TODAY'S TOP STORY: London police have again appealed for people who witnessed the fatal crowd crush that occurred at the Brixton Academy last December to come forward with any information they might have that could help with the police force’s ongoing investigation... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Police appeal for more witnesses to come forward as Asake crowd crush investigation continues
LEGAL The Weeknd settles song theft lawsuit over Call Out My Name
Judge declines to dismiss, but nevertheless trims down, Cher's royalties lawsuit against Sonny Bono's widow

Rockstar song theft lawsuit filed against Nickelback dismissed

LIVE BUSINESS Battle to save Manchester's Night & Day back in court this week
ARTIST NEWS Jack White congratulates Metallica on buying vinyl pressing plant
ONE LINERS Jimin, Fred Again, Caity Baser, more
AND FINALLY... Rihanna never wanted to make a heavy metal record, says live guitarist
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Police appeal for more witnesses to come forward as Asake crowd crush investigation continues
London police have again appealed for people who witnessed the fatal crowd crush that occurred at the Brixton Academy last December to come forward with any information they might have that could help with the police force's ongoing investigation.

The new appeal for information came as officers revealed that a woman who was seriously injured during the crush remains in hospital in a critical condition three months later. She is one of the three people who were hospitalised in a critical condition on the night of the incident. The other two - Rebecca Ikumelo and Gaby Hutchinson - died in the following days.

The crowd crush occurred during the third of three sell out shows by Asake. The venue's licence from local authority Lambeth Council has been suspended ever since as London's Metropolitan Police investigate what factors contributed to the incident.

At the time it was claimed that the crush began when people without tickets tried to force their way into the building. However, there have also been allegations that the venue was understaffed and that some security personnel were involved in a ticketing scam that would have increased the number of people in the Brixton Academy on that night.

Urging anyone with relevant information who is yet to speak to police to come forward, Detective Superintendent Dave Kennett from the Met's Specialist Crime Command said last week: "If you were there when this tragic incident happened, if you have footage or pictures of the evening, please come forward and speak to my team".

"We need your help to establish what happened so that we can provide answers to the families and loved ones of those who were so seriously or fatally injured", he added, according to Southwark News.

"We know there were thousands of people there and that many will have seen what happened. If you were there please don't ignore this plea - imagine the families who are struggling to come to terms with their loss and do the right thing, share what you saw with my team who are waiting to her from you".

"We are incredibly grateful to everyone who has come forward so far", he went on, "but we still need more perspectives of the events that took place in the crowd that night".

"We are carrying out a comprehensive analysis of any available CCTV footage in and around the scene, but, if you have footage filmed that night we'd very much like to see it".

"Footage shared on social media immediately after the incident showed dozens of people recording what was happening - we know that there is a vast amount of material on people's phones, sharing that material with us would take just minutes of your time".

The detective concluded: "Two people have died and a third is still very seriously injured and we owe it to them, their families and anyone else affected by this incident to leave no stone unturned".

People can provide relevant information to the investigation here.


The Weeknd settles song theft lawsuit over Call Out My Name
Two producers who sued The Weeknd over song theft allegations have reached a provisional settlement with the musician.

In a 2021 lawsuit, producers Suniel Fox and Henry Strange claimed that The Weeknd's 2018 hit 'Call Out My Name' ripped off their 2015 track 'Vibeking'.

And that happened, they said, after they sent a copy of their song to one of The Weeknd's collaborators, Eric White aka PNDA. He allegedly then played 'Vibeking' to The Weeknd, who responded positively.

Fox and Strange had hoped that the back and forth with White might result in a collaboration with The Weeknd, but that never happened.

And then 'Call Out My Name' was released which, the producers reckoned, contained "quantitatively and qualitatively similar material" than their song in terms of "lead guitar and vocal hooks, including melodic, harmonic and rhythmic elements".

The Weeknd's team denied the song theft claims, but have seemingly now reached a settlement with Fox and Strange.

According to Billboard, a legal filing last week confirmed that Fox and Strange had "reached a settlement in principle" with The Weeknd, though - they added - they are still "in the process of formalising, executing and consummating" the deal.


Judge declines to dismiss, but nevertheless trims down, Cher's royalties lawsuit against Sonny Bono's widow
The judge overseeing a dispute between Cher and Sonny Bono's widow has declined to dismiss the former's lawsuit, although he has trimmed it down somewhat.

