|WEDNESDAY 9 OCTOBER 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The mother of Lil Peep has sued his former management team at First Access Entertainment accusing them of negligence and other breaches of contract which, the lawsuit alleges, contributed to the rapper's death in 2017 of an accidental drugs overdose. The management firm has insisted that the claims made in the legal filing are "categorically untrue", adding that "we look forward to [the lawsuit's] swift dismissal"... [READ MORE]|
Lil Peep's mother sues First Access Entertainment over rapper's death
Rapper Lil Peep, real name Gustav Åhr, died in November 2017, aged 21. Having first found an audience on SoundCloud, his music career was gaining real momentum at the time of his death. Drug use and depression were frequent topics in Åhr's music, although shortly after his death his brother insisted that the rapper exaggerated his personal use of illegal and prescription drugs as part of an on-stage persona. However, his brother also added, the rapper's actual drug use had increased as he became more involved with the music industry.
The lawsuit filed by Åhr's mother Liza Womack begins by outlining the rapper's professional relationship with First Access Entertainment and its CEO Sarah Stennett, as well as his hands-on manager Bryant 'Chase' Ortega and tour manager Belinda Mercer. It accuses the management team of allowing a culture of drug taking on Åhr's tour, despite being aware of his addictions, as well as supplying the rapper with illegal drugs and prescription medications, and at times actually encouraging him to take them.
The lawsuit alleges that, during a 2017 headline tour, "use of controlled substances and illegal drugs by decedent [ie Åhr], certain defendants, and others involved in the tour, including the tour manager, was allowed, normalised, and even encouraged and promoted by defendants. Defendants viewed this type of dangerous behaviour as part of the 'scene' on a tour like this one. More disturbingly, defendants knew that the continued use of dangerous drugs on this tour by many, including decedent, allowed defendants to maintain a certain degree of control over the tour and its artists".
Womack also alleges that the First Access team - including Stennett and Ortega themselves -facilitated access to drugs when Åhr was off the road, in particular the anti-anxiety medication Xanax. The lawsuit cites text messages which allegedly show Stennett and Ortega arranging to provide the rapper with some unprescribed Xanax pills. The legal filing then states: "Stennett is not a medical professional, pharmacist, or in any way licensed to be dispensing controlled substances or prescription benzodiazepines to anybody".
In addition to the allegations about condoning a drug taking culture on tour and providing the rapper with drugs to take, the lawsuit also accuses the First Access team, and especially tour manager Mercer, of failing to respond to the negative impact these drugs were having on their client. It alleges that, on the final date of the spring 2017 tour, Åhr "was barely able to communicate, let alone perform, due to his use of drugs. Despite decedent's comatose-like state and the fact that he was in clear medical distress, defendants nonetheless allowed him to go on stage to perform without any intervention, medical or otherwise".
Later the lawsuit claims that Åhr "expressed to defendants on many occasions his desire to leave the tour and disengage from his relationship with defendants. He explained to them that he was anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, burnt out, exhausted, and physically unwell. Defendants ignored these cries for help and instead pushed decedent onto stage after stage in city after city, plying and propping decedent up with illegal drugs and unprescribed controlled substances all along the way".
Setting out its case for negligence on the part of the First Access team, the lawsuit claims that Åhr's death was a foreseeable consequence of "the callous, unsafe environment on the tour bus and the recklessness, carelessness, negligence, and intentional conduct of [the defendants]". It then quotes a tweet posted by Ortega shortly after news of Åhr's passing had been announced: "I've been expecting this call for a year. Mother fuck".
In a quick response to the litigation, First Access said that the lawsuit was "meritless", and that suggestions that the management firm and its associates somehow contributed to Åhr's death were "categorically untrue".
The company's statement reads: "Lil Peep's death from an accidental drug overdose was a terrible tragedy. However, the claim that First Access Entertainment, any of its employees, or Chase Ortega, or anyone else under our auspices, was somehow responsible for, complicit in, or contributed to his death is categorically untrue. In fact, we consistently encouraged Peep to stop abusing drugs and to distance himself from the negative influence of the drug users and enablers with whom he chose to associate".
"It is extremely disappointing that Peep's mother would file this meritless lawsuit", it goes on, "since she is well aware of the numerous efforts made by First Access and Chase Ortega to steer her son away from his concerning lifestyle choices. Unfortunately, in spite of our best efforts, he was an adult who made his own decisions and opted to follow a different, more destructive path".
Noting that "the Medical Examiner ruled that Peep's death was accidental" and "likewise, the Tucson Police Department conducted a thorough investigation and concluded that his death was the result of an accidental overdose", the statement concludes: "While First Access is deeply saddened by Lil Peep's untimely death, we will not hesitate to defend ourselves against this groundless and offensive lawsuit. We look forward to its swift dismissal".
