TODAY'S TOP STORY: The company that owns the site where the Route 91 Harvest festival took place has filed lawsuits against over 1000 people who were caught up in the mass shooting that occurred at the event last year. MGM Resorts International is seeking court confirmation that it can't be held liable for the tragedy that occurred at the 2017 edition of the Las Vegas festival... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Route 91 Harvest hotel sues shooting victims to avoid liability
DEALS ICE and SACEM sign up more indie publishers for digital licensing
RELEASES Alt-J announce hip hop remix album
Metric release new single, announce UK tour
Animal Collective announce new album celebrating reefs
AWARDS MTV VMA nominations announced
ONE LINERS Caroline, ASCAP, Downtown, more
AND FINALLY... Donnie Wahlberg posts video of haunted piano
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Route 91 Harvest hotel sues shooting victims to avoid liability
The company that owns the site where the Route 91 Harvest festival took place has filed lawsuits against over 1000 people who were caught up in the mass shooting that occurred at the event last year. MGM Resorts International is seeking court confirmation that it can't be held liable for the tragedy that occurred at the 2017 edition of the Las Vegas festival.

58 people were killed during the attack on the Live Nation-promoted country music event. The shooting occurred during Jason Aldean's headline set. Gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on the 22,000 strong audience from a room on the 32nd floor of the MGM Resorts-owned Mandalay Bay hotel. Hundreds more were injured before Paddock finally turned a gun on himself.

A number of lawsuits have been filed by victims since the shooting, with MGM Resorts, Live Nation and Paddock's estate variously named as defendants.

MGM Resorts - a publicly listed company that has long been a separate business to the MGM movie studio - has now filed its own litigation, claiming that it is protected from liability for the shooting under American federal law because of the security measures it had put in place for the festival.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, MGM is citing 2002 legislation that protects companies from liability for major attacks of this kind providing they use "anti-terrorism" technology or services that "help prevent and respond to mass violence".

MGM says that the security firm it engaged for the festival, Contemporary Services Corp, had been certified by the US Department Of Homeland Security, meaning it should be protected by the 2002 laws, which were introduced in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.

Whether that argument stands will depend slightly on how those laws are interpreted and partly on how the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival is defined, which is difficult given that Paddock's motives remain a mystery.

Whatever the legalities, no company really wants to be seen to be litigating against the victims of such a horrific event. Even though MGM isn't seeking any financial gain from its litigation, rather it wants court confirmation regarding its liabilities. If the court agrees that the company is protected under the 2002 laws, MGM would then argue all the lawsuits filed against it by victims should be dismissed.

One Las Vegas-based lawyer who is working for some of those victims has already criticised MGM's legal filings, and in particular its decision to take action in the federal rather than state courts. Robert Eglet told the Review-Journal that this was a "blatant display of judge shopping" that "quite frankly verges on unethical".

He went on: "I've never seen a more outrageous thing, where they sue the victims in an effort to find a judge they like. It's just really sad that they would stoop to this level".

But a spokesperson for MGM defended the company's decision to take action in the federal court. They told reporters: "The federal court is an appropriate venue for these cases and provides those affected with the opportunity for a timely resolution. Years of drawn out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing".


ICE and SACEM sign up more indie publishers for digital licensing
Two more independent music publishers have announced new alliances to facilitate the direct licensing of their repertoires to digital services on a multi-territory basis. Concord Music will work with copyright hub ICE on digital licensing moving forward, while the PEN Music Group has allied with French collecting society SACEM.

The big five global music publishers - so that's Sony/ATV, Universal, Warner/Chappell, BMG and Kobalt - have, for a long time now, directly licensed their Anglo-American repertoires to digital services in many key markets. Which is to say, they do direct deals rather than allowing such services to be licensed via the collective licensing system.

Though such direct deals do actually involve the collecting societies, for two reasons. First, streaming services exploit both the mechanical rights and the performing rights in songs, and the publisher only controls the former, while one of the Anglo-America societies will control the latter. Secondly, because song royalties are tricky to calculate each month, it makes sense to have a collecting society involved in that process.

