TODAY'S TOP STORY: One time Fugee Pras ain't happy with the New York Post, and he's firing up his litigation machine to prove it. The New York tab is facing a $30 million libel suit from Pras Michel, after it accused him of bailing on a "9/11 benefit concert" organised by his own charity. The article also apparently claimed that the foundation in question had bounced a cheque to the venue, had falsely claimed its... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S APPROVED: Alex Burey's first foray into making music came when he spotted a gap in the market in the grime scene, as it swelled out of East London further south. Lots of new MCs were suddenly appearing in nearby Croydon - he living with his parents in a small village a few miles away - but few seemed to be making beats for them to use. So the then eleven year old Burey taught himself how to... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Pras sues New York Post over cancelled benefit gig claims
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Abbey Road to add new studios, announces new MD
Universal leads in Variety's 'women in entertainment' report
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES posts further losses
ARTIST NEWS Alice Glass smashes Crystal Castles
Sinead O'Connor to publish autobiography
RELEASES Brian Eno curates Fela Kuti boxset
GIGS & FESTIVALS Patti Smith planning Horses 40th anniversary shows
AWARDS Tracey Emin to design 2015 BRIT Award
ONE LINERS Enter Shikari, The Postal Service, Stephen Hawking and more
AND FINALLY... "Fuck Harvest"? Fuck it, let's fuckin sell that fucker
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Pras sues New York Post over cancelled benefit gig claims
One time Fugee Pras ain't happy with the New York Post, and he's firing up his litigation machine to prove it.

The New York tab is facing a $30 million libel suit from Pras Michel, after it accused him of bailing on a "9/11 benefit concert" organised by his own charity. The article also apparently claimed that the foundation in question had bounced a cheque to the venue, had falsely claimed its event was sponsored by MTV, and isn't properly registered as a charity with state officials.

But woah there tab hacks, let's just pick this one apart shall we? I just checked the website for the Hope For Them Foundation and Pras is nowhere listed as a founder, director or board member, or anything at all actually. So you can see where the Fugee man is coming from in getting angry about this story.

He's also seemingly getting stick for specifically bailing on a "9/11 benefit concert", even though that line in the Post's article means the show in question took place on 11 Sep (which it did), rather than it was in aid of a charity supporting New York's 9/11 victims (which it wasn't). But deliberately confusing perhaps. Bad newspaper.

But woah there Pras-repping legal men. The Post claims that "Michel was listed as a board member on the group's website early last week [but] by Friday, his name had disappeared". They also allege that Pras's involvement affected how the Foundation spoke about its work in Haiti "for fear potential donors would confuse it with the disgraced charity run by his cousin, [fellow former Fugee] Wyclef Jean".

But woah there claim-making journos. Lawyers for Michel say that a Hope For Them Foundation spokesman clearly told you "Pras is a good friend of the organisation and supports our cause but is NOT a board member". And anyway, he never guaranteed a performance at the fund-raiser, because he was just back from a trip to North Korea. And stop implying the show had anything to do with 9/11.

But woah there defamation attorney dudes, even if everything you are saying is right, and the Post's article was, as you put it, written "with a reckless disregard for the truth", how can you possibly be claiming $30 million in damages? Oh, Pras is negotiating some major business deals, which may or may not include involvement in a multi-billion bid to buy some hotels, and this story has screwed up deal talks. Still, $30 million is still ambitious for a libel action.

The Post is yet to respond.

Abbey Road to add new studios, announces new MD
Universal Music has announced new expansion plans for Abbey Road Studios - the major, of course, having taken control of the recording complex with its 2012 acquisition of EMI.

Under the guidance of new Managing Director Isabel Garvey, who replaces Jonathan Smith, three new recording and mixing spaces are to be built. Two new studios are to be designed with a view to attracting more new artists, while a Dolby Atmos suite will be constructed to help boost Abbey Road's film score business.

There will also be further development of the company's e-commerce and merchandising sidelines. Good news for all you people who enjoy getting that Cluedo-like Abbey Road board game out every Christmas. The sturdy box really does make it the perfect tray to carry the turkey in on.

Says Universal Music UK CEO David Joseph: "Abbey Road has a history of innovation. By investing in the latest technology alongside the creation of the new studios and exploring fresh avenues for growing the business - while preserving the incredible heritage of Studios One, Two and Three - our plans will ensure Abbey Road continues to be the world's greatest recording studio".

