|WEDNESDAY 1 DECEMBER 2021||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: At least five of the families of people who died at the Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas last month have declined an offer from the event's founder and headliner Travis Scott to cover funeral expenses. That includes the family of the youngest victim, nine year old Ezra Blount... [READ MORE]|
Families of five Astroworld victims decline Travis Scott's offer to cover funeral costs
Ten people died and hundreds more were injured during a crowd surge that occurred while Scott was performing his headline set at Astroworld 2021. A criminal investigation is underway into what led to the crowd surge, while Scott and the festival's promoters - Live Nation and its subsidiary Scoremore - are facing nearly 250 lawsuits in relation to the incident.
On the Monday after the tragedy, Live Nation and Scoremore confirmed that they were offering full refunds to all Astroworld ticket holders, while a statement issued on behalf of Scott stated: "Travis Scott will cover all funeral costs and provide further aid for individuals affected by the 5 Nov tragedy at Astroworld Festival".
There has been much speculation since as to whether a festival-goer accepting a ticket refund would impact on their right to sue Live Nation and Scoremore in relation to the crowd surge. Beyond the families of those who died - and the hundreds more who were injured - it is anticipated thousands of other people at the festival could also sue for emotional distress.
Meanwhile, some have questioned whether the families of those who died would actually want to take up Scott's offer to cover funeral costs, given the legal battles they are embarking on against the rapper and his business partners.
It emerged earlier this week that the Blount family had formally told Scott's legal team that they wouldn't be accepting any money from the musician to pay for the nine year old's funeral.
And now lawyers representing four more victims have told Rolling Stone that their clients have likewise declined any such support. That includes attorneys working for the families of Jacob Jurinek, Franco Patino, Axel Acosta and fourteen year old John Hilgert.
According to Rolling Stone, all the lawyers it spoke to dubbed Scott's offer to cover funeral costs as "an attempt to lessen public pressure rather than a genuine display of remorse", adding that "they’d rather let the courts decide what actions best give the victims justice".
The magazine also quoted the lawyer working for the Hilgert family - Richard Mithoff - as stating: "It was not an offer [the Hilgerts] were going to seriously consider. Of all the things this case is about, that's the least of any concern. This family is set on making change and ensuring this never happens at a concert again. I find offering to pay for funerals frankly demeaning and really inappropriate to the magnitude of the tragedy that unfolded".
Meanwhile, the lawyer working for the Jurinek and Patino families - Philip Corboy - criticised Scott for formally making the offer to cover funeral costs via his legal representatives.
"If he's trying to impress upon the families that he's sincere and has concern for them and realise that funerals can be expensive, what Scott's team did is not the way to do it”, Corboy said. "You don't get a piece of paper in the mail from a lawyer in Beverly Hills who says he represents Travis Scott. These families are raw right now; that lacks any personal touch".
The Acosta family's lawyer - Tony Buzbee - was even more forthright, noting that the offer to cover funeral expenses was first made in a press release. "It's bullshit", he told Rolling Stone. "If you gave a shit about these families, you wouldn't have to put out a press release for everyone to see saying he's willing to pay for a funeral".
As the litigation continues to mount up in relation to Astroworld, Law360 has confirmed that Scott has hired the services of high profile litigator Daniel Petrocelli of LA law firm O'Melveny & Myers LLP. The lawyer will be lead counsel for the musician as all the lawsuits in relation to the Astroworld tragedy go through the motions.
Other app makers back Epic over pending injunction that will force Apple App Store rule change
App makers like Epic, Spotify and many others have long criticised Apple's App Store rules which they say are anti-competitive. A key gripe, of course, is the rule that in-app payments must be taken via Apple's commission charging transactions platform, and the accompanying 'anti-steering' rule that says alternative payment options elsewhere on the internet can't be sign-posted within the app.
Apple has already made some concessions in this domain, mainly in response to litigation and regulator intervention, so that from next year so called reader apps - like Spotify - will be able to sign-post alternative payment options. But that doesn't help the makers of other kinds of apps, like Epic and its Fortnite app.
Epic has gone legal over Apple's App Store rules in multiple countries. When its lawsuit in California got to court many of its competition law arguments were actually rejected by the judge. However, said judge did order Apple to start allowing all apps to sign-post alternative payment options from 9 Dec.
Since then, Apple has been trying to get that injunction paused, or 'stayed' in legal terms. That's mainly on the basis that both Apple and Epic are appealing the wider judgement in their wider legal battle, and the tech giant argues that the injunction should be stayed while that appeal goes through the motions. Epic, obviously, does not agree, pointing out the appeals process could take years.
The judge in the lower court sided with Epic on this point, insisting that the injunction should not be stayed and will still go into force on 9 Dec. So now Apple has taken the matter to the Ninth Circuit appeals court, with both it and Epic presenting their respective arguments to the appeals judges.
