|FRIDAY 7 JUNE 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: R Kelly has pleaded not guilty to eleven new charges of sexual abuse. All the new charges have been added to the existing criminal case against him and relate to one of the women he was already accused of assaulting... [READ MORE]|
R Kelly pleads not guilty to new sexual abuse charges
These new charges were added to the case at the end of last month. They stem from allegations by a woman identified as JP, who met Kelly and allegedly began a sexual relationship with him when she was sixteen. She is reported to have met him when asking for an autograph during his previous abuse trial in 2008.
Several of the new charges are stronger than those the musician was previously facing, carrying sentences of up to 30 years each. The previous charges filed against Kelly could result in a total possible sentence of 70 years. With the new charges, it could top 200.
Asked outside the court if the higher potential for the star to spend the rest of his life in prison had him frightened, Kelly's lawyer Steve Greenberg said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times: "It doesn't change the calculus at all. If you didn't do it, you didn't do it".
Speaking to the BBC earlier this week, journalist Jim DeRogatis - who has spent two decades reporting on the accusations against Kelly and has just published a book, 'Soulless: The Case Against R Kelly' - said he held little hope of a successful conviction in the current criminal case, despite the mounting charges.
"It's still just a few accusers - and those are very brave women - but the defence will destroy them on the stand", he said. "Such is rape culture. Sadly, in the States and many other countries, we do not believe the accusers".
However, he said he was more hopefully for other investigations by the FBI, the Department Of Homeland Security and the IRS. These, said DeRogatis, are looking into possible tax evasion and breaking of the Mann Act - a 1910 law that made it illegal "transport any woman or girl" across state lines "for any immoral purpose".
"My understanding is that they're looking at 30 years of tax evasion, 30 years of sex trafficking", he said. "So maybe R Kelly finally is disabled from hurting more young women because of tax evasion and the Mann act ... I don't know what justice looks like ... [but] I would hope, at the very least, he's never able to hurt another young woman".
Elsewhere in R Kelly related news, his former manager James Mason has been charged with making terroristic threats against the father of one of Kelly's girlfriends, Timothy Savage. The Savage family claims that Kelly has brainwashed Joycelyn Savage and is holding her against her will.
Mason allegedly sent threats of violence via text message to Mr Savage, under the name Don Russell, shortly before the first episode of the 'Surviving R Kelly' docu-series was aired in the US, in which the Savage family were involved.
Attorney for the Savage family Gerald Griggs told The Blast: "Today's indictment of Henry James Mason, former manager of R Kelly, further underscores the public accountability that victims and families are pressing on R Kelly and his team. The Savage family will not be bullied or threatened in their quest to reunite with Joycelyn. Let this be a message to all associates of Robert Sylvester Kelly that the Savages are serious about justice and accountability".
Eventbrite faces shareholder lawsuits over Ticketfly integration
Shares in Eventbrite took a bashing in both March and May this year following statements from the company regarding revenues and revenue projects - which were lower than expected - and also the challenges around integrating the Ticketfly business with its own.
The latter admission, some argue, is contrary to what Eventbrite said about its Ticketfly buy when wooing investors ahead of its IPO last September. To that end, law firm Scott+Scott has now announced that it is filing a class action lawsuit against the ticketing outfit and is inviting anyone who bought shares in the Eventbrite IPO to get in touch.
The lawyers say that their class action suit "alleges that in [its] IPO registration statement, Eventbrite stated that its acquisition of Ticketfly 'had a positive impact on our net revenue growth' in the third quarter of 2017. [In March 2019], however, Eventbrite reported its annual financial results and, in a related conference call, stated that the strategy to integrate Ticketfly 'will impact revenues in the short-term'. On this news, shares of Eventbrite fell more than 24%".
"The complaint alleges", it then goes on, "that Eventbrite made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that, at the time of the offering, the migration of creators from Ticketfly to Eventbrite was progressing more slowly than stated, forcing the Ticketfly integration to take longer than expected, and the company would thereby face headwinds in revenue and growth".
With that in mind, the law firm says it wants to hear from anyone who "purchased Eventbrite securities in or traceable to the company's IPO [or] acquired Eventbrite securities between 20 Sep 2018 and 7 Mar 2019".
Scott+Scott is actually the fourth American law firm to instigate class action proceedings against Eventbrite in relation to is pre-IPO statements on the Ticketfly integration. It is not yet clear how eager the ticketing firm's shareholders are to actually participate in these actions.
