TODAY'S TOP STORY: John Lydon yesterday lost his high profile legal battle over whether or not he has a veto right to stop the use of Sex Pistols music in an upcoming TV series. The high court in London ruled that an old band agreement was still in force which means a licence can be issued if a majority of the band's members agree... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES John Lydon loses legal battle over Sex Pistols band agreement
LEGAL Jury hears from second accuser at R Kelly trial
DEALS Universal Music announces wide-ranging new deal with Aerosmith
LIVE BUSINESS Night-time sector calls on government to axe plans to force COVID vaccine checks at clubs
MEDIA Shaun Keaveny to narrate Rockanory on Absolute Radio
ARTIST NEWS UB40 saxophonist Brain Travers dies
Previously unseen Beatles lyrics to appear in new Paul McCartney book
AND FINALLY... Lil Nas X is now Chief Impact Officer at Taco Bell
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John Lydon loses legal battle over Sex Pistols band agreement
John Lydon yesterday lost his high profile legal battle over whether or not he has a veto right to stop the use of Sex Pistols music in an upcoming TV series. The high court in London ruled that an old band agreement was still in force which means a licence can be issued if a majority of the band's members agree.

The sync deal dispute relates to a new TV programme called 'Pistol', based on the memoir of Sex Pistols member Steve Jones. He and fellow band member Paul Cook went legal after Lydon sought to block the issuing of a sync licence allowing Sex Pistols music to be used in the show.

The case centred on a decades old band agreement which said that a sync deal of this kind could be issued if a majority of the band's members agreed. Lydon said he didn't remember ever signing that agreement and that legal documents terrify him. But, he added, whatever he signed back in the day, the band had always operated on the basis that licensing deals needed unanimous approval.

Jones and Cook conceded that they'd never enforced the majority rule contained in that old band agreement before, partly to avoid falling out with Lydon. However, they argued, that didn't mean the agreement wasn't still valid.

And yesterday judge Anthony Mann agreed. He added that at the time the agreement was signed, Lydon had good legal advisors in both the UK and the US, as well as management, who would have made sure he was aware of what he was signing up to.

The judge wrote in his ruling that: "Mr Lydon must have been fully advised about the [band agreement] and its consequences. On his side he had an English lawyer, a US attorney and his manager ... it is impossible to believe that he did not know what its effect was and I reject the suggestion made by him that he did not really know or appreciate its effect".

"It is highly likely that, even if he did not read [the agreement] himself", the judge added, "it will have been explained to him and he will have understood its effects. The inherent likelihood of that is reinforced by his own evidence about his concerns to protect the Sex Pistols' legacy. A man with those concerns, which I accept he had, would expect to be made to understand important documents that he was signing. He would not have been cavalier about that”.

The judge also noted that Lydon had given up at a lot of control over his music previously through the record and publishing deals he had signed, so therefore it wasn't impossible to believe that he would have likewise foregone a veto right when negotiating a deal with his bandmates.

Welcoming yesterday's ruling, Jones and Cook said in a statement that the judgement "brings clarity to our decision-making and upholds the band members' agreement on collective decision-making". On the legal battle they added: "It has not been a pleasant experience, but we believe it was necessary to allow us to move forward and hopefully work together in the future with better relations".


Jury hears from a second accuser at R Kelly trial
The R Kelly trial continued in New York yesterday, with jurors hearing from another of the musician's accusers, who described how she was controlled and abused while living at the star's home.

The witness, referred to as Jane Doe #5, told the court that she was involved with Kelly for five years, having originally met him in 2015, aged seventeen, at a concert in Orlando. She was excited to meet the star, she said, not because of any romantic interest in him, but because she was pursuing a singing career and "genuinely wanted his input".

She was soon invited to attend an audition as a potential singer for the musician, which is when Kelly first made sexual advances, ultimately persuading her to receive oral sex.

She was then invited to meet Kelly again on a number of occasions. As their relationship developed, she had sex with Kelly almost every day that summer, she revealed, with the musician making recordings of their sexual encounters almost immediately. He also gave the witness a sexually transmitted infection during that time, most likely knowingly.