Among other things, Epic told the Ninth Circuit that ensuring the injunction against Apple's 'anti-steering' rule goes into effect is in the public interest. And backing up that claim on Monday via a so called amicus brief were app makers Tile, Match Group, Basecamp and Knitrino, plus the not-for-profit Coalition For App Fairness, which includes Epic, those four companies and many other app making businesses among its membership.
In their legal filing, the app makers stated: "As a group of app developers large and small, [we] view the district court's injunction against Apple’s anti-steering provisions as a vital cure for an extremely harmful and anticompetitive practice in a mammoth sector of the United States economy. Granting a stay of the district court's injunction would deny the amici here and other developers like them the relief they badly need during the (potentially lengthy) pendency of this appeal".
"This court has previously considered harms to third parties in denying motions to stay injunctions pending appeal", the filing then said, adding that therefore the Ninth Circuit "should not hesitate to do the same here, where many developers are relying on the relief the district court’s injunction provides".
After setting out some specific gripes of the companies that put their name to the amicus brief, the legal filing concluded: "During the pendency of this appeal, [other app makers] will suffer concrete and irremediable harm should the court stay the enforcement of the district court’s anti-steering injunction. Antitrust law and policy demand that market participants be free to offer competitive prices to their customers. Because Apple's contracts so overtly stifle price competition, there is no reason for this court to stay the injunction while this appeal pends".
We now await to see how the Ninth Circuit rules.
Google voluntarily de-lists The Pirate Bay in response to ISP-targeting web-blocking injunction
It took about a decade for Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN to finally get The Pirate Bay properly and permanently web-blocked in the country. Web-blocking - whereby internet service providers are forced to block users from accessing certain copyright infringing websites - has long been a preferred anti-piracy tactic of the music and movie industries, of course.
In most countries where web-blocking has been introduced - whether through specific new laws or landmark rulings in court - ISPs usually grumble for a while, but then fall in line and start blocking piracy sites whenever the court orders roll in. But some net firms have fought back against web-blocking more prolifically, and none more so than Dutch ISPs Ziggo and XS4ALL. Along the way their legal wrangling with BREIN took the issue to both the Dutch Supreme Court and the EU courts.
That dispute was finally resolved last year, with the Dutch courts deciding once and for all that the web-blocks were all fine and legal. And then, earlier this month, a bunch of Dutch net firms - including Ziggo and XS4ALL owner KPN - signed up to a 'website blocking covenant', via which the ISPs agreed that if BRIEN secures a web-blocking injunction against any one of the participating companies, the others will also comply with that web-blocking order.
However, Google was not part of that deal. And generally the web giant - while placating copyright owners by voluntarily down-grading piracy sites in its search results - has usually resisted calls for it to voluntarily delete The Pirate Bay et al from its search engine database.
But now, according to Torrentfreak, it has seemingly removed The Pirate Bay and more than 100 related domains and proxies from the Dutch version of its search engine.
Google was apparently motivated to remove TPB from its Dutch search lists by a legal request from BREIN, which pointed to the web-blocking injunction it secured in relation to the piracy site. However, that injunction does not specifically name Google. So, it wasn't legally obliged to take any action against The Pirate Bay. Or at least not yet.
A director at BRIEN told Torrentfreak that it's not unknown for net firms to block piracy sites when injunctions are secured by copyright owners against rival internet companies, not least because the chances are high the courts would issue another injunction naming other internet firms if said copyright owners asked for it.
"Dutch case law shows that once there is a contested court order against one access provider, courts do grant the same order against others if they refuse to conform to it, even though they are not named in it", BRIEN's Tim Kuik added.
But for Google to voluntarily comply in this way is unusual. BREIN is already in the process of seeking web-blocks against six other piracy sites. It will be interesting to see how Google responds to any future web-blocking orders in the Netherlands.
BMG buys Mötley Crüe recordings catalogue
If you are interested in the specifics, "the agreement includes the iconic band's entire recorded output spanning their 40-year career totalling nine studio albums from their 1981 debut 'Too Fast For Love' through the latest release in 2008 'Saints Of Los Angeles', as well as several platinum-selling live albums and compilation sets".
Oh, and, in case you wondered, "the transaction forms part of BMG's long-term strategy to create a 21st century home for the most iconic music rights in popular music history".
Mötley Crüe were originally signed to Warner's Elektra label. However, their last two albums were released in partnership with the label run by the band's manager, Allen Kovac, who has had a partnership with BMG for some time. As a result of the big old catalogue acquisition deal, BMG will now seek to re-promote the old albums as the band embark on a 2022 US stadium tour.
