TODAY'S TOP STORY: R Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg has filed a motion in court to have all communications between Cooke County State Attorney Kim Foxx and lawyer Michael Avenatti preserved. He argues that the two have improperly worked together on the criminal case against his client, and that there are now "serious questions" about "whether Kim Foxx was bullied or just simply manipulated by Avenatti"... [READ MORE]
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TOP STORIES R Kelly's lawyer accuses State Attorney of acting improperly
LEGAL GMR's radio industry legal battle to relocate to California
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Warner formally welcomes new publishing top team
Reservoir Music opens Nashville office
LIVE BUSINESS Bristol's ship venue Thekla to close for three months of repair work
BRANDS & MERCH Liam Gallagher's fashion business slips into administration
GIGS & FESTIVALS Foals to headline Transgressive anniversary show at The Great Escape
AND FINALLY... Snoop Dogg is nice but forgetful
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R Kelly's lawyer accuses State Attorney of acting improperly
R Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg has filed a motion in court to have all communications between Cooke County State Attorney Kim Foxx and lawyer Michael Avenatti preserved. He argues that the two have improperly worked together on the criminal case against his client, and that there are now "serious questions" about "whether Kim Foxx was bullied or just simply manipulated by Avenatti".

Foxx urged Kelly's accusers to come forward in the wake of the documentary 'Surviving R Kelly'. Meanwhile legal man Avenatti has been conducting his own investigations into various accusations of child abuse against the star. He has said that he has uncovered various pieces of video evidence that prove the musician's guilt. One, which was handed to Foxx's office, allegedly shows Kelly having sex with a fourteen year old girl.

Greenberg said yesterday that Avenatti has "acted as a de facto prosecutor" and has "polluted" the case, with the co-operation of Foxx. He says he wants the court to ensure that all communications between Foxx and Avenatti are preserved so that they can be investigated for impropriety.

Attempting to cast doubt on the trustworthiness of those working on the case against Kelly, he highlighted recent accusations that Avenatti attempted to extort millions of dollars from Nike and criticism of Foxx's handling of the recent Jussie Smollet case. He said that Avenatti was using the Kelly investigation to distract attention away from him and that Foxx was too easily swayed by others.

Greenberg also said that Foxx's admission that she had been abused as a child "creates the appearance of bias and an understandable willingness, desire and propensity to rush to judgment in prosecuting".

Responding via a statement on Twitter yesterday, Avenatti wrote: "Steve Greenberg, R Kelly's attorney, is now trying to distract attention away from the clear guilt of his client by raising bogus arguments about me and Kim Foxx. The evidence is the evidence. Multiple witnesses/tapes, plus DNA. R Kelly will be convicted for his sexual abuse of girls".

"The only thing that has 'polluted' the R Kelly case", he added, "is Steve Greenberg and R Kelly's never-ending bullshit".

Foxx's office declined to comment, but, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, in a court response to Greenberg's motion, Assistant State Attorney Jennifer Gonzalez said that the "accusations and speculation [are] lacking in factual support, [and] also bear no discernible relation to defendant's request that certain evidence be preserved". She also noted that state laws already require records of communications to be kept.

Kelly's request to be allowed to travel to Dubai for a series of live shows was also put on hold yesterday. Last month his legal team requested that he be allowed to leave the US for up to five concerts in the Middle Eastern country, which they said were booked before the recent sexual abuse charges that required him to rescind his passport. However, the Dubai government quickly issued a statement saying that no such shows were scheduled.

Greenberg said that the request to travel may be revived at a later date, but it would be done through Kelly's entertainment lawyer.


GMR's radio industry legal battle to relocate to California
The ongoing dispute between America's mini collecting society GMR and the US radio industry will relocate to a court in California, which was the former's preference to start with.

GMR, of course, is the boutique performing rights organisation that was set up by artist manager Irving Azoff. It represents the performing rights of a small but very well-formed gang of acclaimed songwriters. In doing so, it competes for members with the three other PROs that operate in the US, them being BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. Though broadcasters wanting to play music written by any songwriter need a licence from all four.

Because BMI and ASCAP both represent such large catalogues of songs, they are regulated by the US Department Of Justice through the so called consent decrees, which are meant to overcome competition law concerns that are often raised about collective licensing. SESAC, although not governed by a consent decree, agreed to third party mediation on royalty disputes during a past legal battle with the radio industry's Radio Music License Committee.

Since Azoff set up GMR, the RMLC has been busy trying to force it to also accept third party mediation. RMLC argues that GMR is another music licensing monopoly that should be subject to some regulation. GMR counters that, as a boutique rights agency, it has nothing even near to a monopoly over song rights, and therefore should be able to negotiate licensing deals without third party interference.

This whole dispute went legal in November 2016 when the RMLC sued GMR in the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania. A few weeks later GMR countersued RMLC in California, arguing that Pennsylvania was the wrong place for this dispute to be heard, given the radio licensing group is based in Nashville, Tennessee and GMR in LA. While RMLC does represents stations across the US, it has lots more members in California than Pennsylvania.

