TODAY'S TOP STORY: The long running legal battle between Kesha and Dr Luke is now scheduled to get properly to court in July next year. A February hearing had originally been anticipated, but that has been pushed back because of ongoing appeals regarding some side issues that could impact on what needs to be proven when the defamation dispute gets to trial... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Kesha v Dr Luke defamation trial pushed back to July 2023
DEALS Universal allies with music publishing division of China's RYCE Entertainment
LIVE BUSINESS Fan-to-fan ticket resale platform Ticketswap launches in the UK
MEDIA BBC's Simon Webb promoted to new role of Head Of Orchestras And Choirs
ARTIST NEWS Alanis Morissette says she pulled out of Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame performance over sexism
Rihanna says her Super Bowl show doesn't mean a new album is coming any time soon

ONE LINERS Kalush Orchestra, Gaz Coombes, Dice Live Award, more
AND FINALLY... Fyre Festival's Billy McFarland to return to the Bahamas for treasure hunt
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Kesha v Dr Luke defamation trial pushed back to July 2023
The long running legal battle between Kesha and Dr Luke is now scheduled to get properly to court in July next year. A February hearing had originally been anticipated, but that has been pushed back because of ongoing appeals regarding some side issues that could impact on what needs to be proven when the defamation dispute gets to trial.

Luke's defamation lawsuit against Kesha is all that remains of what began as a multi-layered multi-state legal battle which was kickstarted when Kesha accused Luke of rape. He denies those allegations and - arguing that Kesha's claims have negatively impacted on his career - he sued for defamation.

The side issues currently subject to appeal mainly relate to whether or not Luke has to show that Kesha acted with actual malice when making her allegations against him. If he does, that would increase Luke's burden in court and make it harder for him to win.

The producer would have that obligation if the court considered him to be a public figure or if new free speech rules in New York state were applied retrospectively to lawsuits that were already in progress when they came into force, like this one. However, the judge hearing the case previously decided Luke was not a public figure and that those new free speech rules should not apply.

It's those decisions - and another relating to whether the allegedly defamatory statements are protected by certain "litigation privileges" - that are being appealed. Back in August, legal reps for Kesha told the court hearing the main dispute that - while they were eager for said dispute to get to trial as soon as possible - that trial shouldn't go ahead until the New York Court Of Appeal has ruled on the side issues.

The lawyers wrote in a letter: "It would be a monumental waste of party and judicial resources to proceed to trial when there is a very real risk that a new trial immediately would be required, as would be the case if the Court Of Appeals reverses as to any of the several questions currently before it".

Kesha's lawyers insisted that they had been trying to "expedite proceedings" in the appeals court in a bid to have resolution on the side issues before the planned February dates for the main trial. However, they argued, the Luke side had been obstructing those efforts. The Luke side, unsurprisingly, rejected those claims, stating that any further delay in the main case would be the result of the Kesha side filing yet more "meritless" appeals.

Either way, the judge overseeing the main case, Jennifer G Schecter, seemingly agrees that it would be good to have the appeal rulings on Luke's status, or not, as a public figure before proceeding with the trial. Presumably reckoning that is unlikely before next February, she has now confirmed that the main defamation dispute will be heard in her court between 19 and 26 Jul 2023. We'll see if those target dates can now be met.


Universal allies with music publishing division of China's RYCE Entertainment
Universal Music Publishing in China has announced a deal with the music publishing division of Chinese media and entertainment firm RYCE Entertainment. The major will now administrate the songs catalogue of RYCE Publishing.

The partnership will, Universal says, allow its Chinese division to "exclusively lead global administration responsibilities for some of the country's all-time best-sellers and tracks that have helped establish C-Pop as a global force", while providing a "global infrastructure and opportunities for RYCE's writers and artists to reach new audiences around the world".

Not only that, but "UMP China will work hand in hand with RYCE Publishing to further expand its roster of songwriters and producers, and the projects available to them, as it continues to establish itself among the region's leaders". Lovely stuff.