To that end, the big five publishers ally with one or more collecting societies to assist in the direct licensing process. The partner society liaises with the other Anglo-American societies whose rights are being bundled into the direct deals, and with processing the monies each month.

An assortment of indies got involved in the direct licensing party via a venture called IMPEL, which was originally run by the UK's Music Publishers Association and administered by UK collecting society PRS. IMPEL was then spun off as a standalone entity at the start of the year and has since allied with the aforementioned SACEM.

Meanwhile, a number of other indie publishers - some of them formerly part of the IMPEL scheme - have started allying directly with either SACEM or ICE in order to direct license their Anglo-American repertoires to streaming services. ICE, of course, is the copyright hub owned by PRS, German society GEMA and Swedish society STIM.

Concord follows Downtown and Peermusic in partnering with ICE on digital licensing. The US-based independent music group last year boosted its music publishing credentials by acquiring Imagem, which was previously a key member of the IMPEL venture.

Confirming the new alliance, Concord Music's President Of Publishing For Europe, John Minch - who was previously CEO of Imagem - said: "We have known the ICE team from the beginning in 2012 and love this idea of a direct and simple arrangement with them. It means we can be on top of and monitor all the major deals with digital service providers while getting a much quicker, cost-effective and more efficient pay through. This is a great deal for Concord writers and composers".

ICE Commercial Director Ben McEwen added: "We are delighted to welcome Concord as a direct customer of ICE. The acquisition of Imagem shows the scale of ambition at Concord to grow and develop the music publishing side of their business".

US-based PEN Music Group follows Wixen, as well as the all-new IMPEL, in allying with SACEM on digital licensing. Under the new deal, the French society will represent the digital rights of the Mother's Finest Songs catalogue that was recently acquired by Mothership Music Publishing and which is administered worldwide by PEN.

Confirming that deal, PEN Music's Michael Eames said that SACEM's "technology is very impressive as is their dedication to maximising the worldwide value of rightsholders' online repertoire". Meanwhile Hein van der Ree from Mothership Music Publishing added: "The enthusiasm of SACEM's team combined with their digital expertise convinced us that they are the right partner for the online administration of Mother's Finest Songs".


Approved: The Long Now
The Long Now is a new collaboration between Richard Norris and Finnur Bjarnason. Norris is a prolific producer, and also a member of The Grid with Soft Cell's Dave Ball and Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve with Erol Alkan. Bjarnason, meanwhile, is a classically trained opera singer. For this project, both of their performances come out more muted than you might expect, but to extraordinary effect.

On their debut single 'Restoration', layers of repeating drones and twitching percussion pull together into a dreamlike form, Bjarnason's cut up vocals pulsing amongst them. Released last month, the track now has a video, created by director Kieran Evans and staring out across Iceland's suitably vast landscape.

"Filming in Iceland with Kieran was a long strange trip", says Norris. "The elements rose to greet us and luckily didn't devour us. But it was close".

Watch the video for 'Restoration' here.

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

Alt-J announce hip hop remix album
Alt-J have announced a new compilation featuring hip hop reworks of tracks from their most recent album 'Relaxer'. Titled 'Reduxer', it includes contributions from Pusha T, Danny Brown, Twin Shadow, Little Simz, and more.

"It's no secret that we love and are influenced by hip hop, and it's always been a dream of ours to work with hip hop artists in reimagining our music", say the band. "With 'Reduxer' that dream has come true. We couldn't be happier with the results. This album is truly global, featuring rappers and producers from all over the world. After a very long time in the making, we are stoked to share it with you all".

The first inkling of the new project came last month when the band performed 'In Cold Blood' with Pusha T and Twin Shadow on American telly programme 'The Late Show With Stephen Colbert'. Watch the performance here.

