THURSDAY 16 MAY 2019 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Organisers of the Woodstock 50 festival yesterday welcomed a ruling in the New York courts confirming that the event's financial backer had no right to unilaterally cancel the event. This means "Woodstock 50 is on!", said organisers declared. Though the court declined to force that now ex-backer to return $18 million to the event's bank account... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Woodstock's financial backers can't cancel the event, court rules
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LIVE BUSINESS Competition regulator to investigate Live Nation's MCD acquisition
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MEDIA RAJARS! Everyone's getting a hearty breakfast, and digital is eating everything
Sophie Ellis-Bextor pulls out of UK's Eurovision judging panel
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RELEASES Tycho announces new album
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GIGS & FESTIVALS Ride announce UK tour dates
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ONE LINERS Sony/ATV, HMUK, Adam Lambert, more
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AND FINALLY... "You've fucked my night", Roger Daltrey tells weed-smoking fans in New York
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Woodstock's financial backers can't cancel the event, court rules
Organisers of the Woodstock 50 festival yesterday welcomed a ruling in the New York courts confirming that the event's financial backer had no right to unilaterally cancel the event. This means "Woodstock 50 is on!", said organisers declared. Though the court declined to force that now ex-backer to return $18 million to the event's bank account.

The 50th anniversary celebration of the original Woodstock, due to take place in August, was thrown into doubt last month when its primary financial backer - Amplifi Live, a division of marketing group the Dentsu Aegis Network - announced that the event had been cancelled. The Woodstock company itself then quickly denied there had been any cancellation and insisted that the show would go on.

The dispute between Woodstock and Dentsu went legal last week, putting the spotlight on the contract between the two entities in the New York courts this week. Most attention fell onto what that contract said about cancelling the event and the management of the bank account that had been set up to pay festival costs.

The agreement did set out quite clearly what Dentsu could do if it thought the Woodstock company was ever in breach of its contract. Basically, the marketing firm could either cancel the deal and walk away from the project, or take control of the festival and more directly manage the booking of acts and delivery of the event.

Dentsu alleges that Woodstock was very much in breach of its contract by the middle of last month. Among its gripes are Woodstock's failure to consult the firm over talent bookings and a significant, if necessary, slashing of capacity, as well as failures to decrease the approved budget after missing a talent booking deadline and to gain approval for certain expenses.

On the basis of those alleged breaches, Dentsu decided to take control of the event. It then used that control to cancel the whole thing, because "the significant cost overruns, revenue shortfalls and lack of financing facing the festival [are] all insurmountable obstacles that cannot be cured". But, argued Woodstock, while the contract may have provided for Dentsu to take control of the event, that didn't mean it could cancel the show.

That's because - although by taking control of the event Dentsu changed its working relationship with the Woodstock company - the two entities' agreement was still in place. And that agreement clearly states that "any decision to cancel the festival shall be jointly made in writing by the parties".

This is why the judge hearing the case ruled yesterday that Dentsu and its subsidiaries "are enjoined and restrained ... from cancelling the festival or communicating to the media and/or festival stakeholders - including state and county officials, venue operators, local vendors, community representatives, insurers, producers, and talent agencies, and performers - that the festival has been cancelled".

However, not everything went the way of the Woodstock company. Under the original deal Dentsu committed a budget of just over $49 million to stage the festival and set up a standalone bank account via which to pay the festival's costs. There was just under $18 million in that account at the point the marketing group bailed on the project.

At that time Dentsu took that cash out of the festival account. The legal filing Woodstock made last week also requested that that money be returned. But the judge said yesterday that he was denying the "request, pending a full evidentiary hearing, for a mandatory injunction directing [Dentsu] to return the $17.8 million to the festival bank account and provide [Woodstock] access to the funds in the festival bank account".

This was based on what the aforementioned contract said about funding and banking, and in particular the fact it put the financial backer very much in control of the festival bank account, to which the Woodstock team had just "read-only access". In its various legal arguments this week - the judge added - the Woodstock company had fallen "woefully short of making the heightened showing necessary to warrant a mandatory injunction ordering [the return of] $17.8 million to the festival bank account".

So, a mixed ruling that allows both sides to claim a victory of sorts. But a ruling that definitely allows Woodstock 50 to go ahead, providing its organisers can find a new financial backer to fill the big fat budget hole.

