THURSDAY 25 NOVEMBER 2021 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Manchester's Night & Day is once again fighting for survival following noise complaints from a resident who has moved into a flat close to the music venue. Served with a Noise Abatement Notice earlier this month, it is being threatened with closure by Manchester City Council... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Manchester's Night & Day fighting for survival due to noise complaints once again
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LEGAL Domino says it is "saddened" by its ongoing Four Tet dispute
Yout blocked in Brazil again following criminal copyright complaint
Songwriter groups make final submission to review of US royalty rates on discs and downloads

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MANAGEMENT & FUNDING FAC launches Step Up Fund for emerging artists
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INDUSTRY PEOPLE UK Music Diversity Taskforce calls for more data to help tackle diversity barriers in the industry
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AWARDS Kelly Lee Owens wins Welsh Music Prize
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AND FINALLY... Who is to blame for the loss of Young Thug's million dollar bag?
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Check out all the latest job opportunities with CMU Jobs. To advertise your job opportunities here email advertising@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 9060.
   
HAL LEONARD EUROPE - COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER (LONDON)
Hal Leonard Europe is seeking a Communications Manager to lead and deliver the company's external communication strategy, managing corporate website and social media channel activity, overseeing media relations and developing the corporate brand.

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NONCLASSICAL - LABEL & ARTIST DEVELOPMENT MANAGER (REMOTE)
Nonclassical is looking for a collaborative Label Manager to support emerging artists to develop new music to share with diverse audiences through our label and event platforms.

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BAND ON THE WALL - JUNIOR PROMOTER (MANCHESTER)
Band On The Wall is seeking a dynamic, confident, enthusiastic self-starter who is ready to develop their career as a live music promoter, to join our programming team as the venue gears up for reopening in 2022 following a major expansion project.

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AWAL is looking for a personable and ambitious manager to work within the Global Commercial Partnerships team in a unique, future-facing promotions role.

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SJM CONCERTS - MARKETING COORDINATOR (MANCHESTER)
SJM Concerts is seeking a Marketing Coordinator to implement marketing campaigns to generate sales for new tours and events via various platforms including digital, press, radio, TV, outdoor and print.

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9PR - PUBLICIST (REMOTE)
9PR is looking to build the team by recruiting a full time music publicist. Candidates must have at least two years' experience in either print, online or radio publicity. 

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DOMINO PUBLISHING - COPYRIGHT & ROYALTIES ASSISTANT (LONDON)
Domino Publishing requires a passionate music person to assist the copyright and royalties staff. This is a unique opportunity to work within the worldwide hub of a young, expanding music publishing company and help us provide an unrivalled and exemplary service to our songwriters and publishers.

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FIRE RECORDS - PRESS OFFICER (LONDON)
Fire Records is looking for a highly motivated individual to fill a newly created role assisting the established press department at its new offices in the heart of Dalston, East London.

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Baxter PR is a music and entertainment PR agency working with a variety of international stars, new artists and bands, venues and festivals across an array of genres. It is looking for someone to join our team to assist on campaigns across print, online, radio and TV.

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Manchester's Night & Day fighting for survival due to noise complaints once again
Manchester's Night & Day is once again fighting for survival following noise complaints from a resident who has moved into a flat close to the music venue. Served with a Noise Abatement Notice earlier this month, it is being threatened with closure by Manchester City Council.

In a statement, the venue explains that the new complaints have been made by a local resident who moved into the city centre location during lockdown, while Night & Day was closed. Since COVID restrictions have lifted and live music has returned, the resident has made a number of objections resulting in intervention from the local council.

"During lockdown a new resident moved to Manchester and to a property that's within close proximity to the venue", it explains. "As the restrictions lifted and life returned to the surrounding Northern Quarter area, we were able to put on our first live music event. The resident visited us next day and has since reported us to MCC a number of times. We have met the resident a number of times to explain what we do and that nothing has changed operationally to how we operated pre-lockdown and the 28 years prior to that".

