TODAY'S TOP STORY: Kesha has had another bid to cut herself free from various contracts with producer Dr Luke rejected by a New York appeals court... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Kesha has contract appeal rejected again
LEGAL YouTube deletes music videos over London violence fears
Frank Ocean countersued over songwriting credits dispute
Will Young given driving ban
DEALS Sony/ATV extends deal with Two Inch Punch
LIVE BUSINESS Digital minister says don't use Viagogo as ticket resale site fails to comply with regulator demands
ARTIST NEWS SZA says her "voice is permanently injured"
Whitney Houston estate "extremely disappointed" by Pusha T album cover, as rapper revives Drake beef
ONE LINERS Gorillaz, Cardi B, Kylie Minogue, more
AND FINALLY... Jimmy Page delays Robbie Williams having a nice swim
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Kesha has contract appeal rejected again
Kesha has had another bid to cut herself free from various contracts with producer Dr Luke rejected by a New York appeals court.

The long-running legal dispute between the two former collaborators has many layers and has involved litigation in three different US states. Kesha accuses Dr Luke of drugging and raping her, while he says she is defaming him in an attempt to get out of contracts with a number of his companies.

Throughout the proceedings, she has made several attempts to be released - either permanently or temporarily - from her obligations to the producer. She argues that she is unable to properly further her career while still bound to these contracts and locked into this legal battle.

Although certain concessions have been made in regard to the various agreements, in particular allowing her to work with other producers, she is still unhappy that the man she says abused her continues to gain financially from her work.

Last March, another attempt to be released from her contracts was rejected. That particular lawsuit was submitted after negotiations between the two sides collapsed. It accused Luke's label Kemosabe of breach of contract and withholding royalties.

Kesha's lawyers also attempted to invoke California's 'seven year rule' on personal services contracts. Many artists have used this bit of employment law - which allows personal services contracts entered into in California to be ended after seven years - to try to extract themselves from record deals, with varying degrees of success.

In Kesha's case, her lawyers argued that while her contracts were written in New York, Dr Luke's Kemosabe Records is based in LA and so should be bound by Californian employment law. But the court rejected that argument on the grounds that it was not explicitly stated when the contracts were originally written.

An updated legal claim was then submitted by the singer's lawyers in November, and that now has also been rejected. The court said of Kesha's most recent filing that her "proposed amendments are palpably insufficient and devoid of merit".

The new ruling includes a number of points raised by previous courts, including the lack of documentation that proves Kesha is unable to perform while under contract to Kemosabe. Indeed, she has released a new album and resumed touring since her last claim was rejected.

"Her counterclaim seeking declaratory relief terminating the agreements on the ground of impossibility and impracticability of performance was speculative", says the ruling. "[It was] contradicted by her own allegations that she had continued performing under the agreements and, as to at least one of the agreements, the impossibility was not produced by an unanticipated event that could not have been foreseen or guarded against".

The court also upheld the previous ruling rejecting the argument that California's seven year rule should apply. In conclusion, it said: "We have considered Kesha's remaining arguments, ... and find them unavailing".

If Kesha and her legal team decide not to pursue a further appeal on this part of the case, then all that will remain for court consideration is Dr Luke's defamation claim.


YouTube deletes music videos over London violence fears
YouTube has confirmed that it has removed around 30 "violent" music videos from its platform at the request of London's Metropolitan Police. This follows accusations that rappers, particularly within the UK drill genre, are contributing to rising knife crime in the capital

According to The Guardian, police have requested that between 50 and 60 videos be deleted over the last two years, with Google complying in more than half of cases.

"We have developed policies specifically to help tackle videos related to knife crime in the UK and are continuing to work constructively with experts on this issue", says a YouTube spokesperson. "We work with the Metropolitan Police, the mayor's office for policing and crime, the Home Office and community groups to understand this issue and ensure we are able to take action on gang-related content that infringe our community guidelines or break the law".

They continue: "We have a dedicated process for the police to flag videos directly to our teams because we often need specialist context from law enforcement to identify real-life threats. Along with others in the UK, we share the deep concern about this issue and do not want our platform used to incite violence".

Certain genres of music have been demonised by some as incidents of violence in London have increased in the last year. Although others insist that wider social issues, exacerbated in large part by government policy over the last decade, are the actual root of the problem.


Frank Ocean countersued over songwriting credits dispute
Producer Om'Mas Keith has filed a countersuit against Frank Ocean in an ongoing dispute over what involvement he did or didn't have with the singer's 'Blonde' album.

