MONDAY 7 SEPTEMBER 2020 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: While TikTok owner Bytedance is busy fighting the executive orders issued against it by US President Donald Trump, concurrent legal action by a TikTok employee might result in some judicial scrutiny of those orders sooner. TikTok Technical Program Manager Patrick Ryan has filed a motion seeking a preliminary injunction that would restrict the impact of Trump's big TikTok ban... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES TikTok employee seeks preliminary injunction against Trump's big ban
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LEGAL R Kelly lawyers ask to interview singer's prison attacker under oath
Live Nation employee's discrimination claim will now be heard through arbitration
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS Artist manager Trenton Harrison-Lewis joins Warner to develop and support new talent strategies
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Sony Music launches Alexa pop quiz with Tom Walker
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INDUSTRY PEOPLE US Recording Academy launches Black Music Collective
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AWARDS Mercury Prize winner to be announced on The One Show
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AND FINALLY... Ian Brown outs himself as a COVID conspiracy theorist
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RIGHTSAPP - IMPLEMENTATION PROJECT & ACCOUNT MANAGER (LIVERPOOL)
RightsApp - part of the Sentric Music Group - is transforming the traditional models for royalty collection and accounting. This new role will be accountable for the creation and management of a high quality implementation programme for RightsApp as well as supporting clients thereafter.

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ANJUNABEATS - A&R & RECORDINGS MANAGER (LONDON)
Anjunabeats is seeking and A&R and Recordings Manager to work directly with key talent as they develop as artists, with an appreciation of what it takes to be a global act in 2020.

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Anjunabeats is seeking an experienced, meticulous and solutions-oriented individual to bolster our digital supply chain and rights management capabilities.

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EMUBANDS - CONTENT ASSISTANT (GLASGOW)
EmuBands currently has an opportunity for a detail-oriented, focussed individual to join the company as a Content Assistant. You'll perform a wide range of administrative tasks relating to digital music assets and metadata, helping to ensure that releases are delivered quickly and accurately to stores.

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Music and entertainment law firm SSB is is seeking a full-time solicitor admitted in England and Wales with two to five years PQE to join its dynamic team in West London.

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BELIEVE - DIGITAL STRATEGIST CONTENT CREATOR (LONDON)
The Believe-owned Nuclear Blast label is looking for maternity cover for a year, commencing in August 2020. The Digital Strategist's role will focus on all digital aspects of an artist and product release - balancing both creative and commercial objectives through the setting and achieving of campaign-specific objectives and results.

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3TONE RECORDS - PUBLICIST (BRISTOL)
3tone Records is looking for an inhouse publicist to join us, working closely with our Marketing, A&R and Publishing departments to provide inventive and dynamic campaigns spanning online and print media, enhancing and furthering the aims of our artists and the label itself.

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To aid in the expansion of its growing roster of artists and brands, Material is seeking an exceptional, results-focused marketing individual to power the business forward and deliver for its artists.

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TOP FIVE STREAMING DEVELOPMENTS IN 2020
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While the streaming boom continues, led by Spotify-style services, the digital music market is diversifying again. New streaming products and business models present both challenges and opportunities, while lingering questions about Spotify-style streaming increasingly need to be answered.
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TikTok employee seeks preliminary injunction against Trump's big ban
While TikTok owner Bytedance is busy fighting the executive orders issued against it by US President Donald Trump, concurrent legal action by a TikTok employee might result in some judicial scrutiny of those orders sooner. TikTok Technical Program Manager Patrick Ryan has filed a motion seeking a preliminary injunction that would restrict the impact of Trump's big TikTok ban.

Trump has now issued two executive orders that target China-based Bytedance and its super popular video-sharing app. The first bans any American from transacting with the Chinese company from later this month. The second orders Bytedance to sell off all its US assets by mid-November.

Officially those orders are based on concerns that the Chinese government has access to the global TikTok audience and user-data, and that that creates a security risk. But some reckon the whole thing has more to do with Trump wanting to seem tough on China in the run-up to this year's presidential elections.

Bytedance denies that the Chinese authorities have access to data relating to TikTok users all over the world. It also says that the executive orders are an overreach of America's International Emergency Economic Powers Act and, for that matter, entirely unconstitutional.

Ryan also initially filed his legal action against the Trump executive orders last month. His action specifically focuses on whether or not TikTok US employees can be paid once the Bytedance ban goes into effect.

Trump's first executive order is written in sufficiently ambiguous terms that it could mean Americans working for TikTok cannot be paid from later this month. And while the US Department Of Commerce may not read it that way, it isn't obliged to confirm whether the executive order will affect salaries until the ban is actually in place.

