TODAY'S TOP STORY: Currently awaiting sentencing on charges of fraud, Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland is facing new charges relating to an alleged ticketing scam. The new allegations nothing to do with his doomed luxury festival in the Bahamas, except that the alleged scam used that event's database of rich kids. It also occurred after the collapse of the Fyre event... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland arrested on new fraud charges
LEGAL Californian court allows class action over StubHub fees to progress
LABELS & PUBLISHERS CISAC responds to latest call for action against Spanish collecting society
LIVE BUSINESS Haim fired agent over festival gender pay gap
MEDIA Bryan Singer to be credited as director of Freddie Mercury biopic
ARTIST NEWS Robbie Williams criticised over World Cup performance
Thirty Seconds To Mars guitarist Tomo Miličević departs band
RELEASES New Villagers album out in September
GIGS & FESTIVALS Parlophone, Death Cab For Cutie, Isis, more
AND FINALLY... Moby to sell of his vinyl collection for charity
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Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland arrested on new fraud charges
Currently awaiting sentencing on charges of fraud, Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland is facing new charges relating to an alleged ticketing scam. The new allegations nothing to do with his doomed luxury festival in the Bahamas, except that the alleged scam used that event's database of rich kids. It also occurred after the collapse of the Fyre event.

McFarland was arrested yesterday on new charges of wire fraud and money laundering. In a court submission, the US Department Of Justice accuses him of "conducting a sham ticket scheme in which he purported to sell fraudulent tickets to exclusive fashion, music, and sporting events through NYC VIP Access, a company controlled by the defendant, and also caused the fraud proceeds to be sent to others' financial accounts in an effort to conceal his ownership and control of the funds".

In March this year, McFarland pleaded guilty to two charges of wire fraud, relating to the funding of the disastrous Fyre Festival and its associated businesses. He reached a plea deal, in which prosecutors agreed to recommend a prison sentence of eight to ten years, rather than the 40 he potentially faces under US law.

The actual sentencing was due to take place next week, although the US government has now requested that this be postponed in light of the new charges. It has also requested a hearing to decide whether or not to revoke his bail in the meantime.

McFarland's lawyer Randall Jackson argued that his client's bail should remain in place, as he had fully co-operated since he learned that FBI officers intended to arrest him on these new charges. He added that they "vigorously contest what is in this complaint", claiming that McFarland is being framed by a former colleague.

According to the Associated Press, Assistant US Attorney Kristy Greenberg outlined the specifics of the alleged ticket scam. It's claimed that McFarland conned at least fifteen people out of more than $100,000 through the scheme. Using the list of Fyre Festival ticket buyers, he allegedly sold non-existent tickets to the Met Gala, Burning Man, Coachella, the Grammy Awards, the Super Bowl and more.

"The weight of the evidence here is quite strong", she said. "He targeted the same victims who tried to attend his Fyre Festival".

Details of the alleged scam were summarised by Vice hours before McFarland's arrest yesterday. "Since December, onetime subscribers to email lists created by McFarland have been hit with offers from a variety of companies sharing a familiar theme: access to the billionaire lifestyle on a millennial budget", the article states.

One such recipient of these emails, Seth Crossno, said: "I just laugh when I get these offers. The people sending them should realise by now that they're just going to end up in the news as, 'here's another scam for Fyre Festival attendees'".

Fyre Festival, of course, was the music event due to take place on an island in the Bahamas in April and May last year. Marketed as a super luxurious experience, the festival collapsed just as people were arriving, as it became clear management hadn't put in place the infrastructure for even a basic event, let alone the luxury set-up that had been promised.

Prosecutors said that McFarland took over $26 million from 80 investors in relation to the failed Fyre venture. He also provided false information to a ticketing company, convincing it to hand over $2 million for a block of advance tickets for future editions of the event. That deal was done just days before the first edition of the doomed festival was due to take place.

The festival was co-founded by McFarland and rapper Ja Rule, who were also collaborating on a talent-booking app under the Fyre brand, which the abandoned island adventure was designed to promote. Since the event's collapse, the Fyre companies and their founders have been on the receiving end of a stack of lawsuits from disgruntled ticket-buyers, suppliers and investors, in addition to McFarland's fraud charges.

Adding to that mounting pile of litigation, yesterday a New York court overseeing the Fyre company's bankruptcy allowed one of the festival's investors - EHL Funding LLC - to proceed with a $3 million claim against McFarland and his former business.


Californian court allows class action over StubHub fees to progress
A class action case against StubHub, eBay's ticket touting platform, has been allowed to proceed by a US court. It relates to the practice of adding substantial fees at the end of the ticket buying process.