Ocean went legal earlier this year, after Keith registered himself as a co-writer on a number of 'Blonde' tracks via the ASCAP database. Keith - who worked on Ocean's previous album, 'Channel Orange' - is not credited in the liner notes for 'the 2016 record, and Ocean's lawsuit says that he did not "contribute any lyrics, melodies, or music that would give rise to any claim of authorship".

In new legal papers, obtained by The Blast, Keith demands that Ocean's lawsuit be dismissed, saying that he produced and co-wrote the majority of the songs on 'Blonde'. He says that he accepted a flat fee for his work on 'Channel Orange', but made it clear to Ocean that he would not accept the same deal for 'Blonde'. However, no specific deal was actually agreed before the album was released.

Keith says that Ocean is causing him irreparable harm by denying his involvement in 'Blonde'. As well as asking that Ocean's lawsuit be dismissed, he is demanding a court order stating that he is indeed the co-writer of the tracks he claims to have contributed to, as well as unspecified damages and a cut of royalties from the 'Blonde' album.


Will Young given driving ban
Will Young has been banned from driving after being found guilty of driving without due care. The conviction relates to an incident earlier this year, in which the musician crashed into a parked car in a layby.

The court heard that Young had mistaken a bollard for the central reservation while driving in poor conditions near Earlston in Scotland in January. As he swerved into the layby, the owner of the parked car had to jump out of the way to avoid being struck.

"I understand it's been a momentary lapse in concentration", says Sheriff J Euan Edment, overseeing the case at Jedburgh Sheriff Court. "To your credit you pled guilty from the outset. You took the man into your car [and] dealt with [the situation] in a very honourable and responsible manner".

Young was given five points on his driving licence, in addition to eleven he already had. More then twelve points on a licence results in automatic disqualification. He was banned from driving for six months. He was also fined £600.


Sony/ATV extends deal with Two Inch Punch
Sony/ATV has extended its worldwide publishing agreement with producer and songwriter Ben Ash, aka Two Inch Punch. Ash is thought to have jerked his fist very slightly into the air at the news.

"We are THRILLED to continue this relationship with such a hugely talented producer and songwriter", said Sony/ATV UK MD Guy Moot.

UK Head Of A&R David Ventura added: "We could not be happier! Working with Ben for the last few years has been tremendously inspiring. He is without a doubt one of the hottest writer-producers in the country and his track record speaks for itself".

Though, just in case that track record didn't actually do enough speaking for itself, Ventura had a little more to say. He continued: "Alongside his work with established international artists, Ben has a gift for recognising and developing emerging songwriter talent, which is incredible. On behalf of everyone here in the UK and in the US, we are over the moon to continue our adventure with Ben and his team".

Ash himself delivered his quote as a poem: "I really appreciate Sony/ATV having faith in me again. I've always had a great relationship with the UK team. More recently, the LA team have been so amazing too. I really appreciate them all and I hope I can reward their faith. So excited for the next couple of years!"

Come on, that didn't even rhyme! Oh well. Ash, should you be unaware, has worked with artists including Rag N Bone Man, Jake Bugg, Jessie Ware and Years & Years.


Digital minister says don't use Viagogo as ticket resale site fails to comply with regulator demands
The UK's Digital Minister Margot James has advised consumers against buying tickets from Viagogo - the ticketing sector's undisputed king of misinformation and anti-consumer practices - as the Advertising Standards Authority confirmed that the champion rule breaker had again broken the rules.

The ASA made demands of all four of the big secondary ticketing sites - StubHub, Get Me In, Seatwave and Viagogo - back in March. In particular, it ordered that the four sites start declaring the total cost of tickets upfront, rather than adding delivery charges, VAT and the sizable booking fees charged by the secondary ticketing companies at the end of the transaction. All but Viagogo have now complied.

The deadline for complying with the ASA's orders was last weekend, which also included some specific demands of Viagogo in relation to its confusing use of terms like "official" and "100% guarantee". Sellers on the Viagogo platform are in no way official, of course, and with an increasing number of artists now cancelling touted tickets, there is no guarantee that tickets bought on the site will actually get the buyer access to a show.

Needless to say, Viagogo has ignored all of the ASA's demands, in much the same way it's ignored the demands of an assortment of other regulators. Hence Digital Minister Margot James telling the BBC that, if consumers felt the need to use resale sites to access tickets to in-demand shows, "don't choose Viagogo - they are the worst".

The ASA says that Viagogo had agreed to make all the extra fees it charges consumers "sufficiently clear" by 26 May, but that the company had predictably failed to do so. It remains to be seen what sanctions the ad industry regulator now enforces.

