FRIDAY 24 AUGUST 2018 COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM
TODAY'S TOP STORY: Eventbrite has confirmed its Initial Public Offering, with plans to raise $200 million by listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Details of the IPO plans were published yesterday, the self-service ticketing platform having initially filed confidential documents with the US Securities & Exchange Commission last month... [READ MORE]
TOP STORIES Eventbrite confirms IPO plans
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LEGAL Dancehall lyric borrowed by Miley Cyrus a "mere transliteration", says latest legal filing in We Can't Stop copyright case
Court sides with Commodores over Commodore in Commodores trademark case
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RELEASES Bring Me The Horizon announce new album
The Chills release new single, Scarred
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GIGS & FESTIVALS The Prodigy announce UK tour
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ONE LINERS John Lennon, Zedd, Courtney Barnett, more
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AND FINALLY... Beef Of The Week #418: Nicki Minaj v Travis Scott (and his baby)
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Check out all the latest classified ads with CMU Classifieds. To advertise here email advertising@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 0906.
   
COOKING VINYL - OFFICE SPACE TO RENT (WEST LONDON)
Cooking Vinyl is pleased to offer a newly refurbished office space in Acton, West London. Ideal to share with other likeminded creatives in a hot desk environment, or alternatively to rent the space as a whole, comfortably fitting 30+ desks.

For more information and to apply click here.
Check out all the latest job opportunities with CMU Jobs. To advertise your job opportunities here email advertising@unlimitedmedia.co.uk or call 020 7099 0906.
   
BNDR MUSIC - PRODUCT MANAGER (LONDON)
BNDR Music is seeking a Product Manager. Duties include, compiling and implementing artist marketing campaigns, plugging artists at radio, liaising with online and national PRs, and working closely with A&Rs and the Label Manager to schedule release roll outs.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
SJM CONCERTS - MARKETING COORDINATOR (MANCHESTER)
We are looking for a Marketing Coordinator to implement marketing campaigns to generate sales for new tours and events via various platforms including press, radio, TV, digital and print.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
ELITE MUSIC MANAGEMENT – ADMIN ASSISTANT/ASSISTANT BOOKING AGENT (BRIGHTON)
We are looking for a dynamic, talented individual to work as part of a hard-working team. You will be required to assist the agents and directors with admin tasks for the acts we represent.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
THE O2 – PROGRAMMING ASSISTANT (LONDON)
We are looking for a Programming Assistant to join the programming team at The O2 and provide them with business support information paying particular attention to the analysis of key sales information, the reporting of ticket figures and the production of venue hire contracts.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
NEW STATE MUSIC - LABEL ASSISTANT (LONDON)
We are looking for a talented individual to join our creative and independent team, based in our Camden Town office. The main responsibilities of the role will be assisting various departments across the company including marketing, digital, and production.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
[PIAS] - RECORDING PROJECT MANAGER (LONDON)
[PIAS] seeks a Recording Project Manager to formulate impactful global artist development plans and to help build [PIAS] and its label brands to become the go to destination for new and established artists.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
BIRD ON THE WIRE - JUNIOR PROMOTER/PROMOTER ASSISTANT (LONDON)
London-based independent live music promoter Bird On The Wire is offering the opportunity to join their team as a junior promoter / promoter assistant. The chosen candidate will be passionate about music and used to attending concerts several nights a week.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
SECRETLY GROUP - PROJECT MANAGER (LONDON)
Secretly Group is looking for a motivated, ambitious and enthusiastic Project Manager to join its London team. Two to four years of music industry experience are essential.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
SOLD OUT - SOCIAL MEDIA JUNIOR EXECUTIVE (LONDON)
Sold Out is an independent full service advertising agency, specialising in arts and entertainment. The successful candidate will need to be a natural communicator, be able to work at a fast pace and with a gift for organisation and effective time management.

