THURSDAY 15 SEPTEMBER 2022 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: R Kelly has been found guilty of six of the charges he faced in his latest criminal trial in Chicago. Most of those relate to the sexual abuse, in the late 1990s, of the musician's then fourteen year old goddaughter, referred to as Jane, and his filming of that abuse... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES R Kelly found guilty of six charges at end of Chicago sex abuse trial
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LEGAL PACE welcomes court ruling on the live music tariff of Belgian collecting society SABAM
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS One Little Independent partners with FUGA
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DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Tencent Music confirms secondary listing on Hong Kong Stock Exchange
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RELEASES Mykki Blanco releases latest single from upcoming new album
Hamish Hawk announces new album, tour dates

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ONE LINERS Björk, Fred Again, Loyle Carner, more
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AND FINALLY... Nicki Minaj sues gossip blogger, Mattel drops case over rapper's snacks
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DOMINO - JUNIOR DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER (LONDON)
Domino Recording Company is seeking a full-time Junior Digital Marketing Manager to be based in our London office, joining the label’s Marketing team. We are seeking an individual to be one of the central conduits for digital marketing and advertising initiatives for our artist’s campaigns.

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R Kelly found guilty of six charges at end of Chicago sex abuse trial
R Kelly has been found guilty of six of the charges he faced in his latest criminal trial in Chicago. Most of those relate to the sexual abuse, in the late 1990s, of the musician's then fourteen year old goddaughter, referred to as Jane, and his filming of that abuse.

It was a video of Kelly sexually abusing Jane that sparked an earlier investigation in the 2000s into the abuse allegations that had been made against the star. But that time around Jane denied that it was her in the video and declined to cooperate with prosecutors. As a result, Kelly's defence team were able to raise sufficient doubts about the identities of the people seen on the tape for the musician to be acquitted.

This time Jane cooperated with the prosecution and confirmed on the witness stand that it was her and Kelly seen in the video from the 2008 trial, and others. She had lied about the videos in the 2000s, she said, "because I was afraid to expose Robert - I also did not want that person to be me, I was ashamed". But she had decided to tell the truth now, she added, because she had become "exhausted" living with Kelly's lies.

On their second day of deliberations, the jury concluded that Kelly was guilty of three charges of enticing minors to engage in criminal sexual activity and three more in relation to his filming of that sexual abuse of children.

However, he was acquitted on several other charges. That included an additional charge in relation to the filming of child abuse, which stemmed from a video not shown in court because, prosecutors argued, Kelly's team had successfully "buried" that tape.

He was also acquitted of two further enticement charges, and the charges relating to him and his team allegedly seeking to retrieve leaked sex tapes in the 2000s, which - prosecutors claimed - constituted receiving footage of child abuse and a conspiracy to obstruct justice, by seeking to hinder and skew the earlier criminal investigation and trial.

It was those latter charges regarding the alleged 2000s cover-up that also applied to Kelly's two co-defendants, his former business manager Derrel McDavid, and Milton 'June' Brown, who worked for Kelly for nearly 20 years. They were also acquitted of those charges.

Despite being found guilty of six of the charges, Kelly's defence lawyer Jennifer Bonjean welcomed the split verdict, saying that she was glad that the jury had considered each of the separate charges on its own merits. According to the Chicago Tribune, she told reporters: "They did their job. They looked at each count separately, and they obviously concluded, as I concluded long ago, this case was overcharged".

Asked about Kelly's response to the verdict, Bonjean said that the musician was "used to bad news", but was relieved that the trial was over. It seems likely that Kelly will appeal the ruling, as he is the earlier ruling in the New York courts, where he was found guilty of running a criminal enterprise in order to access and abuse women and teenagers.

He also faces additional charges in other ongoing criminal cases. With all that in mind, Bonjean added that her client knows he's got "more fights to fight".

Speaking for the prosecution, US Attorney John Lausch told reporters that Kelly could face anywhere between ten and 90 years in prison as a result of yesterday's verdict.