Says MD of UMP China, Joe Fang: "We saw the rise of J-pop three decades ago and its massive influence on audiences across Asia. Now K-pop is a global phenomenon as we all know, and there has been a very key bridging force between these genres in the last two decades".

"With China rising to become the sixth biggest music market of the world", he goes on, "I believe the time of C-pop is here. RYCE Publishing, with its hybrid talents and border-crossing catalogues, is a central piece of that next bridging force and I'm THRILLED that UMPG will play an instrumental role in supporting these future chapters of music history".

RYCE Entertainment CEO Daryl K adds: "Our publishing arm is at the very core of RYCE. It's our creative hub and where we innovate and create. We protect and promote our writers with a vengeance and we're excited to continue doing so with UMP China. We're looking forward to the fruits of our partnership".

Music in the RYCE catalogue includes hit songs performed by the likes of TFBOYS, Jackson Wang, Amber Liu and Sitar Tan.


Fan-to-fan ticket resale platform Ticketswap launches in the UK
Ticket resale platform Ticketswap has announced that it is formally launching in the UK, as the Dutch company celebrates its tenth anniversary.

Ticketswap allows people with tickets to events they are no longer able to attend to sell them on with a maximum mark-up of 20%, the idea being that the price cap discourages touts from using the service. It also has partnerships in place with various live music companies to manage their official ticket resale operations.

The company's UK launch follows the opening of new offices in Brazil, Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Poland earlier this year.

"We're delighted to formally enter the UK market, having already built a huge community of more than 1.5 million dedicated live music fans [in the country] over the last few years", says CEO Hans Ober. "It's clear there is a need for another innovative resale platform in the UK, and we look forward to working alongside the most respected and innovative brands in live British music to get as many fans to the artists and shows they love as possible".

The UK office will be headed up by Michael Robinson, who adds: "I'm really excited to be leading Ticketswap's partnership efforts in the UK. Ticketswap has so much to offer promoters, especially with regards to helping them reach sell out quicker and identifying new audiences - something that's so important in such a competitive landscape. We're looking forward to working closely both with our partners and associated trade bodies across the UK".

The firm's first UK specific partnership is with LWE, which promotes shows at London's Tobacco Dock, among other venues.


BBC's Simon Webb promoted to new role of Head Of Orchestras And Choirs
The BBC has announced that Simon Webb will be promoted to the new role of Head Of Orchestras And Choirs at the start of next year. He is currently Director of the BBC Philharmonic orchestra.

The broadcaster's orchestras and choirs are currently overseen by the Controller of Radio 3 - Alan Davey at the moment - that being a job which also includes oversight of the BBC's wider classical music output. However, in a recent review of the Beeb's classical music operations, it was decided a standalone Head Of Orchestras And Choirs should be appointed.

In his new role, the BBC said yesterday, Webb will "develop a creative strategy for the BBC orchestras and choirs, create an ambitious education and outreach programme, and lead on the work to innovate and develop future audiences. He will identify and develop partnerships, both internally and externally across the UK, and - together with Controller, Radio 3 and BBC Proms - maximise opportunities for new, emerging and diverse talent, and play a leading role in developing a fully inclusive sector".

Confirming Webb's appointment to the new role, the BBC's Director Of Music Lorna Clarke stated: "The BBC plays a unique and vital role in the classical music world, both in the UK and internationally, and I'm hugely proud of that. As we look ahead to the future and hope to refine and strengthen our public purpose to deliver the best quality music to the widest possible audiences, I am THRILLED Simon joins us as our new Head Of Orchestras And Choirs, a key member of the BBC Music team".


Approved: Yemrot
Jimi Tormey - aka Yemrot - has just released his debut mini-album 'The Sunken Garden', an astonishing body of work that introduces an artist who arrives fully formed as a truly great singer-songwriter. On it, he combines folk and psychedelia to impressive effect.

Two figures inspired the release, Tormey's late father - in whose home studio the mini-album was recorded following his death - and a fictional character called Dill Dandin. The story of Dandin's encounter with a sinkhole is told in the song 'The Ballad Of Dill Dandin' and also inspired the record's title.

