|UMG - The Story So Far
|:: Posted by Sid Smith on Mon., Sep 3, 2012
UMG has been selling King Crimson material for years without rights or permission. UMG has been told of this on many occasions and has promised to cease. UMG continues to register sales of the material, reporting sales, as recently as April 2012. UMG is in the midst of a takeover of EMI. This has been referred to the European Commission as it would give UMG (already the largest record company by far), near monopoly status in many EU countries. It is also being scrutinised by the FTC in the USA.
In August, UMG offered to sell some of its catalogues and some EMI catalogues in an effort to placate the EC. Listed among those catalogues as circulated for sale was the same King Crimson material that UMG has been selling without permission. When this was discovered we approached UMG who told us it was due to “an error of inclusion on an early list that had been corrected and the EC was aware of this”. The EC rejected this, stating that it had only circulated material “provided specifically by UMG” and “not by error on an earlier version”. To the best of our knowledge the King Crimson material was only removed from the EC lists following a complaint from Panegyric.
We wrote again to UMG. The senior lawyer who told us of the early lists (responding on behalf of the UMG CEO), wrote to us again yesterday repeating UMG’s “early list/error” position and refusing to address the broader issues of UMG copyright infringement. Panegyric’s latest response to UMG on the EC submissions and related copyright infringements on behalf of King Crimson, DGM and the label is detailed below:
Dear Mr. Carmel,
Thanks for your reply.
The "substantive difference" between the EC position and your own is that you sought, both in your initial reply on behalf of UMG CEO Mr. Grainge and now, to distance yourself from responsibility for the inclusion of King Crimson material with this "two lists" sideshow to which you appear to be the sole subscriber.
The European Commission sees no uncertainty here. Again, let me quote from the EC reply:
I would also like to indicate that contrary to Universal's claim the Commission relied on the formal documentation provided specifically by Universal for the purpose of the market test with third parties and not by error on an earlier version.
"Formal documentation provided specifically by Universal" - It's worth repeating as your stated position on behalf of your CEO contradicts this.
"Specifically", in my understanding, is not a word that leaves room for misinterpretation.
Furthermore, my specific understanding is that the King Crimson material was only withdrawn from the fully circulated list after I saw the lists and complained to the EC. Perhaps this is incorrect? I'll copy the EC officers on this reply in case I am mistaken.
It’s important that we can all be clear about the sequence of events.
By your own admission, UMG placed King Crimson rights, which the company does not control, on a list submitted to the EC for divestment purposes as part of its assurances to the EC that UMG’s takeover of EMI represents no threat to competition in the industry.
Irrespective of how many lists were submitted, the fact that rights to King Crimson still appear, incorrectly, on internal UMG lists in July 2012 is at the heart of many of the problems that UMG continues to cause to the musicians, owners and licensees of this material.
UMG's inaccurate rights lists have circulated within the company since the takeover of Sanctuary in 2007.
The reasons why this is important are numerous, but I'll briefly detail just three of them here:
1) Such inaccurate lists must be, in part, the basis for UMG's continued digital sales of the material up to and including sales in 2011, often without payment. Again I remind you that UMG never had such rights. Such sales may continue. We have no way of knowing just as UMG appears to have no way of determining whether or not such sales continue and no apparent method of stopping them if they do. Physical sales also continued into 2011, including sales recorded in the UK.
2) This is indicative of a systemic and continued failure within UMG to control its own digital or physical sales of the material and a key reason why the EC should take a more robust view of any plans for further expansion. If UMG cannot, in 2012, distinguish between that which it does and does not control as a result of a takeover dating from 2007, what chance is there that a far larger takeover now proposed can be managed correctly?
3) UMG's lawyers, Mr. Smith and Mr. Fisher, gave us repeated assurances that such sales could not continue. Sales continued. Mr. Smith in 2007, Mr. Smith (again) in 2008, Mr. Fisher in 2009 and later – each was adamant that sales would not continue. Sales continued. We complained. UMG chose not to address the issues but instead to appoint an expensive external lawyer, a Mr. Howard who, in the words of Mr. Fisher in 2010 "may take a far more aggressive stance". Mr. Fisher's solution did not correct the inaccurate documents claiming rights, did not prevent UMG's digital rights departments offering or accepting payment from further sales and did nothing to stop subsequent physical sales taking place. Mr. Fisher's appointment of Mr. Howard merely established a further block between the two companies with an implied bully boy ethos via the threatened "far more aggressive stance". Sales continued. These actions raise serious questions about UMG's ability to deal with its acknowledged copyright infringements. These actions raise serious questions as to the manner in which UMG deals with smaller competitors in the marketplace.
