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Olivia Rodrigo accused of plagiarism by Courtney Love and others

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Artwork for Sour Prom, which has similarities to Hole album Live Through This, criticised as ‘rude’ and ‘bad form’ by Love

Olivia Rodrigo has been accused by Courtney Love and others of plagiarism in her artwork and a music video.

Love highlighted similarities between the album cover to Live Through This by her band Hole, photographed by Ellen von Unwerth, and the image used to promote Sour Prom, an Olivia Rodrigo concert film airing on 29 June. Each image features a prom queen in a tiara holding flowers, wearing smeared mascara. Love posted the Sour Prom artwork to Instagram with the caption “Spot the Difference! #twinning”, and later wrote on Facebook: “Stealing an original idea and not asking permission is rude. There’s no way to be elegant about it. I’m not angry. It happens all the time to me. But this was bad form.”

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Universal Music Group Gets $240M Minority Stake in Chord Music Partners

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The company will now handle distribution and publishing administration for Chord’s catalog, which includes works released by Fleetwood Mac, Maroon 5 and Beyoncé. 

Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s largest music company, has acquired a 25.8% interest in Chord Music Partners for $240 million. As part of the deal, UMG will now handle distribution and publishing administration for Chord’s existing catalog, provided by UMG’s Virgin Music Group and Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG), respectively.

Formed in 2021 by KKR and Dundee Partners, the investment office of the Hendel family, Chord owns over 60,000 copyrights. This includes stakes in top songs like “Dreams” and “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac, “La Grange” by ZZ Top, “Counting Stars” and “Apologize” by OneRepublic, “Redbone” by Childish Gambino, “I Like Me Better” by Lauv, “Pursuit of Happiness” by Kid Cudi, “All Of Me” by John Legend, “Girls Like You” and “Sugar” by Maroon 5, “Halo” by Beyonce and “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perri.

Following the completion of the transaction, KKR will exit Chord. Previously, it was the majority stakeholder in the catalog firm. Now, Dundee is increasing its share to 74.2% and UMG will hold the remaining minority share.

UMG was advised by Goldman Sachs, Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Freshfields. DLA Piper and Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP served as legal advisors to Dundee. Fifth Third Bank, National Association served as financial advisor and provided committed financing to Dundee and UMG. The Raine Group served as the exclusive financial advisor and Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, LLP served as legal advisor to Chord Music Partners. Latham & Watkins LLP served as legal counsel to KKR.

Lucian Grainge, chairman/CEO of UMG, said in a statement: “Finding partners who share our passion for identifying iconic songs and recordings that will stand the test of time and deliver long-term growth is essential, which is why we’re so pleased to be working with Stephen and Sam Hendel and Dundee Partners. With the leadership of Jody Gerson at UMPG, Nat Pastor and JT Myers at Virgin, and the support of our experienced creative executives around the world, no one can do more with music rights than our teams. We look forward to creating maximum commercial and creative value for the songwriters and artists in Chord and building for the future.”

Boyd Muir, UMG executive vp/CFO/president of operations added: “We’re excited to partner with the Hendel family in Chord for a number of reasons. First, KKR and Dundee have built a very high-quality catalog that will benefit from our first-rate management and global capabilities. Second, this new structure provides us with an efficient vehicle for future catalog acquisitions, without significant capital allocation through a combination of leverage and partner equity capital. And finally, it offers us the perfect partner to approach future growth opportunistically and flexibly, one who is equally bullish on the long-term prospects for music.”

Sam Hendel, Dundee Partners’ managing principal/co-founder of Chord, added: “We’re thrilled to be partnering with Universal Music Group and embarking on this next exciting chapter for Chord. By combining a best-in-class financial acquisition vehicle with the world’s leading music company, we are creating both a premier platform for music investment as well as a permanent home for premier artists’ legacies and their iconic cultural works. We’d like to thank the team at KKR for their partnership and creating a strong foundation for Chord and its future success.”

