|FRIDAY 22 MARCH 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The legal battle between pop managers Scooter Braun and Troy Carter is over. Which is no fun at all. The two music business entrepreneurs seemingly agreed an out of court settlement earlier this month, the terms of which are not known... [READ MORE]|
Scooter Braun and Troy Carter settle legal dispute over alleged unpaid loan
Braun's Ithaca Management Holdings company went legal in the LA courts last September, listing Carter, his wife and his Atom Factory company as defendants. They were all accused of fraud and breach of contract over failure to pay back an alleged loan.
Court papers filed a month later, as Ithaca sought to freeze the bank accounts of Carter's companies, provided more background to the dispute.
They alleged that Braun's company loaned Carter's business $26 million in June 2016 and, as of last autumn, $14.5 million remained unpaid. Things seemingly came to ahead when Atom Factory settled an unrelated legal dispute, because Ithaca reckoned that the profits from that other settlement should have been used by Carter's companies to pay off the loan.
At the time, Carter disputed a bunch of what Ithaca had claimed in its legal filings, saying that there was no loan, and that the dispute had in fact arisen from his selling Atom Factory to Braun's business in 2016 and then agreeing to buy it back in 2018.
Carter then laid into Braun for attempting to tarnish his reputation after talks relating to the sale and buy-back of Atom Factory reached a roadblock.
Despite Carter's contentious statements late last year, it seems a deal has now been done. According to court papers seen by both Billboard and The Blast, both sides agreed to an out of court settlement on 19 Mar. Neither side has as yet commented on that deal.
Clash bassist's ex-wife and former manager barred from selling stake in their royalties company
Tricia Ronane wanted to sell her share of Cut-Throat Productions to an investment fund, arguing that it was impossible to be in business with her ex-husband because he won't respond to any of her queries.
The couple reached a divorce settlement in 2010, and she subsequently stood down from her management role. But under the terms of the divorce, they both had a 50% stake in the Cut-Throat business. Ronane now wanted to sell on her half.
Simonon had asked the court to block the sale, with his legal reps arguing that each party's 50% equity holding was never intended as an asset to sell. Rather the entity was a useful vehicle through which royalties could be collected and shared between the two sides.
Lawyers then said that Simonon was concerned about who might acquire the other half of the company, and that a business partner might be forced upon him with very different opinions on how monies generated by Cut-Throat should be managed.
Ronane's team countered that their client had basically been forced to sell because of her ex-husband's conduct. They said she had endured "years of Mr Simonon refusing to speak to or otherwise communicate with her, [whether] as his former wife, the mother of his children or as a director of Cut-Throat". His refusal to communicate, they argue, meant she was "forever stuck in this company, which, at least on her evidence, isn't functioning very well".
The judge, Mark Cawson - while conceding that Ronane was caught up in an "unfortunate dispute" - nevertheless ruled that she could not sell her half of Cut-Throat, simply because doing so "would be inconsistent and incompatible" with the terms of the divorce settlement. She was also ordered to pay £30,000 towards Simonon's legal costs.
R Kelly's legal team seek access to videos provided as evidence in sex abuse investigation
A number of videos alleged to show Kelly sexually abusing underaged girls have been handed in to American police since a new focus fell on the many abuse accusations made against the pop star after the screening of the 'Surviving R Kelly' documentary. Most of the tapes have been submitted by a lawyer called Michael Avenatti, who has stated that at least one of the recordings "leaves no question as to Mr Kelly's guilt".
The musician's attorney, Steven Greenberg, has told TMZ that prosecutors should begin handing over so called 'discovery materials' to the defence team at a court hearing later today. It's not known what materials will be among the first set of evidence shared, but he is most keen to get his hands on the videos.
According to TMZ, Greenberg says he will "immediately order a full forensic analysis of the tapes ... if he and Kelly believe the tape does show the singer". However, if they reckon it is not, in fact, Kelly in the recording, "Greenberg says he'll speed things up to trial".
Kelly continues to deny all the allegations that have been made against him. And when the most recent video was submitted to police, allegedly showing the musician abusing young girls, Greenberg again insisted his client was innocent, remarking that it was "now just open season" for making allegations against Kelly.