UMG CEO Mr. Grainge is copied on this correspondence. Perhaps he could let me know if it’s acceptable for his legal representatives to hire outside lawyers who "may take a far more aggressive stance" to deal with legitimate complaints of copyright infringement, said infringements acknowledged as having occurred and accepted as continuing, in preference to dealing with the issues raised and preventing further infringements?
Is this official UMG corporate policy for dealing with such matters?
If not, what does Mr. Grainge, as CEO, intend to do to about it?
You state "we (UMG) do not think it would be constructive once again to go over old ground."
UMG reported sales of this material to DGM as recently as April this year. How recent do copyright infringements have to be in order for UMG lawyers to address them and not dismiss them as “old ground”?
Your statement is also somewhat at odds with that given by UMG representatives to The Financial Times (August 3rd 2012) in response to an interview given by Robert Fripp, although some of the wording is curiously familiar:
"This is very old ground. We have been working with Robert Fripp for some time to try to clear up some issues that he has raised with us and we believe that we are very close to completing that process."
Robert Fripp is unaware, as are our legal representatives, as am I, of any initiatives by UMG to resolve these issues.
Your letter makes it clear that UMG regards such issues as “old ground”
Is “old ground” some form of euphemism for copyright infringements that UMG refuses to address or resolve?
These are the "areas where you remain irreconcilable" referred to in your letter regarding Sanctuary/UMG and us.
UMG, the world's largest record company, sold (and may still be selling) King Crimson material without permission from the band, the copyright owners or the legal licensees of the material.
This is just one of several such examples of issues of copyright infringement by UMG labels of King Crimson/Robert Fripp copyrights, your “old ground”.
UMG offers no apology, solution, payment (beyond that made in 2009 for some of the sales) or, despite promises to the contrary from a variety of lawyers, ability to stop further sales.
Not content with mere copyright infringement and individual track sales, UMG recently included the very master rights to this material is its lists of proposed divestments to the EC.
As a senior lawyer, writing on behalf of the CEO Mr. Lucian Grainge, you don't wish to address any of this “old ground”, save to assure me that UMG is sorry for "the initial mistake" regarding the EC list inclusion, such expression of regret entirely dependent on acceptance of your "two lists" scenario which is, in turn, directly contradicted by the EC to whom the information was submitted.
Such avoidance of the issues that led to this on behalf of a senior lawyer representing the CEO of UMG, Mr. Grainge, is distinctly at odds with the publicly stated position of the UMG Press spokesperson who assured The Financial Times that the company “has been working with Robert for some time”.
Your statements, made on behalf of the CEO are contradicted by the EC, by UMG’s own PR representatives and by sales statements issued by UMG’s royalties department.
Who is to be believed in such a situation?
I am drawn again to UMG lawyer Mr. Smith's statement to me in December 2008 that “.. a company the size of UMG could not be expected to read or apply the details of every contract of every catalogue it acquires."
It is a plausible, if hardly laudable, explanation for some of these incidents.
Had my company been selling UMG material without permission, full payment, or complete cessation when alerted to the true rights position, over a period of 5 years, repeatedly but inconclusively assuring UMG that such copyright infringing sales would stop, only for me to continue with the sales and then offer to sell the master rights to said material to a third party in order to justify another acquisition, I suggest that you, Mr. Grainge and the various other lawyers involved would be far less sanguine about the situation, far less prone to clichés about not wishing to go over “old ground”.
I have made a formal complaint to the EC detailing concerns about the issues raised above.
I am copying this response to the EC case handling officers as an addition to material previously submitted.
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Radical Action Is In The Building...
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Aug 26, 2016
The view earlier today.
Taken from the 2015 tours of the UK, Canada & Japan, Radical Action represents the most comprehensive release for this incarnation of King Crimson, and will be available as a 3cd/1blu-ray set, and in a 3cd/2dvd/1blu-ray limited edition.
Radical Action features every song and piece performed by Pat Mastelotto, Bill Rieflin, Gavin Harrison, Mel Collins, Tony Levin, Jakko Jakszyk and Robert Fripp and as Fripp commented last month while supervising mixing, “This is King Crimson… re-imagined.”
The details for the 3cd/2dvd/1blu-ray limited edition are as follows.
CDs presented as individually themed “virtual studio albums” with no audible audience & mixed for audio presentation
One Blu-Ray featuring a complete set-list drawn from Japanese concert performances – almost 3 hours of music - in high-resolution stereo & 5.1 surround audio complete with “picture off” mode allowing the music to be heard independently in pristine, lossless audio. (24/48khz as per original recordings)
Two DVDs featuring the full concert performances in stereo & 5.1 surround sound.
