TODAY'S TOP STORY: Texas-based lawyer Brent Coon has announced that he has filed litigation on behalf of more than 1500 Astroworld attendees, more than doubling the number of people who are now pursuing legal action against the organisers of Travis Scott's festival. As an opening gambit, Coon is demanding $10 billion in damages... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Lawyer files litigation on behalf of 1500+ more Astroworld attendees, seeks $10 billion in damages
LEGAL Organisers of hurricane hindered Elements Festival sued by ticket-buyers
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Warner Chappell announces partnership with Daniel Glass's new songs business
Third Side Music announces partnership with Soundway Records
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Audiomack adds direct-to-fan monetisation tools
MEDIA BBC Radio 1 announces Christmas Takeover presenters
ONE LINERS Mitski, Spotify, Alison Wonderland, more
AND FINALLY... Soulja Boy blames Kanye West for other rappers dropping him from tracks
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Lawyer files litigation on behalf of 1500+ more Astroworld attendees, seeks $10 billion in damages
Texas-based lawyer Brent Coon has announced that he has filed litigation on behalf of more than 1500 Astroworld attendees, more than doubling the number of people who are now pursuing legal action against the organisers of Travis Scott's festival. As an opening gambit, Coon is demanding $10 billion in damages.

Ten people died and hundreds more were injured when a crowd surge occurred during Scott's headline set at the Houston festival on 5 Nov. A criminal investigation is underway to ascertain what led to the crowd surge, and whether bad decision making prior to or during the festival contributed to the deaths and injuries.

A stack of litigation has also been filed in relation to the tragedy. Last week the process began to consolidate and coordinate pre-trial proceedings in relation to the 275+ lawsuits that had been filed by that point, which together involve more than 1250 plaintiffs. A legal filing confirmed that both plaintiffs and defendants supported "consolidating the cases before judge Lauren Reeder in the 234th district court of Harris County".

Coon's announcement significantly increases the number of festival-goers now involved in litigation. Among the thousands of people now suing are the families of the ten people who died, hundreds of attendees who suffering physical injuries during the crowd surge, and many more who will claim that the incident has caused them emotional distress.

A statement from Coon's law firm earlier this week stated that it "represents 1547 concert goers, more than any other firm involved with the case to date". The lawyer, the statement added, "has made a written demand of $10 billion dollars for resolution of all cases".

Commenting on the litigation, Coon said: "In addition to litigating high profile mass tragedies all over the county the last 35 years, I also have run a concert promotion company for over 20 years and am very familiar with how you are supposed to plan these events. What happened at Astroworld was an unconscionable tragedy and it is important that justice is served for all those impacted".

Alluding to the fact that Scott's performance continued for more than 30 minutes after police had declared a mass casualty event at Astroworld, Coon added: "Everyone associated with these types of events has the power to halt conduct that is resulting in injury to attendees. It has been terribly disappointing that some defendants have already gone public misstating and down-playing their responsibilities that attach to events such as this. Anyone involved can at least temporarily stop an event when safety becomes a serious issue".

"The fact that not a single company or individual involved in this incident ever made an effort to do so here, when it was readily apparent things were out of hand, is shameful", he went on. "Trying to publicly dodge culpability is irresponsible and inconsistent with what really goes on behind the scenes in these events. I know. I run them and I have had to stop one, and did so before anyone got hurt. It's part of the job".

In addition to the lawsuits, Coon's firm says that it will also campaign for new rules to better regulate large-scale events, in a bid to ensure nothing like the Astroworld tragedy can ever happen again. That will include proposed "legislative action" that would force "crowd control planning specialists to certify events, mandated training programmes for event preparation and criminal liability for any wrongdoing".

Most of the lawsuits filed in relation to Astroworld include both Scott and the festival's promoters - Live Nation and its Scoremore subsidiary - as defendants. Some also target the venue NRG Park and the companies that own and operate it, the Harris County Sports And Convention Corporation and ASM respectively; Apple, which was livestreaming the festival; and Drake, who made a guest appearance during Scott's set.

Both Scott and Live Nation have begun formally responding to some of the lawsuits. The former is trying to get himself removed as a defendant on the basis he is not legally liable for the running of his festival. Live Nation is not seeking dismissal of the litigation, but it is denying all the allegations being made against it, most of which are based on the argument that negligent planning and on-the-ground management led to the tragedy.


Organisers of hurricane hindered Elements Festival sued by ticket-buyers
Organisers of the Elements Music And Arts Festival - a dance music-centric event in the US - have been sued over their 2021 edition, which came in for plenty of criticism from festival-goers on social media. A lot of that criticism stemmed from the fact that the event took place in Pennsylvania in early September shortly after Hurricane Ida had swept through the North Eastern United States, resulting in extra challenges for the festival's promoters, which many felt they had failed to meet.