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SENTRIC MUSIC - ROYALTIES MANAGER (LIVERPOOL OR LONDON)
Sentric Music are looking for a Royalty Manager to join our Finance Team. Based in the creative areas of the Baltic Triangle in Liverpool - or Soho, London - the Royalty Manager will be integral to managing the accounts for our international client base.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
AEG EVENTIM APOLLO - ASSISTANT TECHNICAL MANAGER (LONDON)
Eventim Apollo are recruiting an Assistant Technical Manager to support and in the absence of the Technical Manager oversee the Technical aspects of a production from start to finish.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
ISLINGTON ASSEMBLY HALL - ASSISTANT VENUE MANAGER (LONDON)
Islington Assembly Hall is looking for an Assistant Venue Manager to oversee all ticketing and box office activity, as well as managing social media posts and supporting overall marketing strategy.

For more information and to apply click here.
   
RAYMOND GUBBAY LIMITED - EVENTS ADMINISTRATOR (LONDON)
Raymond Gubbay Ltd, London's leading promoter of popular classical music, dance and trail events, is seeking to appoint a full time enthusiastic Event Administrator to join its busy event department.

For more information and to apply click here.

Eventbrite confirms IPO plans
Eventbrite has confirmed its Initial Public Offering, with plans to raise $200 million by listing on the New York Stock Exchange. Details of the IPO plans were published yesterday, the self-service ticketing platform having initially filed confidential documents with the US Securities & Exchange Commission last month.

Among the stats included in yesterday's statement is the fact the ticketing firm made a $15.6 million loss in the first half of the year, while losses in 2017 were $38.5 million. Earnings last year were $4.2 million. However, despite the losses, revenues are rising each year, with a 51% year-on-year rise between 2016 and 2017, and a 61% growth rate in the first half of this year. Elsewhere in the stats party, the firm says that last year 700,000 event organisers used its platform to sell tickets to about three million events in over 170 countries.

Eventbrite is one of the few ticketing start-ups to have made real traction in a market dominated by a small number of existing players, which use customer data, cash advances and other financial kickbacks to secure business from major event promoters, even when newcomers offer better tech.

Those tactics, coupled with Live Nation being both the biggest promoter and the biggest ticketing company in key markets, make it hard for start-ups to enter the ticketing business. Eventbrite gained momentum by initially pitching its services to more grassroots event organisers, and then grew its market share by acquiring other start-ups employing a similar approach, like Ticketfly and Ticketscript.

In its IPO filing, the company lists Live Nation's various ticketing businesses - and especially those aimed at more grass-roots promoters like Ticketweb and Universe - as key competitors, alongside a range of other tech companies. It also references it partnerships with the likes of Facebook and Spotify, which are big pluses at the moment, but also create risk, because of the potential negative impact of those alliances ending.

Anyone wanting to learn more about how Eventbrite sells tickets could test out the platform by booking themselves a place on some upcoming CMU Insights training courses. In fact, that's pretty much the only way I can think of for anyone wanting to know more about how Eventbrite works.

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Dancehall lyric borrowed by Miley Cyrus a "mere transliteration", says latest legal filing in We Can't Stop copyright case
Lawyers for Miley Cyrus have formally filed their motion seeking to dismiss the copyright infringement case being pursued against the pop star by Jamaican dancehall artist Flourgon. You know, the one where she's accused of ripping off a lyric for her 2013 single 'We Can't Stop'.

Flourgon, real name Michael May, sued Cyrus back in March claiming that 'We Can't Stop' infringed his 1998 track 'We Run Things'. The dispute centres on a single lyric, with May arguing that Cyrus and her songwriting pals lifted his line "we run things, things no run we" and tweaked it to go: "we run things, things don't run we".

The lawsuit noted the popularity of 'We Run Things' within reggae and dancehall circles. It then referenced an interview with songwriting duo Rock City - co-writers on the Cyrus song - in which they talked about how reggae culture had influenced 'We Can't Stop'. May's legal filing then argued that Cyrus's team had taken reggae influences - including his lyric - as part of a plan to re-invent the pop star's image.

Lawyers for Cyrus, her songwriting partners and Sony Music had already let it be known that they believed May had no case, but now they've formally filed paperwork requesting that the entire lawsuit be dismissed via summary judgement.

Team Cyrus had already presented three arguments as to why May's copyright claim was invalid: that a single lyric isn't protected by copyright, that Cyrus's use of it was 'fair use', and that May's lyric in 'We Run Things' isn't in itself original.