Confirming the new deal, a statement from Mötley Crüe themselves said: "It feels amazing to be collaborating with our new partners at BMG. Their extensive track record of success in rock made them the perfect home to continue preserving and growing our musical legacy, ensuring we always stay at the top".
Meanwhile, Kovac added: "After working side by side with BMG for well over a decade, the relationship we have developed and success we've accomplished over the years made this a very easy transition to entrust with this treasured rock catalogue. Working with BMG in any capacity, whether that's publishing or records, has always been a great experience".
And BMG boss Hartwig Masuch said: "This is more than just a significant transaction. It's a new chapter for an extraordinary catalogue. Few bands understand the myth and the magic of rock like Mötley Crüe do. In an increasingly competitive rights acquisition market, artists need to be convinced that a buyer will do the right thing with their work. I am delighted that Mötley Crüe have decided BMG will be the best custodians of their musical career".
BandLab Technologies rebrands as Caldecott Music Group
So, yes, Singapore-based BandLab Technologies - owner of the BandLab music creation platform and various music magazines, among other things - has announced a rebrand and a rejig. The company will now be know as the Caldecott Music Group, which will have three main divisions: BandLab Technologies, Vista Musical Instruments and NME Networks.
The BandLab Technologies division will operate the main BandLab product, as well as digital audio workstation Cakewalk and the recently acquired ReverbNation direct-to-fan platform. Meanwhile, the Vista Musical Instruments division will bring together the various musical instrument companies and brands BandLab has acquired in recent years, including Mono, Harmony, Heritage Guitars and Teisco, as well as instrument seller Swee Lee.
And then there's NME Networks, the group's media division, which relaunched under that name last month. As well as NME itself, NME Networks also encompasses the music titles Uncut, MusicTech and Guitar.com.
Confirming all this, the founder and boss of what is now the Caldecott Music Group, Meng Ru Kuok, says: "From our unique vantage point here in Singapore, our brands have seen massive growth globally in terms of community, traffic, and sales across the board. I truly could not be prouder of our team. Now is the time to build on the foundation we have formed for over nearly a decade".
Talking of that team, the company has also announced some appointments at the newly formed parent company, including Ivan Chen as Group Chief Operating Officer, Grace Chong as Group Chief Financial Officer, Krystle Hall as Group Chief Brand Officer, and Laurent Le Graverend as Group Chief Technology Officer.
Kuok adds: "I cannot wait to watch as our people and brands flourish within this new structure, supporting and fuelling creativity to uphold our singular vision of connecting the world of music and providing more opportunities for creators, fans, and the music industry at large. The best part is that we're still just getting started".
Music Venue Trust announces second Revive Live Tour
The programme will see artists like Keg, The Wytches, Cultdreams, Calva Louise and LibraLibra tour around a network of grassroots venues. Meanwhile Enter Shikari, Becky Hill, Bastille, Feeder, Kojey Radical, Maisie Peters and The Coral will all headline one-off gigs at one of their favourite grassroots venues as part of the initiative.
The shows are all underwritten by the National Lottery, with the aim being to remove the risk for artists and venues that are still in recovery mode following the COVID-caused shutdown of live music.
Enter Shikari will play Club 85 in Hitchin as part of the tour. The band's Rou Reynolds says: "Since we were fifteen we've been playing grassroots venues up and down the country. They were our home and gave us the opportunity to develop into the band we are today".
"One of those venues was Club 85", he goes on. "So it's so great to be able to return and play there again after more than a decade and help highlight the fact that these venues need support, especially right now after they've been sat empty for nearly two years".
"Without grassroots venues like Club 85 and all the other places we played as kids - a lot of which have already, sadly, been consigned to the history books - there's less of a chance that four teenagers can change their own, or anyone else's, lives", he goes on. "They are breeding grounds for new music as well as strong communities. And that's why we're doing this".
Tickets for the second Revive Live Tour go on sale on Friday.
B2B streaming company Tuned Global has done a deal that will see its technology power African digital music service Waw Mizuk. "Knowing our new back-end technology is fully scalable and reliable gives us all the more confidence in our plans to expand into new territories and grow our business further", says Waw Muzik CEO Jean-Philippe Audoli. "This allows us to strengthen the West African music industry with improved remuneration of rights holders, and nurture cultural exchanges with other territories".
Primary Wave Music has announced a new partnership with the estate of Teddy Pendergrass, acquiring a stake in the late singer's publishing and recording income streams, as well as his name and likeness. "My husband was a legend, an icon, and I'm pleased about this partnership", says Joan Pendergrass. "I believe working with Primary Wave is just what the estate needs to help showcase Teddy's rich legacy".
Universal Music's Interscope Geffen A&M division in the US has promoted Matt Morris to SVP A&R. "I've grown so much as a person and executive over the past decade at Interscope", he says. "My goal has always been to help artists at the highest level, and to get to do that at the most forward-thinking record label in the world is an honour. I couldn't be more excited for this next step".
