Britney Spears Cleared of Misdemeanor Allegation

Britney Spears will not be charged with any crimes related to an incident that occurred at her residence involving her housekeeper, the Ventura County District Attorney announced Wednesday (Aug. 1).

The singer had been named a suspect in a battery investigation after allegedly striking a housekeeper during a dispute while in her home in Thousand Oaks on Aug. 16.

During the argument, Spears was alleged to have slapped a phone out of the housekeeper’s hand and the housekeeper indicated the screen protector to the phone was damaged. Spears’ housekeeper later reported to authorities that she had an argument with the singer regarding the veterinary care of Spears’ dog.

Misdemeanor Unit Supervisor Blake Heller reviewed the case submitted by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, and declined to file charges due to insufficient evidence that a crime had occurred.

Spears’ lawyer Mathew Rosengart said in a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter that “this was nothing more than sensationalized-tabloid fodder — an overblown ‘he said, she said’ regarding a cell phone.”

Rosengart noted that the Sheriff’s Department has acknowledged this was a “very minor” incident.

“If this involved Jane Doe rather than Britney Spears it would not have been pursued or covered at all. Anyone can make an accusation but this should never have made it this far and we are glad the DA’s Office has done the right thing. Sadly, it is apparent that some have learned nothing from the past, and we sincerely hope the media and others will be more respectful of Ms. Spears in the future,” Rosengart added.

This article originally appeared in THR.com.

Masked Wolf’s ‘Astronaut In The Ocean’ Honored For Streaming Milestone

Masked Wolf has joined an elite new pack: APRA AMCOS’ one billion-streams club.

The Australian hip-hop artist (real name Harry Michael) and producer/songwriter Tyron Hapi are inducted into the PRO’s The 1,000,000,000 List for “Astronaut In The Ocean,” which has blasted past one billion streams across streaming services.

Released in 2019 via Teamwrk Records, the track went viral on TikTok in 2020 and was picked up earlier in the year by Elektra Records for the world (Teamwrk Records retains rights for Australia and New Zealand).

“Astronaut In The Ocean” impacted charts around the globe, hitting No. 6 on the Hot 100, No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs and earning Chartbreaker status.

The two creators were presented with trophies earlier in the week at the APRA AMCOS offices. “I went out to celebrate 20 million streams because to me that was a goal and achievement,” explains Masked Wolf in a statement. “It’s crazy what can happen when you never give up and truly believe in yourself. One billion streams later I’m still the same person but am so grateful for this moment.”

Tyron Hapi produced and co-wrote the song. Its milestone, he explains, is “an incredible achievement and stepping stone for me. I appreciate everyone who listens and supports. Without my team this also wouldn’t have been possible. Teamwork makes the dream work.”

“Astronaut In The Ocean” is lifted from Masked Wolf’s debut LP, Astronomical, scheduled for release Sept. 10.

The 1,000,000,000 List is said to be the first award of its kind to acknowledge a songwriter’s achievement. Past recipients include Kevin Parker (for Tame Impala’s “The Less I Know The Better”), Flume (for “Never Be Like You”), Troye Sivan and Alex Hope (for “Youth”), Tones And I (for “Dance Monkey”), 5 Seconds of Summer (for “Youngblood”), Starley and P-Money (for “Call On Me”), Vance Joy (for “Riptide”), Gotye (for “Somebody That I Used to Know”), and Vassy (for “Bad”).

The award takes into account plays from all major streaming services including Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, YouTube Music, Vevo and Amazon.

Click here for the full list.

Texas and Florida Venues Have Found a Loophole in Vaccine Requirement Bans

Requiring proof of vaccination at concerts is becoming the new normal as the touring industry returns amid another wave of the coronavirus pandemic, but in 20 states across the country there are bans on such mandates, complicating measures to safely keep live music going.

At risk of losing out on major tours in 2021 as a result, venues and promoters in Florida and Texas are now honing in on the wording of the two state’s executive orders, which ban vaccine mandates but don’t ban venues from requiring fans to show negative COVID-19 test results in order to gain entry to a concert. The loophole is that venue operators can accept proof of vaccination for entry in lieu of a negative COVID-19 test result. This, oddly enough, creates the same restrictions for fans in Texas and Florida that exist in nearly every other state, but gives the governors in both states the political cover they need to claim they aren’t backing down.