They embellished on the latter point in this week's legal filing. May has admitted that his lyric "we run things, things no run we" is based on a pre-existing phrase in Jamaican Patois that goes "wi run tings, tings nuh run wi". However, he says he "uniquely and creatively mixed" that phrase with the English language, creating a separate derivative work in which he is the copyright owner.

Countering this argument, Team Cyrus write: "To qualify as a copyrightable derivative, his new material must be independently protectable; here, it is most certainly not: his change from 'wi run tings, tings nuh run wi' to 'we run things, things no run we' is not, as he claims, a 'unique' and 'creative mix', but is rather a mere transliteration that cannot satisfy that minimum threshold".

They go on: "Even if it did, copyright protection for a derivative extends only to the new elements plaintiff added. Plaintiff also admits that defendants altered his 'new' elements, as 'Stop' uses the phrase 'we run things, things don't run we'. In essence, plaintiff's entire claim rests on the far-fetched notion that defendants' use of a variation of a short phrase originated from the Jamaican Patois infringes his copyright in a different and negligible variation of that same phrase. That is not the law".

When Cyrus et al first presented their initial arguments against May's case, the judge hearing the dispute said he thought some of their points would need more scrutiny than is possible under summary judgement. It now remains to be seen if the more detailed arguments presented by the pop star and her team this week convinces him otherwise.

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Court sides with Commodores over Commodore in Commodores trademark case
A judge has ruled in favour of the Commodores in their legal fight with a Commodore over his use of the word Commodores. The Commodore may be a Commodore in spirit, but he's an ex-Commodore in commerce, and ex-Commodores, even if they still consider themselves to be Commodores, should never say they are Commodores, because only the Commodores get to say that they are Commodores. Isn't trademark law fun?

As you may remember, Commodores Entertainment Corp - the business behind the current incarnation of the Commodores - sued a former member of the group in April, accusing him of infringing the outfit's trademark and violating previous court orders to boot.

The incarnation of the Commodores represented by CEC includes a founder member of the group, William King. Their beef is with another founder member, Thomas McClary. CEC said he was infringing its marks by performing under various confusing names, including the likes of 'The Commodores Experience featuring Thomas McClary'.

The squabble over McClary's use of the Commodores brand had gone legal before, which is why CEC also accused him of violating an earlier court ruling.

In its April legal filing, CEC said McClary continued to use the Commodores name on his social channels and in promotions for upcoming music festival appearances. The company then stated that: "Mr McClary calling his band 'The Commodores Experience', 'Commodores' Experience' or 'Commodore's Experience' is likely to cause additional consumer confusion, is not historically accurate and is not using CEC's marks in fair use".

Both sides subsequently made a number of complaints about the other, most of which the Florida judge hearing the case, Roy B Dalton, has now knocked back. However, according to Law 360, on the central issue Dalton has sided with CEC, ruling that McClary has indeed used the company's marks and in doing so has likely confused concert-goers.

To that end the judge issued a summary judgement in CEC's favour on the trademark infringement point while also "keeping open the possibility of damages under Florida's Deceptive And Unfair Trade Practices Act". But he also confirmed that other elements of the two parties' dispute were being dismissed, declaring that: "When the music stops, only CEC's claims for damages under [trademark law] and FDUTPA remain viable".

Look at that, "when the music stops"! All hail those judicial jokers. Despite being exhausted from all the laughter, CEC's legal reps confirmed that they were now planning for the next court hearing to discuss all those lovely (possible) damages.

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Vigsy's Club Tip: Notting Hill Carnival
Crikey, is it that time of year again? Time for the West London street party that is the one and only Notting Hill Carnival, taking place this Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday.

As ever, there are multiple strands to London's biggest carnival. There's the traditional procession of floats, which proceed down a marked route playing calypso, soca and reggae from the Caribbean. And alongside the music, you will find lots of hugely detailed costumes. The taste of the Caribbean is all round too, with plenty of traditional items - so jerk chicken and curried goat is on the menu, or saltfish and ackee with the obligatory rice and peas.

