TODAY'S TOP STORY: A grand jury in Harris Country, Texas has declined to indict Travis Scott in relation to the Astroworld tragedy that occurred in November 2021. Jurors likewise concluded that there we insufficient grounds to pursue criminal charges against five other people involved in organising the event... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Grand jury declines to charge Travis Scott and others over Astroworld tragedy
DEALS Logic sells catalogue to Influence Media
Canva announces music partnerships

Cooking Vinyl re-signs Matt Attard

LIVE BUSINESS AIF announces two new partners as part of its Safer Spaces campaign
RELEASES Holly Humberstone announces debut album Paint My Bedroom Black
ONE LINERS Zayn, Blur, Shakira, more
AND FINALLY... Your dog's favourite media firm has been acquired
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Grand jury declines to charge Travis Scott and others over Astroworld tragedy
A grand jury in Harris Country, Texas has declined to indict Travis Scott in relation to the Astroworld tragedy that occurred in November 2021. Jurors likewise concluded that there we insufficient grounds to pursue criminal charges against five other people involved in organising the event.

Ten people died and hundreds more were injured when a crowd surge occurred during Scott's headline set at the Houston-based festival he founded, which took place at the city's NRG Park on 5 Nov 2021.

A criminal investigation got underway almost immediately, with police investigating whether the actions of Scott and various other people working on the Live Nation-promoted festival contributed to the crowd surge.

That investigation was completed last week and resulted in a report that runs to over 1000 pages. The report will be made public in the next few weeks, though Mike Barrow, a detective with the Houston Police Department, has already revealed some of the police force's findings to media.

According to Houston Public Media, Barrow said that police have determined that all ten deaths occurred within a specific section of the main stage area at the Astroworld festival, referred to as 'quadrant three' by investigators.

That quadrant was "dangerously compacted" with people hours before Scott's headline performance began, and that compaction was made worse after a performance on another stage ended and more people came to the main stage "specifically funnelling into quadrant three".

In terms of the timeline of the tragedy, HPD says that Scott's performance began at 9.02pm and that the first 911 call referencing distress in the crowd was made just five minutes later.

By 9.32pm, police had received reports of multiple people entering the festival's medical tent, and also that people had begun climbing onto camera platforms positioned around the main stage area urging camera operators to message production staff to stop the show.

By 9.39pm, the Houston Fire Department had initiated an ambulance task force and the first victim was being transported to the hospital, and at 9.47pm the SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council declared a mass casualty incident. However, it wasn't until 10.12pm that Scott's performance was ended.

The job of the grand jury was to review all of the evidence gathered by the HPD and then decide whether any crimes had been committed by key people involved in the event. Other than Scott, that included Festival Manager Brent Silberstein and Safety Director Seyth Boardman, as well three others: John Junell, Shawna Boardman and Emily Ockenden.

Jurors deliberated for several hours yesterday before deciding there were no grounds for criminal charges - what is referred to as a "no bill" decision.

Commenting on the decision, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg told reporters: "Our investigators and prosecutors gave everything they had to ensure that the grand jury could reach the truth of the matter. That is our job: to find justice, even when and in the midst of a terrible tragedy. And in this case, that justice was no bill".

Speaking for Scott, lawyer Kent Schaffer told reporters that his client had been working with investigators ever since the tragedy occurred. Welcoming the grand jury decision, he told Law360: "The threat of criminal prosecution has been hanging over his head for over a year and a half, and he is now free to get on with his life and career and return to performing and making music".

Meanwhile, a legal rep for Silberstein, Chris Downey, confirmed to Law360 that the investigation had been an "emotionally stressful" time for his client. He added that Silberstein is "comfortable he did everything he could to run a safe festival", adding: "We're glad that the grand jury didn't see that he did anything criminally wrong".

While the criminal investigation has not led to any charges, hundreds of lawsuits in relation to the crowd surge incident continue to go through the motions. Those lawsuits - which have been grouped together by the courts - target various defendants, but in particular Scott and Live Nation.

The families of two of those who died - Axel Acosta and Brianna Rodriguez - have already settled their cases, but the rest of the litigation is currently ongoing.


Logic sells catalogue to Influence Media
Logic has sold his music catalogue to the BlackRock and Warner Music-backed Influence Media Partners in an "eight-figure deal".

"Logic is a changemaker with an independent mindset and entrepreneurial spirit", says Founding Advisor Rene McLean. "He's proven himself to be a multifaceted artist who never confines himself to one box".