One of those organisers, Gregory Peck, yesterday insisted that - now it had been confirmed Dentsu had no right to cancel his event - "Woodstock 50 is on! We can't wait to bring this important event to the public this summer. We have one of the greatest line-ups of talent of any music festival, and we are grateful to all of the talent for their loyalty and support".

Meanwhile Michael Lang, the most prominent person on the Woodstock side of the dispute, added: "We have always relied on the truth and have never lost faith that the festival would take place. I would like to thank all of the talent and their representatives for their patience and support. Woodstock 50 will be an amazing and inspiring festival experience".

For its part, Dentsu said it felt "vindicated" by the judge's ruling on bank account access. "The court did not rule that [our] assumption of control over the festival was improper or alter that status in any way", a spokesperson then added. "While we understand that pursuant to the court's ruling [we] cannot cancel the festival without Woodstock 50's agreement, at this time we do not intend to further invest in the festival due to the issues noted by the court, as well as the compressed timeframe, and multiple health and safety concerns".

We now await to see whether Woodstock 50 does indeed go ahead in August. Either way, it seems likely further legal action will follow. Woodstock may well sue Dentsu over the reputation damage its cancellation announcement caused, while the marketing group may yet go legal over the alleged breaches of content. So, as always, good news for the lawyers.

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Competition regulator to investigate Live Nation's MCD acquisition
The UK's Competition & Markets Authority has announced it will investigate the acquisition of Irish concert promoter MCD Productions by London-based Live Nation subsidiary LN-Gaiety Holdings. Somewhat confusingly, LN-Gaiety Holdings is Live Nation's joint venture with Gaiety, which is, well, owner of MCD Productions.

Live Nation has had a long-standing partnership with Gaiety, the company owned by Denis Desmond and his wife Caroline Downey. Many of Live Nation's acquisitions in the UK in recent years have actually been via the LN-Gaiety joint venture, and Desmond himself now heads up the live giant's UK and Ireland operations.

But MCD, the concerts company Desmond co-founded in 1980, has not previously been part of the partnership. However, last August it was announced that a new deal would see MCD also become part of the LN-Gaiety JV.

The Irish competition regulator is already investigating the impact that deal might have on Ireland's live music sector and whether it raises any competition law concerns. Now the UK regulator will do likewise.

It said yesterday: "The Competition And Markets Authority is considering whether it is or may be the case that this transaction, if carried into effect ... may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within any market or markets in the United Kingdom for goods or services".

The regulator is now inviting input from any interested stakeholders on the possible impact of the deal and has until 11 Jul to decide whether there are sufficient concerns to instigate a more thorough investigation.

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RAJARS! Everyone's getting a hearty breakfast, and digital is eating everything
It's RAJAR Day! Did you bake a cake? The latest quarterly radio listening stats for the UK are out and it's all anyone is talking about. And rightly so. Radio and stats on are each very nice when consumed on their own, but together things get ZESTY. OK, have I whipped up enough excitement now? I think I've made you wait long enough. Here are five big old stats that burst out of the RAJAR's this very morning!

1. Will Chris Evans be able to attract his audience from Radio 2 over to digital-only station Virgin Radio? That's what everyone was asking after he jumped the BBC ship in December. Well, some of them followed him. Only a little over 10%. But that's still a million people tuning in every week. 1.05 million, in fact. "Seven times what [the Virgin breakfast show had] in the last quarter", beams Scott Taunton, CEO of Virgin Radio operator Wireless. "This is the first milestone in our ambition to become the UK's leading commercial digital station and we are all delighted".

2. What does this mean for Zoe Ball, who took over from Evans on Radio 2, though? He left the station with just over nine million listeners tuning in to his show. 9.06 million, in fact. If a million have gone, where does that leave her? Well, according to RAJAR, she kicks off her tenure with 9.05 million weekly listeners. What does this mean? Probably something. At least that Radio 2 still has the UK's most popular breakfast show.

3. As well as trumpeting that Ball has held listening figures stable over at Radio 2, the BBC is celebrating two other breakfast show boosts - 6 Music and 1Xtra are both enjoying record listening figures. Lauren Laverne's new 6 Music breakfast show scored 1.28 million weekly listeners, while Dotty on 1Xtra brought in 441,000. "The refreshed line up on Radio 2 and 6 Music breakfast shows has proved hugely popular with audiences and it's brilliant to see some record listener numbers too", says BBC Radio director James Purnell.

