|FRIDAY 16 JULY 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: An Illinois state court yesterday cut back the lawsuit filed against Chance The Rapper by his former manager Pat Corcoran, leaving just one claim over unpaid commissions. Meanwhile, the rapper's countersuit, accusing his ex-manager of breaching his fiduciary duty to his former client, will proceed... [READ MORE]|
Court cuts back legal claims against Chance The Rapper by former manager
Corcoran sued the rapper, real name Chancelor Bennett, late last year. His lawsuit described in some detail Corcoran's long-term partnership with Bennett, claiming that the rapper had ultimately started ignoring his advice resulting in a lacklustre album and cancelled tour. Bennett then blamed Corcoran for the downturn his career had taken and sacked his manager in April 2020.
The legal filing accused Bennett of breach of contract, unjust enrichment and violation of the Illinois Sales Representative Act, and sought payment of monies Corcoran reckoned he was owed from his time working with the rapper, which topped $3 million.
Bennett quickly hit back, insisting his ex-manager had been paid everything he was owed, while adding that Corcoran's lawsuit was full of "self-serving and fabricated allegations". A legal filing then followed in February this year which formally disputed all of Corcoran's allegations, before making a few allegations of its own accusing the manager of bad conduct.
The key allegation against Corcoran was that, unbeknownst to Bennett, he had repeatedly traded off his client's good name and career success in order to benefit his other business interests.
As an example, the countersuit alleged that when Live Nation approached Corcoran about working with Bennett, the manager used the resulting meeting to promote a wine company he was involved in to the live music giant. Similar self serving behaviour by the manager, it's alleged, cost the rapper a partnership with the music company UnitedMasters.
Beyond the different versions of how the Bennett/Corcoran partnership worked - and who was responsible for the disappointing performance of the rapper's first album - at the core of this dispute is the deal that was done between the artist and the manager. Though, unfortunately, that management deal was an oral agreement, which is always fun when people fall out and end up in court.
Corcoran would like to enforce a 'sunset clause' on his former client, a common feature of a formal management deal that allows a manager to continue commissioning even once they are no longer working for an artist. Meanwhile Bennett's claims partly rely on the idea that his contractural relationship with Corcoran implied a fiduciary duty that the manager might have breached.
In yesterday's hearing, the judge rejected most of Corcoran's claims, beyond the dispute over unpaid commissions, although the manager was given the option to amend and resubmit his claims under the Illinois Sales Representative Act.
Meanwhile, Bennett's claims against Corcoran were able to proceed. According to Law360, Corcoran argued that his former client's lawsuit failed to show that the two men had the kind of 'principal-agent relationship' that would result in him having a fiduciary duty to the rapper, but the judge did not concur. She reckoned that claims in Bennett's lawsuit did suggest a 'principal-agent relationship' even if it wasn't explicitly stated.
And so the case continues, albeit significantly stripped back when it comes to Corcoran's claims.
Sex Pistols in court over sync deals and a 1988 band agreement
The new TV series is directed by Danny Boyle and is called 'Pistol'. It's based on Jones's book 'Lonely Boy: Tales Of A Sex Pistol' and - the network that commissioned the show explained earlier this year - tells "his story as a member of one of music’s most notorious bands - the Sex Pistols".
Needless to say, it's a programme that would be a whole lot better if it included some music from, you know, the Sex Pistols. But would Lydon ever sign off on his former band's music being used in a project that takes a very Jones-centric view of the Sex Pistols story? And which is based on a book which Lydon himself has said paints him "in a hostile and unflattering light"?
Clearly the answer to that question is "no". Which leads us to the next question - which is what's at the heart of this case. Is Lydon's approval necessary if the majority of his former bandmates are happy for a music licence to be issued to the makers of 'Pistol'?
Obviously, under UK copyright law, by default where you have co-ownership of a copyright all the co-owners need to approve any use of the copyright protected work. However, contracts agreed between creators who collaborated on a work might limit the right of veto of any one co-owner.
It's a contract of that kind that is being presented by Steve Jones and another former Sex Pistol, Paul Cook, in this case. They argue that a 1988 agreement between the former bandmates allows a licence to be issued for the use of their music if a majority of band members agree. And, they add, Jones and Cook have the support of the other interested parties here - ie Glen Matlock and the estate of Sid Vicious - in licensing the band's music to the 'Pistol' series.
