|MONDAY 18 OCTOBER 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: Jay-Z's legal battle with perfume company Parlux is due to get underway in the New York courts later today. However, the excitement kicked off on Friday when the rapper's lawyers announced that they'd hired a private investigator to assess whether a key witness for the other side was being honest when he claimed COVID concerns meant he couldn't testify in person... [READ MORE]|
Jay-Z's private investigator monitors supposedly COVID concerned witness as perfume dispute gets to court
The private investigator's private investigations proved said witness - a former Parlux President - was not being honest, legal papers filed on Friday night declare.
Fragrance firm Parlux sued Jay-Z - real name Shawn Carter - back in 2016, accusing the rapper of failing to meet his commitments to plug Gold Jay-Z, a perfume that Parlux and Carter launched together. The case has been slowly progressing through the courts ever since, with various legal squabbles along the way relating to deleted emails, access to Carter's work diary, and whether a deposition involving the rapper should be filmed.
As the full-on court hearing in the case got nearer, another side debate took place as to whether Jay-Z and other witnesses due to testify should attend in person, or whether they could take part in the proceedings via video call, as has become much more common during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The judge overseeing the case recently let it be known that he was very much of the opinion that key witnesses should testify in person. And that includes Donald J Loftus, who was President of Parlux until 2018. However, Loftus has sought permission to testify remotely based on COVID-related medical concerns.
Carter's legal papers on Friday state: "As the court is aware, Donald J Loftus and his counsel (who also act as plaintiffs' counsel here) submitted two doctor's letters from Mr Loftus' gastroenterologist asking the court to exercise its discretion under NY judiciary law to permit Mr Loftus to testify remotely. The letters claimed, among other things, that Mr Loftus was so fearful of COVID-19 that he had not been indoors (other than his house) since the beginning of the pandemic".
But that's just not true, Carter's lawyers argue, and they've got a private investigator's report to prove it. "Just last week, Mr Loftus was caught in public without a mask, in stores, on buses, dining inside restaurants, and at a crowded parade", they allege, citing the report provided by retired police officer Peter Devine.
"Despite Mr Loftus and plaintiffs' counsel's misrepresentations otherwise, the pandemic has not proven exceptional for Mr Loftus, who is living his life as if it is 2019", the legal filing continues. "COVID-19 has not stopped Mr Loftus from participating in any activities similar to (or more risky than) attending an in-person trial around other, socially-distanced, masked individuals".
"Indeed", it goes on, "were the pandemic an 'exceptional' risk to Mr Loftus' health, certainly Mr Loftus would not have eaten inside at multiple crowded restaurants without a mask on, rode an MTA bus, visited the dry cleaners, shopped in a grocery store, and attended a parade just last week, as the evidence filed recently demonstrated".
Although legal reps for Parlux and Loftus told Law360 that "we believe that in several material respects, the investigator's statements are incorrect, misleading and inaccurate", Carter's legal team want the judge to force the former Parlux chief to testify in person.
Carter's filing states: "Plaintiffs are calling Mr Loftus to provide evidence on their behalf and Mr Loftus is appearing voluntarily. They should not be permitted the accommodation of remote testimony after trying to mislead the court based on letters that contain admittedly false information".
"If Mr Loftus is going to provide such voluntary, affirmative testimony, he should do it in court with everyone else. He should not be shielded from an effective, in-person cross-examination, nor should defendants be deprived of their right to confront Mr Loftus in court".
So that's a fun start to the court proceedings. Jury selection is due to start this morning New York time.
Lil Wayne's legal battle with former manager dismissed on jurisdiction grounds
Ron Sweeney worked with Wayne from 2005 through to 2018 providing both management and legal services. During that time the rapper had a long-running and complicated dispute with his label Cash Money and its business partner Universal Music, which Sweeney helped his client to navigate.
Wayne also had two childhood friends involved in his business affairs, Cortez Bryant, who acted as his manager, and Mack Maine, who ultimately became President of Young Money, the Lil Wayne-led label that operated as an imprint of Cash Money. In his lawsuit, filed last last year, Sweeney said that while he provided management services alongside Bryant and Maine, because they had limited music industry experience he often ended up "managing the managers".
Along the way, Sweeney claimed in his legal filing, he agreed various commission payments with Wayne, especially when the rapper's legal battle with Cash Money caused cash flow problems, which meant the lawyer had to work for free for a time. In total, Sweeney said he was due a 10% management commission, plus 10% of any legal settlement in the Cash Money dispute and 10% of any monies generated if the rapper ever sold the Young Money catalogue, which he did last year.