Eventbrite sued over Ticketfly promotional photo
According to Billboard, the duo's lawsuit alleges that Ticketfly has been using a photo of them performing in its advertising since May 2016. Although the image is blurred, they say that it is clearly recognisable that it is them in the picture and, therefore, the use of the photo constitutes false endorsement and unfair or deceptive trade practices.
The lawsuit goes on to say that the band requested that the ticketing firm stop using the photo in all its marketing activity, but that those requests were ignored. It then adds that the implied tie-up between them and Ticketfly was particularly frustrating during that big data hack last year, when there was quite a backlash against the ticketing outfit.
The band is now seeking an injunction forcing Ticketfly to stop using the photo while also claiming at least $75,000 in damages.
Spotify allies with the Obamas on yet more podcast good times
Higher Ground, in case you wondered, is a production company set up by some couple called Barry and Shelly Obama. Never heard of them. But they launched the company, initially via a partnership with Netflix, "to produce powerful stories to entertain, inform and inspire, and to lift up new, diverse voices in the entertainment industry". Which seems like a perfectly decent plan. And all the better now they're moving into podcasting. Video-on-demand is so, well, erm, so 2019. But still boring.
"We've always believed in the value of entertaining, thought-provoking conversation", says Baz. "It helps us build connections with each other and open ourselves up to new ideas. We're excited about Higher Ground Audio because podcasts offer an extraordinary opportunity to foster productive dialogue, make people smile and make people think, and, hopefully, bring us all a little closer together".
Chelle adds: "We're THRILLED to have the opportunity to amplify voices that are too often ignored or silenced altogether, and through Spotify, we can share those stories with the world. Our hope is that through compelling, inspirational storytelling, Higher Ground Audio will not only produce engaging podcasts, but help people connect emotionally and open up their minds - and their hearts".
Confirming all this from Spotify's side is Chief Content Office Dawn Ostroff, who states: "President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama are two of the world's most important voices and it is a privilege to be working with them to identify and share stories that will inspire our global audience, which looks to Spotify for unique, breakthrough content".
I think they mainly look to Spotify for some top tunes, but hey, it's all about the podcasts now. And stop being so cynical. These Obama-casts have very admirable ambitions.
"Connecting people with original and thoughtful creators", adds Ostroff. "Especially those with the ability to highlight underrepresented and indispensable narratives, is at the core of our mission and we are THRILLED that not only will the Obamas be producing content, but that they will be lending their voices to this effort".
Look at that, a double THRILLED. But, to be fair, it is very thrilling here on the presidential podcast bandwagon.
Youth Music calls for end to unpaid internships in music sector
Griffiths was speaking after his organisation was presented with the Funding Champion prize at the Living Wage Champion Awards this week, in recognition of its work tackling low pay in the arts and culture sector.
Although unpaid internships in the music industry are not quite as common as they once were - mainly because the government started better enforcing the law on such things a few years back - Griffiths says that some in the sector continue to take advantage of young people's passion for music in order to get cheap or free labour.
He also cited the charity's own Sound Of The Next Generation research that found that 67% of young people make music but feel a music career is out of reach for financial reasons.
Youth Music says that it encourages all the music education organisations it supports to pay its people at least the 'living wage' - which is higher than the minimum wage set by law - and also to become accredited living wage employers. It has also launched an initiative called Youth Music Creatives which offers paid opportunities to help young people pursue a music career, and it is currently looking to the music industry to support that programme.
Echoing the remarks made by Griffiths at the Living Wage Champion Awards, Youth Music's COO Angela Linton added yesterday: "As an organisation supporting young people's lives in music, it is particularly important to us to ensure that our funding enables the workforce to be fairly paid. Unlike the government minimum wage, the real Living Wage applies equally to those under 25. Historically, the music industry has been rife with unpaid internships, and Youth Music calls for an end to these practices now".
Girl Band announce return with new album The Talkies
The band released their debut album, 'Holding Hands With Jamie', in 2015. However, health issues forced the cancellation of the bulk of their tour dates over the next two years. In the interim, guitarist Alan Duggan began working with new project The Claque. However, now Girl Band are all back together with new music ready to go.
To record the new album the band set themselves up in eighteenth century former rectory Ballintubbert House, outside Dublin, and, Duggan says: "In many ways the idea behind the album was to make an audio representation of the house".
Explaining one of the ways in which the venue shaped the sound of the album, bassist Daniel Fox, who produced the record, explains: "We recorded all the drums twice: once on the landing and once in the cellar, and during production we could actually cut in between both these sounds".
That process was not that dissimilar to how they had already begun to work since their last album, he adds: "After we cancelled the last tour we weren't really writing together as much anymore so we were more into demoing and writing down parts then cutting them up, collaging them together in the computer and reconfiguring them that way".
