MONDAY 8 AUGUST 2022 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: One of the co-writers on the Chris Brown track 'No Guidance' has got himself dismissed from the song theft lawsuit filed in relation to the hit. Noah Shebib - aka 40 - was removed as a defendant on the litigation last week... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Another Chris Brown collaborator removed from No Guidance song-theft lawsuit
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LEGAL musicFIRST chair accuses US radio giants of hypocrisy
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LIVE BUSINESS Wasserman launches revamped marketing and digital division
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ARTIST NEWS Dua Lipa named Honorary Ambassador of Kosovo
Angry letter from John Lennon to Paul McCartney up for auction

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RELEASES The Mars Volta announce first album since 2012
The Big Pink to release first album for a decade

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AND FINALLY... Frank Ocean launches diamond encrusted cock ring
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Another Chris Brown collaborator removed from No Guidance song-theft lawsuit
One of the co-writers on the Chris Brown track 'No Guidance' has got himself dismissed from the song theft lawsuit filed in relation to the hit. Noah Shebib - aka 40 - was removed as a defendant on the litigation last week.

Singer Braindon Cooper and producer Timothy Valentine sued Brown last year claiming that 'No Guidance' rips off their 2016 track 'I Love Your Dress'. In their lawsuit, the plaintiffs said that "in addition to containing similar beat patterns, the melody and lyrics used in the chorus/hook of 'No Guidance' - 'you got it, girl; you got it' - are so strikingly similar to those used in the chorus of 'I Love Your Dress' that they cannot be purely coincidental".

The lawsuit also targeted Drake, who guests on the track, as well as other collaborators and music companies involved in Brown's song. The various defendants hit back in January arguing that Cooper and Valentine's litigation was entirely premised upon "the alleged similarity between the wholly generic lyrical phrase 'you got it' and the alleged similar (and unoriginal) theme of a hard-working, attractive woman".

Although lawyers for Cooper and Valentine then disputed those arguments in February, in April they returned to court to confirm that they were taking Drake's name off their lawsuit. They said in a legal filing: "All claims asserted against Aubrey Drake Graham aka Drake … shall be, and hereby are, dismissed with prejudice and without costs or attorneys' fees as against any party".

And last week the same lawyers told the court they were now removing Shebib as a defendant, again with prejudice, which means they can't re-file any future litigation targeting the producer/songwriter in relation to this song.

It's not entirely clear why Drake and Shebib have been removed as defendants. But, either way, Brown and others involved in 'No Guidance' - including his label Sony Music - are still being sued and continue to fight back against Cooper and Valentine's claims.

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musicFIRST chair accuses US radio giants of hypocrisy
The Chairman of the musicFIRST Coalition in the US - former Congress member Joe Crowley - last week accused American radio giants iHeart and Cumulus of hypocrisy after they bigged up their profits to investors on Wall Street while simultaneously telling law-makers in Washington that they can't afford to pay royalties to record labels and recording artists.

Due to a quirk in American copyright law, when radio stations play music in the US they don't need a licence from or to pay royalties to the record industry, so labels and artists. They do pay royalties to music publishers and songwriters, but - when it comes to sound recordings - there is a gap in the American copyright system which means labels and artists don't earn when music is aired on AM and FM radio stations.

The US record industry has been campaigning for decades now to reform American copyright law - to bring it in line with much of the rest of the world in this domain, so that labels and artists would get radio royalties. But so far without success, mainly because the US broadcasting sector - led by the likes of iHeart and Cumulus - is a powerful lobby in Washington.

The most recent efforts to get a radio royalty for recordings Stateside are based around the proposed American Music Fairness Act, and musicFIRST continues to lobby hard to try and win support for those proposals in Congress.

Responding to last week's investor updates from the radio giants, Crowley said in a statement: "Once again, greedy broadcasters are brazenly showing their hypocrisy. During their quarterly earnings calls this week, iHeart and Cumulus crowed to Wall Street about how much money they are making. At the same moment they are spotlighting their dramatic profit increases, on Capitol Hill, they whine to lawmakers about how they can't afford to pay music creators a single cent when their music is played on AM/FM radio".

"It's long past time for us to stop subsidising big radio's profits off the backs of hard-working artists", he went on. "It's time for Congress to stand with artists - and 70% of the American public - by swiftly passing the American Music Fairness Act, which requires multi-billion-dollar radio corporations to finally pay their fair share. It's just the right thing to do".

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Wasserman launches revamped marketing and digital division
Booking agency Wasserman Music last week announced the launch of an all-new marketing services and digital strategy department which will offer, well, marketing services and digital strategy, obviously. Though, if you're looking for something more precise, I can tell you that includes tour marketing, ticketing and livestreaming type stuff.

The new unit will be led by SVP Marketing Sam Alpert, and will see the agency's existing marketing team joined by some new executives, including Sam Benfey who will be focusing on various digital opportunities for the agency's clients and Mary Pryor whose focus will be all that Web3 nonsense.

Alpert says he "couldn't be more excited" about having Benfey and Pryor join the company, and "to have their expertise and connections available to our agents and artists".

