|MONDAY 29 JULY 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: A legal battle over all that lovely Drake money is over. The litigation never actually involved Drake directly, it being between a company called the Aspire Music Group and the Universal-allied label Cash Money. Although there was an artist caught up in the middle of it all, that being your old mate Lil Wayne... [READ MORE]|
Lil Wayne manager's legal battle with Cash Money over Drake's cash money is over
The Aspire company was co-founded by Cortez Bryant who, until last year, was Wayne's long-time manager. In a 2017 lawsuit, the firm explained how it had signed management and recording agreements with Drake all the way back in 2008. It then subsequently did a deal with Cash Money Recordings via the label's joint venture with Wayne, Young Money Entertainment.
Aspire claimed that, under that deal, Cash Money/Young Money got to release Drake's records, but on the condition that Bryant's company got a third of all the recording copyrights created under the arrangement and a third of all the profits generated.
The lawsuit then alleged that, beyond "a few modest advances", those payments had never been made. It also claimed that Cash Money had failed to regularly report on the monies Drake's recordings were generating, and that - on the odd occasion it did actually provide financial reports - there had been some dodgy deductions applied in order to reduce what was owed to Aspire down to less than zero.
Cash Money and its boss Birdman responded by countersuing last year, accusing Bryant of conspiring with both Wayne and the rapper's lawyer Ron Sweeney to gain a larger share of Drake's profits than they were really due. The label demanded that Aspire's lawsuit be dismissed, and that Bryant be forced to pay damages for fraudulent conduct and interference with contractual relations.
Aspire and Bryant's legal battle with Cash Money followed years of legal wrangling and public feuding between Wayne and Birdman, a beef that greatly delayed the release of the former's 'Tha Carter V' album. But that long-running spat was officially ended in June last year, a couple of months before Cash Money filed its countersuit in the Aspire case.
With Wayne being named in the countersuit, at the time it looked like maybe a second phase of the rapper's feud with Birdman might be about the begin. Though he then quietly parted company with Bryant, and it's not clear what his exact involvement has been in the back and forth of this particular legal battle.
Either way, according to legal papers filed with the New York courts late last week, both sides have now voluntarily withdrawn their respective lawsuits. That suggests some sort of deal has been reached, though quite what that deal may consist of is not known.
Woodstock cuts artists free from contracts, plans free admission for revamped event
Preparations for Woodstock 50 have been somewhat eventful, of course. Along the way organisers lost their financial backers, production partners and venue. As all of that was happening, there was much speculation as to whether any of those dramas meant the festival had also likely lost its star-studded line-up.
It was known that some acts were actually contracted to financial backer Dentsu rather that the Woodstock company directly. And once a change in venue was required, it was thought that that could well be sufficient for most artists to get out of their contractual commitments to the event without incurring any penalties.
That said, because organisers were initially seeking a replacement venue in the same locale as the original site, there could still have been some contractual ambiguities regarding each artist's right to bail. But when Team Woodstock failed to secure a licence for their alternative site in New York state, subsequently opting to move the show to a venue in Maryland, it seemed certain that all artist obligations were now definitely null and void.
Even before a message went out to agents and artist reps, John Fogarty - who played the original Woodstock and was due to return for the 50th - had confirmed he wouldn't be travelling to Maryland next month. Word quickly followed that headliner Jay-Z had also now officially pulled out.
With the festival's organisers confirming that no one is now obliged to go through with their Woodstock booking, it remains to be seen which artists opt in to perform at the hastily organised streamlined show due to take place at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland.
Had tickets already been sold, many artists may have felt the need to play in order to avoid disappointing fans. But, because of all the various dramas, tickets were never put on sale, meaning there is no real moral commitment to play either. And, presumably, many artists will worry about how good a show organisers can realistically now pull together before 16 Aug.
The latest message on the festival's website says, regarding line-up: "As our celebration evolves, we are committed to bringing unique voices to the stage. Stay tuned for updates as we strive to create an event rooted in peace, love and music that can be a force for positive change in the world".
If the event does go ahead, the latest word is that organisers would actually give away the tickets. Presumably then aiming to raise monies on site, they having already positioned the revamped show as a fundraiser for not-for-profit organisations devoted to improving voter turnout and tackling climate change.
