TODAY'S TOP STORY: Lil Wayne's former manager and legal advisor has sued the rapper and his various Young Money companies for at least $20 million. In a lawsuit that provides a pretty good summary of Wayne's various legal wranglings with his label Cash Money and its business partner Universal Music, the rapper is accused on reneging on an oral agreement to pay Ron Sweeney management commissions and a share of any legal settlement pay-outs and the sale of Young Money master rights... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Lil Wayne's former manager sues for $20 million
LEGAL FKA Twigs sues ex-boyfriend Shia LaBeouf over "relentlessly" abusive relationship
DEALS Africori allies with Warner Chappell on publishing
LIVE BUSINESS COVID restrictions will result in thousands of illegal New Years parties, warns NTIA
ARTIST NEWS Charley Pride dies
Snoop Dogg says he's "in full support of the female MC movement", following controversial WAP comments

AWARDS MPG Award 2021 nominations out
AND FINALLY... Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You completes 26 year climb to UK number one
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Getting songwriters and artists paid when their songs and recordings are played often comes down to whether or not the right data is in the system. But what data? This webinar runs through all the key data points and explains how to get information into the system.
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Music Rights Data In Ten Steps
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Streaming Challenges In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to the challenges facing the streaming business in 2020
Collective Licensing In Ten Steps
A ten step guide to the collective licensing system
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Lil Wayne's former manager sues for $20 million
Lil Wayne's former manager and legal advisor has sued the rapper and his various Young Money companies for at least $20 million. In a lawsuit that provides a pretty good summary of Wayne's various legal wranglings with his label Cash Money and its business partner Universal Music, the rapper is accused on reneging on an oral agreement to pay Ron Sweeney management commissions and a share of any legal settlement pay-outs and the sale of Young Money master rights.

Sweeney says he began providing legal and management advice to Wayne in 2005, initially fixing a terrible contract that the rapper had signed with Cash Money. He then continued to provide services through to 2018.

Wayne also had two childhood friends involved in his business affairs - Cortez Bryant as manager and Mack Maine as an advisor and later President of the Young Money label. However, Sweeney says that those friends had little business or music industry experience, so Wayne relied on him for that support in relation to both the rapper's own career and the growing Young Money empire.

So much so, Sweeney adds in his lawsuit, one his roles was managing the managers. And "acting as Lil Wayne's overall protector, protecting him from his record company and a vast amount of parasites and others who were trying to take advantage of Lil Wayne. [And] on more than one occasion, plaintiffs essentially had to protect Lil Wayne from Lil Wayne himself".

The lawsuit then runs through the big dispute that occurred between Wayne and Cash Money in relation to the rapper's own music and the Young Money label, which operated as an imprint of Cash Money. That dispute ultimately resulted in litigation against Cash Money, Universal Music and US collecting society SoundExchange, all of which was eventually settled in 2018.

Sweeney says that by 2014, the various issues with Cash Money meant that although Wayne was "asset rich", he was rather short - somewhat ironically - of cash money. Which meant there wasn't really money to pay Sweeney or his company. Nevertheless, he says, he continued to work for the rapper, including extensive unpaid work managing the Cash Money dispute and supporting the law firm which pursued the litigation on Wayne's behalf.

In recognition of that, Wayne agreed to pay Sweeney 10% of any legal settlements stemming from that litigation and 10% from any future sale of master rights owned by the Young Money label, in addition to the 10% management commission that had already been agreed.

Separate to Wayne's litigation, the aforementioned Bryant also sued Cash Money claiming that his company Aspire Music Group was owed significant payments for its role in bringing Young Money's most successful signing Drake to the label, and therefore to Cash Money and Universal.

Sweeney's lawsuit says that Bryant's lawsuit created a conflict of interest, because Bryant was now Wayne's manager but was also suing Wayne's label. To that end, in May 2018 Wayne asked Sweeney to terminate Bryant's management services, which he did. Sweeney adds that he then took over responsibility for the management tasks previously performed by Bryant, increasing his management commission to 17% in return.

Pretty much as soon as that had happened, Sweeney alleges, Bryant and Maine "conspired together to drive a wedge between Lil Wayne and plaintiffs by, among other things, making false and misleading statements to Lil Wayne about plaintiffs".