But Carnival also forays and delves into jungle, ragga, hip hop, house and broken beat - giving it a real London and UK slant - via the numerous soundsystems erected around Notting Hill. They're certainly worth hunting down, though planning ahead as to which sound systems you're going to check is definitely worthwhile. Remember it does get hugely crowded at times and occasionally you may have to go where the crowds take you!

This year my picks of the 33 officially listed soundsystems are as follows...

• King Tubby's for some authentic reggae.

• Aba-shanti-I, who has over 30 years worth of soundsystem experience.

• Saxon Sound, where reggae star Tippa Irie cut his teeth.

• Seduction City, a female crew taking you to more soulful grooves.

• Rampage, playing more club orientated grooves from jungle to hip hop.

To get the most from Carnival, do have a look online. Remember, it can get very crowded, even more so on the Monday - so keep an eye on friends and maybe have a plan for regrouping, phone networks can slow down and buckle under the strain. The cash machines run out of cash too - be prepared for that.

There are also loads of post Carnival parties this weekend that are massively worth checking out. The CMU Club Tip is keeping it in a drum n bass style on Sunday - our choice of four venues across the capital are as follows...

Metalheadz Carnival After Party at Egg, with Goldie and a slew of awesome DJs.

The Carnival Session at The Steelyard, with LTJ Bukem, Mala, Awesome Tapes From Africa and more.

Jungle Mania at Suffolk Street, with DJ Randall, DJ Brockie, Ragga Twins, Uncle Dugs and more.

Shogun Audio Carnival Special at Phonox, with Technimatic, Pola & Bryson and more.

All in all, it's another great line-up for this truly outstanding London event. Let's just cross fingers that the sun shines in West London this weekend. And if you're one of those Londoners who has never quite made it to this big bash, then do it. Trust me, you'll love it. Viva la Carnival!

Bring Me The Horizon announce new album
Bring Me The Horizon have announced that they will release a new album, titled 'Amo', in January. They've also released the first track from it, 'Mantra'.

"'Amo' is a love album that explores every aspect of that most powerful emotion", says frontman Oli Sykes. "It deals with the good, the bad and the ugly, and as a result we've created an album that's more experimental, more varied, weird, and wonderful than anything we've done before".

The album is set for release on 11 Jan. Listen to 'Mantra' here.

The band will also being touring in November, including two nights at Alexandra Palace in London. Look:

23 Nov: Birmingham Arena
24 Nov: Leeds, First Direct Arena
25 Nov: Glasgow, Hydro
27 Nov: Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
29 Nov: London, Alexandra Palace
30 Nov: London, Alexandra Palace

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The Chills release new single, Scarred
The Chills have released new single 'Scarred'. The track is taken from upcoming album, 'Snow Bound', which is set for release on 14 Sep.

"'Scarred' is about realising that you have become too accommodating to all the people who just wish to souvenir a little part of yourself", says frontman Martin Phillipps.

"It also has a contemporary twist", he goes on, "by mentioning border walls, which represent the walls we build around ourselves and our decisions on who we let through them into our personal space and lives. It's also a comment about the demands of online networking versus the maintenance of privacy".

It covers quite a lot of ground then. Listen to the song here.

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The Prodigy announce UK tour
The Prodigy have announced a UK arena tour that will kick off on the very day that they release their new album, 'No Tourists'. That's planning. No slack in their system.

'No Tourists' is set for release on 2 Nov, and the band recently released first single 'Need Some1'. Tickets for the tour go on sale on 31 Aug.

Here are the tour dates:

2 Nov: Glasgow, SEC Hall 4
3 Nov: Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena
5 Nov: Brighton Centre
6 Nov: Plymouth, Pavilions
8 Nov: Liverpool, Echo Arena
9 Nov: Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena
10 Nov: Birmingham Arena
13 Nov: Leeds, First Direct Arena
14 Nov: London, Alexandra Palace
15 Nov: London, Alexandra Palace

Watch the video for 'Need Some1' here.

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John Lennon, Zedd, Courtney Barnett, more

Other notable announcements and developments today...

