|MONDAY 9 DECEMBER 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The rapper Juice Wrld has died, aged 21. The cause of death has not yet been confirmed, pending an autopsy, although TMZ reports that he had a seizure in Chicago's Midway Airport yesterday morning... [READ MORE]|
Juice Wrld dies, aged 21
Real name Jarad Higgins, as a child he was forbidden from listening to rap and - although he did later discover rap and hip hop - the future rapper first developed his passion for music through the pop punk and rock music he heard in video games.
In 2015, he began posting tracks to SoundCloud, becoming a popular voice in the emo rap scene on the platform. He was then signed to Universal's Interscope label in 2017, aged nineteen.
During a rapid rise to fame, Higgins appeared on a track on Travis Scott's 2018 album 'Astroworld', titled 'No Bystanders'. He also released collaborative mixtapes with Future and Ski Mask The Slump God, and earlier this year embarked on a co-headline tour of Europe with Nicki Minaj. He released two studio albums in his own right too - 2018's 'Goodbye And Good Riddance', and 'Death Race For Love', which came out in March this year.
In October, his pop punk influence resulted in a lawsuit from the band Yellowcard, who accused him of lifting their 2006 song 'Holly Wood Died' for one of his most popular tracks, 2018's 'Lucid Dreams'.
That song also sampled 'Shape Of My Heart' by Sting, who called it a "beautiful interpretation that is faithful to the original song's form". Sting's co-writer on the original, Dominic Miller, added that the rapper's use of the song was "the most intelligent version of that riff that I've ever heard".
In a statement yesterday, following confirmation of the rapper's death, Interscope said: "Juice made a profound impact on the world in such a short period of time. He was a gentle soul, whose creativity knew no bounds, an exceptional human being and artist who loved and cared for his fans above everything else".
"To lose someone so kind and so close to our hearts is devastating", the label went on. "Our thoughts are with Juice's family and friends ... and his millions of fans around the world".
Thomas Scherer of Higgins' publishing company BMG also paid tribute to the rapper, saying in a statement: "Juice Wrld is one of the most ambitious, dynamic, and prolific artists of his time, with a unique style all his own. Above all, as a person, he was kind, thoughtful, and generous".
"He had a vibrant soul, an authenticity full of energy, love, curiosity and music", Scherer added. "We admire him as the person he was, as much as the person he was becoming. What he accomplished and achieved in such a short time, and at such a young age, is nothing short of extraordinary. We are absolutely devastated and mourn the loss of a young bright star gone far too soon".
The Chicago police and fire departments have confirmed that they attended a medical emergency at a private hangar at Chicago's Midway Airport at around 2am local time yesterday. Paramedics also attended and took the rapper to the nearby Christ Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 3.14am.
A police spokesperson said that there were "no signs of foul play" and that those travelling with him were cooperating with officers.
TMZ reports that Higgins was travelling back to Chicago from California at the time of the medical emergency, and had a seizure after leaving the aeroplane.
Ninth Circuit edits its own ruling in Shake It Off lyric-theft case
Back in 2017, Sean Hall and Nathan Butler accused Swift of ripping off a 2001 song they wrote for 3LW called 'Playas Gon Play' on her 2014 hit. Their lawsuit argued that Swift's famous 'Shake It Off' lyric "Cos the players gonna play, play, play, play, play/And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate" was basically a copy of the line "The playas gon play/Them haters gonna hate" from their 2001 track.
However, a judge dismissed the lawsuit on the basis that players playing and haters hating was all too "banal" for Hall and Butler's original lyric to enjoy copyright protection in isolation. Hall and Butler then appealed, taking the case to the Ninth Circuit appeals court. Judges there then overturned the lower court ruling, arguing that the initial judge had been wrong to dismiss the case simply on the basis that Hall and Butler's lyrics lacked originality.
They went further though. Citing cases from 1938 and 1903 - the latter a famous line from the often quoted Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr - the Ninth Circuit basically said that any assessment as to whether or not a creative work was sufficiently original to enjoy copyright protection should be done by a jury. Not a judge.
The Wendell Holmes quote, from a case on the copyright in an illustration, went: "It would be a dangerous undertaking for persons trained only to the law to constitute themselves final judges of the worth of pictorial illustrations, outside of the narrowest and most obvious limits".
However, the appeals court has now reissued its 'Shake It Off' judgement with some significant edits. Although it still concludes that the case should be revived, because the original judge was wrong on the originality point, the 1938 and 1903 cases are no longer cited.
It's not clear why the edits have been made and no explanation was offered by the court. Law360 notes that the federal appeal courts in the US have systems whereby other judges can raise concerns about judgements, but it's not clear if that has happened in this case.