The dispute centres on how the pesky termination right in US copyright law impacts on a deal done in the 1970s after Cher and Bono split up both professionally and personally.

Cher and Bono began working together in the early 1960s, subsequently marrying and then enjoying much success together in both music and on TV. However, the marriage ended in 1975, and their double act came to an end soon after.

Following all that, a deal was done in 1978 that provided Cher with a 50% share in the royalties being generated by the recordings and songs that had been released during the couple's time together, professionally and personally. And that deal remained in place until recently.

Things started to change after Bono's fourth wife and widow Mary - and the Bono Collection Trust which oversees the late musician's estate - began enforcing the termination right under US law which allows creators to terminate old deals, via which they assigned copyrights to others, after 35 years.

Once that process was underway, the Trust argued that the changes in ownership caused by the terminations also impacted on the royalty and veto rights that Cher secured in the 1978 deal.

Cher disputes that the copyright terminations should have any impact on that agreement and went legal seeking court confirmation of that view last year. Mary Bono then made her own court filing claiming that Cher's arguments are invalid and her case should be dismissed.

In a ruling last week, the judge overseeing the case declined to dismiss Cher's case outright, though nevertheless ruled partly in Bono's favour.

He basically decided that there were grounds for dismissal when it came to royalties stemming from the recordings covered by the 1978 agreement, but not the songs. Therefore, for now at least, Cher's lawsuit regarding song royalties can proceed. She can also file an amended claim regarding the recording royalties.

Commenting on that ruling, a legal rep for Bono told Billboard: "We are happy that the court recognised some of the flaws in Cher's case at this preliminary stage, and we look forward to resolving the remainder of the case".


Rockstar song theft lawsuit filed against Nickelback dismissed
A US judge last week dismissed a song theft lawsuit filed against Nickelback, following the earlier recommendation of a magistrate judge who said that the plaintiff in the case had failed to sufficiently back up his theory for how the band had accessed the earlier song.

Kirk Johnston, vocalist with the band Snowblind Revival, went legal in 2020, claiming that Nickelback's 2005 track 'Rockstar' ripped off a song he had written with the same title four years earlier.

The band then called for the lawsuit to be dismissed on the basis they'd never heard of the earlier song or Snowblind Revival before Johnston went legal.

However, magistrate judge Susan Hightower initially said she wasn't convinced there were grounds for dismissal, though that was assuming Johnston could produce evidence that supported his claim that Nickelback might have had access to his song via their label.

But, alas, that evidence was not forthcoming. And as a result Hightower last month recommended the case be dismissed, stating that "Johnston has presented no probative evidence that defendants had a reasonable opportunity to hear plaintiff's work".

District judge Robert Pitman last week confirmed he was following Hightower's recommendation. Johnston had filed written objections to the magistrate judge's conclusion, he confirmed, but having reviewed that submission "the court overrules plaintiff's objections and adopts the report and recommendation as its own order".

And so, this particular song theft action has been dismissed.


Battle to save Manchester's Night & Day back in court this week
The battle to save Manchester venue Night & Day will return to court this week after attempts to negotiate a settlement with the city's council seemingly failed.

Ahead of that hearing, the venue's owner Jennifer Smithson has again criticised the council, blaming past failings by city officials for causing the current problems, and dubbing the local authority's current position "incomprehensible".

Manchester City Council served a noise abatement order against Night & Day in November 2021 following a noise complaint from one of the venue's neighbours, a person who moved into a residential property adjacent to the venue during the COVID lockdowns.

Complying with the order would force Night & Day to change its late night operations which would in turn make the venue's business unviable.

Critics of the council point out that the venue had been in operation for decades before the complainant moved into the adjacent property. And, indeed, it was venues like Night & Day that helped turn a run down part of Manchester into a vibrant cultural hub where people want to live.

Not only that, but the noise issues today could have been avoided two decades ago if Manchester City Council had properly enforced its own planning conditions when the building in which the affected flat is based was redeveloped.

All of this was argued out in the magistrate's court in Manchester last November as Smithson formally appealed the noise abatement order. That court hearing was meant to resume in January, however the dispute was paused to allow talks between the venue and the council. But those talks seemingly failed to result in any kind of resolution, meaning the matter will return to court tomorrow.