"We ask for Manchester City Council Licensing to remove our Noise Abatement Notice and for the council to address the real issue here, which is that housing with ill-considered planning and construction has been approved and built next to a pre-existing live music business", it goes on. "Night & Day is located at 26 Oldham Street. Over the past fifteen years, flats have been built or existing buildings converted to flats around us with no real thought or consideration to the pre-existing business, building and what it does".

"We also ask not to be labelled us as a 'nuisance'", it adds. "We believe we are a real cultural asset to the city of Manchester, the North West and indirectly to the UK as a whole. We believe we are a key part of Manchester and are very proud of what we do and have achieved. During lockdown, we were fortunate to receive Arts Council funding for being recognised as a place of cultural significance and also an Expanded Additional Restrictions Grant for cultural and entertainment value from Manchester City Council".

This is not the first time Night & Day has been placed in this situation. In 2014 it was served with a Noise Abatement Notice in similar circumstances (although without the lockdown element). Again, it related to complaints from a single person who had recently chosen to move into a property near the long-established music venue.

On that occasion, a petition gained 73,876 signatures and artists including Johnny Marr, Frank Turner and Tim Burgess voiced their support for Night & Day. Ultimately, the venue successfully defeated the action taken against it and remained open. This time around, a new petition calling for Manchester City Council to back down has gained almost 50,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.

In the mid-2010s, incidents such as this became commonplace. Music venues would help to revive a previously lagging area of a city, which would then attract property developers. New flats and houses would then be built in the area without consideration for what was already there - ie the very things that had made that part of town attractive in the first place - meaning that when new residents moved into their inadequately soundproofed new homes they would complain.

As a result of campaigning on this issue, in 2018, the UK government introduced the 'agent of change' principle into planning law, which places the onus on developers to identify and mitigate potential future noise issues. This has led to a decrease in stories such as this, but clearly there are still issues where properties were developed without their surroundings considered prior to the new rules coming into place.

This Saturday will mark the 30th anniversary of Night & Day's opening in 1991.

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Domino says it is "saddened" by its ongoing Four Tet dispute
Domino has issued a statement about its ongoing dispute with Four Tet, which ramped up last weekend after it emerged that the label had removed three of his albums from the streaming services.

The label says that it is "just as saddened" by the removal of the albums from streaming services as Four Tet is, but that it was advised that doing so was a "necessary consequence" of the ongoing litigation the musician - real name Kieran Hebden - is pursuing against the indie label.

Hebden sued Domino late last year in a dispute over digital royalties. Hebden argues that under the terms of his 2001 record deal he should be getting a 50% royalty on all or most of the monies generated by the streaming of his records. Domino counters that that's an incorrect reading of the 20 year old record contract.

The dispute is due to get to court early next year. However, last weekend Hebden hit out at the label on Twitter over its decision to remove three of his albums from the streaming services as part of the ongoing legal battle.

He wrote: "I'm so upset to see that Domino Records have removed the three albums of mine they own from digital and streaming services. This is heartbreaking to me. People are reaching out asking why they can't stream the music and I'm sad to have to say that it's out of my control".

"I have an ongoing legal dispute with Domino over the rate they pay me for streaming that is due to be heard in court on 18 Jan", he went on. "Earlier this week, Domino's legal representative said they would remove my music from all digital services in order to stop the case progressing. I did not agree to them taking this action and I’m truly shocked that it has come to this".

In a statement issued earlier this week in response those tweets from last weekend, Domino said that it is "just as saddened about this current situation. The decision to temporarily remove the three Four Tet albums from digital services was not taken lightly. We were advised to do so as a necessary consequence of Kieran's litigation at this time".

As for the wider legal dispute, the label said that, since Hebden went legal, "we have offered both in correspondence and in open court to mediate, but have been rebuffed by Kieran and his legal team. We have continued trying to re-engage with them to find a solution to this dispute: one that is fair to both sides, but to no avail. Through all of this, we have been and continue to be open to discussion and mediation".