A new legal filing last week seeking a preliminary injunction on the matter states: "The more than 1500 TikTok employees working in the US - and their families - need to know whether they will be paid in the coming weeks. These employees include US citizens that have families to feed, rents and mortgages to pay, and health care to manage".

"In addition", it goes on, "many TikTok employees working in the United States are here on H-1B visas, which require their employers to sponsor their visa status. These workers, lawfully present in the United States, must leave the US immediately - or risk deportation - if their employment status is constructively terminated by the effect of the executive order".

The injunction Ryan now seeks would specifically relate to employee wages. Last week's legal filing concludes: "Plaintiff respectfully requests that this court grant his motion to preliminarily enjoin the Department Of Commerce from enforcing the executive order to the extent such order prohibits TikTok Inc from paying wages and salaries to its US employees".

However, Ryan's legal papers hit out at Trump's big TikTok ban in more general ways too, presenting the executive orders as a petty response by a very petty president to the way his critics and opponents have used the video-sharing app. The legal filing also notes Trump's "I'm tough on China" narrative in his electioneering.

"TikTok is an appealing political target for President Trump because he believes that the popular social media platform caused his campaign to embarrass itself over the expected attendance at his political rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on 20 Jun 2020", the legal filing says, "and because many TikTok users use the platform to satirise the president".

"As a result", it goes on, "the US employees of TikTok and their families have been made pawns in a political spitting match between China and President Trump, who has decided to make 'tough on China' a central theme of his re-election campaign".

Not only that, but "TikTok employees in the United States - US persons and citizens - have been defamed and disgraced by the president's executive order".

That's because it "accuses TikTok, and its US employees, of - among other things - working for the Chinese Communist Party, building dossiers on US citizens and defence contractors for the purpose of blackmail and corporate espionage, censorship, and even spreading conspiracy theories about the origins of the coronavirus".

"The president made these accusations without any evidence that any such actions or activities have ever occurred", it then states.

Legally speaking, Ryan's arguments pretty much mirror those of his employer, to the effect that Trump's executive orders are illegal and unconstitutional.

It remains to be seen how the judge responds to Ryan's request for a preliminary injunction. Even if said judge rules in Ryan's favour, the ruling could focus exclusively on the impact of Trump's big ban on TikTok employees and nothing else. Or, alternatively, it could be the first judicial insight we get on the president's wider assault against Bytedance and its TikTok app. We will see.

Of course, concurrent to all this, Bytedance is still in talks with various bidders regarding a sale of the US TikTok business which may or may not placate Trump and render the executive orders and the bans contained within them redundant.

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R Kelly lawyers ask to interview singer's prison attacker under oath
Lawyers for R Kelly are seeking to interview a prison inmate who allegedly attacked the singer last month. Kelly's legal team claim that prison staff allowed the attack to happen and are again arguing for the incarcerated musician to be allowed out of jail.

Kelly was attacked in his cell on 26 Aug and was apparently punched in the head several times before his attacker was subdued using pepper spray. He was checked over by a prison doctor and found to have no serious injuries.

Last week, Jeremiah Farmer - a member of the Latin Kings gang, currently serving a life sentence - said that he had carried out the attack. In a court filing, he said that he had done so in a bid to gain media attention for what he says is "government corruption" in the handling of his own case.

Farmer is appealing his conviction for racketeering, but says that during the COVID-19 pandemic he has not been allowed to use the prison library, meaning he could not prepare for court hearings adequately. He also claims that attorneys assigned to him have been "ineffective" and that they "conspired against" him.

In a court filing last week, Farmer wrote that "with nowhere else to turn for legal help", he "was forced to assault hip hop R&B singer Robert Kelly in hopes of getting spotlight attention and world news notice to shed the light on the government corruption".

Last week, Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg said that the musician had been moved into solitary confinement because it was "the only place they can protect him".

Now, his legal team has filed a motion asking the court to allow them to interview Farmer under oath. In the new court filing, according to the Chicago Tribune, another Kelly attorney, Michael Leonard, writes: "It appears that [prison staff] simply followed Mr Farmer, allowed him to carry out the attack, and then only intervened after Mr Kelly had already sustained serious injuries".

The response to the attack by Farmer is the latest bid to get Kelly released from prison and instead placed on house arrest. The star is currently in custody pending child abuse trials in New York and Chicago. He is being held due to evidence of witness tampering in a previous trial.

--------------------------------------------------

Live Nation employee's discrimination claim will now be heard through arbitration
The discrimination dispute being pursued by a furloughed Live Nation employee in the US will now go to arbitration, despite her originally suing through the LA County Superior Court.

Candace Newman has accused the live music giant of discriminatory practices, claiming that systematic racism negatively impacted on her career at the company and resulted in her being pushed out of the business under the guise of COVID-19 measures.