Much attention in the ticket touting domain of late has been focused on champion rule breaker and unapologetic consumer confuser Viagogo. So much so, you might have forgotten that the anti-tout brigade also have issues with the other secondary ticketing sites. Even if they have generally complied with the rules in the UK.

This US case centres on a frequently raised issue that is actually addressed by the UK touting rules that Viagogo has been trying its best to ignore, but which StubHub is now complying with over here.

That is the common practice of secondary ticketing sites adding their substantial fees at the end of the transaction process. This means that tickets are initially advertised at a much lower cost than that which the buyer will actually have to pay.

In California a class action has been filed arguing that this practice violates state law. The litigation, led by plaintiff Susan Wang, cites a relatively recent case involving retailer Banana Republic, in which it was alleged that retailer broke unfair competition and false advertising laws through their use of signage promoting a sale in their stores.

Customers were only told at the checkout that the sale didn't apply to all items, by which point said customers said they felt compelled to go through with the purchase, either out of embarrassment or because they had now gone through the hassle of queuing up to pay.

StubHub argued that the precedent set in that case didn't apply to the way it lists ticket prices, because the circumstances were sufficiently different. Those being that it's an online operation and it never specifically promised users a bargain. On that basis, the eBay company wanted the case thrown out.

However, a judge on Monday ruled that the case should proceed. Although he added that, while he felt the legal framework provided by the Banana Republic case was sufficient for Wang's case to cross the first hurdle, "it may not get her past any other hurdle". And with that in mind, he told StubHub's legal rep that he should re-present the arguments made at this stage once again further down the line.

That said, the judge gave short shrift to StubHub's argument that its terms told Wang that there may be additional fees on her ticket purchase. According to Law 360, he mused that it would be easy for StubHub to list its fees upfront, and that the eBay company was basically arguing that it should "get off scot-free because somewhere in what I imagine to be a prolix document, it says it's going to charge fees".

So, for now at least, the case continues.


CISAC responds to latest call for action against Spanish collecting society
CISAC, the global body that brings together song right collecting societies from around the world, yesterday issued a substantial statement about the controversy surrounding the Spanish collective management organisation SGAE.

There have been various controversies around SGAE's operations in recent years. The most recent hoo haa has centred on the way TV royalties are distributed by the society, and an alleged scam that involved collusion between certain SGAE members and certain Spanish broadcasters.

That controversy has resulted in police raids and an investigation by the World Intellectual Property Organisation, not to mention conflict within the SGAE membership. A number of global music publishers have hit out at the society and its management, which resulted in some of those publishers being excluded from the organisation's board meetings.

Earlier this year the International Confederation Of Music Publishers called on CISAC to suspend SGAE's membership unless it addressed the TV royalty controversy.

Then earlier this week the ICMP issued a new statement expressing frustration that no progress had been made to deal with the issues, adding that its members were now considering "alternative licensing options" in Spain that would presumably cut the Spanish society out of the process.

In an update from its side yesterday, CISAC said: "Following a complaint against SGAE by ICMP in March, objecting to the Spanish society's exclusion from its board of three publishers, the CISAC board decided that SGAE should not participate in CISAC board meetings while an enquiry into the society was in progress".

CISAC concurrently commissioned a report into the controversy around SGAE, which was delivered to the global group's board at the end of last month. "Among the findings of the review is that SGAE's conduct has been non-compliant with many of CISAC's professional rules", the body confirmed yesterday.

Its statement went on: "Among [the report's] recommendations is the immediate re-instatement of the expelled publishers. It also recommended sanctions against SGAE should it fail to comply with the recommendations within an agreed timeframe. Discussions are now continuing on implementing the report's recommendations".

CISAC says that SGAE has agreed to work with the global body on reforming its governance rules. At the same time, SGAE has been reviewing all of its statutes as a result of new regulations on collective licensing that recently came into effect in Spain, new rules that basically finally incorporate the European Union's 2014 Collective Rights Management Directive into Spanish law.

However, at the same time SGAE rejects ICMP's specific complaints, citing recent court decisions in Spain as endorsing its position. It also rejects the conclusion of WIPO's review of its royalty distribution practices, again citing a Spanish court judgment.

CISAC concludes that it "is nevertheless determined to work with SGAE to resolve these issues as a matter of urgency and to ensure that SGAE's distribution rules are fully compliant with CISAC's professional rules".

Meanwhile, as the pressure continues to pile on SGAE, the Spanish government's Ministry Of Culture And Sports yesterday demanded that the society provide a copy of CISAC's report into its operations, details of the proposed reforms of its statutes, and information on what measures it is proposing to introduce to deal with ongoing TV royalties dispute. It has five days to provide that information.


Haim fired agent over festival gender pay gap
Sister trio Haim have said that they fired a former agent after they learned that a male act had been paid significantly more than them for performing at the same festival.

