|CMU Daily - on the inside Thursday 7th October
In today's CMU Daily:
- BPI to sue downloaders
- Outkast lead nominations at MTV Europe awards
- Grammy nominations day set
- Stern to move to satellite radio
- Much talk over investors at The Firm
- Dash: I worked with Becks for the profile
- Mcfly to appear in Casualty
- Digital radio set to boom
- Britney splits from manager
- MTV Europe music awards nominations in full
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SAME SIX QUESTIONS: Ciccone
How did you start out making music for a living?
We still haven't started making music for a living. Not many people do.
What inspired your latest album?
Being poor and sad and disillusioned, mostly.
What process do you go through in creating an album?
Record all our new songs then whittle them down to which sound and go with each other best.
Which artists influence your work?
What would you say to someone experiencing your music for the first time?
"We did that. Great isn't it?" If they do not agree at this point then I kick them :o)
What are your ambitions for your latest album, and for the future?
World domination, or at least some recognition.
Ciccone's album 'Eversholt Street' is out now on Human Recordings. You can buy tracks from Karma Download at http://www.karmadownload.com/artist/?Ciccone
Get your artists to answer the same six questions, and email the answers to
BPI TO SUE DOWNLOADERS
Good news for lawyers. And we love lawyers here at CMU, so that's great. Yep, following much speculation earlier this week the BPI officially announced this morning that they plan to take legal action against major downloaders in the UK. And hurrah to that.
The whole thing kicks off later today when the trade association takes 28 individuals to court over allegations they make large amounts of copyrighted content available, illegally, via P2P filesharing networks like Kazaa.
The BPI reckon that with iTunes et al now formally up and running the music industry has done everything it can to offer a legitimate alternative to those who have, in the past, downloaded music off the net from illegal sources. With that in mind, it is time to strike against those who continue to share files over P2P networks.
Announcing the move BPI chairman Peter Jamieson told CMU: "We have been warning for months that unauthorized file-sharing is illegal. These are not people casually downloading the odd track. They are uploading music on a massive scale, effectively stealing the livelihoods of thousands of artists and the people who invest in them".
The BPI first indicated that they were considering following the Recording Industry Association of America's lead in suing individuals who share music files on line (rather than the companies who make the P2P networks they use) back in March. The trade association says that since then it has sent out 350,000 instant messages to the computers of those people they suspect of uploading music via P2P networks warning people that what they are doing is illegal.
Jamieson: "We have resisted legal action as long as we could. We have done everything we can to raise awareness of this problem. We have encouraged legal services and launched an Official Download Chart. But we would be derelict in our duty to protect and promote British music were we not to take action to demonstrate that this activity is illegal and harmful to every aspect of the creative British music industry. We believe we have no alternative other than to enforce our rights through the courts."
Everyone who is anyone in the music biz lined up to support the BPI's move.
Beggars Group chairman Martin Mills: "Record companies are the biggest investors in new music in the UK. In return for their investment copyright law gives them the right to authorise what happens to that music. People who take music without that permission are damaging future investment in music."
SonyBMG UK boss Rob Stringer: "Breaking new artists can take years of investment and hard work. Illegal filesharing takes money from the business and from the artists. If it continues it cannot help but compromise our ability to invest in new British music."
HMV Europe MD Steve Knott, who is also chairman of the British Association of Record Dealers: "The serial uploaders who post thousands of music files free of charge onto the Internet are stealing this product in exactly the same way as a shoplifter in a music store. Theft on this scale cannot be allowed to continue unchecked."
EMI UK chairman Tony Wadsworth: "The internet has changed all our lives. It is revolutionising the way music is consumed. What it doesn't change are the fundamentals of the concept of intellectual property. Unauthorised filesharing is against the law. After several years of seeing it eat into our livelihoods, we reluctantly and finally have to resort to the law to protect our business."
Factory Records founder, In The City man and Granada news guy Tony Wilson: "Once upon a time there was a shortage of fully working legal download sites. Now that's gone. There are enough outlets for people to buy their music online and I mean buy their music online. I am always amazed the people who profess to love music are prepared to pay their council tax to politicians they don't like, their bank charges to bankers they despise, but choose to rip-off and steal from the musicians who are supposedly the great influences in their lives."
Feargal Sharkey: "I find it extraordinary, given the fact that 60% of musicians in the UK earn less than £10,000 per year and 94% of songwriters, composers receive less than £10,000 per year in royalty payments that we are prepared to ask musicians and songwriters, to turn up to work everyday and not get paid for it. Especially since all that many of those musicians and songwriters are trying to do, is to make the world the rest of us live in, a much more valuable, much brighter place."