4. Enough with the positivity now. At the start of this year, Bauer rebranded a whole load of its local stations as Greatest Hits Radio, aiming to draw in listeners aged 40-59. The first set of RAJARs show that all of them have dropped a significant number of listeners after the switch - as much as 60% on the previous quarter. A blip while that older demographic finds the revamped stations perhaps? Or just proof it was all a terrible mistake?

5. Radio though. What even is that? Well, increasingly, it's something we all access digitally, rather than through the boring old analogue airwaves. Digital listening scored a 56.4% share in the first three months of this year - up from 50.9% in the same quarter of 2018. DAB makes up the bulk of that, with a 40.4% share of overall listening and 71.6% of digital listening. Turning in online and via apps now makes up 11% of all listening and 19.5% of digital listening, and is growing at a faster rate than DAB. Digital listening in the car grew by 24%, while in the home it was up 26% (the latter likely a boost caused by loads of new smart speakers being switched on after Christmas).

Earlier this week, Digital Minister Margot James announced yet another digital radio review looking into the future of digital listening in a waffley speech where she basically said nothing. The review is expected to be completed by summer next year, unless we have a government change or two (or three) by then and it's all forgotten about. A new licensing structure for small-scale DAB broadcasters is also expected to be presented to parliament next month.

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Sophie Ellis-Bextor pulls out of UK's Eurovision judging panel
With just days to go before the grand final of this year's Eurovision Song Contest, Sophie Ellis-Bextor has announced that she will no longer be a member of the UK's judging panel "due to unforeseen circumstances". A replacement is expected to be announced in the coming days.

The news was announced by the BBC earlier this week, after which Ellis-Bextor herself tweeted: "I still love Eurovision! Wishing all the participants a great show and good luck to the UK entry".

These days, each country's points giving in Eurovision is done through a combination of public voting and jury deliberation.

I'll give you some judging right now: It's a fucking travesty that Portugal went out in the first semi-final, and even more that Slovenia went through. Serhat though. Ah, Serhat.

The second semi-final is on tonight. Lots of favourites in there. It's going to be tense.

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Approved: Thandii
After a seven month break in an otherwise pretty consistent run of new releases, Thandii have now returned with new single 'Company'. The silky electro-pop track is the first to be taken from a new EP, set for release later this year.

Previous releases have picked up a decent amount of attention - not least last single 'Another One', which caught the ear of Danger Mouse, who released it on his 30th Century Records label.

Those coming to the outfit for the first time now will find a well-formed catalogue of tracks that take a magpie approach to genre, but which nevertheless have a focussed core sound that does a good job of holding them all together.

'Company' definitely feels like a shift up a gear though, so now's as good a time as any to get in on this. "It's led by a hypnotic synth riff which sounds kind of like an 80s romantic workout tune", the duo tell Merryn of the new single. "Lyrically we wanted to explore the nuances of a failing relationship and comment on the toxic effects of blind loyalty... we've all been there".

Listen to 'Company' here.

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

Tycho announces new album
Tycho has announced that he will release new album 'Weather' in July. The first single, 'Pink & Blue', is one of several on the LP featuring vocals from Hannah Cottrell, aka Saint Sinner.

"The lines, 'oh, pink and blue, you know I look good on you', originally stemmed from when I was romantically involved with a man and a woman simultaneously, for the first time in my life", says Cottrell of lyrics found in the new track.

"It was a defining moment for me", she adds. "I went from being a young religious kid who thought she would marry a man to a young woman who realised her love for women. 'Pink & Blue' is a love song to no one, to everyone, and to myself. It's a sweet reminder to all lovers to hold onto their love with open arms; to be fearless about any type of love and to be fearless about losing their love. Love is never lost".

Explaining the tie-up with Cottrell, Tycho main man Scott Hansen adds: "When setting out to record 'Weather', I wanted to finally fulfil what had been a vision of mine since the beginning: to incorporate the most organic instrument of all, the human voice".

"I met Hannah Cottrell, and the vocal component of the album immediately came into focus", he goes on. "Our initial sessions were incredibly productive and I strongly identified with the imagery in her lyrics. Her vision folded effortlessly into mine and her voice integrated seamlessly into the sonic landscape, opening new spaces for me as a songwriter and producer".

'Weather' will be out on 12 Jul. Tycho will perform live in London at Printworks on 5 Mar 2020.

