TODAY'S TOP STORY: Timbaland and Swizz Beats have sued video sharing platform Triller, which they say still owes them $28 million from a deal relating to the popular livestream DJ battle series Verzuz, which the two producers created in March 2020... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Timbaland and Swizz Beats sue Triller
DEALS Live Nation takes a stake in Boomtown Fair
Warner announces joint venture with movie-maker Lee Daniels

LIVE BUSINESS Night Czar says decent sized club venue could remain on Printworks site
ARTIST NEWS Aitch vows to restore Ian Curtis mural painted over with advert for his new album
GIGS & FESTIVALS Confidence Man expand UK tour
ONE LINERS Panic! At The Disco, Breland, Taiko, more
AND FINALLY... Cliff Richard's 2023 calendar selling fast, despite lack of topless photos
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Timbaland and Swizz Beats sue Triller
Timbaland and Swizz Beats have sued video sharing platform Triller, which they say still owes them $28 million from a deal relating to the popular livestream DJ battle series Verzuz, which the two producers created in March 2020.

Verzuz was launched at the start of the original COVID-19 lockdown and quickly gained a significant following as interest in livestreamed events started to surge. A long line of DJs and artists have now taken part in a Verzuz battle, in which each participant pits a selection of tracks they have produced, written or performed on against those selected by their competitor.

Initially streamed via Instagram Live, the battles were subsequently made available on a number of other social and streaming platforms too. It was then announced that Triller had acquired the rights to the Verzuz format and brand in March 2021, although the livestreams remained accessible on the other platforms even after that acquisition.

For a brief moment earlier this year it looked like future Verzuz battles would be exclusively available via Triller channels, but following a backlash to that proposal, including from Swizz Beatz, the format continued to be accessible elsewhere.

The new legal dispute relates to payments due to Timbaland and Swizz Beats after last year's acquisition. According to Billboard, the duo's lawsuit claims that Triller was due to make a number of payments as part of its deal to buy Verzuz. Two payments were made last year on schedule, but a third payment due in January this year didn't arrive.

A new payment schedule was then agreed which said the producers would receive $18 million in March and then another $1 million a month over the next ten months. However, they claim, those payments never materialised.

Their lawsuit states: "Defendants have failed and refused to respond to plaintiffs' written notice and demand for payment. To date, defendants have failed and refused to make any payment to [Timbaland and Swizz Beats] of the past due sums due and owing, and defendants continue in default of their payment obligations".

Despite some high profile content partnerships, Triller has struggled to gain momentum with its core short-form video sharing service, where it faces tough competition from TikTok as well as the TikTok-esque strands of Instagram and YouTube.

For a time it looked like it could get a major boost from Donald Trump's TikTok ban, primed as it was to fill the big gap in the market that would have been created had the then American President successfully stopped use of Triller's China-owned rival within the US. But that ban never went into force.

And while the wider Triller business has also shifted into other kinds of video streaming, that also puts the company up against some big competitors with big pockets.

The lawsuit from Timbaland and Swizz Beats comes as the Triller company works its way towards an Initial Public Offering, having abandoned previous plans to merge with the already Nasdaq listed video advertising software provider SeaChange International Inc.


Live Nation takes a stake in Boomtown Fair
Live Nation UK has further extended its interest in the festival market by taking a minority stake in the Hampshire-based Boomtown Fair.

Neither Live Nation nor Boomtown have commented on the deal, but IQ has spotted documents filed with Companies House, which show that Live Nation UK Chairman Denis Desmond and COO Stuart Douglas were both appointed last month as directors of the Boomtown Festival business and its parent company Circus Of Boom.

They sit on the board alongside Luke Mitchell and Christopher Rutherford - who co-founded Boomtown Fair back in 2009 - with the event's Finance Manager Mark Nicholls also a director of the two companies.

Live Nation is a significant player in the UK festival market, in particular via its Festival Republic business, but also with interests in a number of other festival events around the country.


Warner announces joint venture with movie-maker Lee Daniels
Warner Music has announced one of those always fun global joint ventures with the music company of movie maker Lee Daniels. The new venture will release soundtracks, as you might expect, but there's also talk of signing some artists.

Daniels is a writer, director and producer, and has worked on films like 'Precious', 'The Butler' and 'Monster's Ball', as well as the TV series 'Empire'.

His new JV with Warner builds on an existing alliance around the soundtrack to the Daniels-directed film 'The United States vs Billie Holiday', which was released via US streaming platform Hulu last year and starred Warner-signed artist Andra Day.