That conspiracy was seemingly successful, with Wayne terminating his relationship with Sweeney and his company in September 2018. Since then, Sweeney goes on, Wayne and his team have refused to make good on the various payments that had been agreed.

That includes Sweeney's management commissions, his cut of the various legal settlements (some of which, but by no means all, has been paid), and his cut of an alleged sale earlier this year of the Young Money masters to Universal in a $100 million+ deal.

With all that in mind, Sweeney accuses Wayne and the Young Money companies of breach of oral contract, fraudulent inducement and unjust enrichment, reckoning that damages of at least $20 million are due.

Wayne is yet to respond to Sweeney's lawsuit. Though to be fair he's been busy dealing with other legal problems in recent days, having admitted to being in possession of a firearm despite being banned from possessing such a thing because of a felony conviction more than a decade ago.

A gold-plated handgun was found in the rapper's luggage after his private plane was searched when he arrived in Miami a year ago. At the time he said the gun had been a Father's Day gift.

Having pleaded guilty to possessing the firearm he will now be sentenced on 28 Jan. He could get ten years jail time for the crime, although it seems likely his sentence won't be that severe. He is currently free on a $250,000 bail.


FKA Twigs sues ex-boyfriend Shia LaBeouf over "relentlessly" abusive relationship
FKA Twigs has sued ex-boyfriend Shia LaBeouf for sexual battery, assault and emotional distress, accusing the actor of berating and beating her in an abusive relationship which was, the musician claims, a "living nightmare".

The couple dated for about a year in 2018 and 2019 after working together on the film 'Honey Boy'. FKA Twigs, real name Tahliah Barnett, says that she agreed to move in with LaBeouf after he employed a "charm offensive", which is, she says she now realises, "a tactic ... he used on other women".

"LaBeouf was engaging in grooming – gradually gaining Tahliah's trust and confidence with the intent of abusing her", the lawsuit states. "Over a course of months, LaBeouf engaged in a continuous stream of verbal and mental abuse toward Tahliah, belittling her and berating her after the slightest perceived 'insult' by LaBeouf. LaBeouf isolated Tahliah from her friends and family, making it so her daily existence and routine revolved around LaBeouf and only LaBeouf".

The verbal abuse led to physical abuse, with the lawsuit describing one particularly violent incident that occurred on Valentines Day 2019. He also knowingly passed on a sexually transmitted disease, it is claimed. "Tahliah has since learned that LaBeouf has infected other unsuspecting women with his disease", the legal filing goes on. "Simply put, LaBeouf's reckless disregard for the health and safety of his partners makes him a danger to women everywhere".

Having ultimately escaped from the relationship, Barnett says that she - and another of LaBeouf's alleged victims, Karolyn Pho - urged the actor to seek mental health and substance abuse treatment, and to make a donation to a domestic violence shelter. The two women "simply wanted LaBeouf to take affirmative steps toward healing himself and, in turn, to stop his cycle of domestic violence toward his future partners and keep them from suffering the same physical, sexual, and mental abuse".

However, she says: "In response to this peaceful overture, LaBeouf played games and downplayed the seriousness of the situation. LaBeouf's attorney cruelly dismissed the sexually transmitted disease LaBeouf had infected Tahliah with as 'not that bad'. LaBeouf also threatened Tahliah, claiming that he was in possession of personal text messages and other information that he could use to embarrass her".

"In his effort to intimidate Tahliah", the lawsuit continues, "LaBeouf engaged Tahliah's former assistant Noelle O'Reilly into improperly providing him with private and confidential information about Tahliah. With these threats, LaBeouf clearly hoped to terrorise Tahliah into submission and keep her from taking any further action. LaBeouf's scare tactics will not work. He has no power over Tahliah anymore".

Barnett then adds that she has decided to go legal "to seek some measure of justice not simply for herself, but for the many other women who have been similarly abused by LaBeouf. Tahliah intends to donate a significant portion of any monies received in this action to charities dedicated to assisting victims of domestic violence".

"Never again will another woman be forced to undergo the brutal treatment and degradation that Tahliah and others experienced at his hands", the legal filing concludes. "This case is being brought on behalf of all those women that LaBeouf has mistreated in the past, and for all those women who will be spared his abuse in the future".