"The character of Dill Dandin that formed in my mind was funny and so was enjoyable to juxtapose with some of the more serious or emotional themes of my music", says Tormey. "It was also fun to make music to the framework of a narrative in using sounds and changes of atmosphere to accent the story I had written".

But it is Tormey's father who really looms large over the mini-album. Following his death, Tormey began writing and recording what would become this release. Playing most of the instruments himself, he also drafted in his mother Lisa to play violin and viola, and sister Tuli and brother Eric to provide harmonies.

Tormey's grief as he worked through his loss is starkest on the real standout track 'Big Tree', of which he says: "The lyrics were mostly spur of the moment reflections of how I was feeling in relation to loving and missing my dad. The chorus line 'happiness is a decision' was a little jab at toxic positivity and some of the advice people tried to give me in the aftermath".

Watch a stunning live version of 'Big Tree', performed in the Margate Caves with the Institute Collective choir, here.

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Alanis Morissette says she pulled out of Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame performance over sexism
Alanis Morissette has said that she pulled out of a planned performance at the Roll And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony on Saturday because she didn't want to "spend time in an environment that reduces women".

The musician had been scheduled to perform 'You're So Vain' with Olivia Rodrigo as a tribute to Carly Simon. According to Variety, she was at rehearsals on Friday, but then did not appear at the show the following day.

Addressing, in an Instagram story post, all the speculation about why she pulled out of the performance, she said: "There are some misinformed rumblings about my not performing at The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame induction ceremony this past weekend. Firstly, I have to say how much I adore Carly Simon and Olivia Rodrigo and Dolly Parton and Janet Jackson and Pat Benetar and Sheryl Crow and Pink and Brandi Carlile and Sara Bareilles - and all the amazing people and artists who were there".

"I have spent decades in an industry that is rife with an overarching anti-woman sentiment and have tolerated a lot of condescension and disrespectfulness, reduction, dismissiveness, contract-breaching, unsupportiveness, exploitation and psychological violence (and more) throughout my career", she went on.

"I tolerated it because nothing would stop me from connecting with those whom I cared about and resonated with", she added. "I live to serve and connect with people and so over the years I sucked it up on more occasions than I can count in order to do so. It's hard not to be affected in any industry around the world, but Hollywood has been notorious for its disrespect of the feminine in all of us".

"Thankfully, I am at a point in my life where there is no need for me to spend time in an environment that reduces women", she concluded. "I have had countless incredible experiences with production teams with all genders throughout my life. So many, and so fun. There is nothing better than a team of diverse people coming together with one mission. I'll continue to show up in those environments with bells on".

The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame has not commented on Morissette's statement.


Rihanna says her Super Bowl show doesn't mean a new album is coming any time soon
Rihanna recently returned with new track 'Lift Me Up' and she's set to play the Super Bowl half time show in February. So, that all means that her first album since 2016's 'Anti' is on the horizon, right? Wrong. Or so says Rihanna, who would probably know.

"No, no, no, that's not true", the singer told AP when it suggested that all these developments meant that she "obviously" had a new LP on the way. "[The] Super Bowl is one thing. New music is another thing. Do you hear that, fans? Because I knew, the second that I announced this I said, 'Oh my God, they're gonna think my album is coming, I need to get to work'".

So that means that there's still going to be a long wait until we hear more new music from Rihanna, right? Wrong.

"I do have new music coming out", she continued. "But we'll see. We'll see. [The Super Bowl and that new music are] unrelated. But [it's] a special project".

As for why she agreed to do the Super Bowl halftime show when she didn't have a big new release to promote, she said: "It was a challenge that I welcomed. It was a stage bigger than anything I've ever done. [Also it's] one of those things, if I'm going to leave my baby, I'm going to leave my baby for something special. And I was willing to do it. It was now or never for me, I feel like".

Rihanna's new track last month, of course, was a one-off recorded for the soundtrack of new film, 'Black Panther: Wakanda Forever'. While you wait for her to chuck more breadcrumbs your way, you can watch the video for that song here.