He then adds: "Using Wasserman Music's successful tour marketing model, this expansion into digital strategy, ticketing and live streaming allows us to continue to super-serve our roster. The integration and internal collaboration between departments will open the door for countless new opportunities and provide additional resources, knowledge and perspectives for our artists in their touring careers and far beyond".

Wasserman Music was launched in the US last year, of course, after the Wasserman sports marketing and talent management firm acquired the American music division of the Paradigm talent agency. It then also acquired the UK-based music division of Paradigm - what was previously the Coda agency - earlier this year.

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Edinburgh Festival Interviews: Mark Glentworth
The Edinburgh Festival is now underway with three weeks of great theatre, comedy, cabaret, music, musicals, opera, dance, physical theatre, film, visual art, talks, debates and spoken word.

CMU's sister media ThreeWeeks is covering it all and here in the CMU Daily we'll pick out some highlights from this year's coverage.

Today, we put the spotlight on musician and composer Mark Glentworth who is staging an autobiographical one man musical at the Edinburgh Fringe. It tells the story of his recovery from a career-stopping crisis, and offers an uplifting account of how he moved on from this difficult period in his life.

We spoke to Mark to find out more about the show and the man himself. Click here to read the interview.

Dua Lipa named Honorary Ambassador of Kosovo
Dua Lipa has been made an Honorary Ambassador of Kosovo at a ceremony in the country's capital, Pristina. The singer was in the city to headline the Sunny Hill Festival, which she co-founded with her father, Kosovan Dukagjin Lipa, in 2018.

The award was presented in recognition of Lipa's work with the festival and the Sunny Hill Foundation promoting a campaign that is calling for a change to visa rules in the Balkan region so that Kosovans can travel into the European Union for short stays visa-free, as citizens can in five neighbouring countries.

After receiving the award from President Vjosa Osmani on Friday, Lipa wrote on Instagram: "It's an honour and a privilege to be able to represent my country all over the world and to continue my work and efforts globally to see that we leave our mark and make a difference. The youth of Kosovo deserves the right to visa liberalisation, freedom to travel and to dream big".

In her own statement, Osmani said: "I gave the title of Honorary Ambassador of the Republic Of Kosovo to Dua Lipa because she continues to honour our country in every step and every appearance. I thanked her, on behalf of all the citizens of the Republic Of Kosovo, for everything she has done … making our voice heard everywhere in the world".

"She is using her incredible voice and talent, not only to offer the world songs that leave a mark, but also to present the best image of Kosovo everywhere in the world", she went on. "Today, because of Dua, there is no one who does not know Kosovo, which has once again made it the centre of world culture through the Sunny Hill festival".

"We had the pleasure of hosting Dua together with her parents, Dukagjin and Anesa, to thank them for this great contribution to the image of Kosovo in the world as well as to … repeat our common message for visa liberalisation for the citizens of Kosovo, which is also the motto of this year's edition of the Sunny Hill festival", she concluded.

To be granted visa liberalisation by the EU, countries must meet various criteria. Kosovo says that it has met all 95 of these benchmarks every year since 2018, and claims that this means that it is meeting more than double that of any of its neighbouring countries - Bosnia & Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia - none of which are EU members, but all of which have a visa liberalisation agreement with the EU.

As well as Dua Lipa herself, other performers at this year's Sunny Hill Festival at the weekend included Diplo, J Balvin, Skepta and AJ Tracey.

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Angry letter from John Lennon to Paul McCartney up for auction
A letter written by John Lennon in response to an interview Paul McCartney did with Melody Maker back in 1971 is going up for auction. The letter sent to - and published by - the music magazine is addressed directly to McCartney and goes into detail about the Beatles' post-break up business arrangements, among other things.

Opening with "Dear Paul, Linda, et al the wee McCartneys", the letter is topped with a handwritten annotation requesting that Melody Maker editor Richard Williams publish the document to give Lennon "equal time" so he can respond to comments made my McCartney in his interview.

That interview came eighteen months after The Beatles split, and followed protracted legal wranglings over the band's finances - launched by McCartney. The often scathing and occasionally affectionate letter accuses McCartney of incorrectly portraying himself as the victim in the band's fall out. Lennon says that McCartney is prone to claim he is in the dark about the band's business affairs when, Lennon reckons, that's not the case.

"You know that after we have our meeting, the fucking lawyers will have to implement whatever we agree on, right?" writes Lennon. "If they had some form of agreement between them before we met, it might make it even easier. It's up to you; as I/we've said many times - we'll meet you whenever you like. JUST MAKE UP YOUR MIND!"

"If you're not the aggressor (as you claim)", he adds, "who the hell took us to court and shit all over us in public?"

Lennon also responds to McCartney's criticism of his solo single 'Imagine', saying: "So you think 'Imagine' ain't political, it's 'working class here' with sugar on it for conservatives like yourself! You obviously didn't dig the words. Imagine! … Your politics are very similar to Mary Whitehouse's - 'saying nothing is as loud as saying something!'"

