|THURSDAY 17 FEBRUARY 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: An LA judge has declined to dismiss the negligence and wrongful death claims made by the mother of the late rapper Lil Peep against her son's former management company First Access Entertainment. Lawyers for the management firm had argued that those claims were too weak to proceed to trial, but judge Teresa A Beaudet does not concur... [READ MORE]|
Lil Peep negligence case to proceed to trial
Lil Peep, real name Gustav Åhr, died in November 2017 of an accidental drugs overdose, aged 21. His mother, Liza Womack, sued First Access in 2019 accusing the company and its associates of negligence and other breaches of contract that contributed to her son's death. The management firm, she claimed, "allowed, normalised, and even encouraged and promoted" drug taking on her son's tours, despite being aware of his addiction issues.
First Access has denied many of the specific allegations made in Womack's lawsuit, although in its formal response to the litigation mainly focused on legal issues, arguing that both the negligence and breach of contract claims in Womack's legal filing failed as a matter of law.
As the case proceeded, as well as seeking to have the negligence and wrongful death claims dismissed entirely, the management firm also sought to have some of the evidence gathered in relation to the case sealed or declared inadmissible.
Nearly 400 pages of evidence was published by the court last month, including seven pages First Access had specifically requested not be made public. Among other things, those pages documented WhatsApp messages from tour manager Belinda Mercer which were sent while she was on tour with Åhr just weeks before his death. The messages documented how she had been detained at the Canadian border because illegal substances had been found in her bag.
According to Rolling Stone, in terms of the evidence First Access wanted the judge to rule inadmissible, a statement from musician Cold Hart - real name Jerick Quilisadio and a member of the emo-rap collective Gothboiclique - has proven particularly controversial.
In that statement, he claims that when touring with Åhr in November 2017 he saw Mercer provide and supply "Xanax, cocaine, marijuana, Percocet and ketamine" to "those traveling on the tour bus". He also alleges that Åhr's managers advised the rapper make "himself sick from taking a bunch of Xanax" so he could trigger "an insurance claim and not lose money" on a show he wanted to cancel.
Beaudet did concur with First Access that the latter claim was mere hearsay - because Quilisadio had not personally witnessed anyone providing that advice to Åhr - and therefore that specific claim is not admissible. However, his other claims can stay on the record.
All the admissible evidence together, Beaudet, concluded this week, means that there is a sufficient case for the defendants to answer for the negligence and wrongful death claims to go before a jury. Which means the case continues, with a trial date currently set for March 2023.
However, one of the defendants in Womack's lawsuit was removed from the case, that being Åhr's co-manager Bryant 'Chase' Ortega. Beaudet concluded that there was no evidence that Ortega specifically "directed" any of the alleged negligence that occurred on the rapper's tour.
Former Suge Knight attorney agrees plea deal over conspiracy to pay off a witness in hip hop mogul's murder case
Under the deal Matthew Fletcher has pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice and one count of perjury, and agreed to stop practicing law in California for life, all in a bid to avoid jail time.
Knight was accused of murder in relation to the death of a man called Terry Carter in 2015. The incident that led to Carter's death began on the set of 'Straight Outta Compton' when Knight showed up to complain about his portrayal in the movie which, among other things, covered his involvement in the rise and decline of NWA.
His initial run-in on the biopic's set was with another man called Cle Sloan. That altercation then moved to a nearby burger bar car park where Sloan was joined by Carter. Knight ultimately got into his car, ran over both men and drove away. Carter later died as a result of his injuries.
Knight eventually reached his own plea deal in relation to Carter's death, pleading guilty to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
Along the way, two lawyers working for Knight as his murder case went through the motions were charged over alleged misconduct. Fletcher was accused of paying off a witness who could provide favourable testimony for his client, while another attorney, Thaddeus Culpepper, was accused of agreeing with one confidential informant that he would provide false testimony.
Both were aiming to back up Knight's claim that he was acting in self defence during the 2015 altercation with Carter and Sloan.
The allegations against Fletcher recently reached court in LA and the jury who heard the case was deliberating as the attorney reached his own plea deal. Under that deal he avoids jail time, but faces five years of informal probation. He has also agreed to resign as a licensed attorney in California for life.
However, a lawyer for Fletcher has claimed that he was unfairly forced into the deal. Alexandra Kazarian told Law360: "It was obvious from the moment that [the judge] forced us to trial over our objection, in the middle of a COVID-19 trial shutdown, and right before Christmas, that he had every intention of facilitating a conviction and sentencing Matt to prison".
