TODAY'S TOP STORY: Record label Glassnote has issued a statement about its legal action against Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover, responding to media coverage of its recent court filing. Glassnote is in dispute with Glover - who released three albums with the label - over the royalties those records generated via US collecting society SoundExchange... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Glassnote comments on Childish Gambino royalties dispute
LEGAL Russell Simmons faces new accusation of rape
LIVE BUSINESS UK government says it is "not standing in the way" of festival drug testing
INDUSTRY PEOPLE Music industry welcomes new Culture Secretary with bone-breaking handshake and hard stare
ARTIST NEWS Richard Swift's family issue statement on musician's death
RELEASES John Grant announces new album, Love Is Magic
ONE LINERS Liza Owen, High Time Records, Sony/ATV, more
AND FINALLY... Rage Against The Machine issue cease and desist over Nigel Farage's podcast
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Glassnote comments on Childish Gambino royalties dispute
Record label Glassnote has issued a statement about its legal action against Childish Gambino, aka Donald Glover, responding to media coverage of its recent court filing. Glassnote is in dispute with Glover - who released three albums with the label - over the royalties those records generated via US collecting society SoundExchange.

Whenever satellite or online radio services, including personalised radio services, exploit the American compulsory license administrated by SoundExchange, resulting monies are split 50/50 between rights owner and performers.

Which means that when SoundExchange collected monies for the streaming of Glover's Glassnote-released records, 50% was paid to the label, and 50% directly to the performers. That's all the performers, so 45% would go direct to Glover, while 5% would be paid over to session musicians who appeared on any tracks.

Since Glover stopped actively working with Glassnote, having signed a new deal with Sony, his people have seemingly decided that the actor/musician should have been receiving all of the SoundExchange royalties minus the session musicians' share.

To that end, they want the label to hand over an additional $1.5 million. Glassnote disputes that claim and went legal last week seeking court confirmation that it was due 50% of SoundExchange monies.

The label was pretty blunt in its legal filing, stating: "Glover, apparently unsatisfied with the approximately $10 million in royalties already paid or due to him by Glassnote and the 45% of the public performance royalties from SoundExchange, took the position that he was entitled to the entirety of Glassnote's 50% share of public performance royalties from SoundExchange - and that Glassnote was not entitled to any such royalty".

It then added: "Given Glover's intransigence, Glassnote has no choice but to seek a declaration that it, and not Glover, is entitled to the 50% portion of the SoundExchange monies, and hereby requests such relief".

However, Glassnote reckons that some media coverage of the legal filing has misrepresented the dispute. It takes particular umbrage with TMZ's suggestion that it has accused Glover of "screwing" the label out of money.

In a statement issued to Pitchfork, the label states: "Unfortunately the reporting by TMZ is not accurate. We are not claiming Donald Glover screwed us out of anything. Donald Glover made a claim that he was owed 95% of SoundExchange royalties when we are legislatively and contractually required to share those royalties 50/45. When we tried to assert our position, he became strident"

It goes on: "His lawyers sent a demand for $1.5 million and threatened a lawsuit on his behalf. We have simply asked the court to review the contract and to provide a declaration of relief that our position is correct pursuant to our contract and federal copyright law and that monies paid by SoundExchange to Glassnote can be retained by Glassnote, in the same way that monies paid by SoundExchange to Donald Glover can be retained by him".

Clarifying what Glassnote hopes to achieve from its legal action, the statement concludes: "I'd like to point out that in our eleven years of operating we have never been in litigation with an artist. We are not asking for anything back from Donald Glover, just that we are able to retain the monies that are contractually and legally ours and that have already been paid to us".


Russell Simmons faces new accusation of rape
Another woman has spoken about being allegedly raped by hip hop mogul Russell Simmons. In a piece for Variety, Alexia Norton Jones says she forgave Simmons for the alleged attack, which occurred in 1990, but nevertheless recently reported it to New York police in the wake of other allegations of sexual misconduct made against the Def Jam co-founder.

A number of women accused Simmons of past incidents of sexual assault as the #MeToo movement gained momentum last year. Two of his accusers subsequently went legal, although one of those lawsuits was then dismissed at the request of both parties. For his part, Simmons has strongly denied all the allegations made against him.

Jones knew Simmons from the mid-1980s, but says the alleged attack occurred in 1990 when he invited her to see his new apartment in Manhattan. While in the property she says he pinned her against a wall and raped her.

She goes on: "It was such a fast attack. It was literally an attack. Because he was overweight, I remember thinking it was like being attacked by a flabby walrus. I remember being pushed up against a wall. He pulled my dress up. I must have said no seven to ten times, and then I acquiesced. It was very fast. I would say it happened in less than ten minutes".

Jones says she ultimately forgave Simmons for the attack and would have never spoken about it again but for the flurry of allegations that surfaced last year and his response to them.