Meanwhile, Garvey adds: "Abbey Road is steeped in the most incredible history but it also has an exciting future in front of it. World-class sound recording will always be the studios' core business but there is huge potential for growth and diversification. Getting the chance to help realise this potential, while cherishing the studios' heritage and reputation, is genuinely a dream job".

Garvey was previously head of digital media consultancy Georgestown, following on from senior marketing roles at Warner Music and EMI.


Universal leads in Variety's 'women in entertainment' report
So Variety magazine has shared its 'Women's Impact Report' for this year, a longlist of the ladies it deems most shape what's going on in the (mainly American) entertainment world right now.

And here's a thing, it doesn't feature all that many humans-with-vaginas working in the music industry. Though that possibly tells us more about the team compiling this list than it does the music industry which, while having plenty of issues to tackle on-stage and behind-the-scenes when it comes gender equality, could nevertheless have easily filled every one of the 63 slots on this poll.

Of the music industry women highlighted, other than hit-machine Sia, all three are execs at the Universal Music Group. Namely UMG's EVP US Recorded Music, Michelle Anthony, who was appointed in 2013; Capitol Music Group co-EVP Michelle Jubelirer; and Jody Gerson, who was recently announced as a replacement for Zach Horowitz as CEO at Universal Music Publishing.

Appraising the list, UMG headmaster/Chairman/CEO Lucian Grainge, says: "Our leadership is simply the best in the business and these three talented and hard-working executives prove the point. I, along with the rest of our UMG family, congratulate Michele, Michelle and Jody in being recognised on this year's Women's Impact Report". posts further losses has filed its latest financial figures with Companies House, which show that the music data company continues to make losses, according to The Guardian. However, although revenues fell by more than 20% in 2013, the company has halved the losses made the previous year.

As previously reported,, which was bought by CBS in 2007 for $280 million, has been aggressively cutting costs for a few years now, amidst rumours that the service's owner is losing its patience with it. A significant change in the last year was the shutting off of its self-hosted subscription radio, which it had been scaling back for several years, in favour of playing music provided by Spotify. However, the Guardian reports, behind the scenes staff numbers have also halved.

In its last financial year, reportedly made £4.92 million in revenues - a drop of 22.8%. Largely this came from advertising income, with a small amount from affiliate sales and £1 million in subscriptions. Only EU countries (not including the UK) saw a rise in revenues, which almost doubled from £740,659 to £1.12 million. The UK and US both saw significant drops (45.8% and 22.8% respectively), while the rest of the world saw a 60% decrease in revenues to £288,859.

In its financial statement, the company said: " competes with other internet [music] providers, broadcast radio and other media providers for advertising spending. As such, revenue decreased during the year and cost reduction plans continued throughout the year to minimise the impact of the lower revenues".

It remains to be seen if further cost savings can be made, and if CBS will allow another year to try and hit profit.

  Approved: Alex Burey
Alex Burey's first foray into making music came when he spotted a gap in the market in the grime scene, as it swelled out of East London further south. Lots of new MCs were suddenly appearing in nearby Croydon - he living with his parents in a small village a few miles away - but few seemed to be making beats for them to use. So the then eleven year old Burey taught himself how to use some music software and set himself up as a jobbing producer.

Now nineteen, he's moved out of the bedroom that once saw a procession of rappers through its door to a standalone studio, aka a shed at the bottom of his parents' garden. And now working on his own music, he's shunned the heavy beats of grime for something more soulful.

"I always aim for my music to be comforting", he says. A sentence that might be a turn off, but describes his intimate, gently beautiful songs perfectly. Not dissimilar to King Krule and influenced by Shuggie Otis, the first of those songs to be publicly released is 'Unspoken', which rolls quietly on a woozy guitar line and a chorus that lazily drops in semi-call-and-response vocals to amazing effect.

Listen to 'Unspoken' here.
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Alice Glass smashes Crystal Castles
Shattering news: Alice Glass of Canada's Crystal Castles is leaving Canada's Crystal Castles to follow her solo dreams, so there... deal with it.

Writing a perhaps slightly barbed confirmation of her exit via FB yesterday, Glass said: "My art and my self-expression in any form has always been an attempt towards sincerity, honesty, and empathy for others. For a multitude of reasons both professional and personal I no longer feel that this is possible within CC".