Tom DeGeorge, owner of Crowbar in Tampa, Florida, is one of the venue owners offering artists and promoters a choice on whether to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for attendees. DeGeorge, who sought legal counsel alongside fellow National Independent Venue Association members to unpack the executive order, tells Billboard it was within their rights to ask for a negative test and that patrons could volunteer proof of vaccination instead. A representative from Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office has confirmed the loophole’s legality to Billboard.

The same loophole has been okayed in Texas, according to Texas promoter and owner of Resound Presents Graham Williams, who characterizes the loophole as “just backwards wording.” Indeed, major festivals like Live Nation’s Austin City Limits Music Festival, which is set for October, have already adopted the loophole language for their safety policies. 

“Lawyers and the Texas Music Office in the governor’s office and all these other people have talked it over, and as far as I know, there’s sort of a general agreement that it is doable as long as there is an option,” says Williams. “I felt like as long as you are offering the option, then you’re not requiring vaccinations only.” However, by placing that extra hurdle for unvaccinated attendees, promoters are providing “another positive reason to get the vaccine,” he adds.

Crowbar’s DeGeorge says Florida venues and promoters have warned the governor’s office about the ban, explaining that requiring proof of vaccination “is the direction the industry is going, and if we can’t do these things there is a good possibility we’ll lose many of our artists in the fall and winter.”

Those businesses are responding to policies being implemented by the artists themselves; in August, several touring musicians began publicly calling for vaccination requirements at their 2021 shows. Harry Styles announced his Love On Tour dates would require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test when he returns to the stage in September. Dead & Company’s 2021 tour requires fans to provide the same information, and only fully vaccinated attendees will be allowed in their general admission pit sections. And in late August, indie rock band Spoon moved their September show in Des Moines, Iowa, across I-80 to Omaha, Nebraska, because Iowa bans businesses from requiring proof of vaccination.

Jason Isbell has also called for the same requirements and canceled three performances for not agreeing to the terms, including shows at Brandon Amphitheater in Mississippi, the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion on the Tennessee-Virginia border and a show with Lucinda Williams at The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in Texas. 

“From everything that I’ve heard so far, all the response I’ve gotten from people in the business has been positive because they understand we could go back to not working at all,” Isbell told MSNBC on Aug. 9. “A lot of these smaller venues will not be able to reopen if they go through another round of shutdowns.” 

The two major concert promoters in the U.S., AEG and Live Nation, have also announced vaccine requirements and vaccine proof or proof of a negative COVID test, respectively, to attend concerts fully operated by the companies. Both companies have emphasized that their policies will be in place where permitted by law, but according to Ballotpedia, 20 states across the country have implemented some form of a ban on businesses requiring proof of vaccination (masks can be required by businesses in Florida and Texas). In March, more than 30 music venues in Austin came together to establish their own public health code-of-conduct and safety program following Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to lift the mask mandate for all of Texas.  

Technology companies have made it easy for venues to discreetly check customers’ health information. Crowbar has implemented the use of touchless access apps including Clear, where the venue can set its parameters for entering a show (e.g. full vaccination or a recent negative test result) and, without divulging any medical information, the app can indicate whether or not the person meets the requirements to enter.  

“We were able to find ways to get around things to make sure we were in line with what a lot of other states could do,” says DeGeorge. “I want the option to be able to do everything within the law to make our clients and customers happy and keep them as safe as possible.” 

Coronavirus

H.E.R. Reveals Lights On Festival 2021 Lineup Including Erykah Badu, Ari Lennox, Bryson Tiller & More

On Wednesday (Sept. 1), four-time Grammy-winner H.E.R. — in partnership with Live Nation Urban — announced the star-studded roster of performers set to hit the stage at the highly anticipated Lights On Festival, which will occur in Concord, Calif. on Sept. 18 and 19.