Universal shifts Verve Label Group under its global classical and jazz division
That's what I think anyway. Meanwhile, Universal Music yesterday announced that "to capitalise on the worldwide growth in the consumption of classical and jazz repertoire, the company will focus its global artist development and marketing strategy for those genres under a unified management structure". Can you believe they stole my idea?
This grand plan basically means shifting the mega-major's US-based Verve Label Group under its existing globally focused Universal Classics And Jazz division, which also includes Deutsche Grammophon and the Decca Label Group. The move expands the portfolio of Universal Classics And Jazz boss Dickon Stainer. Meanwhile current Verve Label Group CEO Danny Bennett will leave the business.
Says Stainer about his expanded remit: "Classical and jazz are amongst the musical wonders of the world. Streaming has opened a flood of discovery and has further enabled us to ensure our artists have a global reach. The developing international success of Max Richter, Gregory Porter, Lang Lang, Jacob Collier and Sheku Kanneh-Mason, among others, has demonstrated that we need to work with a seamlessly coordinated global approach [to achieve] the greatest results possible on behalf of our exceptional artists".
So that's fun isn't it? It's a good move though. Like I've always said, Stainer is an extraordinarily creative leader with an open-minded approach to identifying artists and then marketing them in ground-breaking ways. What a guy.
Anyway, here's Universal big boss Lucian Grainge with some thoughts: "Dickon is an extraordinarily creative leader with an open-minded approach to identifying artists and then marketing them in ground-breaking ways". Hey, Luci, get your own opinions!
Lighthouse Family to release new album after eighteen year gap
After a gap of eighteen years, they've signed a new deal with Universal's Polydor label and are releasing a new album. Titled 'Blue Sky In Your Head', it will be bundled with a best of compilation to mark their 25th anniversary as a band.
The duo actually first started trying to put together their fourth album back in 2010, reveals Paul Tucker. But "somehow we couldn't knock it together in the studio", he says.
"So we decided to go and do some shows", he goes on, "to remind ourselves who we are and what we do. As one of the Duran Duran guys said to me: 'What do you want to go in the studio for? That's where all the arguments happen! Go and do some gigs'. So, that's what we did, and it was great".
So that all worked out. Even though what Mr Duran said doesn't really apply to the Lighthouse Family anyway. "What happens when Tunde [Baiyewu] and I get in the studio is, we just drift off - we don't ever row. There's no shouting or throwing things. In fact we only ever had one argument - but it lasted 20 years!"
Sadly, he doesn't elaborate on what this two decade argument was about, even though it's possibly the most interesting thing going on here. But feel free to use this time to imagine what might have caused a 20 year dispute. And while you have a little think about that, you can put on new single 'My Salvation', which is out now.
"We're trying to create something anthemic and uplifting but real", says Tucker of the song. "That idea of 'I know the sun's gonna shine again', it's quintessential Lighthouse Family".
As well as putting out their new album on 3 May, the duo will be heading out on tour in November. Here are the dates:
11 Nov: Birmingham Symphony Hall
Matthew Herbert releases track from Brexit album, announces week-long single
But at least we'll have something to listen to as all that drama plays out, as next week also sees the release of Matthew Herbert's two years in production Brexit-themed album, 'The State Between Us'.
The project officially began at the moment the UK government stupidly and prematurely triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and began the whole farce we've been living through ever since. Since that day, Herbert has been making good use of his freedom of movement, travelling around the EU to collaborate with as many people as possible before we're officially due to leave the union on 29 Mar.
The album will be released by Herbert's Matthew Herbert Big Band, renamed the Matthew Herbert Great Britain And Gibraltar European Union Membership Referendum Big Band for this project. Ahead of the LP's launch, new track 'Where's Home?' has just been made available. Listen here.
This isn't the only piece of new music Herbert is releasing before Brexit day, though. Today he's putting out the longest single ever recorded, 'A Week In The Life Of A Tree'. Running at 166 hours, the track - as the title suggests - records the last seven days in the life of a 180 year old tree in a Hamburg forest.