He is already serving a 30 year jail term stemming from last year's guilty verdict in the New York case. Lausch confirmed that prosecutors will request that whatever sentence is handed down in Chicago be consecutive rather than concurrent to the New York jail term, ie it would take place after rather than alongside the existing sentence.

He explained: "When we have instances where defendants are convicted of committing horrific acts against other individuals, and it's separate and apart from other horrific acts that he committed against other individuals, we're asking for that [sentence] to be consecutive".

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PACE welcomes court ruling on the live music tariff of Belgian collecting society SABAM
UK-based PACE Rights Management has welcomed a recent ruling in the Belgian courts regarding a dispute over the rates charged and methodology employed by song rights collecting society SABAM in the live music domain.

The dispute between SABAM and concert promoters in Belgium began in 2017 when the society made changes to its live music tariff, increasing the rates it charges for the performance of its members' songs at shows and festivals. However, the subsequent legal battle also put the spotlight on the methodology SABAM employs when calculating what it reckons it is due from any one show or festival.

Part of that relates to how SABAM calculates what percentage of the songs performed are works that it represents. Although a blanket licence provided by a collecting society like SABAM usually covers a vast repertoire of songs - including songs controlled by other societies around the world with which SABAM has reciprocal agreements - that doesn't mean that licence covers every single song.

Some artists who perform their own songs at their shows choose to directly license those rights to the promoters of those shows, rather than relying on the collective licensing system. That involves the artist pulling those specific rights out of their collecting society while on tour, and companies like PACE assist with the management of that process and the subsequent direct licensing of the rights.

In addition to those artists employing direct licensing, some artists just operate outside the collective licensing system entirely for one reason or another. And with some genres - especially classical and folk - some of the music performed may be public domain, ie no longer protected by copyright.

With live music, the royalties received by collecting societies are often a percentage of box office revenues. But where not all the songs performed at a show are covered by the society's licence, the society obviously needs a system in place to deal with that. Because promoters will likely be paying additional song royalties to artists who are direct licensing, and they want the fee charged by the society to take that into account.

In the dispute between SABAM and the promoters, the Belgian society was accused of having too imprecise a system when it comes to identifying and adjusting for songs it does not control. Currently it adjusts its fees based on whether, of the songs performed, up to a third, or a third to two thirds, or more than two thirds come from its repertoire. But the promoters argued that a much more precise system should be utilised.

PACE Rights Management got involved in this specific aspect of the dispute once the legal battle had moved onto the Belgian Court Of Appeal, And earlier this month that court - upholding the decision of the lower court - ruled that SABAM's royalty rate increase and its methodology for administering live music royalties do not comply with the society's obligations under copyright law.

Commenting on the ruling, PACE says: "The court ruled that the tariff was unlawful, in part because the methodology SABAM uses does not sufficiently identify and quantify the precise amount of its rights that were actually performed".

"PACE believes that each rightsholder should have full transparency on the calculation of the licence fee for the usage of their individual rights", it adds. "While being imprecise, SABAM's overly complex tariff structure also necessitates an increased amount of administration, which in turn increases costs to rightsholders, and delays payment, while simultaneously providing them with insufficient transparency. None of this is in the best interests of rightsholders".

Welcoming the ruling, PACE's Paul Crockford says: "We are very happy with the court's judgement. We felt it was important for PACE to intervene in this case, in order to give rightsholders - both writers and publishers - a much needed voice in the proceedings".

Meanwhile the company's Adam Elfin adds: "It's regrettable that the management of SABAM decided to defend its unlawful tariff, and consequently wasted its members' money, without fully consulting them about the tariff or whether to spend their money defending it. We hope that in future the management of SABAM will fully consult with its membership about such matters".

As for what happens next in terms of SABAM's live music tariff, Elfin goes on: "We now look forward to engaging with the relevant stakeholders, and working in a collaborative way to deliver a more efficient and transparent tariff structure for SABAM, and a better outcome for both rightsholders and promoters".