H.E.R. will headline the two-day festival, while Erykah BaduBryson TillerAri LennoxTy Dolla $ignKeyshia Cole and many more stars will perform some of their fan-favorite hits. H.E.R.’s Lights On Festival, which first took place in 2019, marks the first female-owned and curated music festival in decades.

In addition to exciting performances, Lights On Festival is expected to deliver fun-filled attractions, including a film screening tent, live art installations, an arcade, R&B museum and guitar lounge.

H.E.R. is also celebrating the recent success of her debut studio album, Back of My Mind, which dropped in June and peaked at No. 6 on the Billboard 200. In an Instagram post, she announced the album is officially certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

“My RCA FAM!!!!!! ‘Best Part’ is 5x Platinum and ‘Come Through’ is going Gold! I’m so grateful,” wrote the singer-songwriter. “Thank you to all the people that helped create this album. Thank you to the lovers of music. She gang. All the fans. Love y’all. This means SO much to me and my journey. NOW LET’S GET ON THE ROAD!”

See the complete lineup of performers for 2021 Lights On Festival:

Saturday, Sept. 18

Erykah Badu

Ty Dolla $ign

Keyshia Cole

Masego

Fousheé

Blxst

Tiana Major9

Maeta

Samaria

Ajanne

Lorea

Brianna Castro

Sunday, Sept. 19

H.E.R. & Friends

Bryson Tiller

Ari Lennox

Lucky Daye

Kiana Ledé

Arin Ray

Tone Stith

VanJess

Joyce Wrice

Marzz

Muni Long

Maxx Moor

Lil Nas X Accepts Kid Cudi’s Offer to Collab After Fan Mentions No Black Male Artists Are on ‘Montero’

Is a Lil Nas X and Kid Cudi collab really on the way?

On Wednesday (Sept. 1), the 22-year-old rapper revealed the star-studded track list for his highly anticipated debut album Montero, which will feature collaborations with Megan Thee StallionElton JohnJack HarlowDoja Cat and Miley Cyrus. When one Twitter user called out the lack of Black male guest artists, LNX responded in his defense on Twitter, “Maybe a lot of them just don’t wanna work with me.”

Durand Bernarr, Breland and more Black male artists eagerly flooded his replies to assure him this wasn’t the case, and it looks like Cudder has his back, too. The Man on the Moon rapper reshared Lil Nas X’s explanation and wrote back to him, “N—a ill work w u and frolic in rose gardens w u singin about my pain,” while referencing the Garden of Eden-esque, SpongeBob SquarePants-inspired painting that’s being used as the album artwork.

“U heard it here first everybody,” Lil Nas X wrote, “Kid cudi x lil nas for montero deluxe.”

Montero is set to be released on Sept. 17. It remains unclear if and when a deluxe version of the LP will be released.

See the exchange between Lil Nas X and Kid Cudi about their potential collab below.

Bonnaroo Cancellation Tests New Festival Pandemic-Era Payment Terms

Tuesday’s news that Bonnaroo was canceling due to rain and flooding was a bitter pill to swallow for the artists, vendors and thousands of fans preparing to descend on the Manchester, Tenn., festival grounds where the annual festival was set to return after missing 2020 due to COVID-19. Now, rather than marking a major symbolic victory for the return of a concert industry sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic, the Live Nation-managed festival will serve as the first major test of a new artist compensation agreement dealing with cancellations.

Earlier this year, representatives from AEG and Live Nation negotiated an agreement with the major talent agencies, several sources confirm, that book the majority of acts that play festivals like Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, Outside Lands and Coachella. The agreement shifts part of the burden for unexpected cancellations caused by an ‘”Act of God” — or force majeure — onto the artists. The arrangements were originally designed to address the risky business of bringing back major events amid the pandemic, since insurance does not cover COVID-19 cancellations, but was also written to include issues like severe weather that could cause events to cancel through no fault of the promoter.