"We had been told that our fee was very low because you played at the festival in the hope you'd get played on the radio", Danielle Haim told Grazia. "We didn't think twice about it, but we later found out that someone was getting paid ten times more than us. And because of that we fired our agent".

"It's scary out there and it's fucked up", added Alana Haim. "It's fucked up not even to be paid half the same amount. But to be paid a tenth of that amount of money? It was insane".

Currently on tour - and hopefully being paid handsomely - Haim will perform at Olympia in Dublin tonight, before two shows at Alexandra Palace in London on Friday and Saturday.


Bryan Singer to be credited as director of Freddie Mercury biopic
Bryan Singer will be credited as the director of upcoming Freddie Mercury biopic 'Bohemian Rhapsody', despite not completing the project. The film was finished by Dexter Fletcher, after Singer left late last year.

Producer Graham King tells Variety: "Bryan Singer is the credited director of the film. Basically, Bryan had some personal issues going on. He wanted to hiatus the movie to deal with them, [but] the movie had to get finished. That was what it came down to. It wasn't about re-inventing the wheel. We needed someone who would have some creative freedom, but work inside a box".

Prior to Singer's departure in December there were rumours of tensions on set between him and lead actor Rami Malek. However, the director said that this was not the case, adding that his departure was the result of being denied a break from the production on health grounds, and also to care for "a gravely ill parent".

Dexter Fletcher returned to finish the film (having previously dropped out of the project in 2014), which is now set for release in the UK on 24 Oct.


Approved: VTR
Electronic duo VTR have released a video for the title track of their debut EP, 'Soul To Skin'. The record introduces the listener to a sensual and soulful sound that touches on pop and R&B. Vocalist Kristy Clark and producer Olsi Rama skilfully tie their talents around each other, as well as applying them to a haunting cover of Fleetwood Mac's 'Dreams'.

The song 'Soul To Skin' opens the EP and immediately sets the tone for their sound. "VTR's track had an intense and emotional effect on me", video director Savannah Setten tells Self-Titled. "As I listened, I began to envision a cult of captivating androgynous men and women - all in an intimate state of reflection, trapped in an unrecognisable space".

She continues: "I wanted the video to offer a space for people to apply their own projections of what the moments of touch, intimacy, and isolation between the men and women really meant to them personally, rather than dictating this to them with a linear narrative. It felt like the visuals could be a much more intimate, personal experience that way".

Watch the video for 'Soul To Skin' here.

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Robbie Williams criticised over World Cup performance
Some British politicians have criticised Robbie Williams' decision to perform at tomorrow's World Cup opening ceremony in Russia.

In a statement earlier this week announcing the performance at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, ahead of the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia, Williams said: "I'm so happy and excited to be going back to Russia for such a unique performance. I've done a lot in my career, and opening the FIFA World Cup to 80,000 football fans in the stadium and many millions all over the world is a boyhood dream. We'd like to invite football and music fans to party with us in Russia, in the stadium, or to tune in their TVs a little earlier for an unforgettable show".

Many did not share Williams' enthusiasm, however, because of current controversies around the Russian government, and its frosty relations with the UK. Labour MP Stephen Doughty told The Guardian: "It is surprising and disappointing to hear that such a great British artist as Robbie Williams, who has been an ally of human rights campaigns and the LGBT+ community, has apparently agreed to be paid by Russia and Fifa to sing at the World Cup opener".

He continued: "At a time when Russian jets are bombing civilians in Syria, the Russian state is poisoning people on the streets of Britain, as well as persecuting LGBT+ people in Chechnya and elsewhere - let alone attempting to undermine our democracies - I can only assume Robbie will be speaking out on these issues alongside his performance?"

Doughty's Labour colleague John Woodcock added: "We all want to support the England team but Robbie Williams is handing Vladimir Putin a PR coup by performing at the thuggish pariah's opening ceremony just months after Russia carried out a chemical weapons attack on English soil. I understand why the national team felt they should go and compete but no patriotic public figure should be giving a thumbs up to Russia by acting in this way. Even at this late stage, I really hope Robbie will reconsider and pull out".

Meanwhile, Bill Browder, who heads up the Global Magnitsky Justice campaign, which was set up in the wake of the death of Russian anti-corruption lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009, tweeted a message to Williams citing various controversies involving Russia. He stated: "There's lots of ways to make money, but selling your soul to a dictator shouldn't be one of them. Shame on you. This message is on behalf of Sergei Magnitsky, Boris Nemtsov, Anna Politkovskaya, Natalia Estimirova, victims of MH17, 10,000 dead Ukrainian soldiers".