On top of that, Sweeney added - in May 2018 - Wayne basically sacked Bryant as his manager, because Bryant was separately suing Cash Money through his company Aspire Music Group, which created a conflict of interest. At that point, Sweeney claimed, he ramped up the management services he was offering and negotiated a 17% management commission in return.
However, a few months after sacking Bryant and upgrading his partnership with Sweeney, Wayne then sacked his manager/lawyer. This, Sweeney claimed, was because of an intervention by Bryant and Maine, who "conspired together to drive a wedge between Lil Wayne and plaintiffs by, among other things, making false and misleading statements to Lil Wayne about plaintiffs".
Wayne, who had previously accused Sweeney of overcharging him for his legal services, sought to have the lawsuit against him dismissed on jurisdiction grounds. The litigation had been filed in California, but lawyers for the rapper argued that Wayne's primary base is Florida, while Sweeney's operations are run out of New York, so therefore the legal battle was being fought in the wrong state.
And, according to Pitchfork, last week the judge overseeing the case agreed, dismissing the case without prejudice. That means Sweeney could as yet re-file his lawsuit, though probably with the courts in Florida or New York.
Primary Wave announces deal with Gerry Goffin estate
Confirming the deal, Primary Wave boss Larry Mestel says: "The songs Gerry Goffin penned over the course of his incredible career have proven to be ageless and have stood the test of time. We are THRILLED to have these iconic songs, some of which are among the greatest of all time, on our roster. We are honoured to welcome him to the family of Primary Wave Music artists".
Speaking for the Goffin side, Christine Russell from talent agency Evolution Music Partners - who has managed Goffin's catalogue for more than two decades - adds: "Not only did Gerry Goffin personally impact my life, he has universally impacted the world through his extraordinary songs. Having managed Gerry Goffin's catalogue for over 20 years, it is my pleasure and honour to be working with the incredible team at Primary Wave to continue to represent this iconic songwriter and his legendary song catalogue".
Goffin also co-wrote the 1961 song 'Who Put The Bomp (Bomp, Bomp, Bomp)', which is the subject of a new lawsuit filed by Le Tigre earlier this month - although that dispute is with the other writer of the track, Barry Mann.
Little Mix rumoured to be preparing to announce split
The Sun On Sunday yesterday claimed that the group will formally announce their plan to break up in mid-November, with previously announced live shows in April and May next year then acting as a farewell tour.
This all comes after a week of bitter feuding between the group and Nelson following the release of her debut solo single, 'Boyz'. Nelson, of course, has been accused of 'blackfishing', by co-opting elements of African-American culture in both the song and its video, and also appearing heavily tanned in said video.
One of her critics turned out to be Little Mix's Leigh-Anne Pinnock, leaked messages confirmed. But Nicki Minaj, who guests on 'Boyz', has claimed that those criticisms are a result of Pinnock being a "jealous clown", in one of several defences of Nelson.
This has all ensured a great deal more coverage and airplay for 'Boyz', which otherwise would have been dismissed as a disappointing solo debut. What long term effect the controversy will have remains to be see though.
The Sun On Sunday heavily implies that the fighting with Nelson is behind Little Mix's decision to split. However, we will see what official reason they give. If the splitting up rumour is indeed true.
Britney Spears says "a lot of things scare me" as she nears the end of her conservatorship
"I've waited so long to be free from the situation I'm in and now that it's here I'm scared to do anything because I'm afraid I'll make a mistake", she says in a new Instagram post. "For so many years I was always told if I succeeded at things, [the conservatorship] could end and it never did. I worked so hard but now that it's here and getting closer and closer to ending I'm very happy but there's a lot of things that scare me".
She particularly singles out the paparazzi, who she says seem to be attempting to goad her into an angry or erratic reaction by jumping out at her car from behind trees. "The paps run through the trees and onto the road when I drive home and it's creepy ... I don't like that they try to scare me and jump out like they do, it's like they want me to do something crazy".
"I started experiencing that when I got the keys to my car for the first time four months ago", she says. "I haven't done anything to be treated the way I have for the past thirteen years. I'm disgusted with the system and wish I lived in another country".