She states: "I would have kept quiet forever. What made me come forward is his denials of violence toward other women. I don't want any money from Russell. I'm not suing him. If you look at the women he allegedly assaulted, many of us have a similar look. It's uncanny. Russell knew that the African-American community was behind him. There are so few black men who make it, we wanted him to succeed. Yet there was also this huge betrayal. He counted on this silence".

Simmons has responded to these new allegations, again denying any wrong-doing. He told Variety: "I'm deeply saddened by this story from Alexia. At no time did she share these feelings about her first sexual encounter with me, which took place roughly 28 years ago. I have taken multiple lie detector tests that affirm I never sexually assaulted anyone".

He goes on: "Alexia and I dated, were intimate and attended multiple events together after she alleges the incident occurred in 1990. I considered her a friend for all these years and continue to have a warm relationship with members of her family. I believe we last spoke in 2006 when she called to express her disappointment over the fact that I had not attended an event honouring her father".

Jones's father is Clarence Jones, best known for being Martin Luther King's attorney. She confirms that she last spoke to Simmons twelve years ago about the family event, but denies that she ever dated him back in the day. And while she may not have gone public about the alleged assault before, Variety says that Jones's therapist has confirmed her client spoke about the incident during therapy sessions in the early 1990s.


UK government says it is "not standing in the way" of festival drug testing
The British government has said that it will not block efforts to expand drug testing operations at UK music festivals.

Drug testing charity The Loop has been providing its services at an increasing number of events, so that festival-goers can find out the actual make-up of any illegal substances they have bought. The organisation has also called on the government to change its drug policies to reduce drug-related deaths.

Speaking at a debate in Parliament last week, policing minister Nick Hurd said that, while there is no plan for the government to change existing drug laws, "we can do more to reduce the risk of harm to young people at festivals".

He added that the government would "certainly not be signing up to anything that risks endorsing illegal drug use". However, he went on, The Loop "is very clear that that is not what it is about". Therefore ministers wouldn't seek to block the charity's operations. Though ultimately, he said, the decision on whether or not to allow drug testing on festival sites lay with local police forces.

"These are local operating decisions that we are not standing in the way of", said Hurd. "The fact that chief constables from Cumbria, Avon and Somerset and Hampshire have stepped forward and said that they do want to co-operate sends a strong signal. I spoke earlier today to Chief Constable Andy Marsh from Avon And Somerset police who is very clear that it is the right thing to do. He is also very comfortable about his legal position in doing so. Those are important signals".

The minister added that he would explore whether there could be more clarity in the legal guidance on this matter, to ensure that police were aware that such services could be permitted.

The debate was raised in the House Of Commons by Labour MP Thangam Debbonaire, who subsequently said: "Giving everyone clear information about the substances they intend to consume helps reduce risk and prevent harm - we can do it for alcohol and we can do it for other drugs within the current legal frameworks".

Stating that she would hold the minister to the commitments already made, she went on: "Clarity from the government is a win, but we can go even further. Let's make it a requirement that festivals and, if possible, nightclubs, have to ensure there is drug safety testing available for every event they run. Let's save more lives and protect more people from harm".

Research published by The Loop earlier this year found that, while drug use has remained fairly static, drug-related deaths and hospital admissions have risen sharply in recent years. This is in part down to the increased strength of certain drugs being sold and an ignorance of that fact among users, which is why testing of the kind The Loop offers can save lives. As well as expanding its presence at UK festivals, the charity aims to provide drug testing facilities in town and city centres.


Music industry welcomes new Culture Secretary with bone-breaking handshake and hard stare
Record industry trade groups the BPI and UK Music have welcomed the appointment of Jeremy Wright as the new British Culture Secretary - a post he suddenly found himself in earlier this week thanks to the latest stage of Brexit chaos in the government. However, both warn the new guy that the music industry has high expectations.

"We congratulate and offer our very best wishes to Jeremy Wright on his appointment leading DCMS", says BPI top man Geoff Taylor. "He comes to a busy desk: the European copyright proposals to fix the value gap need strong support; the Creative Industries Sector Deal implementation has begun; and the Digital Charter White Paper will be a great opportunity to deal with online harm with greater responsibility from intermediaries. He has plenty on his plate and we are keen to start work with him".

Given that - as well as music - he also has all of culture, media, sport and everything digital within his new remit, the former barrister now arty/sporty/techie minister should be very busy indeed. But hey, Matt(hew) Hancock definitely managed it all during the brief time he held the post. Don't go forgetting that Wrighty!

"We sincerely thank Matt Hancock for his energy and for the passionate commitment he has shown protecting and promoting music and the wider creative community", Taylor goes on, still fixing his stare on Wright. "His strong support on the value gap has been invaluable and his thoughtful interventions on the Digital Charter helped pave the way for the UK to be at the forefront of a modern approach to internet responsibility. We congratulate him on his appointment and wish him well in his important new role".