It will be interesting to see if enough artists from the original line-up are now willing to play the new venue to make even a free ticket show attractive enough for punters.
PledgeMusic website goes offline, company's future still unclear
That statement reads: "To the artists and fans of PledgeMusic, as many of you know, PledgeMusic suspended operations a number of months ago and the site is now offline. The company continues to work with outside counsel on the most appropriate next steps, and we will update you with those specifics as we get more information. All data has been preserved and a notice with next steps will be posted on here shortly".
This latest development only adds to the continued uncertainty for artists who were using the pre-order and crowdfunding platform before it ceased operations earlier this year.
PledgeMusic admitted last October that it was experiencing financial issues, but said that it had made internal changes in order to overcome this. Earlier this year, as artists continued to complain of delayed payments, the company confirmed that it was still facing problems. Co-founder Benji Rogers then returned to advise on navigating a way forward, but initial optimism about this dissipated when all payments were suspended in February.
Since then, the company and the artists owed money (along with other creditors) have been in limbo. It was hoped that a buyer could be found to get Pledge up and running again. However, when negotiations with a potential deal fell through in May, Rogers announced that the company would be heading into administration.
Nearly three months later, the company has still not begun the administration process. Last month, Pledge said that it was still hoping to find a new owner, although it was nevertheless expecting to go into administration in order for this transfer to take place.
That the website has now been taken offline may be an indication that there has been some sort of development. Although, equally, it may just have been decided that five months after ceasing operations, it looked odd to have a website promoting active campaigns.
Meanwhile, the artists left out of pocket in all of this, many of whom have been unable to complete the projects they were raising money for as a result, remain largely in the dark about whether they will ever see any of their cash.
Anna Meredith to premiere new work at first BBC Radio 3 Unclassified live show
Presented by Elizabeth Alker, 'Unclassified' originally ran as a six part series earlier this year, and will return to a permanent slot on Thursday nights in October. Meredith's new composition, 'Four Tributes To 4am', will be performed by the Southbank Sinfonia on 29 Sep. It will then be aired on the show on 17 Oct.
"On Radio 3 we bring you new, live performances and adventures in contemporary sound every day, and we celebrate the role of new work and boundary-pushing musicians, young and established, in everything we do", says the station's controller Alan Davey.
"With 'Unclassified' and 'Unclassified Live'", he adds, "Elizabeth Alker perfectly captures the inquisitive spirit of Radio 3, by really getting beneath the skin of the music, and helping you discover musical insights that will change your perspective on the world in a way that is both exploratory and innovative".
Alker herself says: "Being able to programme this series of live shows and see 'Unclassified' come to life in front of an audience, with an orchestra, at the Southbank is a dream come true. It's such a brilliant opportunity to showcase this music in this unique and special way".
Paolo Nutini buys Lewis Capaldi's Chewbacca mask, raffles it off for Frightened Rabbit charity
Capaldi's mask was a nod to the ongoing insults being hurled in his direction by Noel Gallagher, who has taken a real dislike to pop music's newest star and recently referred to him as "fucking Chewbacca". After his TRNSMT performance, Capaldi signed the mask and it was put it up for auction on eBay to raise money for the aforementioned Tiny Changes.
Unfortunately, the winning bidder subsequently withdrew their £7401 offer, leaving the fundraising effort unsuccessful. Until Nutini stepped in.
"I really wanted to find a way to help out the Tiny Changes charity", says Nutini. "Not only am I a big fan of Frightened Rabbit but I was lucky enough to share the stage with them on various occasions - most memorably for me on Hogmanay in Edinburgh 2017. When I found out what happened regarding the money raised for the [mask], I felt like I could help. The idea is now to give people another chance to take it home and contribute to this very important cause".
Launched in May this year, marking the first anniversary of Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison's death by suicide, Tiny Changes aims to improve mental health among children and young people in Scotland.
In a statement, Hutchison's family said: "Once again we've been overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone who has gone above and beyond to make this happen. We'd like to thank DF concerts, Paolo Nutini and his team, and of course Lewis Capaldi and his face. We hope you can all be a part of this wonderfully weird little story and get your name in the pot to win this mask. Many tiny changes can start the movement for massive changes".