Ad industry sanctions are a problem for the rogue company. Viagogo continues to trick less savvy consumers into buying tickets from the touts on its site - even when tickets are still available from primary sellers - by spending big bucks on Google advertising.

Those ads mean that the Viagogo site often appears at the top of Google searches for tickets to in-demand shows. Google itself has made some demands of secondary ticketing sites that advertise on its platform, which resulted in Viagogo actually declaring that it is a "secondary marketplace for tickets" on its home page.

However, for most consumers, that's a meaningless statement, and that line is immediately followed by "all tickets are fully protected by our guarantee". What Viagogo means there is that (very patient) buyers can get a refund if sellers do not provide valid tickets. Although it very much implies guaranteed access to shows, when that is not the case at all.

Anti ticket touting campaigners hope that, with yet more rules now ignored by Viagogo, Google will actually stop taking the dodgy outfit's money, depriving the ticketing platform of top spot placings on the all important search engine.

In related news, Ed Sheeran's promoters have been defending his decision to cancel touted tickets to his upcoming run of stadium shows, he being the latest high profile artist to try and keep tickets off the tout markets.

Stuart Galbraith of Kilimanjaro Live confirmed to the Beeb that by pledging to cancel touted tickets he had managed to persuade StubHub, Get Me In and Seatwave to keep tickets to Sheeran's shows off their platforms. But obviously Viagogo didn't play ball.

"The only agency which listed against our wishes and ignored all our correspondence was Viagogo", he confirmed. Meanwhile, of the wider anti-touting strategy, which has been criticised by some fans, Galbraith added: "We're achieving exactly what Ed wanted, which is 'we want you to come in and pay this [fixed] price'".

Anti-tout strategies of this kind do create both logistical and PR challenges for artists and their promoters, of course. The hope, however, is that artist-led initiatives like this will finally get the word out to the masses that - for some tours at least - if you buy your ticket via Viagogo, you won't get to gogo to any gig.


Approved: Benin City
Benin City return with their new album, 'Last Night', on 15 Jun. Over eleven tracks, multi-instrumentalist Tom Leaper and vocalists Joshua Idehen and Shanaz Dorsett explore, celebrate and memorialise London's nightlife. In particular they focus on how that nightlife, and the city as a whole, is changing, through the gradual disappearance of numerous venues.

"London nightlife has been our way out, our release, our daily escape", says Idehen. "We've been clubbers, ravers, barmen, part / full-time drinkers. We've served cocktails and downed shots. We've found ourselves on dance-floors and lost our dinners on night busses. We've laughed, we've cried, we've engaged in dumb drunken squabbles and we've found ourselves in strangers' houses. We've danced to songs we didn't know the name of".

He continues: "We made landmarks out of hidden corners of London: Passing Clouds, Ghetto, Trash Palace, Plastic People, Vibe Bar, Cable, Crucifix Lane. Those places, and the stories they held are gone for good as London becomes pricier and ever more grey. On this album are some of those stories: this is an ode to London's nightlife".

The band play an album launch show at King's Place in London on 8 Jun. Now, here's the video for latest single, 'Bus'.

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

SZA says her "voice is permanently injured"
SZA has said that she has suffered permanent damage to her vocal cords. She performed live last night for the first time since cancelling a number of performances last week.

The singer dropped out of the TDE Championship Tour due to swollen vocal cords. Her manager Anthony Tiffith had said that that decision was made in order to "avoid permanent damage".

She added in her own statement: "I've been touring for eleven months. This didn't happen overnight. I've been troubleshooting for a while now. Usually steroids and pushing through help. They don't this time. I'm not sick, my voice just won't fucking work. If I don't pause now I'll be forced to pause permanently".

Last night she returned to the tour to perform at Madison Square Garden in New York. However, after the show she said in a series of since deleted tweets: "My voice is permanently injured. Tonight was the test. That settles that. I just wanna be left alone, my priorities are fucked up. They've been fucked up. I need space, goodbye".


Whitney Houston estate "extremely disappointed" by Pusha T album cover, as rapper revives Drake beef
The Whitney Houston estate has said that it is "extremely disappointed" by Kanye West's decision to use a photograph of the late singer's drug-strewn bathroom as the artwork for the new Pusha T album put out by his label, 'Daytona'.

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, the estate said: "Even in Whitney's death, we see that no one is exempt from the harsh realities of the world".

The photograph was reportedly taken by a Houston family member in 2006 and subsequently appeared on the cover of the National Enquirer after her death in 2012 Pusha T says that West paid $85,000 to license the photo after a last minute artwork change.