UK Music's Michael Dugher - himself a former MP - also waved Hancock off with glowing praise, saying: "On behalf of UK Music, I'd like to say a big thank you to Matt Hancock. He has been a very good friend of ours, always willing to engage and listen, and to take up our fight. He proved to be passionate not just about digital, but became a great champion of the British music industry, a committed believer in diversity and a tireless defender of the intellectual property rights of the creators who are behind Britain's world-leading music industry".

Meanwhile Wright - Dugher adds - is a very lucky man. "Secretary Of State For DCMS is widely regarded as the best job in government", he incorrectly states. "I'm looking forward to working with Jeremy Wright. He is blessed with a department that has a great ministerial team in Margot James, Tracey Crouch, Michael Ellis and Lord Ashton, and he has some of the best civil servants in the country at DCMS, especially those working in support of the creative industries".

But with his smile suddenly dropping away, Dugher - like Taylor before him - then starts to sternly construct a significant to-do list for the new minister. "The new Secretary Of State has a busy in-tray", he declares. "The battle in Brussels goes on as we try to tackle the value gap, whereby the likes of Google's YouTube continue to make a fortune without fairly rewarding creators and investors responsible for content. We need to ensure artists can continue to tour the EU without costly bureaucracy and that musicians can come to the UK to record and to perform - from classical to pop - after Brexit".

"We must deliver the protections that grassroots music venues deserve and were promised", he adds. "And we must ensure that every young person, regardless of their background, is given every opportunity to access music, including in education, so that we continue to develop the world-class talent that Britain is renowned for".

So Wright certainly shouldn't expect any sort of grace period from a music industry already in full-on lobbying mode. Hancock, meanwhile, is now Health Secretary, where all he has to deal with is the NHS. Or not, if any of his predecessors are anything to go by.


Approved: The Lemon Twigs
The Lemon Twigs have announced that they will release their second album, 'Go To School', on 24 Aug. The fifteen track release is a musical which "tells the heartbreaking coming-of-age story of Shane, a pure of heart chimpanzee raised as a human boy as he comes to terms with the obstacles of life". Yeah.

As well as the sibling duo themselves, other contributors help to move the story along - Big Star's Jody Stephens and their own father Ronnie D'Addario appear, while Shane's parents are played by their mother Susan Hall and (the) Todd Rundgren.

The album will, the duo promise, offer "something now, then, big, small, bleak and hopeful. All in under an hour".

As a general rule, I find painstakingly recreated old studio sounds by modern artists, such as The Lemon Twigs' 70s shtick, a big turn off. But in their case it really makes sense. Each song is lifted by that breezy, classic singer-songwriter production. Plus, I'm a sucker for a good old chimpanzee musical.

The Lemon Twigs are set to play two nights at The Lexington in London 13-15 Aug, as well as supporting the Arctic Monkeys on their September tour. Now, listen to the album's first single, 'If You Give Enough', here.

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

Richard Swift's family issue statement on musician's death
The family of Black Keys collaborator and former Shins member Richard Swift have said that health issues relating to "alcohol addiction" were the cause of his recent death, aged 41. Previously it had only been stated that he was receiving treatment for a "life-threatening condition".

A joint statement from Swift's family, his label Secretly Canadian and management company Next Wave says: "Richard Swift suffered from alcohol addiction, and it's ultimately what took his life. With the support of family and friends and the assistance of MusiCares, Richard had checked himself into rehab for multiple stays over the past two years, but his body gave out before he could overcome the disease. He was diagnosed with hepatitis and liver and kidney distress in June".

"Multiple hospitals worked to help stabilise him over the course of that month, but his body was unable to heal and, per his wishes and with his family's consent, he was moved to hospice care", the statement goes on. "Richard passed in the early morning of 3 Jul 2018 in a hospice facility in Tacoma, WA".

They add that Swift was working on new music prior to his death, which was scheduled for release in November this year. However, it may now be made available earlier. "We do not have a timeline for its completion yet, but we hope to share it with you sooner than that", they say.


John Grant announces new album, Love Is Magic
John Grant has announced that he will release his fourth solo album, 'Love Is Magic', in October. Coming three years after his previous long-playing effort, 'Grey Tickles/Black Pressure', the record sees him delve further into electronic music than he has before.

"Each record I make is more of an amalgamation of who I am", says Grant of his shifting sound. "The more I do this, the more I trust myself, and the closer I get to making what I imagine in my head".

"The lyrics, of course, continue to be very important to me", he adds. "They're just snapshots of everyday life where myriad moods and every sort of horrible and hilarious occurrence one can imagine mix with the pedestrian, resulting in the absurdity and beauty of life".