By suing in the latter state, GMR then claimed, the radio industry group was basically "forum shopping". But, despite those allegations, the countersuit in California was put on hold pending the outcome of the case in Pennsylvania. Attempts by GMR to have the Californian case restarted last year then failed.

However, the judge overseeing RMLC's Pennsylvanian lawsuit has now declared that he doesn't have jurisdiction, presumably because of the reasons previously argued by GMR. According to Billboard, judge C Darnell Jones II ruled on Friday that he does not have "personal jurisdiction" over the LA-based music rights group. As a result, RMLC's case will now be transferred to a court in California.

Although Jones made no comment on the respective arguments of RMLC and GMR regarding the rights and wrongs of how the latter should license the former, it does mean the case will now be argued in the state of preference for the collecting society. So this latest development can be classified as a small win for Azoff and his team.


Warner formally welcomes new publishing top team
Warner Music's music publisher formally welcomed its new leadership team yesterday as Guy Moot, formerly off of Sony/ATV, took over as CEO. He replaces Jon Platt, who is now in the top job at Sony/ATV.

Moot will run Warner/Chappell in partnership with COO Carianne Marshall, the former Songs exec who join the Warner publisher last year.

Welcoming the new top team, overall Warner boss Steve Cooper got only slightly distracted by the mini-major's new LA offices, saying: "It's a time of exciting change and fresh creativity at Warner/Chappell. Last month, our LA team moved into a new, cutting-edge HQ; a fitting home for a dynamic music company committed to innovation and collaboration. Today, we officially announce a unique leadership duo with the ambition and energy to propel Warner/Chappell, its songwriters, and its team into the future".

Now fully focused on people rather than bricks, he went on: "We're very fortunate to have two such inspiring execs with complementary talents - Guy's A&R vision and global operational strength, combined with Carianne's entrepreneurial expertise and world-class creative instincts. We're all looking forward to what's on the horizon and what's coming next".

As are we all, I'm sure.


Reservoir Music opens Nashville office
Music rights firm Reservoir has launched a new office in Nashville and has hired Ole's John Ozier to run it.

Don't believe me? Well, prepare to look very silly indeed. Here is Ozier himself with a quote. "I am incredibly excited to join Reservoir and help expand the company's footprint into Nashville", says he.

"Golnar, Rell and their entire team have built an exceptional global roster and one of the leading independent music publishers in the business", he goes on. "Their commitment to Nashville is THRILLing and I am confident we are going to knock it out of the park".

Want to know who Golnar and Rell are? Well, I'm not going to tell you. I'm still really pissed off that you didn't believe me back there at the start of the story. I'm not even going to tell you which park it's all going to be knocked out of. And it's a really good park.


Bristol's ship venue Thekla to close for three months of repair work
Bristol's ship-based music venue Thekla is to be floated off for a £1 million refurbishment in June. This follows the discovery that its hull is in need of major repair work. Built in 1958, the ship marks its 35th anniversary as a music venue at the beginning of May, and will close a month later while work to repair and update it is carried out.

"There's a lot of love for Thekla in Bristol, around the country and worldwide", says George Akins of DHP Family, which has owned the venue since 2006. "Both music fans and bands like Florence And The Machine, White Denim, Mumford & Sons, Ellie Goulding and many others who have played there over the years have taken part in some great nights. We're committed to preserving that heritage and that's why we're getting the new hull fitted - we need to make sure that Thekla continues to be a great night out for the next 50 years".

Thekla's future was placed in doubt in 2017 due to a nearby housing development. The outcome of this remains unclear, although it is hoped that DHP and developers of the Redcliffe Wharf property scheme can work to mitigate the likelihood of noise complaints from any future new residents.

The need for the upcoming repair work was uncovered earlier this year when the ship was moved to the nearby, recently re-opened Albion dry dock. It will return there to have the maintenance work completed.

No date has been given for the re-opening of the venue, but it is expected that the repair and refurbishment work will take around three months.


Liam Gallagher's fashion business slips into administration
Liam Gallagher's fashion business Pretty Green has been placed into administration, although in a statement the retailer has said that "all stores and concessions will continue trading until further notice" while administrators try to find a buyer.

The company brought in advisors from accountancy firm Moorfields Advisory last month to undertake what it called a "strategic review". Pretty Green has its own stores, but also relies on a sizable partnership with House Of Fraser. That particular department store chain had its own financial problems last year before ultimately being bought out of administration by Sports Direct. It's thought all that had a negative impact on Gallagher's company.

With Moorfields now appointed as administrators, a partner at the company told reporters: "We continue to work closely with Pretty Green's management and its advisers. The brand has a strong following and it is unfortunate that, similar to many other retailers who rely on concessions, they have suffered as a consequence of larger department store insolvencies".

However, Moorfields is still optimistic about finding a buyer for Gallagher's firm, the partner adding that "following a period of marketing, the brand attracted a large amount of interest, so we remain hopeful a deal can be done".


