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LIVENow partners on Lizzo and Gorillaz events

Livestream company LiveNow has announced upcoming presentations with Lizzo and Gorillaz.

Lizzo will be the final 2021 headliner for American Express Unstaged digital music series on 4 December. The performance will take place in Miami in front of a live audience and will stream exclusively on the LiveNow platform and will be available to watch on demand for 48 hours.

Past Unstaged headliners have included Sam Smith, Alica Keys and Maroon 5.

In addition, LiveNow has partnered with Trafalgar Releasing to bring Gorillaz present Song Machine Live From Kong to the big screen. Captured at the band’s Kong Studios HQ in London, the “star-studded virtual experience”, will be broadcast in cinemas worldwide for one day only on 8 December. 

LiveNow previously worked with Gorillaz on their livestream event, Song Machine Live, which was broadcast live around the world with three shows across three time zones on 12-13 December last year.

We look forward to welcoming cinema audiences to experience their outstanding live show on the big screen

“We saw great success with Gorillaz’ previous cinema event Reject False Icons, and we look forward to welcoming cinema audiences to experience their outstanding live show on the big screen, with immersive surround sound and exclusive bonus content,” says Trafalgar Releasing CEO Marc Allenby. 

James Massing, chief commercial officer at LiveNow, explains the firm’s goal is to give fans “unparalleled access to the ultimate live music experiences”.

“Last year, we brought Gorillaz fans a one-off opportunity to watch the band perform their critically acclaimed album during a time where live music stopped,” he says. “We’re proud to share the performance once again but on the big screen.”

Other music events broadcast by LiveNow in 2020 included some of the biggest live streams of the year, including One World: Together at HomeDua Lipa’s Studio 2054, Ellie Goulding’s Brightest Blue Experience, Gorillaz’ Song Machine Live from Kong and Pete Tong’s O Come All Ye Ravers.

 


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WME freed from Virgin Fest lawsuit over artist deposits

WME has been freed from Virgin Fest Los Angeles’ lawsuit seeking to recover prepaid deposits from the event’s cancelled 2020 edition.

VFLA Eventco LLC – Virgin Fest’s organiser and the music festival arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group – filed a lawsuit against the agency in July 2020, as well as artists Lizzo, Ellie Goulding and Kali Uchis, saying the parties had agreed to return deposits in the event of cancellation due to “an uncontrollable factor”.

The acts had been scheduled to play the debut outing of the festival at the Banc of California Stadium (22,000-cap.) and Exposition Park (160-acre) in LA on 6 and 7 June 2020 before it was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

VFLA argued that because the government prevented the festival from proceeding, the artists were obliged to return monies they had been advanced when they were booked to play.

The judge did allow a breach of contract claim to move forward against the artists’ touring companies

However, Lizzo, Goulding and their agents argued that they could keep those payments because they were still “ready, willing and able to perform”, despite the festival being called off. Uchis’ company did not file a demurrer but did file a notice of joinder to the other defendants’ demurrers.

According to VFLA, all other agencies have returned, or agreed to return, the full amount of the prepaid deposits for the performances.

On Friday (12 March), at the LA Superior Court, Judge Mark H. Epstein issued an order that said the agreements the parties signed protected WME from being sued for what is essentially a dispute between the artists and the promoter.

According to Law360, Epstein said the court “agrees with the plaintiff that the contract does not protect WME from liability for its own wrongs. It only protects WME from being sued for what is essentially a dispute between the artists and the promoter. But that is essentially what is at issue here.”

The judge did allow a breach of contract claim to move forward against the artists’ touring companies and also said that VFLA can amend its complaint against WME, which the agency objected to.

 


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Virgin Fest sues WME, artists in bid to recover deposits

The organisers of Virgin Fest, which was set to have its debut outing this June, have filed a lawsuit against agency William Morris Endeavor (WME) and artists Lizzo, Kali Uchis and Ellie Goulding, in an attempt to recover deposits from the event’s cancelled 2020 edition.