She added that: "Although this is the end of the band, I hope my fans will embrace me as a solo artist in the same way they have embraced Crystal Castles".

Whilst neither Glass nor her CC collaborator Ethan Kass - who began the band in 2003, bringing Glass in 2005 - have made any solo records so far, both have traded off the Crystal Castles name to advertise recent solo DJ sets. So that's one thing they still have in common.


Sinead O'Connor to publish autobiography
Sinead O'Connor has signed on with Penguin Books' US imprint Blue Rider Press to write her autobiography. Penguin Ireland is set to publish the book in the UK and Ireland, with a release date scheduled for March 2016.

And before you ask if she's planning on holding anything back, O'Connor said in a statement announcing the memoir: "I've never stopped expressing myself in my music, and now, with a book. And I look forward to dishing the sexual dirt on everyone I've ever slept with".

Blue Rider's President David Rosenthal added: "Sinead has led a singular life - both personally and professionally. She is a fearlessly honest and incredibly talented artist".

Brian Eno curates Fela Kuti boxset
Knitting Factory Records is set to release its third Fela Kuti vinyl boxset next week, this one curated by Brian Eno.

Speaking about Kuti's influence on him, Eno said: "I remember the first time I listened [to Fela's album 'Afrodisiac'] and how dazzled I was by the groove and the rhythmic complexity, and by the raw, harsh sounds of the brass, like Mack trucks hurtling across highways with their horns blaring. Everything I thought I knew about music at that point was up in the air again".

The seven albums Eno has selected from Kuti's vast back catalogue are 'London Scene', 'Shakara', 'Gentleman', 'Zombie', 'Upside Down', 'ITT' and 'Afrodisiac'. The box will also contain a twelve page booklet, featuring a foreword by Eno and album notes by Afrobeat historian Chris May.

Watch Brian Eno talking more about Fela Kuti here.

Elsewhere in Fela Kuti news, the African premiere of previously reported documentary 'Finding Fela' is due to take place this Sunday at the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos. It will then be screened in cinemas across Nigeria and Ghana. If that's a bit far, there are still some screenings taking place in the UK until mid-November. Or the DVD is out on 8 Dec.

Patti Smith planning Horses 40th anniversary shows
Patti Smith is planning to mark the 40th anniversary of the release of her debut album, 'Horses', with events in New York, Paris and London.

She tells Rolling Stone: "The exact date is 10 Nov, and I want to celebrate it in New York in a special way. We have things we'll be doing in Paris and London, everywhere, because it's a true milestone. I'm proud to have a milestone like that".

On how the songs and her performance of them have changed over four decades, she continues: "I think we continue to deliver all of these songs sometimes stronger than when I was young. So I'm going to be happy to celebrate it, to perform the album with happiness, not with any kind of cynicism or a cashing-in thing. It will be a true, proud celebration".

Further details will presumably be forthcoming in due course. Meanwhile, here's Smith performing 'Gloria' on 'Saturday Night Live' in 1976.

Tracey Emin to design 2015 BRIT Award
Brace yourself, we're about to be nice about the BRIT Awards. Because - however much we may have mocked it in the past - I kinda like this thing where the BRITs team asks a different visual artist to redecorate its trophy each year.

It's a really nice touch at an event otherwise devoid of substance, credibility, validity, class, integrity, humour, virtue, worth, merit, distinction, greatness, zeal, goodness, eminence, cogency, hope, potency, soundness, pertinence, strength, relevance, bearing, principle, style, feeling, judgement, intellect, fire, passion, meaning, fervour, form, sentiment, ecstasy, interest, intrigue, passion, fury, sweetness and joy.

Hmm, sorry about that. Saying something nice in the first paragraph sent me into overdrive in the second. I must stress, to anyone from Team BRITs tuning in right now, I think you're all fab. And of course I'll except that invite for a free feed and ring side seats. And I'll tweet anything you fucking want. "MASTERCARD, ULTIMATE JOY GIVERS. VISA, BUNCH OF CUNTS"

Aaaaannnnnyway, Tracey Emin is designing the trophies for the record industry's big BRITs bash next year, hot on the heals of Vivienne Westwood, Peter Blake, Damien Hirst and Philip Treacy who have all added a twist of artistic delight to the BRITs gong in years gone by. Emin is "thrilled" to be involved in such a "sweet celebration of the amazing talent we have in Britain today". It is sweet isn't it? And joyful.