Expanded, perfect bound, booklet: 36 pages with additional tour photos.
Six disc set presented in two triple digi-packs with booklet housed in an outer slipcase.
Audio/Video performances include:
Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part One
Pictures of a City
Radical Action (to Unseat The Hold of Monkey Mind)
Radical Action II
The Hell Hounds of Krim
The ConstruKction of Light
Scarcity of Miracles
Banshee Legs Bell Hassle
The Light of Day
The Talking Drum
Larks’ Tongues in Aspic Part Two
Devil Dogs of Tessellation Row
In the Court of the Crimson King
21st Century Schizoid Man
Suitable Grounds for the Blues
One More Red Nightmare
All copies come with a postcard featuring Francesca Sundsten’s striking cover artwork
It has been stated many times that King Crimson is not so much a band as it is “a way of doing things”. Less frequently stated but equally true, is the fact that the band inevitably seeks different ways of doing things. The current incarnation of the band, 2014 – the present day, has already released two taster sets in the form of 2015’s Live at the Orpheum mini-album and the vinyl picture disc EP that accompanied the 2015 tours of Canada and Japan, while the full raw concert performance from a single night in Toronto in 2015 was presented as a 2CD set earlier this year to great acclaim.
Now, with the release of Radical Action comes the most fully realised audio and visual statement from this band to date, running to three themed CDs and a Blu-Ray disc offering the filmed content along with an audio only option in lossless high resolution stereo and surround sound.
The set includes at least one performance of every song/piece of music played by King Crimson in 2015, some pieces originally composed in 1969 the year of the band’s inception, others composed/initially performed at a variety of points since, some new to the tour, all arranged for this specific line-up. Indeed it is characteristic of this King Crimson – in direct contrast to all other post 1970s line-ups - to feature a broad range of material from the 1969 - 1974 era, performed in such a manner as to maintain much of what made the music so arresting when first issued, while arranged for fresh interpretation by the seven piece line-up of today. As Fripp put it (when asked what the title of the album meant to him): “What I like about this band is, that what it is actually doing is not what it appears to be doing...”. The idea of King Crimson re-imagined, that the music as presented is new,irrespective of when originally composed, is the key element in this band’s makeup.
The set will be released to coincide with King Crimson’s most extensive European tour since 1974, with performances slated to include, for the first time ever, material from all seven of King Crimson’s 1969 – 1974 iconic studio albums and with limited availability via mail order and concert venues.
Audio: Three themed CDs of material recorded in 2015, each forming a separate discrete
performance with audio selected from a variety of shows and fully mixed from multi-track tapes by Chris Porter, Robert Fripp and David Singleton. As no audience is audible between tracks, this allows for a “virtual studio album” effect. (The current King Crimson line-up was deliberately conceived as a performing band rather than as a band concerned with making full studio recordings).
Video: Among the problems most associated with filming live performance, perhaps the key problems are those of the film-makers’ cameras intruding on the audience’s capacity to enjoy the show without interruption and the intrusion of the cameras on the band’s performance. In effect, both performance and audience response must be misrepresented to approximate a live show for later consumption. In order to record the performances more accurately, a series of Japanese concerts was captured via a number of discreet cameras in a “video vérité” style – with neither band nor audience disturbed by filming – by Trevor Wilkins who also edited and assembled the footage.
Audio/Video: Two DVD discs featuring the complete concert performances. Blu-Ray features the concert film in high-resolution [24/48] stereo and 5.1 surround sound with additional ‘video off’ mode allowing for high-resolution audio only playback in stereo and surround sound.
In essence the music can be experienced in a number of different ways – as continuous uninterrupted audio on CD, as a viewable concert performance in stereo or 5.1 surround on the DVDs and Blu-Ray, or in high-resolution, lossless audio stereo or 5.1 surround without pictures on the Blu-Ray.
Schizoid Man Sighting
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Aug 25, 2016
My thanks to EleKtriK_Udi for sending in this pic of the Schizoid Man face, spotted in the south side of Tel Aviv.
David Enthoven - The Last Goodbye
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Aug 25, 2016
Journalist Richard Williams’ blog has an affectionate account of David Enthoven’s funeral yesterday, including this heart-warming passage.
One of the morning’s pleasures, over which the man in whose memory we were gathered would certainly have shared a chuckle, was the sight of Fripp, Eno and Ferry (so much history there, from Ferry’s failed audition for King Crimson to Fripp and Eno’s collaboration on No Pussyfooting and beyond) joining the singing of “All Things Bright and Beautiful”. You don’t get that every day.