Responding to the criticism in the days after the festival, organisers said on social media: "We recognise that some of you endured extraordinary wait times and discomfort getting into the festival on Friday. We apologise for these logistical issues and the disappointments they caused".

These delays, they explained, were a direct result of the hurricane. "There was significant damage to our parking lots from Hurricane Ida, which led to major delays into the festival", they added. "More delays were caused by precautions developed as a result of the hurricane. We were forced to change the location of parking lots and check-in spaces due to remaining flooding issues on Friday".

COVID measures also played a role, they said. "The aftermath of the hurricane and the long-lasting repercussions of COVID-19 exacerbated common festival issues, including some long food and water lines and restroom cleanliness", they added. "We wanted all attendees onsite to have the best experience of all time, and we will work hard to improve".

Festival-goers were then prompted to email in their specific complaints, which resulted in another statement at the start of October, further apologising for the issues, and offering every 2021 attendee a 33% discount on a 2022 ticket.

"This year was a humbling experience for us in many ways as we encountered Mother Nature's force among other industry wide challenges", the October statement said. "We are heartbroken to have heard some of your experiences were rough, particularly for those of you that arrived Friday as we were forced to relocate parking lots due to water damage from Hurricane Ida".

"In hindsight", it added, "we should have communicated these challenges earlier and better given the uneven cell service, and particularly more so during the relocation so people understood the situation fully".

Although insisting that many festival-goers had been in touch to say they'd actually enjoyed the 2021 event, they added: "In the end, our mission is for everyone to walk away from Elements with a positive experience, and we feel that for many we missed that mark".

To that end they committed to improve "our processes, logistics and staffing to ensure we're fully prepared for anything nature can throw at us next time, and we are committed to putting our community first with every decision we make".

With all that in mind, the festival has since published a 'road map' that sets out how organisers plan to improve future editions, and ensure that they are better prepared for any future last minute challenges they face, weather caused or otherwise.

However, those apologies, discounts and commitments have not placated everyone who attended Elements 2021, with three festival-goers named as plaintiffs on the lawsuit filed in relation to all the various complaints, which is also seeking class action status.

"This class action lawsuit seeks redress for defendants' failure to properly organise, prepare, and provide ticket purchasers and attendees of the Elements Festival 2021 with the experience defendants extensively promoted and marketed as being a safe, packaged, multi-day camping and music festival", the lawsuit states.

"Defendants had essentially ignored Hurricane Ida's arrival in the area, did not provide adequate staffing for the musical festival, did not properly screen attendees for COVID-19, had insufficient food and water supplies, the lodging was not as advertised, and all of this combined with the lack of basic amenities for attendees created an uncomfortable and dangerous situation", it then adds.

As well as the long delays to get onto the festival's site, resulting in ticket-buyers missing a big chunk of the Friday line-up, the lawsuit claims: "Once inside, attendees were subjected to extremely unsanitary conditions, unusable handwashing stations, and bathing stations many had paid for such as showers that did not even work".

"Furthering the misery, Elements Festival security allowed attendees to bring in only one litre of water, but then the festival ran out of its own water provisions by the second day, and access to water thereafter was spotty, putting attendees at risk for dehydration, additional health risks, and more".

Many festival-goers, the lawsuit also alleges, chose to leave early, despite missing yet more acts they'd paid to see, because of the unsanitary conditions and fears exiting the site would be as stressful as entering.

"Even then", the legal filing claims, "attendees' efforts to escape the understaffed, disorganised and unsanitary festival were hamstrung by the disorganised parking and mud-soaked grounds, where no efforts had been made by Elements Festival's staff or security to make certain parking areas more accessible, and easier to use, such as putting down wood chips to facilitate vehicle access and then drive those vehicles out of the area".

Based on all those allegations, the lawsuit is seeking more than $5 million in damages.


Warner Chappell announces partnership with Daniel Glass's new songs business
Warner Chappell Music has announced a partnership - a "dynamic publishing partnership" no less - with Connection Music Publishing. Which, in case you wondered, is a new music publishing business launched by Glassnote Records founder Daniel Glass.

But just how dynamic will this "dynamic publishing partnership" be? Well, "the pact will bring together Warner Chappell's global resources with Connection's independent sensibilities through strategic administration agreements with rising talent and global stars". Sounds pretty dynamic to me.