Approved: Night Works
It has been what I think anyone would reasonably call "a while" since Gabriel Stebbing's excellent debut album as Night Works, 2013's 'Urban Heat Island'.

Not that the former Metronomy member has been procrastinating all that time. Work on the Christine And The Queens' debut album, 'Chaleur Humaine', turned into a position in her live band that occupied him ever longer as that album's success grew internationally.

And all that activity roughly brings us up to the present day, where Stebbing has gathered together the loose ends of the Night Works project and returned to it once again. His re-arrival is announced by new single 'The Weapon', taken from upcoming EP 'Stuck On Broadway'. The track presents a confident sound and approach to recording, which leaves the song plenty of space in which to breath.

"It feels like a massive relief to be sharing my own music again after years as a collaborator", he says. "Although the genesis of this song dates right back to when I was recording the first Christine And The Queens album. 'The Weapon' comes from a time in my life when I felt all at sea, so there's something relevant about the way it's finally been released into these disorientating times, and that the video panned out the way it did".

That video saw Stebbing and filmmaker Antonia Luxem take a trip out to the large wind farm that sits on the horizon off the coast at Margate - a journey not quite as simple as they first imagined.

"Antonia suggested shooting at the Thanet Offshore Wind Array, as it was something she'd wanted to do for a long time", he explains. "There was only one skipper in Ramsgate who was brave/crazy enough to take us out there in mid-December - props to skipper Roger and Deckhand Dan of the Skerry Belle for navigating us there and back in one piece. By the time we got there it was gusting force seven, and Antonia was clinging on for dear life with one hand and filming with other - a health and safety nightmare. I was feeling pretty green around the gills at that point. But it's worked out magically".

Watch the video for 'The Weapon' here.

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Foals to headline Transgressive anniversary show at The Great Escape
Independent music firm Transgressive will celebrate fifteen years in business with a special anniversary spotlight show at The Great Escape in May headlined by Foals, who are back in action this year, of course, with not one but two new albums.

Foals played Horatio's at the end of Brighton Pier during TGE 2007 shortly after Transgressive released the band's early single 'Hummer'. This time they'll headline a separately ticketed spotlight show further up the seafront at Concorde 2, supported by fellow Transgressive signings Blaenavon and Boniface.

Confirming the special TGE show, Transgressive Co-Founder Toby L said: "The Great Escape is easily one of the world's most progressive and exciting showcase platforms and since Transgressive always endeavours to unearth and support brand new artists that offer something to say, it felt entirely apt to kickstart a year of parties, special releases and other birthday related gimmickry in Brighton at an event we've supported since its inception".

Speaking for TGE, Rory Bett of MAMA Festivals added: "We are delighted to kick off Transgressive's fifteenth anniversary celebrations at The Great Escape with a very special spotlight show headlined by Foals. Our relationship with Transgressive and Foals goes way back to the early days of The Great Escape and it's been a pleasure to see both go from strength to strength. The Great Escape and Transgressive have similar beliefs when it comes to supporting new music and emerging artists. It's a real honour watching them develop from The Great Escape onwards. We look forward to celebrating in May!"

As well as the separately ticketed Foals show on the Friday of TGE, Transgressive will also co-host an evening on the Fender Stage at The Old Market within the main festival programme on the Thursday of the proceedings, 9 May.

Tickets for the Foals-headlined spotlight show are on sale here. Delegate passes for the wider TGE festival, including access into the three CMU+TGE Conferences, are available here.


Snoop Dogg is nice but forgetful
Snoop Dogg is a pretty laidback guy. So laidback he can sometimes be forgetful. Like, he might leave a bag lying around by mistake. As he did when he performed at Exeter venue Timepiece in 2014. No biggie though, it only contained several hundred thousand pounds in cash.

The rapper played the small venue after performing at the Boardmasters festival in Cornwall, and he and the show are remembered fondly by its owner, George Sloan.

"Snoop was the most laid back person I think I have ever met", he recalls in a new interview with Devon Live. "I spent about 20 minutes with him and all I got was 'cool'. The evening was 'cool', the club was 'cool', the crowd was 'cool'. He posed for photographs and signed autographs. There was nothing outrageous on his rider, just a specific type of gin. He was very charming".

It wasn't until Sloan was on his way home in the early hours of the morning that things became more dramatic. Snoop and his entourage had decamped to a nearby Travelodge and noticed that they were one bag short, prompting a phone call to the venue owner.

"They said: 'We've left a large rucksack upstairs behind the DJ box, could we come and pick it up", says Sloan. "I said I'd left for the night but I'd see if I could arrange for someone to go and have a look".

"Now, Snoop Dogg had played the night before at Boardmasters in Newquay as part of a mini tour we'd organised and he usually insisted that he's paid in cash", he explains. "So there was this bag which we just assumed had the usual in it, but what we didn't realise was that it had all the money he had been paid from the events he had played so far. I reckon there must have been around £300,000-400,000 in there. I could have retired that night!"


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.
Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
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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SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager & Insights Associate
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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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