You can read the whole thing here.
Stick Men's Prog Noir
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Aug 24, 2016
Stick Men have a new album scheduled for release in October. Prog Noir
features new material which the band say is more song-orientated than
before. Featuring Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto and Markus Reuter, the
album is available in various deluxe packages and extras. Check out the pre-order page where you can listen to a few pieces as well as take a peek at a video for The Tempest.
You can also listen to an exclusive preview of the track, Plutonium over on Podcasts From The Yellow Room - scroll to 2.50 to check it out.
Thus sayeth the blurb...
Stick Men's new album “Prog Noir” is
available in pre-sale in 3 formats: Signed Limited Edition Combo Package
- Deluxe Box Set (2LP/2CD/Poster) with T-Shirt; Regular CD and Download
(WAV, FLAC, ALAC and/or MP3-320 formats)
SIGNED LIMITED EDITION
COMBO PACKAGE DELUXE BOX SET (2LP/2CD/POSTER) + T-SHIRT
• 2LP 180 grams gatefold (the LP has a, 11 minute
bonus tracks on the Side B of the second LP, which is not included in
the regular CD package)
• 2CD special edition of the new album,
Digipack. (Disk One is the regular 10 track album. Disk Two contains 8
• Full color poster of the album artwork (17x22 inches)
Full color T-Shirt (front only). Available in Navy Blue and Black.
ALL BOX SETS WILL BE SIGNED BY ALL 3 BAND MEMBERS (Tony, Pat & Markus).
All orders will be shipped in the late October.
are $140 USD / 120 EUR plus shipping.
Those who contribute $200 USD /
190 EUR or more, will have their names included in credits inside of the
This special box set includes digital pre-order of “Prog
Noir”. Fans will get 4 tracks now (streaming via the free Bandcamp app
and also available as a high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more),
plus the complete album the moment it's released.
SINGLE CD, REGULAR EDITION of “Prog Noir” (10 tracks) can be pre-ordered for $17 USD / 15 Euros plus shipping
DOWNLOAD of “Prog Noir” (10 tracks in WAV, FLAC, ALAC and/or MP3-320 formats) can be pre-ordered for $10 US / 8 EUR
Exclusively available at:
(orders placed from North, Central and South America, Middle East,
Africa and Asia)
(orders placed from Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia)
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., Aug 23, 2016
There's an affectionate tribute to David Enthoven, who died last week, published today in Music Week.
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Tue., Aug 23, 2016
Curved Air have a new album out that was directly inspired by Schizoid Men, the second disc from King Crimson's Ladies Of The Road.
Tapestry Of Propositions, presents a special version their song, Propositions, and the improvs that usually follow. Taken from several different gigs, the music has been woven into an hour-long suite of music.
Apparently the venture came after the Curved Air team listened to Schizoid Men, the extended version of 21st Century Schizoid Man, which seamlessly connected all the guitar solos from the parent track as performed by Boz, Mel, Ian and Robert. You can find out more about Tapestry Of Propositions here.
KC Rehearsals Part Two
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Fri., Aug 19, 2016
Here's some more pictures from yesterday's rehearsals.
Thursday 18th. August, 2016 at 10.32.
It's that time again!
Photographer: Deptford John
King Crimson on Wednesday 17th. August, 2016 at 12.49: photographed by Dean Stockings being photographed by Toyah Willcox...
King Crimson '80s Boxed Set Pre-order
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Thu., Aug 18, 2016
King Crimson’s 1980s-era boxed set, On (and off) The Road is available for pre-order from today. Scheduled for release in October, it contains 9 CDs, 3 DVD-A discs, 3 Blu-Ray discs, 2 bonus CDs, and represents the most comprehensive account of Belew, Fripp, Levin and Bruford’s work together in concert and in the studio between 1981 and 1984.
On(and off) The Road contains:
3CDs feature Steven Wilson & Robert Fripp new stereo mixes of Discipline (2011), Beat (2016) & Three of a Perfect Pair (2016)
4CDs feature the final concert from each of the band’s tours: Japan 1981 – new to CD, Germany 1982 – new mixes for this edition, Canada [Absent Lovers] 1984 – remastered for this edition
2CDs feature additional studio recordings: a CD newly edited & expanded from sessions for the ‘abandoned’ third album & a “making of…” CD featuring studio snippets & outtakes from across the studio recordings.
3 DVD-A discs (hybrid discs compatible with all dvd players & rom-drives, region free, ntsc) feature the three original studio albums in high-resolution stereo (new & original mixes), 5.1 Surround Sound mixes with additional audio & videos on all three discs.