"Logic has made a tangible impact not only on the music charts, but on culture, and his commitment to destigmatising and raising awareness around mental health issues is admirable", he goes on. "Influence Media is proud to partner with Logic to ensure his powerful body of work is heard for generations to come".

The rapper himself adds: "Making music has always been a creative outlet and a form of therapy for me, and I've been humbled by how deeply it has connected with people around the world".

"It's important to me that the positive messages of my music continue to reach new audiences", he continues, "and I'm excited to partner with Rene and the Influence Media Partners team to make a further impact through creativity".

The deal covers rights in 185 titles, including '1-800-273-8255' featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid; 'Everyday' with Marshmello; 'Homicide' featuring Eminem; and 'Six Sucker For Pain' with Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Imagine Dragons, Ty Dolla $ign and X Ambassadors.

Logic released his eighth studio album 'College Park' in February.


Canva announces music partnerships
Graphic design platform Canva has announced partnerships with Warner Music and indie label repping Merlin which will provide the service's customers with, and I quote, "unprecedented access to use music clips from some of the world's biggest artists in their designs".

The deals will basically make it easier for Canva users to insert music clips from the participating labels into any social media content, presentations or videos that they create on the platform.

Says Canva's Head Of Content, Discovery & Print, Silvia Oviedo: "Music is such a fundamental expression of creativity, and offers an inspirational starting point for many. We are THRILLED to welcome Warner Music Group and Merlin to the Canva content ecosystem, and can't wait to see what millions of music fans, content creators, educators and beyond design using content from their favourite artists".

Warner Music's SVP Digital Strategy & Business Development, Jessica Goldenberg, adds: "This collaboration with Canva will provide new opportunities for our artists to increase their reach and engage their fans, while also empowering Canva's creator community to elevate their designs with our robust catalogue. Together with Canva, we look forward to shaping the future of visual communication by enabling creativity in ways that are uniquely achievable with music".

And Merlin CEO Jeremy Sirota comments: "We are excited to partner with Canva, a dynamic platform that empowers creativity and self-expression. Merlin prides itself on being a market leader in bringing independent music to new discovery platforms - this partnership with Canva will allow creators to connect with the vast array of Merlin member music from around the world".


Cooking Vinyl re-signs Matt Attard
Cooking Vinyl Publishing has extended its deal with songwriter Matt Attard - the company having originally taken him on in 2019.

To date, Attard's biggest success has been with Norwegian artist Pedar Elias, whose album 'Love & Loneliness' went six times platinum in 2022.

"I'm so happy to extend our relationship with Matt", says Cooking Vinyl Publishing MD Ryan Farley. "He is the real deal; super talented, musically versatile, hardworking, open-minded and a genuinely good guy to have in the room!"

Referencing the platinum discs awarded to 'Love & Loneliness', Farley continues: "It was a joy to present [Matt] with his first plaque for the Pedar Elias record and I'm sure it will be the first of many. Congratulations to Matt, and I look forward to helping him develop his writing career further over the coming years".

Attard added: "I'm so grateful to have Ryan and the team at Cooking Vinyl Publishing always supporting me and my musical endeavours. I'm incredibly excited for our continued relationship and I can't wait to keep working and creating into 2023 and beyond!"

As well as working solo and with other artists, Attard has been developing a sync project with Robbie Jay called Good Daze, who are expected to release their first music later this year. Attard has also been moving into the world of K-pop, following his success with Elias.


AIF announces two new partners as part of its Safer Spaces campaign
The UK's Association Of Independent Festivals has announced new partnerships with two charities - Galop and Stamp Out Spiking - which seek to further enhance the trade organisation's Safer Spaces campaign.

That initiative is based around the Safer Spaces Charter, which has been signed by more than 100 festivals and which, among other things, states that "all allegations of sexual harassment, assault and violence will be taken seriously, acted upon promptly and investigated at AIF member festivals".

The charter itself, as well as accompanying resources from AIF, are informed by a number of partner organisations, including Rape Crisis England And Wales, Good Night Out, Safe Gigs For Women, Girls Against, UN Women and - with these new partnerships now in place - both Galop and Stamp Out Spiking.

Galop works with LGBT+ people who have experienced abuse and violence, specialising in supporting victims and survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence, hate crime, honour-based abuse, forced marriage, so-called 'conversion therapy' and other forms of interpersonal abuse.

Stamp Out Spiking was founded by a team with professional experience in alcohol and drug awareness workshops and seeks to highlight the dangers of spiking, and offer effective and practical solutions to keep people safe in pubs, clubs, house parties, festivals and beyond.