As part of the proceedings in the Belgian appeals court, a 2020 ruling from the European Court Of Justice stemming from another dispute involving SABAM was also referenced. Noting that, PACE also adds that this case arguably creates a precedent in the EU, and, it says, "indicates that other [collecting society] tariff structures for music festivals in the EU may also be unlawful".

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One Little Independent partners with FUGA
Downtown-owned music distributor FUGA has announced a new partnership with One Little Independent to provide distribution and global marketing services to the label, ahead of the release of new Björk album 'Fossora' at the end of this month.

"OLI's fierce independence and approach to placing artists front and centre is aligned with FUGA's own strategy, where we aim to consistently support our partners in their efforts to amplify and grow their artists, both locally and globally", says FUGA's UK General Manager Liz Northeast. "We are honoured to partner with [label founder] Derek Birkett and the team at OLI at such a pivotal time".

Birkett adds: "We're excited to be working with Liz and the wider FUGA team, we know their passion and dedication to independence and fairness is a great match for us".

Launched in 1985, the label was originally called One Little Indian, but changed its name in 2020, saying that it had accepted that its former moniker had been "perpetuating a harmful stereotyping and exploitation of indigenous peoples' culture".

As well as Björk, its current roster includes Ásgeir, Poppy Ackroyd, Galya Bisengalieva, Bad Breeding and Kathryn Williams.

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Tencent Music confirms secondary listing on Hong Kong Stock Exchange
Tencent Music Entertainment - the Tencent subsidiary that operates the Chinese web giant's music services - has announced that its shares will started trading on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange next Wednesday. It's a secondary listing, as the firm's shares already trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Tencent Music company operates three streaming music services in China - QQ Music, Kugou Music and Kuwo Music - as well as the popular karaoke platform WeSing and various other music ventures. It also used to be the exclusive distributor in China of the catalogues of many labels, including the majors, but under pressure from the Chinese competition regulator those exclusivity deals have been phased out.

Originally a division of the main Tencent company, which is already listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Tencent Music was spun off as a standalone entity and listed on the New York Stock Exchange back in 2018. Although the Tencent parent company remains by far the biggest shareholder.

New York will remain Tencent Music's primary listing even once its shares start trading on the Hong Kong exchange next week. And, in case you wondered, Tencent shares on the two exchanges will be fully 'fungible'. Because I think we can now all agree that things are always better when they're fungible.

As for the motivation behind the secondary listing closer to home, Reuters notes that Tencent Music "is the latest in a string of US-listed Chinese firms to opt for a second listing in Hong Kong to offset the threat of being delisted in New York due to a bilateral dispute between Washington and Beijing over access to auditing papers".

A deal was recently done that will hopefully end that dispute, with US government officials heading to Hong Kong to start reviewing paperwork linked to those US-listed Chinese companies. But still, good to have a back up plan I guess in case that all falls apart.

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Approved: Ellen Arkbro & Johan Graden
Ellen Arkbro and Johan Graden are both respected composers in their own right - Arkbro was previously featured in this column for her solo work back in 2017 - and they have now come together for collaborative album 'I Get Along Without You Very Well'.

Combining their talents across contemporary classical, jazz and experimental pop, they've created a very special record filled with rich brass, woodwind and piano arrangements, and the beautiful sound of Arkbro's voice - something absent from her previous work.

The songs all move slowly, but nonetheless refuse to linger long before moving on to the next, creating two contrasting elements of pacing that add to the affecting sound of the record.

This is also reflected in how the album was made, Arkbro explains, saying: "Throughout the process, we spent as much time talking about the music as working on it, exploring our ways of thinking and being".

Graden adds: "At times we've had no choice but to wait, sometimes for months at a time without touching it. The fact that we've taken all this time to create something together and been patient with it - and each other - has been essential to this album and has shaped the music in a way that could never have been thought out or planned in advance".

"This music and the process of making it", he goes on, "in many ways felt like a return to an early source of inspiration. I remember the feeling while sitting by the piano as a kid, very carefully listening to chords - how would it sound if I do this, add this, remove that… I love that space. Being able to share that process with someone is a rare gift".