In the lawsuit filed in July, Newman claimed that she had been consistently "scrutinised and criticised far more harshly" than her male and non-black peers during her ten-year plus stint working for Live Nation. That, she added, had resulted in unfair and unwarranted formal warnings from her immediate managers.

Back in February this year Newman submitted a formal complaint with her employer, but as COVID struck she was put on leave and subsequently furloughed. She was then told an investigation had been launched, but into complaints made against her, rather than her complaints against the company.

For its part Live Nation said it was surprised by Newman's litigation. It stressed that, despite the impact of COVID on its business, she was in fact still an employee of the company. It then also denied the allegations of bias and discrimination.

The latest development in the case is the result of a technicality. Companies would always prefer disputes with employees to go through a private arbitration process rather than be fought out in public in a courtroom, and employers can try and force such a thing in staff contracts or other agreements.

And that's basically what has happened here. According to Billboard, Live Nation has unearthed a letter from 2009 in which Newman agreed to arbitrate "any and all claims or controversies" that may occur involving her and the company.

Given that commitment, the live giant is able to force this particular dispute into arbitration, and last week it informed the LA County Superior Court that that's now happening.

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Artist manager Trenton Harrison-Lewis joins Warner to develop and support new talent strategies
Warner Music UK has hired artist manager Trenton Harrison-Lewis to perform a rather wide-ranging new role directly supporting new and emerging acts working with the major's ADA services division, while also consulting for Warner's various UK frontline labels.

With the ADA role, Harrison-Lewis will "devise bespoke artist development strategies, while giving talent and their managers the tools and framework to build long-term careers". And with the frontline Warner labels he will provide his "wide-ranging industry expertise to both developing and established artists", working with both A&R and marketing teams.

Sounds like he'll be rather busy. Though not so busy, mind, that he won't be able to carry on doing some of that management gubbins. He will continue to independently manage artists like Ghetts, Sneakbo, Jesse James Solomon and DJ Target while performing his new Warner role.

"In an era when an artist can go from creating a track in their bedroom to the top of the charts, it's essential that they have expert career guidance and advice from people who understand their music and their issues", says ADA UK boss Howard Corner.

"One of the most accomplished and respected managers in the business and in culture, Trenton comes to us with unparalleled experience working with artists and genres literally from the ground up", he adds. "All of us at ADA UK and WMUK are THRILLED to welcome him to the team".

Harrison-Lewis himself says: "So many young artists need solid structure, wise counsel, and strong mentorship, and I'm looking forward to working with Howard and the entire ADA team, as well as everyone at Warner Music UK, to help develop boutique strategies to foster amazing talent and build real careers".

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Sony Music launches Alexa pop quiz with Tom Walker
Sony Music has launched a new pop quiz for Amazon Alexa devices called 'Number One Fan'. Developed by the major label's 4th Floor Creative division, the game will feature a different Sony-signed artist each month.

Each artist will ask a trivia question per day about themselves over a 30 day period via the Alexa 'skill'. Those who engage with it will be asked to opt in to receive reminders of subsequent questions and to enter a prize draw to win signed artwork.

The first artist to take part in all this is Tom Walker, who says: "Really excited to be part of this campaign with Sony Music UK to be the first artist to host the 'Number One Fan' music quiz! I had a lot of fun recording these questions and I know you've all been enjoying quizzing under lockdown so I hope you enjoy this one, it's all about me haha!"

Dorothy Hui, VP, Digital & Audience Development for 4th Floor Creative, adds: "As voice technology becomes more sophisticated and ubiquitous, conversational interfaces will transform how we market artists and facilitate music discovery".

"Sony Music UK is continuing to build our learning agenda in voice technology and 'Number One Fan' is the next phase in this venture", she goes on. "Tom Walker is the perfect artist to pilot this skill - his personality shines through in the voiceover and his fanbase indexes highly with voice technology".

Good indexing, Tom Walker fans! The game is currently only available in the UK.

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US Recording Academy launches Black Music Collective
The US Recording Academy last week announced the launch of a new Black Music Collective which it describes as "a group of prominent black music creators and professionals who share the common goal of amplifying black voices within the Academy and the wider music community".

Because 2020 seems more like a decade than a year, the big bust up between the Recording Academy and its former CEO Deborah Dugan seems like it happened a lifetime ago. Not ten days before the 2020 edition of the Academy's Grammy Awards back in January.

Given Dugan's portrayal of the Academy as an old boys club with no real interest in addressing its widely documented diversity issues, the organisation is now really keen to stress just how interested it is in addressing its widely documented diversity issues.