The acts had all been scheduled to play in the festival at the Banc of California Stadium (22,000-cap.) and Exposition Park (160-acre) in Los Angeles on 6 and 7 June before it was cancelled – along with the vast majority of this year’s event calendar – due to the coronavirus pandemic.

VFLA Eventco LLC – Virgin Fest’s organiser and the music festival arm of Richard Branson’s Virgin Group – has now levied a complaint against WME, as well as Ellie Goulding’s Starry US Touring, Lizzo’s Big Grrrl Big Touring and Kali Uchis Touring, saying the parties had agreed to return deposits in the event of cancellation due to “an uncontrollable factor”.

“After the government prevented the festival from proceeding, VFLA invoked the force majeure provision and demanded the return in full of the prepaid deposits”

According to VFLA, all other agencies have returned, or agreed to return, the full amount of the prepaid deposits for the performances, but WME argues that deposits do not need to be returned as the artists were “otherwise ready, willing and able to perform.”

“[WME] refused to return the deposits and insisted that the artists it represents are entitled to keep the deposits — even if the Covid-19 pandemic constituted a force majeure event, even if the governmental orders prevented the festival from proceeding, and even if those orders likewise made it unlawful for their artists to perform on the dates and at the times and places specified in their agreements with VFLA,” reads the complaint, as published by Law 360.

“After the government prevented the festival from proceeding, VFLA invoked the force majeure provision of the artists’ performance agreements and demanded the return in full of the prepaid deposits made in connection with those agreements.”

VFLA is seeking a court order forcing WME to return the deposit money, as well as damages. From the three touring companies, the Virgin fest organiser wants additional damages for breach of contract and breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

IQ has contacted WME for comment.

Photo: Andy Witchger/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)

 


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Lizzo, ASAP Rocky to headline first-ever Virgin Fest

The line-up for the inaugural Virgin Fest has been announced, with acts including Lizzo, ASAP Rocky, Anderson .Paak, Major Lazer and Ellie Goulding making up the bill.

Virgin founder Richard Branson first revealed his plans for Virgin Fest in 2018, following the end of the brand’s partnership with the UK’s V Festival. The festival launched following the acquisition of the Kaaboo festival brand by Virgin’s music festival arm – also named Virgin Fest – last year.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the Virgin brand, the festival is taking place on 6 and 7 June 2020 at the Banc of California Stadium (22,000-cap.) and Exposition Park (160-acre) in Los Angeles.

As well as its music programme, which also features Jorja Smith, Kali Uchis, Japanese Breakfast, Clairo and Celeste, Virgin Fest will showcase an interactive fair with new technologies and gaming.

“By combining Virgin’s signature hospitality and ingenuity with a strong sense of purpose, our team built the festival of tomorrow, today,” comments Virgin founder Branson.

“We are proud to bring Virgin Fest to LA and to be on track to become one of the United States’ greenest festivals”

“We are proud to bring Virgin Fest to LA and to be on track to become one of the United States’ greenest festivals.”

Sustainable initiatives such as a single-use plastic ban, solar programme, surplus food donations and a partnership with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will help reduce the event’s carbon footprint.

“Music is an emotional force of transformation – it can change people’s moods, their outlook on life, and sometimes, it can unite the world,” says Jason Felts, CEO and founder of Virgin Fest.

“We are embracing the dream that music can bring to get us to a better place – for our fans, for our people, for our communities and for our planet. We envision a tomorrow where festivals live and breathe the extraordinary – Virgin Fest looks to lead that charge.”

Tickets for Virgin Fest are available here. A two-day pass costs US$229, with VIP options available for $499 and mega VIP tickets for $1999.

Photo: Andy Witchger/ Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)

 


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Billie Eilish triumphant at 2020 Grammys

The 2020 Grammy Awards took place last night (Sunday 26 January), in a ceremony at the Staples Center in Los Angeles that saw Paradigm-repped Billie Eilish become the second artist ever to take home all four top awards.

Billie Eilish, who performed a rendition of her song ‘When the Party’s Over’ at the event, was crowned the year’s best new artist, as well as winning prizes for album of the year (When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?), and both record and song of the year for ‘Bad Guy’. The 18-year-old, who also won the award for best pop vocal album, is the first woman to achieve a clean sweep of all four major awards.

