TODAY'S TOP STORY: The short message that replaced the PledgeMusic website last month has been updated to reflect last week's developments. Meanwhile, the UK's Official Receiver has also issued a short statement about the Pledge company's liquidation... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Official Receiver provides updates on PledgeMusic liquidation
LEGAL R Kelly denied bail in New York
Court sends DJ Spinderella's dispute with Salt-N-Pepa to mediation
Bobby Brown lawsuit over Whitney Houston documentary dismissed
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Amber Davis becomes Head Of A&R at Warner Chappell
LIVE BUSINESS Lori Feldman named CMO at Paradigm
ARTIST NEWS Within Temptation pull out of Lebanese festival after religious groups force out local band, Mashrou' Leila
AND FINALLY... Mel B wants full Spice Girls reunion at Glastonbury 2020
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Official Receiver provides updates on PledgeMusic liquidation
The short message that replaced the PledgeMusic website last month has been updated to reflect last week's developments. Meanwhile, the UK's Official Receiver has also issued a short statement about the Pledge company's liquidation.

The crowdfunding and pre-order platform ceased operations back in February, of course, as mounting financial problems took the company to the brink. However, it was only late last month that the Pledge website was taken down, replaced by a short update to the effect that the firm was continuing "to work with outside counsel on the most appropriate next steps".

Then last Wednesday, in the high court in London, an order was issued instructing the Official Receiver to begin liquidating the company. It transpired that the Pledge board had initiated that process in June. Although co-founder Benji Rogers - who no longer worked for the business but had been consulting on a voluntary basis since late January - said that efforts to find a buyer for the Pledge operation continued until early last week.

Following last week's court order, the statement on the Pledge website was updated to read: "A winding up order was made against Limited in the High Court Of Justice on 31 Jul 2019. As a result of the making of the order, the Official Receiver becomes liquidator of the company". A contact email and reference number is then provided for anyone affected by the liquidation: and LQD5671373.

The Official Receiver is a government official who is now charged with the task of selling off any assets Pledge still had. She will also need to put together a list of creditors, which includes all the artists who had been running campaigns on Pledge in the months before its collapse. Any monies raised by the asset sale are then shared out between those people.

US websites Music Technology Policy and The Trichordist both tweeted the Official Receiver. The former pointed out that artists in multiple countries have likely been affected by the collapse of Pledge, many of whom won't be able to make physical representations in the UK. The latter asked whether affected artists should be approaching the Crown Prosecution Service as well as the Official Receiver demanding some kind of criminal investigation.

Confirming its process and powers, the Official Receiver tweeted back: "Following the winding up of PledgeMusic, the Official Receiver has been appointed as liquidator and will now determine the cause of its failure. If unacceptable conduct is identified she can seek to have the directors banned from running other companies for up to fifteen years".

Trade group UK Music has already asked the government to consider suggesting to the Competition & Markets Authority and/or Financial Conduct Authority that they also investigate what went wrong at Pledge. That would include whether any laws were broken and also what lessons can be learned for other crowdfunding websites.


R Kelly denied bail in New York
R Kelly has been denied bail by a New York court. This means he will remain in custody as separate criminal proceedings in both New York and Chicago go through the motions. The judge was particularly concerned about accusations of witness tampering in Kelly's previous child abuse trial in 2008.

At the arraignment hearing at Brooklyn Federal Court, Kelly entered a not guilty plea to the latest set of charges he faces in relation to widespread accusations of sexual abuse, including against minors. Kelly himself only spoke directly to the judge once during the hearing, confirming that he understands the charges against him.

Turning to the issue of bail, prosecution attorneys argued that Kelly was a flight risk, while also raising various accusations of witness tampering. They said that there are numerous allegations of Kelly - aided by his "inner circle" - "paying off and intimidating witnesses not to appear" during his 2008 trial.

Kelly's attorneys countered that these were unproven allegations. They also said that their client is not a flight risk, noting that he did not run away during the six years that the previous criminal case took to reach its conclusion. He has also already been forced to give up his passport to a court in Chicago, they noted.

Siding with the prosecution, the judge said that Kelly is facing allegations of very serious crimes spanning more than two decades, and that he is "extremely troubled by issues of potential obstruction and the strong possibility of witness tampering if [the musician] is released".

Adding that he does not believe that Kelly can "be relied upon to comply with the terms of a release", the judge ordered that the star continue to be held in custody while he awaits trial.

Kelly is next due in court for a hearing in Chicago next month, at which point a start date for that trial should be confirmed. The judge there has already indicated that it is likely to commence in April next year.