Confirming the new partnership, Warner's CEO of Recorded Music Max Lousada says: "At Warner, we've built a thriving environment for creative pioneers and inspired entrepreneurs - Lee is an artistic visionary who has crafted some of the most powerful, moving and captivating works of our era".

"Music has always figured prominently in his productions", he goes on, "driving the narrative of great films such as 'Precious' and 'The Butler', while playing a central role in his influential TV series 'Empire'. The Billie Holiday soundtrack was a fantastic way to start our relationship, and we're looking forward to working with Lee on an exciting series of projects inspired by his deep musical knowledge and impeccable taste".

Meanwhile, Daniels adds: "I am always looking for new ways to expand and grow. I'm a filmmaker first and foremost, but theatre and music are also such passions of mine. I'm excited to be teaming up with Warner Music. It's yet another way for me to keep pushing myself creatively - and 'The United States vs Billie Holiday' is just the beginning!"


Night Czar says decent sized club venue could remain on Printworks site
Amy Lamé, London's Night Czar - which is still the job title they're insisting on using, apparently - has said that a significant clubbing venue could remain on the site of Printworks in South London.

The Printworks venue opened in 2017 using the buildings of a former, well, printworks. However, the use of that site as a clubbing venue was always intended to be temporary. And last month the local council granted approval for a redevelopment of the site, with owner British Land planning to build a load of offices and shops there.

News of those redevelopment plans prompted a petition from clubbers who had become fans of the Printworks venue and Southwark Council officials acknowledged that opposition in a report they produced for the borough's planning committee. But that opposition didn't change their position regarding granting approval for the redevelopment.

They wrote: "It is noted that a significant number of objections have been received in respect of the loss of the club/music venue currently operating on the site. It is acknowledged that this use has been very successful. However, the events use was initiated as a short-term interim (meanwhile) use in 2016 pending development of the building … it was never intended to be a permanent use of the site".

Nevertheless, when the planning permission was granted last month, both the Council and British Land said that they still intended to have some sort of cultural space on the site alongside the offices and shops, and that they would be working with the operators of Printworks - Broadwick Live - on making that happen.

Now, that commitment sounded like this new cultural space would be a lot smaller than the current 6000 capacity club that Broadwick Live have been running for the last few years. But Lamé reckons that a decent sized venue could as yet remain on the site.

Speaking to Mixmag, she says: "The teams at Broadwick Live and British Land have done an incredible job turning the space into a major destination that attracts some of the biggest names in electronic music and visitors from all over the world. Despite it always being clear that it was a temporary space, the threat of its potential loss is no less raw to the tens of thousands who regularly enjoy a night out at Printworks".

With that in mind, she added, there are currently "active discussions about the possibility of keeping a significant venue in part of Printworks", with all parties agreeing "that retaining the scale and industrial grandeur of the press halls will be an important part of the venue's future".

Noting that Printworks has not yet formally announced its closure, she went on: "There is hope that it still has a future".

We shall see. Though, in the meantime, Broadwick Live is involved in some new venue spaces at the Royal Docks in East London, so - either way - fans of clubbing in defunct industrial settings will still be catered for.


Edinburgh Festival Interviews: Faye Treacy
The Edinburgh Festival is currently in full swing with a packed programme 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 talk to musician, comedian and story-teller Faye Treacy who is performing her "honest musical storytelling show" 'Where's Your Head At?' at this year's Fringe. Click here to read the interview.

Aitch vows to restore Ian Curtis mural painted over with advert for his new album
There was outrage in Manchester yesterday when a popular mural of late Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis was painted over with an advert for the debut album by fellow local musician Aitch.

Unveiled in 2020, the painting of Curtis on Port Street in the city centre by artist Akse P19 was originally created to mark the start of the Manchester music and mental wellbeing festival Headstock that year. As well as paying tribute to Curtis, it also promoted mental health support service Shout and has subsequently become a popular landmark.

So there was anger yesterday as a picture circulated on social media showing that the mural was being replaced by an advert for Aitch, apparently commissioned by Amazon Music.

"Absolutely gutted to see our Ian Curtis mural painted over", said Headstock on Twitter. "Such a shame when Amazon Music had pretty much any other wall in Manchester to choose from. Especially when it was created by Akse P19 to raise mental health awareness in support of Shout".

Quickly responding to the anger being directed at him, Aitch promised to have the original mural restored. "I don't just choose locations for billboards, this is the first time I've seen it myself. Getting fixed as we speak", he said in response to the account that originally posted the photo of his advert going up.