'The Talkies' is out on 27 Sep. Watch the video for 'Shoulderblades' here.
There are tour dates planned for later in the year too, with UK and Ireland shows as follows:
2 Nov: Manchester, Academy 2
David Saslow has been named Executive Vice President International Artist Relations And A&R at Atlantic Records in the US. "David's deep and diverse experience makes him the perfect choice for this important new post", co-chairs Julie Greenwald and Craig Kallman shouted over each other.
Madonna has shared new single 'Dark Ballet', including a video that features Mykki Blanco as Joan Of Arc.
Liam Gallagher has released new single 'Shockwave'.
Lady Leshurr has released new track 'Your Mr'.
Tiggs Da Author has released new single 'Nasti Riddim', featuring Not3s.
Daphni is back with new single 'Sizzling', featuring Paradise. There's a new EP coming out soon. Plus, you can catch him DJing twice in London tonight, at Junction 2 and Fabric.
Tei Shi has released new single 'A Kiss Goodbye'. "This song is about intuition - following my gut and my body more than my head", she says. "It's about learning from love and from giving so much of myself to other people, and coming out of it with a more selfish mindset, to save my love and my nurturing for myself".
Chloe Howl has released new single 'In The Middle (Sad Banger)'.
Imperial Teen have released new single 'Walkaway'. Their new album, 'Now We Are Timeless', is out on 12 Jul.
Pinty has released the video for 'City Limits' from his debut EP of the same name, which came out earlier this year. He kicks off a UK tour tonight at XOYO in London.
Composer Olof Cornéer has released 'Waves, Breaths & Dead Cities', the first single from an upcoming new EP.
Erthlings have released their debut single 'Bridges'.
GIGS & TOURS
Melvins have cancelled their upcoming European tour due to a back injury sustained by drummer Dale Crover. "I feel awful that I have to let you all down like this", says Crover. "I want to assure you that I'm working very hard to return 100% better! We will come back as soon as we can". The tour was set to finish in July with shows in Manchester and London.
Erland Cooper has announced a UK tour at the end of the year, kicking off at Lancaster Central Library on 17 Nov and finishing at Sage 2 in Gateshead on 2 Dec.
Stormzy has announced poet Monika Radojevic and author Hafsa Zayyan as winners of his #Merky Books Writer's Prize. Both receive representation from The Good Literary Agency and a publishing contract with #Merky Books.
The UK Music Video Awards are now accepting submissions for this year. There are 32 categories, so probably something to suit you. Assuming you are involved in making music videos. The deadline is 2 Aug. More info here.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Ed Sheeran bottles his "perfect" ketchup
Sheeran is a lifelong fan of Heinz tomato ketchup, see. So much so that he has the brand's iconic label tattooed on his arm. Imagine liking a condiment that much. Imagine.
He makes no secret of this love either. He professes it so much that it's become a thing his fans talk about. In fact, Heinz reckons that around one third of its Instagram mentions are Sheeran-related.
You'd think Heinz might have attempted to capitalise on this sooner, but no. Heinz was apparently scared to make the first move, so it took Sheeran himself to make things happen.
In April, he posted on Instagram: "Yo @heinz I have an idea for a TV ad, if you wanna do one. If not, I won't be offended, I could never be mad at you. Slide in my DMs or have your people call my people. Lots of love, your biggest fan".
Heinz responded nervously, but nevertheless welcomed his idea and said it would be in touch. Pitching ideas to brands is as easy as that. Try it today.
Anyway, a few months later and we've now been presented with the fruits of this partnering: Tomato Edchup. That's right, it's a bottle of ketchup, but they've replaced 'ket' with 'Ed'. It's very clever. So clever it's probably gone right over your head.
Posting about it on Instagram, Sheeran said that his own ketchup is "perfect", which suggests it's exactly the same as normal ketchup. I mean, if you liked a brand of ketchup enough to get its logo tattooed on your actual skin, it seems unlikely you'd turn up at head office saying, 'Guys, this stuff is alright but it needs more chocolate sauce and mashed up ham".
The website - yes, there's a website for this - is pretty light on detail. In fact, if it were any lighter on detail, it would be a blank page. It's not even clear if they actually made that TV advert. Maybe this has all happened because everyone at Heinz was too shy to tell Sheeran that his idea was awful and they're hoping that he'll be distracted by a label.
Whatever, this ketchup is out in the world now. Well, the US. It doesn't seem to be available anywhere else yet. Shame, I did actually run out last night. Still, I guess if I already have to go to Japan to get a bottle of his sake, I might as well come back via the States. One of you book that trip for me, would you.