THIS OPINION PIECE IN TODAY’S GUARDIAN may be weighted with legalistic argument, but it reveals the chaos that digital media — downloads and ringtones, for example — have brought upon the music industry. It also confirms the pitiful rates musicians and performers have been paid for their work in the past…
“At the centre of [recent lawsuits involving Eminem and the late Rick James] is the question of whether a download is a licence or a sale. A normal record deal today would usually give an artist 12–20% of revenue from sales depending on how successful they are at the point of signing (only the bigger artists get anything close to 20%). But if a song is licensed to be played in, say, a TV show or a film, they receive 50% of revenue. Buying a download on iTunes may make you feel like you own it, but the fact is that you’ve just bought the rights to play it. And so the court agreed that the Eminem downloads counted as licences.
“Universal argues that it was simply the wording of Eminem’s specific contract that resulted in them losing the case, and it’s true that standard contracts have changed since the advent of iTunes and now clearly state that download sales count as sales. But thousands of artists signed their deals way before iTunes. If they did so before 1980, chances are they’re on a sales royalty rate that is lower than 10% — some artists from the 60s and 70s were on 4%, minus packaging deductions — which means they can up their digital royalty rate more than tenfold.”
Choirs of Westminster Abbey and Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, during today’s wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton
❚ VYING WITH MANY VISUAL TREATS TODAY at the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in Westminster Abbey was the well chosen and home-grown music. Three pieces were drawn from every Sloane’s wedding favourite, Hubert Parry, the 19th-century composer who knows how to tug at toff heartstrings. Despite which, he does rank among England’s finest and is best known for his rousing hymn Jerusalem, which inevitably followed the prayers today.
Spiritual: John Rutter
But to modern ears, the musical highlight was a soaringly beautiful choral anthem that followed the bride and groom’s marriage vows and preceded the Bishop of London’s address. Titled This is the day which the Lord hath made, the romantic three-minute piece was specially commissioned by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster for this service. Its uplifting theme wove together words from four Psalms (as published in The Book of Common Prayer) including these from Psalm 121 — “the sun shall not burn thee by day: neither the moon by night”.
The music was written by the English composer John Rutter (b 1945) who is also a conductor, editor, arranger and record producer with his own label, Collegium Records. The past day has seen reaction to the new anthem cause an immediate surge of hits at Google. Dr Rutter is said not to see himself as predominantly a composer of sacred music though he has set many psalms and carols and much of his work has a spiritual dimension. Most of his choral work has been subsequently transformed with an orchestral accompaniment so with luck this elegant piece too might be released in this way. Listen here to the new anthem, as sung at the wedding by the choirs of Westminster Abbey and Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, conducted by Mr James O’Donnell, organist and master of the choristers, Westminster Abbey. The organ is played by Mr Robert Quinney, sub-organist, Westminster Abbey.
❚ WHETHER YOU’RE A MONARCHIST OR NOT, the rest of the world went ape for the royal family yesterday. By 11am BST, 10 of the top 20 Google searches in the US related to the royal wedding. Likewise on Facebook, the top 10 keywords trending as public status updates in the US and UK were all wedding-related, led by Royal Wedding, Prince William, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton.
The royal wedding swept Twitter’s worldwide trending topics Friday morning. During the bishop’s address, all ten were related to the wedding: royalwedding, rw11, casamentoreal, William & Kate, QILF, Sarah Burton, Grace Kelly, Westminster Abbey, Rutter, Abadia.
By way of translation — “casamentoreal” and “abadia” mean “royalwedding” and “abbey,” respectively, in Spanish. QILF is a play on the acronym “MILF,” where “mother” is replaced with “queen.” Sarah Burton, number six, is the designer of Kate’s dress, and the creative director of British label Alexander McQueen. Kate’s dress and look were likened to those of the Hollywood actress Grace Kelly, who married the Prince of Monaco in April 1956. Number nine, Rutter, refers to John Rutter, who composed the anthem played during the wedding.
The royal wedding group in the throne room at Buckingham Palace, April 29, 2011. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are flanked by their respective family members and attendants. Front row (left to right): Grace van Cutsem, Eliza Lopes, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, HM the Queen, Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Lady Louise Windsor, William Lowther-Pinkerton. Back row (left to right): Tom Pettifer, HRH the Duchess of Cornwall, HRH the Prince of Wales, HRH Prince Henry of Wales, Michael Middleton, Carole Middleton, James Middleton and Philippa Middleton. Photograph: Hugo Burnand
FOURTH HIGHEST ‘KETTLE EFFECT’ EVER IN UK
INTERNATIONALLY, the advance estimate predicted two billion people would tune in to Friday’s TV coverage of the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton, though this figure has yet to be confirmed. About 8,500 journalists were in London for the event.
➢ IN THE UK, across the whole BBC, 34.7m viewers tuned in to watch some part of the wedding, including a million people online using BBC iPlayer. There was a peak of 6.1m viewers watching the coverage on ITV1 as the service began, the commercial broadcaster reported. Sky News had a peak of 661,000 viewers at 11am, with roughly one million people using its website.
