TODAY'S TOP STORY: Lawyers representing Kesha and Dr Luke have both submitted new papers seeking partial summary judgement in their respective client's favour in the producer's ongoing defamation case against the singer. Both sides make a number of requests of the judge, relating to things they'd ideally like resolved before the case eventually reaches trial... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES Kesha and Dr Luke both call for summary judgements in ongoing defamation case
LEGAL Four men sentenced over bootleg vinyl operation
LIVE BUSINESS Administration papers reveal what artists were owed by Bestival
Superstruct invests in another European festival, this time Flow
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Apple Music coming to Amazon's Echo smart speakers
MEDIA BBC to make performers fight to the death over Eurovision songs
ONE LINERS Warner Music, Benny Blanco, Confidence Man, more
AND FINALLY... Ted Cruz doesn't like Nine Inch Nails, but covets their beer
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Kesha and Dr Luke both call for summary judgements in ongoing defamation case
Lawyers representing Kesha and Dr Luke have both submitted new papers seeking partial summary judgement in their respective client's favour in the producer's ongoing defamation case against the singer. Both sides make a number of requests of the judge, relating to things they'd ideally like resolved before the case eventually reaches trial.

The key demand on Kesha's side is that Dr Luke be considered a 'public figure', which would place a higher burden on him to prove his defamation claim under the relevant laws. They also request that a number of the allegedly defamatory statements being put forward by the producer be barred from being brought up at trial. That request cites different reasons for different statements, including that some comments are protected under New York law, and that others are a mere statement of opinion that cannot be considered defamation.

On Dr Luke's side, his lawyers want a ruling that Kesha be held liable for statements made by her one time legal rep Mark Geragos, her mother Pebe Sebert and others. It is argued that these statements were made on behalf of the singer and should therefore be considered her responsibility. Luke's team also seek confirmation that statements put forward in the case are not protected speech.

In addition to the defamation arguments, a large portion of Dr Luke's submission calls for a court ruling on the status of Kesha's various deals with the producer's companies. In particular, it calls for the court to order Kesha to hand over royalties from her 'Rainbow' album.

That album was released after the judge overseeing the Kesha/Luke legal battle ruled that she should be allowed to record for Dr Luke's then business partner Sony Music without the producer's direct involvement, despite her existing agreements with him. She now argues that her agreement with Luke regarding her recordings is terminated and therefore no royalties are due to him. He counters that while he may not have had direct involvement in the new record, it is still covered by their past agreements.

Along with these new submissions come thousands of pages of evidence from both sides, firming up the arguments they plan to make in court. Much of this evidence relates to claims and counterclaims that have featured in various press statements from both sides over the last year.

At the heart of the dispute, of course, is Kesha's key allegation that she was drugged and raped by the producer. He says that this is a fabrication, invented to try to force his hand in contract renegotiations. His lawyers have submitted emails and other documents which they say show that Kesha's management, PR reps and others devised a plan to destroy Luke's career through a malicious media campaign.

A key piece of that evidence is a text message from Kesha to Lady Gaga, in which she claimed that Katy Perry had been raped by Dr Luke. Perry later denied this in a deposition. More of that text conversation has now been published, causing Lady Gaga to issue a statement of her own, after she was shown to have called Perry "mean" and to have offered to try to convince her to speak up in favour of Kesha.

Gaga tweeted on Friday: "Katy Perry and I have grown up in the industry together. We've gone through both celebrations and differences with each other. These are old texts. We've matured, gotten over the past, love each other and share deep respect. Katy is my friend and is truly a kind soul. End of story".

A spokesperson for Gaga also told Variety: "These text messages paint a picture of one friend trying to help another through an extraordinary difficult time. They are several years old and in no way reflect Lady Gaga's relationship with Katy Perry. These are private texts that - along with personal information from other high-profile individuals - have been publicly filed to generate media attention for this case".

It is still not clear when this case will actually reach trial, but these latest filings are a big step towards getting there.


Four men sentenced over bootleg vinyl operation
Even the world of piracy is having a vinyl revival. Two men have been jailed and two others have received suspended sentences for their involvement in a bootleg vinyl operation that was manufacturing and selling unlicensed copies of mainly Northern Soul recordings.

Alan Godfrey, Christopher Price, Robert Pye and Stephen Russell were all involved in the piracy venture and were variously accused of copyright and trademark infringement as a result. They each received sentences of between eight and ten months, though for two of the defendants those sentences were suspended.

Anti-piracy officers at record industry trade body the BPI came across the operation while test-buying vinyl that was being sold online. Suspicions that these were not legitimate releases - put out back in the day by the record companies who control the copyright in each of the recordings - were heightened by, among other things, spelling errors and blurred typefaces on the labels.

During their investigation, police officers found suspicious payments in the defendants' bank and PayPal accounts, and subsequently seized 55,000 records which prosecutors reckoned were worth about £500,000.