Dubbing the outcome of the case a "travesty of justice", she added: "It's no shock that Matt was so disgusted with the entire process that he gladly gave up his licence". Fletcher will now be formally sentenced on 17 May.
Mariah Carey gets defamation lawsuit filed by her brother cut back, but not dismissed
Both of Carey's siblings - Alison and Morgan - sued their sister over claims she made about them in her 2020 book. Morgan took particular issue with nine passages in the memoir which, he said, damaged his reputation and, in the process, caused a movie producer to abandon plans to adapt a screenplay he had written.
Judge Barbara Jaffe rejected most of Morgan's defamation claims earlier this week. She concluded that passages relating to alleged drunken and violent conduct on Morgan's part, and his alleged involvement in a murder-for-hire plot, as well as a section about time he spent in a psychiatric hospital as a child, did not sufficiently rise to the level of defamation under New York law.
However, implications that Morgan had been a drug dealer did. Mariah's book talked about how her brother had worked in various New York bars and clubs in the 1980s. And while she says a number of positive things about her brother in that particular section, she also claimed that he "discreetly supplied the beautiful people with their powdered party favours".
"The context reasonably permits an average reader to conclude that Carey refers in this statement to cocaine, which is a controlled substance, the possession and/or sale of which is proscribed by New York law", judge Jaffe wrote in her ruling this week. "It thus implies that plaintiff committed a serious crime and is sufficient to support [an] action for defamation per se".
So, Morgan's defamation action against his sister will proceed, albeit only in relation to the drug dealing allegations.
His legal claims against the people and companies that published the book were dismissed entirely though - because, under New York law, he would need to show that they acted with "actual malice" in publishing Mariah's claims in order to hold them liable for defamation, and his lawsuit failed to do so.
BMG acquires John Lee Hooker rights
The Hooker estate is managed by JAM Inc. Its CEO, Jeff Jampol, says: "As the longtime managers of the John Lee Hooker estate, JAM Inc was happy to help the estate and BMG conclude this transaction".
"We are very pleased that an artist-first company like BMG will be the stewards of this great legacy moving forward, and we are grateful to remain in a consulting and management role of the John Lee Hooker legacy, in partnership with BMG", he goes on. "This is a rare triple-win for everyone: the Hooker family, BMG, and for the millions of John Lee Hooker fans all across the world. We can't wait to see - and be a part of - what's coming next!"
BMG's President Of Repertoire & Marketing for New York and Los Angeles, Thomas Scherer, adds: "BMG is proud to be the definitive home of John Lee Hooker's music, one of the key inspirations and foundation stones of popular music. BMG will ensure John Lee Hooker's legacy is honoured and respected wherever and whenever John Lee Hooker's music is used, performed, recorded or sold".
Much of Hooker's recorded music output - which stretches back to the 1940s - remains with other companies. However, with this deal BMG does now control the majority of the revenue streams generated by his music.
Spotify buys podcasting data companies Podsights and Chartable
The two new acquisitions that further grow the podcasting side of the Spotify business are Podsights and Chartable. The former is "a leading podcast advertising measurement service that helps advertisers better measure and scale their podcast advertising". The latter is "a podcast analytics platform that enables publishers to know and grow their podcast audiences through promotional attribution and audience insight tools".
By buying Podsights, Spotify says, it will "be able to help advertisers understand how podcast ads drive actions that matter to their businesses. Over time, we plan to extend these measurement capabilities beyond podcasts to the full scope of the Spotify platform, including audio ads within music, video ads, and display ads".
And by acquiring Chartable, Spotify will be able to enhance the podcasting platform it bought back in 2020, Megaphone, "further enhancing [its] suite of tools with the integration of Chartable's audience insights and cutting-edge promotional tools, SmartLinks and SmartPromos. These tools will make it easier for publishers to turn audience insights into action and expand their listenership while ultimately growing their businesses".
Lovely stuff. There could be more Spotify podcast acquisitions coming your way very soon, given recent reports via Sky News that it is seeking to buy podcast distribution platform Audioboom. Though Amazon is also apparently interested in buying that particular podcasting company, creating something of a bidding war.
To be honest, it's no surprise the tech giants are competing for ownership of Audioboom - they presumably know its the service CMU uses to distribute the Setlist podcast. And I mean, who wouldn't want control over that?
Sinead O'Brien announces debut album and tour dates
"The story of the album is built up in layers; one song giving context to the next", says O'Brien. "I thought about becoming undressed; testing my ideas, my voice. Working myself out across themes of identity, curiosity, creative process. Experimenting with the form and shape of language, using tone and delivery to get to the immediate centre of what I am saying".