Confirming the new partners, AIF's Membership & Operations Coordinator, Phoebe Rodwell-Carson, says: "I am so glad we have partnered with both Galop and Stamp Out Spiking for our Safer Spaces campaign. It's important for AIF to work towards creating safer and more inclusive spaces for everyone, and to work with those who provide specialised support".

On the wider campaign, she adds: "It's great to have so many festivals signed up to the campaign. We hope to build on this with as many festival organisers as possible, supporting them in upholding their duty of care towards music fans and festival staff, whilst ensuring we remain inclusive and open to all".

Galop Deputy CEO Amy Roch says: "We're so pleased to see the AIF Safer Spaces Charter actively working towards an inclusive and safe environment for LGBT+ festival-goers. By including LGBT+ survivors in the AIF Charter, AIF is sending a powerful message that everyone deserves to feel safe and respected, and that LGBT+ specialised support is available to those who need it. We are proud to have worked with AIF to raise awareness of LGBT+ experiences of sexual violence and to promote inclusive safety in their festivals across the country".

Stamp Out Spiking CEO Dawn Dines adds: "We're delighted to join forces on our mission to stamp out spiking with the Association Of Independent Festivals. Working together will make such a difference in safeguarding men and women at festivals across the UK. Highlighting how these cowardly crimes are taking place, sharing key information on the typical signs and symptoms, will make it so much more difficult for perpetrators and ultimately safeguard festival goers".


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 Blur, Shakira, Sampha, Armin Van Buuren, Claire Richards, Ray BLK, Be Your Own Pet, Sen Morimoto, Clementine Valentine, James Blake, The Chemical Brothers, JP Saxe, Fall Out Boy, Stormzy and more.

Check out the whole playlist on Spotify here

Holly Humberstone announces debut album Paint My Bedroom Black
Holly Humberstone has announced that she will release her debut album 'Paint My Bedroom Black' later this year. To celebrate this long-awaited news, she's put out not one, but more than one new single. A double A-side, if you will. And you will. The two songs are 'Antichrist' and 'Room Service'.

"'Antichrist' is about a break up I went through a couple of years ago", she says. "I genuinely cared about this person and wanted so badly to make it work, but I knew something wasn't right and my heart wasn't in it. I knew that I was inevitably going to have to hurt the person who I wanted so much to love".

"At the time I wrote the song, I remember feeling like I was constantly letting those around me down", she goes on. "Like I was falling short of being there for anyone I cared about. I basically felt like the worst person in the world; like the Antichrist. I really felt that I was toxic to be around, and the guilt and self-loathing that came with that manifested itself in this song".

Moving on to the other new song, she continues: "I wrote 'Room Service' a little while ago when I'd just started touring full time. I was finding myself constantly stressed out and although I was having fun, I was really missing home and my friends. I felt like I was watching them live out their lives from a phone screen, like I was being left behind".

"There was this swelling feeling that I was growing apart from that world that I was missing so badly, and I just didn't want to be forgotten", she adds. "AlI I wanted to do was to get a hotel room with my best friend, lock the world out and do stupid stuff like order room service".

"To me, this song is a simple love song to the people I care about the most, and the seemingly basic experiences you share together that can so often be taken for granted", she concludes. "The busier I get, the more I treasure the precious time I get with my friends and family; the more I value them in my life".

The album is set for release on 13 Oct. Check out the new singles here.



Zayn Malik has signed a new record deal with Universal Music - releasing through Mercury in the US and Island in the UK. "As soon as Zayn and I met, I knew we had to work together", says Mercury Records President Tyler Arnold. "I was blown away by the new music, but just as impressed by his vision, drive and spirit. We're honoured he and his team have joined us at Mercury Records. We've got an incredible opportunity to tell the next chapter of his story together".

Armada Music's BEAT Music Fund has confirmed two new deals, acquiring the catalogue of New York-based dance label King Street Sounds, and also the recording and song catalogues of producer/DJ duo Chocolate Puma, aka René Ter Horst and Gaston Steenkist. "It is an honour to be trusted with these legendary catalogues, and I'm confident that we will add value through our vision and expertise", says Maykel Piron, CEO of Armada Music and its BEAT Music Fund.



German song rights collecting society GEMA is getting a new boss, with Tobias Holzmüller - who has headed up the society's legal department since 2013 - taking over from long-time CEO Harald Heker on 1 Oct. Chair of the GEMA Supervisory Board, Ralf Weigand, says that the society's incoming CEO is "not only an excellent, globally respected copyright expert but also an extremely well-connected and committed advocate for our concerns", adding: "We look forward to continuing GEMA's successful trajectory with him and tackling the immense challenges that lie ahead for us and the entire music industry".