Say Warner Chappell CEO Guy Moot and COO Carianne Marshall in a joint statement: "Glassnote has created a world-renowned record label with Grammy Award winning artists like Mumford & Sons and Phoenix as part of its repertoire, and that strong legacy of serving as a home to some of the best in the music business is sure to continue with Glass's latest venture, Connection Music Publishing. With Jackie Post at the helm, we couldn't be more excited to be in business with this team".

Ah, yes, Jackie Post is Head Of Publishing at this new company. I forgot to mention that. Sorry. Will you forgive me if I provide a quote from her? Yes? Good, here it is: "This is an incredibly exciting time in the music publishing world. We are building and investing in the next generation of songwriters, and are THRILLED to partner with Warner Chappell Music in this endeavour. It is especially meaningful to kick off the relationship with UK-based songwriter Edie Bens".

Ah yes, Edie Bens is the first signing to Connection Music. I forgot to mention that. Sorry. Will you forgive me if I provide a quote from her? Yes? Well, I don't have one. But here's Daniel Glass with some words instead: "My long-time friendship and professional relationship with Carianne and Guy has now come full circle. We are proud to be working with their stellar team to help our songwriters grow".


Third Side Music announces partnership with Soundway Records
Third Side Music - the music publisher with bases in LA and Montreal - has announced a partnership with London-based Soundway Records and its sister music publishing business. The deal sees Third Side Music expand its global footprint, and move into the recordings side of music rights for the first time.

Soundway Records was founded by DJ Miles Cleret in 2002, and is best known for releasing compilations and reissues featuring artists from Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Third Side has already been working with the label on sync licensing projects, and those collaborations will expand through the new partnership, which also sees the North American publisher become a shareholder in the Soundway business.

Confirming the deal, Third Side President Patrick Curley says: "We're delighted to announce our new partnership with Soundway Records and Publishing. The stellar team has always blown us away with their dedication, curation, and musical taste".

"Soundway brings a truly global sound into our creative pitching and services, and they have helped land some of our favourite sync placements", he goes on. "What three people have accomplished for the label in nineteen years is truly impressive, and this is an amazing jump off point to come together and grow significantly bigger".

Meanwhile, Cleret adds: "Partnering with Third Side Music is particularly appealing, as we both come from a truly independent place. At the core of everything we do, our values align in how we support and promote rosters, release music, and do equitable deals with artists, composers, and licensors".

"Their unwavering artist-first approach, infrastructure, and resources will empower us with incredible opportunities to expand", he continues. "With complete creative independence to continue releasing groundbreaking compilations and re-issues of the best music from around the world, we're really excited for what's next!"


Audiomack adds direct-to-fan monetisation tools
Discovery-focussed streaming service Audiomack has launched a new tool called Supporters which will allow fans to pay to become a 'supporter' of any one track or album on the platform. It creates a new revenue stream for the artist, while the fan's support will be publicly acknowledged within the Audiomack app.

The streaming firm says that - as well as providing another way for artists to make money - its Supporters tool also creates "an exclusive connection between creators and fans by allowing listeners to directly contribute to releases". Fans will also get access to bragging tools in the form of "shareable trophies" that will confirm their contributions, while artists will be able to directly message their supporters through the Audiomack system.

It's an interesting development given the increased importance of direct-to-fan monetisation and digital gifting tools on apps like TikTok, Twitch, Instagram and YouTube, as well as the use of platforms like Patreon and OnlyFans by online creators and influencers.

Although the latter are sometimes about providing the core fanbase with extra content and premium experiences in return for one-off or ongoing fees, a lot of those tools are really about selling the 'satisfaction of support' or 'bragging rights'. In the case of grass-roots talent, fans get the satisfaction of supporting the creative process. With more mainstream creators, it's about being able to publicly brag that you are part of the inner sanctum of the fanbase.

All of those tools are available to music-makers, of course, and some artists are making decent revenues from them. Though to date that activity has generally happened outside - and is therefore somewhat disconnected from - the big music streaming platforms.

Spotify did launch its donations button at the start of the first COVID lockdown to allow artists to direct fans to places where they could make direct donations. But that was a bit of a misfire, because the whole thing felt very much like a charitable initiative, not least because artists had to chose between taking donations for themselves or directing fans to actual charities.

Even in the context of the COVID lockdown and the sudden shutdown of live music, positioning supporting artists as a charitable exercise seemed wrong. Especially within streaming apps, given that streaming was the one music revenue stream not affected by the pandemic, even if many artists didn't see the benefit of that, for one reason or another.

The Audiomack Supporter scheme seems to be designed and positioned much more like the digital gifting and tipping tools on the user-generated content and direct-to-fan platforms, which makes it much more interesting, and much more likely to succeed.

