MONDAY 23 JULY 2018 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: The hotel company that owns the site where the Route 91 Harvest festival took place in Las Vegas has filed new legal papers seeking to consolidate various lawsuits in relation to the mass shooting that occurred at the event last year. It follows the same company's filing of its own litigation asking for court confirmation that it can't be held liable for the shooting... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES MGM Resorts defends its lawsuit against victims of Route 91 Harvest shooting
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LEGAL J Hus pleads not guilty to illegal knife possession
Four men indicted over murder of XXXTentacion
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LABELS & PUBLISHERS National Album Day to celebrate albums nationally on a day
TuneCore adds Facebook monetisation for DIY artists
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ARTIST NEWS Radiohead use Toronto show to criticise outcome of Canadian stage collapse trial
Mos Def to open art gallery
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AND FINALLY... Three Lions suffers record-breaking chart fall
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MGM Resorts defends its lawsuit against victims of Route 91 Harvest shooting
The hotel company that owns the site where the Route 91 Harvest festival took place in Las Vegas has filed new legal papers seeking to consolidate various lawsuits in relation to the mass shooting that occurred at the event last year. It follows the same company's filing of its own litigation asking for court confirmation that it can't be held liable for the shooting.

58 people were killed during the attack at the Live Nation-promoted country music event last October. Gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on the 22,000 strong audience during Jason Aldean's headline set. MGM Resorts International owns the site where the festival took place and the nearby hotel from which Paddock committed his crime.

A number of lawsuits were filed by victims caught up in the shooting, with MGM Resorts, Live Nation and Paddock's estate variously named as defendants.

On Thursday, MGM filed a new motion court requesting that all the litigation in relation to the shooting be transferred to a single federal district court. That includes four lawsuits filed by representatives of the victims, and the hotel and casino company's own litigation.

According to Law360, MGM argues that each lawsuit in relation to the shooting "promises to be a mammoth undertaking" just in the so called discovery stage. And given that they all relate to a single incident - and ultimately ask pretty much the same factual questions - it makes sense to group all the various actions together.

The hotel firm's filing stated: "Discovery into these areas will likely involve dozens, if not hundreds, of witnesses and require the production of voluminous documents and other data, including terabytes of video data. Litigation of this matter, if not centralised, will be hugely inefficient, with an extraordinary volume of duplicative discovery".

MGM added that it expected a flurry of further lawsuits in relation to the shooting. Indeed, citing one plaintiff's lawyer, it suggests that as many as 20,000 additional suits could ultimately be filed. That, it reckons, is another reason why everything should be centralised in one court.

Speaking to Law360, a spokesperson for MGM Resorts stated: "We believe that the co-ordination of all the legal actions in one court will promote the just and efficient conduct of this litigation. Years of drawn out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, communities and those still healing".

Elsewhere the hotel chain has been defending its decision to file its own litigation in relation to the shooting, which basically means suing over a thousand of the festival-goers affected by the tragedy. Legal opinion may be divided over that move, but from a PR perspective it's definitely not a good look to be seen to be suing people who have already suffered so much.

MGM's lawyers reckon that under US federal law it cannot be held liable for the shooting because of the security measures it put in place. That included the hiring of security firm Contemporary Services Corp, which had been certified by the US Department Of Homeland Security. It wants federal court confirmation of that interpretation of American law.

Defending the company's controversial legal action in USA Today on Friday, the firm's SVP Global Corporate Communications, Debra DeShong, stated: "The recent filing for declaratory relief by MGM Resorts International was made under the Support Anti-terrorism By Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002".

"This filing under the SAFETY Act will not deny any victim from their rights to a hearing in court and to a determinative outcome in their case", she then claimed. "All we are doing, in effect, is asking that these issues be decided in federal court. The assertion that this action would deny victims their day in court is not only inaccurate, but may confuse victims of their rights under law".

DeShong added: "MGM believes the SAFETY Act filing will ensure claims are properly resolved in federal court quickly, fairly and efficiently. In accordance with the SAFETY Act, we do not believe MGM can be found liable for the tragic and unforeseeable events of 1 Oct. In any event, Congress has made clear that litigation arising from an event at which such services were provided is a matter of national interest and should be resolved in the national court system".