Though outside the court some experts definitely did raise concerns about the Ninth Circuit's 'Shake It Off' ruling.
They reckoned that the way it cited the 1938 and 1903 cases could be used in future litigation to greatly restrict the ability of judges to quickly throw out blatantly frivolous copyright claims, by making originality always an 'issue of fact', and therefore a question for juries.
Some of those experts might have even applied their concerns to another lawsuit relating to 'Shake It Off' and players playing and haters hating. Because the songwriter behind another previously dismissed lyric-theft lawsuit over 'Shake It Off' - Jesse Graham - is having another go at suing Swift.
The edit, of course, doesn't directly affect the Hall and Butler case which is still revived and therefore still heading for a second hearing back in the lower court.
A legal rep for the duo told Law360: "It is unfortunate that after providing clear guidance on originality being an issue of fact unsuitable for disposition on a motion to dismiss, albeit in a nonprecedential opinion, the court felt the need to take it away. However, we are still pleased with the outcome and the court's affirmance that our complaint plausibly alleged originality".
UK regulator reveals ongoing concerns over Bauer's local radio acquisitions
The radio division of Bauer in the UK announced deals to buy Celador Radio, Lincs FM Group, UKRD and the local stations of the Wireless Group all within the first quarter of 2019. The CMA subsequently announced an investigation into whether or not that flurry of deals posed any competition concerns in each local radio market.
In its update last week, the regulator said that, with regard to the local markets where Bauer had acquired stations, there were now only concerns about Wolverhampton. There the Signal 107 station it acquired from the Wireless Group competes with an outpost of its existing Free Radio network. It seems likely that Bauer will have to sell the Signal station to satisfy the regulator.
However, the bigger CMA concern relates to an advertising business called First Radio Sales, which sells national advertising for various independently owned commercial radio stations. Bauer acquires 50% of the business via its UKRD deal. Meanwhile, by bringing ad sales for all its newly acquired stations in-house, Bauer also reduces the power of FRS.
The CMA stated last week: "If FRS were to shut down, local radio stations would have to seek sales representation from Bauer or Global, leaving local radio stations with little choice when trying to sell national radio advertising airtime and potentially leading to them paying higher commission rates".
The CMA is seeking more information about the future of FRS before making any final decision.
Responding to last week's CMA statement, Bauer told reporters: "We firmly believe that these transactions are pro-competitive and will benefit both the acquired stations and the broader local commercial radio industry as we look to invest in the radio industry's digital future. Our focus now is on agreeing a route forward with the CMA that supports a strong and sustainable future for the local commercial radio sector".
UK Music boss Michael Dugher to stand down
The former Labour MP joined UK Music back in 2017, overseeing the organisation as it coordinated the music industry's joined-up campaigning on the European Copyright Directive. Other initiatives on his watch included working with the grassroots venues in their bid to change unfair planning laws, and putting pressure on the political community to do more to support music education and the music industry's future talent pipeline.
Confirming his decision to depart UK Music, Dugher said on Friday: "It has been an immense privilege to serve as CEO at UK Music for nearly three years. We have achieved great things for an industry that makes a huge and positive contribution to our country. I have always believed in the power of music to transform lives and I am grateful for the opportunity UK Music's members gave me back in 2017 to play a part in what is a wonderful organisation. I hope I have made a difference".
"I have been lucky to work with some phenomenally talented and deeply committed people, on the staff and amongst our member organisations", he added, referencing the various music industry trade groups that come together as UK Music. "In particular, I'd like to pay tribute to UK Music's outstanding founding Chairman, Andy Heath, for believing in me and for showing me every personal support. I hope that UK Music has a profile and a reach today that can enable it to achieve even greater things in future".
The there mentioned Heath added: "Michael has done a truly outstanding job and we are very sorry indeed to lose a man who has helped give the music industry in the UK a presence, influence and reputation, which it thoroughly deserves, but has not always in the past been able to communicate. The team at UK Music are first class and will continue the exceptional work it has shown in the last few years. We all, and I personally, wish Michael every success in the future and I look forward to him attending many of our functions in the future".
Dugher will formally depart UK Music at the end of January. His deputy, Tom Kiehl, will take on the CEO role on an interim basis while a full-time replacement is recruited.
Jon Hopkins and Kelly Lee Owens release new collaboration
"This project started as something very different from what you're hearing now", Hopkins explains. "I wanted Kelly to do a straight remix of 'Luminous Beings'. I sent her the parts, but what she sent back just felt like something totally new, and had the potential to be so much more than a remix".
"She'd recorded these beautiful, uplifting vocal lines and had come up with joyous new riffs that recalled for me the best bits of the 90s trance/euphoria that I had grown up loving", he goes on. "I got a beautiful sense of nostalgia and a true heart-lifting joy the first time I heard it, and it was so painless to take it from there to a finished piece - related and born out of 'Luminous Beings' but very much its own thing".