Though, linking the support to specific tracks and albums - rather than just artists - does create some interesting questions from a music industry perspective. Does that mean artists signed to labels have to share that income with the label, in the same way they do with other royalties stemming from the actual streaming of the music? And should the writers of the songs being supported also get a cut of the money?

Like SoundCloud, creators can directly upload content into Audiomack, as well as delivering their music via a label or distributor. Creators directly uploading content and connected to Audiomack's monetisation platform will receive 85% of any money pledged through the Supporters scheme, albeit after payment processing fees have been deducted, which will include Apple and Google's good old 30% cut if the fan provides their support via an iOS or Android app.

However, quite how it will work if the artist is signed to a label isn't clear. Though we do know label-signed artists will be involved, because Warner Music - the first major to do a licensing deal with Audiomack back in 2019 - is a supporter of Supporters.

The major's SVP Of Digital Strategy And Business Development, Allan Coye, says: "More than ever, there's demand both from fans who want to demonstrate their passion and support their favourite artists, and from artists looking to better engage with their superfans. Audiomack's Supporters feature will help build these relationships and allow artists and fans to connect in new, meaningful ways".

Meanwhile, Audiomack co-founder and CEO Dave Macli adds: "With Supporters, Audiomack is treating artists as they see themselves - as entrepreneurs building profitable careers. Supporters creates brand new monetisation opportunities for creators while bringing dedicated fans closer to the music and artists they love".


BBC Radio 1 announces Christmas Takeover presenters
BBC Radio 1 has announced that its Christmas Takeover will return again this year, with 30 new DJs presenting shows on the station over the festive period.

"Since its launch in 2019, Radio 1's Christmas Takeover has grown into a powerful catalyst for boosting the careers of new and emerging presenters and DJs right across the industry", says Head Of Radio 1, Aled Haydn Jones. "We're incredibly proud of the achievements of those who have taken part in the Takeover over the past couple of years, and we're looking forward to showcasing the new crop of talent over the festive period this year".

This year's group of newcomers include podcaster Alexandra Woolhouse, who will become the first trans woman to present on daytime Radio 1, and local BBC presenters including James Threlfall, Angelle Joseph, Ifan Davies, and Phoebe I-H.

The full list of presenters, and the shows they will be taking over, is:

Alexandra Woolhouse and Carrie Morrison (Radio 1's Life Hacks)
Alexinder Riyat (Radio 1 Anthems)
Alice Dale (Radio 1 Anthems)
Alyx Holcombe (Radio 1's Rock Show)
Angelle Joseph (BBC Music Introducing on Radio 1)
Bhavotelli (1Xtra's Rap Show)
CassKidd (Benji B) Charlie Tee (Radio 1's Dance Party)
Daniella Gualtieri (Radio 1 Anthems)
Elliot Darby (Radio 1 Anthems)
Emma Millen (Radio 1 Anthems)
Emma-Louise Amanisha (Radio 1's Future Soul)
Ifan Davies (Radio 1's Power Down Playlist)
Jack Miles (Radio 1 Anthems)
James Threlfall (Radio 1's Dance Anthems)
Kerrie Cosh (Radio 1's Future Artists)
Lashwana Stewart (The 1Xtra Takeover)
Laughta (Radio 1's Soundsystem)
Liam Daly and Chess Warren (The Official Chart on Radio 1)
Luke Wallwork (Radio 1's Chillest Show)
Maia Lowerson (Radio 1's Future Sounds)
Matty Chiabi (Radio 1 Anthems)
Nakia Oliver and Fabienne Oliver (Annie Nightingale)
Nat O'Leary (Radio 1 Anthems)
Phoebe I-H (Radio 1's Future Dance)
Seb Bailey (Radio 1 Anthems)
Sweetpea (Rene LaVice)


Check out the CMU Library
If you ever find yourself struggling to navigate and understand all the complexities of the music business, well, we're here to help! Make sure you check out the CMU Library.

That's the online educational resource for the music industry that makes it easier to access all the guides, reports, slides and other resources that are available from CMU, our consultancy unit CMU Insights, and our new talent programme CMU:DIY.

We re-organised the Library earlier this summer into eight sections covering different aspects of the music business including music copyright, the record industry, the music publishing sector, the streaming business, the live music sector, the direct-to-fan business, music marketing, and an overview of the wider music industry.

For each section there is a super-concise overview and then links to where you can access and download the guides, reports, slides and other resources. Check out the CMU Library here.