'Reduxer' will be released on 28 Sep. Here's the full tracklist:

3WW (feat Little Simz) (OTG Version)
In Cold Blood (feat Pusha T) (Twin Shadow Version)
House Of The Rising Sun (Tuka Version)
Hit Me Like That Snare (Jimi Charles Moody Version)
Deadcrush (feat Danny Brown) (Alchemist x Trooko Version)
Adeline (feat Paigey Cakey and Hex) (ADP Version)
Last Year (feat GoldLink) (Terrace Martin Version)
Pleader (feat PJ Sin Suela) (Trooko Version)
3WW (feat Lomepal) (Lomepal Version)
In Cold Blood (Kontra K Version)
Hit Me Like That Snare (Rejjie Snow Version)

The band have also announced some tour dates in October, so I might as well mention those too. Here they are:

15 Oct: Dublin, Olympia Theatre
21 Oct: Glasgow, Armadillo
23 Oct: Leeds, Town Hall
24 Oct: Leicester, De Montfort Hall
25 Oct: Gateshead, The Sage
28 Oct: Manchester, Bridgewater Hall
29 Oct: London, Royal Albert Hall


Metric release new single, announce UK tour
Metric have released 'Dark Sunday', the first single from their upcoming new album. They've also announced UK shows for this November.

For the new record, the band worked with an outside producer for the first time in years, that being Justin Meldal-Johnsen. Guitarist Jimmy Shaw had handled things in the studio for their last three records.

"Justin was just what we needed in a producer for this album", says Shaw. "He really saw every band member eye to eye and was able to capture what we each do best. It was something I realised I couldn't do at this stage, having been in the band for so long".

The guitarist adds: "We were finally able to focus on just playing again, as we did at the start. Making this album brought us together in a way we hadn't been for quite some time and I think you can hear it in the music".

Frontwoman Emily Haines goes on: "This is our seventh album as a band, and we wanted the first song people heard from it to be 'Dark Saturday' as a sonic heads up that our guitars are back in force".

"Lyrically, the song depicts a dystopian night life scene of gaudy wealth where oblivious party girls say nauseating things like, 'I'm so rich everything's free'", she says

Here are the aforementioned winter UK shows:

17 Nov: Birmingham, Institute 2
18 Nov: Glashow, Queen Margaret Union
19 Nov: Manchester, Ritz
20 Nov: London, The Forum

Watch the video for 'Dark Sunday' here.


Animal Collective announce new album celebrating reefs
Animal Collective have announced a new audiovisual album, 'Tangerine Reef', to commemorate the International Year Of The Reef. That's this year, by the way. Hence the release. Best to get in now while there are still coral reefs to celebrate, I guess.

The band's connection to the subject is more than passing. Brian Weitz, aka Geologist, has a masters degree in environmental policy with a focus on the marine environment. He and bandmate Josh Dibb, aka Deakin, are also keen scuba divers, and have seen first hand the destruction of the world's coral reefs by bleaching events, fishing trawlers and dynamite fishing.

The visual side of the project has been developed with art-science duo Coral Morphologic. It features time-lapse photography and slow motion pans across sections of coral reef.

The album is due out on 17 Aug. Watch a trailer here.


MTV VMA nominations announced
MTV's Video Music Awards are set to take place next month. More importantly, the nominations are out right now.

The most successful maker of music videos in all fields at this stage is Cardi B, who has a total of ten nominations - although more than half of those are as a featured artist, which I'm not sure counts. Trailing her are The Carters, with eight nods, and Childish Gambino and Drake, who have seven apiece.

"It has already been a monumental year in music and this year's VMAs will take things to a whole new level", reckons Bruce Gillmer, MTV owner Viacom's Global Head Of Music And Music Talent. "The extraordinary group of nominees have amazed us with their talent and inspired us with their creativity - and when you get them together for one night, anything is possible".

The ceremony will take place at Radio City Music Hall in New York on 21 Aug. Music video connoisseurs (and any other idiot) can vote in various categories here.