In its article, The Guardian notes that this is not Williams' first lucrative performance in Russia. Earlier this year, he performed at a party to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Russian mobile phone company MegaFon, and he is alleged to have performed at a private party for Vladimir Putin's inner circle in 2014.


Thirty Seconds To Mars guitarist Tomo Miličević departs band
Thirty Seconds To Mars guitarist Tomo Miličević has announced that he is leaving the band, who are currently on tour in the US. In March, they said that he would be taking a temporary break to deal with "personal matters".

"I don't really know how to explain in a note how I could have come to a decision like this", he wrote in a statement. "But please believe me when I say that this is the best thing for me in my life and also for the band".

He added: "Please don't be sad or angry over this and most of all, please don't be divided by this. This is a good thing and will be good for everyone. Remember something important, this band brought all of us together, me included. So, even though I'm leaving the band, my spirit will never leave the family. You never know, maybe you'll see me sitting next to you on the lawn somewhere sometime just singing along".

As Miličević announced his departure, Thirty Seconds To Mars released the video for their latest single, 'Rescue Me'.


New Villagers album out in September
Villagers will release a new album, titled 'The Art Of Pretending To Swim', on 21 Sep. Confirmation of the new LP was accompanied by a new single, 'A Trick Of The Light', and its Bob Gallagher-directed video.

Says Villagers' main man Conor O'Brien of that video: "Myself and Bob got together and discussed the song thematically and came to the conclusion that there was no other option but to make a short film in which we follow a dishevelled shamanistic protagonist who mysteriously triggers an altered state of consciousness in everyone he meets, or at least believes that he does".

"We also wanted lots of dancing and to inspire a general feeling of 'what the hell did I just watch?' in the viewer", the director adds. Prepare yourself then, here's that video.


Parlophone, Death Cab For Cutie, Isis, 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.

• Warner Music's Parlophone has announced Jack Melhuish as its new Director of Marketing, Strategy & Partnerships. He joins from Universal's Polydor label, prior to which he worked at another Warner label, Atlantic. Melhuish "totally gets the level of disruption", says Parlophone Co-President Mark Mitchell. "Our focus will be to blend all traditional and non-traditional channels to our advantage", nods Melhuish.

• Death Cab For Cutie have announced that they will release new album 'Thank You For Today' on 17 Aug. Here's new single 'Gold Rush'.

• White Denim are back with new single 'It Might Get Dark'. Their new album, 'Performance', will be out on 24 Aug.

• Let's Eat Grandma have released new track 'Ava'.

• Deafheaven have released new track 'Canary Yellow'. Their new album, 'Ordinary Corrupt Human Love', is due out on 13 Jul.

• Nina Kraviz has announced a new compilation to mark the 20th anniversary of her techno label трип, called 'Don't Mess With Cupid. Cos Cupid Ain't Stupid'. Among other things, it will feature an unreleased track from Aphex Twin's Universal Indicator alias, and the now out 'I Want To Be A Stewardess' by Shadowax. The record is released on 20 Jul.

• Deap Valley have released new single 'Get Gone'.

• The Speedy Wunderground label will release its third compilation of its limited edition seven-inch single releases. Included on the latest round up are tracks by Boxed In, Warmduscher, Melt Yourself Down and more. It'll be out on 27 Jul.

• Bromide have released the video for new single 'Two Song Slot'. The band's new album, 'I Woke Up', is out this week.

• So Below has released a cover of MUNA's 'Crying On The Bathroom Floor'.

• Isis have announced that they will briefly reunite - under the name Celestial - in order to headline a tribute show for Cave In's Caleb Schofield, who died in a car accident earlier this year.

• Modest! Management will receive the top prize at this year's Artist & Manager Awards, that being the Peter Grant Award. "Modest! are the epitome of a modern day music management business, representing all aspects of their artists' careers and acting for them on a global basis", says MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick. The awards will take place at the Bloomsbury Big Top on 14 Nov.

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


Moby to sell of his vinyl collection for charity
Now that vinyl has been fully revived, Moby's realised that there's a market for all the old records he's got knocking around his house. So he's going to sell them all off. For charity, mind.

From tomorrow, he will begin selling off over 1000 twelve-inches and seven-inches he used to play when DJing in New York in the late 80s, covering early house, techno, hip hop, indie and more. As well as these, he'll also be selling signed copies of his own albums on vinyl.

"There's just so many to go through", he says. "These are records that I bought and loved and played and carried around the world. And I would so much rather you have then than me. If you have them, you'll play them, you'll love them, and then the money goes to the Physicians Committee For Responsible Medicine. Everybody wins. Except me, because now I don't have records".

The store opens tomorrow here. And you can watch Moby flick through a few of the records on offer here.


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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CHRIS COOKE | MD & Business Editor
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