TODAY'S TOP STORY: The big beef between Megan Thee Stallion and her label continues. In a new legal filing the rapper accuses 1501 Certified Entertainment of squandering and moving money that she could be due if her ongoing litigation against the music company is successful... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Megan Thee Stallion accuses label of squandering cash to make itself "judgement-proof" in ongoing legal battle
DEALS Reservoir acquires Mannie Fresh catalogue
DIGITAL & D2F SERVICES Snapchat announces new music licensing deals, including with previously litigious SUISA
Winamp announces revamp with added direct-to-fan goodness

MEDIA Spotify adds broadcast-to-podcast automation to its enterprise podcasting platform Megaphone
RELEASES Celine Dion contributes new songs to film soundtrack
ONE LINERS Post Malone, SZA & Doja Cat, Jesy Nelson, more
AND FINALLY... Lady Gaga to lead Joe Biden's cultural committee
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Megan Thee Stallion accuses label of squandering cash to make itself "judgement-proof" in ongoing legal battle
The big beef between Megan Thee Stallion and her label continues. In a new legal filing the rapper accuses 1501 Certified Entertainment of squandering and moving money that she could be due if her ongoing litigation against the music company is successful.

There have been various disagreements between 1501 and Megan Thee Stallion, real name Megan Pete. The core current dispute is about whether or not she has delivered all three of the albums that she is obliged to provide 1501 under her record deal.

That depends on whether you count 2021's 'Something For Thee Hotties' - a collection of freestyles and rarities - as a proper album release. 1501 does not.

In addition to that, Pete reckons she is owed at least a million dollars in royalties by the label. While 1501 argues that Pete actually owes it money, because under that current record deal it is due a share of some of her other revenue streams beyond recordings.

All of this legal wrangling is ongoing, but Pete seemingly now fears that if she prevails in court there won't be any money in 1501's bank accounts to pay her any outstanding royalties and damages.

"Instead of following its financial manager's advice and holding the contested funds in reserve, 1501 has chosen to enrich itself and its consultants, leaving less than ten thousand dollars in the account", a new legal filing from the Pete side claims, according to Billboard.

"Based on 1501's under-capitalisation, it is highly probable that 1501 will be judgement-proof by the time Pete is able to obtain a final judgement on the merits of her claims".

With all that in mind, "Pete seeks the appointment of a receiver to take possession of 1501 until this dispute is resolved, or in the alternative, the appointment of a receiver to take possession of all of 1501's bank accounts and any other bank accounts controlled or owned by [CEO] Carl Crawford, including the bank accounts to which the money siphoned out of the bank account was transferred into".

Needless to say, 1501 denies the new claims of wrong-doing, with a legal rep telling Billboard: "1501 strongly disagrees with the substance of Ms Pete's recent filings. The allegations are without merit and we are confident that 1501 will prevail on these motions and ultimately recover the substantial money that Ms Pete owes 1501".


Reservoir acquires Mannie Fresh catalogue
Reservoir has acquired the recording and song catalogues of hip hop producer Mannie Fresh.

"Mannie's clever production cultivated a powerful moment for Southern hip hop, and his distinctive sound helped pave the way for other producers for years to come", says Reservoir EVP A&R & Catalogue Development, Faith Newman. "I have personally been a fan of his for decades, and it's a pleasure to bring him into the Reservoir family".

The producer adds: "It's great to be joining up with Faith Newman and the entire Reservoir team. I'm grateful for their support and I know they'll take care of my music".

Mannie Fresh made his name as the in-house producer at Cash Money Records when the company was founded in 1991 and for a time he was one half of hip hop duo Big Tymers with label boss Birdman.

During his career, he has produced the likes of Lil Wayne, TI, 2 Chainz, T-Pain, Big KRIT - as well as having his work sampled by Drake, Kendrick Lamar, YoungBoy Never Broke Again and more.


Snapchat announces new music licensing deals, including with previously litigious SUISA
"With over 375 million daily active users, Snapchat Sounds offers a powerful distribution tool for artists and creators to share their music globally", Snapchat would like you all to remember. Did you remember that? Be honest now. I think you maybe need to write this down on a Post-It note and stick it somewhere prominent.

Why is Snapchat bigging up its in-app music library again? Well, because it's just announced a bunch of new licensing deals, expanding the range of music available.

Those deals are mainly with song right collecting societies, including Abramus, AKKA/LAA, Albautor, Armauthor, Autodia, BUMA/STEMRA, COMP, EAÜ, GCA, LATGA, SOZA, Soundreef and SUISA. There's a special prize to anyone who can identify which countries each of those societies are from.

While Snap has done a direct deal with BUMA/STEMRA in the Netherlands, the other societies all come via a licensing arrangement with the digital side of Swiss society SUISA, which represents a bunch of other societies and some music publishers in the digital licensing domain.