Here are the nominations:

Video Of The Year: Ariana Grande - No Tears Left To Cry, Bruno Mars feat Cardi B - Finesse (Remix), Camila Cabello feat Young Thug - Havana, The Carters - Apeshit, Childish Gambino - This Is America, Drake - God's Plan

Artist Of The Year: Ariana Grande, Bruno Mars, Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Drake, Post Malone

Song Of The Year: Bruno Mars feat Cardi B - Finesse (Remix), Drake - God's Plan, Dua Lip - New Rules, Ed Sheeran - Perfect, Post Malone feat 21 Savage - Rockstar

Best New Artist: Bazzi, Cardi B, Chloe x Halle, Hayley Kiyoko, Lil Pump, Lil Uzi Vert

Best Collaboration: Bebe Rexa feat Florida Georgia Line, Bruno Mars feat Cardi B - Finesse (Remix), The Carters - Apeshit, Jennifer Lopez feat DJ Khaled & Cardi B - Dinero, Logic feat Alessia Cara & Khalid, NERD & Rihanna - Lemon

Push Artist Of The Year: Bishop Briggs, Chloe x Halle, Grace VanderWaal, Hayley Kiyoko, Jessie Reyez, Kacy Hill, Khlaid, Kyle, Lil Xan, Noah Cyrus, Prettymuch, Sigrid, SZA, Tee Grizzley, Why Don't We

Best Pop: Ariana Grande - No Tears Left To Cry, Camila Cabello feat Young Thug - Havana, Demi Lovato - Sorry Not Sorry, Ed Sheeran - Perfect, Pink - What About Us, Shawn Mendes - In My Blood

Best Hip Hop: Cardi B feat 21 Savage - Bartier Cardi, The Carters - Apeshit, Drake - God's Plan, J Cole - ATM, Migos feat Drake, Nicki Minaj - Chun-Li

Best Latin: Daddy Yankee- Dura, J Balvin & Willy William - Mi Gente, Jennifer Lopez feat DJ Khaled & Cardi B - Dinero, Luis Fonsi & Demi Lovato - Échame La Culpa, Maluma - Felices Los 4, Shakira feat Maluma

Best Dance: Avicii feat Rita Ora - Lonely Together, Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa - One Kiss, The Chainsmokers - Everybody Hates Me, David Guetta & Sia - Flames, Marshmello feat Khlaid - Silence, Zedd & Liam Payne - Get Low (Street Video)

Best Rock: Fall Out Boy - Champion, Foo Fighters - The Sky Is The Neighborhood, Imagine Dragons - Whatever It Takes, Linking park - One More Light, Panic! At The Disco - Say Amen (Saturday Night), 30 Seconds To Mars - Walk On Water

Video With A Message: Childish Gambino - This Is America, Dej Loaf & Leon Bridges - Liberated, Drake - God's Plan, Janelle Monáe - Pynk, Jessie Reyez - Gatekeeper, Logic feat Alessia Cara & Khalid - 1-800-273-8255

Best Cinematography: Pau Castejón for Alessia Cara - Growing Pains, Scott Cunningham for Ariana Grande - No Tears Left To Cry, Benoit Debie for The Carters - Apeshit, Larkin Seiple for Chiudlish Gambino - This Is America, Frank Mobilio & Patrick Meller for Eminem feat Ed Sheeran - River, Jonathan Sela for Shawn Mendes - In My Blood

Best Direction: Ricky Saix for The Carters - Apeshit, Hiro Murai for Childish Gambino This Is America, Karena Evans for Drake - God's Plan, Jason Koenig for Ed Sheeran - Perfect, Arturo Perez Jr for Justin Timberlake feat Chris Stapleton - Say Something, Jay Martin for Shawn Mendes - In My Blood

Best Art Direction: Brett Hess for Taylor Swift - Look What You Made Me Do, Jan Houlevigue for The Carters - Apeshit, Jason Kisvarday for Childish Gambino - This Is America, Miles Mullin for J Cole - ATM, Pepper Nguyen for Janelle Monáe - Make Me Feel

Best Visual Effects: Ingenuity Studios for Taylor Swift - Look What You Made Me Do, KPP for Avicii feat Rita Ora - Lonely Together, Loris Paillier for Kendrick Lamar & SZA - All The Stars, Rich Lee for Eminem feat Beyonce - Walk On Water, Timber for Maroon 5 - Wait, Vidal & Loris Paillier for Ariana Grande - No Tears Left To Cry

Best Choreography: AJ Harpold, Tracy Phillips & Ivan Koumaev for Justin Timberlake - Filthy, Calvit Hodge & Sara Bivens for Camila Cabello feat Young Thug - Havana, Marion Motin for Dua Lipa - IDGAF, Marty Kudelka, Phil Tayag & Bruno Mars for Bruno Mars feat Cardi B - Finesse (Remix), Sherrie Silver for Childish Gambino - This Is America, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui & Jaquel Knight for The Carters - Apeshit