This is reflected perfectly on new single 'Temple', of which Arkbro says: "We had the idea of this song with us for some time, we had an arrangement for brass instruments. However, I found the song to be so delicate, so whenever I was writing words to sing I felt that it took away some of the magic. For this reason, I never got around to writing the lyrics until the very last day in the studio".

"This final version of the song is very different from the first draft we made, which was dense with lots of layers", adds Graden. "Like with many other songs on the record, we were committed to removing rather than adding elements, and 'Temple' embodies this process".

'I Get Along Without You Very Well' is out next week. You can listen to 'Temple' here.

Stay up to date with all of the artists featured in the CMU Approved column by subscribing to our Spotify playlist.

Mykki Blanco releases latest single from upcoming new album
Mykki Blanco has released the latest single from their upcoming album, 'Stay Close To Music', a track called 'Pink Diamond Bezel'.

"I am always hoping to create a new alchemy for my sound and for my entire career I have been experimenting with how far I can push rap - from the production to the musical choices to the inspirations", says Blanco. "Much of my new album and last year's 'Broken Hearts & Beautysleep' is a departure from anything I had done in the past and I hadn't really made a hip-hop track in years when I wrote 'Pink Diamond Bezel.' The song feels as if it's the love child of Pharrell Williams and The Neptunes as much as Jack White".

"When I think about the vibe of 'Pink Diamond Bezel' I imagine a stretch limousine riding through snow-capped mountains, drinking Kahula and cream with a group of friends in cashmere sweaters, very après-ski, then out of nowhere a shaman appears in the middle of the road, the car halts - a spell is cast, the road catches fire, and we're forced to kneel in supplication to the forces of nature", they go on. "I had fun creating this song, it's a flirtation, it's sexy and thumping and the second half is pure psychedelic rock chaos".

'Stay Close To Music' is out on 14 Oct, and Blanco will also be in the UK and Ireland for tour dates later this year. Here are those very dates:

29 Nov: London, Heaven
2 Dec: Bristol, Trinity
3 Dec: Dublin, Mother @ Lost Lane
4 Dec: Glasgow, G2
5 Dec: Newcastle, The Cluny
6 Dec: Manchester, Yes

Tickets are on sale now. Listen to 'Pink Diamond Bezel' here.

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Hamish Hawk announces new album, tour dates
Hamish Hawk has announced that he will release his new album 'Angel Numbers' early next year, following on from 2021's 'Heavy Elevator'.

Out now is new single 'Think Of Us Kissing', of which Hawk says: "'Think Of Us Kissing' comes at you like a cannonball. It's a tragic, romantic song about the music industry. It looks at the lengths an artist may or may not go to in order to have glory showered upon them. It's about the pitfalls of success, the perils of fame and the curse of ambition. It's as loud and dangerous as a speeding train, and it's a true anthem. It's the biggest song I've ever written".

Of the album, he adds: "'Angel Numbers' is the only album I've ever recorded in the shadow of a vaguely successful record. I've sold records before, at my merch table. I'd go on tour with King Creosote and Idlewild, all the brilliant opportunities I've had, but it's been modest in every sense. That was fine. Whereas [with 'Heavy Elevator', it was] three singles on 6 Music, and these tours up and down every nook and cranny in the country that have gone so well. People sing the songs back to you, which is bizarre!"

"I had a few personal things going on when we were recording 'Heavy Elevator' which made it quite a stressful experience", he goes on. "I'm so glad that it came out and that there's now cause for me to be jubilant about it, because at the time I wasn't in a good place. This one was almost strangely easy. We knew what we were doing, we knew what we were following up, we had the money and we had the songs. It was a more assured experience".

'Angel Numbers' is out on 3 Feb, and you can listen to 'Think Of Us Kissing' here.

