TODAY'S TOP STORY: Lizzo and her touring company have been accused of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment in a lawsuit filed by three dancers who previously performed with the star... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Lizzo's former dancers say hostile work environment was "illegal" and "absolutely demoralising"
LEGAL Dua Lipa sued over Levitating again, this time in relation to the remixes
DEALS Criminal Records launches publishing division
Reactional Music announces deal with music game publisher Amanote
LABELS & PUBLISHERS Kakao Entertainment and SM Entertainment announce integration of their North American operations
ARTIST NEWS S Club deny tabloid report that Hannah Spearritt was pushed out of reunion tour
ONE LINERS James Blunt, Semisonic, Young Fathers, more
AND FINALLY... TaP Music to "pass the baton back" for selecting UK Eurovision entry
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Lizzo's former dancers say hostile work environment was "illegal" and "absolutely demoralising"
Lizzo and her touring company have been accused of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment in a lawsuit filed by three dancers who previously performed with the star.

Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez filed a lawsuit with the courts in California yesterday making a number of allegations against Lizzo, real name Melissa Jefferson, as well as her dance team captain Shirlene Quigley and the Big Grrrl Big Touring company.

Among the allegations are that "Lizzo pressured plaintiffs and all her employees to attend outings where nudity and sexuality were a focal point and disregarded any apprehension from plaintiffs".

"Lizzo hounded Davis to touch a performer despite Davis repeatedly expressing she did not want to", it's claimed. "This work environment would shock the conscience of anyone as it did for plaintiffs".

The three performers concede that attending such outings was not compulsory when working for the musician, but allege that those who did subsequently received preferential treatment.

Quigley is accused of constantly pushing her Christian beliefs in the workplace and criticising those who had premarital sex, but at the same time simulating oral sex, sharing lewd sexual fantasies and discussing one performer's virginity.

Elsewhere in the lawsuit, it is claimed that Lizzo, despite being an advocate for body positivity and self-love, criticised a dancer's recent weight gain.

Davis and Williams were given the opportunity to join Jefferson's dance team after competing on the Amazon reality TV show 'Lizzo's Watch Out For The Big Grrrls'. Meanwhile, Rodriguez was originally hired to perform in one of Jefferson's music videos and was then offered a job on the dance team.

The lawsuit claims that earlier this year Jefferson started accusing her dancers of unprofessional behaviour, including drinking before shows, even though there was no evidence of that.

The whole dance team was then forced to take part in a "brutal" twelve hour re-auditioning process, during which there weren't even bathroom breaks.

Williams says that she confronted Jefferson about the allegations that had been made about the team and was then dropped from said team a few days later "under the guise of budget cuts".

Davis was then fired because she recorded a meeting with Jefferson, even though she insisted the recording was so that she had a record of the feedback she was being given about her performance.

Rodriguez claims that she then confronted Jefferson about the sacking of Davis, resulting in an altercation. She quit the next day.

Commenting on the legal action, which claims violations of California's Fair Employment And Housing Act, a representative of the three dancers, Ronald Zambrano, told reporters: "The stunning nature of how Lizzo and her management team treated their performers seems to go against everything Lizzo stands for publicly, while privately she weight-shames her dancers and demeans them in ways that are not only illegal but absolutely demoralising".


Dua Lipa sued over Levitating again, this time in relation to the remixes
Dua Lipa has been sued yet again over her hit 'Levitating'. But at least this time she's not accused of ripping off an earlier song. Instead, producer Bosko Kante - "one of the world's top talk box artists" we are told - claims that a contribution he made to the track was used in three remixes without his permission.

In a lawsuit filed with the courts in California, Kante makes allegations of copyright infringement and breach of contract against Lipa, her label Warner Music, and 'Levitating' co-producer Stephen Kozmeniuk, who is the person Kante seemingly had direct dealings with.

Just so the court is up to speed on these things, Kante's lawsuit explains that "a talk box allows musicians to modify the sound of a musical instrument by shaping the frequency content of the sound and to apply speech sounds (in the same way as singing) onto the sounds of the instrument, and to control the modification of the instrument's sounds by changing the shape of the mouth, and vocalising the instrument's output into a microphone".

Kante's legal filing doesn't do this, but I think you're usually meant to mention Peter Frampton whenever you write about talk boxes. Him having been something of a prolific talk box user back in the day.

More specifically, Kante makes use of the ElectroSpit Talk Box, his own version of the effects device which, the lawsuit goes on, "is a neck-worn electronic system that is much easier to use and carry than the original talk boxes, as the device sends sound into the mouth by way of electromagnetic transducers placed against the throat, allowing the user to shape the sounds of a synthesiser, guitar, or any other electronic source".

