CMU Digest

CMU Digest 15.11.21: Astroworld, performer ER, Jay-Z, The Scala, Apple

By | Published on Monday 15 November 2021

Travis Scott

The key stories from the last week in the music business…

A criminal investigation got underway and countless lawsuits were filed after ten people died and hundreds more were injured as a result of a crowd surge at Travis Scott’s Astroworld festival in Houston, Texas. Investigators are seeking to understand the sequence of events that led to the fatal incident which occurred during Scott’s headline set, and whether poor crowd management planning or on-the-ground decision making contributed to the tragedy. Questions have also been asked as to why Scott’s set continued for more than half an hour after a “mass casualty event” had been declared. The lawsuits will also argue that Scott has a long history of encouraging his fans to behave in a dangerous way, and that that made the events at this year’s Live Nation promoted Astroworld foreseeable. [READ MORE]

MPs and artist groups again called for UK copyright law reforms after comparing the earnings of Universal Music boss Lucian Grainge with the earnings of songwriters. Because of a mega-bonus stemming from Universal’s successful stock market listing, Grainge is set to earn over £150 million this year. Meanwhile a recent study from the UK’s Intellectual Property Office estimated that the combined earnings of all songwriters from the streaming, downloading and sale of recorded music in 2019 was around £150 million. That stat comparison was used by the Musicians’ Union and Ivors Academy – and their supporters in Parliament – to again call for performer equitable remuneration to be applied to streams, and for other copyright reforms that could benefit artists and songwriters. [READ MORE]

Jay-Z basically won his legal battle with perfume maker Parlux. The rapper and the fragrance firm collaborated on a perfume brand in 2013, but Parlux claimed that Jay-Z failed to promote the product resulting in millions in losses. In a tense back and forth between Jay-Z and Parlux’s lawyer once the dispute was in court, the rapper argued that the main reason Gold Jay-Z failed to sell was because the perfume company came up with a “crappy, lazy” marketing plan. After just two hours of deliberations, the jury hearing the case ruled that the rapper wasn’t liable to pay $68 million in damages for breaching his 2013 contract with Parlux. He had also sued his former business partner for $6 million in allegedly unpaid royalties and the jury concluded that there wasn’t a strong enough case to force that payment either – but, on balance, the judgement was a win for Jay-Z. [READ MORE]

The Scala confirmed that three security guards have been banned from working at the London venue after an incident involving Wargasm. The metal duo had earlier posted to social media to explain what happened after they played at the venue. The three guards had allegedly assaulted the outfit’s Sam Matlock, who had stepped in after “a bouncer was verbally aggressive to our female tour manager”. The venue said that – after an internal investigation – the security guards, who had been provided by Saber Security, had been banned from working on its premises. Saber Security, meanwhile, added that it had “suspended the services of the security operatives concerned, pending a full and thorough investigation”. [READ MORE]

Apple failed in its bid to postpone an injunction that will force it to change its App Store rules in the US. The injunction came as part of the legal battle between Apple and Fortnite maker Epic Games, and means that the tech giant will have to allow all companies making iOS apps to include in-app links to alternative payment options, allowing those companies to circumvent Apple’s own commission-charging transactions platform. Apple has already agreed to allow such links in so called reader apps, which includes Spotify, but the injunction means that rule change will now have to benefit all app makers. Because both Apple and Epic are appealing other elements of the September judgment in their legal battle, the former said the injunction should be postponed pending those appeals. But the judge overseeing the case said there were no grounds for such a postponement. [READ MORE]

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