• John Lennon's 'Imagine' album is getting itself a re-issue. The six disc version will feature all sorts of extra stuff, including the original demo of the song 'Imagine'. You can listen to that right now if you go here though.

• Zedd has released the video for his single, 'Happy Now', featuring Elley Duhé.

• Courtney Barnett has released the video for 'Charity', taken from her latest album 'Tell Me How You Really Feel'.

• Soccer Mommy will release a new seven-inch on 5 Oct. It'll feature a reworked version of her song 'Henry' on the A-side, and this cover of Bruce Springsteen's 'I'm On Fire' on the B-side. "I wanted to make a version of 'I'm On Fire' that connected with the sadness of the song", she says. "I think that doing a more stripped down version allowed me to make something that feels emotionally raw".

• Ahead of upcoming UK shows starting next week, Oh Sees have released a video for 'Anthemic Aggressor'.

• The shortlist for the Scottish Album of The Year Award is out and features the long-listed albums from Babe, Best Girl Athlete, Franz Ferdinand, Golden Teacher, Karine Polwart with Pippa Murphy, Kobi Onyame, Mogwai, Out Lines, Siobhan Wilson and Young Fathers. The overall winner will be announced on 6 Sep.

• It was the second ever Heavy Music Awards yesterday. Look, winners!

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

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Beef Of The Week #418: Nicki Minaj v Travis Scott (and his baby)
At one point this week, while discussing which of the day's music news stories we should cover, it was suggested that this was a non-story. Well, welcome to its fourth CMU Daily appearance. If this is a non-story, how come I just read 6000 articles about it? Nicki Minaj's anger at not having a number one album is officially a non-non-story. Aka a story.

Nicki Minaj did not get the number one album in the US last week. That's the story. She released an album and then, when the chart was published, sitting there at number one was some other album. Almost like her album wasn't the most popular of that week.

The thing is though, Minaj was expecting to see her name at the top of that chart. As far as she was concerned, it was a foregone conclusion. She probably wasn't even going to look, but then she thought that it would be nice to see her name right up there at the top of a list. Everyone likes to be at the top of a list, don't they? I bet, even if you were on a list of people who deserve to have worms stuffed up their nose until they come out of their mouth, you wouldn't mind if you were at number one.

Anyway, as I think I mentioned, Minaj wasn't at number one on that list. The best selling albums in America list. Not the worms list. I don't know about the worms list. But on the best selling albums in America list she was at number two. And that's clearly as bad as not being on the list at all. She might as well not have bothered even making an album. And you know whose fault it is? Travis Scott. And Spotify. And most of all, an actual baby.

It's Scott's fault because he was the artist who is in Minaj's rightful number one spot this week. Generally you would think that this was because his album was more popular, but it turns out it's because he completely cheated. He wasn't more popular, he just managed to get more of his fans to part with their money than Minaj did.

According to Minaj, Scott cheated because he was just giving copies of his album away willy-nilly to anyone willing to buy any old rubbish he put up for sale on his website. Tickets to his next tour mainly, she reckons. Which is where that bloody baby comes in. Because Scott's girlfriend Kylie Jenner - the seventh most-followed person on all of Instagram - posted about Scott's tour on the social network, saying that she and their baby Stormi were "ready" for it.

This, believes Minaj, caused more than 50,000 Stormi fans to go and buy tickets for the tour from Scott's website. The free albums this gave them pushed Scott up into the number one position. What's more, says Minaj, purchasers of those tickets had "no requirement of redeeming the album", so they were double fake sales. "Billboard says they'll change the rules cuz of this", she wrote, although any future rule changing will all be too late to give her the number one that was rightfully hers.

"I put my blood, sweat and tears in writing a dope album only for Travis Scott to have Kylie Jenner post a tour pass telling people to come see her and Stormi", she wrote.

It is true that bundling may have had some effect on Scott's chart position. This week at least, sales on his store were giving fans access to a pre-sale for his tour tickets. It was not explicitly stated that any items came with a download of the album - even physical copies of the album themselves. However, according to The Fader, each item sold did give the buyer access to an album download, which they may or may not choose to redeem.