A portion of this recording is used on the opening track on 'The State Between Us', which is called 'A Devotion On Emergent Occasions'. However, the full version serves more of a distracting purpose - being released this week will give you something else to focus on, rather than whatever Brexit nonsense fills the next seven days.
"I'd rather listen to a tree than Boris Johnson", says Herbert. "Brexit is an expensive, and pointless exercise compared to the existential emergency of climate change. If the next generation is to survive in to the next century, we need to urgently change the economic system we've built and that means paying more attention to the other forms of life we share the planet with than the Daily Express".
The recording is available for you to listen to at your leisure from today. Although if you like things to be perfectly timed, NTS Radio will be broadcasting it from early on Saturday morning, timing the sound of the tree being felled at exactly 11pm on 29 Mar - the point at which the UK is officially set to leave the European Union (even if 12 Apr is now looking more likely as the earliest possible date).
As well as all this, The Matthew Herbert Great Britain And Gibraltar European Union Membership Referendum Big Band will be performing live twice at the Royal Court Theatre in London 29 Mar.
Also - and this isn't really related to any of this - but I just read Herbert's book, 'The Music', and it's very good.
Love Music Hate Racism, Mumford & Sons, Ibibio Sound Machine, more
Other notable announcements and developments today...
• The Love Music Hate Racism's Beautiful Resistance campaign has been underway this month, with a number of events and initiatives taking place, including a series of video interviews being posted on YouTube. The next of those, featuring Ed Sheeran and Dave, will go live later today.
• Mumford and also the Sons have released the video for new single 'Beloved'.
• Ibibio Sound Machine have released the video for 'Wanna Come Down'. Their new album, 'Doko Mien', is out today.
• Honeyblood have released new track 'Glimmer'.
• Ellen Allien has announced that she will release her new album, 'Alientronic', on 17 May. From it, this is 'Stimulation'.
• Erland Cooper has released new track 'First Of The Tide'. His new album, 'Sule Skerry', is out on 17 May.
• Girl Unit has released new track, 'Sucker Free', featuring Ms Boogie. His debut album, 'Song Free', is out on 5 Apr.
• Muncie Girls have announced UK tour dates, including shows at Elsewhere in Margate and The Green Door Store in Brighton.
• Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Silent vinyl is here for when you just want a bit of quiet
Titled 'Silent Meditation', the new release - now up for pre-order on Kickstarter - will feature 20 solid minutes of nothing on each side. "No sound, no narration, no chimes at the end", says creator Eric Antonow. "Drop the needle and enjoy the silence".
The idea, he explains, came after he bought a meditation record he found in a second hand vinyl store. "As a fan of meditation, I bought it and took it home to play", he says. "The first part was an explanation [of] why meditation was good for you, then came a few sternly guided meditations. It wasn't at all what I wanted".
What he wanted, he realised, was silence. "Each listening would be totally different, a surprise, and another chance to be aware", he explains. "Having a physical record was not just cool, but probably surprisingly useful. I imagined flipping through albums, looking for something to play. It would stand out, like an invitation to a party. Hey! Let's go sit".
He insists that this is "a serious project", but admits it's also "intentionally humorous", hoping that it will act as "a reminder that silence is valuable and it can be enjoyed".
The record has been predictably compared to John Cage's '4'33', in which musicians sit in silence for four minutes and 33 seconds. But Antonow dismisses this comparison, on the grounds that his record is "not music, nor were any musicians involved in this recording". However, the idea still isn't wholly original.
Back in 1980, Stiff Records released 'The Wit And Wisdom Of Ronald Reagan', which featured 40 minutes of silence over two sides of vinyl. This idea was then borrowed by Alcopop! Records for 2015 single 'The Wit And Wisdom Of Nigel Farage'. The seven-inch features the title track on side A, backed with an Enter Shikari remix.
Of course, 'Silent Meditation' makes no comment on politics, so it is different in that regard. I'm sure you could put it on and think about politics if you wanted, though. Or not. The possibilities are endless.