The witness subsequently move into Kelly's home, initially in Atlanta and later Chicago. Over time, she said, Kelly became ever more controlling. Echoing the earlier testimony of another of Kelly's accusers, Jane Doe #5 told the jury about the strict rules she was obliged to follow while living with Kelly, and the punishment and humiliation she would receive when she broke those rules.

Punishments including spankings, beatings and confinement. On one occasion - after buying an item of clothing that didn't comply with Kelly's rules - she was confined to her room for three to four days until she apologised. Although the door to the room wasn't locked, she said she was afraid to leave without permission having seen Kelly physically assault other women who also lived with the star.

She, and other women, were also forced to write letters and make videos in which they admitted to stealing from Kelly or spoke about being molested by family members - none of which was true. These were kept by Kelly and his attorneys, the witness claimed, presumably to be used as blackmail should any of the musician's alleged victims threaten to go public about the abuse they had been subjected to.

Kelly, of course, is accused of sexually and physically abusing numerous women and girls, as well as other related crimes. He denies all the allegations against him. The trial continues.


Universal Music announces wide-ranging new deal with Aerosmith
Universal Music has announced a wide-ranging new partnership with Aerosmith that will cover the band's entire recordings catalogue, plus future recording, audio-visual and merchandise projects.

The catalogue part of the deal is perhaps the most interesting. Although some of Aerosmith's big albums from the 1980s and 1990s were released by Geffen - which became part of what is now Universal Music in the middle of that era - the rest of the band's records were released by Sony Music's Columbia label. Seemingly all that music will be under the control of Universal from next year.

In terms of future projects, as well as new albums there are plans for TV and film productions too, and also to pursue projects that utilise music, photos, footage and artwork from the band's archives. Aerosmith already works on merchandise ventures with Epic Rights, which was acquired by Universal's merch business Bravado in 2019.

Announcing the big new partnership, Universal Music boss Lucian Grainge says: "Aerosmith's global success places them in rarefied air among the all-time greatest rock icons. On the band's 50th anniversary, Aerosmith continues to influence the course of music not only through their iconic catalogue but also through film, television and video games and their inimitable style".

"On a personal note", he goes on, "I couldn't be prouder that they have chosen UMG as their global partner. We look forward to building upon their incredible legacy and ensuring their music continues to inspire fans around the world".

Meanwhile the band's Joe Perry adds: "It's been a long road but I'm extremely happy and proud to say on behalf of Aerosmith we have been able to bring our 50 years of music under one roof by partnering with UMG. This will allow us to bring our music to our fans in ways we never were able to before. It's something we've dreamed about happening for a long time".

"It's a win for Aerosmith, UMG and ultimately our fans", he continues. "Needless to say we are very excited. It's an incredible way to celebrate 50 years and the many more years to come".

And the band's manager Larry Rudolph adds: "I couldn't be happier for the band members and their families. Not only are we bringing together the band's entire catalogue in one place, but we're entrusting these recordings to the very capable hands of Sir Lucian, [Universal Music Enterprises boss] Bruce Resnikoff and the incredible UMG system worldwide".


Night-time sector calls on government to axe plans to force COVID vaccine checks at clubs
The Night Time Industries Association has called on the UK government to abandon plans to force clubs and other venues to check people's COVID vaccination status from the end of next month, arguing that doing so will hinder the revival of the night-time and live entertainment sectors.

When COVID rules lifted in England last month - allowing clubs to re-open and full capacity gigs to resume - the government advised venues to check the COVID status of customers at the door, but there is currently no obligation to do so. However, Prime Minister 'Boris' Johnson has said that the rules will change at the end of next month making it obligatory for some venues to check each customer's 'COVID passport', which confirms a person's vaccination status.

According to reports, there remains confusion within government as to whether that requirement will definitely become law next month, with some ministers seemingly against the proposal, although Johnson's team are adamant it will go ahead.

