TODAY'S TOP STORY: Three financial backers of the disastrous Fyre Festival are trying to have the company behind the abandoned Bahamas music event pushed into involuntary bankruptcy. Good old fashioned chapter seven bankruptcy too, none of that chapter eleven restructuring nonsense... [READ MORE]
TODAY'S CMU APPROVED: Featuring two former members of The Laurel Collective - Bob Tollast and Olly Puglisi - with Tom Fisher - aka Action Pyramid - along for the ride too, Ilk released their debut single, 'Y U', last month. A precursor to their debut album of the same name - due out via Matthew Herbert's Accidental Records on 11 Aug - it is now joined by another song, 'Somer'. [READ MORE]
LATEST CMU PODCAST: CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including Kanye West falling out with Tidal just as Jay-Z releases his new album, AEG's very public spat with MSG and Live Nation, and Ed Sheeran quitting Twitter while planning an 8 Mile-style biopic. The CMU Podcast is sponsored by 7digital. [READ MORE]
LATEST CMU TRENDS: Rarely a week goes by in the music business news these days without at least one catalogue acquisition. But who - other than labels and publishers - is buying music rights, and why? Are there opportunities for individual artists and songwriters to do deals with professional investors? And how do you even value music rights? Ahead of a Music 4.5 event exploring all these topics, CMU Trends reviews the music rights market - past, present and future. [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Investors try to bankrupt Fyre Festival company
LEGAL Tom Watson urges Labour MEPs to back safe harbour reform
Gwen Stefani sued for encouraging fans to rush forward at gig
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Bucks launches new unit focused on 'worship music'
LIVE BUSINESS Live Nation takes controlling stake in Switzerland's Openair Frauenfeld
MEDIA Kiss Fresh goes national on DAB
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Robert Gambino dies
RELEASES Protomartyr announce truthful new album
ONE LINERS Sire, Music Venues Trust, Niall Horan, more
AND FINALLY... Jenner reps say Tupac t-shirt was legit, hit back at photographer lawsuit
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Investors try to bankrupt Fyre Festival company
Three financial backers of the disastrous Fyre Festival are trying to have the company behind the abandoned Bahamas music event pushed into involuntary bankruptcy. Good old fashioned chapter seven bankruptcy too, none of that chapter eleven restructuring nonsense.

The three investors who are seeking to bankrupt Fyre Festival LLC through the New York courts are John Nemeth, Raul Jimenez and Andrew Newman who together pumped about $530,000 into the whole Fyre shambles. It's not clear exactly what involvement the three plaintiffs had in the Fyre venture beyond the sum of money they provided.

As much previously reported, the Fyre Festival was billed as a luxury festival by its founders, Billy McFarland and Ja Rule, and the social media influencers they hired to sell the show.

However, poor planning and bad management meant that the Fyre company hadn't put in place the infrastructure required for even a very basic music festival, let alone the high end party experience it had promised. The whole thing was called off just as ticket holders started to arrive on the ill-prepared party island.

A flurry of lawsuits have since followed, filed by angry ticketholders, suppliers and investors against McFarland and Ja Rule personally, as well as Fyre Festival LLC and its parent company Fyre Media, which was also developing a talent booking app that the Bahamas shindig was meant to formally launch.

McFarland is also facing criminal charges for fraud in relation to allegations he misled investors and moneylenders about the financial situation of this companies. Prosecutors have alleged that he told two investors that Fyre Media had already done millions of dollars of business when it had, in fact, generated revenues under $60,000. It's also claimed that he altered financial documents in a bid to woo investment.

It's not entirely clear what assets, if any, the Fyre companies still possess - we just know that an awful lot of money was pumped into the operation.

One source speaking to Law 360 says that the bankruptcy proceedings launched by Nemeth, Jimenez and Newman are mainly about trying to force some clarity onto the company's affairs, to try to figure out where all the money went. If they find it, investors and creditors can then try to get at least some of their cash back.