It then concluded: "While we are equally as disheartened to have to take these steps, we remain hopeful that an amicable solution can be reached in the future. Our door is now and will always be open for further discussion with Kieran".

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Four Tet v Domino dispute, this particular spat happened to occur just as the ongoing debate over artist royalties jumped back into the public eye with Kevin Brennan MP's proposed reforms to UK copyright law, which would provide artists with a number of measures to force changes to their existing and old label deals.

Many of those supporting Brennan's reforms have pointed to Four Tet's run-in with Domino - and especially its decision to remove his recordings - as proof for why his proposed changes to copyright law are required.

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Yout blocked in Brazil again following criminal copyright complaint
Stream-ripping site Yout is blocked in Brazil again because prosecutors in the country have filed a criminal complaint against the service.

This is all part of the music industry's ongoing battle with stream-ripping, services that allow users to grab permanent downloads of temporary streams. In some countries record industry trade groups have sent cease and desist letters to, or actually filed litigation against, stream-ripping sites, often forcing said sites offline. But in Brazil, music industry trade group APDIF instead made a complaint about various stream-ripping outfits to the country's Public Prosecutor's Office.

The PPO began investigating said outfits, and as part of that process secured a web-blocking injunction against the sites APDIF had complained about, which included Yout. That forced internet service providers in the country to block access to the stream-ripping sites.

However, the initial web-blocking injunction only ran for 180 days, and when that time was up lawyers working for Yout requested that the web-block be lifted. The PPO requested an extension while it proceeded with its investigation, but in May this year the São Paulo Criminal Court ruled that an extension of that kind was not justified because prosecutors had so far failed to file any criminal charges against Yout et al.

This meant that Yout was available again in Brazil. But not anymore. According to Torrentfreak, the PPO has now filed a criminal complaint against Yout, prompting another web-blocking order in the country.

It's not unknown for websites to be blocked - or outright taken down - as soon as criminal copyright charges are filed against the operators of sites accused of copyright infringement, even though those cases have not yet been heard in court. Both MegaUpload and KickassTorrents were kicked off the internet as soon as criminal charges were confirmed, with both of those cases still to get to trial.

However, some would argue that's not fair, and is basically a 'guilty until proven innocent' approach. Indeed, that's the position taken by Yout's operator, Jonathan Nader, who tweeted earlier this week: "Learned today, under the Brazilian criminal law, you are considered guilty until there is a sentence absolving you. Good to know".

As for criminal case against Yout and its operator, pursuing that would require extraditing American citizen Nader to Brazil. With the MegaUpload and Kickass cases, those were being pursued in the US, but so far extraditing the operators of said sites from their bases in New Zealand and Eastern Europe has proven very tricky indeed.

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Songwriter groups make final submission to review of US royalty rates on discs and downloads
An assortment of organisations representing songwriters in America and beyond – led by the Songwriters Guild Of America, the Society Of Composers & Lyricists and Music Creators North America - have submitted some final comments to the US Copyright Royalty Board in relation to its review of the mechanical royalty rate charged on discs and downloads sold within the American market.

When labels release physical discs they usually own or control the copyright in the sound recording on those discs, however they need to secure a licence covering the accompanying song rights, which will be owned or controlled by one or more music publishers or songwriters. The label specifically needs a mechanical rights licence, and in most countries this is available via the collective licensing system, with industry standard rates applying.

However, in the US, it works slightly different. There is a compulsory licence covering the mechanical copying of songs, which means the rate the label pays is set by the CRB. The label can rely on that licence and that rate providing it goes through a set administrative process.

Every so often the CRB reviews those rates, and one such review is currently underway. Earlier this year the National Music Publishers Association and the Nashville Songwriters Association International told the CRB that they'd reached a deal with the record labels which would see the mechanical royalty rate on physical releases (and, actually, downloads too) remain unchanged. So that would mean a rate of 9.1 cents per copy.

