TODAY'S TOP STORY: The Save The Leadmill campaign has announced another initiative in its ongoing bid to try to halt a planned management change at the Sheffield venue. Supporters are being called upon to write to new Sheffield City Council leader Tom Hunt demanding that he get on their side... [READ MORE]

TOP STORIES Save The Leadmill campaign calls on supporters to tell council leader to back venue's current management team
LEGAL Lizzo's current dancers issue statement of support
The 1975's lawyers in talks with Good Vibes Festival following threat of litigation
DEALS Busted to self-release greatest hits album with Absolute Label Services
Believe's b:electronic adds Mobilee and Feathers & Bones to distribution roster
AWARDS War Child Records' Rich Clarke to receive ERA Retail Champion Award
ONE LINERS Guns N Roses, Gaika, Årabrot, more
AND FINALLY... David Byrne admits Talking Heads split "wasn't handled well"
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Save The Leadmill campaign calls on supporters to tell council leader to back venue's current management team
The Save The Leadmill campaign has announced another initiative in its ongoing bid to try to halt a planned management change at the Sheffield venue. Supporters are being called upon to write to new Sheffield City Council leader Tom Hunt demanding that he get on their side.

"This isn't just about The Leadmill", insists a spokesperson for the current management team at the venue. "Everything that's made our city what it is today is at stake. It may start with us, but it goes much further than that. If we don't stop this hostile takeover, the very soul and character of our great city is at risk. Tom needs to pick a side".

All of this stems from plans by the owner of the building that houses The Leadmill - music venue company Electric Group - to take direct control of the venue by putting its own management team in place.

Those plans prompted current Leadmill operator Phil Mills and his team to mount the Save The Leadmill campaign, ramping things up somewhat last month by declaring that that campaign was now "a battle for the soul of Sheffield".

Electric Group boss Dominic Madden has countered that his company plans to continue running the venue pretty much as it stands now, just with a new top team in place. He has also accused Mills of running a "toxic" campaign, and attempting to mislead people into believing that the venue is set to permanently close and be redeveloped.

Madden's company bought the Leadmill building in 2016. The current management initially continued to run the venue, but were formally given twelve months to vacate the premises in March last year. Having launched the Save The Leadmill campaign and refused to leave, the existing team have programmed events into 2024.

They are also calling on supporters to object to the Electric Group's efforts to secure its own licence to operate the venue.

If granted, that would initially be a 'shadow premises licence', which applies when a landlord holds a licence in relation to a building where a tenant also has a licence to trade. The aim, presumably, is to ensure that any future switchover between Mills' team and Madden's team is as seamless as possible.

While it seems likely that some supporters have submitted objections to the council's licensing committee, the 'relevant reasons' allowed for objecting to a licence application are very narrow. There are four main reasons that can justify such an objection, as follows: "the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; the prevention of public nuisance; the protection of children from harm".

All of which means it seems somewhat optimistic to think that the Electric Group's plans to take control of The Leadmill can be blocked by the council's licensing committee. Nevertheless, a meeting of that committee on 18 Sep is the next key date for the current team as their Save The Leadmill campaign continues.

As that date approaches, the campaign has become even more active. First, there was the "battle for the soul of Sheffield" claim and an accompanying video, and now the call for supporters to bombard Tom Hunt - who was elected Sheffield City Council leader in May - with calls to support the current management team. Save The Leadmill claims that 5000 people have already committed to do this.

"Tom, of all people, should know that this hostile takeover risks fundamentally and forever changing the course of our city, heritage and culture", says the Leadmill's spokesperson. "It may start with us at The Leadmill, but it goes much further than that. If we don't stop this hostile takeover, the very soul and character of our great city is at risk. Tom needs to pick a side".

"There are 80 members of staff who are incredibly passionate about ensuring that The Leadmill is a top quality venue that provides a huge variety of entertainment to visitors from across the globe, but we are all so tired of the ongoing situation - time and energy is being spent on trying to retain our jobs and The Leadmill", they go on. "Its history and its legacy is so important to Sheffield and to all of us working here".

"That's why we're asking you - the great people of Sheffield - and further afield! - to help us win this battle", they conclude.

While seeking to counter what it sees as a very misleading Save The Leadmill campaign, the Electric Group has also begun formal legal proceedings to evict Mills. That should reach court next year.


Lizzo's current dancers issue statement of support
Lizzo's current team of backing dancers have issued a statement in support of the musician following the filing of lawsuit by three former members of that group.

Although not directly responding to the allegations in the lawsuit, the message posted to the Big Grrrls Instagram profile yesterday said: "Thank you to Lizzo for shattering limitations and kicking in the door way for the Big Grrrl and Big Boiii dancers to do what we love! You have created a platform where we have been able to parallel our passion with a purpose!".