LaBeouf responded to the allegations made against him in a statement to the New York Times, which reads: "I'm not in any position to tell anyone how my behaviour made them feel. I have no excuses for my alcoholism or aggression, only rationalisations. I have been abusive to myself and everyone around me for years. I have a history of hurting the people closest to me. I'm ashamed of that history and am sorry to those I hurt. There is nothing else I can really say".


Africori allies with Warner Chappell on publishing
Warner Music has expanded its partnership with African music company Africori. The new part of that alliance covers song rights, with an alliance between Africori's publishing division and Warner Chappell France. The two companies say that the deal will "offer new opportunities for African artists to collaborate with top creative songwriting talent" from across the globe.

"African music is inspiring creatives from around the world", says Africori boss Yoel Kenan. "This new partnership provides a great opportunity to connect our African songwriters and producers with the global talent signed to Warner Chappell. We are very excited about the future and we see this as a key alliance to support, help and develop incredible African talent globally".

Meanwhile, incoming MD at Warner Chappell France, Matthieu Tessier, adds: "Yoel is an experienced A&R man with a great sensibility for, and huge expertise on, the African underground scene. This new collaboration offers us a great opportunity to promote new African songwriters and contribute to the renown of their music worldwide".

Warner Music at large invested in Africori earlier this year, with the major's label services division ADA providing global distribution for the recordings side of the African company's business.


COVID restrictions will result in thousands of illegal New Years parties, warns NTIA
The Night Time Industries Association has estimated that 5000 illegal parties will take place in the UK over the New Year weekend, potentially sparking another surge in COVID infections. It follows confirmation that, while COVID regulations in England will be relaxed around Christmas, the same will not happen for New Year. Which means that night-time businesses in those parts of England where they are currently allowed to operate will still have to close at 11pm on New Year's Eve.

NTIA boss Michael Kill says that the government needs to give more consideration to the impact those restrictions will have over the New Year weekend. "There is a growing concern that New Year's Eve is going to culminate in social unrest and will see a substantial number of illegal parties and mass gatherings following the closure of businesses at 11pm, with a real risk of overwhelming the police and emergency services", he said on Friday.

"We are estimating that the UK will be witness to over 5000 illegal parties across New Year's Eve weekend", he went on. "The government needs to consider ways in which to manage this grave situation. People will want to celebrate the end of 2020 in their own way, ignoring the issue will not resolve what will be a significant car crash in every sense of the term".

He concluded: "The volume of people being pushed out onto the street following the 11pm close, one hour before NYE celebrations begin, will become counterproductive and we will see the impact of this in January 2021. There needs to be some consideration given to the current restrictions on NYE, and a unified message, urging people to consider the impact of their actions".

Kill's statement was backed up by promoter Sacha Lord, who is also night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, and who said: "The closure of hospitality venues in tier three [regions], combined with the 11pm curfew elsewhere, only serves to encourage house parties and outdoor gatherings, and it's inevitable we will see an increase of these on New Year's Eve. I urge all those considering hosting or attending a gathering to think about those around them who may be vulnerable to COVID-19, and to put their health and safety first".


Setlist: Artists say PRS fees could cause livestream losses
CMU's Andy Malt and Chris Cooke review key events in music and the music business from the last week, including the UK's Music Managers Forum and Featured Artists Coalition's anger at PRS For Music's "unworkable" proposed royalty rates for livestreamed shows, plus our favourite music of 2020.

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Charley Pride dies
Country musician Charley Pride died on Saturday, aged 86. His publicist confirmed that the death was as a result of complications related to COVID-19.

Among the many tributes paid to him over the weekend, Dolly Parton said on social media: "I'm so heartbroken that one of my dearest and oldest friends, Charley Pride, has passed away. It's even worse to know that he passed away from COVID-19. What a horrible, horrible virus. Charley, we will always love you. Rest in peace. My love and thoughts go out to his family and all of his fans".

Also a professional baseball player in his young adult life, Pride's music career received an early boost when the manager of his team - the East Helena Smelterites - paid him to sing for fifteen minutes before each game, which resulted in a boost in attendance. He later signed to RCA Victor, releasing his first single for the label, 'The Snakes Crawl At Night', in 1966.

In his subsequent recording career, he had over 50 top ten hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, including 30 number ones, becoming RCA Victor's most successful artist since Elvis Presley. He was also one of only three African-Americans to become a 'Grand Ole Opry Member', an honour bestowed on the country genre's most acclaimed musicians by the 'Grand Ole Opry' radio show.