As well as the album release, Hawk will also be heading out on a tour of the UK in February. Here are the dates:

1 Feb: Newcastle, The Cluny
2 Feb: Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
3 Feb: Manchester, Gorilla
5 Feb: London, The Scala
6 Feb: Brighton, Komedia
7 Feb: Southampton, Joiners
9 Feb: Bristol, Thekla
11 Feb: Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach
12 Feb: Birmingham, Hare & Hounds
13 Feb: Liverpool, EBGB's
15 Feb: Dundee, Church
16 Feb: Glasgow, St Luke's
17 Feb: Aberdeen, Cafe Drummond

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DEALS

Round Hill has acquired the recording rights of late record producer Bruce Fairbairn, who died in 1999. "This sale of royalties cements Bruce's legacy as a famed rock and roll producer in the 80s and 90s", says his widow Julie Fairbairn. "It's a tribute to the longevity of classic rock, including iconic albums from Aerosmith, Van Halen, Kiss and The Cranberries, among others".

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APPOINTMENTS

Scott Cohen has announced that he is stepping down as Warner Music's Chief Innovation Officer, after three and a half years in the role. A memo from Warner's recorded music CEO Max Lousada said that Cohen has "always enjoyed building things from scratch and so he is off to pursue new adventures that we'll hear about soon". Cohen himself said on social media that he'd be announcing details of his next venture on 1 Nov. No word yet on any possible replacement at Warner, or maybe the major will now just give up on innovation.

Sony Music has hired Niki Roberton as SVP Creative for RCA Records in the US. She joins form IAMSOUND, which she founded in 2007.

Pulse Music Group in the US has promoted Steven Gringer to VP A&R. He was previously Senior Creative Director. "Our team's passion for artistry and music continues to inspire me every day", he says. "Our diverse roster is a reflection of the company's mission to create a sanctuary for musicians, created by musicians".

Universal Music Publishing has hired Jennifer Knoepfle as Co-Head Of US A&R. She joins from Sony Music Publishing. "I am excited and grateful to be reunited with Jody Gerson at UMPG, who played an integral role in my development and has served as a mentor since bringing me to Sony in 2009", she says. "We are both aligned in our belief in identifying and helping to shape tomorrow's great talents".

Warner Music Group has hired Niels Walboomers as President Of Records & Publishing for Benelux. He will oversee both Warner Music Benelux and Warner Chappell Music Benelux, while their respective teams will remain independent of each other. Also joining from Sony Music Publishing, he will take up the role on 1 Nov , replacing Arno Van Berkel. "I'm so excited to be taking up this amazing opportunity", says Wallboomers. "The Benelux is a region that has always punched above its weight in the music industry, a real home for talent as well as a significant global market".

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RELEASES

Björk has released another track from her upcoming album 'Fossora' called 'Ovule'. She says: "'Ovule' for me is my definition of love. It is a meditation about us as lovers walking around this world and I imagine two spheres or satellites following us around - one above us that represents ideal love, one below us representing the shadows of love - and we ourselves walk around in the third sphere of real love, where the everyday Monday morning meet-in-the-kitchen-love lives in".

Fred Again… has announced that he will release new album 'Actual Life 3 (January 1 - September 9 2022)' on 28 Oct. Here's new single 'Danielle (Smile On My Face)'.

Loyle Carner has released new single 'Nobody Knows (Ladas Road)'. His new album, 'Hugo', is out on 21 Oct.

After a four year hiatus, Kelela is back with new single 'Washed Away'. "I love a banger, but for the first point of contact out of my hiatus, it felt more honest to lead with an ambient heart-check", she says.

Rina Sawayama has released new single 'Hurricanes'. Her new album, 'Hold The Girl', is out tomorrow.

Angel Olsen has released a new version of her song 'Big Time', which sees her joined by country singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson. "It's crazy to write a song and then watch someone else you really admire sing your words, kinda turns the whole thing on its head", she says. "I loved the song already but hearing Sturgill's take on 'Big Time' made me smile ear to ear, he made it come alive on a different level".

Cate Le Bon has released new single 'Typical Love', an outtake from her most recent album 'Pompeii'. "'Typical Love' was a product of a rare jam session with dearest genius friend Stella Mozgawa", she says. "The outline, written on bass along to one of Stella's infectious grooves, was taken into the 'Pompeii' sessions where I disassembled and reassembled it many times but it always felt like a second cousin to the other tracks so was put aside for a rainy day". Le Bon is also set to play the Roundhouse in London on 13 Nov.