Lizzo, who led the nominations list with eight in total, took home three awards, for best pop solo performance (‘Truth Hurts’), best traditional R&B performance (‘Jerome’) and best urban contemporary album (Cuz I Love You). The singer, who is represented by Matthew Morgan at WME, opened the ceremony with performances of ‘Cuz I Love You’ and ‘Truth Hurts’.

Other major awards went to Tyler the Creator for best rap album, Anderson Paak for best R&B album, Cage the Elephant for best rock album, Tanya Tucker for best country album, the Chemical Brothers for best dance/electronic album and Alejandro Sanz for best latin pop album.

Paradigm-repped Billie Eilish become the second artist ever to take home all four top awards

Several artists went home without an award, despite multiple nominations. Ariana Grande and H.E.R failed to convert despite appearances in five categories, whereas Lucky Daye, Yola and Thom Yorke missed out on silverware in four categories each.

Performances on the night came from an array of artists, including Ariana Grande, who sang ‘Imagine’ and ‘7 Rings’; Usher, who performed a Prince tribute with Sheila E. and FKA Twigs; best rap album winner Tyler the Creator, who performed ‘Earfquake’; Spanish star Rosalía, winner of best latin rock, urban or alternative album, who sang ‘Juro Que’; and host Alicia Keys, who delivered her own version of Lewis Capaldi’s ‘Someone You Loved’.

Alicia Keys made passing reference to the controversy which has gripped the Recording Academy in the past week, following allegations made by former CEO Deborah Dugan. The Grammys host was also among those on the night to pay tribute to basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

A full list of award winners can be found here.

Photo: © Lars Crommelinck Photography/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)

 


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Lizzo, Billie, Lil Nas X to make Grammys debut

The 62nd annual Grammy Awards are taking place on Sunday (26 January) at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, celebrating artists across 33 categories.

Live performances on the night will come from record of the year nominees Lil Nas X and Billy Ray Cyrus, as well as K-pop stars BTS, EDM DJ Diplo and singer Mason Ramsey.

Other nominees including Lizzo, Billie Eilish, Bon Iver, Ariana Grande, H.E.R. and Tyler the Creator will also perform on the night.

Over 173 nominations have been put forward for this year’s awards, which has seen its fair share of controversy this year due to allegations levelled by suspended CEO Deborah Dugan. Using data from Rostr, IQ takes a look at the major trends this year’s Grammys.

 


There are some usual suspects among the nominees for a few of the biggest categories. Last year’s best pop vocal album winner Ariana Grande is up for the prize for a fourth time, going up against Taylor Swift, who is on the lookout for her first win in the category after three nominations.

In the best dance album category, the Chemical Brothers are nominated for the sixth time – including two wins – for No Geography, whereas Flume sees his second nomination, following a win in 2017.

Lizzo is the artist with the highest number of nominations, appearing in eight categories, including best new artist, song of the year, album of the year and record of the year. Billie Eilish and Lil Nas X have also fared well, receiving six nominations apiece. Of the top eight most nominated artists, five are women, with H.E.R, Ariana Grande and Yola also appearing in multiple categories.

Overall, however, fewer than one in three nominated artists are women

Overall, however, fewer than one in three nominated artists are women, with male artists making up almost 60% of nominees and 10% comprising acts with a mix of male and female artists. Two award categories – best rap album and best electronic album – consist of purely male artists.

The best pop vocal album and best new artist categories feature predominantly female nominees, 80% and 70% respectively, with best country album (60%) and album of the year (57%) also weighted towards female artists.

Over the past 20 years, more than twice as many nominations have been for male artists than female, with women outnumbering men in just two categories this century – best new artist and best pop vocal album.

Last year’s Grammy Awards, which saw artificial intelligence correctly predict Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’ song of the year win, with Kacey Musgraves picking up album of the year, Dua Lipa winning best new artist and Ariana Grande taking best pop vocal album.

Photo: Andy Witchger/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)


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