|FRIDAY 5 AUGUST 2022||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: The BBC has announced an independent review into the allegations of sexual misconduct made over the years against former Radio 1 DJ Tim Westwood and, crucially, what bosses at the Corporation knew of those allegations, and how they handled any formal complaints, while he was still working there. The decision to appoint a third party to look into this matter follows an internal investigation... [READ MORE]|
BBC launches independent review into sexual misconduct allegations against Tim Westwood
That internal investigation was launched in response to reports published by BBC News and The Guardian earlier this year - and a BBC Three documentary - in which a number of women accused Westwood of sexual misconduct.
Some of those women said that, after they agreed to meet with the DJ to discuss their careers in music, he had pressured them into sex. Others claimed that he had groped them as they posed for photographs at events. Many of those alleged incidents occurred between 1994 to 2013, when Westwood worked for the BBC.
BBC management initially said that they were not aware of any formal complaints having been made against Westwood that pre-dated this year's documentary.
However, they subsequently admitted that they had found some old complaints, adding that more details would follow once the internal investigation was completed. A document summarising the findings of said investigation was published yesterday.
It confirmed that there were two contacts made with the BBC by external parties in 2012 regarding allegations of sexual misconduct against Westwood, both of which were included in the logs that had been set up by the broadcaster to record such allegations in the wake of the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse scandal.
One complaint claimed that Westwood had made inappropriate sexual remarks to a fifteen year old girl at a non-BBC event a few years earlier. The second was a query from a newspaper seeking comment on general rumours against a BBC employee which seemed to be referring to Westwood.
In addition to that, there were two internal complaints from around the same time. The first complaint was initially made in 2011 and related to Westwood's general conduct, both behind the scenes and on air. The second, in 2012, accused Westwood of creating a toxic environment for those working on his shows. A member of BBC staff recalls raising these with the DJ at the time, who denied all the allegations made against him.
In addition to those old complaints, yesterday's document also confirmed that the BBC has been contacted by three external parties since the airing of the BBC Three documentary earlier this year, each making allegations of sexual misconduct, albeit two dating back to the 1980s before Westwood was hired by the broadcaster.
In addition to that, one BBC staff member has also newly raised an old allegation of sexual assault against Westwood relating to an incident that occurred at a BBC-linked event in the mid-2000s.
That staff member said that the victim of the assault did not want to report the incident to the police at the time, but that it was reported internally at the BBC. However, they couldn't remember the exact year when the incident occurred, or who it was specifically reported to.
Following the publication of the findings of the internal investigation, Nick Serota, a senior independent director on the BBC board, said in a statement: "I am grateful to the BBC's investigations team for the work they have done. It is an important piece of work, but I see it as a first step. New allegations and issues are emerging as time passes and more people are prepared to come forward. For this reason the work must continue".
"In light of the issues identified by the internal review, I have asked, on behalf of the BBC board, that a broader review is now conducted and a full report is produced", he then confirmed. "It is vital that this work is able to command the full confidence of those who have, or may wish, to come forward, as well as the wider public, and it is for that reason the BBC board believes there should be independent oversight".
To that end, he added, "I have therefore asked Gemma White QC to lead this work. She is a hugely respected barrister who has relevant expertise and experience in this area. I have asked that the next stage of this work be completed within the next six months. However, I want to be clear this is not a hard deadline and if new issues emerge, then time will be made available to properly explore them. Our main objective must be to discover the facts".
He continued: "In light of the BBC's internal review, I believe that there may have been occasions in the past when the BBC should have further explored issues that were being raised. It now appears there are allegations against Tim Westwood dating to before, during and after his employment with the BBC and also elsewhere. The BBC is willing to work with any other employers in order to fully establish what happened".
Serota then noted that internal systems at the BBC for dealing with complaints like those made against Westwood in 2011 and 2012 have been considerably overhauled over the last decade, in particular in the wake of the Savile scandal, meaning the Corporation today is "a significantly safer place to work".
That said, he went on, "we should also use this as an opportunity to ensure the BBC is following the very best practice - and indeed setting the benchmark across the media industry. I have therefore asked the BBC executive to assess whether any current processes and procedures require updating or improving. These will remain under consideration both during the course of the new review and following receipt of the full report".
Serota then concluded: "Finally, we owe it to those who have spoken out and raised issues to learn more about what took place and to give others the opportunity to tell us about their experiences. I would urge anyone with further information to respond to the call for evidence. This is important, of course, for them personally, but also to ensure that the BBC and other organisations are best placed to act in the future".