Billboard rules state that only redeemed downloads sold in such a way will count towards the chart, and there's no evidence that things have been any different in this case, despite what Minaj says. But she is right that Scott was pushing a regularly expanding line-up of merch for sale in the first week of his new album release, and then again in the following week ahead of the launch of the tour pre-sale last night. Now that the pre-sale is live, all of that merch is gone, and only the album is for sale.

Scott may well have played the system to his advantage, but bundling items together on an artists' direct-to-fan store isn't unusual. In fact it's fairly standard practice these days. If you look at, for example, Minaj's online store, you'll see that every item comes with a free download of her latest album. I'm sure that's not relevant though.

Anyway, if you look at the actual numbers, Scott and Minaj both shifted around 78,000 actual copies of their albums. Where Minaj slipped behind was on streaming numbers. She racked up 107,000 equivalent sales on the streaming services in the US, but Scott managed 127,000. Don't worry though, she's got a theory about that too.

"Spotify put Drake's face on every playlist but told me they'd have to teach me a lesson for playing my music ten minutes early on [her show on Apple Music's Beats 1]", she tweeted. "Even though they've been giving away my music for free for years and I am one of the top Spotify artists of all time".

Later claiming that Spotify had held back putting her album live by twelve hours, she went on: "My music went up on Apple so I played it. I assumed it was on Spotify and Tidal at the same time. Spotify said that Apple tweeted fans advising 'Queen' was up and therefore they had to teach me a lesson".

Spotify denied this, a spokesperson telling Variety: "Spotify supported Nicki Minaj with a Times Square billboard, a host of the largest playlists, New Music Friday and the new music release shelf. Her song 'Bed' actually saw an increase based on the promotions put behind the campaign. The company continues to be big fans of Nicki".

So basically, that's doubt thrown on all of Minaj's theories. But that doesn't matter, because she was only joking about all this anyway.

"People are calling me thinking I'm huffing and puffing", she tweeted a couple of hours after her initial rant on Twitter. "OMG y'all, this is sarcasm/dry humour. Yikes. I'm having the most iconNIC time. Come let me kiss you ... When people call me and hear me crackin up laughing they seem so puzzled. Loosen up".

So that's all fine then. Although this was just the first of several times this week that Minaj insisted that she wasn't actually angry after a prolonged period of appearing to be very, very angry. The next occasion came on the next edition of her previously mentioned Beats 1 radio show.

Returning to the theme of Scott cheating his way to number one, she said: "What we're not gonna do is have that Auto-Tune man selling fucking sweaters telling you he sold half a million albums, because he fucking didn't. You stupid fuck. You got your fucking homeboy talking for you and you got your girlfriend selling tour passes. Stop it. Knock it the fuck off".

"When [Scott] comes along and sells a tour pass that has nothing to do with his fucking music and says he's sold more than Kanye West and Nas - no you fucking didn't, keep it the fuck real", she continued. "I know I'm that bitch, I know I'm number one".

She then added: "Having said that, none of this is some serious anger shit. No, we are in a time right now where black music is prospering. I'm so excited to see where rap has come from and where we are. But right is right and wrong is wrong".

So, see? She's not angry about it. Not even a bit. Sure, she keeps talking about it angrily, but that doesn't mean she's angry. Because she's not. You shouldn't be taking any of this seriously, you know that, right? Well, I hope we shouldn't be taking any of this seriously, because another thing she said during this particular rant was: "I know that you guys are saying me and baby Stormi have beef. Yes we do".

A feud with another rapper is one thing. Even a feud with that rapper's girlfriend. But a feud with a baby? I don't know if you've ever met a baby, but their ability to engage in any kind of nuanced argument is often extremely lacking. Although, thinking about it, they may stand half a chance against Minaj.

Anyway, Christ, this isn't even over yet. Because the other thing that happened this week was that Minaj cancelled her co-headline tour with Future. That's right, cancelled. C-A-N-C-E-L-L-E-D. It was announced by promoter Live Nation that the tour was being pulled in order to "re-evaluate elements of production".

