TODAY'S TOP STORY: Cardi B's former manager has hit out a lawsuit filed by the rapper last week which seeks to have both management and recording contracts declared void... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Cardi B's ex-manager responds to lawsuit over "grossly unfair" contracts
LEGAL Gene Simmons settles sexual misconduct lawsuit with journalist
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Sony Music reboots Arista, plans publishing and management projects with its new boss
LIVE BUSINESS VMS Live adds another student venue to its roster
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Brexit resignations result in new culture boss in UK government
RELEASES Seasick Steve announces new album
GIGS & FESTIVALS The Orchard, Kobalt, Prophets Of Rage, more
AND FINALLY... Football might be coming home, but Trump is on his way - which should we sing about loudest?
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Cardi B's ex-manager responds to lawsuit over "grossly unfair" contracts
Cardi B's former manager has hit out a lawsuit filed by the rapper last week which seeks to have both management and recording contracts declared void.

Last week's litigation was actually a countersuit, after ex-manager Klenord Raphael, aka Shaft, sued the rapper, real name Belcalis Almanzar, back in April. He is trying to enforce the same contracts and in particular the royalty payments those deals say the manager is due.

In her countersuit, Almanzar accused Raphael of "deceitful and disloyal conduct". She alleged that he was in breach of his management contact with the rapper, while the separate recording agreement shouldn't stand because Raphael had the same lawyer represent his client and his company for much of the deal negotiations.

In the lawsuit, Almanzar also accused Raphael of cutting the rapper off from other friends and advisers in order to pressure her into "grossly unfair" contracts.

A rep for the manager disputes all of those claims. Said rep told the New York Post that the countersuit was simply part of a "campaign by Cardi B and her team to defame and injure Shaft, the one person who saw promise in her, invested time and resources in her and succeeded in making her rich and famous".

He stands by his original claim that he basically created the Cardi B phenomenon and simply wants to enforce his contractual rights to share in the resulting cash. The rep went on: "The facts are simple - Cardi B's music, image and rise to superstardom were all developed and executed by Shaft and his team of writers and producers. The outright lies and distortions in her claims make you shake your head".


Gene Simmons settles sexual misconduct lawsuit with journalist
Gene Simmons has settled a lawsuit accusing him of sexual battery during an interview last year.

A journalist, identified in legal documents only as 'Jane Doe', sued the Kiss bassist in December. She said that while interviewing Simmons about the opening of a new branch of the Rock & Brews restaurant in San Bernadino, California - a chain of which the Kiss man is a co-owner - he made "several aggressive, unwanted sexual advances".

Despite "active and clear discouragement", she claimed, the musician "turned standard interview questions into sexual innuendo" throughout their conversation. He is also alleged to have "forcibly flicked/struck plaintiff Doe in the throat", at which point she attempted to terminate the interview, all of which was filmed. He also touched her buttocks while posing for a promotional photograph, it was claimed.

At the time, Simmons "vigorously" denied the allegations. He added: "I look forward to my day in court where the evidence will prove my innocence".

It now looks like that day will not come, as new court documents have been filed seeking to dismiss the case after both sides reached a settlement. The terms of that agreement are not clear and it still needs court approval.

Last November, Simmons was also banned from Fox News's offices for alleged sexist behaviour while in the building for an interview.


Sony Music reboots Arista, plans publishing and management projects with its new boss
Sony Music in the US is relaunching Arista as a standalone frontline label. Or a "frontline creative centre" if you prefer, which I'm assuming you don't. It will be led by David Massey who returns to Sony after a decade running labels at Universal Music.

In addition to running the revamped version of Arista - the label originally founded by record industry veteran Clive Davies in 1974 - Massey will also pursue music publishing and artist management projects with Sony. He began his career in the UK in artist management before his first stint with Sony Music began in the early 1990s.

He'll report directly into Sony Music top dude Rob Stringer in his new job, who said of the appointment and Arista relaunch: "We are excited to be reintroducing the iconic Arista brand as a full major label under the leadership of David Massey. David is a visionary and progressive talent developer and his recent success at breaking new artists around the world only highlights his remarkable consistency of creative success year after year".

On the planned projects beyond the Arista label, Stringer added: "As well as releasing new music to the world, David will use his vast experience in building new publishing and artist management ventures that will enhance Sony Music's overall music strategy".

Massey himself said: "I want to thank Rob Stringer for the phenomenal opportunity to return to Sony Music in an expansive new partnership and lead the next chapter of Arista Records. Clive Davis made the Arista name synonymous with tremendous creativity and great songs, and I look forward to continuing that identity by working with the many talented people at Sony to build a new roster of hit artists. I am also excited to join forces with Sony to drive additional growth through artist management and music publishing".

Of course, Sony Music dabbling in music publishing is interesting, given the largest music publisher in the world is its sister company Sony/ATV. The two global Sony music businesses are run pretty autonomously, whereas at Universal and Warner - although recordings and publishing are separate divisions - they meet at the top.