And that's noteworthy because last year SUISA sued Snapchat through the German courts accusing the social media app of allowing songs on its platform that are controlled by the Swiss society and its digital licensing clients without licence.

"Snap's stance is that it does not use any songs from SUISA Digital's repertoire", it said at the time. "This statement is false. A large number of works in SUISA Digital's repertoire is available on the Snapchat platform and is used by users without Snap having acquired a licence from SUISA Digital".

But that legal battle is presumably at an end, given yesterday's announcement, which also included the addition of DIY distributor UnitedMasters on the recordings side, which joins a stack of labels and other distributors in making its music available to the Snapchat Sounds library.


Winamp announces revamp with added direct-to-fan goodness
You all remember Winamp right? Yes, Winamp! Everyone's digital music software of choice back in the olden days. Well, Winamp has launched a new player which, and I quote, "comes with a range of functionalities aimed at unlocking the relationship between artists and fans, while empowering creators to become their own merchants".

"Winamp, famed for its customisable skins and irreverent attitude, continues to be massively popular with a community of 83 million users around the world", the company behind the digital media player, Llama Group, would like you all to know.

However, "the new player ecosystem represents an important evolution of the player to focus its empowering attitude on the needs of music artists in the 2020s".

The revamp makes Winamp more mobile friendly and it integrates with a wider range of content sources, while the new direct-to-fan elements will come via a feature called Fanzone, which will allow artists to set up and sell tiered subscription plans.

A website for artists and creators is already live via which they can set themselves up on Fanzone. Other services for music-makers will follow, including distribution, copyright management and some of that NFT nonsense.

"The goal for Winamp's new player is to grow to 250 million users and to have one million artists on the Winamp Fanzone accessible through the new player, all generating revenue through the Fanzone", the Llama Group says.

"The existing 83 million-strong Winamp community of listeners have the ability to upgrade to the new platform to increase the range of services".

The firm's CEO Alexandre Saboundjian adds: "Winamp has a legacy of 30 years of music empowerment and irreverence. That challenger spirit is needed today more than ever".

"Creators find it increasingly hard to gain value from streaming services", he adds, "making it harder for them to sustain their art and grow their careers. In this environment, artists have to take their future into their own hands - they need to supplement the income by becoming their own merchants".

"With the new Winamp player, our aim is to empower creators to make more money, at a time when they really need it", he goes on. "Winamp's mission is to change the mindset of artists - from one where they feel like victims of poor revenues from the [streaming services], to one of empowerment about what they can achieve by themselves".

"Meanwhile, a new generation of superfans are looking for new ways to spend money on, and engage with, their favourite artists", he concludes. "Winamp's Fanzone offers them an opportunity to do just that".


Spotify adds broadcast-to-podcast automation to its enterprise podcasting platform Megaphone
Spotify has added tech it acquired via the 2021 purchase of an Australian company called Whooshkaa to Megaphone, its enterprise podcast platform aimed at media firms and higher level podcast makers. That tech makes it easier for radio broadcasters to automatically turn their existing content into on-demand podcasts.

Says the streaming firm, "at the end of 2021, Spotify announced the acquisition of Whooshkaa, an Australia-based podcast technology platform that let radio broadcasters turn their existing audio content into on-demand podcast content. Today, we are excited to share that this technology is now available for any publisher with a Megaphone account".

"Megaphone is our podcasting platform for enterprise publishers and professional podcasters", it goes on, "and it offers a comprehensive set of tools that helps them publish, measure, and monetise their podcast businesses".

The new 'broadcast-to-podcast' functionality "gives broadcast publishers - whether they're already in the podcast game or new to the medium - an easy-to-use tool that allows them to leverage existing content to reach new, younger audiences and extend their revenue potential".

Emma Vaughn, Global Head Of Advertising Business Development & Partnerships at Spotify, adds: "Radio listening has been gradually shifting from over-the-air to streaming as consumers increasingly choose to listen through their digital devices. In fact, the time people spent listening to broadcast radio online in the US grew by 50% from 2019 to 2022".

"The ease of use and automation are major benefits to this product", she says of the new functionality now available in Megaphone. "After a simple, one-time set-up process in Megaphone, broadcast-to-podcast will automatically create new podcast episodes from previously broadcasted content, making it easier than ever for broadcast publishers to reach new audiences with their content".

"It typically takes publishing teams approximately 30 to 60 minutes to manually convert each individual broadcast episode to a podcast", she then explains. "This includes downloading the episode off the radio platform, removing the ad spots, placing ad markers, and uploading the episode to a podcast platform".

"This amount of friction does not work at scale when converting hundreds of episodes per day across a network", she points out, before concluding: "B2P helps automate this entire process for publishers".


Playlist: Brand New On CMU
Every Friday we round up all the new music we've covered over the preceding week into a Spotify playlist.

