Legal and ethical hassles dominated the music industry’s attention this week, as trials and tribulations made headline news.
In the biggest outcome, the integrity of Prince’s recorded music legacy has been upheld in a lawsuit filed by his estate against Eye Records, which is described as a “bootleg label dedicated to Prince” in court papers.
A judge has awarded the Prince estate a $7 million default judgment and ordered Eye Records to take down all of its bootlegged Prince property. Eye had released 18 Prince compilations since his death, including live performances and unreleased tracks. The website housing the purloined material has been taken down.
MCCARTNEY THEATRICAL MUSICAL: Yes, Paul McCartney was in several bands before writing his first theatrical musical. A post this week to McCartney’s website indicates Macca is adapting Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life into a musical. Tony Award-winning writer Lee Hall is doing the book. Tracks have been created, but no projected opening night date has been set.
DANCING TO THE JAILHOUSE ROCK: Rapper Tay-K has been found guilty of murder and faces up to 99 years in prison. The 19-year-old participated in a home invasion and robbery in Mansfield, Texas in 2016. He produced several tracks while on the run from the law.
SAUDI CONCERT ADDS ARTISTS: Despite objections from human rights activists, a controversial concert in Saudi Arabia is moving forward and adding artists. Janet Jackson, Chris brown, 50 Cent, Future and Tyga are now part of the Jedda World Fest. Nicki Minaj pulled out because of concerns over the country’s policies. The new artists join Steve Aoki and Liam Payne on the bill. Saudi Arabia is loosening its restrictions on public music over the last year, and such artists as Mariah Carey, Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas, David Guetta and Tiesto have performed there recently.
SIX POINTS OF DARK HORSE: The copyright infringement lawsuit over Katy Perry’s 2013 single Dark Horse continued this week. Todd Decker, a musicologist and professor who serves as the chair of music at Washington University in St. Louis, appeared as the plaintiffs’ expert witness, trying to prove that Perry and collaborators Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald and Max Martin copied the underlying beat from Marcus Gray’s 2008 Christian rap song “Joyful Noise” without permission. Perry took the stand on day one of the trial. Co-writer Max Martin will testify when the trial resumes on Tuesday.
RYAN ADAMS RESURFACES: The singer-songwriter has emerged online for the first time in five months after allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse were revealed in a New York Times news story. Adams issued a statement via social media along with a new song,
“I’m Sorry and I Love You” on Instagram. “I have a lot to say. I am going to. Soon,” Adams wrote. “Because the truth matters. I know who I am. What I am. It’s time people know. Past time. All the beauty in a life cannot be reduced to rubble for lies. This madness. My work was a map for the lost. Not a billboard. So soon.”
Adams tweeted an apology following the story’s appearance, but also said, the “picture that this article paints is upsettingly inaccurate. Some of its details are misrepresented; some are exaggerated; some are outright false.”
The arrival of his album Big Colors was pushed back in the wake of the story.