Of course, we here at CMU have long argued that record labels have a right to protect their intellectual property. To dwell on the wealth of premiere league artists and the profits of major record companies is to ignore the vast investment made and risk taken by hundreds of smaller labels and artists every year in the music space - those that make the investment and take the risk should be able to safeguard their financial rewards. And much kudos to the BPI for their recent campaign to raise awareness about the illegality of sharing music online. The legal action announced today is a logical conclusion of that - you can't have a hardline PR stance and then not follow it up in the courts when people continue to illegally share music.
But - oh yes there's a but. But the music industry shouldn't expect this kind of legal action to solve the download threat - nor should they use the download threat to explain away every commercial hardship. Don't forget technology is out there that will make it increasingly hard to track illegal downloading. There is always research to suggest that just because people use P2P networks it doesn't mean they necessarily spend any less money on music (they might just spend more on gigs or merchandise than on records). And of course, it is not guaranteed the BPI will win when these cases go to court.
The future of the music industry in the digital age is unpredictable - and most of the download platforms out there are not really an embracement of the potential for music on the web, they are just a conventional record shop style business put online. We are not convinced the music industry can win the war against illegal downloading, however big a budget you give your lawyers. The fact is the income from recordings will decline, and the music business needs to find new revenue streams.
The point of the rant? By all means get the lawyers busy - but at the same time get those innovative minds that exist in every record label on the case: is recording and selling records the only way for a record label to recoup their investment? We're not sure it is.
Rant over, and well done all you lawyers. If only I had started that law degree sooner.
OUTKAST LEAD NOMINATIONS AT MTV EUROPE AWARDS
OutKast lead the way in nomination stakes for this year's MTV Europe Music Awards, which will take place in Rome on 18 Nov. They are up for five awards, including best song and video for 'Hey Ya', best album for 'Speakerboxxx / The Love Below' and best overall group.
Seven artists received three nominations, including Franz Ferdinand, Britney Spears, Anastacia, Beyonce Knowles, Jay-Z and Maroon 5.
Up for the important best group title, other than OutKast, are Beastie Boys, Black Eyed Peas, D12 and Maroon 5.
Best newcomer nominations include Franz Ferdinand, Jamelia, Keane, Maroon 5 and The Rasmus.
Organisers also confirmed Eminem, Gwen Stefani, Nelly, the Beastie Boys, the Hives, Usher, Maroon 5 and Franz Ferdinand will be among the impressive line up to play on the night of the awards.
There's a full nominations list at the bottom of today's Daily.
GRAMMY NOMINATIONS DAY SET
Talking of awards, organisers of the Grammys have confirmed that the War & Piece like nominations list for the 2005 event will be announced at the Henry Fonda Music Box Theater in Hollywood at 8.30 am on 7 Dec. Four new categories have been added this year - Best Surround Sound Album (in the field of production), Best Electronic/Dance Album, Best Gospel Performance and Best Hawaiian Music Album - which means there are now 107 awards up for grabs. That makes for a long (and frankly rather dull) nominations list.
STERN TO MOVE TO SATELLITE RADIO
American satellite radio company Sirius yesterday confirmed it had signed a five year deal with Howard Stern, which will see the infamous DJ start presenting his programme for Sirius when his current contract with Infinity Radio runs out next year.
Sirius is currently the smaller player in the US satellite radio space behind XM Satellite Radio. However Sirius hope to hugely increase on their existing 600,000 subscriber base through the arrival of Stern - they will need to as the company admits they will need an extra one million subscribers just to break even on the new deal.
In a statement issued yesterday, Sirius CEO Joseph Clayton told reporters: "Signing Howard Stern is, without a doubt, the most exciting and transformational event in the history of radio. He is an entertainment force of unprecedented recognition and popularity in the broadcast world, who is capable of changing the face of satellite radio and generating huge numbers of subscribers for Sirius."
Stern himself confirmed his deal with Sirius on his existing radio show. However, despite his history of falling out with radio management, he stressed his latest move was not related to his relationship with Infinity and its parent company Viacom. Thanking Viacom owner Sumner Redstone and former boss Mel Karmazin, Stern said: "I want to say Viacom has done a miraculous job supporting me, not backing down to Clear Channel [who stopped syndicating the show on the grounds it was indecent], not backing down to the government".
With the new deal Stern's show will loop on one channel so to fit with different time zones. Stern will also be involved in programming two other Sirius channels. He has previously said he believes the less regulated satellite radio sector is a place to get away from the increasing paranoia in the mainstream radio industry caused by an increasingly hardline media regulator in the FCC.
MUCH TALK OVER INVESTORS AT THE FIRM
There is much talk in the US regarding an investment made by private equity houses Thomas Lee and Bain Capital into artist management company The Firm. Both Lee and Bain are major investors in the Warner Music Group, and news that they were taking a stake in The Firm suggested they are looking to spread their interests across the music space.