The NTIA says that the revival of the night-time sector is now under-way after nearly eighteen months of shutdown, although staff shortages - some COVID related, others because people left the sector during lockdown - have proven a challenge.

But the current biggest challenge for the sector is the prospect of clubs and venues being obliged to check COVID passports from the end of next month. While some are also concerned that any new surge in COVID cases that happens when schools and colleges return in September will be blamed on the night-time and live entertainment sectors.

Addressing the Prime Minister, NTIA boss Michael Kill said yesterday: "Mr Johnson, the industry has supported your public health strategy for over eighteen months, proving we can operate safely, without affecting infection rates as many felt we would, so give credit where it is due and allow the industry the freedom to determine its own mitigations as has been done for many years prior this pandemic, but more importantly do not mandate COVID passports".

"Our industry has been exceptional at managing businesses and public health within these settings during this pandemic. As your very words had suggested this year, we will not turn back, and we cannot be subject to mitigations which are ill thought out and are clearly not supported publicly, politically and industry wide".

"Contrary to popular belief much of our core market and workforce will not accept being coerced into taking the vaccine, the workforce is shrinking and illegal events are being organised today in light of the impending restrictions, how can this be anything but counterproductive?"

"Our industry cannot be blamed or subject to the failings or impact of other settings, it is abundantly clear the impact of opening our sector has not impacted rates to levels suggested", he concluded. "It's important that the government recognise the value of our contribution, end the uncertainty, and work with us in recognising the impact of proposed measures".


Shaun Keaveny to narrate Rockanory on Absolute Radio
As he presents his final shows for BBC 6 Music next month, Shaun Keaveny will also be popping up on rival station Absolute Radio. Although not to host a conventional radio programme. Instead he'll be narrating a new scripted comedy series called 'Rockanory'.

The series - which is backed by the UK government's Audio Content Fund - consists of a number of stories based on apocryphal rock n roll legends co-written by comedian and broadcaster Jon Holmes, and is basically a radio version of his book 'Rock Star Babylon'.

Absolute Radio says to "expect a good amount of high drama and out-loud laughter as Shaun recounts the very silly and utterly absurd fictional dramatisations of 'Status Quo And The Kangaroo', 'Trying To Get Blood Out Of A Stone', 'Stairway To Hell', 'Taking Libertines', 'Aporkalypse Sow' and 'The Kiss And The Cow'".

Each story will be aired in five minute chapters over a week, each night at 11pm, with an omnibus podcast then released every Friday.

Says Keaveny of the project: "The poetical confluence of real and imagined, the nexus betwixt fantasy, fallacy and fuckin silly rock and roll myth exploder...it is an hilarious pleasure to be part of 'Rockanory', especially since I'm not deemed sexy enough to do the 'CBeebies Bedtime Stories' gig after Tom Hardy".

Holmes adds: "To be able to bring proper, built, scripted comedy to Absolute Radio for the very first time is a dream come true. To be fair, all of my dreams involve Shaun Keaveny, but neither the Audio Content Fund nor Absolute Radio were willing to get involved in any of the others".

Bigging up the whole thing at Absolute Radio itself is Content Producer Paul Sylvester, who says: "Absolute Radio has built its reputation as the home of comedy on commercial radio and this expansion into scripted comedy is something we've always wanted to do".

"As ever", he goes on, "I'm grateful to the Audio Content Fund for supporting ambitious ideas and to Jon for such a brilliant concept. Shaun was our first-choice as narrator, after years of enjoying him announce Fi and Jane on the Fortunately podcast - oh and listening to him on the radio!”

The first edition of 'Rockanory' will air on 6 Sep.


UB40 saxophonist Brain Travers dies
Brian Travers - a founder member of and saxophone player with UB40 - has died aged 62.

In a statement, the band said: "It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our comrade, brother, founding UB40 member and musical legend, Brian David Travers. Brian passed away yesterday evening with his family by his side, after a long and heroic battle with cancer. Our thoughts are with Brian's wife Lesley, his daughter Lisa and son Jamie. We are all devastated by this news and ask that you respect the family's need for privacy at this time".