The Academy's new BMC, it said last week, will bring together "creators and business leaders to create a pipeline of future industry trailblazers". It added that "leaders will meet regularly and initiate programmes that will encourage participation and accelerate black membership in the Recording Academy".

The Collective will have six honorary chairs in Jeffrey Harleston, Jimmy Jam, Quincy Jones, Debra Lee, John Legend and Sylvia Rhone. A "distinguished leadership committee" will now be unveiled in the coming weeks, apparently.

"The Black Music Collective is necessary to help drive the Recording Academy into a new era", Academy Chair Harvey Mason Jr said. "Creating an open space for black music creators can only benefit our membership as a whole. Through the past few months, I've been personally invested in propelling this collective along with chapter leadership within the Academy. Together, we will elevate black music creators within our organisation and the industry at large".

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Setlist: Ford v Freeplay - when free doesn't mean free
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including the Ford motor company's accusation that production music library Freeplay Music intentionally chose a name to make it seem like its music was free to use in order to sue it (and others) for copyright infringement, plus the crackdown on the boom in illegal raves during the pandemic.

Listen to this episode of Setlist here, and sign up to receive new episodes for free automatically each week through any of these services...

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Mercury Prize winner to be announced on The One Show
Adding yet more weirdness to 2020, this year's Mercury Prize winner will be announced on 'The One Show'. Well, I guess it was that or 'Loose Women'.

The overall winner of the annual album of the year prize will be revealed on the BBC One early evening show to an audience of perplexed pensioners on 24 Sep. The winning act will also be interviewed on the show.

As well as that, the Beeb has planned a load of programming more likely to reach the awards' intended audience. On 23 Sep on BBC Four, it will air a special 'Albums Of The Year' show, featuring live performances by many of the shortlisted artists. Then on 25 Sep, a special edition of 'Later... With Jools Holland' will feature performances by and an interview with the winner.

Plus all that week, from 21-24 Sep, on his 7-9pm BBC Radio 6 Music show, Tom Ravenscroft will celebrate different former winners of the Mercury, including Young Fathers' 'Dead', Roni Size's 'Reprazent' and PJ Harvey's 'Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea'. On his final show that week, on the Thursday, the album he'll be celebrating will be this year's winner, including an interview with said winner.

"The 2020 Mercury Prize is a great moment for us to give a platform to twelve of the most exciting acts in British music", says the BBC's Pop Controller Lorna Clarke. "As the annual awards show is unable to take place this year, the BBC will be celebrating these incredible acts across the week on TV, radio and online, including an exclusive announcement of the winner on 'The One Show' on BBC One and a 'Later... with Jools Holland' special on BBC Two".

This year's nominees, lest we forget, are:
Anna Meredith - Fibs
Charli XCX - How I'm Feeling Now
Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia
Georgia - Seeking Thrills
Kano - Hoodies All Summer
Lanterns On The Lake - Spook The Herd
Laura Marling - Song For Our Daughter
Michael Kiwanuka - Kiwanuka
Moses Boyd - Dark Matter
Porridge Radio - Every Bad
Sports Team - Deep Down Happy
Stormzy - Heavy Is The Head

Coincidentally, Tom Ravenscroft's show on 21 Sep will also feature a BBC Proms performance by Laura Marling, including songs from her shortlisted album 'Songs For Our Daughter', as well as older material, accompanied by string ensemble 12 Ensemble.

I'm sure that's not an indication that she'll be the ultimate Mercury winner this year. It's probably just to get her hopes up. Nominating Laura Marling and then not giving her the award seems like it's become some sort of game for Mercury judges now, this being her fourth time on the shortlist.

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Ian Brown outs himself as a COVID conspiracy theorist
Hey, so, over the weekend Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown outed himself as a COVID-19 conspiracy theorist. Great stuff.

Posting on Twitter on Saturday, Brown wrote: "NO LOCKDOWN NO TESTS NO TRACKS NO MASKS NO VAX #researchanddestroy".

This came after the government announced the latest changes to local lockdown rules in Brown's hometown of Manchester. Those changes are all quite confusing. Though, while not wanting lockdown is one thing, protesting tests, contact tracing, masks and vaccinations is another.

These are not views held across the band though. Stone Roses guitarist John Squire followed Brown's tweet by posting: "Wear a mask. Stay safe. Look after yourself and others #morecambeandwise".

So Squire wins this round. Although we should all remember that Squire once said that he had "no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group The Stone Roses" by reuniting with his former bandmates. And look how that turned out. He could be out in the supermarket defiantly licking sausages by Tuesday.

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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.
andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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 consultancy unit and the CMU:DIY future talent programme, as well as heading up CMU publisher 3CM UnLimited.
chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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 Insights and CMU:DIY.
sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk 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.
caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
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