“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to collaborate with many leading artists and to create significant value for our investors by building Chord into a differentiated and scaled portfolio,” said Jenny Box, partner at KKR. “We believe that Dundee and UMG will drive further value creation for artists and that they share our commitment to being respectful stewards of artists’ music.”

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Bobby Weir and Sun Ra Arkestra to headline A Great Night in Harlem fundraiser for the Jazz Foundation of America

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The March 28 event will take place at Harlem’s Apollo.

Bobby Weir and Sun Ra Arkestra will headline A Great Night in Harlem fundraiser for the Jazz Foundation of America.

The annual benefit will take place March 28 at The Apollo in Harlem. Its name plays off of A Great Day in Harlem, the classic 1958 Art Kane black-and-white photograph for Esquire that featured more than 50 jazz musicians seated on and surrounding a brownstone stoop.

The event, with Steve Jordan as musical director, will also feature a tribute to drummer Max Roach, who would have turned 100 in January, with Charles Tolliver, Dee Dee Bridgewater, George Cables, Billy Harper and Rufus Reid, as well as the Titans of Jazz Drums with Al Foster, Billy Hart and Louis Hayes.

The evening will honor Richard Parsons with JFA’s Dr. Billy Taylor Humanitarian Award. Parsons is the former chairman of Citigroup and former chairman/CEO of Time Warner.

Parsons is stepping down after 15 years as JFA chairman and will be succeeded by JFA president Jarrett Lilien. Board member Dr. Daveed D. Frazier will become president of the JFA board of directors. Last year’s event honored Clarence Avant, Dave Grusin and Charles Lloyd at Los Angeles’ Vibrato Grill Jazz.

Proceeds from the benefit fund JFA programs that provide housing assistance, pro-bono healthcare, disaster relief and direct financial support to musicians and their families. For the past 35 years, JFA has been assisting not only jazz musicians, but artists in blues, roots and R&B genres.

For more information on tickets for the March 28 event, go to JFA@eventassociatesinc.com For individual concert tickets, go to jazzfoundation.org/gala2024. 

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‘Bob Marley: One Love’ Is Currently Amongst the Top-Grossing Music Biopics: Here’s the Leading 25

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The 25 biopics on this list cover a wide range of genres, including rap, classical, country, Latin and contemporary Christian.

After less than a week, Bob Marley: One Love is already one of the top-grossing biopics of a musician in domestic box-office history. The film, which stars Kingsley Ben-Adir as reggae legend Bob Marley, has grossed $52 million in the U.S. and Canada.

Here are the 25 top-grossing biopics of musicians in terms of domestic box office. These films cover a remarkably wide range of genres. Pop/rock artists are the focus of seven of the 25 films, followed by R&B (five); rap and traditional pop (three each); country and classical (two each); and Latin, contemporary Christian and reggae (one each).

Biopics of four of the 10 artists who comprised the inaugural induction class at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame dot this list. In addition to Elvis Presley, there are biopics here of James Brown, Ray Charles and Buddy Holly

If you want to dig deeper into Marley, we have a story about how the film brought the 1976 Smile Jamaica Concert and Exodus recording sessions to the big screen.

Methodology: Boxofficemojo.com maintains lists of top-grossing films searchable by dozens of “genre keywords.” Under ” music,” we extracted biopics, which we define as films in which actors portray the musicians. Five of the biopics listed here aren’t listed under music on the boxofficemojo.com site, so we manually inserted them, using box-office figures found elsewhere on the site.

We didn’t include some high-grossing films about real-life music personalities because they’re not biopics in the traditional sense. These include The Sound of Music (which tells the story of Maria von Trapp and the Trapp Family Singers); Green Book (pianist and composer Don Shirley); Florence Foster Jenkins (heiress and amateur soprano by that name); and Music of the Heart (violinist and music educator Roberta Guaspari).

Here are the 25 biopics of music stars with the highest domestic (defined as U.S. and Canada) grosses:

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