In a further statement, he added: "It's come to light that the iconic Ian Curtis mural on Port Street has been painted over with my album artwork. This is the first time I've heard of this, me and my team are getting this fixed pronto. No way on earth would I want to disrespect a local hero like Ian".

It's not entirely clear what restoring the original mural will involve or when it might happen, nor whether Aske P19 would be involved in that process. But we do know that Aitch's debut album, 'Close To Home', will be released this Friday.


Confidence Man expand UK tour
Following their triumphant Glastonbury performance this year, Confidence Man have expanded their UK tour. The band had already announced shows in London and Manchester, which sold out.

"UK/Ireland you said what you want [it] so we're giving it to ya", said the group on Twitter. "Bigger. Better. Badder. The full monty".

The full list of dates is as follows:

1 Nov: London, Koko (Sold out)
3 Nov: London, Roundhouse
4 Nov: London, Koko (Sold out)
9 Nov: Glasgow, Barrowland
10 Nov: Manchester, New Century (Sold out)
11 Nov: Manchester, New Century (Sold out)
12 Nov: Manchester, New Century (Sold out)
15 Nov: Bristol, Academy
16 Nov: Cardiff, Tramshed
17 Nov: Leeds, Stylus
22 Nov: Liverpool, Academy
23 Nov: Birmingham, Institute
24 Nov: Nottingham, Rock City
25 Nov: Dublin, National Stadium

Tickets for the new shows go on sale on Friday.



Sony Music Publishing has announced a worldwide publishing agreement with songwriter and producer Taiko, real name Nicolas Jaña, perhaps best known for his work with J Balvin and Bad Bunny. "We are THRILLED to be working with Taiko", says CEO of Sony Music Publishing Latin America, Jorge Mejia. "We can't wait to collaborate with him and contribute to what's already starting to be a stellar career".

Reservoir Media has signed a new publishing deal with songwriter and producer Nick Lee for his future works. "I'm so grateful and excited to be partnering with Reservoir", he says. "The whole Reservoir team is extremely supportive with the best ethos, and I'm looking forward to what the future brings us".



Litmus Music - yet another well funded entity buying up music rights - has hired Monti Olson as its new President. He joins from BMG, where he was Head Of Music Publishing for North America. "I've had the unique privilege of working with music creators throughout my career, and I believe everything I've accomplished to date has prepared me for this moment", he says.



Panic! At The Disco have released new single 'Don't Let The Light Go Out'. Their new album, 'Viva Las Vengeance', is out on Friday.

Clutch have released new single 'Slaughter Beach'. Their new album, 'Sunrise On Slaughter Beach', is out on 16 Sep. They'll also be touring the UK in November and December.

The Chats have released new single 'Out On The Street', ahead of their new album 'Get Fucked', which is out on Friday. They've also announced UK tour dates in May, finishing with a performance at Brixton Academy in London on 26 May.

Hunx And His Punx are back with new single 'White Lipstick', as part of the Sub Pop Singles Club.



Breland has announced that he will play The Garage in London on 21 Oct. This will follow a UK tour supporting Russell Dickerson. His album, 'Cross Country', is out on 9 Sep.

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


Cliff Richard's 2023 calendar selling fast, despite lack of topless photos
Pre-orders for Cliff Richard's 2023 calendar are reportedly "through the roof", despite the lack of any topless shots. And it only being August.

The singer revealed back in 2020 that he was planning to stop posing for topless photos when shooting his annual calendar. "I suspect I have done my final topless photo", he wrote in his most recent autobiography, 'The Dreamer', which was released that year. "I suspect it's time to gracefully exit the Chippendales market".

Nevertheless, whether due to a fear of letting his fans down or just a love of partial nudity, he does appear with his shirt off in his 2022 calendar. However, this year's shirtless picture is less candid than some of his previous efforts.

Indeed, those of you with the calendar up on your wall right now will know that the August picture shows Richard submerged in a swimming pool, raising a glass of what looks like orange juice. The ripples on the water mean his body is somewhat obscured.

Next year though, the annual dose of Cliff flesh will be gone entirely. Recently revealed, the 2023 calendar doesn't even feature the usual photo shoot of Richard in different exotic locations. It's just a load of photos from his live shows, shonkily photoshopped to given them a smoky background. And he's wearing a suit in every single one. Does that matter though? Apparently not.

"Pre-orders are through the roof", an 'industry source' tells The Mirror. "Cliff's fans clearly love him clothed, as well as unclothed!"

Who knew? So popular is the 2023 calendar that it's currently listed as sold out by manufacturer Danilo, although it is still available from other sources.


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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