Law 360 quotes said sources as follows: "The only things publicly known are what an FBI agent said in the indictment. Hopefully more will become known once the ball gets rolling, and we can eventually claw back some money and distribute it to the creditors".

Back in the Bahamas, officials continue to distance themselves from the whole Fyre fracas. As previously reported, back in May the Chief Councillor of the island that hosted the festival, Great Exuma, told local media that while his council did give the necessary permission for the Fyre Festival to go ahead, it was the Bahamas' Ministry Of Tourism which led on all the dealings and conversations with the event's management team.

Now Dionisio D'Aguilar, the new tourism minister for the Bahamas, appointed since the whole Fyre Festival debacle, has defended his department, saying that the ministry of tourism "is as much a victim in this as the attendees".

In a recent interview with Bahamas-based newspaper The Tribune, D'Aguilar said that, despite the tourism ministry offering support to the Fyre companies, they were excluded from the festival site in the run up to the event.

He said: "The organisers of the festival, according to our people, were very reluctant to give them access to the site. They were assured the organisers had it covered. It was only on the day people arrived that they had access to the site and saw that the things promised were not in place. The ministry then stepped into action to get those people out as quickly as possible, working at the airport".

Admitting that the high profile collapse of the Fyre event was "a PR nightmare for the Bahamas", he nevertheless defended officials at the tourism agency. "If anybody comes to the Bahamas and wants to stage something, the ministry puts forward its people to assist in getting all the requirements and permits in place for it to work", he said.

"They do this time and time again for many festivals and conferences down here. I don't think anybody realised the fall-out would have such an effect on the Bahamas. The ministry is as much a victim in this as the Bahamas is a victim in this, and as the attendees. I'd like to think the Bahamas is an unwitting victim".


Tom Watson urges Labour MEPs to back safe harbour reform
What's that, you want more safe harbour news? You can't get enough of the safe harbours? You'd prefer it if we only reported on safe harbours and stopped putting the whole Fyre Festival debacle in the Top Story slot. Well, Fyre Festival took place on the island of Great Exuma which, I am pretty sure, has a few safe harbours. Ha, got you on a technicality.

Anyway, the draft EU copyright directive still has some way to go before it becomes European law, meaning you can expect plenty more safe harbour waffling and value gap shrieking from the music industry and its friends in Westminster and Brussels for some time yet. Members of the European Parliament are focusing on this particular bit of legislation right now, hence the recent rise in safe harbour shouting.

You know the score by now. The music industry reckons that big bad YouTube is exploiting a loophole in copyright law, caused by these so called safe harbours, in order to force record companies, music publishers and collecting societies into deals that mean the Google video site pays way less to music rights owners that the good guys like Apple Music and Spotify. This creates, says the music business, the 'gap of value'. Which lazy people like you insist on calling the value gap.

With copyright law up for review in Europe, the music industry wants safe harbour rules rewritten so that platforms like YouTube are no longer protected. The tech sector would like safe harbour rules rewritten so that platforms like YouTube are double protected. And so much wrangling is ongoing with how to word the section of the aforementioned copyright directive that talks about safe harbour.

There are European political types supporting both sides in this debate, but Tom Watson over at that there Labour Party is urging his side's MEPs to back the music industry on this one. And - in his role as shadow culture minister in the UK opposition - he has written to them all to say so.

Echoing much of what was in that letter Michael Dugher - a former shadow culture minister and now UK Music chief - sent to actual culture minister Matt Hancock last week, Watson writes that: "User-upload streaming services such as YouTube pay only a fraction of the royalties of other music services despite being the most popular source of music consumption by far. This significantly reduces the amount of money composers and performers receive for their creative endeavours from user-upload streaming platforms when compared with other services such as Spotify and Apple Music".