Kalush Orchestra have released new single 'Nasze Domy', featuring Szpaku. "The idea for this track arose in my head when I was visualising the war in Ukraine", says Szpaku. "Although we all now live in fear of what Russia has unleashed, God will not forget about us, and in the end good will definitely win".

American Lips - aka DFA979 drummer Sebastien Grainger, Adrian Popovich of Frvits and Tricky Woo - have released new single 'Waste Of Crime'.

Dean Blunt - in his Babyfather alias - has released new track '1471', featuring Tirzah.

Asbjørn has released new single 'X In My Sensual', featuring Dayyani. "There's a glitch in the gay community where the cultivation of sexual freedom can turn the safe space into the absolute opposite", he says of the inspiration for the track. "Club culture is one of the hardest places to exercise sexual consent cause people often use it as a vessel to let go of their inhibitions. 'X In My Sensual' is about the balance between the two; letting go of your restraints without crossing other people's boundaries".

Kučka has released new single 'Not There'. "I was working on my computer one night and this repeating scene of rain on a skyscraper window came up", she says. "It seemed really lonely somehow, even though it looked so pretty. I played the synth part to match the vibe of that and had it looping for ages. The lyrics came later - I actually wrote them with my wife Dillon and they are a patchwork of both of our experiences".



Gaz Coombes has announced UK and Ireland tour dates in April next year. He'll also be doing in-stores around England in January. His new album, 'Turn The Car Around', is out on 13 Jan, and here's his new single 'Don't Say It's Over'.



Fred Again, Gabriels, Obongjayar, Self Esteem and Shygirl have been shortlisted for this year's Dice Live Award. The winner will be announced on 22 Nov. Amie Blu, BXKS and Ray Laurél have also been announced as Dice Ones To Watch 2023. All three will perform at the ceremony at at The Lower Third in London.

Tim Burgess will receive the Artists' Artist prize at this year's Artist & Manager Awards, which is set to take place on 17 Nov at the Bloomsbury Big Top in London. Ben Bailey Smith - aka Doc Brown - has also been announced as this year's host.

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


Fyre Festival's Billy McFarland to return to the Bahamas for treasure hunt
Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland has announced his first new venture after being released from prison. And - in a move that will surely not prove to be disastrous - he's heading back to the Bahamas.

McFarland, of course, was imprisoned in 2018 after being convicted of two counts of wire fraud in relation to finances raised for his doomed Bahamas-based Fyre Festival. He served four years of a six year sentence. And with $26 million still to repay to those he defrauded, he needs to find a money-making scheme or two. Preferably legal this time.

His big plan is to launch a treasure hunt back in the Bahamas, a venture that he has been teasing on TikTok recently, and which he's calling PYRT. It will see participants try to track down 99 bottles containing messages in order to win the grand prize.

He recently described the project as "a whole lot bigger than anything I've ever tried before", which doesn't really bode well. Now, we're not saying that this whole thing will definitely end in complete disaster. But when it does, the good news is that there will be a documentary film crew there to capture it all.

According to Deadline, a new documentary about McFarland's life after his release from prison and the whole PYRT project is already in production - it's called 'After The Fyre' and is being made for Apple TV+. It follows, of course, Hulu's 'Fyre Fraud' and Netflix's 'Fyre', which chronicled the collapse of the Fyre Festival in 2017.

The new film is being directed by Ample Entertainment co-founders Ari Mark and Phil Lott*.* Commenting, Mark says: "As we continue to aggressively cultivate our library of films, we're generating IP-driven, must-see content that will resonate with viewers. 'After The Fyre' is the perfect example of an in-house Ample production that is both premium and broad".

VP Acquisitions at Freemantle Media - which is financing the documentary - Harry Gamsu adds: "After a considerable amount of time in solitary, millennial's favourite conman Billy McFarland has re-emerged, energised and with an even more audacious plan than the last as he looks to clear his name and repay his debtors. This is the doc-sequel audiences have been crying out for and we're delighted to have partnered with Ample to make it happen".

Whether all this can make McFarland enough money to pay off his debt is unclear, although it seems unlikely. And so we await to see what other schemes he comes up with.


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.
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