For his part, Lydon claims that licensing decisions must be unanimous and that any one former band member has a veto over any deals. Meanwhile, according to his lawyer, Lydon equates that 1988 agreement to "slave labour" and "prison".
The aim of this court case is to decide who is right regarding the impact of the 1988 agreement. According to the Telegraph, the legal rep for Jones and Cook, Edmund Cullen, told the court yesterday "whether [Lydon] regards the agreement as 'slave labour' or not, the fact is he signed it, he did so willingly in exchange for the ability to sell his publishing rights for a large sum of money".
On the Lydon side, his legal rep Mark Cunningham was keen to position this spat as part of a bigger dispute. That argument goes that Jones, Cook and their manager Anita Camarata - who is an exec producer on 'Pistol' and previously produced the 2000 Sex Pistols film 'The Filth And The Fury' - are basically staging a coup to take control of his former band's legacy.
"There is an elephant in the room here", said Cunningham. "This case is not just about 'Pistol'. My client's fear is that if the declarations sought are made, it hands to Ms Camarata - and let's be straight - complete control over his interest and legacy as regards the Sex Pistols".
Lydon, his lawyer added, "feels extremely strongly that this is an attempt by Ms Camarata basically to annex him as part of her commercial empire".
The court hearing will continue today with Jones due to give testimony.
Spotify suspends subscribers who stream-rip via high-speed recording app
Stream-ripping, of course, has been the music industry's top piracy gripe for a number of years now. There are different ways that apps and websites can grab permanent copies of music that is available to stream, with some stream-ripping sites mainly grabbing audio from YouTube videos, while others work with an assortment of streaming platforms.
Generally speaking, the licensing deals done between the music industry and the streaming companies oblige the latter to do whatever they can to stop stream-ripping services from grabbing any audio stored on their servers and then turning it into MP3 files that can be downloaded and played outside of any one streaming service's own platform.
This means that the streaming platforms instigate various technical measures in a bid to stop the stream-ripping. In turn, the streaming-ripping apps and platforms have to evolve to counter those measures. And so a game of cat and mouse unfolds.
Of course, one simpler way to grab audio from a streaming service is to simply record said audio as it plays, basically a digital version of taping music off the radio on a cassette player, 1980s style. And that's basically what Audials Music does.
It's an interesting approach given the recent statement regarding the legalities of stream-ripping by the French government. Asked whether ripping audio out of a stream was by definition illegal, the Ministry Of Culture in France recently said that it was of the opinion that stream-ripping was covered by the private copy exception in French copyright law providing certain conditions were met.
The key condition was that "no circumvention of technical protection measures" occurs - ie the stream-ripping technology can't be deliberately designed to get around the technical measures introduced by Spotify et al to stop the ripping. Many stream-ripping sites do just that, and therefore grabbing audio that way probably would constitute copyright infringement, even in France.
However, if you just record a stream as it plays through a user's device, no technical measures are being circumvented. So, according to the French Ministry Of Culture, users pulling MP3s out of their Spotify listening that way wouldn't be breaching the country's copyright rules.
Though, 1980s kids will tell you, the problem with taping music off the radio - or using a tape-to-tape player to make copies of an album on cassette - was that making a copy of a three minute track took three minutes.
Unless, that is, you had a high-speed tape-to-tape player, which would play the original cassette at high speed allowing the copy to be made much quicker. And Audials Music is basically the digital version of that. "Audials Music is the only software to enable its users to download from Spotify at 30 times the speed", says the app's website.
However, it seems, it's the high-speed option that has allowed Spotify to spot this particular manifestation of stream-ripping as it occurs. After all, it's kind of odd when a user listens to a three minute track in six seconds. And while stream-ripping of this kind might be allowed under the laws of France, it still breaches Spotify's terms and conditions.
Torrentfreak notes that Audials - responding to the news that some of its users had had their Spotify accounts blocked - has written on the company's official forum: "Spotify apparently stores detailed data about each user ... in particular, it saves when you have heard which piece of music. Basically, this data should look identical, whether you are only playing or recording".
"But Audials has a 'high speed' function [which means] Spotify plays music faster and so the recording succeeds faster. However, this means that the data stored by Spotify could say, for example, that you have listened to music with a playing time of 50 minutes within five minutes. We strongly suspect that this is the criterion used by Spotify to select users for temporary bans. So far, we have only received reports from users who actually used the 'high speed' option and were blocked".
