in the sun, and taking life one relaxing day at a time.

The Australian 4-piece brings fantastic contemporary indie flavours and blends of timeless rock that stays fresh in the sunlight. “Something Good” is the epitome of their work so far, as it demonstrates their knack of rock calling and have become one of the best emerging talents in the Aussie country.

Plenty to bring too, with their recent flurry of excitement, Easy Love – which is another timeless indie summer classic.

You could very well argue how oversaturated we are already with summer indie tunes. But, there’s definitely a reason as to why there’s so many compilations abound.

We simply can’t get enough of ‘em.

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Thoughts on Olivia Rodrigo?

I’ve heard a mix bag from this dazzling actress-turned musician that is taking the charts by storm with her debut album, SOUR. With these soon-to-be global superstars rising with ferocity, what do you think to Rodrigo’s music? Taste of something different that we like – or heartbreak drivel we’ve heard before?

Either way, let me know your thoughts. If it’s positive enough, I may very well do an album review on SOUR itself.