That's all well and good, but where does Lipa come into all this? Well, the lawsuit states: "In or about 2019, plaintiff was approached by music producer, Stephen Kozmeniuk ... about creating and performing a talk box performance, using the ElectroSpit Talk Box, to be licensed in connection with 'Levitating'".

"Plaintiff did in fact compose, create and record his performance on the ElectroSpit Talk Box", it then says, "which included, among other things, original melodies and lyrics". This performance was sent to Kozmeniuk to be integrated into Lipa's record.

However, no formal contract was ever agreed between Kante and Kozmeniuk. But, he insists, there was an oral agreement that "plaintiff's performance could be used by defendants in the original recording of the track only, and that there would be no sampling or reuse of plaintiff's performance by defendants".

And yet, he claims, following the release of 'Levitating', a series of remixes were created that also used Kante's performance. That included the Blessed Madonna remix, the version of the track featuring DaBaby, and a remix created specifically for the American Music Awards in November 2022.

"All three remixes sampled and incorporated a greater amount of plaintiff's work than that used in the original version, including, but not limited to, additional lyrics and melody that were created by plaintiff which do not appear in the original version. Moreover, plaintiff's work is featured more prominently throughout the … remixes".

"Defendants did not seek or receive any authorisation or permission to use the composition or sound recording of plaintiff's work from plaintiff", for those remixes, the lawsuit concludes.

And "plaintiff made numerous attempts to resolve this matter short of litigation, but such efforts were unsuccessful, due to defendants' unwillingness to cooperate or accept responsibility for this blatant infringement of plaintiff's copyrights". As a result, Kante would now like some lovely damages.

Lipa was previously sued, twice, over allegations 'Levitating' ripped off earlier songs. One of those lawsuits, filed by Florida-based band Artikal Sound System, was dismissed in June. The other was filed by songwriters L Russell Brown and Sandy Linze who accuse Lipa of infringing not one but two songs they wrote in 1979 and 1980.


Criminal Records launches publishing division
Criminal Records has announced that it has launched a new publishing division, with eight artists on its roster at launch.

The artists who have signed publishing deals with the company are Popes Of Chillitown, Lori Forster of Weekend Recovery, Gypsy Pistoleros, Mike Walsh, Jayke Turl of The Last Siren, Stickman, and label founder The Kut.

The company has also agreed a deal with Purley Sounds to publish its artists in the US. On that alliance, Criminal Records' Lisa Knight says: "We know this deal represents a major milestone for Criminal Records' commitment to our artists' creative vision".

The boss of Purley Sounds, Gerard Talbot - she goes on - "has a wealth of experience and expertise, not least from his roles at Virgin, Astralwerks and with artists including Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim and Basement Jaxx. We are beyond excited to work together to bring our imprint to new audiences in North America".

Talbot himself adds: "I'm pleased to be part of the Criminal family and look forward to being able to support and promote the artists. I hope to see them perform in Southern California soon".


Reactional Music announces deal with music game publisher Amanotes
Reactional Music - which describes its mission as "connecting music and games creatively and commercially" - has announced a deal with music game publisher Amanotes. The partnership, we are told, will "allow Amanotes to pioneer real-time music personalisation and in-game music purchase for gamers".

"Amanotes is the number one mobile game publisher in South East Asia with over three billion downloads of its games", an official statement explains. "One of its titles, 'Magic Tiles 3', is currently enjoyed by 40+ million gamers every month".

"The partnership", the statement continues, "means that Amanotes and its partner studios are expected to become the first games companies to introduce music as an in-game purchase via Reactional's rule-based music engine and music delivery platform".

Amanotes CEO Bill Vo says: "There has been so much discussion about music and games. In-game concerts and 'activations' have been wonderful but not truly interactive. The Reactional engine and platform actually deliver the ability for games and music to now work together commercially and creatively. For everyone".

"Amanotes brings interactive music experiences to millions of gamers all over the world", he goes on. "By giving gamers the ability to personalise their music with their favourite tracks, their favourite artists, playlists, whole albums or just new and different sounds and audio - all in realtime - we are at the beginning of another exciting journey".

Reactional Music President David Knox adds: "There is no gamer that does not have a relationship with music, so bringing Reactional to Amanotes' 100 million plus gamers across the world is a fantastic moment".

"Amanotes should be applauded for its creative vision", he continues, "as it now opens the doors for other games companies, other genres, developers, creators, artists and rightsholders to work together on new ideas".

Reactional has previously announced a number of deals with music companies, including Hipgnosis Song Management and production music library APM Music.