Until recently, Sony didn't own Sony/ATV outright, of course. Now it does, and it is in the process of taking control of its EMI Music Publishing subsidiary too. This means that if and when Sony/ATV chief Marty Bandier finally gets round to retiring, that could be a good opportunity for Sony Corp to more closely align its two main music companies.


VMS Live adds another student venue to its roster
Live firm VMS has announced a new five year deal with the University Of Exeter Students Guild that will see it take on the development and delivery of the student union's entertainments programme and its venue the Lemon Grove. VMS has already worked on developing and managing event programmes and venues at a number of other British universities, including in Manchester, London and Norwich.

Commenting on the new partnership in Exeter, VMS's Operations Director - Richard Maides - says the challenges there are similar to those faced by the University Of East Anglia venues in Norwich a few years back.

"A once thriving club and live venue has somewhat lost its direction and shine in the face of strong competition both locally and nationally", he explains. "Working in partnership with the Guild we are putting in place a complete revamp of the club brands and venues operation. Plans are already well advanced for the autumn and we cant wait to get started".

Speaking for the union, the Guild's Director Of Commercial Services, Nicola Carter, adds: "[This partnership is] an incredible opportunity to develop our existing programme of events and to showcase the Lemon Grove as a leading venue in Exeter for live music, arts, and dynamic nightlife for students and residents alike".

Elsewhere, VMS has announced one of those naming rights deals with ticketing firm Eventim for another of the venues it is involved in, The Olympia in Liverpool. Plus it has appointed DJ Tim Zee to the role of Development Manager, in which he will develop new club brands and partnerships, including in Exeter.


Brexit resignations result in new culture boss in UK government
After the big boys of Brexit launched their big battle against reality yesterday, the most Prime of all the British ministers - that'll be Theresa Mayhem - got to do one of those ministerial reshuffles to fill the gaps left by the departing David Davis and Boris Johnson.

Jeremy Hunt got himself a promotion and therefore leaves the Department Of Health And Social Care to become Foreign Secretary, taking over from Johnson. It's kind of extraordinary - given how much the average doctor and nurse hates the Hunt - that British ambassadors the world over will be hailing his arrival at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office simply by employing the solid logic of "anyone but Boris!"

But why is this music news? Well, because culture monkey and champion careerist Matty Hancock is leaving the Department For Digital, Culture, Media And Sport to take over from Hunt at Health. Which means the cultural industries - including music - have yet another Secretary Of State representing their sector in government.

Confirming the new top culture minister yesterday, Number Ten Downing Street tweeted that: "The Queen has been pleased to approve the appointment of the Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP as Secretary Of State For Digital, Culture, Media And Sport". So, you know, at least the Queen is pleased.

The MP for Kenilworth and Southam, Wright is a barrister by trade, though specialising in criminal law rather than anything to do with media or intellectual property. He's most recently been using all those legal skills in his role as Attorney General, but will now get to schmooze up with all the country's arty, techie and sporty types.

On the up side, Wright backed remain in the 2016 European Referendum, so at least he'll be able to give a knowing sigh of hopelessness whenever some cultural type moans on about all the ways in which Brexit is going to screw up their pan-European activities. And I, for one, can't wait for that. Let's all sigh together.

So welcome to the DDCMS Mr Wright. Maybe don't get too many business cards printed though. In the current political climate, few ministers seem likely to be in office all that long.


Approved: Midori Takada & Lafawndah
'Le Renard Blue' is a new collaboration between US artist Lafawndah and Japanese composer Midori Takada. While it's the former's first new release for two years, that wait is eclipsed by Takada's, who turns in her first new composition for two decades.

Recorded over the course of a week in Tokyo, the duo took inspiration from fox-related Japanese and Senegalese folk tales. Takada crafted the 20 minute composition using instruments including waterphone, bells, marimba and a variety of drums, to which Lafawndah added her own vocal melodies and lyrics.

The collaboration is completed by filmmakers Partel Oliva, who joined the musicians in the studio, as well as filming elsewhere in Japan. Watch and listen here.

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

Seasick Steve announces new album
Seasick Steve has announced that he will release a new album, 'Can U Cook?', on 28 Sep. His ninth studio album, it was recorded in a converted ice factory in Florida. Key West, Florida to be precise, sometimes still aka as Conch Republic.

"Just seems there's all kinds of sunshine and colours on this record", says Steve. "Maybe it's because we made most of it down in Key West, Florida? Or maybe it had somethin to do with the happy hours at Conch Republic? I swear! It was made down south, way down south, as far south as you can go and still have your boots in America. Anyways, I love it and I'm hoping y'all like it too".

Well, we'll see. Following the album's release, Steve will be heading out on his first UK tour since 2015.

Here are the dates:

9 Nov: Cambridge, Corn Exchange
10 Nov: Oxford, New Theatre
11 Nov: Southampton, Guildhall
13 Nov: Brighton, Dome
15 Nov: Exeter, The Great Hall
17 Nov: Leicester, De Montfort Hall
18 Nov: Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
20 Nov: Liverpool, Olympia
21 Nov: Glasgow, Academy


The Orchard, Kobalt, Prophets Of Rage, 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.