Ahead of that hearing, Smithson said in a statement: "We just want to get on with our lives and our business, and keep Night & Day alive for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone in Manchester and beyond".

Noting how past failings by Manchester City Council, when the neighbouring property was being redeveloped, caused the current problem, she went on: "Consideration of noise was one of the planning conditions specified by MCC planning department with the developer and is held on public record at MCC planning portal".

"An initial acoustic report recommended that an additional second report be conducted that addressed any noise ingress from the venue into the flat", she added.

"This report was never commissioned and the development was signed off. Within the initial acoustic report the complainant's flat in particular was identified as being at risk from noise ingress - before the flats were even built".

It was confirmed during last year's court hearing that the complainant had now moved out of their flat. Noting that, Smithson continued: "To make matters even more incomprehensible, since the abatement notice was issued and the complainant has moved out of their flat, there have been no further noise complaints".

Concluding, Smithson stated: "It's simply unacceptable for MCC to continue the premise that the responsibility for this planning mistake lies with the developer or builder".

Giving its side, a council spokesperson is quoted by the Manchester Evening News as saying: "The council has sought throughout this process, for more than a year, to reach an amicable solution with Night & Day which enables them to remain commercially viable while recognising the needs of residents and our legal obligations".

"We remain absolutely committed to this goal but with a court hearing pending it would not be appropriate for us to comment further on this specific case", they added. "The city's music venues are an important part of the fabric of the city, playing a vital role in the night-time economy and in creating opportunities for new artists".

Manchester had a considerable presence at last week's South By South West in Austin, Texas, partly to launch the new Beyond The Music conference that will take place in the city later this year, but also to big up Greater Manchester's music credentials.

Mayor Andy Burnham popped up on stage a few times - including to introduce a keynote with Manchester band New Order - stressing that his city is a genuine music city.

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority that Burnham heads up doesn't have any direct control over the licensing decisions of Manchester City Council, and the mayor's music and night-time economy advisors have both spoken out in support of Night & Day.

However, if the noise abatement order stays in place and Night & Day is forced to close, that's going to be quite the PR challenge for those bigging up Manchester's music city credentials, given the crucial part the venue played in the cultural revival of the city's Northern Quarter, and its continued role as a key grassroots music venue to this day.


CMU at ECSA's Creators Conference
CMU's Chris Cooke is taking part in the Creators Conference being staged by the European Composer & Songwriter Alliance in Brussels tomorrow.

Joining a session called 'Fix Music Streaming: Building A Sustainable Future For Creators', he will provide a speed briefing on how music streaming works, before joining a panel discussion on trends and debates in the music streaming domain.

Also on that panel are Tobias Stenkjaer, songwriter and Executive Chair of DPA; Klaus Goldhammer, partner and Managing Director of Goldmedia; Helen Smith, Executive Chair of IMPALA; and Helienne Lindvall, songwriter and President of ECSA.

Check out more information about the full conference here.

Jack White congratulates Metallica on buying vinyl pressing plant
Jack White has praised Metallica for their recent acquisition of Virginia-based vinyl pressing plant Furnace Record Pressing, while also urging the major record companies to start building their own vinyl pressing facilities as production delays continue.

"Huge congratulations to the boys in Metallica for purchasing their own vinyl record pressing plant", wrote White on Instagram. "Welcome to the cause gents! And thank you for putting your money to amazing creative use! Here's hoping the major labels will also see this as further proof, and finally start investing in themselves. Outstanding".

Replying to the post, Metallica said: "Thank you, Jack! So unbelievable and grateful to be able to do this after all these years. Who would've thought that this was even possible back in the day?! You have pioneered all of this, and we're psyched to follow in your footsteps!"

White launched his own vinyl pressing company - Third Man Pressing - in 2017, boasting "eight of the first newly built presses in 35 years".

The relatively small number of new vinyl presses being built in recent history, coupled with the ongoing rise in demand for vinyl releases, has created significant production delays of course. Especially for indie labels and artists looking to put out vinyl releases, with the majors often blocking out pressing plants with their larger orders.

Obviously, investing in expensive new vinyl presses could be considered risky, particularly if you see the vinyl revival of the last decade or so as something of a blip that won't last long term. Although, as demand for vinyl releases continues to rise annually, White may well be right that it's about time the majors started investing more in the format themselves.