As that statement suggests, Nutini isn't risking having another buyer pull out and, instead of another auction, is instead raffling the mask this time. To be in with a chance of winning it, you just need to text TC to 84902, which will enter you into the competition and take a £1 donation for Tiny Changes. The competition will close at midnight on 5 Aug.
Scottish Album Of The Year Award longlist announced
Among the artists in the list are Chvrches, Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert, Kathryn Joseph, C Duncan and The Twilight Sad. 'Dance Music' by Mastersystem - the final album made by Frightened Rabbit's Scott Hutchison before his death last year - is also up for the award.
General Manager of award organiser the Scottish Music Industry Association, Robert Kilpatrick, says: "Each year, the announcement of The SAY Award longlist allows us to take a step back and feel proud of our cultural identity as a nation. It gives us a chance to both shout about and reflect on who we are, as well as celebrate the passion, creativity and vibrancy of Scottish music, in all its incredible diversity and glory".
"This year's longlist", he goes on, "is hard proof that Scotland is making excellent music in every genre. Our veterans are writing songs that are better than ever while a whole new generation of talent is sweeping onto the scene. It's not just that every album here is a winner in its own right, it's the fact that the sum total of this list places Scotland as one of the most vital, vigorous music-making countries in the world".
Public voting for the final shortlist will open on 12 Aug for 72 hours, before that shortlist is announced on 15 Aug. The overall winner will be announced at Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms on 6 Sep.
Here is the full longlist:
Aidan Moffat and RM Hubbert - Here Lies The Body
Sulinna Ong has been promoted to the role of Head Of Music for UK and Ireland at Spotify. She joined the streaming firm from rival Deezer earlier this year.
Lizzo has released the video for her Missy Elliott collaboration, 'Tempo'.
Professor Green has released new single 'Matters Of The Heart'. He's also announced UK tour dates for November, finishing with a performance at The Forum in London on 28 Nov.
Bat For Lashes has released new single 'Feel For You'. Her new album, 'Lost Girls', is out on 6 Sep.
Redlight has released a single in his older Clipz guise for the first time in ten years. Here's 'Down 4'.
Let's Eat Grandma has released their score for artist Tai Shani's Turner-Prize-nominated work 'Semiramis'.
Icona Pop are back with new single, 'Next Mistake'. Say the duo: "'Next Mistake' is about all those bad choices you made that was worth it, about all those mistakes in your life that make you human".
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Baby Shark cereal launched to ensure that song ruins your day as early as possible
Yes, South Korean entertainment company Pinkfong is continuing its efforts to ring every possible penny out of the 'Baby Shark' phenomenon. Keen to help out is Kellogg's, which has announced a limited edition Baby Shark cereal, which is being launched to coincide with this year's Shark Week (which began yesterday, in case you wondered).
"We know 'Baby Shark' is a catchy tune that has captured the hearts of many families", says Kellogg's Marketing Director Erin Storm, apparently confused about the reign of terror this song has wrought. "New Kellogg's Baby Shark cereal was created to expand on the joy families feel in a tasty way".
Joy? What joy? That song is currently in my head for about 83% of every single day. Every time I manage to shake it, a child very near to me sings it anew, starting it all off again. I go to sleep singing it. I wake up singing it. Now there's a cereal to ensure I'm set up for a full day of singing it. It's killing me. I hate it.
Anyway, Storm said this new cereal was tasty. What's so tasty about it? Well, like the song, it's full of very simple ingredients sure to have you hooked within seconds. 'Berry fin-tastic with marshmallows' is how it's billed. Basically, it's sweet, brightly-coloured hoops, which should be enough on their own, but - just in case - they've added marshmallows. Marshmallows have no place in cereal. Cereal should be brown and taste like your life is going nowhere.
Baby Shark the cereal will be available at Sam's Club from mid-August and Walmart stores from late September. That's right, folks! It's US-only! I saved the one little bit of happiness that is contained in this story for the very end. Unless you're reading this in the US, in which case I have nothing for you. Doo doo doo doo doo doo.