In a video for fans on Twitter, Minaj explained: "This is all happening because I pushed my album back two months, and I just finished writing and recording literally hours before the album came out. So now I just simply don't have the time to rehearse and be on the road in time to give you guys the level of a show I need to give. [We] are working tirelessly to give you the best show of my life. I really apologise, but it'll be worth it".

Shortly prior to this, rumours had been circulating that the tour was about to be cancelled due to poor ticket sales. The New York Post quoted an unnamed source as saying that ticket sales were extremely low. Billboard, however, disputed this, siding instead with Minaj and her version of events.

Even with low ticket sales, said the US industry trade mag, the cost of pulling the dates would be too significant. There will be shows in May next year instead, but Future will not be part of the tour, meaning a significant portion of ticketholders will likely now demand refunds. Moving to May also puts her into festival season. Plus, conflicts with sporting events may mean the venues are no longer available. No one would choose to go through all that cost and hassle simply because ticket sales had been slow.

While many were jumping up and down and pointing to the tour cancellation as proof that Minaj in 2018 is a flop - her album, remember, only went to number two in the US album chart, like anyone could do - Billboard actually came to her defence with a pretty convincing argument. About the tour, anyway. That's nice, huh?

So, the next thing to then happen in this saga was that Minaj posted a screengrab of a Billboard tweet to Instagram. Was it thanking Billboard for its countering of the "poor tickets sales caused tour cancellation" gossiping? No, it was not. It was about a different article in the trade mag entirely. "Nicki Minaj details NickiHndrxx Tour cancellation: 'I don't have time to rehearse'", read the headline.

"You are now in the running for #CockSuckaOfTheDay award on #QueenRadio this Thursday", she wrote in the caption. Then she added a message to her fans: "Barbz get me the name of this writer then hit them and tell them this is one black woman they will not bully into a corner by FRAUDULENT SHAMING TACTICS".

The reason for her anger was the use of the word "cancellation", which misrepresents what's happened, she reckoned. Billboard was not the only publication to use this word. Many had. If not most. Partly because with Future - the Hndrxx in NickiHndrxx - out of the tour, it would seem that the shows next May will be something different to what was originally put on sale. Not so, said Minaj.

"To clarify - because I realise common sense is far from common - I haven't CANCELLED anything", she wrote. "I reversed the order of the US and European legs of my tour. This is for obvious reasons to anyone with a brain".

She went on: "My album was originally going to drop in June which would've given me three months of tour rehearsal. However, I was still writing and recording up to last week. We are all grown right? We can all do math right? Or will they just pretend to not have basic sense so that they can board the Nicki hate train and get some clicks? I can't rehearse four weeks for a tour I originally planned on rehearsing three months for. I give my fans QUALITY".

As for her demands that fans work out who had used the "cancellation" word at Billboard, had Minaj clicked on the link in the tweet she grabbed, she would have found the name of said Billboard writer right up at the top of the article. She might also have found that other Billboard piece arguing that it was, indeed, more likely that she'd pulled the dates in order to ensure the quality of the show than because of terrible ticket sales.

Maybe she did become aware of all that later, because when she returned to Beats 1 again last night she had a different Cock Sucka Of The Day entirely. Apparently some new information had come to light.

"The cocksucker of the day is Irving Azoff", she told listeners. "And I'm gonna tell you why. Allegedly, he tried to put out a smear campaign against my tour, and contacted people in the media to spread negative things about my tour ... May God be with you, Irving. It's disgusting what these people have been systematically trying to do".

Music industry veteran Azoff, of course, is a former boss of Live Nation and Ticketmaster - something Minaj noted on the show - and, perhaps more importantly, is also Travis Scott's co-manager. If you're a fan of joining dots, you can put those ones together pretty easily to create a decent conspiracy theory. Dots are fun, huh?

And this all also plays into one of Minaj's two personas.

On record she is a dominant force who destroys all others. But on Twitter she regularly portrays herself as the underdog of the music business, constantly fighting against an industry that is out to get her. Some of the things she says in this regard probably do have some truth to them. After all, she arguably has had to work much harder as a female rapper to achieve a level of success on a par with her male counterparts.