Self Esteem releases Christmas single, announces festive piano shows
"Hello, I am here to ruin your Christmas", she says. "I had the opportunity to record at Abbey Road for a few days and I thought I would use the time wisely. I've always been into writing sad Christmas songs as deep stans will know - and that desire has apparently not left me. This was in my head as soon as I had decided to write something 'Christmassy'".
"Because Christmas for me is more frustrating and difficult than any other time of year, I feel like it illuminates everything that might not be OK and makes it double not OK", she goes on. "A goal of mine is to one day enjoy it like a normal person, but I wanted to write a song for fellow people who cope with life by working and creating and moving forwards - the enforced stillness of Christmas can be so triggering".
"Also I referenced The Darkness in the studio", she adds, "which is a first and potentially not the last".
You can catch her playing piano versions of songs from her 'Compliments Please' album on the following dates:
18 Dec: London, Laylow
Warner/Chappell in the US has hired Rich Christina as SVP A&R. "Rich and I have known each other for nearly 30 years, and I'm THRILLED to reunite with him in his new post at WCM", says the publisher's CEO Guy Moot. "I'm beyond excited", adds a giddy Christina.
Weezer have released the video for their version of 'Lost In The Woods' from Disney film 'Frozen 2'. It features Kristen Bell, who voices the character of Anna.
Niall Horan has released new single 'Put A Little Love On Me'. I think that title is supposed to be sexy.
Liam Payne has released a new collaboration with Cheat Codes, 'Live Forever'. Not an Oasis cover.
Radiohead's Ed O'Brien has released a new solo track, 'Brasil', under the name EOB. "HP Lovecraft, Kubrick and Junji Ito have created some of my favourite sci-fi narratives", he says of the song's inspiration. "But I've always wanted to reinterpret their horrific premises into a more poetic and optimistic notion".
Yola has released a cover of Elton John's 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road', which John himself premiered through his social media channels.
Mayer Hawthorne has released new single 'Healing', his fourth of 2019, with more new music coming in the new year.
Zebra Katz has released new single 'Lousy'. It's quite good, actually.
Still celebrating the 50th anniversary of their debut album, 'With Love And Squalor', We Are Scientists have released a recording of their performance from the Woodstock festival. "Back in 1969, as we were writing and arranging the songs that ended up on our 2005 debut, 'With Love And Squalor', we were consorting with a rough crowd: Greenwich Village troubadours, singer-songwriters, Bob Dylan - a lot of pretty bad influences", they say. "This set of early, acoustic versions of the songs from 'With Love And Squalor' has now come back to haunt us. It is what it is. Forgive us".
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Billie Eilish criticises Jimmy Kimmel for making her "look stupid" over lack of Van Halen knowledge
"Thank you so much, Variety", she began. "Thank you for not making me look stupid like everybody else wants to do on TV - love that".
Eilish was interviewed on 'Jimmy Kimmel Live' last month, during which the chat show host listed some things that are old in order to prove that Eilish is younger than him. For some reason. When, in the middle of that mission, Kimmel asked her to "name a Van Halen", she replied, "Who? No, who is that?"
Many people then made it their mission to bang on and on and on about how terrible it was that a young music maker hadn't even heard of Van Halen. Even though it really doesn't matter. And there's absolutely no reason why she should have been aware of the band.
Though it's not just been moaners banging on. Since the moaning began, the son of Eddie Van Halen (who?), Wolfgang Van Halen, and American politician Elizabeth Warren, have both come to Eilish's defence.
Meanwhile, back at the Variety Hitmakers event, Eilish had other things to say while picking up her award. Obviously, she received the prize because she released an album this year that was packed full of hits. Not that everyone thought so before it came out.
"When we were working on the album, somebody told me and my brother Finneas, my co-writer, that there was no hit on the album", she said while accepting the award.
"I don't know what that was supposed to do", she went on. "I don't know how that was supposed to help anyone - but that fool was wrong ... managers and labels: please listen to your artists, even if they have a stupid idea at least hear them out. It might not be stupid, so just listen to people and be open-minded and trust".
Eilish's next album is the sound of her kicking a ukulele down a metal staircase. And you will like it. Back to the here and now though, and she's just released the video for 'Xanny' from her debut album, 'When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?', which she directed herself.
"I'm very excited to share my directorial debut", she says of the video. "Visuals are so important to me, and I'm very proud to be in a place where I can present my creative vision exactly as I want it. Thank you to everyone who has put their trust in me".
So, do yourself a favour, ignore Jimmy Kimmel, forget Van Halen, trust this hitmaker, and watch the 'Xanny' video here.