The new agreements require AEG and Live Nation to pay 10% of the artist fee for a festival if the event is canceled 30 to 60 days before the event, either for weather or pandemic-related issues, and 50% of the artist’s fee if an event is canceled less than 30 days in advance. By limiting the event’s liability in case of cancellation, these arrangements are allowing promoters to move ahead with booking shows without having to pay artists’ full costs and are likely to factor into risk evaluation as the pandemic rages on. On Aug. 8, the AEG-promoted Jazz Fest in New Orleans canceled its two weekends planned for Oct. 8-10 and Oct. 15-17 — just one day before the 60-day mark prior to the start of the event, limiting the promoter’s liability to artists.

Up until 2019, festival promoters were on the hook to pay artists 100% of an artists’ performance fee if an event was canceled due to severe weather like a storm, tornado, lighting or dangerous winds. The promoters would then be responsible for recouping those payments from their insurance provider. An increase in adverse weather over the last decade, which scientists link to climate change, led to more cancellations and higher insurance premiums well beyond the 1.5% of their total budget most festivals allocate for insurance, reaching as high as 4% to 5%.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, leaving touring artists and promoters both heavily exposed. While historically, events could purchase insurance covering infectious diseases, like they can for weather, it was uncommon they would do so. Now it’s not even available. And because there’s no financial remedy, artists were unlikely to get paid in event of cancellation and would be expected to return their deposits, as the pandemic rendered them unable to fulfill their contractual obligations to perform. In effect, the new deal terms are a compromise — while artists now must share in some of the risk of adverse weather, they are also protected from pandemic-related cancellations.

As a result, artists will likely now begin carrying their own event insurance policies to cover the other 50% of their guarantee they wouldn’t receive as a result of weather-related cancellations, an agent tells Billboard. But if an artist is planning to purchase cancellation insurance for an upcoming tour, there’s one very important rule to remember, says Paul Bassman with Higginbotham, which sells policies covering events and festivals. “In order to cover losses from a major weather event or storm, the policy must be purchased before the storm is named by the National Weather Service,” Bassman says. “After the weather event is officially named, insurance protection is no longer available for purchase and the storm will be excluded from the policy. I’m finding this goes for wildfires, as fires that exist prior to binding are now being excluded.”

He continues, “Rule of thumb is that if you are going to buy cancellation insurance, bind it as early as possible to get the most coverage as the carrier cannot exclude a named storm or wildfire after the policy is in place.”

Justin Bieber Launches Fundraiser For Haiti to Provide Support After Earthquake

Justin Bieber launched a fundraiser on Wednesday (Sept. 1) to provide assistance to the people of Haiti after the country suffered a devastating earthquake this month.

In partnership with Proplr and Project Medishare, a non-profit organization providing human, technical and medical resources on the ground in Haiti, the 27-year-old artist is offering a trip for two to Vegas, which includes flights, hotel accommodations, tickets to his concert at the T-Mobile Arena and a meet-and-greet experience. Additionally, Bieber announced an original art auction as well as an exclusive New York event during the week of Sept. 12 is part of the Haiti relief fundraiser benefitting the country after the 7.2 earthquake on Aug. 14 left more than 2,000 people dead and more than 12,000 in need of medical assistance.

“@Medishare4Haiti is on the ground providing critical medical care and distributing food and hygiene kits to families affected by the devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti. We have set up an auction with @Proplr to raise funds for their lifesaving work,” he wrote on Twitter.

Beliebers can also gain access to exclusive merch if they donate to the fundraiser, with proceeds benefitting Project Medishare, which has been empowering Haitians and working to improve the quality of their lives since 1994. Haiti is still recovering from a 5.9 magnitude earthquake in 2018 that killed more than a dozen people, and a 7.1 quake in 2010 that damaged the impoverished country’s capital and killed an estimated 300,000 people, according to the Associated Press. The country is also in the midst of a political crisis following July’s assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

Bieber previously participated in the all-star re-recording of the charity single “We Are the World,” which honored the original Michael Jackson- and Lionel Richie-penned version on its 25th anniversary and raised funds for Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.

“Huge thanks to @justinbieber for setting up this amazing auction with @Proplr to raise funds for @Medishare4Haiti earthquake relief efforts,” the non-profit wrote. “We are so grateful for your support of our work to save lives in #Haiti.

See Bieber’s announcement below and learn more about the fundraiser here.

https://twitter.com/justinbieber/status/1433166915225198592