However, groups like SGA, SCL and MCNA hit out at those proposals, arguing that the 9.1 cents rate was set in 2006 and inflation alone meant that an increase was now justified. They also argued that because the NMPA's biggest members - ie the major publishers - are also the biggest customers of this licence through their label divisions, the trade body basically has a conflict of interest.

On the back of that, those other songwriter groups wrote to the CRB in May pointing out that they - as interested parties - had a right to comment on this review and the NMPA/NSAI proposals. After the NMPA and NSAI subsequently filed a motion requesting that the CRB formally adopt their deal with the labels, the copyright board formally announced it would accept input from other organisations, with the deadline for making such submissions set for 26 Jul.

SGA, SCL and MCNA et al took that opportunity to make a submission, criticising the NMPA/NSAI deal with the labels and setting out arguments for why the mechanical royalty rate should, in fact, be increased.

They also pointed out that, while physical sales in the record industry may now be dwarfed by streaming income, discs and downloads together still accounted for 16% of US record industry revenues last year. Plus the ongoing vinyl revival and recent interest in NFTs - which are often linked to a download - means there remains plenty of interest in the music formats covered by this compulsory licence.

After the 26 Jul deadline passed, the CRB then said it would actually allow submissions up to 10 Aug. Some have speculated that extension was requested by the majors who wanted an opportunity to respond to the arguments made by SGA, SCL and MCNA. Certainly the majors took advantage of the extension and sent in another submission on 10 Aug.

Subsequent to that, in October, SGA, SCL and MCNA asked if they could submit new information they had gathered that was relevant to the royalty review. And so the CRB opened up submissions once again, this time with a 22 Nov deadline. Which is why SGA, SCL and MCNA made another final submission this week, primarily responding to comments made by the majors in their August submission.

That final submission makes four key points.

First, it states: "We strenuously object to the position of the major publishers and record labels that submissions by interested, non-participant commenters need not be considered by the CRB in evaluating the adoption of privately negotiated settlements". That claim, they say, is "contrary to the spirit and letter of the US Copyright Act".

Secondly, they reiterate their argument that the CRB should take inflation into account when reviewing the mechanical royalty rates, so that a new rate is set that takes into account inflation since 2006, and which them updates annually based on future inflation.

Such a move, they say, would "recognise both the severe financial dangers posed to songwriters and composers by the inflationary times in which we now live, and the demonstrably resurging importance to independent music creators and music publishers of royalty income realised from the distribution of physical product, downloads and other ... configurations [covered by this particular compulsory licence]".

Thirdly, they stress that the NMPA/NSAI proposal is opposed by "an overwhelming percentage of US and global songwriters and composers", while also noting that freezing the mechanical royalties on discs and downloads could actually have an even wider impact. That's because the streaming services are using that proposed royalty freeze to justify their argument that the mechanical royalty rate they pay (which is likewise governed by a compulsory licence in the US) should also be frozen (or even reduced), despite the fact that in that royalty review the NMPA is pushing for an increase.

And finally the submission says: "We enthusiastically support continued calls for comments by the CRB from interested parties in appropriate circumstances during all future stages of the [this and other royalty rate reviews]. This will help to ensure that more music creator voices are heard by the CRB, other than the extremely narrow constituency of opinions provided by only those whose participation the major music conglomerates are willing to finance".

With that final submission made, it remains to be seen how the CRB rules on all this.

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FAC launches Step Up Fund for emerging artists
The Featured Artists Coalition has announced a new Step Up Fund, which will provide financial support as well as other benefits to ten emerging artists.

Backed by Amazon Music, the fund aims to support artists at a stage in their careers that often proves financially challenging - even more so now as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. To be eligible, artists must be based in the UK and aged sixteen or over. They must have released three songs in the last year, with a minimum of 10,000 streams per track, and have no deal in place with a record label.

Any act that meets those criteria can apply for funding to support any aspect of their career in music. Each of those selected will receive a grant of £8000. In addition to this, they will get a year's free membership of the FAC, plus support from Amazon Music, including a three day recording, mixing and mastering package at Metropolis Studios.