Westwood has previously denied all the claims made against him, with a representative earlier this year stating: "Tim Westwood strongly denies all allegations of inappropriate behaviour. In a career that has spanned 40 years, there have never been any complaints made against him officially or unofficially. Tim Westwood strongly rejects all allegations of wrongdoing". He is yet to comment on the findings of the BBC's investigation or the discovery of the old complaints.
New York prosecutors want R Kelly's jail money to cover unpaid fines
Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in jail earlier this year following last year's guilty verdict in the first of several criminal cases against the singer, who - of course - has been accused of sexual and physical abuse by numerous women, and some men.
In addition to the jail term, Kelly was also ordered to $140,000 in fines. As yet, no payments have been made, which has prompted prosecutors to request that the fines now be taken out of monies Kelly has accrued while in prison.
That money sits in an account managed by the Bureau Of Prisons and can be used by prisoners to buy snacks and other items, or things like access to email or a phone, while incarcerated. Kelly currently has about $28,000 in his account.
There has been some debate regarding prisoners building up decent funds in their inmate accounts while failing to pay outstanding fines or victim restitution, and whether it should be easier to divert those jail-based funds to cover court ordered payments. Though some - including the BOP - have pushed back against some of the more radical proposals in this domain.
Nevertheless, prosecutors in the R Kelly case have presented various arguments in a letter to the court as to why money in his inmate account should be used to pay some of his outstanding fines, while also seeking a court order to make that happen. They have also confirmed that the BOP has now frozen all but $500 of the money in Kelly's inmate account pending the court's decision.
Commenting on the prosecution's proposal regarding the unpaid fines, Kelly's lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, told the Washington Post: "My client has an appeal pending, and until the Second Circuit [appeals court] affirms his conviction, nobody should be touching any of his money".
In addition to the appeal proceedings in New York State, Kelly also faces criminal charges elsewhere in the US, with a trial in his home town of Chicago due to kick off later this month.
Charter Communications settles copyright lawsuits pursued by the majors
These were two of a number of lawsuits pursued by the record industry against US ISPs who were accused of not doing enough to stop infringement on their networks. They followed the successful litigation against Cox Communications, which was sued first by BMG and then the majors.
In both those cases, Cox was accused of only paying lip service to its own repeat infringer policies. However, enforcing such policies is a requirement if internet companies want to benefit from the copyright safe harbour, which means they can't be held liable for their customers' copyright infringement.
Without an effective system for dealing with repeat infringers, Cox lost its safe harbour protection and was therefore found liable for the infringement of all its infringing users. And, with the major labels' lawsuit, that liability resulted in it having to pay a billion dollars in damages.
Which means the likes of Charter have been very keen indeed to avoid going to court on this, and various arguments have been employed to try and get the cases dismissed.
In particular, the ISPs have argued that the labels are prone to issue dodgy copyright notices to internet companies, meaning said notices cannot be trusted as being solid proof that any one user is in fact regularly infringing copyright. But those arguments have generally failed, meaning the record industry's lawsuits could proceed.
And that has seemingly made negotiating out of court settlements attractive for at least some of the targeted internet companies, even if securing such settlements is quite expensive. Another of those targeted ISPs - Bright House - confirmed it had reached such a settlement earlier this week, just as its case was due to be heard in court.
Bright House is actually a former ISP, it having been bought in 2016 by, oh, look, Charter Communications. Which meant that as soon as it was confirmed Bright House had settled, it seemed likely a Charter settlement was also imminent. And, indeed, that was then pretty quickly confirmed.
And that's both of the lawsuits Charter was fighting settled. The two actions were basically the same, they just related to alleged infringement that took place during different time periods.
We don't know any real details about the deals that have been done with either Bright House or Charter, with court filings simply stating that the three lawsuits have now been resolved. It remains to be seen if any details about those settlements become public.
Bucks signs Marvee Woods
Says the music publisher's Director Of A&R Sarah Liversedge Platz: "Marvee is an extremely talented songwriter who has consistently delivered hits for artists in a number of territories during a career that has spanned decades. There's much more to come from Marvee. He remains as busy as ever and we're delighted to welcome him to Bucks".
Meanwhile Woods himself adds: "I am happy to be part of the Bucks family and have Sarah as my publisher. I look forward to the progress that we will make together".
As do we all! Woods - who has worked in the past with the likes of Beverley Knight, Alexandra Burke, Sarah Conner, Maverick Lopez and Diana Ross - is currently collaborating on projects with Judge Jules, Junior Andre, Rymez, Ayo Beatz and Sky Adams.