Noting the various committees in the European Parliament who are currently inputting on the copyright directive, Watson goes on: "I urge you to support amendments that improve the UK and European music industry's ability to tackle the 'value gap'. This important issue within the music industry is also part of a wider policy concern that big tech companies and social media platforms are not behaving in a responsible way towards creators and rights holders, and are abusing their market dominance"

Linking all this to another Google controversy in Europe, Watson adds: "We have seen just weeks ago in Google's refusal to accept any responsibility following their unprecedented anti-trust fine that they are not recognising their broader responsibilities to the industry and refuse to recognise their monopolistic tendencies. It is up to all of us, as parliamentarians, to try and make them realise their responsibilities and act on them".

Concluding, he says: "This is a unique opportunity to get the law right. It will ensure the music industry can continue to flourish, breaking new acts and bringing joy to millions of fans. It will also ensure the digital market can develop in a legitimate way".

Yeah, good luck with that.


Gwen Stefani sued for encouraging fans to rush forward at gig
An American woman is suing Gwen Stefani and Live Nation over an incident at a concert in North Carolina last year that left her with leg injuries.

According to a lawsuit filed last week, during a show at an open-air amphitheatre venue operated by Live Nation called the PNC Music Pavilion, Stefani told fans sitting in a lawn section at the back of the complex to move forward to a reserved seating area closer to the stage, declaring: "Just fill in anywhere you like!"

According to Billboard, legal papers submitted on behalf of fan Lisa Stricklin claim: "This announcement created a stampede rush of patrons from the lawn seating area through the reserved seating area and toward the front of the performance stage, with people knocking over and breaching the security barricades and other security matter, jumping over seats in the reserved seating area, and pouring in through the aisles separating the various sections of the reserved seating area".

During this rush for seats nearer the stage, the lawsuit says, Stricklin "was trampled by the rush of patrons and [pushed] into a wall along the reserved seating area, causing her severe physical injuries".

Stricklin is seeking $75,000 in damages from both Live Nation and Stefani.


Bucks launches new unit focused on 'worship music'
Music publisher Bucks Music Group has announced the launch of a new company focused on 'worship music' called Gloworks. It is working with Martin Smith - formerly of British Christian rock band Delirious? - on the new venture. He is also its first signing.

Says Smith: "I'm really happy to be partnering with Bucks for the launch of Gloworks. There are some very talented songwriters in the Christian music scene and our hope is that together we can support those writers and their songs. With the focus and community of Gloworks plugged into Bucks, we'll be able to develop this music and perhaps see it reach a new audience"

Talking about the genre his new business is set to service, Bucks Music Group MD Simon Platz remarks: "Worship music is an incredibly vibrant market that doesn't often get the recognition it deserves. Regardless of the subject matter, there's a vast number of artists working in the genre who are simply excellent songwriters. We want to offer them the fair, flexible, commercial publishing deals that artists these days have come to expect".

On the new venture and his business partner in it, Platz adds: "With Martin's expertise and our resources, we can boost their careers within the worship genre, but we also want to help them explore opportunities across the wider music business. Bucks has decades of experience across all genres and, whether it's through our sync services or creative A&R, song placement and co-writing opportunities, we feel we can help many of them crossover and flourish in the mainstream market as well - just as Martin has done".


Live Nation takes controlling stake in Switzerland's Openair Frauenfeld
Continuing in its seemingly unstoppable bid to own every fucking music festival in the world - it'll be trying to buy the remnants of the Fyre Festival next - Live Nation has taken a majority stake in Switzerland's Openair Frauenfeld.

This event began life as the rock and pop orientated Out In The Green in 1985, before relaunching in its current guise, which is more urban music focused, in the mid-2000s. All your tip top rappers and urban music peddlers have played there since, with The Weeknd, Usher and Nas headlining the latest edition last week.

Confirming that it is now the majority shareholder in the Swiss fest, Live Nation's Andre Lieberberg said: "We are incredibly proud and excited to partner with Openair Frauenfeld, which sees us add one of the world's finest festival brands to our portfolio. The partnership will give media and our brand partners a unique platform for the Swiss and German speaking markets. We look forward to working with First Event AG to build and grow this unique festival brand, offering an unparalleled festival experience to thousands of fans".