Again arguing that by hiring Contemporary Services Corporation there can't be any direct liability on MGM's part, the comms boss went on: "We believe the law permits liability in appropriate cases only as to Contemporary Services Corporation, our longtime security vendor that provided security for the concert, whose services have been certified by the Department of Homeland Security. CSC is required to carry - and does carry - liability insurance of $25 million, which would be used to pay successful third-party claims".

She signed off: "MGM's priority of bringing a resolution to the victims and their families has not changed, and we remain steadfast in reaching a conclusion".

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J Hus pleads not guilty to illegal knife possession
J Hus entered a not guilty plea on Friday over allegations he was in illegal possession of a knife when stopped by police last month. The rapper, real name Momodou Jallow, specifically denied carrying a weapon "without good reason or lawful authority". He was released on bail and is now set to return to court on 15 Nov for a pre-trial hearing.

The rapper was arrested in Stratford, East London on 21 Jun after police stopped a vehicle he was travelling in. A police spokesperson told reporters at the time that "occupants of the vehicle were searched and a man was arrested on suspicion of being in possession of a knife/bladed article". The arrest resulted in Jallow pulling out of sets at the TRNSMT and Wireless festivals.

Following the court appearance, the rapper posted a series of messages to fans on Instagram over the weekend. According to Metro, he said in the since deleted posts that he could "only blame himself for this mistake". Jallow, who was hospitalised after being stabbed five times in an incident in September 2015, then noted that - although people would judge him over the arrest - those people have "never experienced a sprinkle of the madness" he has endured.

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Four men indicted over murder of XXXTentacion
A grand jury in Florida has officially indicted four men in relation to the murder of controversial rapper XXXTentacion - real name Jahseh Onfroy - who was shot dead last month.

Police believe the shooting occurred during a robbery gone wrong and as a result the four men face charges of first degree murder and armed robbery. The four accused are Michael Boatwright, Robert Allen, Trayvon Newsome and Dedrick Williams.

Investigators believe it was Boatwright who shot Onfroy. Williams drove the vehicle the four men used to flee the crime scene, though police say he claims he was not aware that the other three men were planning a robbery.

Court papers also revealed last week that Onfroy had $50,000 on his person at the time of the shooting. The money was in a Louis Vuitton bag seized by the robbers.

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National Album Day to celebrate albums nationally on a day
Albums are getting their own day in the UK. The first National Album Day on 13 Oct this year will mark the 70th anniversary of the album format. Because, hey kids, however much your parents bang on about them, albums haven't actually been around forever.

There will be various album-based celebrations on the day. And across the following week too, organisers apparently having misunderstood the meaning of the word 'day'. BBC Music has committed to support the event through its programming, and there will be artist meet-and-greets, album playbacks, online listening parties and more.

Also, on the day itself, the big focus will be for everyone who has ever heard an album to announce on social media which one inspired them the most. This big tweeting session will happen at precisely 3.33pm. Because that almost sounds like 33rpm - aka the speed at which vinyl LPs are played. Keep up, granddad! Oh, granddad got it? Keep up, child.

Like all good Days, this one will have an ambassador. And that's Paloma Faith, who says: "I vividly remember being excited by so many classic albums as I was growing up, like Marvin Gaye's 'What's Going On', Dylan's 'Freewheelin', and Erykah Badu's 'Mama's Gun', although, if I had to pick one, the album that most inspired me was Tracy Chapman's self-titled debut".

"It featured the incredibly powerful 'Why?'" Faith adds. "A song that has become a real anthem for me not least as it was the first to bring home the emotional power of lyrics. The way we engage with music may be changing, but for me the album remains the ultimate expression of the songwriter's craft".

You might think that all this is simply a clever ruse to try to get people buying and listening to albums once again. The streaming boom having officially killed of the format whose imminent death has been predicted ever since the iTunes store opening for business with its 'every track sold separately' pitch. But you would be wrong. Everyone still loves albums. Everyone.

Research from two of the National Album Day organisers - that'll be the BPI and the Entertainment Retailers Association - shows that albums are dead popular. In 2017, 135 million albums, or equivalent, were purchased, downloaded or streamed, according to the BPI. Although I'm not sure saying "or equivalent" is really appropriate here. I mean, if you said you'd eaten several sausages "or equivalent" on National Sausage Day, questions would be asked.