Among the artists with brand new music to check out this week are Post Malone, SZA & Doja Cat, Jesy Nelson, Busted, Jorja Smith, Alison Goldfrapp, Public Image Ltd, King Krule, Girl Ray, and more.

Check out the whole playlist on Spotify here

Celine Dion contributes new songs to film soundtrack
Celine Dion has recorded five new songs for new film 'Love Again', in which she also stars.

The film also features Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Sam Heughan. Dion plays herself, helping Heughan's journalist character Rob track down a woman who sends texts meant for her dead husband to his work phone. I mean, sure, that's a story.

"I had a lot of fun doing this movie", says Dion. "To have the privilege of appearing with the beautiful and talented actors Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Sam Heughan in my very first feature film is a gift that I will cherish forever. I think it's a wonderful feel-good story, and I hope that people will like it, and like the new songs too".

If you don't like the new songs, well, the rest of the soundtrack is bulked out with six other existing Dion songs. If you don't like those, well, there are also three tracks from the film's score. But if you're not a Celine Dion fan, I really don't think this is the film or the soundtrack for you.

Here's the title track 'Love Again'.



Post Malone has released new single 'Chemical', taken from his upcoming fifth album.

Doja Cat features on a new remix of 'Kill Bill' by SZA.

Eighteen months on from her debut solo single, ex-Little Mix singer Jesy Nelson is back with new track 'Bad Thing'.

Busted have released a new version of their song 'Loser Kid', featuring Simple Plan. "'Loser Kid' has always been a favourite track of mine", says the band's Matt Willis. "It was the end of the first album and summed up that record. 'Wore my sisters jeans' is also a standout lyric from that time for me too. Still makes me laugh!"

Jorja Smith is back with new single 'Try Me'. The song, she says, was inspired by "putting yourself out there, in front of a world that has many opinions, as it only ever used to be me really being my own critic. This is the first time I'm putting stuff out there that I can connect with right now".

Alison Goldfrapp has released new single 'NeverStop', taken from her debut solo album 'The Love Invention', which is out on 12 May.

Public Image Ltd will release their first album for eight years - 'End Of The World' - on 11 Aug. It will feature their attempted Eurovision entry 'Hawaii' and new single 'Penge'.

King Krule has announced that he will release new album 'Space Heavy' on 9 Jun. From it, this is new single 'Seaforth'. There will also be a series of live 'outstore' performances in venues around the UK linked to local record shops alongside the LP release.

Girl Ray will release their third album 'Prestige' on 4 Aug. Out now is new single 'Hold Tight'. "Lyrically this song is about how appreciative I am to have found my partner, and how my mental load feels so much lighter and easier to bear now that I'm with her", says frontwoman Poppy Hankin. "The production on this takes some inspiration from Haim's incredible record 'Women In Music Pt III', and features a subby drum loop inspired by Atlanta's hip hop scene".

Water From Your Eyes have released new single 'True Life'. The song, they say, "is our Neil Young-inspired quasi-nu metal stomp. The bridge was initially meant to contain lyrics from 'Cinnamon Girl,' but Neil Young's lawyers wouldn't let us use them. Now they are about how Neil Young wouldn't let us use his words. The rest of the song deals with life and assorted complications of the material world". Their new album 'Everyone's Crushed' is out on 26 May.

Minor Conflict will release their debut EP 'Bright Lights, Dead City' on 9 Jun. New single 'White Ring Binder' is out now. The band say of the song; "'White Ring Binder' is about people sharing really intimate things with strangers through poetry. It's also about the connection we make with musicians even when we've never met them: the power of music to connect with others and ignite their creativity but also the effect that has on the people involved".

Bad Dreems have released new single 'New Breeze'. "We looked forward to a utopia at the end of the pandemic, but life is never that simple. You end up just pissing in a different breeze", says guitarist Alex Cameron of the inspiration for the song. Their new album 'Hoo Ha' is out on 19 May.

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


Lady Gaga to lead Joe Biden's cultural committee
US President Joe Biden has appointed Lady Gaga and producer Bruce Cohen as co-Chairs of his Committee On The Arts And Humanities. The panel, which will advise Biden on cultural issues, includes "prominent artists, scholars, and philanthropists who have demonstrated a serious commitment to the arts and humanities".

Executive Director of the committee Tsione Wolde-Michael said in a statement that it is "positioned to do meaningful work that will positively impact the arts, libraries, museums, and public humanities work in communities across the country".

Originally convened by Ronald Reagan in 1982, the Committee returns after a five year hiatus - the last group having disbanded in protest at then president Donald Trump's response to the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump said that there had been "very fine people on both sides" of clashes that left one person dead.

Biden announced plans to revive the group when he signed a new executive order in September last year. Among those joining Gaga and Cohen on the new panel are musician Joe Walsh and actor George Clooney. See the full list of members here.


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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