The three former Lizzo dancers that have gone legal are Arianna Davis, Crystal Williams and Noelle Rodriguez. Their lawsuit accuses Lizzo and her dance team captain Shirlene Quigley of inappropriate and unfair conduct. That includes making false allegations of unprofessional behaviour against the dancers and then forcing them to go through a "brutal" twelve hour re-auditioning process.

The musician is also accused of treating her dancers in a way that conflicts with her public statements about body positivity. A legal rep 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".

Lizzo herself responded to the lawsuit on social media, denying the allegations made against her, and hitting back at the "sensationalised stories … coming from former employees who have already publicly admitted that they were told their behaviour on tour was inappropriate and unprofessional".

In the new statement of the Big Grrrls Instagram profile, the dance team say that they "had the time of their lives" on Lizzo's The Special Tour, which concluded at the end of last month.

"We have been so honoured to share the stage with such amazing talent. This tour experience has been beyond just #Special! The commitment to character and culture taking precedence over every movement and moment has been one of the greatest lessons and blessings that we could possibly ask for".

The dancers add that they are "so grateful that the standards and existence of beauty in THIS Team goes beyond the surface!" adding: "We are a unit of unicorns, undeniably resilient and SPECIAL AF".


The 1975's lawyers in talks with Good Vibes Festival following threat of litigation
A lawyer for the Malaysian festival that was forced to cancel because of on-stage comments made by The 1975's Matty Healy has confirmed that he is now in talks with the band's legal team.

Healy hit out at Malaysia's anti-LGBTQ+ laws during his band's set on the first day of the Good Vibes Festival in Kuala Lumpur last month, adding "your government are a bunch of fucking retards".

The comments not only caused The 1975's set to be cut short, but the Malaysian government forced the remaining two days of the festival to be cancelled.

It emerged earlier this month that the promoter of the festival, Future Sound Asia, had sent a legal letter to the band demanding that they accept liability for the cancellation and pay over £2 million in damages. Failure to do so, the legal letter added, would result in litigation through the English courts.

That would basically be a breach of contract lawsuit, because FSA says that the band specifically committed - before playing the Good Vibes Festival - to adhere to local rules governing live performances. Which includes not delivering sweary rants against the country's government.

In a statement to the Press Association earlier this week, a legal rep for FSA, David Matthew, said that the band's legal team had responded to the letter and that a resolution process was "now in progress".

He added: "We are able to confirm that our lawyers have received communication from the band's solicitors and we are continuing to pursue the matter, as per our earlier statement".

"The dispute resolution process is now in progress", he concluded, "and on advice of legal counsel, we have no further comment at present".


Busted to self-release greatest hits album with Absolute Label Services
Prestige Management has partnered with Absolute Label Services for the release of Busted's new greatest hits album. The release sees the band re-recording old songs with guests including Jonas Brothers, McFly, Hanson, You Me At Six and Wheatus.

"This is a really unique project that celebrates Busted's legacy with the help of some exciting household names", says Absolute Label Services Senior Label Manager Fraser Ealey.

"Personally, I have worked with Busted on their 2016 'Pigs Can Fly' comeback tour and again recently with Charlie Simpson on his solo album 'Hope Is A Drug' release", he goes on. "Absolute has a long-standing relationship with Prestige Management. We're a great team and look forward to getting stuck in with this great album".

Prestige Management's Richard Rashman adds: "We have a proven track record with Absolute Label Services. Working alongside them gives us the flexibility and control that we require across our projects, allowing us to achieve real results with our clients".

Under the partnership, Absolute will provide a range of services to Busted and their management team, including distribution, marketing and project management. 'Greatest Hits 2.0' is set for release on 15 Sep.


Believe's b:electronic adds Mobilee and Feathers & Bones to distribution roster
Believe's dance music division b:electronic has signed two new labels to its distribution roster. They are Anja Schneider and Ralf Kollmann's Mobilee Records and Feathers & Bones, a new label founded by producer and Mobilee artist Rodriguez Jr.

Describing Mobilee as "a label that was instrumental in defining Berlin's distinctive sound", b:electronic's Business Development Manager Meike Nolte says: "Now, with its fresh take on concepts like immersive sound, Mobilee continues to break new ground."

"It's a privilege to work closely with Ralf Kollmann on both Mobilee and Rodriguez Jr's thrilling new venture, Feathers & Bones", he goes on. "I'm truly enthused to witness how both these pioneering labels evolve under the b:electronic banner".

Meanwhile Kollmann adds: "We are always striving to find the best possible configurations for our label and artist businesses, focusing on building long-term partnerships and solutions. Music creation, distribution and promotion on one side, and listening behaviours and experiences on the other, have undergone significant changes in the past decade".