Travers was one of a number of Birmingham-based friends who came together to form UB40 in the late 1970s. By the time the band released their first album in 1980, UB40 had a line-up of eight, including Travers on saxophone. That line-up then stayed in place for the next thirty years, including on the band's biggest album releases in the 1980s and 1990s.

However, by the late 2000s tensions had built within the band, with frontman Ali Campbell departing in 2008, soon followed by keyboard player Mickey Virtue and, five years later, vocalist and percussionist Astro. All three of those former members then started performing together, resulting in further tensions over their use of the UB40 name.

The main UB40, including Travers, continued to perform and record following the departure of Campbell and Virtue in 2008, with Campbell's brother Duncan taking over on vocals. Duncan Campbell then announced he was standing down in June this year due to ill-health, with Kioko's Matt Doyle being confirmed as a replacement.


Previously unseen Beatles lyrics to appear in new Paul McCartney book
Paul McCartney is publishing a book of his lyrics in November which kind of doubles up as something a bit like a memoir. The book, simply called 'The Lyrics', will feature 154 of his songs, each accompanied by some commentary from the man himself. There will also be a bunch of photographs and drawings.

The featured songs will come from across McCartney's career, and will include the lyrics of an unrecorded Beatles song called 'Tell Me Who He Is', which McCartney seemingly found in an notebook from the early 1960s while working on this project.

Alongside the book's launch, the British Library in London will host a free exhibition called 'Paul McCartney: The Lyrics' which will, and I quote, "celebrate the songwriter and performer and feature previously unseen lyrics from his personal archive".

McCartney himself introduces the book as follows: "More often than I can count, I've been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right. The one thing I've always managed to do, whether at home or on the road, is to write new songs".

"I know that some people", he adds, "when they get to a certain age, like to go to a diary to recall day-to-day events from the past, but I have no such notebooks. What I do have are my songs, hundreds of them, which I've learned serve much the same purpose. And these songs span my entire life".


Lil Nas X is now Chief Impact Officer at Taco Bell
Back in 2017, Lil Nas X had a job working in a Taco Bell restaurant in the Atlanta area. Truly passionate about the fast food brand, obviously, he temporarily took a step back from directly dishing out the tacos to pursue a music career, in the constant hope that doing so might one day allow him to rise up to the ultimate dream job: Chief Impact Officer of the entire Taco Bell empire. And now, ladies and gentleman, that dream has been realised.

"As a cultural icon with an insider's perspective on the Taco Bell team member experience, Lil Nas X has been appointed the title of Chief Impact Officer", the fast food firm announced yesterday, "a newly created honorary role that will allow him to collaborate on the brand experience from the inside out".

Yeah, whatever you say. "Lil Nas X knows the job, the experience and the culture Taco Bell creates for its fans - including its people", added Mark King, CEO of Taco Bell. "This unique partnership will deliver on more than just marketing, allowing us to tap into the genius of Lil Nas X to inspire our team members and align with our commitment to unlocking opportunities for young people".

Yeah, maybe. "Lil Nas X is one of the most important voices of this generation", chipped in Jennifer Frommer, from the brand partnerships wing of the musician's label Columbia Records.

"His expertise in understanding social media and youth culture alongside his skills in creating great music makes this partnership with Taco Bell exciting, brave and one of the most innovative campaigns I've had the pleasure of creating".

Good times. But what will the not-at-all-made-up-job of Chief Impact Officer actually involve? Well, "in his first 60 days, Lil Nas X and Taco Bell are teaming up to offer an exclusive experience around the upcoming release of his album 'Montero', launching Taco Bell's newest menu innovations, and most importantly, tapping into his history as a Taco Bell team member to help make the experience even more impactful".

So there you go. Maybe this could all end up in a messy legal battle. I mean, I'm worried no one's sued yet over Lil Nas X's most recent single 'Industry Baby'. And if nobody sues him, how's the guy meant to come up with the concept for his next marketing campaign? Let's just hope no one at Columbia has taken any real time to read the nitty gritty of the Taco Bell contract.


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.
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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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