3 Blu-Ray discs containing material as on DVD-A discs plus extensive additional video material including: Frejus live (Discipline), Alabama-Halle (Beat) – footage unseen since original 1982 broadcast), Japan 1984 (Three of a Perfect Pair) & additional hi-res audio options.
TOAPP blu-ray also features previously unseen footage from the final run of 1984 Japanese concerts + 2 sets of “single camera footage” recordings with shots focusing on each of the individual musicians
Absent Lovers concert is also included in a new Surround Sound mix on TOAPP BD.
12” box with booklet, memorabilia, new sleevenotes & eyewitness accounts of KC live
On (and off) The Road presents a complete overview of this enduringly popular line-up. All three studio albums are presented in remixed stereo editions on CD (Discipline in its 2011 mix), as are the final concerts from each year of touring. Two further CDs present newly edited & extended takes from the ‘Champaign-Urbana’ sessions for the band’s proposed third album & a ‘making of’ CD which provides a fascinating audio insight into the studio recordings. New Stereo, 5.1 Surround, original stereo editions & videos appear on the DVD-A discs.
The Blu-Ray discs bring full 24/96 stereo & 5.1 Surround sound plus extended video/concert footage including the Frejus concert, the Alabamahalle concert (unseen since its 1982 broadcast) an array of previously unreleased additional concert footage from the band’s 1984 Japanese concerts, along with audio only options for some of the footage. Two bonus CDs present the band’s first gig as Discipline, from an audio restored bootleg at Moles Club Bath & the unreleased live album that was prepared from the Frejus tapes, with the additional recordings from that concert also included, complete the audio & visual features.
With a wealth of previously unheard audio and/or upgraded audio – from the band’s first to final performances, newly issued stereo & 5.1 editions of two of the band’s studio albums – Beat & TOAPP, the classic Discipline album in stereo & 5.1, audio and video recordings of some of the best live shows the line-up played plus substantial new concert footage, all presented to the high standards that have been a staple of King Crimson boxed sets of recent years, this is an essential edition for the many fans of this era of King Crimson.
When Robert Fripp declared in 1974 that King Crimson had ‘ceased to exist’ nobody could have foreseen that the band would return in 1981 with a radically different line-up & sound, elements of which had, perhaps, more in common with the then current post-punk new wave than the band’s notional progressive rock past.
Returning initially under the name Discipline for low-key gigs & then as King Crimson proper with an album called ‘Discipline’ & as different from the 1970s King Crimson, as the 1970s line-ups had been from the 1960s band, the new quartet of Robert Fripp, Bill Bruford, Adrian Belew (Zappa, Bowie, Talking Heads) and Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel/Paul Simon), rapidly established itself as a force on the live circuit. The longer songs of the 1960s & early 1970s & the extended improvisations of the live performances from the earlier touring bands were replaced with a series of short taut songs & instrumentals imbued with a minimalist aesthetic that featured complex interwoven guitar lines from Fripp & Belew, (coined ‘rock gamelan’), Adrian’s distinctive vocals & sharply apt lyrics, Bruford’s new armoury of electronic percussion & Levin’s fluid bass & Chapman Stick lines.
With ‘Discipline’ charting in a number of countries including the UK & USA, the clamour for the band’s tours was further enhanced, often to a greater extent than could actually be fulfilled – not for the first or last time with a King Crimson line-up – due to the other time demands made on the individual musicians. Despite such pressures a further album ‘Beat’ appeared & charted in 1982 & when ‘Three of a Perfect Pair’ hit the UK Top 30 upon release in 1984, it was clear that King Crimson had managed not just to retain a large percentage of its original fanbase but had successfully reached a completely fresh audience also. However, three albums and a number of tours in as many years, for a quartet all of whom had substantial non-KC musical commitments, strained the line-up beyond its natural limit & King Crimson was again retired from active service, not to return until the mid-1990s.
King Crimson Rehearsals Begin
:: Posted by Sid Smith on Wed., Aug 17, 2016
Full band rehearsals started today ahead of King Crimson’s extensive European tour which starts next month.
Robert noted this evening, "King Crimson formally enfisted on Wednesday 17th. August, 2016 at 12.30. Rehearsals followed."
Earlier in the day, Jakko took this photo...
and this from Pat Mastelotto...
More from Robert:
King Crimson formally enfisted on Wednesday 17th. August, 2016 at 12.30: herewith visual proof.
Bill Rieflin, KC’s Eighth Man and currently on Sabbatical, is viddy-enfisting on RF’s iPhone clasped in the HRVL’s right hand.
Photo Credit: Toyah Willcox
More to follow in the next few days.
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