Linking the four men as being part of one co-ordinated piracy venture, Alex Greenwood, speaking for the prosecution, told the crown court in Newport that: "All defendants were engaged in the large scale commercial sale of counterfeit goods infringing both trademark and copyright".

He went on: "In many instances identical copies of recordings were found at the addresses of each of the defendants, indicative that they were supplying each other. All defendants' PayPal records reflected thousands of sales of similarly described recordings over many years".

Now that all four men have been sentenced, a separate 'proceeds of crime' hearing in relation to the case will take place next year.


Administration papers reveal what artists were owed by Bestival
Paperwork filed after the Bestival company was recently forced into administration reveal what monies were owed to an assortment of artists who played at the main Bestival festival this year.

In papers filed by administrators Begbies Traynor, it was revealed that headliners of the main Bestival festival this year, London Grammer, were owed £175,000 when the company collapsed.

Other artists still due fees from the festival firm included Plan B (£105,000), Mura Masa (£70,000), First Aid Kit (£38,500), Rudimental (£24,500), Mabel (£12,000) and Mike Skinner (£8500). Vic Reeves was due £300 for performing a reggae set while comedy outfit Kurupt FM were due a whole pound.

One of the Bestival Group's money-lenders forced the struggling festival business into administration back in September.

That finance firm, the Richmond Group, bought the company out of administration, initially saying it planned to directly operate the more family orientated Camp Bestival event moving forward. But then an entity backed by Live Nation and SJM - and led by Bestival founders Rob and Josie Da Bank - in turn bought the business from Richmond.

A spokesperson for the administrators told the Bournemouth Echo that it's still not known what, if any, the various creditors will see of the monies they were owed.

When the Bestival Group went into administration, in addition to the artists and suppliers who were owed money, many festival-goers were still awaiting refunds after bad weather caused the final day of Camp Bestival 2018 to be cancelled.

In a statement on Facebook last month, the Da Banks wrote: "The nature of the last few months means that the insurance money that was available to refund 2018 ticketholders ... was entirely lost in the administration. This is unfair to you, our fans".

To that end, they went on, "the new owners, [Live Nation] and SJM, understand how unfair this feels and as a result have agreed to fund discounts and refunds for 2018 ticket holders". Details were then published on how those affected by the 2018 cancellation could claim a refund, or a free ticket or discount for the 2019 event.

That same statement again confirmed that Camp Bestival 2019 will definitely go ahead, now promoted by the all new Bestival company. Tickets for that festival were already on sale at the time of the administration. However, there is still no word on the future of the other Bestival Group events, the main Bestival and Common People.


Superstruct invests in another European festival, this time Flow
The really rather acquisitive Superstruct Entertainment continues to be really rather acquisitive by acquiring Finnish festival Flow. It follows similar deals with Elrow and Sónar in Spain, the Sziget Festival in Hungary and Øyafestivalen in Norway.

Superstruct is the live music centric investment fund set up by private equity outfit Providence Equity Partners and headed up by Cream founder James Barton. It has been buying into an assortment of independent festivals and live music firms around Europe.

The founders of the Flow festival will remain shareholders in their event as part of the investment deal and will also continue to run it.

One of those founders, Tuomas Kallio, said of the transaction: "Given the accelerating global competition, we want to ensure Flow is able to offer the highest-quality experience. By partnering with Superstruct, we will be able to not only improve our existing event in Finland - including continued development of the Suvilahti event area - but simultaneously collaborate with a chain of quality events".

The aforementioned Barton added: "This is a great development for Superstruct and consistent with our strategy of partnering with outstanding live music and arts festivals in Europe. We have been big fans of the Flow Festival for a number of years now and look forward to supporting the experienced management team [as they] solidify its market-leading position in Finland".


Apple Music coming to Amazon's Echo smart speakers
They say that music can bring even the most bitter of enemies together. I think they do. Do they say that? I might have just made that up. Whatever, Apple Music is going to be available through Amazon's Echo devices from next month. It's a Christmas miracle!

Actually, in the ongoing battle between the tech giants to do each other's products down, things between Apple and Amazon have warmed recently. Last year an Amazon Prime Video app launched on Apple TV, shortly after Google's YouTube app had been dumped from Amazon devices.

In a statement, Amazon said that playing music is the most popular use of its Echo smart speakers, so it makes sense to get as many services on board as possible in order to sell those devices, despite Amazon having its own on-demand streaming service to promote.

Apple, of course, has its own competing smart speaker device with the overpriced HomePod. But, while it's made it a pain in the arse to use anything other than Apple Music on its own speaker, Apple nevertheless seems happy to let rival devices become more consumer friendly.

SVP of Amazon Devices, Dave Limp, says: "We are committed to offering great music providers to our customers and since launching [our] Music Skill API to developers just last month, we've expanded the music selection on Alexa to include even more top tier services. We're THRILLED to bring Apple Music - one of the most popular music services in the US - to Echo customers this holiday".