Skullcrusher has released new single 'It's Like A Secret'. "I had been trying to put into words a very familiar sensation that seemed completely intangible and inexpressible", she says. "It's sort of a burrowing into myself, which I associate most with being very immersed in a creative project and simultaneously quite disconnected from other people. The song ended up being about this feeling and more specifically about the process and limitations of trying to communicate it". Her new album, 'Quiet The Room', is out on 14 Oct.

Mytbe has released new single 'Good Enough'. "This song is so damn close to my heart", she says. "If I'm honest, I'm quite anxious about sharing such a personal one, but if its taught me anything it's that I am good enough and nothing fucking matters anyway".

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GIGS & TOURS

Tove Styrke has announced UK and Ireland tour dates in February next year, finishing with a show at Lafayette in London on 9 Feb. Tickets are on sale now.

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

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Nicki Minaj sues gossip blogger, Mattel drops case over rapper's snacks
Nicki Minaj has sued celebrity gossip vlogger Nosey Heaux - real name Marley Green - for defamation after she called the rapper a "cokehead" in a video on social media earlier this week.

In the video posted on Monday, Green told followers that Minaj is "shoving all this cocaine, shoving in all this cocaine up her nose. Allegedly. Thank you. Allegedly".

Adding "allegedly" to a statement is a long-used tactic to try to avoid defamation lawsuits when making controversial allegations about other people in public, of course. Although Green then undermined that by adding: "But we all know it's true. Fuck, listen, I can't even say allegedly with that cos I, we all know it's true. I'm not saying allegedly on that. Nicki Minaj is a cokehead".

Minaj has taken a dim view on this, and her lawsuit - according to TMZ - states that Green is a "nobody" whose "main accomplishments in life have been a string of criminal charges, bail jumping and bad debts". Nonetheless, it goes on, she has gained an audience on social media and says that the recent video has gained over 2000 likes and more 250 retweets on Twitter, bringing it to wide attention.

The lawsuit is seeking damages of $75,000. That's a relatively low amount for a case such as this, but, says Minaj's attorney Judd Burstein, they expect it to been significant to Green.

"When this case is over, she will no longer be permitted to use the name 'Nosey Heaux' because we will take her trademark from her when she does not have enough money to pay the judgment", says Burstein. "Anyone else who spreads lies about Nicki will suffer a similar fate. My marching orders are to aggressively sue anyone with a media or social media following who damages her with intentional lies. Eventually, the lesson will be learned".

This case follows Cardi B's successful defamation lawsuit against another vlogger, Latasha Kebe, after she said in a video that the rapper "was a prostitute … was a user of cocaine … had and still has herpes … had and still has HPV … engaged in a debasing act with a beer bottle and … committed infidelity". Kebe is currently appealing that $4 million judgement.

Back to Minaj-related legal news now though, and toy maker Mattel has dropped a case against food company Rap Snacks over its Minaj-endorsed Barbie-Que Honey Truffle Potato Chips.

Minaj - who refers to herself as Barbie and her fanbase as The Barbz – launched the snack in June via a partnership with Rap Snacks. In its subsequent legal action, Mattel claimed that - when launching the Minaj-endorsed crisps - Rap Snacks "made the deliberate and calculated choice to launch a new product line using Mattel's famous Barbie trademark".

In a new filing yesterday, Mattel asked the judge to dismiss the case, a settlement having been reached. Terms of that settlement are not known, but it comes after Rap Snacks changed the name of the crisps to Bar-B-Quin With My Honey Truffle. Not as snappy of course, but if it avoids going to court, maybe it's worth it. You can buy those alongside other Minaj crisp flavours Sour Cream Ranch Truffle and Salt & Vinegar Truffle, both of which sound revolting.

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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.
chris@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (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.
sam@unlimitedmedia.co.uk 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.
caro@unlimitedmedia.co.uk
 
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