However initial reports suggested Lee and Bain's investments were small, providing simply some useful cash flow to help the agency through a rough patch.
However some in the investment community argue Lee and Bain would only be interested in taking large influential stakes in any company. Now there are rumours their investment in The Firm is, in fact, much larger than originally thought. Some insiders at the company have indicated Lee and Bain's financial vote of confidence in The Firm is significant and will enable a rapid period of growth - both by acquiring other artist management agencies, and moving in to the film and TV sector.
DASH: I WORKED WITH BECKS FOR THE PROFILE
Damon Dash has been ranting about Victoria Beckham again - the hip hop mogul remains pissed off that his attempts to remodel Posh into a credible urban music star failed. According to the Daily Star, Dash now says that he only worked with Beckham in order to boost his profile in the UK. He also reckons that it was the interference of people like Simon Fuller, Posh's manager, that caused his collaborations with her to fail: "If I'd had control over the video I reckon it would have been a lot better. But then you had people like Simon Fuller who didn't believe in her vision. He was scared. He was dealing in a culture that he didn't understand. I was trying to stop her from being a pop star and make her into a real rock star."
MCFLY TO APPEAR IN CASUALTY
God, its been like days since we last had a McFly story. So try this one for size. The McFly boys are set to star in an episode of Casualty. According to the Sun, the boys will play themselves in a plot which will see one of their obsessed fans falling out of a hotel window, or something like that. A BBC 1 insider told the paper: "McFly go to see the girl in hospital but find out it is her mum who is the one obsessed by them."
DIGITAL RADIO SET TO BOOM
A new study from the Digital Radio Development Bureau (for there is such a thing) reckons that the number of digital radio sets out there will boom in the next four years, with the medium so popular by 2008 that retailers will be selling in excess of 5 million digital radios every year. The report says that as a result digital radio's reach, currently estimated at just 4%, will be up to 28% in four years time.
The research reckons it will be the number of stations available via digital, rather than any improvements in sound quality, that will drive sales. Digital only stations such as BBC Asian Network, BBC7, Gaydar Radio and the Saga station are all likely to play their part in pulling new audiences into the digital radio space.
GWR boss Ralph Bernard, who chairs the Bureau, told reporters the latest study showed digital radio was on the "tipping point" that turned mobile phones and the internet from the playthings of early adopters to mass-market essentials: "This is a very important day for all radio but particularly for digital radio. We know how many digital radios have been sold to date and what needs to be done to reach tipping point. We are not just getting warm we are getting hot."
So what does all that mean for the music world? Well, see you at Music Works on 29 Oct and we'll find out! (http://www.Musicworksuk.com)
BRITNEY SPLITS FROM MANAGER
According to the New York Daily News, Britney Spears has parted company with her longtime manager Larry Rudolph. The paper quotes a representative of Rudolph as saying: "Britney and I simply realised that we have done all we can do together and have amicably parted ways after eight years".
However the Daily News reckons tensions have grown between Britney and Rudolph in recent times, especially when he forced the singer to get an annulment of her Vegas marriage to Jason Alexander earlier this year, and when he pressured her to sign a pre-nuptial agreement prior to her recent marriage to Kevin Federline. Word also has it that Britney's older brother Bryan has his eyes on the management job and has been trying to force out Rudolph for a while
MTV EUROPE MUSIC AWARDS NOMINATIONS IN FULL
Best Group: Beastie Boys, Black Eyed Peas, D12, Maroon 5 Outkast
Best Song: Anastacia - Left Outside Alone, Britney Spears - Toxic, Maroon 5 - This Love, Outkast - Hey Ya!, Usher featuring Ludacris - Yeah!
Best Female: Alicia Keys, Anastacia, Avril Lavigne, Beyoncé, Britney Spears
Best Male: Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, Nelly, Robbie Williams, Usher
Best Hip-Hop: Beastie Boys, D12, Jay-Z, Kanye West, Nelly
Best New Act: Franz Ferdinand, Jamelia, Keane, Maroon 5, The Rasmus
Best R&B: Alicia Keys, Beyoncé, Kelis, Outkast, Usher
Best Album: Beyoncé - Dangerously in Love, Black Eyed Peas - Elephunk, Dido - Life for Rent, Outkast - Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below, Usher - Confessions
Best Alternative Act: Björk, Franz Ferdinand, The Hives, Muse, Prodigy
Best Rock: The Darkness, Good Charlotte, Green Day, Linkin Park, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Best Pop: Anastacia, Avril Lavigne, Black Eyed Peas, Britney Spears, Robbie Williams
Best Video: The Cure - The End of the World, Jay-Z - 99 Problems, Outkast - Hey Ya!, The Streets - Fit But Don't You Know It, The White Stripes - The Hardest Button to Button