Meanwhile, in a recent ERA questionnaire, 60% of respondents said that they'd listened to an album in full in the last month. And, actually, despite what you think, it was young people who were listening to more of them. In the week prior to being asked, 55% of those 25 or under said that they'd listened to an album in that time. Listening trails off the older people get.

ERA chief exec Kim Bayley comments: "Individual tracks may have stolen the limelight over the past few years, but British music fans love albums as much as ever. National Album Day is an opportunity to throw the spotlight back on to long-form listening and we are delighted that the Record Store Day team will play a key role in establishing this first-time event working alongside our friends and colleagues at the BBC, the BPI and the wider music community".

Oh yes, the Record Store Day team at ERA will be involved in organising all this. Did we mention that? Makes sense, because the aim here - see - is, and I quote, "to establish National Album Day as an anticipated annual event in the music calendar that is inclusive and non-prescriptive and will grow over time, in a similar way to Record Store Day". Lovely.

BPI boss Geoff Taylor also has things to say. He adds: "It is fitting that, in this 70th anniversary year, we should look to create a special moment that celebrates the UK's love of the album and the huge role it plays at the heart of our popular culture. The album has underpinned the phenomenal success of recorded music the world over, providing artists with a compelling medium through which to express their creativity and fans the freedom to engage with all shades of music through the stories that it tells".

He goes on: "Streaming may be broadening our ability to access and discover music, but the concept of the album as a body of work that expresses a narrative or an artist's creative vision at a given moment, remains as relevant and inspiring as ever".

So here's to the album. The BPI reckons over five billion of the bastards have been sold in the UK since they arrived in 1948. Let's see if we can sell five billion more on the first National Album Day this year. Any less and the whole venture will have officially failed.

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TuneCore adds Facebook monetisation for DIY artists
DIY music distribution firm TuneCore last week announced that artists using its platform worldwide can now get access to some of that new fangled Facebook monetisation. It will allow DIY artists to get paid when their music is used on both Facebook and Instagram.

"Between promoting streams, downloads, merch sales and tickets, Facebook has always given artists of any genre the opportunity to not only build a fanbase, but also make money with their music", says TuneCore in a statement. "With Facebook Monetization, Facebook and Instagram users - your fans, in most cases - can search for and find your music through Audio Library features and use it to create and share personal moments on the Facebook and Instagram platforms".

It continues: "We like to think of this as a look toward the future: As Facebook continues to explore new avenues and introduce awesome products and features, TuneCore Artists can consider themselves 'ahead of the curve' by granting permission for their music to be used, ensuring revenue collection will be cinch when all is said and done".

TuneCore's announcement follows various labels and publishers confirming their Facebook licensing deals earlier this year, allowing artists, songwriters and corporate rights owners to finally monetise their music when it is used in uploads on the social network.

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Approved: The Eye Of Time
Marc Euvrie is set to release his latest album as The Eye Of Time, 'Myth II: A Need To Survive', on 24 Aug. The second part of a trilogy of albums - the first being 2016's 'Myth I: A Last Dance For Things We Love' - it continues a musical journey inspired by the current political climate and Euvrie's own personal growth over the same period.

"The period between the release of the first two records of this trilogy is a most significant one in my life", he says. "'A Need To Survive' is the perfect title to name it. I have fought darkness. I have faced myself. I've been into the deepest introspection ever, but I'm on my way to recover, and I will never be the same again. I guess I have faced the worst but most important period that everybody will face in his life. To know yourself better, to see the bad and the good things you're capable of".

"I feel that the album trilogy I started in 2016 will match my path to become a better person in balance", he continues. "'Myth I: A Last Dance For The Things We Love' corresponds to my falling into darkness, 'A Need To Survive' to finding the energy to rise again, and the last record - which will be named 'To Heal' - corresponds to me right now, feeling positively mature".

The new album is preceded by a new track, 'Foldings', a dark, motorik instrumental piece with bursts of optimism. Listen to it here.