➢ YouTube’s live feed brought the BBC’s pictures to a global online audience through its Royal Channel — which was the 23rd most-visited YT channel of the day, but trailed behind America’s Next Top Model and Top Gear.
➢ Surge in electricity demand suggests record television ratings — Daily Telegraph report
The surge in demand for electricity in the UK at the end of the royal wedding was the fourth-highest ever caused by a televised event. National Grid said that, when the couple reached Buckingham Palace after the ceremony at 12.40pm, demand for electricity increased by 2,400MW — the equivalent of nearly a million kettles being turned on at the same time. The surge was a third higher than that recorded after the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, which registered 1,800MW when 28m people had been watching in the UK.
That dazzling dress effect: National Grid also registered a 1,500MW drop in demand when viewers had their first glimpse of Catherine Middleton’s wedding dress as she got into her car to the abbey — with such a drop (rather than a surge) indicating that people were flocking to their televisions rather than carrying on with more electricity-hungry activities.
Electricity demand surges do not directly correlate with TV ratings, because they indicate how many people got up to switch their kettles on to make a cuppa — rather than the total number of people watching to begin with.
1832 Reform Act, The People’s Charter 1838, John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, The Subjection of Women 1861, women’s suffrage 1865, women’s rights, Millicent Fawcett, The Cat and Mouse Act 1913, hunger strikes, death of Emily Davison, Emmeline Pankhurst, Representation of the People Act 1918, Franchise Act of 1928
Punk power: Judith Frankland models her own design Dare To Wear Fur from her collection for The Woman Who Likes to Say Hello. Photography by Denise Grayson. Above left, Pink Power, for the woman who holds her own in a man’s world. Illustration by Manny More
+++ ❚ THE GLOVES ARE OFF. Onetime Blitz Kid Judith Frankland aims to return to the couture fashion scene at London Fashion Week in September. During two decades spent abroad, she mixed bespoke design with nightclub promotion which in Italy won her membership of i guerrieri della notte — the warriors of the night.
Today in her fashion blog at The Swelle Life, she declares that ultimately “my passion is for fashion” as she unveils yet another outfit in her new collection designed for “The Woman Who Likes to Say Hello”.
She writes: “The seven outfits are part of a work in progress to be finished very soon in anticipation of presenting a small collection next Fashion Week in London. It is the first I have undertaken in eight years.”
Alongside Judith’s latest chapter in her progress back into fashion, Denise Grayson shoots her in the bold jacket (above) that eyeballs the woman who dares to wear fur (or at least, who dares to fake it).
Regular readers know Judith as one of the faces in the masthead atop Shapersofthe80s — grabbed from Bowie’s 1980 Ashes to Ashes video when she was dressing like a singing nun. So it’s no surprise that the new fur-woman silhouette evokes a more subversively punk spirit in contrast to previous separates in the new collection which combine power motifs with hints of romantic vulnerability. Manny More’s delicious illustration (above left) affirms the feminine bows and understated lace dress of a powerbroker’s outfit for the woman in a man’s boardroom — while the tightly knotted kipper tie provides a slap in the eye for the male chauvinist who is deceived by the notes of pink prettiness.
Judith’s designs demand high standards of tailoring and her ambition is to collaborate with an experienced cutter. She says: “I want to explore the possibilities this can create. I would love to work with a professional pattern cutter and, frankly, I feel they do not get the applause they deserve. We can all play with and drape fabric, but boy, it takes talent to bring that to life.”
In the short-term, Judith’s mini collection is likely to turn a few heads during Newcastle’s first Fashion Week (May 14–21), a citywide initiative to champion the Tyneside Business Improvement District. Then it’s London’s turn.
❚ A NEAT OUTCOME RESULTED from last week’s Radio 4 interview with Morrissey, former singer with The Smiths, the UK’s leading indie band of the 80s, who broke up in 1987. After the reluctant interviewee said that he was “very very surprised to be making music today” he added that, had his music career failed, “I would have become a novelist”. He then revealed that he had written his memoirs and was in the progess of redrafting his 660-page manuscript. He dared to suggest: “I’d like it to go to Penguin, but only if they published it as a classic. I can’t see why not — a contemporary Penguin Classic — within the next year or so.”
By Good Friday Penguin Books, creators of the modern paperback, were trying to head off a bidding war between rival publishers by announcing that it is indeed willing to publish his autobiography. A spokeswoman told The Independent: “There is a natural fit between Morrissey’s sensibility, his artistic achievements and Penguin Classics. A book could be published as a Penguin Classic because it is a classic in the making. It’s something we would like to discuss with Morrissey.”
There is no minimum time limit before a book can be considered a Penguin Classic, but the list embraces people or works that have “caused scandal and political change, broken down barriers, social and sexual”. However, a leading article in the same day’s paper pours cold water on the mighty ego of the singer they call Bigmouth: “Sadly for Morrissey, it’s the accumulated judgement of posterity, rather than authors, which determines what literature survives and what gets pulped.”