Reaching number two in the US album chart may contradict her underdog status in a normal week - clearly she's doing very well thank you very much - but within her own narrative, you can see why losing out to Scott - who has nothing like her lyrical or performing talent - stings.

Still, her claims of being bullied are often then surrounded by bullying language, and unnecessary and inappropriate calls on her fans to attack her music industry foes - as shown in the post about Billboard's article: "Get me the name of this writer then hit them".

In recent months there has been much discussion about the barrage of abuse that music writer and Minaj fan Wanna Thompson faced after she expressed an opinion regarding the direction she'd like the rapper's music to take. "You know how dope it would be if Nicki put out mature content?" she tweeted. "No silly shit. Just reflecting on past relationships, being a boss, hardships, etc. She's touching 40 soon, a new direction is needed".

It's a valid opinion, and one that must have crossed the minds of many. Minaj is probably the greatest rapper of her generation in terms of skill, but I still feel her best work is ahead of her. And to date, her scattergun approach to constructing albums, shifting wildly in genre and tone, has opened her up to being dismissed.

'Queen' is probably the closest she's got to nailing the album format to date, but she could still do so much more. She's actually delivered more great work than many artists ever manage - just listen to this 2012 mix of her best verses - but it gets jumbled up with her less satisfying material.

That's not the point though. Like anyone deemed to have slighted Minaj, Thompson was attacked viciously by the Barbz. More shockingly, Minaj herself piled in too.

Thompson posted a screengrab of a Twitter DM she said she'd received from the rapper, tearing into her, calling her "ugly" and "jealous". None of which felt like a reasonable response to Thompson's remarks. But, as this New Yorker article posits, as Minaj falls deeper into her underdog storyline, she is acting more like a member of the Barbz, rather than their figurehead. "I hear the criticism loud and clear", she rapped on her debut album. That's seeming less like the case these days.

While Minaj would probably argue that she's simply defending herself against 'haters' with all the social media and radio show ranting and remarks, the amount of coverage of how she and her fans act online has arguably drawn attention away from the music. It's also likely that it's put a percentage of more casual listeners off listening to her latest releases.

In addition to that, there have been other controversies surrounding the new album. Her decision to work with controversial rapper 6ix9ine for one. "This is what happens when you release a great body of work after they spent millions to ruin you", she tweeted in response to criticism of this. "They writing about 69 cuz 'Queen' is flawless". Then there are the lyrics on the album that have been deemed to be homophobic, which seems like a particular misstep for someone with a large LGBT fanbase.

While the cancellation of a tour is always going to draw speculation that a performer's star in on the wane, the coverage of Minaj this week could still have been so much more positive. Among the ranting on Twitter and Beats 1, she has repeatedly pointed out that 'Queen' went to number one in 86 countries. The global success of the album is much greater than that of Scott's 'Astroworld', and she only just missed out on the US number one too.

There is no way that 'Queen' should be described as a flop, but I have repeatedly seen that word ascribed to it this week. And for what it's worth, I do believe that she most likely pulled her US tour over concerns about the quality of the show. Ticket sales may also have been a concern as well, but she's probably right that there just wasn't time to rehearse such a major production to the necessary level.

Another thread of discussion this week, and in recent months, has been whether attention is moving away from Minaj to other female rappers - particularly Cardi B. Minaj's anger (or not) at Cardi B's success has been a hot topic, thanks to the continuing tendency in the media to put forth that there can only be one successful woman in any genre at any one time.

It probably is true that Cardi B would not be where she is without Minaj laying down a path before her, but that's another thing that should be talked about in more positive terms. Minaj's achievements should be more celebrated, and probably will be at some point. But while she spends all her time complaining about being stiffed on her chart position - in an age where the chart already seems less relevant, especially to the sorts of people consuming her music - she makes it much easier for others to present her in a less positive light.

Going back to where we started, my colleagues probably were right about this being a non-story. "Artist goes to number two in a chart no one really cares about anymore", is not much of a headline. "Artist postpones tour" is certainly more of a story, but one that could have come and gone. As it is, I've somehow now managed to add 3000 words to the tens of thousands already written about all this over the last few days.

BACK TO THE TOP OF THE BULLETIN

 
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.
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