First Access will presumably dispute some or all of the events described in Womack's lawsuit. Even if it didn't, it's still a leap to conclude that the alleged conduct constitutes negligence in the legal sense, and therefore liability for Åhr's death.
However, the lawsuit puts the spotlight back on to the debate around the music industry's responsibility for the health and wellbeing of its artists.
A lot of that responsibility inevitably falls on management, the one business partner which has a 24/7 relationship with the artist. But most managers do not have the expertise to support clients dealing with addiction or mental health challenges. Plus, as First Access points out in its statement, the manager works for the artist, not the other way around. Therefore, ultimately, the artist can always ignore the manager's advice or resist any efforts to create a more healthy environment.
All that said, there are things managers - and the other business partners of an artist - can be doing to better spot the dangers, to ensure the artist has access to the support they need, and to put in place the safest infrastructure possible. MMF UK have done a lot of work in this area and previously published a 'Music Managers Guide To Mental Health'. UK charities Music Support and Help Musicians UK can also provide help to artists and their teams in this domain. And, in the US, the Grammys-funded MusiCares offers a range of support.
SoundExchange updating site to more quickly deal with data disputes
SoundExchange represents record labels and recording artists, collecting royalties from US-based satellite and online broadcasters. Like any collecting society, it manages a database of its members' works so that it knows who to pay each time a recording is played.
The changes aim to make it easier for SoundExchange members to log new records, to check on what recordings and royalty shares are currently linked to their account, and to see and respond to unclaimed or disputed tracks.
The latter change is particularly important, as a common problem with collective licensing is when works reported by licensees as played are unclaimed, or where two members claim the same work. Both can result in payments being delayed or missed entirely.
The society says: "We are excited to share that this update will also provide [members] with the ability to self-manage overlaps and disputes with other [members]. By moving this process from our bi-annual 'email rounds' to the [online member platform] we will be able to bring new overlaps to your attention in near real-time and reduce resolution times by months".
Some of the updates will be available to both label and artist members, others just to labels. Full info here.
Apple warns digital DJs not to upgrade to latest MacOS
Perhaps the most misleading headline of all was in the Daily Mail which loudly proclaimed that Apple has killed "its music-subscription service after sixteen years". But while the iTunes download store and the very much not teenage Apple Music subscription service both live on, one group of users of the iTunes software is legitimately in a panic about this week's changes. Namely, DJs.
Because, while Apple's new music-specific app still contains the iTunes Store, it is lacking one key feature from the old iTunes software - XML file support. This is what many DJs use to organise their digital music libraries into playlists which they then export into DJing software. And the support for XML by many popular DJ software packages - including Serato, Rekordbox and Traktor - has led many DJs to use iTunes in recent years to manage their music libraries.
All of which means that any DJ who excitedly upgraded to MacOS Catalina earlier this week may now find that they're unable to do their job. Or at least to work in the way that they are used to. That would be why Apple and DJ software makers are busy recommending that DJs who make use of iTunes' XML functionality hold off from doing an operating system upgrade for now.
The good news is that all those third-party DJ software set-ups should catch up soon, integrating with the new Music app in other ways. Packages such as Djay and Virtual DJ work fine already, while the latest beta versions of Serato and Traktor offer support for the new Music app. Rekordbox is yet to introduce or announce an update, with parent company Pioneer saying that it will report back to users on its "initial research by the end of October 2019".
Anyone using Windows or a Mac built before mid-2012 is stuck with iTunes for now anyway - unable to install Apple's new desktop apps - which may prove a blessing for some.
Tricky directs trailer for upcoming autobiography
The blurb from publisher Blink promises that this "unique, no-holds barred autobiography is not only a portrait of an incredible artist: it is also a gripping slice of social history packed with extraordinary anecdotes and voices from the margins of society".
"Tricky examines how his creativity has helped him find a different path to that of his relatives, some of whom were bare-knuckle fighters and gangsters, and how his mother's suicide has had a lifelong effect on him, both creatively and psychologically", it continues. "With his unique heritage and experience, his story will be one of the most talked-about music autobiographies of the decade".
The book is due out on 31 Oct. As well as live performances at Brighton's Concorde 2 on 25 Oct and London's Southbank Centre on 26 Oct to coincide with its publication, he will be interviewed about it all on stage in the Southbank's Clore Ballroom ahead of the second gig.
Caribou releases first new track for five years
"I'm always listening to lots of music and sometimes a loop just jumps out at me: it's too perfect", says Snaith. "That's how it was with Gloria Barnes' 'Home': I kept returning to it, meaning to do something with it but not knowing what. Sometimes making music feels like a process I'm in charge of, but there are other times when things just present themselves and my job is to follow their lead. It wasn't until the circumstances of someone close to me mirrored the refrain of the original song that the track all came together".