Court sends DJ Spinderella's dispute with Salt-N-Pepa to mediation
A US judge has rejected a request from Salt-N-Pepa's long-time DJ, Spinderella, for a restraining order against the hip hop outfit, instead saying that their multi-layered dispute should go to mediation.

Spinderella, real name Deidra Roper, went legal last month after basically being sacked by Salt-N-Pepa at the start of the year. The lawsuit compiled a wide range of grievances dating back two decades. It sought to claim allegedly unpaid or underpaid royalties and fees, and to force Salt (aka Cheryl James-Wray) and Pepa (aka Sandra Denton) to stop using Spinderella's name and image on any new promotional materials.

The judge's decision to send the case to mediation was announced and welcomed by James-Wray and Denton late last week.

According to Billboard, they said: "We are grateful for the judge's ruling as [we] have been extremely generous to Spin over many decades and attempted to settle what amounts to a divorce, both peacefully and without rancour. Unfortunately, Spin and her legal team adopted a scorched earth approach that brought unnecessary attention to a business dispute that all along could have, and should have, been settled amicably and privately".

However, a legal rep for Roper said that although the DJ had not got a restraining order against her former collaborators, they had voluntarily agreed to do everything they can to ensure the Spinderella name and image is not used in their promo activity.

In a statement to Billboard, said lawyer said: "Although the court denied today's request for a temporary restraining order, Salt-N-Pepa have agreed [to] not make any reference to Spinderella in connection with any promotion, and will make good faith efforts to cause others to honour the same".

Confirming that the DJ still planned to push to get the money she believes she is owed, the lawyer added: "The parties were ordered by the court to mediate this case - further substantiating Spinderella's legal and equitable rights against the defendants to protect her brand and reputation, as well as her right to be compensated for her work".


Bobby Brown lawsuit over Whitney Houston documentary dismissed
A federal court in New York last week dismissed a lawsuit being pursued against broadcasters Showtime and the BBC by Bobby Brown in relation to a 2017 Whitney Houston documentary.

The legal battle centred on the documentary 'Whitney: Can I Be Me', which - among many other things - featured footage of Houston's ex-husband Brown and their late daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown. Archive footage in the programme included clips from Bravo's 2005 reality series 'Being Bobby Brown'.

In his litigation, Brown argued that the documentary breached America's Lanham Act by falsely implying he had in some way endorsed the programme, mainly by name-checking one of his companies in the end credits. He also claimed the broadcasters had broken state laws on privacy and breach of contract.

According to Law360, judge Colleen McMahon said that the clips of Brown and his daughter in 'Whitney: Can I Be Me' were "artistically relevant", and that his argument that viewers may have inferred endorsement "are not plausible".

The claims that privacy laws were violated didn't stand, she reckoned, because the documentary was protected by First Amendment free speech rights. She then added: "Brown's name, likeness, and persona were not appropriated to sell products, were not used in commercial advertisements, and did not appropriate the economic value of Brown's performance or persona".

As for the BBC being listed as co-defendant for their involvement in the documentary, the judge said that her court didn't have jurisdiction over the British broadcaster, even though it operates a channel in the US via its commercial division BBC Studios.

However, on the contract law claims, McMahon said that there were sufficient ambiguities that she couldn't dismiss that one element of the lawsuit at this stage. As those relate to state and not federal law, if Brown et al wanted to proceed with that aspect of the case, she stated, they'd need to re-file their lawsuit in the appropriate state courts.

Among other things, Brown had claimed that Bravo breached their contract with him by allowing Showtime to use the 'Being Bobby Brown' clips. It remains to be seen if he now decides to pursue the breach of contract claims through the state courts.


Amber Davis becomes Head Of A&R at Warner Chappell
The UK division of the Warner Chappell music publishing company has promoted Amber Davis to Head Of A&R. She will officially take up the post in October.

"I've been working in publishing for more than fifteen years and I'm genuinely excited for what the future holds for Warner Chappell Music", says Davis. "The songwriters we have are what make our business thrive and to work with some of the most talented writers and managers in the business and represent their songs is a real privilege".

Warner Chappell UK MD Mike Smith adds: "Amber's one of the standout A&Rs of her generation and yet one of the most modest people you'll ever meet. Her role in the UK urban scene cannot be underestimated, but she's also proved adept at working with writers from Girls Aloud to Celeste. It's been fantastic to work with her over the years and I can't wait to see what she achieves in this new role".

Artists Davis has signed to the publishing company in recent years include Dave, J Hus, Raye, Skepta and Stormzy. She began her career at EMI Music Publishing as an A&R Assistant.


Lori Feldman named CMO at Paradigm
Paradigm has announced Lori Feldman as its new Chief Marketing Officer, a newly created role at the US-based booking agency.