Live Nation very much back in growth mode, CEO Michael Rapino tells investors
"The second quarter confirmed that the live entertainment industry is back globally and bigger than ever", declared Live Nation boss Michael Rapino in a statement to investors yesterday. "Live Nation led this return, and continues to deliver the best global network to support artists as they play shows for their fans around the world. Every key operating metric is at an all-time high, as we promoted more concerts, had more fans attend shows where they spent more money, sold more tickets and enabled brands to connect with fans at a scale we have never seen before".
In terms of specific stats, he added: "Relative to Q2 2019, we drove a 40% increase in revenue to $4.4 billion, an 86% increase in operating income to $319 million, and a 50% increase in adjusted operating income to $480 million. With most of the world fully re-opened, it's clear that concerts remain a high priority for fans. Consumers are seeking out and spending more on experiences, and the growing demand we are seeing for live music and events is driving our business to record levels, far outpacing any macro issues or cost increases".
So, that's all good then. The wider live sector is still facing plenty of challenges, of course, despite COVID restrictions now seeming like some kind of weird distant memory, with venues, promoters and festivals - not to mention touring artists - still dealing with the impact of an eighteen month shutdown, as well as surging costs and wider economic hardships.
But, Rapino was keen to stress, everything is moving in the right direction, and Live Nation's recovery and return to growth is happening in a particularly rapid fashion.
"As we look forward to the second half of 2022 and into 2023, we have sold over 100 million tickets for our concerts this year, more than we sold for the entire year in 2019", he went on. "Fan demand remains strong, with continued growth in ticket buying and on-site spending. And given the long-term nature of most of our sponsorship partnerships, our planned sponsorship for the year is now fully committed".
Looking ahead, he concluded: "As we prepare for 2023, everywhere globally is open for concerts, and we are actively routing into all markets with the largest artist pipeline we have ever seen at this point in the year. For the 2023 tours we have put on sale so far, all signs continue pointing to strong fan demand".
Downtown-owned FUGA has appointed LA-based Sarah Landy to the role of SVP Americas. She previously worked for AWAL and Sony's old distribution business RED, and was most recently VP at indie label Lowly. Says FUGA CCO David Driessen: "We're privileged to have Sarah Landy join FUGA at such a pivotal time of growth. Her expertise, leadership and unparalleled knowledge of the independent landscape will be of great value as we continue to expand our offerings within North, Central and South America".
Maisie Peters has released new track 'Blonde', with another, 'Good Enough', due to follow on 19 Aug. She says: "'Blonde' and 'Good Enough' are sister songs to me - they represent the two different sides of my artistry and in a way, myself. One couldn't exist without the other and I like to think at shows people will scream just as loudly to both".
John Legend will release his eighth studio album 'Legend' on 9 Sep. Here's latest single 'All She Wanna Do' featuring Saweetie.
Paul McCartney's three 'McCartney' albums - from 1970, 1980 and 2020 - have been released in a box set. Look, here it is.
Yungblud has released 'The Emperor'. He wrote the song when he was seventeen. It's "triumphant and fierce", according to the official blurb. And it's also the official 2022 anthem for ESPN's college football season. Look at me with all the facts!
Robbie Williams has posted new track 'Lost', a new song that appears on his upcoming orchestral greatest hits record 'XXV'.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Kelis confirms she's "happy" that Milkshake interpolation was removed from new Beyonce track
An edited version of that track was pushed out to streaming services earlier this week after Kelis criticised the original version.
In posts on social media last week, she confirmed that she had not been told that an element of 'Milkshake' would appear within 'Energy', though the writers of her 2003 hit - Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo - were credited on the Beyonce song, suggesting they had cleared the interpolation.
Kelis has criticised Williams and Hugo before, claiming that she was misled back in the day regarding who would be credited on the songs they all collaborated on, and how the copyright in those works would be shared out.
It's not clear why Beyonce decided to remove the 'Milkshake' interpolation from 'Energy', it may have been more a PR move than the result of any legal concerns relating to Kelis's complaints. But either way, Kelis is happy that her criticisms were noted by the Beyonce camp.
She confirmed this when responding to comments on an unrelated Instagram post, in which Beyonce fans were giving her grief about the re-edit.
As noted by Complex, one person commented: "You happy Beyoncé took that sample off?? Cry baby". Kelis responded, "Yes I am actually. LOL nobody cried".
And when another person said Kelis should have been happy to get a nod on the Beyonce track, she responded: "And that's why you are you and, thank God, I am me".
Meanwhile, elsewhere she admitted that Beyonce reissuing the edited version of 'Energy' meant it felt like she had "won". So that's nice.