However, she adds that she is now making an effort to "find more joy in life" - including celebrating Christmas early and avoiding the music industry altogether. She does have a warning for her family though - whom she has previously criticised for their actions during her conservatorship - saying: "Lord have mercy on my family's souls if I ever do an interview".
Vince Neil suffers broken ribs after falling from stage
According to TMZ, Neil "was a few songs into his set when he stepped to the edge of the stage, and then suddenly tumbled four feet onto the cement. Turns out there was a small gap between the speaker and the stage that Vince didn't see and he fell through the crevice onto the floor".
"He was clearly in pain", the gossip site adds, "his roadie and a security guy helped him get to his feet, and Vince limped away". He was then taken to hospital where X-rays confirmed that the singer had broken his ribs during the fall.
According to Blabbermouth, it was the bassist in Neil's band - Dana Strum - who updated the crowd as to what was happening, stating: "The truth is Vince fell and broke ribs when he fell. He can't breathe and he's gonna get dealt with medically".
"Now, that sucks for us, and him", Strum added. "He was so excited to be here. He lives in Tennessee. But he was willing to stick it out and tough it out when the people back here were telling him 'don't do it'. Let's have one good round of applause, please, for this guy".
Neil's band then finished his set with guitarist Jeff Blando providing the vocals.
COVID-19 CANCELLATIONS & POSTPONEMENTS
Snoop Dogg has announced that he is pushing back UK and Ireland dates previously set for March next year to August and September 2022 due to COVID-19 concerns. "My biggest priority is to keep my team and my fans safe, due to ongoing issues with the pandemic we have to push back again to make sure we can go to every country on the tour in a safe way", says the rapper in a statement.
UK collecting society PRS For Music has appointed Colin Campbell-Austin to the newly created role of Head Of Inclusion & Employee Experience. "I am proud to be taking on this role at PRS For Music at a pivotal moment for the global music industry, as we build together towards a more inclusive future for employees and music creators alike", he says.
Becky Hill has released the video for her latest single 'My Heart Goes (La Di Da)'. She is currently entering the final week of a sold out UK tour.
The Horrors have released new single 'Against The Blade'. The track is taken from a new EP of the same name, which is out on 5 Nov. The band also have three live shows lined up in Bristol, Manchester and London in November and December.
Herbert has released new track 'Gold Dust', featuring Bianca Rose. The first Herbert album since 2001 is set for release this week. A new documentary about Matthew Herbert's wider music world, 'A Symphony Of Noise', is also set to premiere at the Barbican in London on 4 Nov.
K Flay has released new single 'Nothing Can Kill Us'. She's also announced that she will play shows in London and Manchester in January.
EERA has released new single 'The Beat'. "It's about getting convinced by these voices and these people and thinking that they are right", she says. "It's my way of removing myself from these critics and saying if you can accept me for me then you can join me on my path. In recent years my confidence has been lowered and I have to work each day on not taking it as an attack, but rather as a way to have dialogue and possibly to even grow from it". Her new album, 'Speak', is out on 3 Dec.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Young Thug sues over lost bag
If you are wondering how one bag could possibly be worth more than a million dollars, well here is the maths. The Louis Vuitton bag - itself worth $2500 - contained $40,000 in cash, a watch worth $57,000, a chain worth $37,000, and a hard drive containing around 200 unreleased songs, which the rapper says in his lawsuit has a value of at least $1 million. You know, all the normal stuff you'd carry around with you in a bag.
Said bag was in the possession of the building's concierge because - after returning to his apartment in the complex last November - the rapper accidentally left the bag in the carpark. Another resident noticed the stray luggage and informed the concierge, prompting a member of staff to come and collect it, stowing it safely in a secure area. The staff member suspected it belonged to Young Thug because of the vehicle it had been left next to. So far so good.
A note was then placed on the bag saying that it should not be removed without first contacting the concierge manager, so that they could verify that it was being returned to its rightful owner. However, later that evening a member of staff handed it to an unknown person, who - along with the bag - has never been seen again.
"I can say that we have not received any satisfactory explanation from the property management or ownership as to how [Young Thug's] property was not returned to him", the rapper's attorney Charles Hoffecker tells Law360. "To our knowledge, the songs have not been illegally released on any platform or otherwise".
Young Thug claims that building owner JLB Peachtree Management and management company Pegasus Residential breached their duty to protect the property of residents. Even property that has been left unattended in a carpark. He is seeking compensation for the full value of the contents of the bag. Neither company has yet commented on the case.