"The appointment of Lori as our CMO underscores our commitment to expanding our already successful branding and marketing groups", says CEO Sam Gores. "She is an innovative thinker with vast experience working with artists and brands to create cultural moments that resonate around the world. Her global approach makes her the perfect person to expand our marketing and branding competencies and build on our commitment to artists and the art they create".

Feldman adds: "Paradigm has one of the best reputations in the industry for putting clients at the centre of their business. I'm THRILLED to get to work with all of my Paradigm colleagues and their exceptionally talented television, film, theatre and music clients. Paradigm has given me an incredible opportunity to be a driving force in growing the Paradigm branding and marketing platform, and I can't wait to get started".

Feldman moves over to the live side of the music business - and into a role working with other strands of the entertainment sector too - after over 25 years in the record industry, most recently as SVP Strategic Marketing at Warner Records. She will officially take up her new position on 9 Sep, and joins Paradigm following the recent announcement that British agency Coda has now fully merged with the American firm.


Within Temptation pull out of Lebanese festival after religious groups force out local band, Mashrou' Leila
Dutch metal outfit Within Temptation have pulled out of the Byblos International Festival in Lebanon in solidarity with Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila, whose performance was cancelled following pressure from Christian groups.

Due to perform at the festival on Wednesday, Within Temptation said in a statement on Facebook: "We have found out that another band called Mashrou' Leila was pulled from the festival, according to the festival committee due to security reasons after religious fanatics demanded their performance to be cancelled followed by violent threats".

"Apart from the fact that Lebanese authorities at this moment are not able to provide artists the security to perform in peace", they went on, "we have decided to cancel our show in Byblos in solidarity with Mashrou' Leila and in support of tolerance, freedom of speech and expression".

According to the Lebanese band, the campaign against them has grown since 2015, with various accusations that they are anti-Christian. At one point they were questioned by Lebanese security forces, although they were released without charge. One particular issue for religious groups is seemingly that frontman Hamed Sinno is openly gay.

Both Mashrou' Leila and the Byblos International Festival said recently that they had received threats of violence leading up to the former's planned performance. This, said festival organisers, was the reason they had decided to cancel the band's appearance, in order to "prevent bloodshed and maintain security and stability".

In a lengthy statement of their own, Mashrou' Leila said that while they were previously questioned and released without charge over the content of their lyrics, Lebanese authorities have done nothing to halt the increasingly violent campaign against them.

Many argue that this is indicative of a cultural shift in Lebanon in recent years, which also saw Sepultura barred from performing in the country earlier this year. The Brazilian band were accused of being "devil worshipers" and had their visas denied.

Mashrou' Leila recently released a compilation of some of their most popular songs along with new material. The new music includes their first English language song, 'Cavalry'.


Mel B wants full Spice Girls reunion at Glastonbury 2020
After years of relentless badgering, Mel B finally convinced the Spice Girls to reunite this year. Will she rest now? No. She has her sights set on next year's Glastonbury, and wants touring naysayer Victoria Beckham to get involved too.

"Victoria is Victoria", Mel B tells the Mail On Sunday. "She didn't want to do [this year's reunion tour]. She missed out. But my plan is for all five of us to do Glastonbury next year for the 50th anniversary. I'm in the process of persuading Victoria to do it. And I will make it happen".

That's Glastonbury's 50th, by the way. The Spice Girls haven't been going 50 years yet. Even if it feels that way sometimes.

"I don't want it to end", she goes on. "It was me who spent years and years nagging the rest of them to get back out there. Now we've done it, and we loved it. I'm going to make sure there will be more".

This isn't the first time Mel B has said that the group could perform at Glastonbury, suggesting in an interview earlier this year that they might play this year's edition. Which they did not. She also claimed in that interview that Katy Perry and Adele had agreed to stand in for Victoria Beckham during the reunion tour. So, basically, what I'm saying is... we'll see.


ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU Daily, website and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column. (except press releases, see below)
CHRIS COOKE | Co-Founder & MD
Chris provides music business coverage, writing key business news and CMU Trends. He also leads the CMU Insights and CMU Pathways consultancy units and the CMU:DIY future talent programme, as well as heading up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited. (except press releases, see below)
SAM TAYLOR | Commercial Manager
Sam oversees the commercial side of the CMU media, leading on sales and sponsorship, and also heads up business development at CMU InsightsCMU Pathways and CMU:DIY. or call 020 7099 9060
CARO MOSES | Co-Publisher
Caro helps oversee the CMU media as a Director of 3CM UnLimited, as well as heading up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supporting other parts of the business.
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