Apple Music will officially arrive on Echo devices in the US on 17 Dec.


BBC to make performers fight to the death over Eurovision songs
Good news! The BBC's programme to decide who represents the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest is being made even more stupid and confusing. There will still be six contestants, but there will only be three songs between them.

Each song will be given to two singers, who will then perform it in a different style. So the public will not only have to decide which artist is the least embarrassing, but also which song and which version of it they dislike the least.

Have we not yet learned that asking the public to make any Europe-related decisions is a terrible idea and making it more complicated isn't going to help anyone? Let's just revoke Article 50 and focus on repairing all the damage the last two and a half years have already done. Oh wait, sorry, that's something else.

Attempting to explain the new Eurovision plan, Mel Balac, Creative Director Of Entertainment at BBC Studios, says: "This year the three songs presented to the United Kingdom have been selected with the help of an international jury. Our exciting 'euro-version' format will give fans the chance to compare and contrast these fantastic songs in a fresh, new way and deliver the United Kingdom the artist it deserves to fly the flag out in Tel Aviv in May".

Nope. Still confused. Giving it another go, Kate Phillips, the BBC's Controller Of Entertainment Commissioning, adds: "Next year it's all about the song-off as we once again try to marry a great singer with a great song, one which could finally get us on the left hand side of the leader board. We may be leaving the EU but we are still determined to win Eurovision again one day!"

Due to be broadcast in February, 'Eurovision: You Decide' will this year come from MediaCity in Salford. It will be presented by Mel Giedroyc and Måns Zelmerlöw.


Approved: Ex:Re
Daughter frontwoman Elena Tonra announced her solo project, Ex:Re, last week, promptly releasing her debut album under that name days later.

Tonra began writing the album last year, recording it with 4AD's in-house engineer and producer Fabian Prynn over the last few months. The record deals with the period following a break up and has a real immediacy to it, in no small part thanks to its lyrics which spill out like thoughts delivered in the moment.

"Although the record is written for someone, a lot of the time it's about the space without that person in it", she says. "In every scenario, there's either the person in memory or the noticeable absence of that person in the present moment. I suppose it is a break-up record, however I do not talk about the relationship at all, and he hardly features in the scenes. He is only felt as a ghostly presence".

A varied album, it often drifts sonically close to Daughter, but shuns the rockier side of Tonra's main band. She also drifts elsewhere, though, like on lead single 'Romance', on which her vocals are surrounded by a hazy, weary sort of house music, like life outside these thoughts is trying to fight its way in.

Following a one-off show at Hoxton Hall in London last week, you'll be able to catch Ex:Re live again opening for Ben Howard at Brixton Academy on 19 Jan.

Watch the video for 'Romance' here.

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

Warner Music, Benny Blanco, Confidence Man, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• Former Facebook exec Jess Keeley-Carter has been named Warner Music's new Senior Vice President of Global Digital Marketing. "Breaking and sustaining an artist's career across an ever-changing digital landscape is complex, requiring a smart combination of global oversight, local expertise and real-time co-ordination", she says, getting right into it.

• Benny Blanco has released new single, 'Better To Lie', featuring Swae Lee and The NBHD's Jesse.

• Confidence Man are back and they've brought with them a Christmas single, 'Santa's Comin Down The Chimney'. "Sometimes Santa skips the plate of cookies and goes straight for the whiskey", says the band's Janet Planet. "So unwrap yourself some sass and see what Santa's really been up to. You're welcome world".

• Joy Crookes has released new single 'Don't Let Me Down'. She's also announced that she'll play Omeara in London on 27 Feb.

• Sínai has released new single 'Anxiety'.

• Penthouse have released new single 'Party Ring'. "It's about going on tour and partying a fair bit when we're away from home", says drummer Ben Schulze. Coincidently, they're about to go on tour.

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


Ted Cruz doesn't like Nine Inch Nails, but covets their beer
Ted Cruz doesn't like Nine Inch Nails but would like to drink all of their beer. So says the US senator in response to onstage comments made by Trent Reznor at a show in Texas last week.

Performing in the state where Cruz was recently re-elected, Reznor polled the audience to find out how many of his fans had voted for the Republican. He added that there were no hard feelings if they had, saying: "He might be here tonight. He was bugging to get on the guest list and I told him to fuck off. We put him on [the guest list] a few years ago. He drank all the beer and was just a pain in the ass to be around".

Cruz later tweeted in response: "To all the gullible reporters who are 'reporting' that I asked to be on the guest list at a Nine Inch Nails concert: uh, no, NIN is not my music taste. He was clearly joking. And for the record, I also didn't 'drink all his beer' the last time... but I would have!"

You read it right there, folks. Ted Cruz is a compulsive beer thief who cannot be stopped.


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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