Leila Oliveira has been promoted to General Manager of Warner Music Brazil. "I'm honoured to be asked to step up into this new position", she says. "We've seen how our Brazilian artists, such as Anitta, can win the hearts of fans around the world and we look forward to running even more impactful global campaigns in the years to come".****
Emika and Rødhåd have released a new single together, called 'I Knew Your Name Before You Were Born'. The title, explains Emika, "is a lyric inspired by a dream I had while pregnant". She adds: "I have loved Rødhåd's sound for many years now and when I spent some time with him in his studio in Berlin we worked out a collaboration together".
Martha Skye Murphy has released new single 'Concrete', featuring Leya.
Park Jiha has released new single 'Light Way'. Her new album, 'The Gleam', is out on 25 Feb.
GIGS & TOURS
Adele has announced that she will begin a Las Vegas residency in the new year, playing Friday and Saturday nights in the Colosseum theatre at Caesars Palace Hotel from 21 Jan until 16 Apr. Tickets go on general sale on 7 Dec, with a pre-sale starting this Friday.
Laura Mvula has announced a UK tour in March next year, finishing up at the Shepherds Bush Empire on 10 Mar. Tickets go on sale on Friday.
Getting somewhat ahead of herself, Leona Lewis has announced a Christmas tour... for 2022. "I couldn't be more excited to announce my UK headline tour for 2022", she says. "After such a challenging year I can't wait to celebrate with my fans and experience that feeling of togetherness again". Again, this is a Christmas 2022 tour. I don't know what she knows about how bad 2022 is going to be. Tickets go on sale on Friday.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Baby Shark NFTs arrive just in time for Christmas
Or are there? Who are the biggest idiots? That's right... kids. Absolute idiots. They don't enjoy films with subtitles, can't cook a good stroganoff and like stupid shit like Baby Shark. Absolute dummies. Surely that's where the NFT market needs to go next.
And so, it has come to pass, that on 2 Dec 2021 (aka tomorrow) the first collection of Baby Shark NFTs will be launched. There will be one unique and five limited edition looping animations based on holographic trading cards available. And don't worry, "each piece is accompanied by audio that references the genre-defining song and its iconic vocal". What an absolute joy.
This is all being done via a partnership between the owner of Baby Shark and Pinkfong - SmartStudy - and Sony's Relentless Records, which has handled Pinkfong's recordings catalogue since 2018.
"We are excited to finally reveal Baby Shark's first NFT collection", says Bin Jeong, CEO of Pinkfong USA. "This marks the beginning of our venture into the world of NFT, an important next chapter of Baby Shark's journey. As a sensation born on the internet, it is a natural progression for Baby Shark to embrace NFTs and we are THRILLED to share the experience with the community".
Dannie Chu, CEO of the NFT market that will host all this stupid shit, MakersPlace, adds: "Over the last year we have seen strong demand from our community for music-inspired NFTs. We want to expand our offerings in this space by providing the platform, tools and curatorial support to help bring great audio-visual works to life on the blockchain. We are THRILLED to partner with Pinkfong to bring the world of Baby Shark to the digital arts space".
I feel a bit bad about what I said about the kids earlier. It's not really fair to call them stupid. They're just kids. And obviously this whole thing isn't really aimed at kids anyway. It's still aimed at fully grown idiots. Fully grown idiots who want to buy some Baby Shark related stuff and have a whole load of cryptocurrency they don't know what to do with. Actually, with the timing of this, I can't help feeling that there are going to be some disappointed children this Christmas.
Parent: Hey, do you want to see what I got you for Christmas?
Kid: Yeah! Is it a cool toy I can play with?!
Parent: No, even cooler!
Kid: Wow! A new bike? Or a skateboard? Or a trampoline?
Parent: No, look, I got you this short animation.
Parent: It's Baby Shark! You love Baby Shark!
Kid: I liked it when I was in nursery. But that was a long time ago.
Parent: But this is an exclusive thing. We own it. I got it especially for you from the people who made Baby Shark.
Kid: So only we can see it?
Parent: No, anyone can see it. But only we have a certificate saying that we own it.
Kid: So we can stop other people from seeing it?
Parent: No, it's on a big computer somewhere that we don't own.
Kid: You're a fucking idiot. I'm going to make my famously excellent stroganoff and watch a French film.
That is an actual conversation that is going to happen this Christmas. And that's involving the parent who buys the "unique" NFT. Imagine how it will go for the parents that have to explain that they only bought a share of one of the other five Baby Shark NFTs. Is that how you want Christmas to turn out? Is it? Why do you want to ruin Christmas? Why do you always do shit like this?