"The record opens and closes with poems, these tracks have a really clear direction - a form which is set apart from the 'songs'", she adds. "I hold stops in different places, moving emphatically through the lyrics, changing the meaning. No punctuation - only the voice mapping out the way".
"The album title, 'Time Bend And Break The Bower' - from the song 'Multitudes' - came into my head and made its demands, an idea that pressed on me throughout the record", she goes on.
"It has a very active role. The clock symbol is enlarged, it looms like a moon over my activity watching, counting me down to zero. Dripping with self-sabotage and the feeling of being chased; it pulls and pushes against the verses which talk of 'Multitudes'; the things that faithfully come back - the images, the words, creativity. It is creativity itself".
The album will be released through Chess Club on 10 Jun. She will begin a headline tour of the UK and Ireland in October, followed by dates supporting Belle & Sebastian in November. Here are all of those dates:
9 Oct: Newcastle, Cluny 2
Girl In Red has signed to Sony's Columbia label. Her 2021 debut album, 'If I Could Make It Go Quiet', was released under licence to AWAL.
Kobalt has signed Moli, Vito Kovach, and Johannes Roemer. Moli is "so excited", Kovach is "looking forward to the future" and Roemer is "really excited". Kobalt Germany's VP Creative Swantje Weinert is "very happy", "thankful" and "very excited".
Universal's Capitol Music Group in the US has promoted Jeremy Vuernick to President Of A&R. "After an incredible decade at Capitol Music Group, I remain unwavering in my passion for finding artists who possess a unique vision and have a singular story to tell", he says.
Talent agency UTA has hired Janet Kim and Scott Schreiber as music agents. "We are THRILLED to welcome Janet and Scott to UTA Music", says David Zedeck, the agency's Co-Head Of Global Music. "They are consummate professionals".
Downtown Music Services has appointed Thando Makhunga as Managing Director of Sheer Publishing Africa. "I'm THRILLED to be taking this new role at such an exciting time for Downtown Music Services and Sheer", she says. "The opportunity to shape, support and enable increased growth for clients with improved offerings is exhilarating and rewarding".
Health have released new Lamb Of God collaboration 'Cold Blood', taken from new album 'Disco4 Part II', which is out on 8 Apr. Health will be touring in the UK in April too.
Bodega have released their new single 'Statuette On The Console' in nine different languages. The song is available in Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Ukrainian or boring old English.
Anand Wilder has released new single 'Fever Seizure'. The former Yeasayer guitarist will release his debut solo album, 'I Don't Know My Words', on 25 Mar.
Yves Tumor has released the video for 'Secrecy Is Incredibly Important To The Both Of Them' from last year's 'The Asymptotical World' EP.
Tricot are back with new single 'Endroll'.
Widowspeak have released new single 'The Jacket', the title track of their new album, which is out on 11 Mar.
Cookii have released new single 'So Young'. They've also announced that they will release new mixtape, 'Popstyle', on 1 Apr.
GIGS & TOURS
Alabaster DePlume will play Village Underground in London on 1 May. Tickets are available now.
More NME Awards winners have been announced, ahead of the ceremony on 2 Mar. Neneh Cherry will take home the Icon Award, Liam Gallagher's free show for NHS workers is named Music Moment Of The Year, and Griff will receive the NME Radar Award.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Stevie Nicks advised Katy Perry to end Taylor Swift feud (not that it did much good)
In a new interview with The New Yorker, Nicks recalls the encounter, saying: "People get knocked down because of their fame, and the internet, and all the things that I hate. You keep yourself above that, hopefully".
"I always think of Katy Perry and I having this long talk at the Corinthia Hotel in London once, and she said to me - this is probably ten years ago - she said, 'So, Stevie, who are your rivals?' And I said, 'I don't have rivals'. And her big blue eyes got bigger and bluer. And I said, 'No, Katy, I don't, and neither do you. You are Katy Perry, you're who you are, you do what you do and you're great at it. I'm Stevie Nicks, I do what I do and I'm great at it. We don't have rivals. That's just ridiculous'".
Perry wasn't convince, Nicks adds: "She said, 'Well, there's, like, the Taylor Swift army and there's, like, the Katy army and there's like...' And I was, like, 'That's just bullshit. You have to just walk away from that. Don't carry that around in your mind because then they're winning this game".
Anyway, of course, the whole thing blew up in 2014 when Swift revealed in a Rolling Stone interview that her song 'Bad Blood' was about an unnamed female pop star who had "basically tried to sabotage an entire arena tour".
Despite not naming Perry, it wasn't particularly difficult to work out who she was talking about, and so the battle continued until 2018 when Perry sent Swift a literal olive branch.