The new Caribou track has the same name as the record it samples - ie 'Home' - and he has yet more to say about it. Mainly this: "When I've played it to friends, several of them have said that they feel like it's speaking to their circumstances, about people close to them. We've all had moments when something changes suddenly and catalyses a change in your whole life: when you need to go back to something familiar, pick up the pieces and start again".
Hey, you wanna hear this track? Sure you do. Here it is.
Imagine if I now told you that there were tour dates. Imagine! Sadly, I can't round off this story so perfectly. Oh wait, yes I can, because there are. Look, here they are:
30 Mar: Brighton, The Dome
Example announces first tour for six years
"I've spent the last few months going back through all my albums and previous tour setlists", he brags. "There are so many fan favourites and hidden gems I'd forgotten about".
"I plan to make the show on this next tour a full celebration of all my hits", he adds, "whilst incorporating all the best of my recent output as well. This will be the longest set I've done in a fifteen year career and for the first time there'll be an added visual and lighting experience. It will be a night to remember!"
Tickets for the tour will go on sale on Friday. Here are the dates:
14 Feb: Newcastle, Academy
Music For Youth has announced musician and broadcaster Jack Pepper as an ambassador for the education charity. "We cannot be quiet, indifferent or unambitious; all young people should have access to a quality music education, both in and out of school", says Pepper, getting right to work. "It is vital we have action as well as words".
It's all go over at the PRS Foundation. They've hired Becci Scotcher as Senior Grants & Programmes Manager and Alison Williams as Communications Co-ordinator. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Sills is promoted to Grants & Programmes Manager and Westley Holdsworth is promoted to Grants Co-ordinator. "I am delighted", says CEO Joe Frankland. Who is also new. Ish.
Zedd and Kehlani have released the video for their single 'Good Times'. Zedd is set to play Printworks in London on 7 Nov.
The National have released the video for 'Hey Rosey' from their 'I Am Easy To Find' album. The video is directed by Oscar nominated director Mike Mills and stars Oscar winning actor Alicia Vikander. Fancy.
Girl Ray have released new single 'Girl', the title track from their second album, out on 8 Nov. "Well what's it about? An intense crush where you lose all reasonable brain thoughts and can't conceive why the hell things shouldn't work out in rom-com style perfection", says frontwoman Poppy Hankin, answering her own question. "This one is for you to roll the windows down to on those hot hot hot summer days. Blast it loud blast it proud".
Cigarettes After Sex have released new single 'Falling In Love'. New album 'Cry' is out on 25 Oct. The band have UK live dates set for November and March.
Aldous Harding has released the video for 'Zoo Eyes' from her 'Designer' album. She is set to play UK shows in November and December.
HTRK have released their soundtrack to Jeremy Peixoto's Scientology documentary 'Over The Rainbow'. Here's the title track.
Rina Mushonga has released new single 'Cassiopeia'. "In my head the song kind of plays out like a heist movie with these bad-ass female assassins fighting the patriarchy and re-adjusting the status quo", she says.
GIGS & TOURS
808 State have announced that they will tour the UK in March and April next year. Their new album, 'Transmission Suite', is out this week.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Slayer deny making $10 million from Kardashians connection
This rumour seems to have stemmed from a recent Pollstar article looking at the thrash metal band's farewell tour. The article discussed that extended Kardashian Kendall Jenner had been photographed wearing a Slayer t-shirt. It also noted that the band have already sold $10 million of merch on said tour. Somehow these two things have become conflated.
Of course, if the two things were related, then I think the bigger story would be that Slayer's final shows are being flooded with Kardashian fans, all rabidly buying up t-shirts from the merch stand before fighting for a place down at the front of the arena.
Anyway, it doesn't matter what's true, it's just funny to make Slayer deny that they're living off the goodwill of Kendall Jenner - especially as guitarist Gary Holt responded to her promoting them to her fanbase by wearing his own t-shirt on stage with the slogan 'Kill the Kardashians'.
"As this is Slayer's final tour, more fans likely want something to remember the experience, so more merch is sold, and this is a very extensive itinerary, even for Slayer", the band's publicist Heidi Robinson-Fitzgerald tells CNBC, as its reporters attempt to keep a straight face.
Still, in the original Pollstar article, the band's manager Kristen Mulderig did say that the band are entering "legacy mode", with a view to remaining profitable even after splitting up. So it would be a good idea to keep all these Kardashian fans who are attending all of their shows and buying up all their merch engaged for years to come.