• The Orchard has hired Chris Hardy as its new Country Manager for Canada, filling a seat at the company's new Toronto office. He joins from The Orchard's parent company Sony Music. "I am excited", says Hardy.

• Kobalt last week announced a new CTO in the form of Rian Liebenberg, who joins from Norwegian media firm Schibsted, where he did lots of "platformisation", apparently. He replaces Richard Thompson who will continue to consult on techie matters for the music company as Emeritus CTO. Yeah, that's right, Emeritus CTO. What a time to be alive!

• Prophets Of Rage have released new track 'Heart Afire'.

• Rudimental and Major Lazer have released the video for their collaboration 'Let Me Live', featuring Anne-Marie and Mr Eazi.

• Chilly Gonzales has released new track 'Present Tense' from his upcoming 'Solo Piano III' album.

• Kiran Leonard will release new album 'Western Culture' on 19 Oct. He'll also be touring the UK and Ireland from October through to December. Here's new single 'Paralysed Force'.

• Ray BLK has announced that she will headline the Forum in London on 3 Oct. She'll also be supporting Rudimental on tour the same month.

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


Football might be coming home, but Trump is on his way - which should we sing about loudest?
I'm not sure if you've heard, but football might pop round later. I heard someone shout something about it in the street. But I wasn't really listening. And someone else was shouting about an idiot at the same time. It was all rather confusing.

Anyway, apparently there's this song all about football's imminent arrival and it might be number one in those pesky music charts come Friday. I'm surprised it's not there already, though - I suppose - and despite all the recent changes to chart rules, shouty renditions of songs led by drunken mobs in the street still don't count. But all those shouty drunken renditions seem to have now motivated a flurry of downloads and streams.

'Three Lions' by Frank Skinner, David Baddiel and those often forgotten Lightning Seeds has been to number one before, of course. First for two weeks after its original release in 1996, when it was all about England hosting the European Championship of ball kicking.

It then managed three weeks at the top two years later during the World Cup of ball kicking. Though that particular competition was in France, meaning the song's lyrics then took on their more conceptual metaphorical meaning about football returning from wherever it is that it's been.

Now, as the country enjoys the best World Cup performance of an England team for the best part of three decades, I am assured once again by one and all that football is definitely coming home. And just in case anyone is in any doubt, everyone has been downloading and streaming 'Three Lions' at an increasing rate as if that somehow confirms it.

Last Friday, the song was at a mere 24 in the official music charts. As excitement mounts for the upcoming semi-final, the track is racing up said chart and is currently on course to be number one. Which will be a triumphant moment in itself, so long as England win their next game tomorrow of course. Otherwise, well, people probably won't really notice. I mean, who even knows who's number one in the charts these days?

George Ezra knows who's number one right now, mind, because it's been him for the last two weeks. He's pretty keen to end that run now though. Yesterday he pleaded with fans to stop buying and streaming his song and put all their efforts into getting 'Three Lions' to the top instead.

"OK guys", he said. "Thanks to you lovely people 'Shotgun' has been number one for two weeks running. Now, of course, that is amazing. But I think it's time we knock it off the number one spot... with 'Three Lions'. We go out, we download and we stream 'Three Lions', and we get it to number one. And you know why? It's cos it's coming home".

If football does indeed pay a visit to this sceptred isle later this week, I suppose it'll be nice if there's a song about it already sitting there at the top of the charts. Otherwise, maybe Baddiel and Skinner could record a new chorus about it fucking off at the last minute so that can be number one next week instead. Although Skinner has apparently already ruled that out.

All that said, while there may be no new version of the song to confuse things, and Ezra is perfectly willing to move out of the way, there could still be a spanner in the works here. Which is to say another event that could stop 'Three Lions' from returning to number one. And that is US president Donald Trump's visit to the UK later this week.

While football's return may not yet be assured, Trump's trip is definitely confirmed (pending the complete collapse of the British government by this afternoon, I suppose).

Due to arrive on Thursday, he will have lunch with Theresa May on Friday, followed by a meeting with the Queen. Her Maj famously likes to sit down and listen to the singles chart rundown on Radio 1 each week (you knew that, right?), so will presumably expect Trump to join her in finding out what song has proven to be most popular in the UK this week. It could be Three Lions'. But it may also be Green Day's 'American Idiot'.

There is - of course - a Facebook campaign to get the 2004 song, originally written about another American idiot, then US president George W Bush, to the top of the charts in protest against Trump's visit. And unlike most 'let's get this to number one' campaigns these days, it actually seems to be gaining some traction. The track currently sits at number eighteen in the midweeks but is only 4000 sales (or equivalent) away from a top ten placing. So another decent flurry of downloads and streams could possibly do it.

So, to conclude, you need to make a decision about what's more important to you this week before you start playing old pop songs on your premium streaming account: prematurely celebrating an England World Cup win or calling Donald Trump an idiot.


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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