In fact, thinking about it now, it's an event of fury, passion, intrigue, interest, ecstasy, sentiment, form, fervour, meaning, passion, fire, intellect, judgement, feeling, style, principle, bearing, relevance, strength, pertinence, soundness, potency, hope, cogency, eminence, goodness, zeal, greatness, distinction, merit, worth, virtue, humour, integrity, class, validity,
credibility and substance. Or it will be now they've got rid of Cordon.

Confirming all this (well, the Tracey Emin bit), BRITs Chairman and Warner boss Max Lousada said: "Tracey is one of the UK's most prominent fine artists and we are delighted that she has agreed to re-work the 2015 BRITs trophy. Having her on board means that we enter a fifth year of iconic and uniquely designed BRIT statues, and with British creativity very much at the heart of the event, it's fitting that Tracey takes the baton and continues this tradition".

Enter Shikari, The Postal Service, Stephen Hawking and more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Enter Shikari will, on 19 Jan, release their new LP, 'The Mindsweep'. "Fuck's sake - it's a double-barrelled, double-battery, double-fisted spacehopper!" yells Plug Lazonby, boss at ES' Japanese label Hostess Entertainment.

• Soporific indie band The Postal Service are releasing a factual film charting the realities of two shows they played at California's Greek Theatre last year, aka when they got back together again. 'Everything Will Change' will be released on DVD on 24 Nov.

• Physicist and man Stephen Hawking will be heard talking on 'Talkin Hawkin', a track on 'The Endless River', the 'new' old LP coming soon from Pink Floyd. Which, by the way, Roger Waters is not on, nor involved with in the slightest. Errhh?

• Sufjan Stevens has teamed with friend and CMU approved singer Cat Martino to sing a song titled 'Take The Time'. Do exactly that to hear it now via Pitchfork.

CMU approved Scandi-pop hotcake Tove Styrke has released a new single, titled 'Borderline', inspired by breaking free of the 'Matrix' of patriarchy. "Society has taught me that there's a limited space for me to grow within, a narrow idea of what I am supposed to be", she explains via Dazed (where the track is streaming ATM), adding: "I am free when I fully let go of the things that I, as a girl, have been taught to be throughout my life". Right on.

• Kerbdog are streaming their new live album, 'Congregation' - their first new release since 1997 - in full via the Kerrang! website. It's a good live album, you should listen to it. Here it is.

• Wiley is celebrating the fact that he is definitely going to release his 'Snakes & Ladders' album (rather than announcing it and then chucking it in the bin) with three UK live shows in December. Catch him at The Garage in London on 16 Dec, Birmingham's Institute Library on 18 Dec, and Gorilla in Manchester on 19 Dec.

• Dels will launch his previously reported new album, 'Petals Have Fallen', on 19 Nov at Electrowerkz in Islington. The album itself is out on 3 Nov.

• Producer and DJ Alesso has announced two UK gigs in December. He'll play the Brixton Academy on 19 Dec and Manchester's Warehouse Project on 20 Dec. Here's a trailer for the Brixton show.

• B Dolan has added a second London date in November, having sold out one already. Both dates (on 10 & 11 Nov) are part of the Scroobius Pip-hosted Speech Development Records tour. Details here.

"Fuck Harvest"? Fuck it, let's fuckin sell that fucker
In possibly my favourite label-led venture of the year, Universal imprint Harvest has started selling "Fuck Harvest" t-shirts in its online store, after former client Morrissey dished out the same to his band at a recent gig as part of his feud with the label.

As previously reported, Harvest was meant to be Morrissey's ally on his most recent album release, 'World Peace Is None of Your Business', but the partnership all fell apart just as the record was being unleashed. It being a licensing deal, Moz stormed off with the long-player in hand, and has since been bad mouthing the Universal subsidiary to anyone who'll listen, including via the medium of backing band t-shirt.

We'd never take sides in a Moz v Label dispute, we're simply not that brave, but responding by embracing the diss and turning it into a t-shirt line is inspired. We'll take nine please. Order yours from the Harvest store - they're available in red or black.

ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletin and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
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Aly reports on artist news, coordinates the festival, gig and release round up columns, and contributes to the CMU Approved column. She also writes for CMU's sister title ThisWeek London.
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