Therefore Audials' official guidance to any of its users who have had their Spotify accounts suspended is first to politely request it be unsuspended (apparently that usually works) and to then stop using the high speed version of the stream-ripping tool. Good times.
Sexual assault lawsuit against Diplo withdrawn
In a statement to Billboard, the unnamed woman said: "In light of the evidence and after consultation with my attorneys, I have decided to withdraw my lawsuit. No payment was offered or requested. I regret filing the lawsuit".
Diplo was accused of forcing the woman to perform oral sex on him in his hotel room, following a show in Las Vegas in 2019. She also said that he had filmed the encounter without her consent.
Responding to this development, the musician's attorney Bryan Freedman told reporters: "As we said when we first learned of this lawsuit, there was absolutely irrefutable evidence that proved that the allegations it contained were false. As soon as we shared that plethora of evidence with the plaintiff’s lawyers, they recognised that they needed to withdraw their suit immediately".
Freedman claims that the lawsuit was actually related to Diplo's ongoing legal battle with ex-girlfriend Shelly Auguste, who he accuses of harassment, and who made similar claims against the musician in a lawsuit filed last month.
The lawyer went on: "This demonstrably false claim - encouraged by an individual who has stalked, threatened, harassed and attempted to extort Mr Pentz and his family - has caused great harm".
"While that damage can never fully be undone", he added, "we are glad to see this lawsuit be dismissed with prejudice. Only because of the swift and irreversible decision to withdraw this lawsuit and to issue a public statement retracting the claims and expressing regret, we will not be pursuing charges of malicious prosecution against them at this time".
Last week, baseball team the Baltimore Orioles cancelled a post-game performance by Diplo, seemingly in light of the now withdrawn lawsuit.
Fewer than 20% of night-time businesses intend to use COVID passports
According to a survey of 250 businesses conducted by the Night Time Industries Association, 82.7% said that they would not be asking customers to prove that they have been fully vaccinated or recently had a negative COVID test. There are a range of reasons for this.
Many stress that implementing such COVID checking systems with just one week's notice isn't feasible, and that - because such checks are not an actual legal requirement - there was a high likelihood of conflict between customers and door staff when any checks were made.
Also, the key demographic of this type of business - those between eighteen and 30 - have not yet had the chance to receive both vaccine injections, with many choosing not to have the vaccine at all. So the majority would have to have regular COVID tests to get access to clubs and venues, which would make attending those clubs and venues much less attractive.
When confirming on Monday that most remaining COVID restrictions would lift in England next week, the UK government said it would not obligate any businesses to check a customer's COVID status before granting admission. However Prime Minister 'Boris' Johnson then said: "We're urging nightclubs and other venues with large crowds to make use of the NHS COVID Pass - which shows proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or natural immunity - as a means of entry".
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Sajid Javid added that "if sufficient measures are not taken to limit infection, the government will consider mandating the NHS COVID Pass in certain venues at a later date". All of which is confusing for night-time businesses and their customers - either COVID passes are required or they're not, and yet another confusing fudge from government is no use to anybody.
Some see the statements from Johnson and Javid as a ruse by ministers to placate the lockdown critics within the Conservative Party by removing COVID rules in the short term, while getting ready to blame clubs and venues down the line if their new policy results in a dangerous new surge in the virus.
In a statement, NTIA CEO Michael Kill says: "We are hugely concerned that the government has caused yet more confusion by suggesting that COVID passports are not mandatory while, at the same time, details reveal clearly that this could well be the case in future".
"Government guidance released this week has given businesses less than a week to make what would be a major change to their operating model", he goes on. "This type of ambiguous communication is creating hesitation amongst customers and operators. At this rate, 'freedom day' will be a false dawn for a nightlife sector characterised by chaos".
“The government should recognise explicitly that COVID passports are just not viable for large swathes of the night time economy, as their own internal report into the matter concluded", he continues.
"My worry here is that they intend to hide behind this 'guidance' when cases rise and they are forced to change tack, and blame it all on individual businesses and consumers for not taking the steps to stay safe. In fact, this sector takes the safety of its staff and customers very seriously and wants to be able to reopen safely, but is once again at sea because of a lack of leadership from the government".