The peak of Pride's fame came in the 1970s, but he continued to record prolifically through the 1980s - releasing nearly 30 albums during those two decades. His output slowed from the 90s onwards, but he did continue to perform and release music, with his most recent album, 'Music In My Heart', released in 2017.


Snoop Dogg says he's "in full support of the female MC movement", following controversial WAP comments
Snoop Dogg has criticised people who criticised him for suggesting that Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's' track 'WAP' lacks imagination. He says people should be talking about the song's success instead. Which, to be fair, they have been. Quite a lot.

The controversy arose in an interview with Central Ave, where Snoop was asked for his thoughts on 'WAP', which, of course, stands for "wet ass pussy".

"Oh my God. Slow down. Like, slow down and let's have some imagination", he said, adding of the long list of sexual demands in the song's lyrics: "Let's have some privacy, some intimacy where he wants to find out, as opposed to you telling him. That should be a woman's prized possession. That's your jewel of the Nile".

This is the Snoop Dogg whose debut album was called 'Doggystyle' - and who later released a porn film of the same name - and who hasn't shied away from listing his own sexual demands in lyrics in the past. Although he did also say that his squeamishness about the lyrics of 'WAP' are linked to him being older now.

"When I was young, I may have been with the movement", he went on. "I probably would have been on a remix. But as an older man it's like, I love it that they expressing themselves and doing their thing. I just don't want it to [become] where young girls feel like they can express themselves like that without even knowing that that is a jewel that they [can] hold on to".

So he almost clawed it back there, before suggesting that all young women lack agency. When the conversation turns to his own daughter, he then added: "She's from a different era, she's from this era. She may be doing the 'WAP' whip, but I can't be mad at her because it's her generation".

So, you could say that he's somewhat conflicted, but nevertheless recognises that things change with each new generation. And that 'WAP' is part of a shift similar to that which he helped to usher in when he was a young man, which the older generation of that time also often found offensive. Or you could just say that Snoop hates 'WAP' and then go around looking for responses to that statement.

And so TMZ tracked down Cardi B's husband Offset and asked him for his response to the news that Snoop Dogg hates 'WAP'.

"[Male] rappers, we talk about the same shit", he said. "Men can't speak on women being too powerful. And it's a lot of woman empowerment, don't shoot it down. We've never had this many female artists running this shit. They [are] catching up to us, passing us, selling records. That's two women on one record that's a very successful record".

"I don't wanna seem like I'm dissing Snoop", he went on, "but at the same time, I say that all men should stay out of women's business ... Women are strong right now, we should uplift our women and don't say what they can and can't do. You know how long they've been told they can't do something, or they shouldn't do this?"

Snoop's comments also coincided with Megan Thee Stallion appearing on Jonathan Ross's ITV1 show, on which she said: "All the male rappers I know love 'WAP'. I feel like, for a long time, men felt like they owned sex. So sometimes when women speak about sex, I feel like it makes other people uncomfortable because it's like, 'How dare you talk about your own vagina? You're not supposed to be talking about a vagina'. But, I mean it's frickin 2020, why am I not allowed to talk about my body? It's my goddamn body".

As word of Snoop's dislike of 'WAP' travelled across the internet, he blamed the press for whipping up a nonexistent controversy, writing on Instagram: "Stop with the bullshit press. I love Cardi B and Meg's music point blank, full stop, and they know that. I'm in full support of the female MC movement, so stop trying to make me a hater ... That song's six times platinum, talk about that".


MPG Award 2021 nominations out The UK's Music Producers Guild has announced the shortlists for its 2021 awards, even though those gongs won't be handed out until June, the annual event having been pushed back next year because of COVID.

Commenting on this year's shortlists, Tony Platt, MD of MPG Awards, says: "In spite of the current situation we were delighted to find an increased engagement with both the submissions process and the voting, resulting in a very varied shortlist".

"Music has been a lifeline for many during the dark days of lockdown", he goes on, "and the resilience of our music makers finding innovative ways to keep music alive deserves to be recognised across the board. We are looking forward to a fabulous event in June when we will hopefully be celebrating the start of a return to some kind of normality. Keep safe".

Here are the shortlists...