Best Editing: Chancler Hayne for Taylor Swift - Look What You Made Me Do, Deji Laray for Janelle Monáe - Make Me Feel, Ernie Gilbert for Childish Gambino - This Is America, Jacquelyn London for Bruno Mars feat Cardi B - Finesse (Remix), Taylor Ward for NERD & Rihanna - Lemon, Taylor Ward & Sam Ostrove for The Carters - Apeshit


Caroline, ASCAP, Downtown, 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.

• Matt Sawin has been promoted to the role of Executive Vice President at Universal Music's label services business Caroline in the US. He was previously SVP Of Marketing & Commercial Development. "Magic", says COO Michelle Jubelirer.

• US collecting society ASCAP has promoted Gregory Morgado to Deputy General Counsel. He was previously SVP Business And Legal Affairs. General Counsel Clara Kim praised his "sharp legal mind and insights".

• American independent music publisher Downtown has promoted Lisa Hauptman to the newly-created role of Global Head Of People. Previously Executive Director Of Operations, she will oversee the company's employee development and recruitment across its international offices. She has "become a crucial component of the management team", says COO Andrew Bergman.

• Music charity Help Musicians UK has announced that its CEO Richard Robinson has stepped down with immediate effect due to "personal reasons". This follows a period of absence from the charity on compassionate leave. He will be replaced in the interim by James Ainscough until a permanent replacement is found.

• A new ten disc Soft Cell boxset - 'Keychains & Snowstorms: The Soft Cell Story' - is set for release on 7 Sep. From it, here's a new mix of 1983 track 'Martin'.

• The Lemon Twigs have released new single 'Small Victories'. Their new album, 'Go To School', is out on 24 Aug.

• Emika has released new track 'Run'. "No matter how fast we run, the past will eventually catch up with us", she says ominously.

• Natalie Prass has released a live video for 'The Fire'. The original version of the song features on her latest album, 'The Future And The Past'.

• Foxtrott has released new single 'Better With You'. The track is taken from new EP 'Meditations II', out on 10 Aug.

• Professor Green has announced that he will play Electric Brixton on 20 Nov. He's also released the video for new single 'Count On You'.

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


Donnie Wahlberg posts video of haunted piano
New Kids On The Block's Donnie Wahlberg has filmed a ghost in his house. For real. Maybe. Well, definitely not. But his piano made a noise. Maybe.

Posting a short clip of security camera footage to Twitter yesterday, Wahlberg wrote: "I don't believe in ghosts. And... I don't not believe in ghosts. But somebody played the freaking piano and it wasn't us!"

The video shows Wahlberg's wife Jenny McCarthy wandering around a large room with a piano at the opposite end. She leaves the room and starts moving some plates around. Seconds later we hear a few notes ring out on the piano. McCarthy returns and shouts to Wahlberg that the piano just played itself.

Spooky, huh? Well, maybe. At no point in the 45 second clip does anyone actually go and look at the piano to investigate the noise. So saying that it was caused by a ghost seems a bit premature. I mean, they have several small dogs. Maybe a small dog did it.

Of course, it's possible that they don't let their dogs roam free around the house to play musical instruments. Who I am to be accusing the dogs? All I have to go on is this short video. Thinking about it, I assumed the clattering of plates was made by McCarthy, but only because I saw her leave the room shortly before. Maybe that was a ghost too.

Talking of dangerous assumptions, we're all assuming that the piano-like noise was actually made by the piano. We are bad detectives. Columbo would never make such a rookie mistake. Thankfully, Silicon Valley's own Columbo, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone, was on hand to investigate.

"I love watching 'Blue Bloods'", wrote Stone, referencing the police drama in which Wahlberg stars. "But Donald, you need to do some better detective work at home. That was your Google Home starting up".

So, case closed. Turns out that there was no ghost, just people wealthy enough to buy some new fangled tech and then forget it's there. Or have enough time on their hands to mess with people on Twitter.


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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