Of the album's title, he says: "Love's a shitshow that requires work, it's not all lollipops and rainbows and 67 Dodge Dart Hemis and STDs and macaroni and cheese and John Carpenter. But nothing can distract from the fact that, in spite of it all, love is still magic".

'Love Is Magic' will be released on 12 Oct through Bella Union, and Grant will play London's Brixton Academy on 30 Oct. The first single from the album - its title track - is out now.


Liza Owen, High Time Records, Sony/ATV, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

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• Music rights firm Reservoir has signed Liza Owen to a worldwide publishing deal covering her work as a solo artist and her songwriting for others, including her recent collaboration with K-pop act BTS. She is "beyond excited" about it all.

• Independent label High Time Records - home of The Hunna and Coasts - has extended its alliance with Warner's ADA label services division to cover the world, having worked together on UK distribution since 2015. High Time founder Carl Hitchborn is "delighted". And why wouldn't he be?

• Sony/ATV in the US has promoted both Danielle Middleton and Sam Reas to the role of Manager, A&R. I hate job titles with commas in them, but then, it's not me who's been promoted, so that's all fine.

• Music distributor Proper has announced the launch of a new in-house press and promotions department to be led by long-time music PR and artist manager Jo Donnelly. The new department will absorb the firm's existing classical and jazz PR unit and will offer press and promotion services for Proper's own label and the labels it distributes.

• The Horrors have released the video for 'Ghost' from their 2017 album 'V'. "We wanted a video that represented the song visually and encapsulated the ambiguity of the lyrics", say the band. "We felt that [director duo] In/Out perfectly captured the tense feeling of the track and created one of our favourite videos to date".

• Thrice have announced that they will release new album, 'Palms', on 14 Sep. They've also released the video for recent single 'The Grey'.

• Ibeyi have released the video for 'Transmission/Michaelion', featuring Meshell Ndegeocello, taken from their 'Ash' album.

• Ahead of his XOYO show on 14 Aug, Wiki has shared the video for 'List 15', from his 'No Mountains In Manhattan' album.

• Patrick Watson has released new single, 'Melody Noir'. He'll play live at Hackney Arts Centre in London on 10 Dec.

• Warmduscher have released the video for 'I Got Friends'. They've also announced that they will tour the UK in October and Ireland in November.

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


Rage Against The Machine issue cease and desist over Nigel Farage's podcast
Rage Against The Machine have reportedly sent a cease and desist letter to your old mate Nigel Farage over his LBC podcast Farage Against The Machine.

The band hit out at the former UKIP leader and persistent panic peddler earlier in the year when he first launched his podcast with a pun-tastic name that doesn't really work.

A post on the band's semi-official Twitter account at the time stated: "Failed right-wing British politician Nigel Farage has called his podcast 'Farage Against The Machine'. This pissweasel IS the machine - peddling the sort of inane, blame-heavy bullshit that the guys in [Rage Against The Machine] have been raging against since day one".

According to gossip site The Blast, a cease and desist letter sent to Farage this week by RATM's legal reps continues on that theme. It states: "RATM has publicly denounced the type of right-wing ideology you espouse for decades; in fact, that has been an integral part of the band's identity and purpose".

It goes on: "Your anti-immigrant rhetoric, lack of social compassion and barely disguised racism and xenophobia are the antithesis of what RATM stands for. Stop using RATM's name and logo, change the name of your podcast and find some other target to troll. We suggest President Trump".

Farage, of course, considers the Trump to be a good friend and has been scoring extra airtime of late by pretending (presumably) to be deeply offended by that baby Trump blimp that will fly over London when the President visits the UK later this week. Pretending to be deeply offended by said balloon allows Farage to participate in one of his other favourite pastimes, which is laying into London mayor Sadiq Khan, whose office gave the required approval for the blimp to fly.

RATM's letter goes on to state that Farage's podcast "brazenly and unlawfully exploits our client's name and logo". It then demands that he stop using the name 'Farage Against The Machine' for his podcast-based panic peddling, and that he ceases putting out any material that "falsely associates you, your colleagues at LBC ... and your far-right political views with RATM".

It's not entirely clear quite what the legal grounds for blocking Farage's podcast brand would be. RATM did register the trademark in their name in both the UK and the US in the 1990s, but the trademark registries in both countries now list those marks as being 'dead', presumably because the required paperwork wasn't filed to keep them active.

There may be claims beyond trademark. Although so true are RATM's protestations that Farage's political ideology is the direct opposite of everything they stand for, they might struggle to persuade a court that anyone would assume that the former top UKIPer's online ramblings are in anyway endorsed by the band. Well, not in the UK anyway.

We await Farage's response. Just as soon as he's finished pretending to be outraged by a balloon.


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
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.
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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.
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