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Radiohead use Toronto show to criticise outcome of Canadian stage collapse trial
Radiohead paid tribute to their late drum tech Scott Johnson during a show in Toronto last week, while hitting out at the failure of the Canadian criminal justice system to hold anyone to account for his death in 2012.

During a second encore at their show in the Canadian city, frontman Thom Yorke told his audience: "Six years ago, we wanted to do a show in Toronto. The stage collapsed, killing our colleague and friend. The people who should be held accountable are still not being held accountable in your city. The silence is fucking deafening".

Johnson was killed and three others injured ahead of a planned Radiohead show in Toronto in 2012, after a scaffolding structure collapsed onto the open-air stage on which the band were due to perform. The show was promoted by Live Nation, and the live music giant was subsequently charged under Ontario's Occupational Health And Safety Act, alongside provider Optex Staging & Services Inc and an individual engineer working on the show, Domenic Cugliari.

The criminal case reached court in 2015, but quickly started to drag. Then last year the judge overseeing the trial was promoted and no longer had jurisdiction. As a result a mistrial was declared and the whole case was set to begin anew. However, the defendants then argued that the entire case should instead be abandoned, citing a relatively new precedent in Canadian law designed to stop criminal cases from dragging on indefinitely.

The new judge considering the proceedings agreed that, under the new precedent, the charges against Live Nation, Optex and Cugliari should indeed be 'permanently stayed'.

When that happened last September, Radiohead said in a statement: "We are appalled by the decision to stay the charges against Live Nation, Optex Staging and Domenic Cugliari. This is an insult to the memory of Scott Johnson, his parents and our crew. It offers no consolation, closure or assurance that this kind of accident will not happen again".

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Mos Def to open art gallery
Yasiin Bey - aka former rapper Mos Def - has announced plans to open a new art gallery in New York, in collaboration with advertising executive Set Free Richardson. Opening next month, the gallery is borne out of Richardson's existing creative studios, The Compound, with which Bey has been associated for some time.

"The gallery will serve as a space for all mediums of art", Bey tells Artnet News. "Free will run day-to-day operations alongside staff, and I will bring in curatorial and special projects".

Richardson adds of the new venture's artistic ambitions: "For me everything is art. What often happens is that certain artists don't get a fair chance, and a lot of galleries don't accept certain artists. The whole blue-chip world isn't fair because certain artists that are just as good will never be accepted".

The Compound is situated in the area of the South Bronx controversially re-imaged by property developers as 'The Piano District'.

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Three Lions suffers record-breaking chart fall
The huge bubble of national optimism brought on by the England football team's progress through the World Cup was burst too late to stop soccer song 'Three Lions' getting to number one in the singles chart last week. But on Friday's chart, in a move more representative of that sudden deflation, the track fell from the top position so hard that it's broken a record.

'Three Lions' broke a record last week too, of course. It became the first song performed by the same line-up to reach number one four times. Now it's got another accolade for the biggest ever fall from the top spot on the singles chart. A week after achieving the pinnacle of sales (or equivalent) success, it only just scraped into the top 100 on the latest list, coming in at number 97.

Like last week too, George Ezra sits one place below 'Three Lions'. Although not with the same song, obviously. While Ezra's track 'Pretty Shiny People' is at 98, the song the football hit knocked off the top of the chart last week is still at number two this week. That being 'Shotgun'. Because you may not be able to rely on English football, but you can always rely on George Ezra. And Drake as well, who is predictably now filling the number one spot. And the number five spot. And the number fifteen spot.

If you split streams and sales, a slightly different picture of the performance of 'Three Lions' emerges. While it's nowhere to be seen in the streaming top 100, it only fell to number 59 in the sales-only chart. So, while enthusiastic streaming of the track apparently halted the moment England went out of the World Cup, there were still some people out there who felt the need to download the song. Possibly in readiness for the next time football looks like it might 'come home'.

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ANDY MALT | Editor
Andy heads up the team, overseeing the CMU bulletins and website, coordinating features and interviews, reporting on artist and business stories, and contributing to the CMU Approved column.
Email andy@unlimitedmedia.co.uk (except press releases, see below)
   
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Caro helps oversee the CMU media, while as a Director of 3CM UnLimited she heads up the company's other two titles ThisWeek London and ThreeWeeks Edinburgh, and supports other parts of the business.
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