Nevertheless, according to The Independent report: “Morrissey is not short of suitors. The publishing director of Faber and Faber sent the singer an open letter begging him to join the ‘house of Eliot’, a reference to T S Eliot, the giant of 20th-century poetry. Lee Brackstone wrote: ‘We feel very strongly that you belong in this company. You deserve Faber and the love we can give you. History demands it; destiny commands it’.”
These events coincide with today’s UK release of a new album, Very Best of Morrissey, a 20-track download and CD of remastered solo classics (also as 18 tracks on vinyl, EMI/Major Minor). A bonus DVD, which includes eleven remastered videos (three of which are previously unavailable on DVD) including Boxers, Sunny, and The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get, plus I’ve Changed My Plea To Guilty taken from the Jonathan Ross TV show in December 1990.
As from tomorrow the 12-minute interview with R4’s Front Row is available on iPlayer. Morrissey deals briskly with pressing issues such as ageing (“many of the early songs were like mating calls and I have to think seriously about singing them now”), the problem of having the prime minister as a fan (“no I’ve never met him”) and, inevitably, a Smiths reunion (this is not the place for spoilers). And yes, Johnny Marr gets a mention.
Update: Listen to favourably selected highlights from a frankly tiresome interview between a cranky Morrissey and a very patient Dermot O’Leary (BBC R2 on April 30, 2011) as the evasive singer winds him up while discussing their Irish roots and musical idols, a UK and Scandinavian tour, an album of new material and the “mutants” of Coronation Street. We hear two clips from his Very Best Of CD, Girl Least Likely To, and Interlude: The next day Moz told True To You why he had been so cantankerous: “I’m sorry I made the O’Leary radio interview so difficult but I was in a foul mood, having spent a full week surrounded by the royal dreading. England may very well be a Windsor dictatorship, but, PR weddings aside, it is usually quite bearable.” He also complains about his familiar views on the British monarchy being cut from the earlier R4 interview.
SUMMER TOUR DATES
➢ Listed at True-to-you.net — Morrissey’s nine-date UK summer tour runs from Perth June 15–Plymouth June 30, plus Glastonbury Festival on June 24, and Hop Farm Music Festival July 2.
MORE INTERESTING THAN MOST PEOPLE’S FANTASIES — THE SWINGING EIGHTIES 1978-1984
They didn’t call themselves New Romantics, or the Blitz Kids – but other people did.
“I’d find people at the Blitz who were possible only in my imagination. But they were real” — Stephen Jones, hatmaker, 1983. (Illustration courtesy Iain R Webb, 1983)
“The truth about those Blitz club people was more interesting than most people’s fantasies” — Steve Dagger, pop group manager, 1983
An “invaluable website” — historian Dominic Sandbrook, 2012
A UNIQUE HISTORY
➢ WELCOME to the Swinging 80s ➢ THE BLOG POSTS on this front page report topical updates ➢ ROLL OVER THE MENU AT TOP to go deeper into the past ➢ FOR NEWS & MONTH BY MONTH SEARCH, see the sidebar below
◆ On Mi-soul radio on 13 Feb 2015, the day after Steve Strange died, deejay Rusty Egan paid musical tribute to his sidekick in founding their legendary Blitz club-night back in 1979: “Music says everything I could ever want to say” ... Catch up at Mixcloud
✱ Matt Bianco’s Mark Reilly and the 8-piece New Cool Collective celebrate their collaboration album The Things You Love with a European tour through the summer. Bianco’s 1984 album Whose Side Are You On? introduced jazz to a chart scene still dominated by British new wave, ska and punk. Hit singles followed
✱ Join in the Q&A during An Audience with Martin Kemp who is touring the UK all year from Billingham and Bodelwyddan Castle through Blackburn and Cheltenham (you might have to google some venues to discover which town they’re in!)
✱ The original Blitz Club deejay’s first solo album capturing the spirit of 80s electronica, “Rusty Egan presents. . . Welcome to the Dancefloor” is being published through Pledge Music where you can pre-order the 14-track album and related products… Read a full review here at Shapers of the 80s.
Click on the Soundcloud player below to hear some snippets now:
✱ Dazed’s best new tracks mix features Ezra Rubin aka Kingdom’s choice of forward-looking club music
✱ In the face of difficult times and an uncertain future, i-D’s family values issue celebrates tight-knit families, teams, tribes and collectives the world over. No faking. It’s true.
✱ Issue 69 of Soul Survivors magazine features Brit Funk Association, Eddie Piller, Polly Gibbons, Barry King, Wunmi, Ash Selector and all soul music events. Under Fitzroy Facey, the mag celebrated its tenth anniversary with a new compilation on Expansion Records (above).
✱ Quids In Mons, FCK Thurs, #FRI251, Big Weekender Sats at the legendary Factory Manchester – clubnights, cocktail masterclasses and live bands – chart, dance, EDM, RNB, house, garage, hiphop and indie over three floors designed by Ben Kelly on Princess St, Manchester M1 7EN – @factorymanchester
✱ Manchester’s Remake Remodel claims to be “The Nation’s Saving Grace of Alternative, Rock’n’Roll” — Mondays at Soup Kitchen M1 1DF & every 1st Saturday at The Ruby Lounge M4 1QB – @RemakeRemodel1
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