"Embracing new technologies and formats is part of our company's DNA, and we are convinced that Believe shares this vision, amplifying our ideas and delivering the right platforms to prepare for the next decade", he goes on. "The future of dance music looks bright. We are happy to join the b:electronic team with the entire Mobilee catalogue and Rodriguez Jr's new label Feathers & Bones".


Edinburgh Festival Q&A: Martin Urbano
CMU's sister media ThreeWeeks is currently covering the Edinburgh Festival, the world's biggest cultural event, which takes over the Scottish capital for three weeks with a packed programme of comedy, theatre, music, musicals, dance, cabaret, spoken word and a whole lot more.

Here in the CMU Daily we are picking out some of the highlights of this year's coverage, including interviews with people who are performing there this year. Today comedian Martin Urbano, who is performing his show 'Apology Comeback Tour' at the Pleasance Courtyard.

"In my show I'm doing a satirical take on what it means for an entertainer to be making their 'apology comeback'", he explains. "The idea that someone had a public controversy, regarding maybe some comments or tweets, and, of course, the MeToo movement".

"And much like with other people's apology comebacks, that section is only a brief part of the show", he goes on, "because it's better to address it in a small capacity and move on like everything is fine, rather than delve into and actually analyse what happened".

Read the interview and find out more about the show here.


War Child Records' Rich Clarke to receive ERA Retail Champion Award
ERA - the UK's digital entertainment and retail trade association - has announced War Child Records boss Rich Clarke as the first of six people set to be honoured at its inaugural Retail Champion Awards next month.

As well as celebrating the work of the wider War Child charity and the music projects that have raised funds to support that work, the prize will also recognise the partnership Clarke has built with Record Store Day.

This year, that saw War Child Records release a series of special edition records as part of the Record Store Day programme by artists including The Cure, Miles Davis, Brian Eno and Celeste.

"Record Store Day's partnership with War Child Records has given fans access to special and collectable product while also raising important funds for War Child", says ERA CEO Kim Bayley. "Rich has been instrumental in making it happen and we are delighted to recognise him at our first Retail Champion Awards".

The Retail Champion Awards will take place at ERA's summer party on 6 Sep, with six individuals due to be recognised.



Have Guns N Roses released a new single? Perhaps. No, they have. It's called 'Perhaps'.

Kristen Hersh has released new single 'Constance Street'. "I lived on Constance Street in New Orleans when that song's story happened", she says. "Buying slips in the Irish Channel/broken prince in fluorescent camo is a very southern day. I was born a hick and I guess I'll always be one". Her new album 'Clear Pond Road' is out on 8 Sep.

Gaika has released new single 'Gunz'. His new album 'Drift' is out on 8 Sep.

Kojaque has released new single 'Cabra Drive'.

Årabrot have released new single 'Horrors Of The Past'. "We were out driving and hit and killed a cat. Its fur covered the windshield", says the duo's Kjetil Nernes of the inspiration for the song. "It was brutal. I had a vision of a metaphysical journey through a storm of animal fur. I couldn't see a thing until symbols and memories of the past suddenly emerged in front of me. I was working my way out of a nightmarish past". New album 'Of Darkness And Light' is set for release on 13 Oct.

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


David Byrne admits Talking Heads split "wasn't handled well"
David Byrne has admitted that he regrets the way Talking Heads came to an end in the late 1980s, adding that he could be something of a "little tyrant" when touring with his former band.

Talking Heads officially split at the end of 1991, three years after the release of their final album 'Naked'. Fellow founding member Chris Frantz has since said that there was never a formal decision to disband and that he found out that Byrne was no longer part of the group through a newspaper article.

Both Frantz and his wife Tina Weymouth, who played bass in the band, have been critical of Byrne over the decades since Talking Heads split up. And it will be interesting to see if those criticisms are dealt with when the band's members come together for an in conversation at the Toronto Film Festival next month alongside a screening of the remastered version of their 1984 concert film 'Stop Making Sense'.

But ahead of that, Byrne has given an interview to People magazine in which he admits that the ending of Talking Heads "wasn't handled well - it was kind of ugly".

"As a younger person, I was not as pleasant to be around", he adds. "When I was working on some Talking Heads shows, I was more of a little tyrant. And then I learned to relax, and I also learned that collaborating with people, both sides get more if there's a good relationship instead of me telling everybody what to do".

Confirming he now has "regrets" regarding the way in which he departed Talking Heads, he says: "I don't think I did it in the best way, but I think it was kind of inevitable that would happen anyway. We have a cordial relationship now. We're sort of in touch, but we don't hang out together".

Except at film festivals in Toronto, of course. That in conversation will take place on 11 Sep. After its premiere at the festival, the remastered version of 'Stop Making Sense' will start screening at IMAX cinemas and then more widely.


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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