He finishes by adding: "No hard feelings to you either. I know we basically want the same, and as I said on the phone and in this letter, whenever you want to meet, all you have to do is call".

The letter has been put up for sale by the Gotta Have Rock And Roll auction house, with online bidding set to close on 19 Aug. Currently the top bid sits at $33,000, with an estimated final price of up to $40,000.

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The Mars Volta announce first album since 2012
The Mars Volta have announced that they will release their first album for more than a decade next month.

When it was released in 2012, the band's sixth album - 'Noctourniquet' - received mixed although generally positive reviews, but did not match the commercial success of earlier releases. After touring that album, guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López announced that the band had gone on hiatus while, at the beginning of 2013, vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala said that they had broken up.

Both Rodríguez-López and Bixler-Zavala have been hinting at a reunion for several years now, but it wasn't until June this year that they revealed new music - initially as part of an art installation that appeared in Grand Park in Los Angeles, where they unveiled a portion of their first reunion single 'Blacklight Shine'.

A second single, 'Graveyard Love', followed, and now with the announcement of the album - to be titled 'The Mars Volta' - comes a third, 'Vigil'. All three singles are accompanied by videos directed by Rodríguez-López that aim to "depict the beauty of life in Puerto Rico and rail against US colonial rule".

'The Mars Volta' is set for release on 16 Sep. Watch the video for 'Vigil' here.

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The Big Pink to release first album for a decade
The Big Pink have announced that they will release their first album for ten years next month. The follow-up to 2012's 'Future This' is set to be titled 'The Love That's Ours' and will feature collaborations with Ryn Weaver, Jamie T, Ed Harcourt, The Kills' Jamie Hince, Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner and more.

"Somehow we got here", says frontman Robbie Furze. "Our record is about to be released. Thank fuck for that! Getting to this point has been one of the craziest journeys in my life. I truly thought this day would never come. I got so lost, so confused, went down so many rabbit holes, at times running completely blind, so much so that I nearly lost everything that was ever important to me, everything I ever truly loved".

"This record symbolises so much, it's my flag on top of the summit", he adds. "It shows that I finally understand what is truly important. This is the soundtrack of my journey to get here. It was frightening, but beautiful at the same time, full of fun, but hand-in-hand full of terror and sadness. The outcome is that I'm incredibly proud of this work that came out of all of it".

"I think these may be the best songs that I've ever written, they're certainly the most honest", he continues. "I would love to thank everyone who was involved in this record because without them we would have never got to this point and maybe I would have not been here at all".

The record sees the band return without co-founder Milo Cordell, who left in 2013 to focus on his Merok record label and now works as Head Of A&R for the Beggars owned Young record label.

Following previous singles 'No Angels' and 'Love Spins On Its Axis', alongside the album announcement comes new track 'Rage', of which Furze says: "This was the first song I wrote with the incredible Ryn Weaver. I met Ryn out one night in LA. We locked in on each other at some stupid party and I think we truly fell in love with each other. Not in a sexual way, but in a brother-sister way. We stayed up all night chatting about music and played one another our ideas. We just got each other, it was magical".

"Ryn is probably the most talented individual I have ever had the luck to have worked with", he enthuses further. "She effortlessly comes up with these beautiful melodies, they just spill out of her, and her lyric writing is out of this world. I would just sit there trying to keep up with this whirlwind of creativity. We would work long, long sessions, sometimes twelve to eighteen hours, and she wouldn't let us stop until the track was done".

"'Rage' came from one of those sessions", he goes on. "We spoke at length about where we were in our lives and how confusing the world was, we were both struggling in love and life at the time and we thought let's rage against these feelings, let's take the power back. It's really a 'fuck you!' track. It's one of my favourites on the record".

'The Love That's Ours' is set for release on 29 Sep. Watch the video for 'Rage' here.

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Frank Ocean launches diamond encrusted cock ring
New music from Frank Ocean may be frustratingly slow in coming to light, but he is now selling a cock ring for $25,000. And that's almost as good, isn't it? Especially if you're not actually that into Frank Ocean's music.

The item of jewellery is part of a new range launched by Ocean's Homer brand, which also includes keyrings, pendants and rings for your fingers. The cock ring - or XXXL H-Bone Ring, to give it its official title - was announced with a photo on Instagram of the item being worn - albeit with the genitals it adorned blurred out.

Priced at $25,570, the gold ring is set with 60 lab-grown diamonds, according to the Homer website. The blurb adds that the item "is hand made of eighteen karat yellow gold with an array of channel set princess-cut diamonds and layers that express a pixelated bone or an H-motif, finished with a high polish".

Oh great, now I have to try to complete this story without making a joke about finishing with a high polish. Thanks very much, Ocean. No one wants that to happen. Anyway, if that all sounds good to you, and you have quite a lot of money weighing down your pockets, the thing is available now.

If you like the description, but prefer your rings a little more, er, traditional, then the standard size version of the ring to slip onto a finger will only set you back $9940. A bargain, I think you'll agree. Just try not to let the diamonds catch if you're finishing off with a high polish. Oh my god, I'm so sorry.

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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.
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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.
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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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