Music credits database Jaxsta has appointed a new CEO, Josh Simons, who takes over from a departing Beth Appleton. Simons is founder of Vampr, the social network for musicians that Jaxsta acquired earlier this year. Says the new CEO: "Jaxsta has a clear vision and product roadmap … and that's a credit to the board, Beth and the team who have done a remarkable job … I look forward to building on the current momentum".



Blur have released new single 'St Charles Square'. "St Charles Square is a place where the ghosts of monsters can be found", says Damon Albarn.

Shakira and Manuel Turizo have released a new single together, 'Copa Vicía'.

Sampha has released new single 'Spirit 2.0'. "It's about the importance of connection to both myself and others, and the beauty and harsh realities of just existing", he says. "It's about acknowledging those moments when you need help - that requires real strength. I hope people can enjoy that feeling of someone being there for you, even if that person doesn't have the answers. Just calling someone up without overthinking... letting go and just dancing, wanting to see past the mundanity of things and appreciating the magic of it all, from birds nests to spaceships".

Armin van Buuren has released new track 'Motive'.

Claire Richards off of Steps is readying herself to release a new solo album, titled 'Euphoria', on 25 Aug. "Every single song is a banger - listening to this album just makes me feel good", she says. "I want everyone to whack it on before they go out and get themselves completely in the zone of having a good time". Here's guaranteed banger 'I Surrender'.

Ray BLK has released new single 'My Girl'. She says of the track: "'My Girl' is a sisterhood anthem, and just a song to celebrate the women in our lives that we love and deserve a shout out". The track is taken from the soundtrack of Candace Carty Williams' forthcoming BBC series 'Champion'.

As Be Your Own Pet gear up to release their first album for fifteen years later this summer, the band have put out new single 'Goodtime'. Says vocalist Jemina Pearl Abegg: "'Goodtime' is about those moments where the responsibility of adulthood overwhelms you, and you wonder 'how the fuck did I get here?!' You find yourself longing for the days of partying with abandon, not worrying if the babysitter is going to cancel, and jealous of your friends who are still living the carefree life. Moms just want to have fun too". The new album, 'Mommy', is out on 25 Aug.

Sen Morimoto will release new album 'Diagnosis' on 3 Nov. The title track is out now.

Clementine Valentine have released another track from their upcoming album 'The Coin That Broke The Fountain Floor'. Listen to 'Time And Tide' here. "Without giving too much away, this song is a kind of mantra of radical acceptance", say the duo. "Our songs usually overflow with words and imagery, this one we consciously left open - you're invited to fill the space in between".

Emmeline has released 'Small Town Girl', from her second EP 'Small Town Girls And Soft Summer Nights", which is out on 28 Jul.



J Hus has announced UK tour dates in October and November, finishing with two nights at the O2 in London on 5-6 Nov. The rapper's third album 'Beautiful And Brutal Yard' is out on 14 Jul.



Entries are now open for this year's Scottish Album Of The Year Award. Eligible albums must have been released between 1 Jun 2022 and 31 May 2023. Submissions close at midnight on 21 Jul. Put forward your albums here, people.

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


Your dog's favourite media firm has been acquired
Create Music Group has acquired Music For Pets which is, and I quote, "an internationally recognised company that creates music and entertainment for dogs and cats". And why the hell not?

The company - apparently nicknamed 'Petflix' - operates the 'Relax My Dog' and 'Relax My Cat' franchises which, we are told, serve more than 20 million pets around the world who collectively listen to more than twelve million hours of music each month.

Name-checking Music For Pets founders Amman Ahmed and Ricardo Henriquez, Create Music CEO Jonathan Strauss states: "Amman and Ricardo have tapped into an enormous and surprising new audience for music and entertainment, our family pets. They have built Music For Pets into a beloved brand that reaches an audience of millions across multiple [digital services] all over the world".

"The Music For Pets platform fits perfectly into our business model", he adds, "as we continue to reinvent what it means to be a modern music company by building and investing into entertainment businesses that have a direct meaningful relationship with their audience and fans, and have complete ownership of all intellectual property".

According to research done by Music For Pets, "87% of dog owners report that their pets are less stressed after being exposed to Relax My Dog's content". So, you know, there's a logic to all this I guess.

"We hear from pet owners all over the world that Relax My Dog and Relax My Cat have made a huge positive impact on their pets' overall emotional health", says Ahmed. "Our mission is to make the world's pets happier and we're excited to take this next step with Create Music Group".

So, there you go music industry. Stop trying to engage all those teenagers on TikTok and start monetising the music consumption of animals everywhere.


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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