Kakao Entertainment and SM Entertainment announce integration of their North American operations
South Korean entertainment companies Kakao Entertainment and SM Entertainment yesterday announced the integration of their operations in North America with the aim of "accelerating global growth and expansion".

It follows the eventful but ultimately successful bid by Kakao earlier this year to acquire a controlling stake in K-pop powerhouse SM.

"The two companies will leverage their respective strengths to create a great synergy in North America", they said in a statement yesterday. "SM Entertainment brings its vast pool of global intellectual property and production capabilities, while Kakao Entertainment contributes its music distribution network and multi-label system".

The combined North American business will "help artists from both companies quickly expand their influence around the world, while also actively developing and investing in new IP to further enhance their competitive edge in the global music business".

"The integrated corporation will also prioritise the discovery of local artists and music IPs in North America" they add, as well as pursuing "strategic investment" opportunities "particularly in partnership with overseas labels".

Joseph Chang, President of Kakao Entertainment America, will head up the combined operation. He says: "The new integrated corporation in North America will help us accelerate the global expansion and growth of artists under Kakao Entertainment and SM Entertainment".

"We will prove", he adds, "the growth potential of Kakao Entertainment's music business, which encompasses planning, production, and distribution of music and artist IP in the global market".

SM Entertainment founder Lee Soo-man opposed the deal with Kakao when it was first announced earlier this year and initially persuaded rival K-pop firm Hybe to mount its own bid to buy a controlling stake in the SM business. However, ultimately Hybe bailed on that plan and the Kakao/SM deal went ahead.


ThreeWeeks at the Edinburgh Festival
The Edinburgh Festival - the world's biggest cultural event - is upon us once again. Over the next 25 days thousands of shows will take place across the Scottish capital, with comedy, theatre, music, musicals, dance, cabaret, spoken word and a whole lot more.

CMU's sister media ThreeWeeks Edinburgh is covering the proceedings, interviewing performers, reviewing shows and making loads of recommendations along the way.

ThreeWeeks co-Editor Caro Moses is currently in tipping mode, recommending shows and performers galore in handy sets of three. There are also new interviews going live daily, with the reviews following next week.

You can access all this via the ThreeWeeks Edinburgh website - or by signing up to the TW Weekly bulletin. And look out for some highlights of this year's ThreeWeeks coverage here in the CMU Daily too.


S Club deny tabloid report that Hannah Spearritt was pushed out of reunion tour
S Club have dubbed claims that Hannah Spearritt has been shut out of their upcoming reunion tour as "nonsense". Commenting on the tabloid report that made those claims, the group's Jon Lee observed: "Whenever an article starts with 'a source said', you can kind of take it with a pinch of salt".

The S Club reunion tour was announced back in February and was originally set to involve all seven members of the group. But that, of course, was before the death of Paul Cattermole in April.

Following Cattermole's death, it was announced that the S Club tour would still go ahead, but that - following the change in circumstances - Spearritt had opted not to take part. Those shows are now due to take place this autumn and the five remaining members of the group released a new track last week.

However, with that new track released, The Sun then reported that Spearritt never formally opted out of the reunion tour and was "blindsided" when her former bandmates made the announcement that they would be doing the shows without her.

Talks then reportedly followed to try to get Spearritt on board for the shows after all but - says one of those pesky sources - by that point "bad blood" between her and the rest of the group made the chances of that happening rather slim.

Says the source to The Sun: "Hannah is devastated. She was pushed out and doesn't understand why. The rest of S Club has been told not to contact her".

The other S Club members were asked about that report when appearing on ITV's 'This Morning' on Monday. According to NME, Tina Barrett responded "the article's nonsense", while Lee added that pretty much the only thing The Sun got right is that "we are doing a fifteen date tour across the country".

All the members also insisted that the door is still open for Spearritt to return, with Jo O'Meara adding: "We're doing a lot of stuff in 2024, so you never know what's going to happen in the future".



James Blunt will release new album 'Who We Used To Be' on 27 Oct. Out now is new single 'Beside You'. "It's a bit of a celebration", he says of the song. "An upbeat banger about finally being with the one you've been searching for your whole life".

Semisonic have announced that they will release their first full length album in more than 20 years, 'Little Bit Of Sun', on 3 Nov. Here's first single 'The Rope'.

Injury Reserve's RiTchie and Parker Corey have announced that they have formed a new duo called By Storm, following the death of bandmate Stepa J Groggs in 2020. A new double A-side single features final Injury Reserve track 'Bye Storm' and first By Storm track 'Double Trio'. "To respect the specificity of all three of us as Injury Reserve, we have decided not to make new music under this name", say the duo. "[We] have continued working together and plan to release under By Storm as a hand off from our work within Injury Reserve".