"[West] changed my artwork last night at 1am", Pusha T told radio host Angie Martinez in an interview ahead of the album release last week. "He wasn't feeling it. The [original] artwork was pictures that we all agreed on. He picked the photographer, I took these pictures, I was like, 'Yo, these are fresh'. I picked all of these pictures out, he had a little edit to it, how he wanted the actual grading of the picture to look. Picked the picture, great, we look, boom, boom, boom, it's good".

He went on: "At 1am, my phone rings. No caller ID. 'Hey, yeah, I think we should change the artwork'. And, 'I like this other artwork. And this other artwork is 85 grand'. I said, 'Hey, I don't want to pay for that, and I wasn't even going to ask you to pay for that. We picked what we picked, it's here, it's ready'. [He said,] 'No, this is what people need to see to go along with this music. Imma pay for that'. I say, 'You my man! You my man!' I love it, I actually do love it. [But] I absolutely did not want to pay for it".

Meanwhile, Pusha T has been busying himself trying to get a rise out of Drake. A track on 'Daytona', called 'Infrared', includes lines referencing the ghostwriting controversy that blew up around Drake a couple of years ago.

In an interview with Vulture, Pusha T said that he was forced to respond to Drake after his rival "questioned my authenticity" on his track 'Two Birds, One Stone'. He added that he plans to "deal in truths all summer long".

He stayed true to his word by releasing a new track, 'The Story Of Adidon', yesterday, in which he claims that Drake has a secret son he refuses to acknowledge because the mother is a porn star. The artwork for the track is a controversial photo of Drake made up in blackface and wearing a Jim Crow t-shirt.

Photographer David Lewes has said that the 2008 photograph was Drake's idea, and that it was "a strong statement made by a black man about the fucked up culture he is living in".


Gorillaz, Cardi B, Kylie Minogue, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Get a daily news summary, our latest job ads and more via our Messenger bot. Click here to get started.

• Jamie Hewlett's wife Emma de Caunes has seemingly revealed via an Instagram story that the next Gorillaz album will be out on 29 Jun.

• Cardi B has released the video for 'I Like It', featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin.

• Following her 50th birthday earlier this week, Kylie Minogue has released the video for 'Golden', the title track of her latest album.

• Guns N Roses have released the previously unreleased video for 'It's So Easy', which will feature in the upcoming 30th anniversary edition of 'Appetite For Destruction'.

• Rudimental have announced that they will release their third album, 'Toast To Our Differences', on 7 Sep. Here's the title track.

• Dan Le Sac has released a new album, the soundtrack to video game 'Quarantine Circular'. "As a musician I've spent years writing music that helps and enhances stories people like Scroobius Pip want to tell", he says. "Creating a soundtrack is a natural extension to that".

• GJan is back with new track 'Confidence'. "I often lack confidence myself, so singing these lyrics out loud and making a record out of it helped me a lot", she says. "I really hope that people who feel the same way will be encouraged by this song".

• Morrissey has announced more UK shows for July, in addition to two already on sale dates in Manchester. Tickets for Edinburgh, Portsmouth and Reading go on sale on Friday.

• Tirzah will headline the ICA in London on 11 Jul. Here's her new track, 'Gladly'.

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


Jimmy Page delays Robbie Williams having a nice swim
The ongoing battle between West London neighbours Jimmy Page and Robbie Williams continues. The Led Zeppelin guitarist has now successfully pushed back a decision on plans for the former Take That star to build a swimming pool.

Page said yesterday that he was "very pleased" that Kensington & Chelsea London Borough Council had agreed to defer their planning decision on Williams' proposed new pool. Councillors will use the delay to seek legal assurances on the vibration levels and ground movement likely to occur when the pool is constructed, as well as considering placing restrictions on the work, such as only allowing hand tools to be used.

"I'm really pleased at the outcome in so much that the council showed so much consideration to [my property] Tower House", Page said after the meeting, according to The Guardian. "There were many things that were said that I found really encouraging. I have been the custodian of the house and on my watch I feel that I have got to do everything with all these sorts of haphazard things ... that really it's my duty while it's my watch.

The two musicians have been locked in a dispute since Williams bought his Kensington home - formerly owned by film director Michael Winner - five years ago. Williams has attempted to make various modifications to the building, which Page has attempted to block over fears that vibrations from building work will be damaging to his Grade I listed mansion, the aforementioned Tower House, next door.

Williams was eventually granted permission to carry out renovation work in 2015, despite Page's objections, although various restrictions were placed on the construction work and griping between the two music stars continued.


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.
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