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Ride announce UK tour dates
Ride have announced UK tour dates in November and December, including a performance at London's Barbican. As well as this, they've released the video for new single 'Future Love', taken from upcoming new album 'This Is Not A Safe Place'.

"I have always been a huge fan of 'Buffalo 66' and when I first heard the track, the infamous photobooth scene instantly sprung to mind", says director Jacob Hopewell of the new video. "This idea of creating something quite voyeuristic, watching people at a party felt really interesting as we could show everything that people didn't necessarily wish to reveal".

He goes on: "It also gave us the opportunity to develop a few character plots and twists and push on a few themes that relate back to the band's album title 'This Is Not A Safe Place'. It was a fun one to put together and ... everyone involved really got on board and helped make it what it is".

Well let's all get on and watch that video here.

The album's out on 16 Aug, and here are those tour dates:

29 Nov: Norwich, The Waterfront
30 Nov: Sheffield, The Plug
1 Dec: Birmingham, The Institute
3 Dec: Oxford, Town Hall
4 Dec: Glasgow, SWG3
5 Dec: Aberdeen The Lemon Tree
6 Dec: Newcastle upon Tyne, Boiler Shop
8 Dec: Southampton, Engine Rooms
9 Dec: London, Barbican Centre
11 Dec: Leeds, Beckett University
12 Dec: Manchester, Ritz

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Sony/ATV, HMUK, Adam Lambert, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• David Ventura and Tim Major have been announced as the new joint heads of Sony/ATV UK. "I am delighted", says overall CEO Jon Platt. "I am grateful", says Ventura. "I'm very excited", says Major. Unusually, nobody was THRILLED.

• Digital rights agency Merlin has appointed former Spotify Japan exec Akira Nomoto as its new GM for the Japanese market. "For artists and labels, streaming services have made it easier to connect with audiences from all over the world", says Nomoto. "Japan is not immune to these trends, and there is now a huge opportunity for Japanese independent labels to expand their business globally as the market shifts from ownership to access".

• Sarah Woods has been appointed Director Of Communications And Business Services at Help Musicains UK. She joins from the Royal Albert Hall. "Sarah will be a huge asset to the charity as we approach our centenary year in 2021", says CEO James Ainscough. "Help Musicians is a charity", says Woods, getting some really clear comms underway from the off.

• Adam Lambert has released new single, 'New Eyes', taken from his fourth album 'Velvet', which will be out later this year.

• Charli XCX has released a new single featuring Lizzo, called 'Blame It On Your Love'.

• Jarvis Cocker has released new track 'Must I Evolve?' in his Jarv Is guise. "This single will only be available to buy at live shows. Jarv Is... primarily a live experience", says a statement. "Why? Life is primarily a live experience". Not inside the Matrix it's not.

• Foals have released the video for new single 'In Degrees'.

• Shakespears Sister have released the video for their comeback single 'All The Queen's Horses'.

• Gaika has released new mixtape 'Heaters 2 The Seaters'. He'll be in the UK for live shows later this month.

• J-pop group Momoiro Clover Z have released new single 'More We Do', written by Japanese indie band Chai. Their new album is out tomorrow.

• Four years since their debut, Crushed Beaks have announced that they will release their second album, 'The Other Room', on 9 Aug. Right now, here's first single 'Honesty Box'.

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

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"You've fucked my night", Roger Daltrey tells weed-smoking fans in New York
Bob Dylan recently halted a show to tell people off for taking photos. Now Roger Daltrey has stopped a performance to give an earful to people smoking marijuana in the audience. If this trend continues, we could have ourselves a new column.

Daltrey's reasoning for getting angry is perhaps reasonable though. For once it's nothing to do with Brexit. He's allergic to cannabis, he reckons. It stops his voice from working. Although not enough to stop him shouting about it.

"All the ones smoking grass down in the front there, I'm totally allergic to it", he told a group of people near the front at Madison Square Garden earlier this week. "I'm not kidding, whoever it is down there, you fucked my night. I'm allergic to that shit and my voice just goes [slurps] sucks up. So fuck you! Eat it!"

I'm not sure if that last bit was an order to eat the drug instead of smoking it or just a general exclamation of anger. Maybe both. Either way, he wasn't happy. In fact it's hard to get across in writing just how angrily he said "fuck you" to those people. Watch this video shot by someone in the audience who found it all hilarious.

It's not even the first time this has happened. In 2015 he threatened to stop a show entirely due to people smoking marijuana. Maybe he should just put up some signs to let people know.

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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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