First Event AG promotes Openair Frauenfeld. Did I mention that? Well, it does. Look, here is the company's Chair and the founder of Openair Frauenfeld, Wolfgang Sahli, with the last word: "We believe joining forces with the world's leading live entertainment company, Live Nation, has given us a strong and innovative partner with which to continue to grow and evolve Openair Frauenfeld. We are truly looking forward to our partnership".


Kiss Fresh goes national on DAB
Kiss FM offshoot Kiss Fresh has gone national on the DAB digital radio network, appearing on the Digital One multiplex yesterday. The station - which promises more new dance and urban tracks and artists than its parent channel - has been available on the digital network in parts of the UK, as well as online and via the Freeview platform, for a few years now, but yesterday's move means it is now available via DAB across the country.

To celebrate, the Bauer-owned station is promising even more new music in its playlist, especially in the evenings. Radio Today quotes Bauer's Andy Roberts as saying: "We're in a new golden era of urban music and there's a big opportunity now to grab more audiences who just want a purer offer than what the main Kiss can cater for".

Also citing Kiss's old school dance tunes station Kisstory, Roberts said that evolving Kiss Fresh was "a case of us super targeting communities of audiences that want specific types of music without other types of songs diluting their listening. Like we've seen with Kisstory".


Robert Gambino dies
Tour and production manager Robert Gambino died last month, his family has confirmed. He was 63.

Beginning his career in the 1970s, Gambino worked with a variety of artists over his career, including Michael Jackson, Prince, The Specials, UB40 and Wet Wet Wet. He also worked as Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi's assistant and managed Musical Youth.

More recently he worked as Production Manager at Sheffield International Venues - which operates Sheffield Arena and Sheffield City Hall, among other venues - and assisted a number of local festivals.

In a statement, Gambino's family told CMU: "Robert had two big loves in his life: his family and music. Very often the two overlapped over the last 35 years, as not only have his wife and sons worked in the industry but Robert was also so popular and well-respected that many of his colleagues became great friends".

"We have been overwhelmed by the huge number of touching and supportive messages that we have received from so many of Robert's friends in the industry around the world since he passed unexpectedly two weeks ago and would like to thank everyone for their wishes".

They continued: "Robert commanded respect from all who met him and also had the biggest heart. His presence and passion will live on forever in the soul music that he listened to and the many memories that he made with his family, industry colleagues and friends".

Gambino is survived by his wife and three sons. His funeral will take place today at Redditch Crematorium.


Approved: Ilk
Featuring two former members of The Laurel Collective - Bob Tollast and Olly Puglisi - with Tom Fisher - aka Action Pyramid - along for the ride too, Ilk released their debut single, 'Y U', last month.

A precursor to their debut album of the same name - due out via Matthew Herbert's Accidental Records on 11 Aug - it is now joined by another song, 'Somer'.

The band began creating experimental music using found sounds several years ago, and over time gravitated to something less abstract. Puglisi explains: "We wanted to make something more accessible and intrinsically human, so we began weaving Bob's vocals into more traditional pop song structures".

The band will play an album launch show at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington on 16 Aug. They also have a number of other dates lined up over the summer.

Watch the video for 'Somer' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

Protomartyr announce truthful new album
Protomartyr have announced that they will release their latest album, 'Relatives In Descent', on 29 Sep, their first for Domino.

The album's songs are all themed around the nature of truth, as vocalist Joe Casey explains: "I used to think that truth was something that existed, that there were certain shared truths, like beauty. Now that's being eroded. People have never been more skeptical, and there's no shared reality. Maybe there never was".

The first song to be released from the album is 'A Private Understanding'. Watch the video here.