Speedy Ortiz have shared new single 'Ghostwriter', from upcoming new album 'Rabbit Rabbit', which is out on 1 Sep. Says the band's Sadie Dupuis: "While 'Ghostwriter' ruminates on the horrible realities that stoke my anger - in this song's case, the death of our climate and the criminalisation of environmental protesters - it's also about trying to live with less rage in the day-to-day. And not always succeeding, but not getting mad about that, either. And sometimes directing that angry adrenaline toward positive actions".

Jaakko Eino Kalevi will release new album 'Chaos Magic' on 17 Nov. Out now is new single 'I Forget'. "It is about blacking out and forgetting everything - who you are, where and why", he says of the new single. "It might sound serious but it's fun when it's connected to this beat". He will also play London's Servant Jazz Quarters on 14 Aug.



The freshly Mercury-nominated Young Fathers have announced UK tour dates this autumn, including a show at the Hammersmith Apollo in London on 21 Oct. Tickets go on general sale on Friday.

Skindred have announced new UK shows in March next year, including a performance at London's Wembley Arena on 15 Mar. Tickets go on general sale on Monday.

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


TaP Music to "pass the baton back" for selecting UK Eurovision entry
TaP Music has announced that it will not take part in selecting next year's UK Eurovision entrant, instead deciding that it is time to "pass the baton back". The management firm chose the last two performers to represent the UK, Sam Ryder and Mae Muller, with very mixed success.

"We are THRILLED that Eurovision in the UK has a bigger and wider audience than ever before and to have been part of the UK hosting it in Liverpool with Ukraine this year was an incredible moment for us, showing the unifying power and importance of popular culture", says the company in a statement.

"We're so proud of Sam and Mae for representing the UK so wonderfully and are enjoying watching their careers flourish as a result", it then adds.

However, the statement goes on: "It's been brilliant working with the BBC this last two years, but for now, we think it is time to pass the baton back. We wish the BBC the best of luck with ongoing success and continuing to build the excitement and audience in the UK".

TaP first came on board in 2021, selecting Sam Ryder and his song 'Spaceman' to represent the UK in 2022, securing the country's greatest Eurovision success in decades when he came second behind Ukraine. And when Ukraine was unable to host the 2023 event due to the ongoing war with Russia, the UK also stepped in to act as host for the first time since 1998.

The company took over the Eurovision job from BMG which had previously attempted to select a winner for the BBC, resulting in the UK putting forward James Newman with 'Embers', which came last after scoring no points at all (only the second time this had happened to the UK and the first where no one could blame technical issues).

Buoyed by Ryder's win and the opportunity to host the Contest, the UK went into 2023 with a new optimism around Eurovision. An optimism that was then knocked when Mae Muller's 'I Wrote A Song' was selected as this year's entry - a song that never seemed especially suited to the competition - and smashed when a lacklustre performance at the final saw it placed second from last.

Of course, TaP has a whole host of big name acts on its artist management roster, so some were surprised when the company chose Ryder - with whom it does not work - as the UK's Eurovision entrant on its first go-round.

Despite being a fairly popular TikTok star, the move was seen in some quarters as a bit of a cop out. It worked out though, didn't it? He did great. So it looked like the team at TaP really knew what they were doing.

You're only as good as your last result though and, well, I think we've covered that. Was Sam Ryder a fluke? Was Mae Muller a good choice that just didn't work out on the day? We'd need a third spin of the TaP Music wheel to better gauge that and we are not going to get one. Which might lead you to suspect that the company thinks Sam Ryder was a fluke. I couldn't possibly comment.

Whatever, TaP concludes its statement by saying: "We believe Eurovision is one of the greatest live music shows on the planet and hope that many more artists, new or more established, will see the huge opportunity it brings, and we know there is room for even more growth of the format, both in the UK and beyond".

Yeah, obviously. I don't think anyone wants to come second once and then go back to kicking around the bottom of the table for another 20 years. And this means that the question now is who will the BBC turn to next to take on the task of finding a potential British Eurovision winner?

For many years the broadcaster let the public decide and we all know how that turned out. Although, to cut the public some slack, they were usually forced to choose from a handful of absolutely dreadful songs put forward by the BBC. And they did manage to select the 1997 winner, Katrina And The Waves' 'Love Shine A Light'.

It seems like finding a new music industry partner is probably the way to go though. And one that would be able to whip some of the UK's better talent - both songwriters and performers - into giving it a go.

Of course, many of those top talents worry that doing Eurovision would be a kiss of death for their careers. But Ed Sheeran's always saying he'd do it and he seems pretty bulletproof at this stage.


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.
[email protected] (except press releases, see below)
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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