Sony Music Publishing and Chosen Music have partnered to sign singer-songwriter Caity Baser. "I am so delighted to be a part of the Sony family", she says. "Also a huge thanks to Chosen who have worked with me since the very start of my songwriting journey. I'm really starting to feel like I'm finding my feet in the music industry and I'm so happy to have Chosen and Sony by my side to help me as I grow".



Downtown Music owned distributor FUGA has appointed Dorothée Imhoff as its new Chief Commercial Officer. Meanwhile, it has also promoted Liz Northeast to SVP EMEA and Sven Zeevalk to Global Head Of Operations.

Venue operator ASM Global has appointed Rob Wicks as Managing Director of the P&J Live arena in Aberdeen. He will officially make the move in June, after leaving his current role as Commercial Director at Aberdeen Football Club. "Rob brings with him decades of experience as a widely-respected, innovative and results-driven leader in the events and sports industries", says Marie Lindqvist, ASM Global's SVP Operations Europe.



BTS's Jimin has released new solo single 'Set Me Free Part 2'. His debut solo album 'Face' is out this week.

Fred Again, Skrillex and Four Tet have released a new track together, 'Baby Again'.

Aluna and TSHA have teamed up for new track 'Killing Me'. "It took a while with us throwing the song back-and-forth and even in the trash at one point", says Aluna. "But our joint obsession pulled us through and finally it's ready to join the world!"

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


Rihanna never wanted to make a heavy metal record, says live guitarist
Rihanna's live guitarist Nuno Bettencourt has addressed a long-standing rumour that the pop star previously wanted to record a heavy metal album but the idea was shot down by her then label Def Jam. A rumour that mainly began with remarks made by Bettencourt himself.

"That's complete lies", he tells Classic Rock magazine about said rumour and the quotes from him that got it started. "That's fabricated. It's so incorrect. I promise you on the life of my children that those words never came out of my mouth. It's a good story, which is why it got written I guess, but it's absolutely not true".

The rumour dates back fourteen years, when Bettencourt first joined Rihanna's live band. He was then quoted by The Daily Star as saying: "I've been asked to play with pop artists in the past but turned them down because they didn't really get the vibe".

"But when I spoke to Rihanna she was totally into transforming herself into a heavy rock chick", that quote went on. "She was listening to Led Zeppelin and new acts like Paramore and said that was the direction she wanted to go, so I said yes".

Asked why this sound did not feature on the album she was touring at the time, 'Rated R', he reportedly added: "I think the label had a seizure, so they went down another route".

But now he claims that he said absolutely none of that back in the day. Though, if that's the case, how does he explain how he came to play guitar for a pop artist like Rihanna?

In the Classic Rock interview he says: "What happened was that they got in touch with me because they said they wanted a guitar player, and wanted to rock out the show, and they had seen some of my stuff online. I said, 'Why would you want me, there's no guitar on a lot of the songs?'"

"And I was told, that they just wanted me to be me, and do it on 'Umbrella' and everything, with heavy chords and riffs", he goes on. "I was like, 'Wow, that sounds fucking exciting for a guy like me who loves all genres of music'. That's probably how that story started".

So, it seems, what Bettencourt revealed to those pesky journalists back in 2009 was that Rihanna wanted to "rock out" while performing her pop hits on stage, and they twisted that into her wanting to "rock out" on record too. But, Bettencourt would like you all to know, however much rocking out may have occurred during Rihanna's shows, "she didn't want to do a heavy metal record".

Best known as a member of the band Extreme, Bettencourt joined Rihanna's live band for her 2009 world tour, and has continued to perform with her ever since - most recently at her Super Bowl half time show.


ANDY MALT heads up our editorial operations, overseeing the CMU Dailywebsite and Setlist podcast, managing social channels, reporting on artist and business stories, and writing the CMU Approved column.
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CHRIS COOKE is co-Founder and MD of CMU - he continues to write key business news stories, and runs training, research and event projects for the CMU Insights consultancy unit and CMU:DIY future talent programme.
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SAM TAYLOR leads on the commerical side of CMU, overseeing sales, sponsorship and business development, as well as heading up training, research and event projects at our consultancy unit CMU Insights.
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CARO MOSES is Editor of CMU's sister media ThisWeek Culture and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh. Having previously also written and edited articles for CMU, she continues to advise and support our operations.
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