Reggae artist and producer Freddie McGregor - with his catalogue spanning more than 40 albums over six decades - has signed a worldwide publishing deal with Warner Chappell. "With a new album in the works and the live scene coming out of hibernation, it seems like the right time to start writing a new chapter in my career", he says. "I want to connect with other writers and producers from around the world to keep inspiring me to make music that moves people".

Live Nation has completed its previously announced deal to acquire a majority stake in Latin American promoter OCESA Entretenimiento. "As we continue to bring shows back around the world, we're excited to officially welcome OCESA into Live Nation", says the live giant's CEO Michael Rapino. "The OCESA team are incredible at what they do and together we look forward to creating even more amazing live experiences across Mexico and Latin America".



Universal Music Publishing in the US has promoted Lillia Parsa to SVP A&R. "I am honoured to be a part of UMPG", she says. "This company places so much care into each writer and continues to deliver as a leader in the music industry. It has been such an incredible journey thus far".

Music PR company Inside Out has appointed Lucy Baker as Head Of Communications for its newly established Australian office. "I couldn't be more excited to be joining Inside Out as we launch in Australia", she says. "Creating strategic, multi-tiered campaigns has always been a priority for me and I am so delighted to do this in [the Australian] market for the amazing talent we have coming through, all while working with an international team to create more brilliant opportunities for the artists we represent". Back in the UK, Publicist Nisa Kelly has joined from Good Machine PR.

Thomas Steinbrueck has joined good old Utopia Music as Chief Of Brand & Design. "We are proud to announce that Thomas Steinbrueck will join the Utopia family starting next January", says CEO Markku Mäkeläinen. "Thomas' extensive career in successfully transforming and modernising brands into iconic and highly visible powerhouses is why we are convinced he is the right person for the job".

Management group YMU has announced the promotion of Chris Dempsey to the position of UK Managing Director. "These are exciting times for YMU", he says. "We are committed to continued investment in our services teams across digital, streaming, commercial/brands and IP to generate more opportunities globally and provide our clients with the best expertise".

The Worldwide Independent Network - the global organisation for the independent music community - has appointed Noemí Planas as GM and Denis Simms as Membership & Projects Manager as it celebrates its fifteenth anniversary.

Live music firm DHP Family has announced two promotions, with Anwyn Williams now Head Of Marketing and Matt Newton becoming Marketing Manager. "I'm extremely proud to be taking on this next challenge with DHP, a company that has encouraged and helped me to grow and develop throughout my career in the music industry", says Williams. Concurring, Newton adds: "DHP Family has always been about nurturing staff and developing people to the best of their abilities. I feel privileged to be another example of this in my new position".



Are you an artist who speaks Brazilian Portuguese, Canadian French, Czech, Dutch, European French, European Spanish, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Malay, Polish, Spanish for Latin America, Swedish or Turkish? Well, the Spotify For Artists platform is now available in your language. And if you happen to speak all of them, well, you've got an awful lot of choice.



Mitski has released new single 'Heat Lightning', taken from her new album 'Laurel Hell', which is out on 4 Feb.

Alison Wonderland is back with new single 'Fuck U Love U', and has confirmed that she will release a new album next year.

Meyy has released new single 'Rain', featuring Jelani Blackman. "It's about diving into a new love story after a break up, as falling in love is way easier than going through the hurtful process of falling out of love", she says.

Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.


Soulja Boy blames Kanye West for other rappers dropping him from tracks
Soulja Boy has claimed that being dumped from the final version of Kanye West's 'Donda' album - and a subsequent war of words about it - is having a negative effect on his career. In a new Instagram Live video, he says that other artists have now also dropped him from their tracks and that no one calls him to collaborate anymore.

"This is a public service announcement", he says in the video. "None of you rappers call my phone no more, please. I'm begging y'all".

Sidestepping the fact he'd just begged for work, he goes on: "Kanye, this is your fault. Before this 'Donda' album shit, nobody wasn't trying Big Draco like that. Now you got Lil Yachty sending me songs, and taking me off the song. You got Stunna 4 Vegas sending me songs, and putting the songs out with Big Yavo and SSG Kobe [instead]. What is going on around here?"

Soulja Boy was one of the many, many rappers called in to contribute to West's 'Donda' album, and also one of the more select group who were left off the final release.

Speaking to TMZ, Soulja Boy called West a "coward" for not directly telling him his verse would be cut. West then responded by saying in his controversial Drink Champs interview that he'd pulled Soulja Boy's verse because it was "trash". After hearing this, Soulja Boy went on Instagram Live to declare that the whole of 'Donda' was "trash".

Whether this back and forth has resulted in Soulja Boy actually being dumped from other records is debatable. But whatever, it seems like he's going through a bit of a bad patch.


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. (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. (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. 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.
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