"I am delighted to launch the FAC Step Up Fund supported by Amazon Music", says FAC CEO David Martin. "Even in the best of times, developing a successful artist career is incredibly challenging in a rapidly changing and competitive landscape".

"The FAC exists to represent the artist community within the music industry and more widely across society", he adds. "Step Up is a natural expansion of our role, as we look to provide further assistance to artists at a critical point in their journey. With the generous support of our partners, Amazon Music, I look forward to the FAC playing its part in the elevation of the next generation of UK talent".

Patrick Clifton, Head Of Music UK at Amazon Music, adds: "We are THRILLED to partner with the FAC to create the FAC Step Up Fund, which will provide up to ten up artists with much needed financial and industry support. The past eighteen months have been particularly challenging for up and coming artists and we're looking forward to working with the team at FAC to support them as they progress to the next stage in their careers".

Applications open on 30 Nov and will close on 17 Dec. Find out more here.

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UK Music Diversity Taskforce calls for more data to help tackle diversity barriers in the industry
UK Music's Diversity Taskforce has called for more transparency in the music industry to help better assess why exclusion is happening in so many workplaces. That call came as the cross-sector trade group published a new report called 'Moving The Dial On Diversity', which follows the publication a year ago of a ten-point plan for how the music industry could ensure more diversity and inclusion within its companies and organisations.

Reflecting on the progress that has been made over the last year, the Diversity Taskforce's Chair, Ammo Talwar, says: "Our Taskforce is delighted in the way we have been able to embed over the past year the UK Music Ten-Point Plan as the industry standard baseline for strategic action on equality, diversity and inclusion. Our new report outlines some very positive progress in the music industry, which we hope can lead the way for the creative industries and workplaces everywhere when it comes to bringing about lasting change".

However, he adds, "a key part of that involves gathering more data to help improve our understanding of why exclusion is happening in so many workplaces. Our goal is to make the music industry fairer for everyone".

The new report also includes input from former England and Manchester United football player Rio Ferdinand, who has a foundation that seeks to support young people living in disadvantaged communities, and which recently announced a partnership with Warner Music.

He writes: "Music has always been a major passion of mine; it's been the soundtrack to my life and the backing track to my fitness regimes. It has also been a key area of work for my Foundation who recognise that music, along with sport, is a key cultural driver for young people in terms of voice, aspiration and personal development".

"I've enjoyed listening and watching great music from afar like most people, but the killing of George Floyd and the outpouring of self-reflection from several industries made me look deeper into the role music can play and how all these new pledges for change would manifest themselves in the future", he goes on. "I've always felt that accountability must cut across all industries, but at the core of these issues is you cannot have change in diversity without complete transparency".

He concludes: "What this progress report shows is a willingness for the music industry to listen to colleagues from diverse communities and act - not only benchmark themselves but move the dial in a respectful manner. Taking the learnings from these past twelve months, we need to do more over the next ten years. In music, just as in football, and in life, we need to unite in diversity".

You can download the new report here.

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Approved: Lvra
Winner of the inaugural Sound Of Young Scotland Award at this year's Scottish Album Of The Year ceremony, alt-pop artist Lvra has come a long way in a short time. And it's very easy to see why so many people are so excited about what the future holds for her.

With a sound that draws on pop, R&B, trap, hip hop and experimental electronic music, Lvra released her debut single, 'U Don't Have To Like Me', in 2019, and has since kept up a regular release schedule that has ramped up significantly this year, with tracks like the excellent 'Dead' and 'Money & Power' - the latter taken from her 'Two' EP, which came out in September.

Showing no signs of slowing her pace, she's back again with new track 'In Your Blood', of which she says: "I think this song feels like taking a shot of adrenaline. At some point when we are so far into our animal selves we become lethal creatures. Sometimes in a club I feel like it's fight or flight that moves my body, as if I'm possessed. It's the only time apart from sleep when I can switch off. I want people to feel that shit when they listen to my music".