Resident Advisor announces Whitney Wei as new Editor-In-Chief
"I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to lead RA into its new editorial era", she says. "In taking on this immense responsibility, I put forth my dedication to journalistic integrity and inclusive storytelling to ensure Resident Advisor remains in service to the dance music community".
Resident Advisor co-founder Paul Clement adds: "This is the first time we've recruited externally for a new Editor-in-Chief in over a decade. The role is pivotal in our ability to support and document important moments in the dance music communities past, present and future. We're incredibly excited about Whitney's appointment, confident she will bring a fresh approach as we continue to evolve".
Prior to being put in charge of Electronic Beats at the beginning of last year, Wei wrote about nightlife for various publications, including The Guardian, Vogue US, Pitchfork, FACT, and more. She also sits on the board of trustees of Clubcommission Berlin's 'Day Of Club Culture' and, alongside her journalism, also works as an illustrator.
Shakira has released new single 'Don't Wait Up'.
Normani has brought in Cardi B to help out on new single 'Wild Side'.
Haim have released new song 'Cherry Flavored Stomach Ache', taken from the soundtrack of new Netflix film 'The Last Letter From Your Lover'.
Swedish House Mafia are back together and have released their first new track for eight years, 'It Gets Better'.
Chvrches have released the video for their new single 'Good Girls'.
Bastille have released new single 'Give Me The Future'. Says the band's Dan Smith: "'Give Me The Future' is a song about plugging into endless possibilities. Literally, feels like everything is out there for the taking, all tastes catered for. The spaceship sound at the start? It's us crash landing in the future. The reality we live in at the moment was the science fiction of not that long ago".
Iron Maiden have released their first new single for six years, 'The Writing On The Wall'.
Trippie Redd has released new track 'Holy Smokes', featuring Lil Uzi Vert.
Måneskin have released the video for 'I Wanna Be Your Slave', following the track's success after the band's Eurovision win.
Kevin Abstract has released new single 'Slugger', featuring Slowthai and $not.
Soccer Mommy has released new single 'Rom Com 2004'. "I wrote this song a while back and made a poppy demo for it", she says. "Then I told [producer] BJ [Burton] to destroy it".
Anna Meredith has released new album 'Bumps Per Minute: 18 Studies for Dodgems'. "I approached writing these eighteen tracks like little exercises, making identities that are bold, playful and characterful but without beats, percussion or any acoustic elements and relying on my skills to create melodic and harmonic based energy", she says.
BadBadNotGood have announced that they will release their new album, 'Talk Memory', on 8 Oct. Here's new single 'Signal From The Noise'.
Emika has released new single 'Battles Part II' - a sequel to her 2015 track 'Battles'.
Hearteyes has released new single, 'Bustdown Entrails', featuring Brodinski and Coucou Chloe. "The song toes the line between fantasy and reality - a protagonist unable to define and differentiate their actions in either world", says Hearteyes. "Unapologetic and romanticising mutilation, hysteria, paranoia and drug-induced psychosis to reach a higher level of self-enlightenment to become the centre of the universe".
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
BTS label responds to rumoured Coldplay collaboration
Uploaded to lyric site MatchLyric, the song is listed as being by Coldplay featuring BTS and has Korean as well as English lyrics. Well, presumably there are Korean lyrics, the site just has some lines marked as "- Korean - ". A short clip of the supposed track has been doing the rounds on social media too.
It could all be a hoax though, couldn't it? What we need is an official statement from the two bands' labels. Luckily, South Korean entertainment news site Star News has got one. In a joint statement, Warner Music Korea and Big Hit Music said: "관련 내용에 대해 확인이 어렵다".
Oh sure, now you're all miffed because you can't read Korean. But I'm not sure translating it is really much help. But we'll do it anyway. Here we go. In a joint statement, Warner Music Korea and Big Hit Music said: "It's difficult to verify the relevant information".
See? No help. You could translate it as saying "confirm" rather than "verify". That's still not much help though, is it? Do they mean they can't say anything right now or they just don't know?
Then, speaking to Pop Crush last month about BTS and possible future collaborations, Chris Martin said: "When it comes to BTS, I just have nothing but love and respect for them. All seven guys, I think they're just cool, stand for good things and sing about cool things".
"I love the fact that they are so huge and sing a lot in Korean, they don't always have to sing in English", he went on. "I love them a lot and so if the right song came along, I wouldn't ever say no".
But anyway, and I can't stress this enough, it's difficult to verify the relevant information.