The band will also be touring the UK and Ireland in November. Here are the dates:

12 Nov: Brighton, The Haunt
14 Nov: London, Tufnell Park Dome
15 Nov: Manchester, Deaf Institute
16 Nov: Newcastle, The Cluny
17 Nov: Glasgow, CCA
18 Nov: Dublin, Whelan's
19 Nov: Leeds, Brudenell Social Club


Sire, Music Venue Trust, Niall Horan, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Rani Hancock has been named President of Warner Music's Sire Records, as the label celebrates its 50th anniversary. Founder Seymour Stein, who remains chair of the company, says: "Given Rani's exceptional track record and tremendous enthusiasm, I am convinced she is the person to build both the Sire roster and brand, and help take the company into the future".

• The Music Venue Trust and Live Nation's Ticketweb have launched a new ticketing website for grassroots venues, called Grassroots Venues Tickets. "We wanted to work with a partner to develop a grassroots ticket that genuinely enables fans to know that what they are buying is directly supporting the venues they love that really need help", says MVT CEO Mark Davyd.

• There's going to be a musical about the 90s Seattle grunge scene. It will almost certainly be terrible.

• AlunaGeorge have released two new tracks, 'Turn Up The Love' and 'Last Kiss'.

• Astrid S has released the video for new single 'Such A Boy'.

• Dälek will release a new album, 'Endangered Philosophies', on 1 Sep. The experimental hip hop trio will also play two UK shows at Colchester Arts Centre on 14 Nov and The Underworld in Camden on 16 Nov. From the album, here's 'Echoes Of...'

• One Direction's Niall Horan has announced low-key (for him) shows at Dublin's Olympia Theatre on 29 Aug and London's Shepherds Bush Empire on 31 Aug. Tickets go on sale on Friday.

• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.


Jenner reps say Tupac t-shirt was legit, hit back at photographer lawsuit
Hey, so here's a story that has far more twists than you'd ever have expected. A rep for Kylie and Kendall Jenner's Kendall + Kylie brand has hit out at a lawsuit launched against the sisters over a run of t-shirts that featured classic rock and hip hop imagery. The company behind the brand now say that the garments were fully licensed, because they simply printed over some old stock.

This has already got confusing, hasn't it? Let's have a recap! The Jenners started selling a line of t-shirts at $125 each recently. The shirts all featured some sort of Jenner-related image over the top of photos of artists such as The Doors, Notorious BIG, Kiss, Ozzy Osbourne and Tupac Shakur.

There was much criticism of the venture, then cease and desist letters went out from representatives of The Doors and Notorious BIG. The t-shirts were withdrawn from sale and the Jenners issued an apology, saying that the designs "were not well thought out".

It then emerged last week that photographer Mike Miller had gone legal over the use of one of his images of Tupac Shakur on one of the t-shirts. His legal claim complained that the Jenners "at no times notified Miller that they intended to exploit his photography, let alone obtained his authorisation".

Now Canada Inc, the company actually behind the manufacture of the garments, has hit back, saying that everything about the t-shirts was above board. The items involved were all vintage music t-shirts, it said. The imagery obscured by the Jenner branding was already on the shirts, so no new copies of those images had been made, meaning there was no need to clear the use of any artistic copyrights.

"The allegations made are completely false and the lawsuit is baseless", says the company, in a statement to People. "Canada Inc, the licensee manufacturer of the K + K brand, purchased a very small quantity of vintage t-shirts with performer images already on them. Only two Tupac t-shirts were sold before being pulled from distribution. Canada Inc did not copy anyone's image, remove any copyright notice from any image, or attempt to exploit Mr Miller's claimed right of publicity. There has been no infringement or violation of anyone's rights".

The fact that old stock was modified to create the t-shirts put up for sale by the Jenners does complicate things from a copyright law perspective. And that's before you start asking whether the designs might be covered by fair use. In Europe, the reworking of Miller's photo might also arguably infringe his moral rights, but that's not so relevant Stateside.

Anyway, Miller has not yet responded to the statement.


ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
CHRIS COOKE | MD & Business Editor
Chris provides music business coverage and analysis. Chris also leads the CMU Insights training and consultancy business and education programme CMU:DIY, and heads up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
Email chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and advising on CMU Insights training courses and events.
Email sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of 3CM UnLimited she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
Email caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
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