If that's the sort of shit you like to feel, then good news, it looks like the rapid growth of Lvra's catalogue of recordings is set to continue - that award win last month also came with a grant to fund the creation of her debut album. For now, there's plenty to delve into already.

Listen to 'In Your Blood' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.
 

Kelly Lee Owens wins Welsh Music Prize
Kelly Lee Owens has been crowned the winner of this year's Welsh Music Prize for her second album 'Inner Song'. And quite right too.

"It feels amazing", she said, accepting the award. "As a Welsh artist to be recognised by your country, ultimately for me, is the greatest honour. I'm so passionate about Wales and I want everyone to know where I'm from".

The eleventh edition of the prize - which selects the best album by a Welsh artist of the last year - was also the first to come with prize money. Owens takes home £10,000.

On what she plans to do with that money, she said: "Wales has had a tough time, like everywhere with the coronavirus, so I'd love to give some of it to some charities based in Wales".

Co-founder of the prize, Huw Stephens, adds in a statement: "We are THRILLED for Kelly Lee Owens. The judges were all astounded by this album. Kelly Lee Owens has been so critically acclaimed for this record, and we are so happy that she is the 2021 Welsh Music Prize winner.

"We are also THRILLED that Creative Wales are giving the £10,000 prize money – this is typical of the warm, supportive music scene in Wales", he goes on. "Music from Wales is diverse, and of astounding quality".

In addition to Owens, the other nominees were Afro Cluster, The Anchoress, Carwyn Ellis & Rio 18, Datblygu, El Goodo, Gruff Rhys, Gwenifer Raymond, Mace The Great, Novo Amor, Private World and Pys Melyn.

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Who is to blame for the loss of Young Thug's million dollar bag?
Who was to blame for a bag of Young Thug's stuff going missing? The rapper says the management firm that oversees his apartment complex. The management firm says that it's his fault for leaving a bag containing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stuff lying around in a car park. And on those grounds, JLB Peachtree Management is trying to get a lawsuit on the matter dismissed.

Young Thug sued Peachtree last month, almost a year after a member of staff employed by the property management firm handed the rapper's bag to a stranger, who promptly walked off with it. The bag was in the possession of Peachtree's staff because Young Thug had accidentally left it in the car park of the apartment complex where he was living.

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.

After another resident reported that a bag had been left in the car park in November last year, a member of the building's concierge staff retrieved it and placed it in a secure area. It was presumed to belong to Young Thug, as it had been next to his car, so they informed him that it had been found.

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 - without following the instructions on that note - a member of staff handed it to an unknown person, who - along with the bag - has never been seen again.

This chain of events does not seem to be in dispute. What is disputed, however, is whose responsibility it was to ensure the safety of the bag. While Young Thug's lawsuit places that responsibility firmly on Peachtree and its staff, the company says in its formal response that while its staff did take possession of the bag, at no point did they assume any sort of duty to protect it from being stolen.

Peachtree's legal filing adds that Young Thug's own "negligence and failure to exercise ordinary care" is to blame for him being separated from his bag. As a result, it is calling for his lawsuit to be dismissed.

However, Young Thug's lawyer is not having this. In a statement to Rolling Stone, Charles Hoffecker says: "The suggestion my client's negligence - if any - outweighs the defendants' ignores the simple facts the defendants' employees acted to secure the property, knew whose property it was, committed to keep the property safe in a secure location, communicated to my client they would keep the property secure, and then released the property to an unknown person".

"Now that the defendants have filed their answer", he adds, "we look forward to pursuing Young Thug's rights through the litigation process".

Exactly how far down that route this case will get remains to be seen. A settlement seems likely. But either way, I think we can all agree this dispute provides an important lesson for all of us: next time you're carrying around a bag containing a million dollars worth of stuff, don't leave it lying around in a car park. Glad we got that cleared up.

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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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