UK Producer Of The Year
Ben Hillier
Marta Salogni

Recording Engineer Of The Year
Dani Bennett Spragg
Daniel Moyler
Richard Woodcraft

Mix Engineer Of The Year
Cenzo Townshend
Dan Grech-Marguerat
David Wrench

Remixer Of The Year
Matthew Herbert

Breakthrough Producer Of The Year
Burke Reid
Cameron Gower Poole

Self-Producing Artist Of The Year
Four Tet (Kieran Hebden)
Glass Animals (Dave Bayley)

Breakthrough Engineer Of The Year
Grace Banks
Jonathan Gilmore
Shuta Shinoda

UK Writer-Producer Of The Year
Ben Hillier
Steph Marziano

Mastering Engineer Of The Year
Cicely Balston
Katie Tavini
Stuart Hawkes

UK Album Of The Year
Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia
Idles - Ultra Mono
Michael Kiwanuka - Kiwanuka

UK Single Song Release Of The Year
Harry Styles - Adore You
Mura Masa with Slowthai - Deal Wiv It
Stormzy feat Ed Sheeran and Burna Boy - Own It

UK Original Score Recording Of The Year
Alexandre Desplat - Little Women (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Geoff Barrow, Ben Salisbury, The Insects - Devs (Original Series Soundtrack)
Hannah Peel - The Deceived (Original Television Soundtrack)

The Studio Of The Year Award
Metropolis Studios
Parr Street Studios


Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You completes 26 year climb to UK number one
Mariah Carey's 'All I Want For Christmas Is You' has hit the number one spot in the UK singles chart for - and you might want to sit down for this - the first time since it was released 26 years ago.

That's right, one of the most enduring Christmas songs never actually reached number one when it was originally released in 1994. Back then, it was pipped to the post by the less festive (but still enduring) 'Stay Another Day' by East 17. Since digital music data was fully added to the chart in 2007, the track has returned to the top 40 every year, peaking at number two for each of the last three years, but until now it has been denied that number one position.

The song's lengthy journey to the top, and its annual return to the chart, also means that it has broken a record. It has spent more weeks on the chart before becoming number one than any other song in chart history, having racked up 70 weeks in the top 40 over the years.

Official Charts Company data shows that the track is on course for a second week at the top this Friday, although it is closely trailed by Wham's 'Last Christmas'. However, if Mariah wants the Christmas number one she was denied 26 years ago, the competition will be even more fierce. With Christmas Day on a Friday this year, the new songs vying for the top spot will able to build up a full week's worth of sales and streams following their release later this week before the big reveal.

Among the contenders, LadBaby will be attempting to bag the Christmas number one spot for the third year in a row with new single 'Don't Stop Me Eatin' - a take on Journey's 'Don't Stop Believin' - which will be released this Friday. He will again be raising money for food bank charity The Trussell Trust.

"We're back", he says. "And after the year we've all had, it's our most important year yet! With emergency food parcels being handed out every nine seconds in the UK - a 47% rise on last year - and two in five families now relying on food banks, we HAVE to do whatever it takes to build a hunger-free future for every adult and child in the UK".

"Help us achieve something far greater than the last two years", he goes on. "Together let's break a record for a song that helps feed the most UK families than any other song in history. That is how 2020 should be remembered. In a year when so much has been lost, don't stop believing!"

Other possible Christmas number one songs this year include Jess Glynne's 'This Christmas', Matt Lucas's 'Merry Christmas, Baked Potato' and Liam Gallagher's 'All You're Dreaming Of'.

"After such an extraordinary year, Christmas is sure to feel more special than ever – and, of course, the Christmas number one race will be one of the highlights again", says Official Charts Company boss Martin Talbot. "This year's race will also feel extra special because the festive chart-topper will be announced on Christmas Day".

"This year, the contenders will be aiming to wrest the Christmas number one title from LadBaby, who has taken the title for the past two years – and there are plenty of big name contenders", he goes on. "But, as history has always told us, only a fool would make a prediction this far out. The British public will decide".

If you were wondering, 'Stay Another Day' by East 17 is currently not even in the top 100. This time last year it was already at 95 and it then peaked at 35 in the post-Christmas chart. But, like Martin Talbot says, you shouldn't start making predictions just yet. But maybe it could spoil it for Mariah Carey once again in a last minute rush for the festive number one spot. Probably not, eh? I'm just not quite ready to give up the excitement of the competition.


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.
[email protected] (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.
[email protected] (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.
[email protected] 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.
[email protected]
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